Help me creatively spend $800 on a new bike!

GWTrailNoText

We’re gonna play a bit of a ‘what-if’ game today, primarily, because I need some real-world assistance in deciding a conundrum.  One of the job benefits for the company I work for is that we get a fitness credit each year that can be used for either a gym membership, or for a new bike. 

(Yes, it’s actually that explicit and really says “ or bicycle”.  Crazy awesome, I know.)

At present, I have a gym membership to Equinox that’s good for quite a while longer from last year’s partnership with Men’s Health Magazine.  And, I still yet have another membership with my local county rec center gym as well, and I have access to a gym at the office, and another one as a city resident.  Thus, I have more than enough gym memberships to go around.

What I can never have though is enough bikes to go around.  The Rules of cycling (Rule #12) dictate that the appropriate number of bikes is N+1, where N is the current number of bikes.  Thus, let’s outline my current bike ownership situation:

A) Primary bike: Triathlon bike (Cervelo P3C)
B) Secondary bike: Road bike (Fuji Roubaix RC Road Bike)
C) Mountain bike: A now rather crusty mountain bike I got as a kid while a paperboy
D) The $99 Wedding bike: Ok, I still haven’t unwrapped it again from our wedding.
(Pics of the various bikes in each of those linked posts)

So looking at the situation, the wedding bike really isn’t functional.  It’s more of an arts and crafts project, and not something I need to replace either – one wedding, one bike…no more weddings.  The triathlon bike I’m quite happy with, so no need for another triathlon bike.

The mountain bike actually gets more use than the road bike, since I often use the mountain bike to follow around The Girl on a run at night, or do quick errands.  I also often use it when photographing at local races/events.

The road bike is ‘fine’, not something I’m in love with, but it works.  Plus, for the most part if I’m spending any significant amount of time on a bike, it’s likely gonna be my triathlon TT bike.

The challenge I have is that I think I’m split on the fence between two needs: A replacement mountain bike, and a day to day ‘around town’ bike – which my current mountain bike kinda fulfills today.  Perhaps I’m looking for something of a mixed use commuter bike.  Then again, perhaps I’m looking for a mountain bike.

So, given the above situation – how would you spend the $800?  Mountain, around town, something else?

To clarify some rule details, I can indeed go over $800US, but I’d just have to pay the difference.  So, I’m willing to perhaps go a tiny bit over (say, $100-$200), but I don’t want to be defeating the purpose of what is effectively a free bike, with spending another $1,000 that I wasn’t planning on spending (and don’t need to spend).  It’s also possible that I may technically be able to buy a used bike, though, I’d need to have a receipt – and in some ways, I don’t want to find out afterwards that a used bike didn’t qualify.  A bit of grey area there.  If I spend less than $800, then the leftover money just remains there as a gym credit.  Note, we won’t include any accessories in here since I have just about everything.  And while I could technically buy just a frame, I’d prefer to have it be mostly turnkey.  And finally, the rules state I can only buy a single bicycle per year.

Everything make sense?  Good.

I’m looking for any and all suggestions – especially ones that involve specific brands/models or other goodness where my decision making is easy. :)

Thanks for reading, and looking forward to your suggestions!

Tags:

139 Comments

  1. Buy a touring bike or some other general purpose bike from bikesdirect.com. With $800 you can get one with great components, you just have to do some minor assembly. Have fun choosing a bike!

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  2. You have to get a tandem... it's a no-brainer!!!

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  3. Considered Cyclocross?

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  4. How about getting a foldie? Brompton, Dahon etc? Good and convenient for those days where you want portability!

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  5. I've found that a good "general purpose" bike is a cyclecross-style bike. It's a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike--usually has fatter, offroad capable tires, but is configured more like a road bike for moving quickly on pavement.

    Something like a Specialized Tricross is in the ball park. Includes rack eyelets if you want to make it more of a utility bike.

    I personally don't care for mountain bikes for anything other than mountain biking... feels like I'm carrying a lot of extra oomph for no reason.

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  6. Wait for a good deal to come up on Bonktown or Chainlove ;) I think a cross bike might be the best option in your situation, something to consider.

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  7. Anonymous

    Go for a hard tail 29er. Great on trail and adaptable for around town. Giant's Talon fits the budget or their XtC for a nicer ride.

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  8. Anonymous

    Motobecane Phantom Cross Outlaw
    link to bikesdirect.com

    If you can get pass the hangup people have with the Motobecane brand, you get a great cross bike that can be a great commuter (even takes a rack) at a great price.

