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View Poll Results: Which would you choose?

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  • A new bike specifically for commuting? ($500-1000)

    49 45.37%
  • Older road bike, down tube shifters (may or may not be SIS)? ($125-200)

    3 2.78%
  • Older road bike, down tube shifters w/rack and fenders ($175-250)

    22 20.37%
  • Older road bike, updated w/brifters, rack, and fenders ($300-500)

    13 12.04%
  • Older mountain bike, stock, rigid fork with off-road tires ($125-225)

    0 0%
  • Older mountian bike, rigid fork, street tires, rack, fenders ($175-300)

    21 19.44%
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  1. #1
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    What type of commuter would you buy?

    I'm trying to plot out my next move and have some options. All of the older bikes considered are steel/aluminum and have been completely re-built with new/newer tires, cables, etc. Thanks for your participation
    Last edited by balindamood; 12-09-07 at 12:02 PM.
    "Where you come from is gone;
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  2. #2
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    I started out last may commuting on a $180 mountain bike. I put street tires on it and called her good. Later put on fenders and a rear rack. Anywho, I had no idea that there was such a thing as a hybrid bike until 4 months after I had bought my MTB. I didn't have much money at the time so thats why I bought the price I did. If you are unafraid of your bike being stolen because of the locks you own and the area you are in and money is not an issue then obviously the commuting bike would be best. Quality over quantity. Riding a mountain bike isn't bad at all in fact I enjoy it and usually go no 20 mile rides when I don't have to commute every day. A hybrid will make you get there faster than a MTB with street tires. I would go with alu because if you are going to ride all year eventually steel will rust.
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  3. #3
    M_S
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    Every commute is different, but I voted older road bike updated with brifters. It'll probably have decent tire clearance unles syou deal with a lot of snow, and brifters are pretty good for urban riding if that's something you do. Also, while I do frequently commute on new bikes, locking up an older beater with less money sunk into it is much more worry-free.

  4. #4
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    People will disagree, but my experience with brifters in the cold has been extremely poor. Any bit of rain in the cold, or freezing rain and they freeze up and won't shift.

    That's why I voted downtube with fenders. But my personal choice is a sensibly geared, steel SS with fenders.
    Not too much to say here

  5. #5
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    I'd update an old road bike with bar-cons. I'm kinda nervous about using downtube shifters in traffic, and I absolutely hate using brifters myself.

  6. #6
    Leather and Canvas Fetish
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    I like old-school, so I voted road bike with downtube shifters. An 80's touring bike with clearance for wide tires and fenders, canti's and lots of braze-ons would make an ideal commuter.
    Last edited by ronzorini; 12-09-07 at 03:04 PM.

  7. #7
    Slogging along rubic's Avatar
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    An older road bike with brifters would do it for me. That is what I am using now. Here in Southern California we do not have the weather issues that can mess up the shifting. I also like the safety factor of not reaching for downtube shifters in traffic.
    Last edited by rubic; 12-09-07 at 12:55 PM.

  8. #8
    tsl
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    Sorry, none of the above.

    The vast majority of my riding (measured by number rides, hours and miles) is commuting and errands. Therefore I want my best bike under my butt for those rides. I'm willing to compromise on fun bikes, but not my commuter. Between the bike, accessories and a second wheelset for the snow tires, I'm closing in on $2.5K for my new commuter rig. Three months after-the-fact, riding in fair weather and foul, I think it's the best money I ever spent.

    Part of it too it is that around here, there seems to be no such thing as a decent used bike, and very few used bikes at all that fit me. My fun road bike was a $100 Craigslist special I bought only because it was the first road bike I'd seen in nearly a year that was the right size. The bike was a total POS that required a complete rebuild. With the exception of the occasional Madone, that's characteristic of all the bikes I've seen on CL here in the past two years.
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  9. #9
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I would pick a couple from that list...

