Not all people are fortunate enough to live in an area who has mostly flat ground. If your commute to work entails considerably more ups and downs than lefts and rights turns, then a 3-speed bicycle might be worth looking at as an alternative of a single-speed bike. Like a single-speed bicycle, they are dependable bikes that have a basic visual and low-maintenance style. Picking out whether to get a 3-speed bicycle or an 8-speed, or any type of another multi-speed bike truly depends on your riding demands.
- Top Multi-Speed Bike in San Antonio
- Schwinn Suburban Deluxe Comfort Hybrid Bike
- Fuji Nevada 29er 1.0
- Torker KB2 Kickback
- Fuji Absolute 3.0
- Stowabike 26″ Mountain Bike
- Diamondback Edgewood LX Hybrid Bike
- Breezer Uptown 8
- Kronan Classic 3-Speed Bicycle
- Urbana Bike
- Giant Sedona
- Giant Defy 3
- Giant Cypress
- Electra Townie 7D
Top Multi-Speed Bike in San Antonio
Schwinn Suburban Deluxe Comfort Hybrid Bike
Let’s start with the way the Schwinn World Market feels: without a doubt, the World Market has the most upright riding position of any bicycle that I have ridden. To some extent, you can see that from the pictures – the way the handlebars come out to meet you, along with the sloping top tube because of the more compact frame geometry. No doubt, you will not feel hunched over on the World Market. I let a friend of mine who has tennis elbow issues try out several of my bikes, and he said the World Market was much easier on his arms, and he enjoyed riding it. The padded handlebar grips also help make things easy on your hands. In addition to the upright position, the World Market has a bit of a cushy road feel, due to: (1) the front suspension fork, (2) the suspension Seatpost, (3) the cushy saddle with springs, and (4) the 700x38c tires. These items really take the sting out of bumpy roads and trails, though turning/handling feels a bit cushy also: think of the World Market as a luxury car in bicycle form, and not a sports car. You could easily make the World Market a bit more sporty by switching to a rigid seat post and a seat that is a little less plush, but for cruising around town in comfort the World Market is in good form as it is. Shifting is smooth with the World Market’s 7 speed internally geared hub. As with all internally geared hubs, it is nice that you can shift without pedaling if you forget to downshift before a stoplight or sign. The range of gears seemed to be well suited to the bike and allowed me to stay seated on most of the hills I encountered. I was also pleased with the brakes, which consistently brought me to a quick stop (even on fast downhill runs). As for the accessories that come with the World Market, the bell was useful and worked just as it should, and the rack on the back with its accompanying bag was nice and functional too. Also, the fenders and chainguard did a good job of keeping me clean. And let’s not forget about fun. The upright position and plush ride of the World Market make it a great bike for riding in town or exploring paths and gravel trails. You might even find yourself whistling while you pedal!
Fuji Nevada 29er 1.0
The Nevada 29er’s frame is made of aluminum, which helps the bike feel relatively light for the size it is and comes with two sets of water bottle mounts. Nevada’s fork is an SR Suntour XCR suspension fork with 100 mm of travel (for the beginners, that’s about 4 inches of cushion), and the fork has a mechanical lockout switch that allows you to flip a switch and keep the fork rigid, which keeps you from losing energy when riding on roads and paths, and while climbing hills. The white frame and fork give the bike a nice clean look. The main advantage for 29ers is their ability to roll over roots and other bumps a bit better than mountain bikes with 26-inch tires. The Nevada 29er has 29”x1.95” Kenda tires riding on Fuji’s own brand rims and hubs. The Nevada 29er has a mix of Shimano components, with 24 speeds in all — 3 rings on the crank (what the pedals turn) and 8 gears on the “cassette” on the rear wheel. The shifters are Shimano Alivio trigger shifters. Braking is performed by Tektro Novela mechanical disc brakes, using Shimano brake levers. The Fuji brand riser handlebars look nice in matching white. The saddle and seat post are also Fuji’s own. I’ve been out on the Nevada 29er a few times, and have been enjoying the bike so far. I’ll post a detailed riding review after I’ve had a little more time to get familiar with the bike. Until then, you can view more information about the Fuji Nevada 29er 1.0 on the Fuji Bikes website.
