Part II: Help me creatively spend $800 on a new bike!


Last week an astonishing number of you weighed in on how I could spend roughly $800 on a new bike.  As you probably remember, the $800 figure is based on a fitness credit I have from the company I work for – and the specific details state that I can spend it on a gym membership (which I already have), or a new bike (it’s actually that explicit).

From there, I provided a bunch of specifications about what I was looking for, with my focus being on a bike that could either replace my aging mountain bike (which I primarily use just to wander around town), or to replace that same function on my rarely used road bike.  I wasn’t interested in a high performance triathlon bike, nor did I want to spend too much more than $800.

Nearly 140 of you offered awesome options (with tons of great detail!).  From there, I’ve been slowly whittling the list down to a manageable number.  It seemed as though most of you knew what I wanted, even if I didn’t.  Many of the suggestions focused on either a cross bike, or a single-speed around town bike.

There were a few suggestions on a folding bike, but at the moment I think I’m going to stick with some conventional.

Now, the irony here is that Saturday evening while accompanying The Girl on a run around the Washington Mall, my usually trusty nearly 15+ year old mountain bike gave me a pretty clear symbol that the end may be near.  The front hub literally disintegrated.  The hub portion separated from the internal axle piece.


This made for a fairly long and slow journey home from in front of the Washington Monument.  Thankfully, since I was only going about 7-8MPH when it occurred, it was rather anticlimactic.  Plus, the Cherry Blossoms were out, so I made the most of the slow boat home:


So with that, I started taking all 138 suggestions and putting them into an Excel list.  It seemed like the only logical way to sort everything.  This ended up being slightly more involved that I anticipated – but it was a complete blast!  So many cool bikes out there.


For fun, here’s the complete and total listing of all bikes, complete with the number of repeat commenters and links to the various companies.  I also categorized them, though sometimes the category was highly questionable if not confusing depending on company. So don’t look at as the end-all-be-all of what the bike might technically be.  It’s up on Google Docs, so you’ll have to visit the page to see the embedded list – but then you can easily scroll around and what-not. The ‘finalists’ are the ones that have the Hyperlink on bike name as well.

Here’s the consolidated suggestions by category (yes, that’s a Pivot Table in Excel):


(There were a few suggestions where commenters accidentally posted twice, or just simply said hello, hence why it’s slightly less than 133)

Based on that, I narrowed it down to 5 bikes.  Most of this was based on various things I found appealing in the bikes – from look, to functional aspects.  As I evaluated it more, I realized that I think I really want something that’s easily maneuverable in/around crowds (i.e. an urban and/or event environment) – and one I wouldn’t look out of place with flat pedals on.  So, here’s my Top 5 bikes:

Trek Belleville (Townie) Trek District (SS) Bianchi Pista via Condotti (SS) Felt Brougham (SS) Raleigh Furley (Hybrid)

And, for fun, here’s a few pictures (in order) and a brief reason as to what attracted me.

I love the look of the Belleville, and the utility aspect.  As noted, often times I’m trying to carry stuff around.


The District is a bit higher than my initial price range, but some poking around reveals it can be had for cheaper than list.  The belt-drive is one of the key items I like about this one.


The Pista via Condotti probably isn’t a real contender in this race…but dang, it’s sure pretty.


This is pretty sweet looking, though, there were also a number of other SS road bikes that would have also fit the bill.  So I’d say this is ranking a bit lower at the moment.


This Raleigh bike intrigues me do to the more versatile tire setup it comes with.  Of course, many other bikes I can swap out – but this one seems to be an interesting out of the box fit.


So – what do ya think?  Have I done a good job a narrowing it down?  I know many of you wanted to see a tandem bike for The Girl and I, but let’s be honest – very little good is going to come of that (as some of you pointed out).  And no, the bunny is not on the table (well…never mind).

What are your thoughts?  After seeing my narrowed down selection- is there anything just off-center of what I’ve picked above that I should consider?  My goal is to pick out a bike by the end of the week.

Thanks for reading, would love your feedback!


