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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 11-28-07, 09:35 PM   #1
kmac27
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When do you get a new bike for commuting

Hey I live in washington it rains like crazy. I want to know how often those of you who ride year round thow your bike in the junk pile after a certain ammount of time. I am planning on riding this bike until its life is over. When your cogs are getting worn do you just give in and buy a new bike or do you put new cogs on it? What are some of the things you concider when doing this? If you can't say how long, how many miles do you usually go? I just want to get an idea on how to keep in the bank for when my bike gives out or I need to buy new cogs. I got the bike in april and have put about 2000 miles on it so far. I am not looking into trading it in, I am going to train with it all winter and in the summer I'll buy a new road bike to ride when the weather is nice. Is it better to buy a commuting bike rather than put street tires on a mountain bike. Or is it pointless getting a commuter with crappy weather 8 months of the year that they both will wear out fairly soon? Sorry its so long but I had a lot to think about on my ride today :-)

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Old 11-28-07, 09:43 PM   #2
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Buy the best you can afford. Replace parts as needed.
Commuted for 16 years.
Maximum miles we have put on one tandem bike: 64,000 miles, and then we sold it.
Moral of this story: quality lasts!
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Old 11-28-07, 09:43 PM   #3
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Hey I live in washington it rains like crazy. I want to know how often those of you who ride year round thow your bike in the junk pile after a certain ammount of time. I am planning on riding this bike until its life is over. When your cogs are getting worn do you just give in and buy a new bike or do you put new cogs on it?
Unless the bike is a huge POS, yes, cogs (either a freewheel or cassette) are very replaceable: one of those items that need to be replaced every ten thousand miles or so. Chains go every 3-5, though there are lots of variables. Things can break, but apart from the frame, it's usually worth replacing. And of cours eyou can take all your old parts and put them onto a new frame. Unless you just want a new bike altogether.
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Old 11-28-07, 09:57 PM   #4
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Well its a 2006 model that I got new for $180 made by GT. Not sure whether its a pos or not but everyone asks me if it costed $350-$400, then again what common people know much about bikes? What things will usually need to be replaced over time besides of the knowns. Also how much do new cogs usually cost? Say for my next future purchase, what would be a good price range to buy a commuting bike for? Keep in mind that I lock it up also while at work with a cable lock and a 13mm chain lock. How do you know when to replace a freewheel or cassette? Say I go to a bike shop when this problem does arrive, do I buy online or ask them to order it and what will it usually cost to get it installed? Sorry for all the questions I'm a college student that tries to use money very wisley. Thanks for your thoughts already they have been a good insight.

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Old 11-28-07, 10:17 PM   #5
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Moral of this story: quality lasts!
I still ride a Trek 520 that I bought new in 1983. Replaced bearings and other wear parts over the years, but I'm a tinkerer and do most of the work myself. One piece of advice... don't replace something just because. Replace things only if you have a reason to change it out.

Quality certainly shows in the long run!
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Old 11-28-07, 10:23 PM   #6
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How do you know when your cogs are worn and how do you know whether to replace a cog or replace the whole cassette?
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Old 11-28-07, 11:16 PM   #7
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How do you know when your cogs are worn and how do you know whether to replace a cog or replace the whole cassette?
The telltale signs of cassette wear are 1) your chain slipping and skipping while solidly in gear 2) when you put a new chain on and your chain starts creaking and grinding because it can't quite fit onto your worn cogs and 3) the valleys in between the teeth of the cog start looking a little more like a crashing wave shape than a symmetrical wave.

I take pretty good care of my chain so I usually swap out a new cassette with a new chain but to each their own.
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Old 11-29-07, 12:04 AM   #8
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Where do you buy a new set of cogs and how do you know they are the right size, if they differ?
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Old 11-29-07, 12:25 AM   #9
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I'm buying a new bike around the new year. First time in almost 18 years. The old one is OK, but I don't feel like replacing another headset and bottom bracket.
I'm stripping the Brooks, good pedals, racks and lights off of it and transferring them to a new bike. I'll sell this one for cheap to a friend who's getting into bike commuting.

