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Old 04-19-17, 10:42 AM   #1
fsociety.dat
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Newb Needs Help Buying A Commuter

Hi everyone,

I've been looking into commuting to and from work this summer on a bike. I have searched the threads and think that I'll be looking into a Cyclocross bike, but I wanted to make a new thread specific to my needs to ask the opinions of all you more experienced riders.
The specifics of my commute are that it is about a 45 minute ride, covering approximately 13km. There are two - three decent sized hills that I will have to commute through. Also, I live in Canada, so the roads aren't exactly perfect. Near the end of my commute this season, the last kilometer or so will be gravel, as they're planning to tear up the roads.
I'm looking to spend no more than $1000 on a bike and am wonder if there are about 3 bikes that I could choose from to suit my needs? Let me know what you all think and any advice that you could give to a beginner!
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Old 04-19-17, 11:01 AM   #2
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Hi everyone,

I've been looking into commuting to and from work this summer on a bike. I have searched the threads and think that I'll be looking into a Cyclocross bike, but I wanted to make a new thread specific to my needs to ask the opinions of all you more experienced riders.
The specifics of my commute are that it is about a 45 minute ride, covering approximately 13km. There are two - three decent sized hills that I will have to commute through. Also, I live in Canada, so the roads aren't exactly perfect. Near the end of my commute this season, the last kilometer or so will be gravel, as they're planning to tear up the roads.
I'm looking to spend no more than $1000 on a bike and am wonder if there are about 3 bikes that I could choose from to suit my needs? Let me know what you all think and any advice that you could give to a beginner!
I took one of these for a test ride at my local bike store: KONA BIKES | ROAD | JAKE | Jake

Very nice bike, and can be had for well under $1000. Put some nice fat, fast, smooth tires on there, and you will do just fine on pavement and gravel. I have 40mm Vittoria Voyager Hypers on my Marin 4 Corners (I have the old one...you might look at the 2017 model as well) and they are very fast, and very comfortable at 55-60psi.
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Old 04-19-17, 11:10 AM   #3
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If you are near Toronto, one of these might suit you:

Miele Svelto RRD Shimano 105 11 Speed, Disc Brake, Road Bike | road | Toronto (GTA) | Kijiji

If not, they can ship, I believe, but there are other options.

https://www.norco.com/bike-archives/2015/threshold-a3/

It's a bit heavier, but it's a decent ride and you can mount fenders and a rack on it.

They're both Canadian companies. It's good to buy Canadian!
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Old 04-19-17, 11:38 AM   #4
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Also, if you're handy, you might want to check out the online companies. I've been kicking around the idea of a new bike...though for next year I think. There are usually really good deals out there. Just for example, there is this at nashbar: https://www.nashbar.com/webapp/wcs/s...69_-1___204872

a few extra bucks if you want to spend it would get you much nicer components. But there's nothing wrong with the stuff on that bike for 599.
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Old 04-19-17, 01:30 PM   #5
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mcours2006: I don't live in Toronto, but I'm only about 1.5 hours away. Picking it up wouldn't be an issue for me. I don't know if I want to sacrifice weight, as I'll be using it often to commute, so I'd rather spend a little bit extra for the lighter bike. I'm going to look at the two bikes that you linked in more detail, once I'm off work.

Abe_Froman: I'm liking how that Kona Jake is looking, but it comes up as $1500 for me. I'll do some digging to see if I can find it for a lower price! I'm liking the price tag of the bike that you linked to me off of Nashbar though!
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Old 04-19-17, 02:15 PM   #6
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mcours2006: I don't live in Toronto, but I'm only about 1.5 hours away. Picking it up wouldn't be an issue for me. I don't know if I want to sacrifice weight, as I'll be using it often to commute, so I'd rather spend a little bit extra for the lighter bike. I'm going to look at the two bikes that you linked in more detail, once I'm off work.

Abe_Froman: I'm liking how that Kona Jake is looking, but it comes up as $1500 for me. I'll do some digging to see if I can find it for a lower price! I'm liking the price tag of the bike that you linked to me off of Nashbar though!
Come to Chicago. Bike store 5 minutes away from my house has a Kona Jake for like $699. Very cool store, commuter oriented. Next door to the pool hall The Color Of Money with Tom Cruise/Paul Newman was shot in.

