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I spend about 45 mins everyday commuting (less than 2 miles) to work on a formal dress, shoes, carrying a backpack that consists of a laptop, charger and little more stationery (about 10-12 pounds, I guess), amd probably get groceries way back home (5 pounds of stuff or so)

During weekends, I run errands for about 3-10 miles each day. I own no car, no scooter, no other vehicle. The only mode of transport is by bus, train majorly, perhaps walk and live in a 2nd floor house (but I don't mind carrying it up a 45 degree stairs). I even like to go off road during weekends, but that seems to be asking for more, but it would be great to have a bike that will atleast allow me to reach a hiking spot (slight muddy roads etc).

So with these things on mind, and a budget of $200 (I can double if its worth it, as this is the way its going to be for next 5 years atleast), I've been browsing and looking at different posts here. Particularly its focused on UK products but I live in US, New York; and I feel the bikes specifically are different than those available here, and the pricing. But few other links pointed out me very well, especially Jeol's choice of scooter and bike. Other option is Dahon c7 folding bike

The choice of different options and the upside price really confuses as me, a first timer. I am a software engineer living in New Jersey and travelling to New York by PATH/Subway trains so anyone who is of the same commute, please share your current choice, and the take away from it.

I had a ligament tear a year ago on the right knee, recovering but still finding it tough to walk on formal shoes in particular, and more painful to run errands walking during weekends. Kindly cast your recommendations. I am looking for a few choices so I can narrow it down, but right now I am even unable to oversee what I would need exactly for my purpose, and the choice of geek transportation system is worth the price.

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Welcome to Bicycles SE. Unfortunately, Stack Exchange sites aren't the best format for specific product recomendations because they tend to garner too many opinions and not enough objectivity. As such, this question will probably be closed as not constructive. See this post for more information. –  jimirings Jun 10 '13 at 1:07
    
Hey jimirings, sorry about it. Let me give a better try. Please allow few answers. –  oneworld Jun 10 '13 at 2:36
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1 Answer

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From your question above, i would only suggest the following (doesn't mean I don't know about the other bikes):

Folding bike - for work and city/cycle lane/fairly normal surfaces only. You can also get away with usual city road hazards such as potholes and cracks (but not too extreme), also good weight support (e.g. laptop, clothes, etc.). You might find it a bit weird to suddenly switch to a folding from a normal road/hybrid/MTB. But overall, it is really great as my gf bought a Tern C8 last month(she is 5'4") and even I find it nice to ride (I am 6'3"). You can also carry it on the train and even on the aeroplane if you want. Some folding bike tyres are quite sturdy compared to hybrids so the bumps and holes can be ignored a lot more. I would still give a trial ride if I was you in order to be sure about the comfort. THIS IS QUITE PRACTICAL if you are just living a professional life and city-side commute with occasional shopping bags (about 6 kgs) behind you.

MTB (Mountain Bikes) - If you want it to use on a rougher surface as well as in the cities. They are a bit heavy, but can take poundings like no other. You could even go over some road kerbs that are raised by appx. 3-4 inches. I apologise to be mean, but if you are not young enough to handle the bike weight, you might feel it difficult to go around the hills with these heavy bikes. But if you think you can, Go for this one. My suspicion based on UK prices is that you can probably get a very good MTB compared even when you double the price (if you are lucky, you might get one with suspension springs too, COOOL).

It is also possible to attach some rack or similar thing behind your MTB so that you can carry weight such as your laptop and clothes to work. I never saw anybody doing it for MTB, but that really does not mean you cannot.

Short answer is, if you are happy to sacrifice outdoor activity, folding bike is the answer. Otherwise, get an MTB, get rack, and voi la.

Bear in mind that no matter what bike you buy, there is a maximum weight for that. I would recommend staying about 6-7 Kgs under the prescribed weight by the manufacturer/seller. It was never an issue for me anyway as I carried shopping on my folding and hybrid, about 6-7 kgs of shopping.

I am really sorry but cannot guide you about the US price. If any other user finds this answer suitable, but want to edit it to put the price information, be my guest. Normally, I would put the UK prices but this would be confusing as you said yourself that the prices and the types of bike vary in the US shops.

Hope this helps. If you were interested in the brands at all: Folding - Dahon, Tern, Raleigh, Brompton (around $800 sometimes due to the high demand) MTB - Jamis, Trek, Pinnacle, Raleigh (Off-road series), Fuji, Bianchi

The choice is now yours, If you think I can give you more information please post follow-up comments :)

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Hi hagubear, thanks so much for your answer, +1 here but I have not built the reputation to upvote. –  oneworld Jun 10 '13 at 2:12
    
I will check out the other brands you have suggested. I am far more clear than I was before reading your answer. BTW, I had been to two of the popular shops in New York (paragon sports and REI), the policies and pricing are too confusing. I don't get a test drive too, and I have been reading on this site that its not recommended to buy a bike without that. Let me try my options. –  oneworld Jun 10 '13 at 2:20
    
I think a Hybrid is far more suitable than a full MTB - it will commute better (faster and easier with a more comfortable riding position than a MTB), yet handle light off road duties just as well as a full on MTB. –  mattnz Jun 10 '13 at 4:38
    
@mattnz Don't get me wrong my friend :) I ride a Jamis 2012 hybrid myself for long enough. I am simply saying that taking it to hiking grounds may not be helpful for oneworld's purpose. As I mentioned, I accidentally hit a pothole on my way back from work, and the inner tyre exploded leaving cracks on my back tyre. The front one was also quite badly damaged. I am a bit concenrned about how the surface will affect the tyre. If you have already done this without issues, you are the champion :) –  hagubear Jun 10 '13 at 6:53
    
Tried Brompton today, looks the best folding bike so far I have seen. But the price is pretty steep starts at $1200. –  oneworld Jun 11 '13 at 1:10
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