    DM

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  9. wai

    Get a Redline conuqeuest 24 Crossbike. Price is perfect. Put a pair panniers, and you can haul lots of stuff.

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  10. SSB

    I suggest a cross bike. Not sure of models or prices, but I know you can get a decent one relatively cheap. And it can double as an around town bike.

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  11. Nick B

    Look at the Trek Belleville. It fits the price range, it is very original design and looks very cool. But you wont win any TT with it.PS: Is your company hiring? :)

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  12. Cross bike has got to be it. If you need to save on cost, maybe start with a 1x10 config? Or instead of STIs you could use barend shifters

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  13. get this one :link to canyon.com

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  14. Ken SwimNbike

    Ray,

    I have THE Solution for ya!

    I wish I was in a luxurious situation as you are, with your company giving USD 800 for a bike.
    Reading your headline, I think you should go for a City Cruiser,(just in case your MBT get’s stolen).

    But the better option is get a Folding Full Size Mountain, with the active life style you have it’s always convenient to have a extra bike lying around in the trunk.
    I live in Hong Kong a super cramped city, I use my trunk as my bike storage, After I bought my Road bike last X-mas sadly my Montague had to go.
    @ USD 799, and the 1 buck to spare to for your next year’s Gym credit ^_^.

    Keep in mind that the Montague is a a bit on the heavy side. First choice, I wanted to suggest ritcheys Breakaway but that one is out-of-budget.

    Happy Blogging.

    I’m not supposed to do advertising, but I bought mine via these folks:

    link to electric-bikes.com

    Ken (SwimNbike)

    ps. I'd get a trek-retractable lock with that. Super convenient to have lock just that-quick-run- into the convenience store for your chocolate-milk, versus having your USD 800 investment sitting duck at the store door.

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  15. Hey Ray, you should definitely consider the Trek 9th District. I just recommended to a friend who wanted a light and agile commuting bike. And at $879 it fits your budget very well!

    link to trekbikes.com

    I like that it doesn't have chain rings, which I think are not very useful in the city. But you still get 8 gears on the back. And there it has a nice Sram X7.

    The frame is very sleek and cool.

    Hope this helps.

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  16. Anonymous

    Vote for singlespeed (29 er?) mountain bike!

    Reliable do it all machine...preferably steel frame

    and use 2 sided pedals, 1 side can be in use with even wedding shoes...and the other with biking shoes with cleats...

    yours timo e from Helsinki, Finland

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  17. Didi

    @nSolutions: I'd have to say the very same thing, a Cyclocross...

    It's a very versatile bike, that will give you the ability to ride no matter what; be it for training, just "getting around" or the commute to and from work.

    Works outdoors no matter what the weather. No matter what the season. No matter what the surface (just like a MTB).

    I live in Sweden, same latitude as Alaska (same type weather and temp. in Winter, Fall and Spring), and my Cyclocross has increased my ability to train outdoors on a bike that have similar qualities as my Road/Tri bikes immensely.

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  18. Go for the lightest hard-tail with the best front suspension you can afford.

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  19. JamesB

    I'd have to say that you're better off getting a new MTB. That way you can diversify and start doing X-terra races as well...

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  20. Anonymous

    Buy a hardtail 29er. In this price range Scott offers good value.

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  21. w

    Why don't you buy a couple of bikes for kids and find some place who could need them?

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  22. Rule number 12 also states that the appropiate number of bikes is s-1, where s is the number of bikes when your wife leaves you.

    This taken in consideration, together with the fact that you love The Girl/Wife very much, and the fact that you are married last year (and thus maybe there could be some The Kids in the future): give me the following idea:

    link to roodpetje.nl

    These bikes are widely used in Holland (and especially Amsterdam) because of its robustness, practicallity and coolness.

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  24. A tricycle perhaps?

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  25. J

    A really interesting bike which I'd love for you to review and thus would want you to purchase with your disposable bike money is the Trek District.

    link to trekbikes.com

    Single speed, has a belt drive (which I have never used), has mounts for a rack, seems simple and looks cool (to me). The MSRP is $1150, so can probably be had for less.

    This place has last years version for $799:
    link to villagecycle.com

    Cheers

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  26. Fixie!

