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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.

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Old 02-09-06, 07:49 PM   #1
commutebiker
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commuting bike

i am in the market for a commuting bike. its my first serious bike, and it needs to be a mountain bike, because even though 99% of the time i will use as commute, i will occasionally hit casual, not extreme, trails. its needs to be built like a tank, as i will be hopping curbs and possibly navigating small flights of stairs.

i have a specialized and diamondback dealer in my immediate area, and the sales rep there suggested the hardrock, specialized, and the response, diamondback. does anyone have an opinion on these bikes, or suggestions?

i started a similar thread in general disc. but nodody was hitting it. price is not too big a factor, but i dont want to sell a kidney, and the dealer has different pricings anyway.
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Old 02-09-06, 09:08 PM   #2
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Ride both and then ride some others, then pick the one you like the most.
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Old 02-09-06, 11:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commutebiker
i am in the market for a commuting bike. its my first serious bike, and it needs to be a mountain bike, because even though 99% of the time i will use as commute, i will occasionally hit casual, not extreme, trails. its needs to be built like a tank, as i will be hopping curbs and possibly navigating small flights of stairs.
Sorry to disagree but it does not need to be a MTB. I commute on a Bruce Gordon BLT and take it home thru the rocky single track in Annadel State Park when work takes me that way. I happily blow thru rocky dirt and potholes. I even bent my Nittoo handlebars without damaging the frame. Gordon gave me a new set of handlebars. Skip riding the stairs, I really mean Fugedit. My beloved Bianchi Volpe was trashed when a guy came down some stairs and popped onto the bike path directly in front of me. Stairs are not designed for riding down. Check www.bgcycles.com for the tubing dimensions used and buy a road bike built that strongly.
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Old 02-09-06, 11:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ken cummings
Stairs are not designed for riding down.
Some stairs are just screaming out to be ridden down. Some even want you to collect major frequent flier miles clearing them in a single leap. (Hey, axles are cheap) Don't underestimate the wild side of those normally pedestrian looking stairs - they want to play!
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Old 02-10-06, 02:00 AM   #5
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ken, how can you 'disagree', when you dont even know what the conditions of my local trails are.......

its not a trail thats on my commute. i intend on taking to local trails in the mountains, you know, the up down side to side dodge some rocks type thing....
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Old 02-10-06, 04:57 AM   #6
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It can be easy to get the heaviest duty bike possible but there is much to be said for a lighter bike and more agile riding technique. I hop curbs and ride trails on my light-touring bike using 28mm tyres
The hardrock is an OK bike but on the heavy side, esp the front end.
Think about upgrading the MTB tyres to some 1.5" slicks for better performance. If stairs really are your thing, some ultra-wide slicks may be more suitable.
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Old 02-10-06, 05:17 AM   #7
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go ahead and get the hardrock...check to see it they have a 2005 marked down

while you are riding the hardrock you can design/shop for the perfect bike - you may decide to build the next one with hand selected components.

good luck
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Old 02-10-06, 09:25 AM   #8
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The Commuting forum tends to like cross, touring and hybrid bikes none of which will meet your urban hucking needs nor do well off-road (though some can go off-road).
For on road you definately want a hard tail and probably a rigid bike. For off-road and hucking you want durability and agressive tires.
Consider a 29er like the Surly Karate Monkey. You could run a fat slick like a Big Apple or other semi-slick for commuting and urban adventures and swap on some knobbies sore off-road play. The big wheels will give you a little smoother ride off-road with a rigid bike but the lack of suspension will be a plus for road riding.
I don't have much experience off-road or with urban obstacles but I commute every day. In my experience you don't want to have to push a suspended bike with soft knobbies on the road everyday. You will have to make the trade-offs that are right for you.
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Old 02-10-06, 09:33 AM   #9
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How far are you commuting?

Will the time you save by jumping curbs and riding stairs be greater than the time you lose by riding a mountain bike?

