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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

View Poll Results: Which bike?
GT 1 10.00%
Fuji 6 60.00%
Schwinn 0 0%
Other in comments 3 30.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-30-15, 07:49 AM   #1
ciderguy
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Advice on New bike for commuting ~75 miles / week

I currently ride an average of about 75 miles per week for commuting (50ish miles) and errands (25 miles). I don't drive. I've been making it work for the last six months on Wal-Mart Schwinn that was given to me, but I'm looking to upgrade to a better bike. I've practically worn out the Schwinn and would need to replace pedals, saddle, and have it completely tuned up to keep riding. I enjoy a moderate amount of speed in my ride, and all of my current trips are under 10 miles one-way. I would to go riding with one of the local group rides after I get my new bike, and those trips would be close to 30 miles (ride is 15 miles, but it starts and ends 7 miles away). 100% of my riding is roads and paved paths. I'm heavier and taller and would qualify as a Clydesdale.

The closest thing to a LBS that is anywhere near me is a Performance, so I'm more or less stuck shopping there. My budget is about $550 (pre-tax), for a bike, fenders, and a rack. I already have a light and a lock.

I'm considering:
  1. GT Traffic 2.0 2016 GT Traffic 2.0 Commuter Road Bike - 2016 + Blackburn EX-1 Disc Rack
  2. Fuji Absolute 3.0 Fuji Absolute 3.0 LE Flat Bar Road Bike - 2015 Performance Exclusive + Blackburn EX-1 Disc Rack + Planet Bike Fenders
  3. Schwinn Voyageur 1 Commute Schwinn Voyageur 1 Commute Sport Hybrid Bike - 2015

I'm leaning towards the GT, so I'm primarily interested in what y'all think of it. TIA!

Last edited by ciderguy; 08-30-15 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 08-30-15, 07:57 AM   #2
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Fuji Absolute, and Performance has some great deals on this bike from time to time. Remember to join their club before buying, so you get 10% back!

If you like the GT better, I would not be afraid of that, either!

Last edited by Wanderer; 08-30-15 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 08-30-15, 08:19 AM   #3
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Fuji Absolute, and Performance has some great deals on this bike from time to time. Remember to join their club before buying, so you get 10% back!

If you like the GT better, I would not be afraid of that, either!
I'm planning on joining the club. Both the GT & Fuji are 20% back in points through Monday. Should be enough for bag / panniers and a water bottle cage.
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Old 08-30-15, 09:03 AM   #4
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I was looking at Nashbar's deal on the Fuji Sportif 1.3 Disc, Tiagra components, Rack mounts... they had a 25% off code last week, taking the price down to $564. Not sure how that equated after taxes and shipping (although I think shipping is free), but that was a hell of a steal there.

GT and Fuji are both quality bikes. If you happen to have military background, you have 10% discount there also I believe, just in case.
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Old 08-30-15, 09:38 AM   #5
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My $0.02. I have a 26 mile round trip commute. I used to ride all the way to my office on a hybrid with flat handle bars, a bike similar to the options you posted. I now prefer my road racing bike with drops. My hybrid forced my body to be upright causing my torso to act as a sail in the wind. This slowed me down significantly. Having my road bike allows me to get down into my drops and penetrate the wind much easier. Additionally, it's easier to sprint on my road bike allowing me to catch lights before they go red (yes, you should stop at red lights). The fall back is cargo, as my hybrid has a back rack for my ridiculously heavy U-Lock. I resolved this issue by just leaving the mega heavy U-Lock on the rack at work, as my do. I also find this backpack to be the most comfortable: Ivan Rolltop Backpacks | Ivan Bag | Chrome Industries

Overall, it's just a faster ride. To give some stats (sort of pulled out of my butt based on recent observations):

No wind:
Average Hybrid Speed: 18 mph
Average Road Speed: 25 mph

Head wind:
Average Hybrid Speed: 12 mph
Average Road Speed: 21 mph

For the head winds it makes a significant difference. I know the overall speed differences seem marginal, but I do get to work quicker. Also, no one likes to be slowed down on their bike anymore than they want to get stuck in slow car traffic.

