Please help me buy a cheap grocery-run bike to get around New York. I'm looking at the
I'm looking for something cheap enough I can afford to replace it if (when?) it gets stolen, and yet not actively unpleasant to ride. I have another bike for commutes and longer weekend rides, so this bike only needs to get me around the city. Say, no more than 20 miles at a time, all on paved roads, but probably while wearing normal clothing. Above all, though, it should be easy to secure and not look like it's worth stealing.
I'm buying new off bikesdirect.com this time instead of combing through Craigslist and secondhand bike shops because I can't seem to find a used bike in New York which isn't at least one of outrageously overpriced and complete crap. If anyone knows of a secondhand shop which has reasonably priced bikes in working order, I'd love to hear about that as well. I'd be much more comfortable buying a bicycle I've test-ridden, and also starting a relationship with a good shop in town.
The Gravity Swift2
I'm mostly looking at because it has an aluminium frame and carbon fork, which seems unusual at this price point. I've never ridden aluminium, though, and honestly I'm a little suspicious of cheap carbon.
The Mercier Kilo WT5
I like for its 5-speed internally geared hub, which seems to combine the robustness of a singlespeed with the convenience of gears, and the front and rear rack braze-ons. The down-side is, the 5-speed hub will make replacing the rear wheel either much more expensive (if I replace the hub as well) or much more inconvenient (if I salvage the hub and build a new wheel around it).
The Windsor Timeline
is just a very standard entry-level singlespeed, although as such things go it seems to be a pretty sensible offering. Most entry-level singlespeeds seem to be aimed toward trackie wannabes: very aggressive geometry, razor-thin fork clearances, no braze-ons, and sometimes even no brake mounts. This one looks very practical outside a velodrome.
In case you know of another bike I should be considering, here's how I'm judging the bikes:
Necessary: 56 cm frame; drop, randonneur, or pursuit bars; integrated or bar-end shifters; front and rear caliper, cantilever, or disc brakes; preferably double-walled, definitely aluminium rims; forks wide enough to accommodate a 32 mm tire
Preferable: rear rack braze-ons; some rake to the fork to steady the handling; lightweight enough to carry; no toe overlap; quick-release wheels
Deal-breakers: stem or down-tube shifters; drum, coaster, or no brakes; suspension; anything nonstandard or finicky (e.g., Positron derailleurs, which qualify in both categories at once)