    Bianchi Pista Via Condotti

    link to bianchiusa.com

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  27. Anonymous

    Ray, Great topic with some great feedback!!!
    The posts you could write about you and the girl racing on a tandem would be Pulitzer winning material.
    At the end of the day why don't you buy something "average and ordinary", play around with it for a while (add an old power meter,ect.) and then donate it to an organization like Wounded Warriors, Make A Wish or whatever charity you feel could give the bike a good home.
    Just my 2 cents.
    Roof Dog

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  28. Anonymous

    +1 for Cyclocross!

    If I were to have just one bike, it would definitely be a cx. You can ride onroad, offroad or combine the two. Riding not so heavy terrain is much more fun than on a mountainbike. It also trains your bike handling skills which my come in handy in triathlons as well (e.g. cornering or jumping on the bike quickly).

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  29. Niels Henningsen

    You might consider something like this:

    link to larryvsharry.com

    Can be setup to many different needs

    link to media.treehugger.com

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  30. Cross bike or fixed wheel are the obvious choices. You should be able to get an ok fixed wheel in budget, cross bike might be a bit harder.

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  31. I think that is the same situation of mine. Finally i have a mtb full functional with a second pair of wheels (hubs, spokes, rims, rotors, skeewers, inner tubes and tires) but with slick city tires of 1,5.

    With 800$ you can buy a nice mtb, maybe an offer of any model of 2011 with a big discount (20-40%). With another 50-100$ you can buy a second hand pair of wheels and slick tires.

    good luck

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  32. I think you should get a replica bike from the movie RAD back in the mid 1980s. We're about the same age so I'm sure you've had to of seen it! That, or the replica ET bike, classic with the milk crate basket on front. (for your running around errands of course) ha

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  33. Another vote for a tandem - it is the next logical step after the Wedding bike!

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  34. Lee

    As many have already stated,cyclecross seems to be your next progression. 45 minutes of max heart rate? How can you turn away form that. Sell your fuji and mountain bikes and watch craigslist or talk with LBS for great deals. Unfortunately, your just missed the best time of year for deals by a month and a half.

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  35. At $475 more than what your company is giving you, this may be out of your price range, but I want one myself.

    link to store.velo-orange.com

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  36. Ray,

    Maybe you could use the $800 as a donation to a charity like link to bikesfortheworld.org, or another group that fixes/repairs bikes for kids locally. $800 could get a lot of kids out biking this summer.

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  37. Actually your missing the most important part of rule 12.

    "This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner."

    Although I will bet that a bunny would modify this equation to (s+b)-1 where the b is the number of bunnies.

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  38. Oh, you are missing a fixie bike! No bike park is complete without a fixie

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  39. How about offering 800$ to a cycling club or a triatlon club for youth! They could buy a bicycle and put one of your stickers on it!!!

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  40. Another vote here for a cross bike. Take a look at link to boardmanbikes.com They review well and can be had at very reasonable prices.

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  41. Lots of good ideas already. Happy Wife Happy Life! If you spent money towards a new ride for The Girl or that you and The Girl can enjoy (used tandem bike), it will pay off down the road when you want that new shiney toy. With that said,I really love my cross bike and you're welcome to take it for a spin any time you want. I also enjoyed my singlespeed/fixie when I had it. It was perfect for quick trips to the supermarket or ice cream. You could combine both of these ideas in to a single speed cross bike (link to bikesdirect.com). At that price, you can get 2, one for you and one for The Girl.

    Whatever you choose, I look forward to a full in-depth review =)

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  42. I am considering the same thing... I would do a cyclocross bike. Pretty versatile... you can use for commuting/errands, a lot of off road/trails, a spare bike for guests, and of course a few races in the fall. I am a Felt fan, and they have a cool fixed gear cross bike (breed). Any entry level one would be good, you can always swap out parts later.

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  43. Ray-
    I saw your post about the mountain bike in 2007. Have you been riding it on trails at all? I'd look at how much you ride while the Lady is running, versus how much you go mtn biking. I'd bet that a nice around town single speed would work well for you. Have a local shop build you up a Surly Steamroller. They sell complete online for about $800, and you can customize it pretty easily.
    link to surlybikes.com

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  44. Anonymous

    Ray,
    I agree with Greg. Donate the money to charity for bikes for kids. They would love it.