Again, this is my preference, but personally, it's much better to have a road bike for a longer commute and longer rides as you cover greater distance in a shorter span. While there is nothing wrong with a long distance and easy ride with a hybrid, I personally think they are much better for shorter distances. Secondly, your commute shouldn't be a slow ride. Your goal is to get to your office and get to work. On days when I feel lazy, I'll bike to my local EL station (yes, Chicago) which is 3.5 miles one way. My Hybrid works perfect for that kind of short ride. Sadly my answer is none of those bikes. I would go with what another poster here stated and look on Nashbar for a road bike (if you don't have a big budget). Otherwise, you can look into the bikes at performance. If you get a one of the bikes you listed, you'll end up getting a road bike soon anyway. Hybrid bikes are a gateway drug to road bikes and club riding/racing . In the end it's your choice, but that is my take.
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Old 08-30-15, 10:10 AM   #6
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Overall, it's just a faster ride. To give some stats (sort of pulled out of my butt based on recent observations):

No wind:
Average Hybrid Speed: 18 mph
Average Road Speed: 25 mph

Head wind:
Average Hybrid Speed: 12 mph
Average Road Speed: 21 mph

Hybrid bikes are a gateway drug to road bikes and club riding/racing . In the end it's your choice, but that is my take.
I've been feeling that a road bike with drop handlebars would be better. The issues are 1)fenders 2)having a backpack instead of rear rack. I live in a warm climate, and I'm getting tired of having a backpack shaped wet spot on me everyday. My average speed lately on my current work commute is roughly 20 mph there and 15 mph home (more up hill on the way home). I was originally considering a less expensive single speed road bike that I could put fenders and a rack on, but I have a feeling that it would be less suitable for longer rides.

The only bike on Nashbar that isn't a single speed with drop handlebars in my price range is this: Bottecchia Unica Claris Road Bike . And, it doesn't seem to have a way to mount fenders. There is also this cyclocross bike (Nashbar CX1 Cyclocross Bike) but it too has no way to mount fenders.

I've also never assembled a bike before, and since I don't drive I'd have to learn how since I'm not going to carry the box to somewhere and have it assembled.
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Old 08-30-15, 10:39 AM   #7
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I would suggest checking out craigslist for a vintage-ish roadbike w/ fender eyelets that can also support a rack:

CLEAN FUJI SAGRES ROAD BIKE ! 58cm Frame !
http://(2nd bike deleted)

I assume that last one is a bikesdirect era motobecane not a real French one, but if it meets the function for the price...

No, wait, that bike is barely discounted from bd's price new: Save Up to 60% Off Carbon Fork Road Bikes - Motobecane Mirage S
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Old 08-30-15, 11:50 AM   #8
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For me a Dutch city bike like an Opafiets from Workcycles, Azor, Batavus, or Gazelle would (and is actually) the easy choice. More comfortable to ride than anything that requires you to lean forward, easier to ride in regular clothes, more reliable, easier to carry stuff from errands, etc.

More: City Bikes | LocalMile
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Old 08-30-15, 12:06 PM   #9
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If you're riding exclusively on well paved roads and paths, I wouldn't bother with suspension (i.e. hybrids like the Schwinn). I find a rigid bike faster and simpler to maintain.

If all your rides are within 10 miles (50 mile weekly commute sounds like 5 miles each way), I think your speed/time will be determined more by traffic than any aerodynamic position. I've commuted for years on upright bars (English 3 speeds, Dutch bikes, etc.). My commute speed ranged from 18mph (very early morning before traffic) to 8 mph (crossing town at evening rush hour) at different times on the same bicycle.

Personally, I don't find flat bars comfortable, I like Northroad bars on the English bikes, or drop bars are fine. Obviously, you want a frame/riding position comfortable for you, not for us.

