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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 06-29-07, 02:10 PM   #1
Superweirdash
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Upgrading bike for commuting use/theft resistant bags?

Hi,
I just recently brought my Novara Metro out to use for commuting. I'm looking to see if there are any substantial improvements I can make to the bike (especially reducing weight). I'm not in the market to spend the cash on an entirely new bike, so I'd like to do what I can to improve this one. I understand that I don't really need to upgrade it at all (it gets me where I'm going), but it would be nice to do some upgrading. What are some basic improvements I can make?

Also, theft is real issue for me. As such, I don't want to have anything on my bike that can be stolen (e.g. lights, bags), and I don't want to have to take them off each time I leave the bike somewhere. Are there any lights or bags that lock onto the bike such that they cannot be stolen?

Thanks,
Ash
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Old 06-29-07, 02:16 PM   #2
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You can retrofit a lot of things to be more theft resistant. But really, a plastic widget can pretty easily be broken or stolen no matter what. Leave the brackets for your lights on board and use a mess bag and a real light mounted to your helmet. Probably the best you'll do.
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Old 06-29-07, 02:34 PM   #3
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I drilled holes in the back side of the plastic on an old pannier and then used something similar to these to bolt it to the rack. Not theft PROOF but nobody has taken it.
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Old 06-29-07, 02:45 PM   #4
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My Ortlieb panniers have some thin steel cables to prevent "casual theft", as in somebody walking by and lifting the bags. I can use them with a padlock or run the U-lock bolt through them. Casual theft is about all they are good for, the cables could be cut quickly with just about any blade with a serrated edge. I usually take the bags with me if I am going to be away from the bike for more then a few minutes or so, or if they have anything expensive in them. One of the best things about Ortliebs, is they are so damn easy to take off and reattach to the rack, yet remain secure while riding.
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Old 06-29-07, 05:05 PM   #5
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What about reducing the weight, or improving the ride? Any suggestions?
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Old 06-29-07, 09:36 PM   #6
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How about drop handlebars? They look to be a substantial improvement in efficiency, but the conversion process looks daunting and costly. As far as I can tell, a set of STI shifters is upwards of $200 alone. Any advice?
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Old 06-29-07, 09:49 PM   #7
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A drop bar conversion is relatively pricey and not a trivial excercise unless you are familiar with all the parts. If you are just looking to provide an additional lower hand position take a look at Origin8 Road-Ends, they are a bar end that creates a drop. I have never seen nor used them, only recently noticed them online.

With that bike I would be inclined to go with a solid seat post, (I think it has a suspension one) and possibly a ridgid fork. There are no doubt other things that may warrant replacement but wait until the current parts are worn out.
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Old 07-02-07, 12:38 PM   #8
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Forget the drop bar. Get a safari bar from REI. $20 plus grips or bar tape. You can use your stock controls. I love the one that came on my Safari. More hand positions than a dropbar,and more comfortable when you're aero.

First thing I'd do for more speed is swap the stock tires for something skinnier,smoother,and higher pressure. Specialized Nimbus in Flak Jacket,Continental's Contact line,and Panaracer T-Servs are all nice. Next would be to swap the suspension fork for a rigid one. You'll save weight and increase efficiency.
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Old 07-02-07, 01:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superweirdash
...I just recently brought my Novara Metro out to use for commuting. I'm looking to see if there are any substantial improvements I can make to the bike (especially reducing weight)....
Not really.
You can make the bike feel somewhat lighter (accellerate faster, anyway) by going to narrower/lighter tires, but then, just about all of the good flat-resistant tire options are relatively heavy.

Quote:
Also, theft is real issue for me. As such, I don't want to have anything on my bike that can be stolen (e.g. lights, bags), and I don't want to have to take them off each time I leave the bike somewhere. Are there any lights or bags that lock onto the bike such that they cannot be stolen?....
This one's easy--big Wald baskets front and rear, and cheap bar-mounted headlights and tail-lights that you don't leave on the bike.
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