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  1. If you can find a Furley that would be my choice, with the District coming in second. I love cross bikes though, and have a furley on order, so I’m biased

  2. Go the Townie (Belleville). You will be suprised about how much more enjoyable it is to have a bike that (in any weather) you can just it and go. Things like the built in lights (no mucking around clipping lights in), full mudguards (go through puddles without fear) and no derailer (no chain stretch and no chain grease on your jeans) make these type of bikes very practical.

  3. Anonymous

    District. Belt drive, ’nuff said.

  4. Of those choices, the Trek Belleville is my winner. It’s a beauty and for your use, it’s just perfect. I would also consider the Specialized Crosstrail for the front suspension, but it looks like you’ve already passed on that option so I won’t bore you with how great it is =] Good luck!! That Belleville is sweet!

  5. Anonymous

    Raleigh 1st (way versatile), Brougham 2nd (looks great)

  6. My vote while goes either for the Raleigh or the Trek. Having seen the Trek belt system it is one of the nicer setups I have seen and if you can get it for a nice price why not. The Raleigh just looks like it can go anywhere. So it will be a tough choice but worth it.

  7. SwimNbike

    As a true Dutchman.
    Orange Relay.

    BTW, did I mention that the Montague is a FULL-Size mountain bike that you can fold? and go Down hill with? ^_^


  8. I’m completely shallow – so the Bianchi gets my vote.

  9. It’s really hard to decide between the 5 cool runners up.
    But my vote goes to the Belleville with the District as a very close second.

  10. The Belleville is basically my dream (third) bike!! Fenders and racks will make riding around and running errands so much easier and more enjoyable.

  11. The Raleigh looks really nice and you could use it to get into cyclocross training / racing.

    Or you could a really Big Bunny for $800.

  12. Have you checked out the Raleigh Detour City Sport? It’s a great city bike. I do like the Trek District, a flip/flop hub for the belt drive would be awesome though.

  13. DavidK

    Go the District S, ditch the belt drive version.

    Chain allows you to change cogs on the back if you desire, as well as options on crank etc.

  14. pi

    I’ve added racks and fenders to all my bikes, and I love them.
    Get the Bellville!

  15. You gotta add $5 for the district since you will need a bell. It’s sooo quiet.

  16. Fonz

    Belleville all the way. Why? One word….swag. comfortable, stylish, and city ready. plus it’s old looking. Old is the new young!

    Did I mention swag?

  17. Belleville. It looks awesome!

  18. Anonymous

    Belleville for sure. That thing is really cool

  19. Bellville…and get an old, classic jersey to wear while riding it

  20. I would vote for the Belleville. I have an Atwood (link to that I use for around town riding, to and from work, and just general tooling around. As has been said, I think you’ll be surprised how much you’ll enjoy cruising on it.

  21. District, District, District, District. The belt drive is fascinatingly durable and the bike as a a whole is a one of those rare combinations of function and beauty. I worked for a Trek dealer last year and it was the one bike (over the SC!) that I was most tempted to use my employee discount on. Man, now I think I need one again! The SS simplicity is really fun, but even if you don’t like the District, it is becoming wildly popular in a cult sort of way, and will be easy to resell to a hipster (whoops, that may not have been a “plus”) ;)

  22. Actually I am digging the bunny idea.
    800 USD will get you a nice stall and pretty bunny!
    Otherwise you may want to keep an eye on bonktown and let luck decide which sub 800 bike comes up first.

  23. If you get the District, over time you can add fenders and a front (Minoura) Gamoh rack which would give you the same functionality as the Belleville in a more stealthy look (that may be less attractive to thieves). I have used this exact set up for since 2009 (chain version of the District) and think it is superb.

  24. I’m inclined to advocate for the versatility of a cross bike as a go-anywhere option, but DC is pretty much all decent pavement (compared to my former home of PA), so add me to the Bellvue or District list. If I had to choose, I’d probably buy the District and add fenders and racks of my own choosing.

  25. Also, have you considered donating the MTB to be replaced? Then you could serve two purposes with one purchase. Velocity co-op in Del Ray takes donations. I’ve even got a set of spare 26″ wheels if you want to get it rolling first. If you want them, I’m apparently just across Eisenhower/495 from you.