I would not recommend the Dutch bike if you want to ride 30+ miles with a local club. I find my Dutch bikes (1960 Gazelle) noticably heaver on hills and a bit slower. They're great for a weather proof 5-10 mile commute, and OK for 15 miles with the club, but I would not choose this as my only bike if you start going on longer rides.
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Old 08-30-15, 05:59 PM   #10
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I find a rigid bike faster and simpler to maintain.

If all your rides are within 10 miles (50 mile weekly commute sounds like 5 miles each way). I've commuted for years on upright bars (English 3 speeds, Dutch bikes, etc.).

Personally, I don't find flat bars comfortable, I like Northroad bars on the English bikes, or drop bars are fine. Obviously, you want a frame/riding position comfortable for you, not for us.

I would not recommend the Dutch bike if you want to ride 30+ miles with a local club.
I appreciate the advice. Yes, it is roughly 5 miles each way. Sometimes I combine coming home with an errand, so 4 miles 20 min of shopping, and then 8-9 miles home isn't out of the ordinary. The idea of something easy to maintain appeals to me. I'm essentially looking for something that will suit me as my only form of transportation. I realize there will be compromises at my price range. I don't expect it to be super fast and light. I don't plan on doing any century rides with it. I just want something fairly bullet-proof that gets me from A to B and keeps my stuff reasonably dry and doesn't splash water and road debris all over me.

If my current bike wasn't falling apart, I'd just look for an old used rigid MTB to put fenders, rack, and road tires on. Then, I'd buy a separate road bike for fitness purposes (and as a backup). I unfortunately don't have that kind of time.

I expect to ride more in the future for fitness, either with the club or without. I've always ridden bikes with flat bars, and my first real bike was a early 90s Trek rigid MTB with flat bars that lasted from adolescence through college. I would regularly ride 20-30 miles on it on fairly flat terrain. I did ride a century on it once, and I realized that I didn't adequately prepare for that kind of ride. I'm not particularly attached to flat bars, but I have no idea how to use something else. I rode a beach cruiser once with Northroad-type bars, and I wasn't a fan. I didn't feel like I had sufficient control when I was going fast. I'm going to the shop tomorrow and I'll try out some drop bars.
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Old 08-30-15, 11:55 PM   #11
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A 5 mile commute can be ridden on anything. I am doing a 17 mile round trip commute on a fixed gear track bike. I have done it on a single speed with a coaster brake, a geared CX bike with drops, a full carbon road bike, this track bike, and a fat bike. By the time I hit 5 miles I am just getting warmed up.
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Old 08-31-15, 10:59 AM   #12
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Be careful about trying to compromise too much. Trying to find a bike that will do too many things will likely insure that it does none very well. In my younger days I raced cars and motorcycles (and bicycles). The cars I used for transportation were vastly different than the ones I raced. A hybrid would have been uncomfortable and unsuitable for transportation (harsh suspension, uncomfortable seat, no place to carry anything, no protection from elements) and would not have been fun for racing. Same for motorcycles. Same for bicycles.