Edit: I just saw you were in Canada. Sorry...yea will probably be like $42,500 lol
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Old 04-19-17, 02:48 PM   #7
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Surly ground zero is Minnesota, I don't know if that means you could easily find CrossChecks in kijili, but that's a very common option for a cross bike as a commuter (it's what I ride). That and LHT, or Straggler.

Also online is a good option, maybe. For instance BD has many cross bikes under $1000. Here's info about shipping 'to' canada, which apparently is really shipping to a UPS Store in the US near Canada, and you drive and go pick it up, if that's something you're up for.

Also, you don't necessarily have to go full-gravel/cross-racing bike for 1km of gravel. You could get away with a vintage steel road bike with clearance for 700x28 or maybe even 700x32 tires.
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Old 04-19-17, 03:01 PM   #8
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mcours2006: I don't live in Toronto, but I'm only about 1.5 hours away. Picking it up wouldn't be an issue for me. I don't know if I want to sacrifice weight, as I'll be using it often to commute, so I'd rather spend a little bit extra for the lighter bike. I'm going to look at the two bikes that you linked in more detail, once I'm off work.
!
The extra weight is really a non-issue with a commuter bike, because chances are you'll be adding a set of fenders, rack, and perhaps panniers, cage and bottle, lights, and other electronics on it. A light bike is nice, to be sure. Your 19-lb bike, when fully laden, will weigh 30 lbs instead of 35 lbs.

FWIW, the Norco Threshold A3 with disc brakes and Sora weighs about 24 lb, while the Miele with the disc brakes and 5800 is a couple of pounds lighter, but I don't know if the Miele has the eyelets for rack and fender, nor whether or not you can fit larger tires on it.
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Old 04-19-17, 03:37 PM   #9
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I have a mile of fire road on my commute and haven't ever had a problem with my tires. A dirt road is still a road. It's probably not as bad as Paris-Roubaix. The main problem it gives me is a dirty bike.
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Old 04-19-17, 04:00 PM   #10
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Come to Chicago. Bike store 5 minutes away from my house has a Kona Jake for like $699. Very cool store, commuter oriented. Next door to the pool hall The Color Of Money with Tom Cruise/Paul Newman was shot in.

Edit: I just saw you were in Canada. Sorry...yea will probably be like $42,500 lol
Haha! I'm actually planning to be in Chicago this fall... I don't think that I can be so patient though! Yep, our dollar is pretty bad right now, but I'm about to check a few sources now; we'll see!

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Surly ground zero is Minnesota, I don't know if that means you could easily find CrossChecks in kijili, but that's a very common option for a cross bike as a commuter (it's what I ride). That and LHT, or Straggler.

Also online is a good option, maybe. For instance...BD has many cross bikes under $1000. ....Here's info about shipping 'to' canada, which apparently is really shipping to a UPS Store in the US near Canada, and you drive and go pick it up, if that's something you're up for.

Also, you don't necessarily have to go full-gravel/cross-racing bike for 1km of gravel. You could get away with a vintage steel road bike with clearance for 700x28 or maybe even 700x32 tires.
Awesome! I'm going to check that link now and see what I can find.
Do you think that some rough roads would be an issue though? Some of the roads on my commute won't be the smoothest, lol.

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The extra weight is really a non-issue with a commuter bike, because chances are you'll be adding a set of fenders, rack, and perhaps panniers, cage and bottle, lights, and other electronics on it. A light bike is nice, to be sure. Your 19-lb bike, when fully laden, will weigh 30 lbs instead of 35 lbs.

FWIW, the Norco Threshold A3 with disc brakes and Sora weighs about 24 lb, while the Miele with the disc brakes and 5800 is a couple of pounds lighter, but I don't know if the Miele has the eyelets for rack and fender, nor whether or not you can fit larger tires on it.
That makes sense; I've already been looking at fenders. I'd have to stay pretty clean, as I work in an office and am required to be semi formal. I'll try not to dwell on that too much then. The Norco Threshold might sound a little bit better for my situation then.
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Old 04-19-17, 07:16 PM   #11
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If you are near Toronto, try Sweete Petes. There website has a Kona. And a Trek with Claris drive train for 1000$. If your mechanically inclined go used road bike and get something really sweet.
Trek 1.1 C H2 - Sweet Pete's Bike Shop Toronto
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Old 04-20-17, 05:43 AM   #12
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I would echo that if you buy used $1000 can get you a really nice ride. If you're not in a big metro area then selection might be limited.