Consider a cross bike if the answer to #2 is yes.
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Old 02-10-06, 10:06 AM   #10
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Hey, commutebiker: your riding patterns/uses for a bike sound very close to mine, so even though I'm old, maybe a few thoughts? Here's my take; sorry in advance for the long post.
Like you, 90+% of my yearly mileage (average 3500 - 4000 kms/year[yep!]) is accumulated on road/MUP/river-side trails as I commute to/from work, together with the occasional longer 'road' ride and, every so often, a blast around singletrack trails. Further, I can only afford/have room for one bike to 'do it all' (that's ok, I prefer cycling monogamy anyway). Right: I've been doing this seriously now for going on five years, and (short version) I've found that, for me, a LIGHT mtb, set up with a road cassette (12-25) but regular crank, discs, and a really good wheelset/1.5" to 1.75" high pressure (semi)slicks works really well for that 90+% (change to knobs for true off-road). My current bike is a hardtail, with a suspension fork, but I run it locked-out most of the time anyway, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to switch to rigid (custom light steel or cf) -- though I'm still pondering this.
Also, it might help you to know that I did at one point buy a 'cross bike' (Trek 7500FX/Disc), thinking that mtb was stupid on-road, 700c wheels/tires must be faster etc. etc. etc. Well? -- not for me; took the bike back after a couple of weeks (I have a great lbs, fortunately). I found that - given our crappy roads + my tendency to bang around up/off curbs, take interesting short-cuts or cut on to a bit of trail etc. -- even 32c road tires just don't cut it (for me, others have different tastes/skills). Speed? a good hardtail or rigid 26" mtb w/good wheels/road tires goes more than quickly enough, and DOES, whatever anyone says, accelerate more quickly from a stop, and brake more quickly, and under more control, esp. with discs; these qualities are very important to me, anyway. Will a 'road'-based bike be more efficient, and maintain a (slightly) higher average speed for the same effort over long distances? Yes, absolutely -- but those aren't my needs, and they don't sound like yours; it really depends I think on sorting out those needs. And, that advantage (for a 'road' bike) does not come from less rolling resistance, but from (a) better aerodynamics/positioning for those conditions and (b) the slightly 'bigger' gearing resulting from the larger overall wheel diameter. As I say, it's (bikes) ALL good - all depends what you want/need out of a bike.
Finally (!), given that you say price is not a priority, though it is a consideration, I'd shy away from the bikes you mention, if only on weight grounds. Don't know Diamondback, but in Specialized I'd strongly suggest looking instead at least at the Rockhopper level -- much better/lighter frames, on which you could build up something that would work really well. Another very strong suggestion: if you have a Marin dealer anywhere near, take a long look at their Urban mtbs (either the Novato or, for bling, the Point Reyes -- I'm very seriously considering the latter), though bear in mind that these really are 'roadified' as they come stock. Anyway, hope you find this view from the 'other' side helpful. Cheers, and good luck!
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Old 02-10-06, 11:17 AM   #11
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I built a cross bike just for what you described (Major Jake below). I ride some fairly technical singletrack with it so I put a flatbar setup rather than the drops. I also built a heavier duty wheelset and went front disc for all condition use. The bike is great for commuting and is fun to ride on the trails. I prefer my trail bikes for riding singletrack but I much prefer the Major Jake for commuting, which you will be doing 99% of the time.
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Old 02-10-06, 11:47 AM   #12
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well, i have narrowed it down to three. 2005 hardrock sport disc, 2005 rockhopper with disc, and a 2005 Giant Yukon. if must, i can go around the stairs, but hey, they ask to be hopped. the commute is only three miles, so not very far. i am going to look at each, hopefully test ride them, and then make a decision.
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Old 02-10-06, 01:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commutebiker
well, i have narrowed it down to three. 2005 hardrock sport disc, 2005 rockhopper with disc, and a 2005 Giant Yukon. if must, i can go around the stairs, but hey, they ask to be hopped. the commute is only three miles, so not very far. i am going to look at each, hopefully test ride them, and then make a decision.
Heck at three miles any bike will work as a commuter, get the bike thats best for your urban assult and off-roading needs. Maybe you should ask over on MTBR.com
Craig
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Old 02-10-06, 01:42 PM   #14
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3 miles!? get the mountain bike so you can do stairs and wild stuff.
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Old 02-10-06, 03:53 PM   #15
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There is a grazillion of used MTB rarely ridden, get one for less than 300$ and try it out.

The 26inch wheeled ones are cheaper, I would go for them in a heartbeat
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