Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

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.

View Poll Results: Which would you choose?
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%
Voters: 108. You may not vote on this poll

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 12-09-07, 11:56 AM   #1
balindamood 
Wrench Savant
Thread Starter
 
balindamood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: 61 Degrees North
Bikes: www.2nd-cycles.com
Posts: 2,198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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
__________________
"Where you come from is gone;
where you are headed weren't never there;
and where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it."

Last edited by balindamood; 12-09-07 at 12:02 PM.
balindamood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 12:09 PM   #2
kmac27
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington
Bikes: MTB Agressor for now.
Posts: 864
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
kmac27 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 12:11 PM   #3
M_S
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 3,693
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
M_S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 12:15 PM   #4
maddyfish
Senior Member
 
maddyfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Ky. and FL.
Bikes: KHS steel SS
Posts: 3,944
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
maddyfish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 12:24 PM   #5
fat_bike_nut
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: San Francisco!
Bikes: 2010 Surly LHT (main rider and do-everything bike), 2011 Bike Friday NWT (back-up bike and multi-modal)
Posts: 909
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
fat_bike_nut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 12:28 PM   #6
ronzorini
Leather and Canvas Fetish
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SoCal
Bikes:
Posts: 263
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
ronzorini is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 12:28 PM   #7
rubic
Slogging along
 
rubic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: San Fernando Valley, SoCal
Bikes: Cannondale Synapse '06, Mongoose titanium road bike '00--my commuter. Yes, Mongoose once made a decent ti road bike.
Posts: 1,148
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
rubic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 12:34 PM   #8
tsl
Plays in traffic
 
tsl's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Bikes: 1996 Litespeed Classic, 2006 Trek Portland, 2013 Ribble Winter/Audax
Posts: 6,955
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
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.
tsl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 12:36 PM   #9
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Bikes: See my sig...
Posts: 27,262
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
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).
Sixty Fiver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 01:06 PM   #10
markhr
POWERCRANK addict
 
markhr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: North Acton, West London, UK
Bikes:
Posts: 3,783
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Where's the cyclocross bike with disc brakes option?

drop bar, discbrake, 700c, off the peg
__________________
shameless POWERCRANK plug
Recommended reading for all cyclists - Cyclecraft - Effective Cycling
Condor Cycles - quite possibly the best bike shop in London
Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!
markhr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 01:13 PM   #11
ken cummings
Senior Member
 
ken cummings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: northern California
Bikes: Bruce Gordon BLT, Cannondale parts bike, Ecodyne recumbent trike, Counterpoint Opus 2, miyata 1000
Posts: 5,601
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Is None of the above OK? I use a Bruce Gordon touring bike, well over your $1,000.00 limit.
ken cummings is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 02:23 PM   #12
Hydrated
Reeks of aged cotton duck
 
Hydrated's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Middle Georgia, USA
Bikes: 2008 Kogswell PR mkII, 1976 Raleigh Professional, 1996 Serotta Atlanta, 1984 Trek 520, 1979 Raleigh Comp GS, 1995 Trek 950, 1979 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist
Posts: 1,175
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
Hydrated is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 02:38 PM   #13
ax0n
Trans-Urban Velocommando
 
ax0n's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Lenexa, KS
Bikes: 06 Trek 1200 - 98 DB Outlook - 99 DB Sorrento
Posts: 2,400
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
ax0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 02:53 PM   #14
DataJunkie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 14,280
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
DataJunkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 03:04 PM   #15
LastPlace
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 776
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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
LastPlace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 03:38 PM   #16
DataJunkie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 14,280
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
DataJunkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 03:56 PM   #17
ax0n
Trans-Urban Velocommando
 
ax0n's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Lenexa, KS
Bikes: 06 Trek 1200 - 98 DB Outlook - 99 DB Sorrento
Posts: 2,400
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
ax0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 04:08 PM   #18
Alfster 
long time visiter
 
Alfster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: in the Northern Tundra
Bikes: 2005 Trek 6700 disc 2007 Orbea Onix 2009 Raleigh One Way
Posts: 615
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
Alfster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 05:07 PM   #19
CliftonGK1
Senior Member
 
CliftonGK1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Columbus, OH
Bikes: '08 Surly Cross-Check, 2011 Redline Conquest Pro, 2012 Spesh FSR Comp EVO, 2015 Trek Domane 6.2 disc
Posts: 11,380
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
__________________
"I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
- Mandi M.
CliftonGK1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 05:51 PM   #20
chephy
Two H's!!! TWO!!!!!
 
chephy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Toronto, ON
Bikes:
Posts: 4,222
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
chephy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 06:36 PM   #21
Paramemetic
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Athens, OH
Bikes: Gary Fisher Marlin
Posts: 42
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
Paramemetic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 07:04 PM   #22
martianone
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern VT
Bikes: recumbent & upright
Posts: 1,876
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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.
martianone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 07:34 PM   #23
ban guzzi
circus bear
 
ban guzzi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Austin
Bikes: 97(?) GT Richochet, 00 Schwinn SuperSport
Posts: 642
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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?
ban guzzi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-07, 07:43 PM   #24
Boudicca
Conquer Cancer rider
 
Boudicca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Toronto
Bikes: Fun bike, city bike, Bike Friday, Brompton (also fun bikes)
Posts: 5,988
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
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
Boudicca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-07, 01:11 AM   #25
balindamood 
Wrench Savant
Thread Starter
 
balindamood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: 61 Degrees North
Bikes: www.2nd-cycles.com
Posts: 2,198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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;
where you are headed weren't never there;
and where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it."
balindamood is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:43 AM.