Typically, for things like cog, chain, chainring wear... I just replace those parts.
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Old 11-29-07, 12:42 AM   #10
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My summer ride is a '68 Gitane. I bought it used and have nearly 11,000 miles on it. It was well used when I got it. The only original components on it are the headset and seat-post. I just replace stuff as it wears out/breaks.

Find a frame you like and ride it until it dies.
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Old 11-29-07, 03:55 AM   #11
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im also a big believer in quality lasts, so hopefully get some good kit and youll be knocking up the miles for years to come
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Old 11-29-07, 04:16 AM   #12
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Agreed, buy quality (used if you can!) and ride on. Because of the junk I ride on (rock, sand, mud) I find I replace bearings and such a lot. Cheap and easy to do. I have a full tool set and a personal mechanic. (Okay, he is the company mechanic but I am the president and owner - nuff said)

In reality, you will replace your bike when you want another bike, not when you need one. Baring accidents that wreck the frame of course.

However, I ride a higher end hardtail that was a couple of grand. Very nice bike that has held up very well.
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Old 11-29-07, 06:48 AM   #13
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I replace when the cost of repair and/or replacement (including labour, if i can't do it) and imminent future repairs/replacements exceed about 80% of the price i'd spend on its replacement. Oh, and it depends on the season - at this time of year, i'd be tempted to 'get by' somehow until spring so i can get the best of the new bike.

But cogs are a 'wear and tear' item, definitely not worth replacing a bike for. Maybe worth buying a replacement while you have the other repaired though... ;-)
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Old 11-29-07, 07:14 AM   #14
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Kevin, a suggestion if you have the time -- check around to see if one of your local bike shops offers a basic bike repair training class. You will learn what needs to be done (and how often) to keep your bike running smoothly, and you'll get some hands-on wrenching experience under the supervision of someone who knows what he/she is doing.

When I was first getting back into cycling again after a 20-year absence, I took a Park Tool maintenance class at my local REI. It was great, well worth the time and money (fairly cheap, as I recall.)
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Old 11-29-07, 07:38 AM   #15
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Buy the best bike that you can afford and ride it. Depending on how many miles you put on it (and the conditions), you'll have to replace chain/chainring/cassette, brake pads, tires, and bottom bracket every so often (indicated by skipping chain, grinding pads, creaking bottom bracket, worn tires). Replace other parts when they break: wheels, hubs, cables. This will be the case for even the most expensive bikes. If you have a frame that you like, there's no sense in throwing the whole thing out for some worn parts. Remember, if you commute for ecological reasons, you should only replace/throw out what's necassary.
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Old 11-29-07, 07:48 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmac27
How do you know when your cogs are worn and how do you know whether to replace a cog or replace the whole cassette?
Where do you buy a new set of cogs and how do you know they are the right size, if they differ?
If your cogs are worn your chain is probably way past worn.
Replace your chain when it shows sign of stretch. This will extend the life of your cogs and chainrings.

If you have the correct tools and the know-how, you can buy replacement parts on-line or at your LBS.
If you don't know about bikes and repairs, take the bike to your LBS and let them do the repairs. Most shops will let you watch (just stay outta the way) and will explain the signs to look for and how to do the repairs.
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Old 11-29-07, 08:23 AM   #17
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Kevin, Check out http://www.sheldonbrown.com - it has all the answers to questions you're asking (chain wear etc.), and a comprehensive glossary. It's a great one-stop to get you up to speed on understanding the issues and how everything works.

