Something under $500 that is relatively unbranded.

  • 1
    Unbranded, it that possible to find one these days?
    – Moab
    Jun 29, 2011 at 16:02
  • 2
    What distance and speed: would you prefer it to be faster, or comfortable? Does $500 include accessories (lock, helmet, lights, shoes, a rack, fenders, ...)? Can you add photo of what you mean by "lots of potholes and bad roads"?
    – ChrisW
    Jun 30, 2011 at 5:21
  • Is this for commuting? Jul 4, 2011 at 19:16

3 Answers 3


Better yet, look at a 29'er. Like this one.from Kona, Single speed, rigid, fat tire MTB. Run fat tire slicks, and it's a great commuter. The lack of shifting works well on flat ground, with the right gear choice (very personal decision), and the fat large tires roll well and comfortably. MTB durability means rough roads might as well not exist.

There are many bikes like this, and while i like the Unit 29'er linkd, I'm recommending the idea, not the particular bike.

As far as branding, that can be fixed with judicious use of tape, spray paint, and stickers.

  • Same thing I was thinking. The BikesDirect Dawes Bullseye is a surprisingly good for how cheap it is entry-level variant on that.
    – lantius
    Jun 29, 2011 at 19:41
  • 1
    +1 for a single speed. No gears means super low maintenance and much better quality in the rest of the bike for the price. That Kona has a very clever rear dropout... you can remove the back wheel without affecting the chain tension. Nice!
    – Mac
    Jun 29, 2011 at 22:52
  • That's twice the cost that the OP asked for (if bought new). I'm not sure that disc brakes are worth the cost when the budget is under $500. I don't think I'd recommend a single-speed to someone I didn't know.
    – ChrisW
    Jun 30, 2011 at 11:30
  • Yes it is. Which is why I said not this bike, but this idea. And I didn't ask you whether you would recommend a SS. Feel free to make your recommendation in your own answer. If you're annoyed because I voted down your helmet answer, grow up. And I live in Dubai. My prices aren't generally equivalent to US or Euro pricing, so I don't base recommendations on price.
    – zenbike
    Jun 30, 2011 at 20:24

I vote for a used hardtail mountain bike with 700c wheels and a rigid steel fork. If you put thin/ fast rolling city tires on there you'll be left with a quick bike that can handle some abuse and the upright geometry may make avoiding potholes and other obstacles easier. This is what I ride. I consider the 700c a poor mans 29er.

  • Why not a full suspension mountain bike? Smooth out the flat but rough roads in N.O.
    – Moab
    Jun 29, 2011 at 16:03
  • 6
    @Moab, personally I'm not a fan of full suspension bike for city cycling - it takes away some of your pedalling power. Also, buying a second-hand MTB with full-suspension in this price range might turn out in disappointment. Jun 29, 2011 at 16:24
  • 2
    @Moab A suspension for potholes is overkill. Fatter tires at low pressures is all that is needed. Suspensions are just one more cheap part that saps your power and is prone to breaking. Jun 29, 2011 at 18:21
  • Have you seen the potholes in N.O.? ;->
    – Moab
    Jun 30, 2011 at 1:30
  • Does "hardtail with a rigid steel fork" imply no suspension, or front suspension?
    – ChrisW
    Jul 5, 2011 at 15:11

For daily use on Toronto roads (occasional but not continuous pot holes) I'm happy with a bike which has no suspension, strong wheels, and 700x32 tires (with tread but not studs) inflated to 80..95 psi.

Tires that wide might (? check this ?) need disc brakes, which are relatively expensive: so slightly thinner, XXX-28 tires might be cheaper because they can be used with cheaper brakes.

See also What is the narrowest tire you would use for commuting?

  • For a slightly slower but softer ride: tires designed for a lower air pressure.
    – ChrisW
    Jun 30, 2011 at 5:59
  • 32 tires need disk brakes??? That information apparently never made it to my bike. Jul 4, 2011 at 22:20
  • @Daniel - That's based on one of zenbike's comments after this question - "In the case of a 32c tire, you might have enough traction for a v brake or a disc, and a disc would be better than a V-brake. But it would be bare minimum, and I wouldn't recommend it as an option for an unskilled rider, since it would require a lot more skill to modulate the brake given ..." - I didn't understand the comment: but if it's saying that a 32 tire for commuting needs a disc, that wouldn't be a suitable answer to this question which wants a sub-$500 answer.
    – ChrisW
    Jul 5, 2011 at 2:19
  • Makes no sense to me. Unskilled riders seem to manage fine on fat-tire bikes with rim brakes. (Unless he's saying that the V-brake is that much worse than other rim brakes -- I've never used one -- but V-brakes were invented in the first place to work on fat-tire bikes with suspension forks.) I suppose he may be saying that you can't (as easily) lock up a wide tire with rim brakes, but I don't see that as much of an issue, since you'd be getting even more total braking force with the wide tire. Jul 5, 2011 at 11:17

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