Thursday, February 25, 2010

More Bike Talk.

So, there's a shop in town that carries Electras and I may go test one, but I'm not sold on them yet. The cute ones are all steel framed, and I want an aluminum frame so I can lift it without groaning. Not just hoist it off the ground, but lift and maneuver it. Not just into Baby if I'm going somewhere, but at the end of the day, when I'm tired. So I'm thinking an Electra is not for me. Not crazy about their Townies; sorry, but they're kinda Uglies. The adorable cruiser bikes all have those heavy steel frames.

So, I'm looking online at local bike shop choices, and the closest place to me is all about Trek. (My son rides a Trek, but he's a guy and wanted a different kind of bike, the kind you can pick up on Craigslist. Oh, to be young.) And they do have a model that looks just like what I'm lookin' for: Wasabi Bamboo. But whoa, I have to adore it before I spend that money.

And if I want the retro-cute-comfort plus a lightweight frame, there's this: Raleigh. They also carry Electras, so I could do a side-by-side comparison. But that won't be happening this weekend, because we are expecting rain on Saturday, and I have plans for Sunday. But I'm shopping, see?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm a lifelong Trekkie. I bought a custom sized road bike from them their first year in business (1976) and we have bought several more. They are well designed and well made. I looked at the price of the Wasabi 3 and I think it is reasonable for that quality.
The only thing that works is to ride an Electra, ride a Schwinn, and ride a Trek. Lift each one into Baby. Make sure you work with a good bike shop (those links look good) - they will fit and adjust the bike correctly-something you will never get at a big box store. Then start saving your moneys.
Kimmen

k said...

My daughter has a Trek, and I covet it. Plus, it was light enough that I could carry it up two and a half flights of stairs into her dorm room for the winter. (Long story that is over now.)

Catherine said...

Three things have me leaning Trek: one, the lightness, two, I've never known anyone who had one say anything negative; and three, the Trekkie shop is really close to me and has been there for a long time, which would be very convenient for service and adjustments.

Catherine said...

Oh and there's this one: http://davidsworld.com/product/trek-womens-calypso-49017-1.htm Yeah, I'm leaning Trek now.

No worries, Kimmen; my last bike came from a local bike shop. I don't buy from Big Box Stores for something like this, because I don't want to learn to be a bike mechanic/expert, and I will pay the price for a good bike for the support that comes from a real bike shop. And the money is already set aside for it, though I was hoping to not max out my budget. If I went with the Trek Calypso, I could squeak in under my budget cap, helmet and all.

Gigi said...

Both those cruisers are cute as heck, and yes, Electra's are not light. The one big thing I learned with this purchase is that the difference between crap bike and good bike is amazing, and it was so worth spending the money for the Electra. SO the fact that you are looking at GOOD bikes is really all that matters.

Catherine said...

I am all about spending the money on a good bike, and I adore the Electra cruiser styles, but the steel frame? I gotta be able to lift and turn and maneuver it into the back of an SUV now and then, even if just taking it to the shop for service, and I don't see that happening with an Electra cruiser. I'm not a bike novice and I know better than to buy cheap if I don't know how to maintain/adjust and service it myself, and I don't. Nor do I have time and energy to learn. This is one of those times when it's worth paying for quality from a place that will give follow-up service.

Anonymous said...

A little bit off-topic, but a cautionary tale for a grand-ma to be.
Daughter has a boy, Darcy (4 and a half!) and a daughter, Kirby (nearly 3). Both have 'balance bikes'. Both were racing over the grass in their local playground, when K hit a pothole, and went sailing over the handlebars. Jumped up, grabbed the bike, leapt back on, and raced off to catch up with D, according to their mother.

BUT, Miss K demanded to have equal phone time, and with much drama told me the 'real' story, finishing up with "Oh no, Oma, I cwied!". This tough as teak little demon NEVER cries for a bump or fall.

As her mother is discovering: Girls. Are. Different.

Gae, in Callala Bay

Catherine said...

She may have cwied three hot sobs while getting back on her bike to catch D. Or thought about crying, but was too busy at the time to get around to it, but she intended to, honest! Miss K is my kind of kid! What is a "balance bike" - we don't call them that here. Do you mean a bike with training wheels?

Anonymous said...

Balance bike - no training wheels and no pedals. Usually with a limiter so the front wheel cannot be 'steered' too sharply.

The idea is that the kid learns to BALANCE before bringing in the complication of pedalling at the same time. Absolutely wonderful for rugrats with good coordination.