Torker KB2 Kickback
The Torker KB2 frame is made from Chromoly steel, and the fork is made from high tensile steel. The KB2 comes with mounting holes for installing hand brakes, fenders, and a rear rack. The bike comes with a removable chainguard also, which is nice to have on a commuter bike, and the KB2 also has mounting bosses for two water bottle cages (or 1 cage and a frame-mounted pump). The KB2 has some very sturdy wheels with Alex rims and big 700×38 Kenda tires with a meaty tread for traction. What’s really interesting about the KB2 is its “kickback” gearing. The bike has a 2-speed Sturmey Archer hub, and you shift simply by kicking the pedals back slightly (before engaging the brake). The low gear gives you an easier gear for starting out and for climbing hills, while the higher gear is good for cruising speeds. Braking on the Torker KB2 is handled by a coaster brake in the rear hub — you just push the pedals all the way back and the brake engages.
Fuji Absolute 3.0
The Fuji bike company traces its roots back to a Japanese bicycle company that started in 1899. A lot has changed since then, and the company is now headquartered in the United States. Fuji produces a full line of bicycles of every type (road, mountain, hybrid, cruisers, kids, etc.), and the Fuji Absolute 3.0 bicycle is part of their Performance Road Hybrid line. Perhaps some of our Cycling For Beginners readers are asking, “what is a hybrid bike?” Though there is no set definition, a hybrid bicycle is usually a bike that has many of the characteristics of a road bike (faster rolling tires, a wide range of gears, responsive frame) with a more upright riding position similar to a mountain bike or comfort bike. Some people might also call the Fuji Absolute a flat bar road bike. Whatever you choose to call it, many people like having a bicycle that moves and handles like a road bike, but with the comfort of not being so bent over the handlebars. I received a Fuji Absolute 3.0 test bike a few weeks ago, but because of the long and messy winter, I have only been able to get out on it a time or two so far. So this will be my preliminary Fuji Absolute review, and I will follow up with another riding review after I am able to spend some more time in the saddle. The Absolute 3.0 is a 24-speed bike, with a triple crank and 8 gears on the cassette. Power goes to the road on Kenda 700×28 tires mounted on Fuji rims, and the Absolute has Tektro V-brakes front and rear. The saddle and the flat handlebars are both Fuji’s own brand, and the handlebars are on an adjustable stem, so you can raise the bars to sit more upright.
Stowabike 26″ Mountain Bike
The Stowabike 26″ Mountain bike has an aluminum frame that makes the bike feel pretty light and a sloping top tube that allows for plenty of stand-over space. Sure, at almost 32 pounds for the whole bike it is heavier than a road bike, but that’s not that bad for an economical mountain bike. I had to take the bike up a flight of stairs every day that I had it, and it did not feel too heavy. The fork on the Stowbike bicycle is an SR Suntour XCM-H with 100mm travel – meaning you have about 4 inches of shock absorption above the front tire (a decent amount). The Stowbike fork also has a lockout, where you can twist a dial on top of the shock and make it where the shock does not more. The lockout feature is helpful when climbing hills and when riding on paved or mostly flat paths. The Aspect 55 has 24 “speeds” – 3 chainrings on the crank and 8 gears on the “cassette” on the rear wheel. Shifting is by Shimano EZ Fire Plus trigger-style shifters, which many people prefer to grip-twist shifting. The Aspect 55 has 26-inch wheels and tires of a quality which seemed decent to me, given the price of the bike, though some reviewers have complained that the rims can wear out quickly. The Scott Aspect 55 brakes are Shimano BR-M416 mechanical disc brakes. The handlebars, grips, and saddle are nothing fancy, but they seem to do the job. Please note that the accessories that you see in some of the pictures, including the Topeak saddle bag, Two Fish water bottle, and cage with velcro attachment, Topeak Road Morph G bike pump, and Planet Bike Spok Lights are mine, and do not come with the bike (nor does the low-security cable lock, which I somewhat sloppily wrapped around the pump, similar to the Planet Bike Quick Stop Lock).
