Commuting - Budget rack / fenders?
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06-03-11, 11:50 AM
Hello, all! Yesterday, I did a 12 mile ride with a buddy of mine around Central Park, and I honestly loved the experience. However, I did it with my fairly heavy North Face book bag carrying ~15 pounds of locks, water, and misc things strapped to my bike for the entire 2 hours. I think I need a rack + cord :) . The trouble that I am having is that there are a wealth of options my price range of $30 max, and its a bit overwhelming. I am trying to limit my search to Amazon, since I have a Prime subscription. At present, I am considering the Topeak Explorer, Planet Bike Eco Rack Oversized 6061 T6, Ventura Universal Bicycle Carrier Rack, and the M-Wave Alloy Bicycle Carrier Rack (Standard).
I'm also having a similar quandary regarding fenders. I think I've narrowed it down to the SKS Commuter set, as they appear to have the best cost/rating ratio in that price range. Although, I'm not yet sure if I would even want permanent fenders. I do intend to commute after, if not during, periods of inclement weather, so I'm certain I'll need them at some point. Just not sure if I need them as permanent figures during my jaunts through the park.
My bicycle is the 2010 KHS Flite 220. It has 700c x 26 tires, and eyelets for front and rear fender and rear rack.
Any feedback would be appreciated.
06-03-11, 12:00 PM
Wald.. heavy, but steel is like that..
06-03-11, 12:10 PM
Does you bike have the eyelets near the brake bridge for a rack? I have the eco and it serves its purpose.
If cost is a concern, I'm pretty sure that you can find both the eco rack and some fenders on some online site that will offer free shipping once the total hits a certain amount.
Or you can buy it at REI online and have it shipped for free to your nearest REI.
06-03-11, 12:32 PM
I'm a big fan of Topeak racks. I love their proprietary QuickTrack (http://www.topeak.com/pages/343/news/detail/44?WYSESSID=ojnfjtq6t1nrj7k1tt3i89qhv3) system, and I have one of their trunk bags that attaches/detaches from the rack in seconds.
As for fenders, two of my bikes run PB Cascadias (http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Bike-7058-5-Cascadia-Fender/dp/B00474SFT8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=sporting-goods&qid=1307122245&sr=1-1) and I think they're great bang-for-the-buck. Great coverage, and very durable.
06-03-11, 12:38 PM
Its not in front of me ATM, but I believe it does.
06-03-11, 01:15 PM
Another vote for Topeak rack - I have 2 and they are good budget racks. I'm sure the Planet Bike is fine, too.
Fenders - anything by SKS or Planet Bike will be good quality.
If you ride "after" the rain you'll find fenders are just as useful as riding "during" the rain, if not more so.
Also, I gather you are in NYC, based on your "Central Park" reference? If so, have you noticed how much disgusting stuff is on the streets from leaking restaurant garbage, doormen hosing off sidewalks, etc? Fenders keep all THAT off of you, too. Even on sunny days!
06-03-11, 01:27 PM
Rockfish, say no more. Fenders shall be donned - permanently!
I i never get one of the Topeak sliding bags, would the rack itself still be a good value? I'm leaning towards it, since it might be nice to have the option later on, but as of now, I would rather just strap down one of my own bags than buy a new one.
06-03-11, 01:42 PM
The Topeak rack works just fine as a regular rack, even if you never use their bags.
It's basically the same price and quality as the Planet Bike, Blackburn, Axiom, etc, but as you note it gives you the option to use the bag system down the road if you choose.
06-03-11, 02:17 PM
I recommend the Topeak Explorer. It is rated for up to 55lbs, which is likely more than you will ever want to carry on a rack, and is priced under $30 at Amazon. I've had one for 3 years and it's still as good as new.
06-03-11, 03:04 PM
Another thing to note...if you have a rack on the back that's a solid piece over the top of the back tire (most of them are like this, but don't have it) the bottom of the rack will stop a lot of the water that's kicked up by the back tire and keep it from hitting your back. Fenders provide better coverage, but even just a rack is a definite improvement.
The Topeak Explorer rack is usually highly recommended. For fenders I do like the Planet Bike Cascadias myself. However I am confused by your tires size (700c x 26)?
06-03-11, 03:48 PM
Woops, I transposed the 'c'. The official demarcation is "Kenda Kontender 700x26c".