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  45. Yes, Totally get a cross bike all the way! Great bikes, in between road and trail, and it opens up a new sport for you ;)

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  46. Yes, Cyclocross all the way! great bikes, in between road and trail and it will open up a whole new sport for you ;)

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  47. Yes, Cyclocross all the way! great bikes, in between road and trail and it will open up a whole new sport for you ;)

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  48. Yes, Cyclocross all the way! great bikes, in between road and trail and it will open up a whole new sport for you ;)

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  49. I don't hear a lot of reviews on bikesdirect.com bike so why not? Would love to hear one from you.

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  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  51. Good comments so far. I think a commuter type bike would be a worthy choice for your errands, race photography/runner stalking, following the girl, etc. However, in this area we are blessed with a ton of trails and therefore a new mountain bike gets my vote. You could tear up miles of trail built for mountain biking all while passing ideal photography opportunities and it's great "x-training". You have Wakefield, Fountainhead, the CCT to Great Falls, etc. A 26" or 29" hardtail would handle most trails around here just fine. Good luck!

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  52. Go for a cyclocross bike. You could probably find a good one used. This is my commuter bike and cyclocross is a lot of fun.

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  53. yucko@alum.mit.edu

    How about a spare for your TT bike? You seem to put a lot of time and stress on it on the trainer, and historically, it appears that your TT bike is NOT immune from crashes (it is magnetically attracted to little kids).

    So maybe one of these days you'll need a replacement...or you'll not want to stress the frame via the trainer.

    Or since you are married, doesn't the Mrs. need another bike/spare?

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  54. cross bike! get something configured as a single speed - not spending $$ on shifting components will allow you a slightly nicer frameset/wheelset. single speed is:
    1) great power training on uphills, and great pedal stroke training going down.
    2) low maintenance - year round worry free riding
    3) makes you feel like a kid again!

    i converted a formerly geared motobecane phantom cross pro to single and love it! i race with gears but am learning the merits of training/commuting on a single.

    good luck

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  55. Ben

    Ray,

    For bikes on a budget, Performance Bike or Bikesdirect are the way to go. In this case, I think it's Bikes direct; If you want to simply replace the MTB - link to bikesdirect.com

    the other recommendation as others have said would be a CX bike: link to bikesdirect.com

    I believe these are both Fuji frames with a different brand. I love my fuji newest 1.0, road a motobecane and dawes from bikes direct with same setup, believe theyre all the same bike

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  56. Anonymous

    Track bike for the new DC velodrome

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  57. Ray,

    As a former shop employee I'd recommend two options.

    1: A foldy. I love my foldy, there's just something fun about having a bike you can put in your trunk and be ready to ride in 30 seconds.

    2: Slightly different option, but from a reliability stand point I love the simplicity of a belt drive 29er. This is about as close as it comes to the ultimate urban smashing machine, throw some slicks on there and you have an awesome around town bike.

    link to bikerumor.com

    Brett

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  58. Maybe a single speed, like a Specialized Langster? You can do some training on it, ride around town on it, and it is in vogue cool now.

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  59. Chu

    Cargo bike. Use it to transport/advertise the Girl's baked goods at local events

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  60. You can get a nice fixie for $800. Good bike for getting around town and provides good training. Plus, super easy to take care of and they look super cool.

    A used cross bike would be my 2nd choice.

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  61. Voting for a fixie as well!

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  62. cross bike.... and race cx in the fall

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  63. CX Bike, for sure! Good deals all over the interwebs.
    link to speedgoat.com

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  64. Unicycle? Kidding aside, I like the tandem idea.

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  65. Brian

    My vote is for a ss/fixie bike. Very practical for cruising around town and you can pick one up for well under $800.

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  66. Shannon

    I second the trek district. Great town bike and in your price range.

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  67. Anonymous

    i love my trek 29er... plus side is that i have hybrid tires for when i don't want those bulky mtn tires... best of both worlds!

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  68. Ben

    Single speed all the way!!

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  69. I'll pile onto the "cross bike" suggestion. I love using mine for not only cross, but riding on trails, riding in crappy weather, commuting, etc. Specialized has the TriCross link to specialized.com

    I also like the fixie idea. Simplicity is overlooked these days!

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  70. I have an idea... you should skip out on the bike and buy your wife a BUNNY :)

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  71. Would The Girl like a "grocery getter" complete with wicker basket? You'd score points by not spending it on yourself. ;)

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  72. Fixed Gear! Perfect for cursing around town, for photo shoots, and riding along while the "girl" is running. I have a Felt Brougham and love it! $550, so you'd have money left over for something else!
    link to feltbicycles.com

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  73. Easy. Used Cyclocross bike. You can throw the wheels from your road bike on it when you want to use it more "on road" and it will open up a whole new set of racing opportunities for you. Then turn that road bike into a fixie. Done.

