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I have to travel medium distances on country highways with high speeds and narrow shoulders and need a sturdy inexpensive bicycle that works well off-road and on. I also plan to attach a large basket. A friend of mine recommended Schwinn but they look difficult to maintain and fairly expensive. Amazon makes you surf based on brands and the ad copy doesn't give any good information. Can someone give some recommendations please?

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Unless you absolutely have to, don't buy a bicycle mail-order. Visit some local bike shops and see what they have to offer. Consider a used bike. (What is "medium distances"? 2 miles? 20 miles?) –  Daniel R Hicks Aug 31 '13 at 22:56
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Possible duplicate: What bike+equipment for a long daily urban commute? –  sleske Sep 1 '13 at 6:10
    
Hi Charlie, how long is medium distance? –  jilles de wit Sep 8 '13 at 21:34
    
I agree with @DanielRHicks re buying mail order in principle, however you can do well. I'm taller than most bike shops stock for, and the shops round here wouldn't get something in specially for test riding. I may not have the absolute best fit, but it's more than good enough for say 3 hours gentle riding, or 40 minutes fast - i.e. more than adequate for the vast majority of commutes. This is a hybrid, and I think if you're going for a road bike, you do need to be a little more careful - but you want a good bike shop that will set you up properly. –  Chris H Sep 9 '13 at 9:45
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1 Answer 1

To combine both comments and give you some advice in one go:

  • Go to a bike shop in your area and get some advice on a bicycle, give them your price range, usually you get good advice, and it won't be much more expensive than the cheapest one you can find online.
  • Check out the answers to this question about equipment for commuters.
  • I'd go for a mountain bike with wider road tires, or maybe road tires with some extra knobs on sides of the running area to provide grip when off-road, but the optimum depends on the road/off-road balance.
  • If the roads are indeed narrow and traffic is fast, then you really shouldn't get any excess weight on your handlebars such as a basket. This makes steering much slower and inaccurate. Get a rear-rack and some panniers.
  • An internally geared hub lowers maintenance, but especially the cheaper ones are much less sturdy, and depending on how hilly your commute is and the amount of money you are willing to spend they might not have enough gear range.
  • If you are mostly on-road don't get suspension. It adds weight and reduces durability and cycling efficiency.
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I would like to add one more point: the important part of the question is a general fitness level and/or age of the rider. Does rider more sport oriented or not. General people my be hurt by sport bike's lower body position, wile for fitted young people the cyclocross bike is a best answer. –  alex Dec 13 '13 at 22:15
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