I've been thinking for a while about getting another bike. I have one bike that I like very much, but it's not as comfortable as I'd like for longer rides and so I tend not to ride as often as I otherwise might. I'm looking for a more relaxed and comfortable bike that will get me out on the road more often without too much sacrifice in speed. Requirements inside, recommendations appreciated.
I feel like this is something I ought to be able to answer on my own, but here goes anyway. For the longest time I've been riding my mother's old 1982 Fuji Del Rey
. (Not my personal bike, but close enough. My bike has stem shifters.) I have a great sentimental attachment to this bike, but it's never been as comfortable as it might be. Partly I think this is because my mom is a bit smaller than me and so the bike isn't quite big enough, and partly I think it is just that I don't find the forward-facing, drop-bar geometry all that comfortable in general. I enjoy it for quick jaunts, but for longer rides I find it tiresome. So I 'm looking for a second bike.
This new bike will mostly be used for 6-7 mile (each way) commutes to and from school. It should be reasonably fast, but I'm not expecting it to be as quick as my old 12-speed. The roads I will be riding on are mostly flat, but often potholed. I'd like it to have an upright geometry that doesn't require me to crane my head back in order to see where I'm going. (I know that tons of people ride long distances every day on forward-leaning bikes, but that's not what I'm looking for here.) It should be tough and well-made and not too
heavy by the standards of steel bikes. It should also be able to take a rack and panniers.
My absolute maximum
budget is $300, so I'm probably looking at used bikes which is fine by me. (I'm not averse to a quality new bike, but it must
be $300 or under all told.) I like older steel bikes and have done a few full restorations of old ten-speeds and three-speeds from the 1970s and '80s, so I'm comfortable getting a bike that will need a little TLC. I live in New Orleans, where used bikes are fairly cheap. Here's a search of my local Craigslist for bikes in the $100-$300 range, to give you an idea of my market.
(If you see any bikes in that search that seem like they'd suit me, I'd be much obliged if you'd point them out.)
I am 5'6", 180lbs (but working my way down toward a goal of 155) and have fairly short legs and arms. My inseam is 28". I will be riding in my normal clothes, with a messenger bag on my back, and then probably changing my shirt when I get to school. I've been riding my poorly-fitting road bike for so long that I am not even sure what a properly-fitting bike would feel like at this point, so I would love advice on how to tell if a bike fits me properly.
I am interested in recommendations on specific models and years, but even more interested in general advice about what to look for in a relaxed, comfortable commuting bike. What kind of transmission should I be looking for? (I've ridden three-speeds before, but I find them unacceptably slow.) Is there a particular handlebar or fork geometry that would likely suit my needs? What should I look for in a saddle? These are the kind of things I am wondering about.
I appreciate all your advice and knowledge. Thanks very much in advance for what I'm sure will be excellent guidance.