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  74. I would say a nice, mid-level Trek or Gary Fisher with front shocks & a hardtail. (whichever fits you the best - they do have quite different geometry - the Trek always "feels" better to me) If you get the shop to put slightly less aggressive tires on it, it works great to run errands or just shoot around town when you don't want to "gear up" and fiddle with tires and all that is involved with the roadies. In other words, nice rides around town of under 2 hrs where you want to work a little, but it's not "training." I also put a Garmin speed mount on it so I clip my 310XT on - just b/c I like to track everything. After a few days on the Tri bike it feels like jumping into an old land, yacht 1970's Cadillac. Smooth...

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  75. A cross bike is a good idea.
    So is a folder - you can take it on the Metro any time of the day!

    A tandem is sweet too, but decent ones are way over $800. There is a couple in the SF bay area that do TTT as a 2 person team on a tandem (within the rules)

    It seems like the BEST idea might be a utility bike with a bunny in the front basket though.

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  76. JBugno

    I was in the same situation as you (well minus the wedding bike). I choose to go with a Surly Cross Check. I would advise you to look for a steel framed cycle-cross or touring frame. They are a great "in-between" road and mountain bike. Allow easy addition of cargo hauling options, can run single speed, work well in all weather conditions, etc.

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  77. A hybrid is awesome for getting around time and tooling around races. It's been my commuting/errand bike of choice for years. So much faster than a mountain bike but still sturdy.

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  78. I've been really happy with my Giant Cypress as a commuter. I believe they replaced with Sedona.

    link to giant-bicycles.com

    For my purposes, I've not needed to upgrade the components (bare bones Shimano - Altus I think).

    I'd go with something that style and a component upgrade.

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  79. Anonymous

    Trek t1, $719.99. Lots of advantages here. You can also ride on track! Comes with flip/flop hub so you can freewheel or fix. Also me comes with breaks. Solid fast frame, minimal maintamence/tuning.

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  80. Anonymous

    I was in a similar boat earlier this year at the same price point. The old MTB repair cost wasn't worth it and wanted more of a RB for commuting. I bought a "Monster Cross" bike from Bikesdirect, at the time is was on sale for 200 less. Handles the local single tracks just fine and perfect for road/sidewalk riding.
    link to bikesdirect.com

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  81. Paul Bunyar

    I am thinking a commuter bike.

    But why not visit 718 Cyclery, The Inverted Bike Shop, in NYC. Check them out at: link to 718c.com

    They will talk you through what you want and build you a bike. Just saying. . .

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  82. Bill

    Well my suggestion depends on ability to part with the wedding bike. Could be a no way type of deal but here goes . . .

    Sell the wedding bike - budget is now $800.

    Sell the mtn bike - increase budget by some amount.

    Both Giant & Specialized make some good cross over bikes that will function mid road as townie bike & mild off road (but not really single track).

    For Giant - maybe the Accend
    For Spec - maybe the Sirrus

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  83. geo

    I would be torn between the fixed gear/single speed and a cyclocross. So how about a fixed gear cyclocross?

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  84. Bo

    Cyclecross or steel frame commuter gets my vote.

    BTW...The man asked for help picking a bike, not what else he should do with the money. Everyone with the wonderful charity ideas should take your their own advice and donate bike/money/time to their local charity.

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  85. I'm a big fan of the Orbea Carpe city bikes. Specifically, the H30 or H40. Cost either $749 or $949 depending on if you want rim or disc brakes. Other minor differences too.

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  86. I was in the same situation, needing both a mountain/road bike. I decided on a Specialized CrossTrail Sport. It was approximately $770.00. I am more than happy with it and it performs extremely well in both roles. Hope that helps.

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  87. cross bike or single speed. I see both on BonkTown often in your price range.

    Single speeds are great low maintenance bikes you can beat and they always just work!

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  88. Cargo bike, something you can use to get the groceries and will actually carry a few gallons of chocolate milk. One less car on the road, plus you can attach a trailer to it for "The Kid" to ride in when it comes time for that :)

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  89. Anonymous

    Well, this IS a triathlon blog! Why not spend your money on a nice tri bike and trash the old Cervelo? I know the P3 was nice in it's time, but it's now several generations old! Surely having the Venge to review is making you itch for a nice tri bike!

