The Chainlink

So I took my beloved bike into the shop to get a new chain. Turns out, the front chainring is gone, as is the rear, as is the hub, as in the chain, as is the seat....Long story short I am in search of a new bike, but I have NO clue where to start.

Here's what I am currently riding;

54 cm State Bicycle Co.

700c  x 1 1/8 wheels

Fixed with flip-flop hub

Im looking for something under or around $600. I bought this bike initially when I was an aspiring messenger downtown, however now my ride consists of a 5 mile commute from Lincoln Square to Evanston primarily riding on California or the North Shore Channel Trail. I wouldn't mind keeping a single speed/fixed gear bike because I like the idea of just wiping, cleaning and greasing. However I am open to the idea of breaching the realm of gears and derailleurs. So what would you guys recommend in that price range to meet my needs?

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Well there are plenty of options.  I would consider the following:

1.  If you like your frame, then replace the missing parts.

2.  Shop for a bike shop.  Talk to different places and find one you feel understands your riding priorities.

3.  Look at second hand bikes.  Places which rent bikes are always selling the stock which they are replacing.  I know someone who bought a bike this way last year and is very happy with his purchase.  You can get a 24 speed hybrid for about $300 - $350, and there are lower cost options.

Those are all wear items. If you like the bike as it is replace them and you're good to go. It sounds like you're wanting a bit of a change, though, so start looking at bike stores to see what kind of commuter you want and you can look at used/online options from there if price is that much of an issue.

Personally I'd rather have the hassle of cleaning cassettes every month or two as long as I can get at them in an emergency, but like brakes that's a personal preference. Regardless, full covering fenders and rack/panniers if you don't have them will make your commute 1000 times better at the cost of your bike messenger-look cred.

You might want to consider something with an internal hub. Low or no maintenance, great in bad weather, and plenty of gearing options available.

I'd probably replace the worn parts if it was mine.

Lots of used options out there that will get you a better bike but still stay in your price range.  Here's a low mileage 52 cm Nature Boy:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/All-City-Nature-Boy-Disc-Singlespeed-52cm-V...

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