If you're in western Washington (Seattle?), then your bike will probably be quite happy with the winter, as long as you clean/lubricate regularly. They almost never use salt there, and your bike will last well for the same reason you see a lot of old cars around there. Bikes (and cars) don't mind water much at all compared to salt.
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Old 11-29-07, 09:13 AM   #18
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I only replaced mine because the car that it me did too much damage to salvage much of it. If you do the maint, replace worn parts the frame should last as long as you want to ride it. Use good quality lubricant on bearings, marine in wet conditions if necessary, keep the chain lubed with a good wet weather chain lube, use T9 or the like on cables and other exposed components, and most will last years. I change my chain and rear cassette about ever 7-8K miles, or if shifting becomes a problem before then. I have had cables last 15K or more on a mountain bike so commuting shouldn't be an issue if you take care of them. .
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Old 11-29-07, 09:31 AM   #19
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My favorite frame for commuting is a 1982 peugeot road bike that I bought from a thrift store bike pen after it sat in the elements for a year or more. I have replaced everything but the drive train, bottom bracket and headset. The frame is steel and is going fine after all these years even though it was horribly neglected.
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Old 11-29-07, 10:10 AM   #20
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Chains,as with gas mileage claims, your mileage may vary. My last chain(a high quality replacement) lasted only 1500 miles, even with regular cleaning and lubing. Heavily loaded panniers, stop and go traffic, and road grit took it's toll on the chain, yet my summer bike, which is lighter, with out panniers(backpack only) has several hundred more mile on it's chain, but still has almost "like new" stretch readings. Also, my winter commuter just recently broke a rear axle, making me realize that I need to upgrade to a better hub/wheel assembly, but for a few hundred dollars more, I can get a bike that will better meet my needs, and then I can put my current commuter into backup/recreational status.
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Old 11-29-07, 10:23 AM   #21
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You can replace a commuting bike???
Seriously, bikes are incredibly durable, at least the frames, anyway. Replace components as they wear out or break. Replace the whole thing at your whim or leisure. Even an entry bike that has just limited, basic maintenance will run for thousands of miles. (excluding walmart type stuff).
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Old 11-29-07, 10:34 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
Buy the best you can afford. Replace parts as needed.
Commuted for 16 years.
Maximum miles we have put on one tandem bike: 64,000 miles, and then we sold it.
Moral of this story: quality lasts!
Sounds like George Washington's original axe (after three new heads and four new handles, yet it's still the same old axe).
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Old 11-29-07, 10:45 AM   #23
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I'll replace my bike when the frame breaks, or possibly if something like the bottom bracket strips out and I can't fix it.
I have a $300 Giant Cypress, and I've replaced the freewheel twice, I've rebuilt both wheels (the rear was hopeless from the factory, the front I built a new one so I could go to disc brakes), I just replaced the bottom bracket, and of course I've been through tires. The rear derailler got replaced at about 10,000 miles. I've been through about 7 chains so far. I replaced the crank and chainrings because I screwed up the pedal threads real bad last winter. The front suspension (which I'd just as soon wasn't there at all) isn't good, in fact it was frozen at one time because I don't give a damn about it so I never used to lube it, but I do now when I remember.

So at this point, what's original is the frame, fork/headseat/bars/shifter/brake lever bunch, and the rear hub. and the seatpost. The seat is looking a little ragged but I don't care much.

I get 1800 miles out of a chain if I'm paying attention (whether I just lube or take good care to clean every 100 miles, doesn't matter). I went too far on the last round and got to where the freewheel was wrecked and with a new chain it skipped like crazy. So I just put the old worn chain back on and I've ridden it another 2000 miles since then (yes, close to 4000 miles on this chain). It still gives me zero trouble.

I don't see any reason to replace the bike unless you don't like it.
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Old 11-29-07, 10:51 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
Buy the best you can afford. Replace parts as needed.
Well, there's an upper limit. I could afford a $5000 bike, but I wouldn't be getting ANYTHING that could possibly be of any benefit to me that I couldn't get on a $1000 bike. I think for commuting, $1200 is probably about the limit of increasing functionality. Past that it seems like you're just buying fancy crap that will just mean more $$$ to fix if you crash, and isn't buying you any durability (actually probably COSTING you durability; a steel frame is cheaper and lasts longer than carbon).
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Old 11-29-07, 11:53 AM   #25
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To answer the question posed in the subject line, "When do you get a new bike for commuting?", my answer is: as often as my wife lets me.
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