Think back to pictures of top-hatted Victorian gents scooting along on their 'velocipedes'.

Our son had training wheels, and he spent a year lurching from one side to t'other, until Ernst had had enough, took the trainers off, and let the kid 'sink or swim'. Five minutes later............
Daughter NEVER had the training wheels at all.

k said...

Basket?
I'm really looking forward to warm weather around here. The town is relatively flat, and nothing is very far away, plus a designated bike/walk trail through town. So bikes or walking once the weather clears.

Anonymous said...

When I bought my Electra, my BFF bought a Trek Wasabi. I'm still loving my Betty, while her Trek is long gone. It's that "flat-foot" technology---SO much easier and safer when starting and stopping. If I had known how much I was going to like my Electra, I would have spent more and bought the "Euro 8" model Townie. It has fenders and a luggage rack, along with the aluminum frame. When I spoke to the guys at my local Trek shop, they had the attitude, "What's a fat old woman like you going to do with a bike, anyway? Just buy what we sell you---you aren't smart enough to know the difference." (The kid did actually say to me, "What are YOU going to do with a bike?") That alone turned me off on Trek. The Electra dealer is about 60 miles away, but the woman who sold me my bike was in her 30's, a little chubby herself, and interested in selling me what I wanted rather than just pushing what they had on the floor. The Super Deluxe is retro cool and has an aluminum frame---I would just advise that you make several stops and starts when you test ride the bike and maybe even ride it, think about it, and go back a few times. As I said, my buddy rushed into a Trek because it was cheaper and easier to get, and it turned into a huge waste of money for her. I go by a Raleigh dealer every day on my walk, but the boys that work in there had the same "We don't dig fat chicks" attitude that they had at the Trek shop, so I refused to spend my money there. (Since I bought my bike, I've lost about 50 pounds through diet and exercise. SO THERE!!!) Anyhoo, which ever brand or model you decide on, I hope buying it is a good experience for you, and you enjoy riding it. After all, this is supposed to be FUN.

Brenda in Iowa.

Catherine said...

Gae - I think "balance bikes" are a fantastic idea, but they are almost unheard of here. Girl learned to ride a two-wheeler on our neighbor's mini-2-wheeler - it had very small tires, maybe 10-12 inches, but also had pedals, so a 3 year old could put her feet down and experiment with balance while learning to pedal. Her own bike was the usual 16-inch first bike with training wheels. She mastered balance on the neighbor kid's mini-bike, then asked us to take the trainers off her bike, hopped on, and rode off. When she went to her 4 year old checkup, the dr. did the usual casual screening of speech and comprehension. He asked her if she had a bike, and how many wheels it had. She replied, "Two." His eyebrows shot up and he looked at me and asked, "A tricycle? Training wheels?" I said no, she'd been riding a two-wheeler for many months before her 4th birthday. So I think balance bikes are a fantastic idea that should be more widely available here.

Catherine said...

Brenda, I do not fear the Bike Shop Boys, and while I am old enough to be their mother, they'd better take me seriously. This is not my first trip to a bike shop, and while I have very simple, basic needs, they shall be met or the sale will walk out the door, thank you. Did your friend have any performance issues with the Trek Wasabi? Why did she stop riding it?

ellen said...

I had a Giant Cypress that was seriously the most comfortable bike I ever had, including the high end Trek road bike I ride now. You will want the gears. Although Florida is pretty flat you'll have occasions - raised bridges, wind - when you'll want to be able to gear down a bit. If you're not getting a super light road bike be sure to get tires with GU. Some come with it and it's also available to add to your existing tires. It will make your life much easier if you can keep flats to a minimum.

Catherine said...

Raised bridges? Not in my neck of the woods. We have flat and slightly less than totally flat. I'd have to go 5 miles one way to find anything approaching a grade. I've had the 21 gears and never had a reason to use most of them, which is why I've adjusted my needs to 3-7 gears.

Anonymous said...

The 'balance bikes' can also be hideously expensive - but we were lucky and Aldi had them on sale just before Christmas.

This is one item I would NOT purchase from a bike shop, the AU$69 jobs, from Aldi, will see the two littlies right up to 'pedal readiness'. No younger cousins in the picture to hand them down to. The bike shop types are in the AU$350 - 500 range.

The bike Erich and Anne started on was suited to them at about age 5.
And it was MY fault (truly!) that the training wheels went on when Erich was learning - I soon learnt.
Anne, although 2 years younger and quite a lot smaller was of the opinion that anything Erich could do - you know the rest.

Gae, in Callala Bay