I am a 6ft, 172 pound being. Just moved to boston and now that the weather is better, I am looking for a bike which I can use for my daily office commute (around 3ish mile one way). I am willing to spend around 350-500$. Rather than relying on some random bike store's recommendation, I would ask here.

Open to all recommendations, road/hybrid bikes, fixie/geared, etc. Am a casual biker, but am capable of assembling/servicing the bike if need be.

Road conditions: apart from the cracks and some rough roads of boston, should to good. No off-roading with this bike.

Goods: Will have a backpack, laptop and some minor stuff.

Purpose: Commuting and pleasure riding on weekends, nothing competitive.

Folding bike: Don't see any use of it.

  • 2
    Welcome to Bicycles SE. Unfortunately, this question is probably a little too open-ended to work well with our Q&A format. There are just too many variables to consider, not the least of which is personal preference. You'd be better off asking what the relative advantages and disadvantages of different features of different bikes are. E.g., "What are the advantages and disadvantages of fixed gear vs. geared bikes?" Or similarly with road vs. hybrid. You may already be able to find existing questions of that nature on this site.
    – jimchristie
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 0:53
  • @jimirings I referred meta.bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/770/… before asking the question. I was under the impression that given the specifics, recommendation questions were allowed.
    – rk.
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 1:01
  • The answer to that meta question says to ask what to look for in a bike rather than to ask which kind of bike to buy. That's what I mean by asking about features.
    – jimchristie
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 2:09
  • @jimirings Trying my luck in chat.
    – rk.
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 2:18
  • 1
    Is it all on good condition roads, or rougher tracks? Are there hills? How fit are you? How much stuff do you have to carry with you? Is the bike just for commuting, or would you use the same bike for fun at weekends, and if so, what sort of riding? Would a folding bike ever be useful to you, even if your usual commute is just on the bike? (mbta.com/riding_the_t/bikes)
    – armb
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 8:55

2 Answers 2


Given the added details in the question, I'd probably agree with @tommy_o's answer and @armb's comment, but would also say this:

It sounds like you do not currently ride and are looking to start. If this is the case, I wouldn't be tempted to spend too much money first time around.

Obviously you need to spend enough to be comfortable that what you buy is not going to fall apart. But beyond that, your scenario will probably go one of three ways.

  • You'll end up using the bike just for commuting. In which case 30 miles a week is not heavy use and you don't need any kind of special bike, you just need some tlc every now and again, so there's no point spending lots of money.
  • You'll end up riding the bike while the sun shines, then leaving it in the garage when its cold or wet or you're running late or you just don't feel like it today. Eventually it'll live in the garage, growing cobwebs and rust. In this case obviously any money you spent on the bike in the first place is lost, so there's not much point spending a lot in the first place.
  • The third option is the most interesting, and this is what happened to me. You'll use the bike for commuting and will enjoy it so much that you'll start using it more and more at weekends. And as you cycle more, so you will develop tastes, for example for road cycling or off-roading, trails etc. And its very possible that you'll want to get yourself a bike that is more appropriate for your taste. But of course the difference between then and now is that what the time comes, you'll know exactly what type of bike you want and you won't need anyone else's opinion, least of all a bunch of strangers on SE. So again, I'd buy a cheaper bike now, just one that does the job, with a possible view to buying another bike as and when want to take that next step.

By way of example, the bike that got me back into cycling, I bought from a local bike shop who were having a clearout. It was a reputable make, had a Shimano groupset, but beyond that was nothing special (and frankly I wouldn't have known if it was!). It was old even when I bought it new. Cost me just under GBP100 (USD150ish). So not a massive investment. And I used it for commuting roughly the same distance as you.

After two years of commuting I'd had great use out of the bike, it had paid for itself many times over, but I was ready for something better. In my case it was a no-brainer to upgrade to a fixie - not even a second thought.

  • Thanks for painting the picture like an oracle :) You post is now pushing me to lower my budget to ~200 and try out a decent 2nd hand bike.
    – rk.
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 18:50
  • that's not what my wife calls me! Seriously though if you go down the secondhand route make sure you gen up about how to avoid stolen etc.
    – PeteH
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 18:52
  • Hence the bike shop over craigslist. Any suggestions on the type of bike?
    – rk.
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 18:58
  • I'd probably go with a simple mtb or a hybrid as suggested by others. I love my fixie (and having no gears they're easier to self-maintain) but they are an acquired taste, so you may get one and hate it. Plus of course they don't climb so could be restrictive for leisure rides. You may have to shop around for secondhand - lots of shops in the uk don't bother any more due to competition from eBay. But by the same token there are shops who specialise in 2nd hand.
    – PeteH
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 19:14
  • 1
    when I say fixie, I'm including single speed in that. That's me using the wrong words, sorry. In fact mine's a flip-flop - one side of my wheel runs a freewheel, the other a fixed cog. I flip the wheel and have a choice. I would definitely recommend against riding fixed if you're a newbie - this requires practise. Single speed is a lot easier, but you still have issues with gradients (unless you have very big thighs!)
    – PeteH
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 20:30

For only 3 miles, I would find a used, steel framed, no suspension mountain bike that you can put some slick road tires on there. And if you're in Boston, go have a chat with these nice folks about your needs and you can learn to fix it, too! Bikes Not Bombs has been around since forever. Once you have put a couple months into into commuting, throw down the money for a new ride after you have first-hand experience to know your riding prefence.

  • I don't think we know enough about the OP to suggest a mountain bike, or any other type of bike. A road bike or hybrid may suit him better. And he can probably get a used one for about the same price as a used mountain bike and wouldn't need to change tires.
    – jimchristie
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 13:10
  • There's not a lot of difference between a rigid mountain bike with road tyres and a hybrid - just see what's available locally in the right size that you like the look of. I think the recommendation for a local bike shop is going to be more useful than recommendations for specific bikes here though.
    – armb
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 14:22

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