Diamondback Edgewood LX Hybrid Bike
This Diamondback Edgewood LX review will look at a Diamondback hybrid bike that’s new to the market and entry-level in terms of price (around $400). For that price, it looks like you get a lot with this inexpensive hybrid bicycle. It combines a comfort bike with a road bike to give the comfort bike’s larger seat, higher frame, and wider handlebars for easier riding in combination with the thin road tires and better shifting of a real road bike. The frame is aluminum T6 hybrid with SR Suntour 63mm forks and comes in 15, 17, 19, and 21 inches to match the size of the rider. A Shimano shifter and Tektro brakes are also included. The whole thing rolls on double-tunnel alloy rims with Kenda Cross 700x40c tires. If you’re not a serious, hard-core cyclist, then this Diamondback hybrid bicycle is probably one to put on your list as an option. Around the Web, Diamondback Edgewood review entries are showing it to be a quality bike with good workmanship and a great ride, but serious, experienced riders will probably want something better. For the modest price, though, this is one of the most inexpensive hybrid bicycles of quality out there right now.
Breezer Uptown 8
The Breezer Uptown 8 is a modern 8-speed city bike with an aluminum frame that is relatively light and painted in handsome black and brown livery. The Uptown has 26-inch wheels and tires with reflective stripes, which give you some great side visibility at night. Other commuter-friendly amenities include fenders, a bell, a headlight and taillight which are both powered by a Shimano dynamo front hub, back rack, and Axa ring lock and a full chaincase (which keeps the chain clean and keeps oil off of your pants). The dynamo front hub does a nice job of powering both the bright Busch & Miller headlight and the also impressive Basta Riff taillight, while not requiring much additional pedaling effort to generate this power. Some old-style bottle generators that I’ve tried really require a lot of extra pedaling effort, so I really liked the Uptowns efficient hub dynamo. The headlight and taillight also have a “stand light” feature that keeps them on for a while after you come to a stop. The Uptown 8’s ring lock is a nice feature: a built-in lock that allows you to immobilize the rear wheel while you run into a store or park in a fairly safe location. You wouldn’t leave a bike parked in Manhattan for a day using only this kind of lock, or park somewhere else where bike thieves are rampant, but immobilizing the rear wheel gives you some protection from joyriders or other thieves who would be deterred if they could not hop on and ride away. The Uptown 8’s full chaincase is also noteworthy. While many bikes have chainguards that cover some or even all of the side of the chain that faces your leg when riding, the chaincase on the Uptown 8 actually completely encases the chain — so not only are you protected from getting oil on your pants, the chain is also protected from dirt, rain, snow, etc., meaning it should be very low maintenance (which is certainly convenient for a commuter bike).
Kronan Classic 3-Speed Bicycle
Kronan USA imports practical classic city bicycles that are based on a solid 1940′s Swedish Army design. Kronan produces their Classic models in single-speed and 3-speed versions (and they also have a 5-speed aluminum model). I’ve been reviewing a Kronan Classic 3 Speed bike for well over a month now, so I’m pleased to present my Kronan Classic review. Kronan sells their bikes exclusively through the web, shipping only to the United States. The Kronan came very carefully packed – make that extremely carefully packed – and probably about 90% assembled. Since Kronan supplies the tools needed, the assembly was pretty easy, and mostly consists of simple things like screwing in the pedals, attaching the front fender, attaching the cable on the front brake, tightening handlebars, etc. I had to do some minor adjustments, but these are simple adjustments detailed in the Kronan Classic bicycle manual. Once assembled, the Kronan has a classic, stately look that takes you back in time. Nice touches like a stainless bell and a license plate on the back add to the overall appearance. My review model was the 3 Speed, which uses the SRAM T3 Spectro hub that also serves as a coaster brake (for beginner cyclists: if you pedal backward, the brake is applied to the rear wheel). The front-wheel has an SRAM T3 drum brake. There’s also a bottle dynamo mounted on the fork by the front wheel, which you can flip down to touch the tire to generate power when you need to use the front headlight. The rear taillight is battery operated and has light and motion detection. Last of the amenities, but certainly not least, is a big rack on the back with two spring clips to hold things down. One thing to note is that the Kronan bicycle uses inner tubes that have valves that are not one of the two common valve types (Schrader and Presta) in the U.S. Instead, the Kronan tubes use Dunlop valves that are relatively rare in the U.S., but more common in Northern Europe and Japan. The Kronan includes both a hand pump that is nicely integrated into the rear rack on the bike, as well as an adapter that allows you to inflate the tires with most pumps that fit Schrader valves (the same size used with car tires).