I'm going to get the Topeak rack, since it is so highly regarded. I'm going to stick to the SKS Commuter set because they are almost $20 cheaper than the Cascadiasans and are also highly rated. Thank you all once again for the suggestions. First with choosing a bike, now with accessories. I think the next modification will be to the pedals. My foot slipped off several times yesterday, and since only one side has teeth, it took me a few moments of looking down to get back into position while still in motion. I may have been able to get away with it on a bike path, but I don't think that would fly in actual traffic.
Enjoy the accessories then happy_accident :thumb:.
On two of my commuters I have the Power Grips straps (http://www.mountainracingproducts.com/power-grips/strap-sets/). I like them better than cages and never got into clipless pedals.
06-03-11, 05:34 PM
Well, since you opened the "pedals" can o'worms!
A decent double sided pedal with no straps is my preference for urban riding. You never have to worry about having the pedal on the "right" side and most will offer enough grip to keep you from sliding around. I don't like being clipped or strapped in any way when I'm in an environment where surprises are likely. YMMV of course.
Again, amazon has several options that are inexpensive.
06-03-11, 07:27 PM
If you don't want to go with the expense of clipless (which requires matching shoes), or the PITA that toe clips can be, you can't go wrong wrong with a good set of BMX-style platform pedals (click on pic for link):
Open-bearing pedals are cheaper, but I prefer sealed-bearing (aka "cartridge) pedals like these.
You've got the rack issue sorted out, can't help with the fenders, and I'll second another's nod towards big, grippy platform pedals.
Once you get that rack and strap your backpack to it, you are going to start thinking that there has to be a better way. Most conventional wisdom on the cheap is to use a milk crate (physics debate aside), but that doesn't work for everyone. Didn't for me, as the top of the crate was above saddle height and my keister was killing me from all the rubbing. So I came up with an alternative that allowed me to keep my backpack, but get it off of me while on the bike if I choose.204621
06-03-11, 09:56 PM
One (or a pair) of these Wald-type folding baskets can be easily affixed to pretty much any rack, and will accept your book bag, a week's worth of groceries, or a few bottles of your favorite beverage!
06-04-11, 10:38 PM
Hey, those Sunlite baskets look pretty nifty - out of the way when you don't need them, and fully functional when you do. I'm going to ask my LBS if they carry those, since I know they stock that brand of merchandise. Question: would having my book bag on either side of the bike throw off my balance? I was kind of thinking to strap it directly onto the rack since that would be pretty much dead center. But, in addition to the baskets posted above, I have also seen one sided panniers and such, and I can't help but wonder how they affect the handling of the bike.
Also, I am leaning towards these pedals : http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BW3HKU/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER
They appear to have teeth on both sides, as well as clips + straps. Does that look like a good investment?
06-04-11, 11:20 PM
You'll generally want to ride with your feet in the clips. You can damage the clips if you are riding on the flat side because it is possible for them to strike the ground. At best you'll abrade the nylon clips, which isn't a big deal, but at worse, the material will fracture.
I have BMX style platform pedals with fixed pins/spikes similar to those in irclean's image above. I've hit the pavement a few times while making aggressive turns with the inside foot down by accident a few times.
In case you do end up getting those Avenir pedals from Amazon, you might want to remove the screws that hold the clips on and then clean them with degreaser like Simple Green and/or denatured alcohol and then apply a bit of thread lock before put them back on. Maybe it's just my bad luck, but I've had two sets of similar pedals where the screws came out within the first 15 miles, or so, of riding.
Depending on the weight, you may or may not notice issues with a single pannier. I can tell the difference from when I ride with my backpack on me, on the top of my rack, and with the pack placed inside a Townie basket on the side of the rack. Not so much noticing a problem with balance, but one of overall performance.
Just checked the chain stay length of the OPs bike- 16.3" across the model line, except for the XL with 16.5". Pick your rack basket/pannier combo with care or you may experience heel strike.
06-05-11, 01:07 AM
People like different pedals, but I like the BMX pedals alot too. They are so much more grippy than the cage pedals. I never worry about slipping with them on. If I have something like a skater type shoe on they really stick. You can spend alot or not very much on them. I bought a pair of these becasue the Yellow matched the bike and I was happy enough with them I ordered another pair. They were less than $10 so it was hard to go wrong I guess. I would say its probably worth it long term if your budget allows to get something with replaceable pins. These are just plastic.
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