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  90. An around town hipster bike, for sure. Something you can wear with jeans and ride to dinner (get one for your wife, too). Something like the Bianchi Pista, although I would argue fixed is an unnecessary burden. I am a fan of a single speed, though. I'd go to a "real biker" bike shop (a small, single location kind of place) and look at used frames and maybe a build with custom options? You could also get a frame painted for a custom look...

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  91. I like the tandem idea, however they typically cost more than $800. I suppose you could buy an $799 dollar bike, sell it, and use the 800 dollars you get next year along with the proceeds of the sale to buy the tandem.

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  92. Anonymous

    Get a hybrid type bike... this trek is great, and within the price range link to trekbikes.com

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  93. Anonymous

    Another folding bike fan here. My recs:

    -Brompton (out of your range, but the smallest fold)
    -Bike Friday (same as a above, but the BF Tikit is a great commuter)
    -Swift/Xootr Folder (sleek, not as small a fold, but great ride, and ideal for taller riders)
    -Dahon (cheapest, multiple options, lots of local dealers)

    My favorite resource for all things foldable bike:

    link to bikeforums.net

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  94. as someone who has more bikes than i need, kids, a wife, and a little bit of experience trying to combine them, all i can say is: DO NOT buy a tandem. First they suck. Second, they suck. Third, after 10 minutes on one, you will hate the girl. Forth and perhaps most importantly, after 10 minutes on the bike, she will hate you more. Cross bike. Or that super cool bike from Amsterdam.

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  95. Having carefully read your blog (and the needs expressed and implied), I would go with the "Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc"

    - Aluminum Frame (especially handy for those DC wet/rain/snow days)
    - Dual piston disc brakes (always a plus in city traffic and with that DC muck... I hate brake fade!)
    - 75mm front fork travel (always a plus with jumping curbs, manholes, road defects... or when you decide to go off the beaten path)
    - Hardtail (which definitely helps with putting the power down during stop and go rides)
    - Geometry will not match your TT bike, but is definitely a plus for touring, photographic journey etc..

    At $770 (retail) it is close to your $800 budget so not much left over for improvements (pedals, etc..) but I can guarantee you are getting a great bang for the buck.

    I sure wish you were local. I could do the purchase for you through my Specialized connection (don't ask!). The substantial discount I can get would make the purchase a "no-brainer". Actually with the savings off the "retail" you could either upgrade to the next bike tier.... or better yet, you could buy another one of the same exact bike for your lady (for your same budget)

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  96. Anonymous

    Trek Dual Sport (DS)

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  97. +1 on the Surly, either Cross-Check or (even better) Karate Monkey. The KM is a bit more $$, but the framset can be the basis for a commuter, SS, 29er, etc.

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  98. Aaron

    I am 100% completely unaffiliated, but Hudson Trail Outfitters is having their annual three-day warehouse sale starting tomorrow. Some of these bikes mentioned are on sale for like half price (i.e. the Giant Defy). I usually wait in line before the store opens the first day and then end up running to go get what I want. Haha.

    Might be a good way to get the bike you want, for cheap, and support a local outdoor/bicycle/triathlon retailer all at the same time.

    They release a list of what's on sale and their prices the day before every year. They just released the sale list this year this afternoon. Some good stuff.

    link to hudsontrail.com

    Thought I would pass this along as a great option to use your $800 credit to either get more bike than you would normally be able, or to save more of the credit than you would be able while getting the same bike. :p

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  99. I'd get a single-speed commuter. I have a Giant Bowery and I use that as my commuter bike, and sometimes training bike. The nice thing about single-speeds is ease of customizing.

    Reply
  100. To let you off the hook, it's not just N+1, it's at least one of everything! With not a lot of money, lose the gears and weight going single speed. If you want a mtb, a 29er single is lots of fun. If you want more utility, a cx single let's you visit the shops via dirt or pavement and you'll get home before dark. Whatever you get, use it and enjoy it!!!

    Reply
  101. T

    1. You need a bike that will enable you to enjoy the trail in front of your house;
    2. You need a bike that will enable you to ride fast and look cool (a la hipster) in DC traffic;
    3. You need a bike which bears a name that reflects your inner self;
    4. You need to stay within $800;

    Those are 803 (804?) reasons why the 2012 Cannondale Bad Boy 9 will suit you perfectly!

    I bet The [Your] Girl will approve!

