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I'm a 50 year old man who's having to get himself a bike for daily commute to my workplace so as to be able to avoid taking public transportation and being able to travel while being able to keep myself socially distanced. I will be mostly riding on flat roads, which are not amongst the best road that exist. I also have this condition named osteoarthritis, that causes me knee pain, and the doctor has suggested that I should either ride a bicycle or swim. And if I do either of those suggested activities, the pain on my knees gets reduced,not increase. A few days of regularly doing either, and the pain goes away totally, but comes back if I stop. I did swim every season and it did help but it didn't happen this season because of the ongoing pandemic..

I have shortlisted two options, both of them are very similar, apart from the fact that one of them is a 21 speed and another is an 8 speed. I really don't know how much of either I'd be using. Where I'm more caught up is the difference in weight of both. The 8 speed one weighs 32 pounds and the 21 speed one weighs 39 pounds. Addition of mud guards, pannier, side stand will add more. Now, my commute will be about 22 kilometres (11km up and 11km down). There's a 15 km/day limit for over-use on the 8 speed bike, which is from an internationally renowned brand and no such thing for the 21 speed one, which is from a local brand. Both of them are made of "lightweight steel". I would prefer to support the local bike shop, but I have to understand what's better suited for myself too.

If both bikes are made of the same material, which they most probably are, does the added weight for the 21 speed bike give more durability too? Since I'd be spending more or less the same amount on either I choose to buy, it'd help to know which one would probably last more..

So all in all, is it a good idea to buy the one that's heavier?

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    "There's a 15 km/day limit for over-use on the 8 speed bike," Could you explain that please ? you're limited to riding a maximum of 15 km/day on the 8 speed ? – Criggie Aug 28 '20 at 8:17
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    Yes, if I want to keep it in "proper" shape, I should be riding it for 15 kilometres or less is what is advised by the seller. The seller also says that the bike "is not made for riding for more than 15 kilometres a day". Also if I want to ever claim the warranty, which is only for the welds on the frame, for "lifetime" which isn't properly defined by them. – Siddhartha Aug 28 '20 at 11:01
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    No, I don't want to get myself a pedal assist bike. I've seen a few people get it and it seems to be more of a hassle than a bike to actually own. Moreover, my condition demands me to be cycling. If I take bike rides and/or go swimming, the pain in my knees gets reduced, actually goes nil after a few days of regular activity. – Siddhartha Aug 28 '20 at 11:03
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    Normally we'd recommend that you ride the bike you find most comfortable. While that's still a great decider, that one bike has a limit on daily usage is absurd. Frankly I'd stay right away from it, and you might choose to let the shop know that. – Criggie Aug 28 '20 at 12:04
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    @copper.hat, like I said above, I was told about it only when I asked for it after learning their T&Cs about the "lifetime warranty" – Siddhartha Aug 29 '20 at 1:48
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Given your medical condition, I would check if the 8 speed model is an internally geared hub. With an internally geared hub, you simply downshift while stopped, without pedaling. This will make starting so much easier on your knees.

For example, if you are travelling at 15 km/h, in a fast gear and you suddenly stop, without downshifting, with the 21 gear you would need some pedal revolutions pushing a lot on your knees to get to a lighter gear. With the internally geared hub, you simply downshift while stopped.

Regarding the 15 km/day it seems to me non-sensical, can you expand on it? I cannot see a mechanical reason for such a limit to exist ...

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    Both of them have an external derailleur system. And I don't really know about why such a limit exists on over-use, but I'm only telling you what I was told.. I can't really say anything else about it because I don't really have much knowledge.. – Siddhartha Aug 28 '20 at 8:11
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    15 km/day limit sounds like an excuse to reject any warranty claims. It still allows 5475 kilometers per year, which is enough to wear out parts during warranty period. – ojs Aug 28 '20 at 8:16
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    May I suggest changing "With the 8 gears, you simply downshift while stopped" to "With an internally geared hub, you simply downshift while stopped" ? Else it implies all 8 speed transmissions can shift at rest. – Criggie Aug 28 '20 at 8:19
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    @Criggie thanks. I personally know only the internally geared hubs I mentioned, so I was not confident in extending the reasoning, I welcome your correction. – EarlGrey Aug 28 '20 at 8:39
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    @Ojs, there's a "lifetime" warranty on the welds of the frames and a two year warranty on the fork, with terms and conditions that include rusting counting as improper maintenance, and I happen to live in an incredibly humid and salty environment so it's bound to happen.. I guess. – Siddhartha Aug 28 '20 at 11:09

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