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I have a short cycle to work and back every day (under 30mins each way.) Because I could quite feasibly walk the journey, I've always wanted a bike that needs as little tinkering with as possible, as if I have to do much of that, I may as well just walk. I also much prefer the traditional "sit up and beg" riding position, because I find for my kind of cycling, performance is unimportant and I would rather be comfortable.

I currently have a Sparta Atlas (Dutch bike), which is almost perfect. 7-speed hub gear / brakes / dynamo hub, enclosed chain, and I've fitted it with LED lights and Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres that seem unpuncturable.

However, where it is not perfect is (a) it is very heavy, I think mainly due to the 7-speed hub, (b) it seems to get through bottom brackets very fast. First one went after two years, and the second one I think is about to go. But worse, last time I found it hard to track down the part in the UK. The shop I bought it from (Cambridge Station Cycles) no longer deal with Sparta, and I tried various other local bike shops who said they couldn't get it. In the end, I got an electric bike dealer to order the part, which I then took to another shop to have fitted!

I am wondering if it is time to get something else, because we are about to move to Birmingham, and am figuring if I struggle to find these parts in Cambridge I may struggle a lot more in other places. Also, the heaviness of the bike is not an issue here where it is very flat, but may become more of an issue depending where exactly we move to.

But I cannot justify spending lots of money when I will probably still only have a short commute. So I could just get the Sparta fixed and see how it goes - or I could try and find something second-hand to replace it with. I thought about an old British 3-speeder perhaps. Or I did once try a Giant Expression N3 and liked it, but not sure if either of these options would be any more hardy than the Sparta in the long run (which, when it comes down to it, is a good bike, just seems to have an achillies heel.)

Any suggestions would be very welcome. Thanks in advance.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Neil Fein, mattnz, freiheit Dec 16 '13 at 22:17

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

The bike sounds like an ideal commuter, really, so I would be hard pressed to replace it without better reasons. I'm curious as to what type of bottom bracket this thing runs that you can't get it easily. Cheap bottom brackets do have a life of around 5-7k miles. If you're running through them too fast, is water or something getting into the BB's? As for weight, thats why you have gears =) and/or becoming more fit. Weight weenieing is for racers, not commuters. Schwalbe Marathon plus tires are also kinda heavy rolling. – Batman Nov 30 '13 at 17:19
Yeah, a good bottom bracket, properly installed, should easily last 10 years and 50k miles in this kind of duty. Even a mediocre one half that. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 30 '13 at 19:05
(But unsealed BBs are quite susceptible to having the lube washed out by rain -- moreso than most other bearings. If the bike is left in the weather you may want to get the BB repacked fairly often.) – Daniel R Hicks Nov 30 '13 at 21:41
Or, switch to a sealed BB if possible. – Batman Dec 1 '13 at 4:26
Hub gears don't have to mean heavy bikes. My 8-speed-hub Ridgeback town bike is less than 1 kg heavier than the sporty derailleur hybrid it replaced. – Dan Hulme Dec 1 '13 at 10:56

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