    Disclaimer: I DO NOT work at Cannondale, nor do I have business ties with the brand, nor do I own any Cannondale (Tri bike: Cervelo, Road bike: Giant)

    link to cannondale.com

    Reply
  102. Anonymous

    Hey Ray,

    Having lived in DC for a couple of years, I know that everyone there has a fixie/single speed, except you. Now given the fact that you want a complete bike, and you have an $800-1000 limit, I would suggest a Wabi Lightning. This would be a great bike for commuting, checking out races, short errands, hanging out with the girl on her runs, and could compliment your training nicely in some aspects.

    Another great selling point (since I have to keep things like this in mind since my "Girl" is tiny as well) is that they make a 42cm 650c version which I am betting Bobbie will need if she doesn't get her bunny.

    I just thought I would throw my two cents in since this would be my choice if I was in your position. Plus they have custom colors for a bit more. Good luck!

    link to wabicycles.com

    -Guillermo

    Reply
  103. I will second the cyclocross comments. Depending your preference, geared or single speed, a cyclocross bike is the perfect "urban" bike in my opinion. Tough and versatile enough for "shortcuts" but can still provide enough go fast when you just want to get somewhere. I love my Raleigh SS cross bike. A Kona Major One or Felt Breed both run about $1000.

    Reply
  104. link to amazon.com

    BOOM!

    And you can get it shipped for free from Prime.

    Reply
  105. Anonymous

    Another vote for a CX or
    link to norco.com

    Reply
  106. You can't go wrong with a Townie! Fast enough to follow The Girl on her runs, and funky enough to take you to Dairy Queen in style.

    Reply
  107. I would go for a single speed bike. Check out link to bigshotbikes.com They have some amazing customizable single speeds well within your $800 allotment.

    The single speed will be a great around town bike, but will also allow you to develop a stronger, smoother pedal stroke.

    Reply
  108. Thanks everyone for the incredible number of suggestions! I never imagined I'd get this kinda response, and it's awesome to sit here and burn quite a bit of time looking at all the bike suggestions you've sent.

    Keep sending them in, I've been tagging some of them to investigate more closely over the weekend!

    Enjoy!

    Reply
  109. Ican't believe I have more bikes than you do (but no triathlon bike sadly :-(
    Based on my extensive experience as "numerous bikes owner " I highly recommend a omafiets or stadsfiets (respectively granny bike or town bike as per Dutchy culture). The very upright position (even more then mountain bike) make for a very very safe ride, especially at the slow speeds required to accompany the girl (who is obviously not slow at all). Also you can easily transport her water bottles, extra clothes etc in the bags.
    You may even consider a "bakfiets"....

    Reply
  110. Ken SwimNBike

    I found the lock with the water bottle clip.

    link to bontrager.com

    It niftely attaches to your Water bottle

    Reply
  111. Get a fixie for you and the Mrs for around town link to quadrathon.blogspot.com or add another $4000 and get a P5

    Reply
  112. Anonymous

    Specialized Langster

    Reply
  113. Anonymous

    +1 on the Hudson Trail Outfitters sale they're starting today. I got a Scott cross bike at it last year for like 60% off which was at least a couple hundred cheaper than anywhere I could find online

    Reply
  114. BONKTOWN !!!!!!!!

    Just wait until they have a bike just under $800 and pull the trigger.
    They always have great deals, and I've seen some great ones from focus.
    Cyclocross/Touring type of bike is the way to go for yet another bike. That's a jack of all trades bike that allows you to bike in the city, trails, paved or unpaved, great all-round bike.

    Just wait for the right deal to show up on bonktown.com and pull the trigger !!!

    Reply
  115. If waiting for Bonktown is not an option, some suggestions here: link to teamrodrigo.com

    The Boardman Road Comp CX 2011 $1249.99 is the perfect cyclocross bike, to be closer to your budget, the Motobecane Fantom Cross Outlaw is a great deal !!!!

    Reply
  116. w

    Just to add to my comment earlier. A quick Google search brought up this: link to bikesforgoodnesssake.org

    I guess you did mention goodness in your original post...

    Reply
  117. Well it seems to me like your best bet is a single speed bike.

    Getting a flip-flop single speed is great for in town riding especialy where there are not too many big hills (ei DC )
    For 900 you can get a top of the line single speed bike.
    Traning benifits are enormous as you will augment your MAX Power output .
    Low theft factor.
    Low maintenace
    Super smooth rolling .