    Older mountain bikes with classic geometry and rigid forks are a popular choice for commuters here as they are robust and can take a beating...the higher volume tires also make the ride much more comfortable. I ride an '87 Kuwahara Cascade that has been converted to a fixed gear and besides fenders and lights it also has front and rear racks to better distribute loads. It runs semi slick tires in nice weather and gets studs in the winter.

    Older road bikes make good sense from an economic perspective and can be configured in many ways and I would lean towards one with dt shifters (simple and reliable) and insist on having a rack and fenders on most of my commuter / utility bikes as I prefer paniers over a backpack.

    The choice really depends on the distance, terrain, and climate you have to deal with and I have 4 bikes that I use for commuting that include2 fixed gears (road bike and mtb), a cross bike, and a vintage mtb that I converted to a three speed (internal gear hub).

  10. #10
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Where's the cyclocross bike with disc brakes option?

    drop bar, discbrake, 700c, off the peg
    shameless POWERCRANK plug
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  11. #11
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Is None of the above OK? I use a Bruce Gordon touring bike, well over your $1,000.00 limit.
    This space open

  12. #12
    Reeks of aged cotton duck Hydrated's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmac27 View Post
    I would go with alu because if you are going to ride all year eventually steel will rust.
    I bought my 1984 Trek 520 new in 1983... and I'm still riding it daily. Not a single spot of rust anywhere. I don't do anything special to prevent frame rusting... I just keep it in the garage and don't store it in the rain. I ride it rain or shine. In other words, I don't baby that bike. And I don't care what anybody says... nothing rides like steel.

    Of course I live in Georgia... the only time our roads get salted is when we spill boiled peanuts on them.

  13. #13
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    My winter beater is steel as well, and they salt the crap out of the roads here. It gets wiped down on the weekends, and that's about it. I can't say there's not a SPOT of rust on it, but it's certainly not going to rust through and fall to pieces anytime in the next 5 years.
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  14. #14
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    My vote goes to something with 2 to 3 wheels.
    All a commuter means is that it regularly goes from one place to the other.
    It is up to the rider how and on what he\she wants to get there.

    I have a aluminum fixie and am currently looking for a MTB beater for winter.
    I also plan on building up a road frame that will take fenders and a rack. Not necessarily a touring bike but more like a relaxed roadie. Something like a soma smoothie ES.

    In summer I commute on my full carbon bike from time to time.

  15. #15
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    Balindamood,
    When I commute, which isn't often enough, I do so on a Jamis Coda Sport. The flat bars and generous tire clearance are great. The price was $403, delivered to my workplace this past spring from a shop in Canada.



    DataJunkie,
    I have a Soma Smoothie ES siting next to the Jamis and I have to say that I prefer the Jamis for my six mile commute.

    YMMV

  16. #16
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    I have issues with flat bar bikes so in my case I would prefer the soma smoothie ES.

    You've got to love the myriad of options we have.

  17. #17
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    As I haven't actually taken the poll yet, I'd ride any of the above. Ideally, this time of year would be any kind of mountain bike or a cross bike. Ideally when it's warmer would be any kind of road bike. I'm not terribly picky. I have a roadie, a hybridized rigid MTB and a decent hardtail with knobbies. Given the opportunity, I'd buy any of my bikes all over again.
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  18. #18
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    I made the mistake of buying too expensive of a bike (2005 Trek 6700 disc) for commuting. Sure it rides nicely but I have to park it in a location that doesn't have great security and has the sun beating down on the bike all day. I think for next year I'm going to go out and buy a $300 max MB (w/o shocks). That way I can ride it to work or the grocery store without worrying.

  19. #19
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I voted for the first option, but lemme tell ya... when I'm done building up my new bike, it's going to be well over the $500 - $1000 range.
    I'm actually replacing my current commuter, and my too small road bike, with one bike to do it all. Surly LHT, built up with a SON28 hub, racks and fenders front and back, B-17 saddle, and eventually switching the drivetrain over to 105 or Ultegra triple wtih a 10spd rear.