  26. What the heck… what about the bunny?

  27. Belleville. The others are more attractive (Bianchi… drooolllll)but the Belleville fits your specifications perfectly, and also has that fun old timey look about it.

  28. Anonymous

    Clearly you should get the Girl a nice bunny. You would if you loved her…

    Otherwise go with the District.

  29. Mike@wahoo

    Ray – I forgot to suggest a fat tire bike. Surly for sure.

  30. Of your finalists, my vote is for the Belleville. The ability to carry cargo on your bike will change your life. Living as you do in a fairly dense urban setting, with the ability to carry a useful load, you will discover many opportunities to use your bike in place of your car. It’s great fun to try to carry unusual loads, and it will earn you the respect and admiration of bicyclists and non-bicyclists alike.

    An alternate choice that is not too much more money, but with disc brakes (better for managing loads) and capable of a lot more capacity is the Kona Minute (link to

    A big plus of the Minute over the Belleville is the ability to carry a back seat passenger, which could be a lot of fun with your wife. I routinely carry my wife and/or my kid on my similar but larger cargo bike, along with groceries, picnic supplies, or even other bikes. Imagine how cool it would be to arrive at a local event via a bike that is carrying your tri bike and equipment. Plus, no matter what you have loaded, you will always have room to carry a bunny.

  31. Go with the Felt. They are an amazing company and Jim is a pioneer!

  32. Get the Belleville! I just got a similar Trek (the Allant) this weekend and I love it (granted I’ve taken it out like three times so far). Reasons: 1. It’s PRETTY 2. It comes with front and rear racks 3. It comes with fenders. It’s the way to go for an around town take it easy bike.

  33. Anonymous

    Still think you should look at the Trek Dual Sport (DS). The locking front shocks alone make it an awesome option.

  34. Belleville or District…useful or cool, I can’t make that decision…maybe both? Does the best company ever allow for a 2013 advance?
    But, my vote however is for the biggest chocolate bunny ever — you know, Easter is coming up! $800 bunny…delish!

  35. The bunny will never be off the table, Ray! Someday you’ll come to your senses :)

  36. Anonymous

    I like the Raleigh… the dropped bars are more versatile. Does it have rack braze-ons?

  37. Ray – this is what you said “As noted, often times I’m trying to carry stuff around.” The Belleville has to be #1. I also checked out the Kona MinUTE and that fits the bill too.

    Best of luck and go with your head! With your heart get the bunny :-)

  38. I really like the Belleville. I’ve been thinking about getting a non road bike and this is the type I was looking for.

  39. Anonymous

    Kona minute

  40. The orange one. No question. It looks the coolest. And keep in mind, it’s not how you feel, it’s how you look.

  41. I’d go with the Raleigh> Looks nice, fits the bill and you have a road handlebar setup with mountain wheels gives you a lot of versatility

  42. Anonymous

    I’d go with the orange cyclocross…

    note: Unless your a fedora-wearin’ hipster I do not see any point of choosing the District bike.

  43. Anonymous

    That Specialized bike in one of the links posted previously here was sweet. Good brand! Good price! Good quality!

    …a little over budget at 989$, but way cheaper, better and more useful then Trek District.

    You could even use and transfer components from your tri and road bikes, when and if you upgrade them, on the cyclocross.

    link to

  44. Not using the Excel Web App? For shaaaaame. Seriously though, you could just embed the original excel file on your blog (with the pivottable and everything) from Skydrive. The window that the embed option launches has a link in the bottom right that lets you customize various embedding options.

  45. Anonymous

    Of the options: Belleville.

    Fixies have already jumped the shark. Good luck getting a replacement belt in a few years time.

    p.s. Don’t be cruel – Never, ever have one lonely bunny (they always need a bunny pal).

  46. Why not a PINARELLO citybike?
    Its are so stilish!

    Italian bikes are the best! :)

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  50. Carlos

    Hey Ray, did you have the chance of buying it bike already? I (or i guess we) are really curious to learn about your final choice and see a few pictures of it :-)