    It's a great experience. Try one!!

    Dan

    Reply
  118. Anonymous

    Check out stradalli line of bikes on eBay full carbon, it would be great so you can post a review as well.

    Reply
  119. I would suggest the Surly Steamroller. This a fixed gear bike that can easily be converted to single speed. The bike is chro-moly and heavier because of it, but that shouldn't be a problem for a stud such as yourself. For the hills that you face this bike will provide you with ample rule #5 and #10 opportunities(these are my favorite rules). The Steamroller can be had for $840 through some retailers. There is a shop in Arlington that carries the Surly brand, and I would be happy to get you that info should you like. Best of luck deciding. Awesome company perk, wish mine would follow suit.

    Reply
  120. SB

    Didn't read through all of the comments, but a cyclocross bike is perfect for this need! Performance Bike sells lower end but still quality Fuji bikes around the $800 price point.

    Reply
  121. SB

    Didn't read through all of the comments, but a cyclocross bike is perfect for this need! Performance Bike sells lower end but still quality Fuji bikes around the $800 price point.

    Reply
  122. I vote cyclocross. Once you are hooked...
    Check out Kona Jake the Snake!
    I love mine, its my fave out of all my bikes :)

    Reply
  123. The Van Dessel Whiskey Tango Foxtrot gets my vote. I love all of the ridiculous combinations I can twist it into. Monster Cross, anyone?

    It's pretty great.

    Reply
  124. I bought a Specialized tri-cross bike for around $800... that will suit your need and not go over budget. Very light and very useful.

    Reply
  125. The 2012 Raleigh Rush Hour, single speed, is a beauty. Can't get a much better around town bike! Watch out though, the Girl may use your credit next year to get one for herself!

    Reply
  126. Theo@dynastream

    If you bought my tandem, chances are higher you'd never have to ride it again at an ANT+ conference...

    AND it includes a genuine Energizer bunny on the stem.
    Gary Fisher Gemini, 3x7 MTB drivetrain, White 4" travel fork as well as stock fork... You've even test-rode it already.

    $1000 plus shipping from Calgary.

    Reply
  127. Anonymous

    I suggest a Dual-Sport bike. It will allow you to ride offroad as well as around town. Unlike a cross bike, this style of bike can actually be ridden on some rougher off-road trails. Plus, since it's a 29er, its possible to throw wider road tires on in case you want smooth rolling around town. Good examples: link to trekbikes.com

    Reply
  128. DVR
    Reply
  129. BJ.Parker002@gmail

    I travel a ton. I have a Xootr Swiftl. Even with small wheels, it is the same geometry as a road bike. Simple mods to get to any setup you desire - road, cruiser, tir, bike. Key point that ai bought it for and believe that you should is that it will fit into standard (hardsided) luggage. Frequent flyer status means it goes with me for free. Think about it. Highly adaptable bike on all of your trips.

    BJ

    Reply
  130. Ray, How about a race schedule for your 2012 season?

    Sorry if you've already answered this somewhere else...

    Reply
  131. Raleigh Furley dude. Perfect around town, light trails, run to the store, do anything bike.

    Reply
  132. Anonymous

    you have one of everything already. that means you should upgrade equipment that's lacking. a wheelset perhaps? wife's really love their spouses dropping $ on wheelsets.

    Reply
  133. I second (/third/fourth/fifth) the cyclocross bike.

    OR... you could get an entry Orbea and ship it to me! ;)

    Reply
  134. Cinelli Mystic Rats, even

    Reply
  135. Jon

    It sounds to me when you describe the use for this bike that you are looking for a KONA DEW deluxe or if you want spend a few extra $ maybe the DR DEW.
    It handles like a lighteweigth MTB built for the street, and with different tires you can easily take it off road

    Reply
  136. Poro

    One thing that I would really love to get on my bike list is a 70's/80's steel roadie.. preferably italian. Would be so cool to ride a round for any- and everything off training.

    Reply
  137. Gary

    I'll add my vote for a Cyclocross bike like the Specialized Tricross. Seems to cover the role provided by the old mountain bike - but with better efficiency. Plus who knows? Maybe you'll try a cross event sometime.

    Reply
  138. mo

    check out bicycle times for their reviews and get a great cruiser!

    Reply
  139. Anonymous

    It's already been mentioned, but get yourself a track bike and put in some time on your local velodrome.

    More fun than a barrel of monkeys :-)

    Reply

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