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I had my 2006 Trek 3700 stolen from my apartment today. I reported it to the police and should be getting at least a small amount of money from renter's insurance. It was locked with a Kryptonite combination cable lock to my front porch. They did not cut the rails of the porch, and the lock was not there anymore. My conclusion is that either they figured out the combination somehow or cut the lock. I use my bike to commute to work (about 15 min. bike ride on a community bike path), so I need to replace it ASAP. I'm trying to weigh a few factors:

-I don't want to spend too much money on it, for a couple reasons. One, I don't want to attract more thieves when I have to lock it up, though I'll try to bring it inside more and get a better lock. Two, my bike that I paid $270 for in 2006 has served me just fine.

-I'm not comfortable buying a used bike.

-My previous bike was very heavy, and I live on the second floor, so a lighter weight bike would enable me to store in my apartment (and at my office) rather than locking it up on the porch or bike racks at work. I realize this would probably cost more, though, and contradicts the "avoiding theft" when I do have to lock it up to meet people elsewhere.

-While a lighter bike would allow me to keep it safer from theft, I did prefer the mountain bike style of not having drop handles, and I like the shock absorption of all the potholes we get on the east coast, and mountain bikes (or even hybrid bikes) are heavier.

Are there any lighter weight mid-price-range hybrid bikes that you could recommend? Or something else that balances my above concerns?

Thanks so much.

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    I think you should reconsider the used bike option. – Daniel R Hicks Oct 11 '15 at 23:57
  • And a decent lock. That being said, there are a decent number of hybrids that would meet your needs, like Trek 7.x fx, Specialized Sirrus, etc. , esp. if you buy them used. – Batman Oct 12 '15 at 0:02
  • Thanks for the model recommendations. I will definitely invest in a better lock and check them out. I guess I'm nervous about getting a used bike because I don't have enough knowledge about them to check them out properly, but I'll look at the other questions on this site about buying used bikes and see if I can get some tips that would make me feel comfortable enough with it. – pjshap Oct 12 '15 at 0:32
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    In addition to the rest - consider uglifying your bike to make it less interesting to thieves. Avoid a black bike outright - they seem to get a lot more attention. Some random splodges of odd coloured spray paint might be sufficient. I put new foam bar tape on mine, then a layer of gladwrap/sarin wrap, then some painters masking tape applied with gaps and different colours on each side. it still feels nice to hold, but looks awful, and is therefore less stealable. Still no substitute for a good lock though. – Criggie Oct 12 '15 at 2:06
  • Thanks, I will try uglifying it too! (I definitely don't care what it looks like - just want to be able to commute to work comfortably and not get it stolen.) – pjshap Oct 12 '15 at 3:13
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I know you say you're not comfortable buying a used bike, but…

A used bike will get you so much closer to what you say you want in a bike, and can be so much better a value for your money. Here's my pitch for a used bike:

  • Look for a brand name "vintage" mountain bike – one without suspension, but with tons of clearance for fenders and wide tires. If I were looking, I be hunting for something like a Trek 850 from the '90s. I think Bridgestone also made some nice bikes of similar vintage.

  • The wide tires will let you run wide street tires (something like a Schwalbe Big Apple) at a relatively low pressure that will give you a comfortable ride with relatively low rolling resistance.

  • No suspension means lower weight, complexity, and for equivalent quality lower cost. Eliminating the suspension also makes it easier to fit fenders and racks.

  • An old used bike will have lower perceived value, especially a steel bike with skinny tubes. Steel is nice in a used bike because it is much less likely to fail suddenly as a result of mistreatment by a former owner and it is also out of vogue which may help with the thieves.

So the big question, I think, is why not a used bike?

If it's because you don't feel qualified to check out a used bike, I can understand that. Perhaps your LBS sells used bikes, or can recommend someone who refurbishes them in your area. I'd also encourage you to consider that bikes aren't like cars. They are much closer to "what you see is what you get." If you test ride the bike and like it and all of the basic functions work – brakes, shifting, adjusting the seat and bars – then you're probably good. You could also factor in the cost of having your LBS do a tune up.

  • I would add, if you have a LBS in your area that you are comfortable with ask what they might charge to give the bike a quick once over. I agree with all the comments used is by far the best value. – mikes Oct 12 '15 at 0:50
  • Okay, thanks. I didn't think about the suspension, so I'll look into that. And the bike shop in my area is pretty good, so even if they don't have much used bike selection, asking them for recommendations or taking it in for a tune up would allay some of my fears about used bikes. – pjshap Oct 12 '15 at 3:12

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