Urbana is a Canadian bicycle manufacturer whose goal was to build a city/commuter bike that was also fun to ride. Urbana bikes are available in many different configurations – from single-speed sporty bike to the fully loaded 8-speed commuter bike with chainguard, fenders and super strong rack that was sent to me for review. Two very unique components for all Urbana bikes are the U-frame and the hearty 2.6” tires. I had never really ridden a unisex U-framed bike and I was curious how it would ride – most men’s and many women’s bikes these days are shaped like a diamond because that shape gives the bike stability, while many step-through frames have a lot of flex in the frame (which is not great for a bike’s handling). However, the Urbana’s aluminum frame is thick and super sturdy, and the bike always felt as strong as a tank. In fact, the folks at Urbana challenged me to treat the bike roughly and try to break it. So I rode the Urbana as hard or harder than I’ve ever ridden any bike, but the bike stood up to every challenge. Briefly stated: this bike feels bullet proof! Adding to this super sturdy feel are the massive 2.6 inches Nid de poule tires that are made especially for the Urbana bikes. With these tires, the Urbana bike makes light work of potholes, bumps and road debris. And I liked the fact that the tires held air for days on end so I could just hop on and ride – maybe check the air on weekends (and they were still fine). Another feature of the tires that I really like is the reflective stripe around each side. It’s amazing how brightly these reflect light, which is really a great safety feature for commuting by bike at night. The Urbana has a disc brake on the front wheel and a drum brake on the rear, which together bring the bike to a stop quickly. I have to also mention the saddle – specially made for Urbana – which may be my favorite bike seat ever. The Urbana saddle is cushioned enough to make commuting on bumpy roads comfortable but shaped nicely to stay out of your way during vigorous riding. I also like fenders on commuter bicycles, and the Urbana fenders kept me dry through some big puddles.
Like a traditional comfort bike, the Giant Sedona is built on a mountain-bike-like frame with a frame geometry that allows you to sit mostly upright with your hands on the handlebars. Before we go further, let me clarify that the model I rode is the aluminum frame “Giant Sedona” — Giant is the brand name, and they also make a Sedona ST (cheaper, with heavier steel frame and no suspension fork and a more expensive Sedona DX (more expensive, a few upgraded components). I believe the regular Sedona (with MSRP of $380) has all of the features that most beginner cyclists want or need, at about $120 lower MSRP than the DX model. The Sedona drivetrain is a triple crank (three big gear rings where the pedals attach) with a seven gear “cassette” on the back gear, giving you 21 possible combinations (so it’s a “21 speed”). I found the 21 speeds to be quite adequate for all of my needs, having a good gear range for climbing hills and cruising along quickly also. Shifting is done by twisting the handlebar grips, and I found the shifting to work smoothly. As for the bike’s ergonomics, I liked the saddle even better than the comfortable seats on my Giant Cypress and my Giant Simple. The saddle has a cut-out section to keep pressure off of your more tender parts, and has enough padding to be comfortable yet did not get in my way when riding more vigorously. The Sedona has tires that are somewhat in between mountain bike tires and city bike tires. These tires strike a good balance, and gave me a bit of extra grip on gravel and off-road, without adding too much drag when I was riding on pavement. The tires, coupled with the suspension, make this bike suitable for some off-road riding (honestly, probably as much or more than most people will actually ride off-road) and also make the bike comfortable on bumpy city roads.