Keep in mind the Miele from Brown's Sports is has disc brakes and is 11-speed, though I think they skimp on the crankset and brakes, which are not 105's. The Norco is a 9-speed, and the two recommended by Classtime is 8-speed, but both have eyelets for fender and rack mounts.
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Old 04-20-17, 08:17 AM   #13
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Just wanted to add, I have a similar commute with not so good roads (potholes, glass shards, etc) and hardpacked gravel on some sections, recently with 27mm tyres on my gravel bike and they work great, so you may not need much more.
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Old 04-20-17, 10:20 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=Classtime;19523444]If you are near Toronto, try Sweete Petes. There website has a Kona. And a Trek with Claris drive train for 1000$. If your mechanically inclined go used road bike and get something really sweet.

I'm definitely mechanically inclined, but I just worry about buying something used when my knowledge is so limited. I'm not opposed to the idea though. I checked out Sweet Petes and they both look like something that would work for me, especially that Trek.

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I would echo that if you buy used $1000 can get you a really nice ride. If you're not in a big metro area then selection might be limited.

Keep in mind the Miele from Brown's Sports is has disc brakes and is 11-speed, though I think they skimp on the crankset and brakes, which are not 105's. The Norco is a 9-speed, and the two recommended by ...is 8-speed, but both have eyelets for fender and rack mounts.
This is where the newness to the sport kicks in for me! I'm going to need to do a little bit more research to discover what gearing will be best for me.

Also, I've been looking at the Specialized Allez E5 Sport. Do you have any opinions on that setup? It looks like it would also fit my budget.

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Just wanted to add, I have a similar commute with not so good roads (potholes, glass shards, etc) and hardpacked gravel on some sections, recently with 27mm tyres on my gravel bike and they work great, so you may not need much more.
You're commute sounds a lot like mine!
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Old 04-20-17, 10:32 AM   #15
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OP, I just noticed your username
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Old 04-20-17, 10:50 AM   #16
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You're commute sounds a lot like mine!
It seemed that to me too, that's why I wanted to comment that maybe for just commuting you wouldn't need more than a road bike that can fit 28mm tires. But if you want to use your bike for more than just commuting, I have to say I love my gravel bike for exploring, I just change the tires and off I go.
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Old 04-20-17, 10:55 AM   #17
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Shimano's groupset hierarchy currently peaks at Dura-Ace 9000/9100, Ultegra 6800, 105 5800, all of which are 11-speed. They are followed by Tiagra 4700--10-speed, Sora R3000--9-speed, and Claris 2400--8-speed. The cost of the groupsets alone range from about $250 all the way to $2000. Let's not even speak of the Di2 stuff.

Then you have the previous generations of the same groupsets, some have the same number of gears, some have one fewer.

The general consensus among folks around here is that Shimano's 105 groupset represents the best value for the performance.

That should make it easier for you to compare different bikes. But keep in mind that the frame is also an important consideration. The Allez frame is a very well regarded one, so expect to pay a bit more.
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Old 04-20-17, 11:24 AM   #18
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The general consensus among folks around here is that Shimano's 105 groupset represents the best value for the performance.
I'd say the consensus is fairly evenly spit between Tiagra and 105, depending on whether a person is more budget- or performance-conscious. Here's a long thread about it.
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Old 04-20-17, 11:40 AM   #19
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Hehe. I remember that thread.

I am using 5700 for my non-winter commuter. Ten thousand km's in and it's been pretty reliable. But then again, so is my winter beater with 4500.
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Old 04-20-17, 11:48 AM   #20
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I'm conflicted. My personal cheapskateness, and my mind, say Tiagra offers great reliability and performance and value.

But my irrational self thinks that "105" sounds cool and high-tech, while Tiagra seems like a lame attempt to sound like "Tiger". Or maybe it's because starting with T groups Tiagra with Tourney in my mind. Or maybe because Tiagra is really close to Viagra.
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Old 04-20-17, 11:51 AM   #21
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Components matter a lot less than some want you to believe. The retail prices of components suggest that there must be a good reason that the higher-line stuff is more expensive. The wholesale prices are much closer. I might wear out a derailleur, and you might wear out a headset or whatever, and once I wear out that derailleur, I might conclude that Tiagra is crappy, and then I'll upgrade and be happy. But which component wears out is a lot of luck.

The only component I'm willing to spend a lot extra on is hubs. Hubs spin whenever the bike is moving, unlike all other components. Building a wheel takes time or money, and you don't want to swap a hub into an otherwise fine wheel, so it pays to buy your hubs once. But that's not to say you shouldn't buy a bike if it doesn't have Dura Ace (or some other high-line) hubs. Just that if you're replacing a rear hub, choose the best one you can afford.