    For starters though, it's just a stock LHT complete: a shade under the 4 digit price tag.
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  20. #20
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Picking the ideal commuter bike is impossible even if because commutes can be vastly different. I would probably pick completely dissimilar bikes for a 4-mile urban commute than for a 25-mile rural commute. However, in my conditions (urban rides, mostly under or around 10 miles one way), my choice is older rigid mtbs with high-pressure slicks. For one thing, I like the smaller wheels, since they eliminate or greatly reduce toe overlap, which is important in a stop-and-go commuting where I might have to go very slowly and wobble in my quasi-trackstands while waiting for lights to change. I also like that there is lots of room for thicker tires, since I ride in winter too, and slicks aren't the best idea for the snow. I've no particular preference for a straight bar, but since that's what comes with rigid mtbs, I take it.
    Stomping as lightly as I can...

  21. #21
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    I voted brifters only because I want brifters, and you asked what I'd choose. Really, though, I commute on a mountain bike with semi-slicks and it does me well. I added barends that emulate drops to allow me to ride in more positions and get lower to fight the wind, as well as a rear rack and changed the pedals to clipless. I don't commute very far, though. When I move home from school and start commuting to my job, I'll likely use a road bike or a fixie.

  22. #22
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    Build a true commuter bike-
    Steel frame/fork with a hub gear, fenders, a rack etc.
    A CrossCheck is a pragmatic platform to start with.

  23. #23
    circus bear ban guzzi's Avatar
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    I have my Panasonic set up with rack/fenders. MTB was same, now just fendered with messenger bag and looking for a cheap rigid front end...

    I vote one of each if you can?
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  24. #24
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    Depends far too much on your commute to vote. Where in the country do you live? How far will you ride? What sort of terrain?

    If you have a safe place to lock your bike, you can spend more on it; if it's a short ride a mtb might be fine, if it's a longer one you might want a road bike, or a performance hybrid; fair-weather commuting needs a different bike from winter commuting. The list goes on.
    Zero gallons to the mile

  25. #25
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    My thought was this. I live in Alaska. This means I will be runing studs 4-6 months out of the year, and not the oh-there-might-be-some-black-ice-on-the-way-to-work-700x38 variety, but th 2.1, 290 studs/tire+ variety. I prefer to ride a drop-bar road bike in the summer, but move back to the MTB in the winter.

    I think what I am trying to determine is two things. First, I believe that the bikes made after about 1970 are of just as good quality as those made today (not counting the Muffy's which I guess are also still around today). The difference is primarily in components and the fact that newer materials have resulted in much lighter frames. In fact, I would assert that a mid to late 80's steel bike is better suited for commuting in terms of the balance between technology and stoutness than any non-commuter made today. You may or may not agree with this, but it seems to me that there are a whole bunch of people just as pleased commuting with their 1986 Schwinn Le Tours as their are with their new Rivendells.

    This leads to the second thought which is more of the cruxt of the poll. If one accepts that a 1991 Bridgestone MB-3 with slicks, rack and fenders is equal to in performance and quality a similar Scott Sub 20, Treck 7.?, or pick-a-commeter available today, then I am wondering what the split would be between those who would dump the money into a new bike when it is at a 2-3 times premium of a converted old bike and why. Yeah, maybe you get a warranty, or the satisfaction of putting the first scratch in it, or whatever, but the fact is that if a steel bike has made it 16 years, it is probably going to make it another 16. Further, any drivetrain is going to be shot after several thousand miles, which is equal to 1-3 years of daily commuting anyway.

    Finally, when I do wear out that good old Shimano 600 SIS, or Suntour non-indexed ARX, do I go to the trouble of converting over to brifters (to include the brifters, derailuers, new rear wheel and cassette, and probably the cranks), or do I just replace what is there and keep on truck'in.
    "Where you come from is gone;
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    and where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it."

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