Giant Defy 3
The Defy 3 has an Average Retail Price of $810. With a little haggling, and after the end of the summer, I got mine on sale for $715 for a 2009 Defy 3 right near the end of the model year. If you had told me a year ago I would pay that much for a bike, I would have said you were crazy. However, I did my homework and now I know you really get what you pay for with bikes. Actually, you’ll have trouble finding a bike-store-quality bike for under $700 unless you catch a great sale or end up buying a used bike. Readers in Southern California can usually find some good prices on Defy 3 and other bikes on this site. The Defy 3 has classic road bike curved handlebars. The shifters are integrated into the brake levers. There are no levers “on the tops”, so you spend a decent bit of time gripping “on the hoods”. I’m over 200 pounds and hadn’t been on a road bike since the ’80s, so my local bike shop spent a decent bit of time to fit me where I could ride comfortably. With my Giant hybrid, I really liked the quality, and I think Giant is a good brand. One thing that makes beginner road bikes cheaper than their multi-thousand-dollar cousins is that they usually use less expensive components (crank, shifters, cassette, brakes, etc.). The Defy 3 has Shimano 2200 shifters, 2203 front derailleur, and Shimano Sora rear derailleur. These are the cheaper versions of Shimano, so the shifting may not be as smooth as more expensive models. However, it is certainly serviceable — as are the Tektro R350 brakes. Though many people assume a stock seat will need replacing, I’m a big guy and the Defy’s seat has been fine for me so far. Defy 3 has a triple crank which is helpful for a novice like me in a hilly area. The rear cassette is 8 gears — so you have 24 “speeds” in all. Frame. The frame is light-weight aluminum with a carbon fork. Frame geometry is relaxed to allow a more upright riding position. Due to the frame geometry, the bike is more comfortable than I had imagined. However, as I mentioned above my local bike shop did spend a decent bit of time measuring me and adjusting the bike to be sure that I would be positioned correctly. This matters a lot when you may spend 3 or more hours every Saturday on the bike. While many road bikes do not come with pedals, the Defy 3 comes with pedals with a “cage and strap” system — you don’t have to have special shoes for these pedals, and strapping in allows you to use some power on the upstroke of your pedaling also. This is better than just flat platform pedals. However, I’ll be looking to upgrade to “clipless” pedals and bike shoes in the near future.
The Giant Cypress I bought has 21 speeds (3 rings on the crank, 7 gears on the “cassette” on the rear wheel) and has twist shifting on both grips. I admit that it took a little while for me to get used to this, and I might have even been a little wobbly during shifting at first, while I was still getting used to balancing on a bike again. But I quickly got used to it and found the shifting to be pretty good, though I would sometimes need to twist a little more after shifting between the 3 crank rings to stop the chain from grinding. The aluminum frame makes the Cypress a nice weight — not too light for a novice, not too heavy either. It has hand brakes for the front and rear, front fork suspension and seat post suspension, and a large padded seat. All of these combine to make the Cypress really nice to ride — though it takes a while to get used to the seat moving down slightly when you initially sit on the bike (that’s normal with seat post suspension). The Cypress has 700c tires that take about 80 psi of pressure — they roll very nicely and quickly, and are virtually silent on pavement also. A note to beginner cyclists — these tires are thinner than tires on cruiser bikes, so a little harder to adjust to balancing on if you are uncoordinated like me, but not too hard. Also, if you don’t keep these pumped up for every ride, you may be more likely to get a flat than you would on fatter tires.
Electra Townie 7D
The drivetrain on the Townie 7D is fairly simple, one gear on the crank (that round thing connected to the pedals) and 7 gears on the back wheel, shifted by twisting the right hand-grip. I found the 7 gears to offer a great range of gearing for most riding situations. Though you’re not going to pass the Tour De France riders up any mountains on the Townie, the one super-low gear on the Townie 7D should keep you spinning up most inclines. The brakes on the Townie are dual hand brakes that worked well to bring the Townie to a stop quickly and consistently. I found the saddle on the Townie to be very comfortable, being a good combination of sufficient padding and not so big as to be in my way during more vigorous riding. That, coupled with the big tires and the relaxed riding position made for a very comfortable ride, both on paved roads and also on the gravel trails that I took the bike on. In fact, though I had intended to ride at a more leisurely pace, I found myself burning up the trails quicker than I would have expected — with gravel occasionally pinging inside the optional Electra Townie fenders. Despite my initial inclinations, I was falling for this fun, comfortable bike. The verdict: It’s now been a few weeks since I rode the Electra Townie 7D, and I have to say — I want one! The bike was just a ton of fun to ride. No, it won’t replace my road bike for hard and hilly workouts, but the Townie is a great bike for riding around town, riding down trails, riding with the kids or add the optional rack on the back of it and use it for commuting.