Club rides vary quite a bit. I use to ride with two very different groups; one a moderate pace (13 mph) group that toured through communities and villages and stopped for beer and typically did about 25 miles (though occasional longer rides of 50 - 70), the other more fitness focused with speeds of about 15 - 25 mph (typically each ride broken in to two or three groups based on speed) with ride lengths of 25 to 70 miles. An Dutch opafiets was perfect for the first, no way for the second. A carbon fiber road bike was perfect for the second, uncomfortable and not very appropriate for the first. I stopped riding with the fitness groups because they were mostly a bunch of jerks who had little consideration for other road users and did more to anger people against cyclists than anything positive. Still ride with the first group.
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Old 08-31-15, 12:56 PM   #13
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Find a touring bike frame. These ones will have fender eyelets, be built to haul and have drop bars if you want. Not as fast as a road bike, but very practical for many many types of rides. Or get its cousin the sports tourer. Which carries a bit less weight in exchange for speed.
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Old 08-31-15, 02:23 PM   #14
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Fuji Touring
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Old 09-04-15, 04:55 AM   #15
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I ended up with the GT because of wider tyres, a longer wheelbase, and fender & rack compatibility. All of Fuji's in my budget were more suitable for racing instead of commuting. I would have liked to purchase something with drop bars, I'm going to make this work for now. Thanks to everyone for their advice!
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Old 09-04-15, 07:21 AM   #16
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The Voyageur name is now slapped on a low-mid priced hybrid bike with a suspension fork?
A little bit of me just died.
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Old 09-09-15, 05:19 AM   #17
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What I ended up with:
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg 800x600-green-backdrop.jpg (103.9 KB, 15 views)
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Old 09-09-15, 05:27 AM   #18
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Sweet, excellent choice.
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Old 09-09-15, 10:49 AM   #19
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I used to solely commute on a heavy hybrid with heavy puncture resistant Schwalbe Marathon Plus 33 tires, heavy generative lighting system, and heavy rack and panniers. But now almost 100% of my commutes are on my 19 lb. Trek Madone drop bar bike with a backpack. By doing so, I shaved about 25lbs off my bike rig, and 10 minutes off of a 36 minute, 9 mile commute (now down to ~25 min. on a fast day). And all of my commutes have now become big effort training sessions for my long weekend group rides. And because I'm in training mode almost all the time, I've shaved about 30 lbs. off of MY frame in the last 12 months commuting by drop bar. YMMV.
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Old 09-09-15, 11:16 AM   #20
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I used to solely commute on a heavy hybrid with heavy puncture resistant Schwalbe Marathon Plus 33 tires, heavy generative lighting system, and heavy rack and panniers. But now almost 100% of my commutes are on my 19 lb. Trek Madone drop bar bike with a backpack. By doing so, I shaved about 25lbs off my bike rig, and 10 minutes off of a 36 minute, 9 mile commute (now down to ~25 min. on a fast day). And all of my commutes have now become big effort training sessions for my long weekend group rides. And because I'm in training mode almost all the time, I've shaved about 30 lbs. off of MY frame in the last 12 months commuting by drop bar. YMMV.
It depends on what your goals are. Though I don't commute on a sub-20 lb racing machine, I use a road bike for most of my commutes and like it because it rewards the efforts I put in.

At the same time, not everybody wants to be in training mode all the time, even if they enjoy the occasional group ride on the weekend. It sounds like the OP found what he is after. Hopefully it is suited to the group rides he had in mind, but if not, there are generally several group rides available in a given area. Some are more relaxed than others. The one he talked about was 15 miles long which sounds pretty laid back.

Sometimes multiple bikes are the answer, but I like the gravel/adventure bikes that are becoming more popular. I could see something of that variety being adequate for all my needs.
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Old 09-09-15, 01:05 PM   #21
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It looks like a great bike for the purpose, but the tires look heavy. You should try some lighter tires and see if you like them. Not now, necessarily, since these will last a long time.
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Old 09-10-15, 07:41 AM   #22
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This was the best compromise available within my budget and options at the LBS that I could find. I don't just commute on it. It is also a grocery hauler and general transportation. Hauling a week's worth of groceries + lock in a backback gets old after a while. The tires are wide and probably heavy, but I'm a little wide and heavy as well. Come I might need to put studded tyres on it, so I wanted to make sure I'd have something with the clearance for that. The current tyres are 700c x 40mm.

I don't drive and the public transit system in my area is inadequate for my needs. The group rides I wan to go on are relaxed simple social rides of 15-20 miles at around 15mph. It is about a 10 mile round-trip to the starting point, so I'll spend almost as commuting there and back as I do on the ride.

Sure, I'd love to have multiple bikes, but that wasn't an option. I am shaving weight off of my frame, and I feel this bike will allow me to continue to do so. My commute speed is often limited by lights, traffic, and other obstacles. My goal isn't to go super fast. It is to enjoy being outside, and enjoy the bike, and get moderate aerobic exercise.
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