I'm currently in Finland, I got a bit of cash and I want to buy a bicycle because the one I had blew up and it wasn't exactly mine anyway; now I have never in my life bought a bicycle, or anything similar, I don't know brands or anything.

My question is, should I buy a new one or an used better one? which one? I plan to use to commute everywhere, most way are streets, some other ways are dirt pathways, sometimes both are covered by ice, sometimes snow, and sometimes an insane amount of small rocks. That's why the previous one got completely wrecked.

Any advice?


Most of the sidewalk has this texture

enter image description here

that's to avoid people falling when there's a layer of ice. Sometimes it is completely covered by ice enter image description here very slippery, and machines remove snow from the ways you use to commute and travel so 5 cm of snow is the most even if everything else is covered on a meter of snow; a lot of people don't use bikes on winter, but I'm crazy so... but anyway it's the little rocks that represent a problem, some of them are pointy.

My budget, it's hard to explain, I have around 500 to 1000 eur to say, biking has been my primary transport mechanism after walking, so I want something that resists; however I'm worried what would I do if I have to leave the country.

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    The used bike part is covered by bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/743/… – Criggie May 2 '17 at 7:44
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    Buy used. Test ride first. Any sort of homely looking bike should be fine -- just make sure the shifters and brakes work reasonably well. Look for tires around 50mm wide. Avoid bikes with too many shiny bits, and those with rear suspension. Set aside enough money for a tire pump and helmet. – Daniel R Hicks May 2 '17 at 11:41
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    Also, when checking out a bike grab the wheels and shake side-to-side on the axle, checking for "play" (looseness) in the bearings. Do the same with the crank, checking not only for bearing play, but also for looseness between the crank arms and the crank shaft. Play in the wheel bearings can usually be fixed, but play in the crank is often fatal. – Daniel R Hicks May 2 '17 at 11:44
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    Without intending to sound offensive, those are totally flat paths and would not wreck a bike in any significant way. I suspect your first bike was poorly maintained and it may have been damaged before you got it. based on the pictures, you'll want a rigid commuter bike with ice stud tyres in winter and normal smoothish tyres for summer. – Criggie May 3 '17 at 0:11
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    @DanielRHicks "Comments are not for short answers" or something like that. Other than that, good advice. – Nobody May 3 '17 at 19:46

You're not a total noob, you have ridden the first bike and know what you like and don't like about it.

I'm unfamiliar with the weather in Finland, but I guess winter means snow. How deep a snow would you ride through before its too much ?

Your budget will determine whether new or used - anything new with a price tag under ~$500-600 USD will be a BSO, and while that might be okay, they're not built for lots of riding.

If your budget was $500, I'd spend $100-$250 on a nice tidy used bike, and use the rest for lights, helmet, vest, etc. Save any leftover for repairs.

If your budget was $1000 I'd go for a new commuter bike (a rigid MTB with no suspension) with bigger wide tyres for $600-$900. If snow and ice is a significant part of winter, then consider spending some of the difference on some studded snow tyres, and keep your smoother commuter road tyres for summer. Also, you'll need a helmet vest and lights.

A Yowie is also good for cold weather riding, as are gloves and overshoes. You may have some of this already.

  • How much would it cost to fix tires so I can take the decision later?... with more time, once I get the thumbs up for my work permit. My current bike is destroyed brakes are broken and the change gear is broken making the pedals hard as hell, but I can still can keep pulling it if the tires worked... or can I drive it with the tires broken?... – Onza May 2 '17 at 9:15
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    @Onza tires are totally replaceable and cost something between €10 and €40 per tire depending on how much you want to spend on quality. Read sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html before spending money or asking a new question. You really should learn to change them yourself. Studded tires for winter are a really good idea. – ojs May 2 '17 at 16:05
  • hah thankis I actually fixed them with glue... :D so I can take more time to take my decision. – Onza May 3 '17 at 8:58

I would go for a trekking or gravel bike; it's flexible and you let you refine your style (more road, more unpaved) later. A trekking bike can be more practical, gravel more sporty.

Because of the weather I'd strongly suggest an internal hub, which let you completely cover the chain and avoid mechanicals from grit and salt. For the same reason, fenders are a must.

Also, a hub dynamo is a must if you regularly ride in the dark and don't want to think every time about bringing/charging lights.

Disc brakes are a bit better in bad weather, but it's not a strong requirement. Only consider that if you can afford a good frame and components first.

I'd choose tires in the range 40..50 mm, using one of those design that are more smooth in the centre but knobby on the edges (fast on road, but useable on snow/ground).

Used or new, it's too dependent on your ability to see an old bike condition and what the local market offers, both in terms of new and used bikes, and warranty.

Hint: keep an eye on which bikes other riders in your area are using!

  • They usually use more mountain bike related; and I've seen a lot of insanely wide tires. Also a lot of dirt motorbikes. – Onza May 2 '17 at 10:39
  • How would I recognize a old bike condition...? :( – Onza May 2 '17 at 10:39
  • @Onza read the link in the second comment under your answer. There are a heap of great answers already on the site, and bike advice doesn't go off very quickly. – Criggie May 3 '17 at 0:15

I you are going to be relying on your bike for transport to work, you should have at least 2 available to ride. You should know what size seat tube you like, watch craigslist/ebay for 80's steel road bikes, decent enough stuff is usually, $120-400. Look for fender clearance gaps around the brakes. Have opinions on hand reach and back bend, road/hybrid/mountain, shocks, ride a bunch and budget for some Continental folding road tires for when it's nice out. Thin tires and wheels can cut into the snow surprisingly well.

I am 5'11 180lbs 37 years old, I dig 56cm race (tight geometry no fender gap) steel frames built with whatever parts and nice hand strung wheels that can be swapped around I have about 3-400 in each of my bikes and they are very reliable and strong. I would avoid carbon as it is expensive, not as durable and everything is odd sizes. Lotta nice parts on Ebay.

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    Thin tyres on snow are fine for a small depth of fresh snow, but a decent depth is less good. Plus thin tyres are no good on ice which is specified in the question. – Criggie May 3 '17 at 2:12
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    Also, there's no Craiglist or eBay in Finland (tori.fi and huuto.net are roughly equivalent). Or that many 80s road bikes that haven't already been turned into fixies. – ojs May 4 '17 at 19:07

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