Don't worry about components.
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Old 04-20-17, 12:04 PM   #22
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Perused craigslist in Toronto, and saw this:

https://toronto.craigslist.ca/search...oss+%7C+gravel

Looking at the ad for $700, that guy has a lot of cool vintage bikes there. Wow. That blue Pinarello is really nice and looks like my size. Most look like race bikes, so prolly no mounts for fenders. But closer to what the OP is looking for might be the All-City Nature Boy and the Felt 85X cyclocross bikes.
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Old 04-21-17, 10:27 AM   #23
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OP, I just noticed your username
Haha! I'm glad that you were able to pick up on that

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It seemed that to me too, that's why I wanted to comment that maybe for just commuting you wouldn't need more than a road bike that can fit 28mm tires. But if you want to use your bike for more than just commuting, I have to say I love my gravel bike for exploring, I just change the tires and off I go.
The bike with certainly be more focused for my commuting. I'll play the rest by ear, depending on how passonate I become about biking. I do like the options that gravel bikes give me though!

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Shimano's groupset hierarchy currently peaks at Dura-Ace 9000/9100, Ultegra 6800, 105 5800, all of which are 11-speed. They are followed by Tiagra 4700--10-speed, Sora R3000--9-speed, and Claris 2400--8-speed. The cost of the groupsets alone range from about $250 all the way to $2000. Let's not even speak of the Di2 stuff.

Then you have the previous generations of the same groupsets, some have the same number of gears, some have one fewer.

The general consensus among folks around here is that Shimano's 105 groupset represents the best value for the performance.

That should make it easier for you to compare different bikes. But keep in mind that the frame is also an important consideration. The Allez frame is a very well regarded one, so expect to pay a bit more.
I'm seeing a lot of raving about 11 speed bikes, while doing my research and am not really experienced enough to know if the difference between the Shimano 105 11-speed would make a difference to me, as opposed to the Tiagra 4700 10-speed. I definitely don't want to go overboard with the consumerism side just yet, so I'm trying to be mindful of that. It sounds like the Tiagra would suffice for my needs and at a better price point.
The Allez is being shown for $770 online, but it doesn't mention anything about the wheels included; it only mentions the frame ,forks, and group sets. I'd send you the link, but I'm still restricted on the forum. Is it safe for me to assume that they are? lol


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Components matter a lot less than some want you to believe. The retail prices of components suggest that there must be a good reason that the higher-line stuff is more expensive. The wholesale prices are much closer. I might wear out a derailleur, and you might wear out a headset or whatever, and once I wear out that derailleur, I might conclude that Tiagra is crappy, and then I'll upgrade and be happy. But which component wears out is a lot of luck.

The only component I'm willing to spend a lot extra on is hubs. Hubs spin whenever the bike is moving, unlike all other components. Building a wheel takes time or money, and you don't want to swap a hub into an otherwise fine wheel, so it pays to buy your hubs once. But that's not to say you shouldn't buy a bike if it doesn't have Dura Ace (or some other high-line) hubs. Just that if you're replacing a rear hub, choose the best one you can afford.

Don't worry about components.
Thank you! I'll try not to get to hung up on the component aspect.
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Old 04-21-17, 10:32 AM   #24
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I'm seeing a lot of raving about 11 speed bikes, while doing my research and am not really experienced enough to know if the difference between the Shimano 105 11-speed would make a difference to me, as opposed to the Tiagra 4700 10-speed. I definitely don't want to go overboard with the consumerism side just yet, so I'm trying to be mindful of that. It sounds like the Tiagra would suffice for my needs and at a better price point.
The Allez is being shown for $770 online, but it doesn't mention anything about the wheels included; it only mentions the frame ,forks, and group sets. I'd send you the link, but I'm still restricted on the forum. Is it safe for me to assume that they are? lol
Specialized have dealers all around. Are you ordering the bike on-line? What retailer are you using?
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Old 04-21-17, 10:38 AM   #25
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Specialized have dealers all around. Are you ordering the bike on-line? What retailer are you using?
You're lightning fast with the responses, I appreciate it! I've just been taking a look on their website. I think I found the solution though. This Allez E5 Sport looks like it's complete, but it's 1250 CAD. I might be able to make that work... It's starting! haha
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