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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 01-24-08, 10:28 AM   #1
toddvc
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2008 commuting bikes -- an overview

I recently posted a page with pictures, descriptions and approximate retail prices of 2008-model commuting bikes here. It might help somebody who's wondering what to buy get an idea of the big picture of what's out there.

It is truly amazing how many of these type of bikes are widely available in the U.S. now, as opposed to 5-6 years ago.

Just curious:
  1. Is your local bike shop stocking these types of models (fairly upright riding position/fenders/racks lights)?
  2. Do you see people riding them?
  3. It appears the commuter-bike market is growing -- do you expect an implosion?
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Old 01-24-08, 10:35 AM   #2
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  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Bikes don't have to be ridden to be a viable market, just purchased.
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Old 01-24-08, 12:11 PM   #3
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1. Yes, somewhat
2. see #1
3. No opinion.

Also: I really really like that Schwinn Coffee.
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Old 01-24-08, 01:44 PM   #4
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1 No.
2. No.
3. No.

I have driven to every bike shop near me and have seen only 1 commuter bike, an Electra Amsterdam.
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Old 01-24-08, 02:14 PM   #5
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1. Yes, somewhat
2. see #1
3. No opinion.

Also: I really really like that Schwinn Coffee.
Agree, the Coffee looks intriguing, as does the rest of Schwinn's "commuter" line. That surprised me. But I have never seen them in person; I am curious to hear from anyone who has seen or ridden them.
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Old 01-24-08, 02:21 PM   #6
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Don't forget Biria:

http://www.biriausa.com

To answer your questions - I purchased my Biria from one of two local dealerships. This said, both have discontinued the line, although Biria still claims a large US dealer network.

I don't see many other commute type bikes of any brand. A few here and there, but not a lot. As for #3, who knows? I hope it grows, but prognosticating the future is a futile endeavor...
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Old 01-24-08, 02:21 PM   #7
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Hard to say. I ignore everything that isn't my size, which means I rarely look at ANY bikes when I'm in a bike shop. The Novara bikes are probably the only bike on the list that I could get without a special order... sad.

Tons of people claim to be commuting around town, but I never see ANY of them, so who knows what they're riding.

Yes, I think the market is getting too crowded too soon.
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Old 01-24-08, 02:29 PM   #8
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To the OP: The page you linked to won't load.

I honestly don't understand why there needs to be a "commuter bike" nitch in the first place. Maybe I just don't get it... but commuters are already well served by the likes of Surly, Jamis, and Bianchi, to name a few, and the bikes from these companies are not marketed specifically as "commuter" bikes. The Breezer series are marketed as "commuter" bikes but, long before Breezer hit the marketplace, bikes like them were around and were called "comfort bikes". I think that manufacturers are just looking for another marketing category so that they can sell more stuff.
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Old 01-24-08, 03:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by matthew_deaner View Post
To the OP: The page you linked to won't load.

I honestly don't understand why there needs to be a "commuter bike" nitch in the first place. Maybe I just don't get it... but commuters are already well served by the likes of Surly, Jamis, and Bianchi, to name a few, and the bikes from these companies are not marketed specifically as "commuter" bikes. The Breezer series are marketed as "commuter" bikes but, long before Breezer hit the marketplace, bikes like them were around and were called "comfort bikes". I think that manufacturers are just looking for another marketing category so that they can sell more stuff.
I've heard the term "city bike" too and I'm not sure how they differ.

I suppose it's good that they think there's a large enough market to target a specific type of bike at. Also if a non-cyclist were to decide that commuting by bike was something they wanted to do, this category gives them an idea of what they might want to look for in a bike (racks, etc).

On the other hand, I don't think that style of bike is the best choice for somebody with a longish commute, but that's probably not the group they're aiming at.
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Old 01-24-08, 03:47 PM   #10
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no
no
no
The closest thing to a commuter I have seen is a few electra townies, and trek/specialized flar bar road bikes
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Old 01-24-08, 03:50 PM   #11
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1. Yup
2.Somewhat. Most people around here ride really cheap 'disposable' bikes (college campus) though there are indeed a lot of the bikes you mention around town/campus, especially Townies...
3. No. I expect the market to continue to grow. Perhaps I am overly optimistic, but I also hope that the explosion in 'commuter' bike sells like the ones you review will be matched by an equal amount of new "born again" cyclists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddvc View Post
I recently posted a page with pictures, descriptions and approximate retail prices of 2008-model commuting bikes here. It might help somebody who's wondering what to buy get an idea of the big picture of what's out there.

It is truly amazing how many of these type of bikes are widely available in the U.S. now, as opposed to 5-6 years ago.

Just curious:
  1. Is your local bike shop stocking these types of models (fairly upright riding position/fenders/racks lights)?
  2. Do you see people riding them?
  3. It appears the commuter-bike market is growing -- do you expect an implosion?
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Old 01-24-08, 03:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I've heard the term "city bike" too and I'm not sure how they differ.

I suppose it's good that they think there's a large enough market to target a specific type of bike at. Also if a non-cyclist were to decide that commuting by bike was something they wanted to do, this category gives them an idea of what they might want to look for in a bike (racks, etc).

On the other hand, I don't think that style of bike is the best choice for somebody with a longish commute, but that's probably not the group they're aiming at.
That makes sense... It's hard to see things from the perspective of the non-cyclist. I do wish that these manufacturers would not label these bikes as "commuters". I just think that's misleading. I believe that a commuting bicycle is chosen based upon the length of the commute, road conditions, rider fitness, cargo hauling capacity; etc. It just doesn't make sense that a genre of bikes called "commuters" could be the answer for everyone. In fact, most experienced cyclists see the upright riding position afforded by these bikes as a hindrance on a "commuter". Riding bolt upright is hard on the back, and riding in this position can get uncomfortable on any ride longer than a few miles. Plus, it's inefficient. Then there' s the flat bars... and the corresponding lack of multiple hand positions.

I just hope that bikes like this don't turn would-be commuters off on the idea. I think that they are often purchased with great ambitions, but end up gathering dust in people's garages.
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Old 01-24-08, 04:17 PM   #13
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I see those bikes in local bike shops all the time, but Davis is not typical when it comes to cycling, as far as the US is concerned.

Those bikes are interesting, but it seems to me that if one were to buy a road or mountain bike and then add the racks and fenders, one would end up with a better bike in the long run. Those bikes are basically hybrids that come with accessories attached.

The only ones that seem to stand out on their own merits are the ones with internal hub gearing, which is pretty cool and very easy to use, which is a plus for people who are confused by derailer gearing, or need an enclosed drivetrain for riding in a suit or something like that.

As far as people riding them, 90% of the bikes I see around here are from Wal-Mart, and if I ever see a bike with drop bars around here, it is probably a fixie.
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Old 01-24-08, 04:23 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by matthew_deaner View Post
That makes sense... It's hard to see things from the perspective of the non-cyclist. I do wish that these manufacturers would not label these bikes as "commuters". I just think that's misleading. I believe that a commuting bicycle is chosen based upon the length of the commute, road conditions, rider fitness, cargo hauling capacity; etc. It just doesn't make sense that a genre of bikes called "commuters" could be the answer for everyone. In fact, most experienced cyclists see the upright riding position afforded by these bikes as a hindrance on a "commuter". Riding bolt upright is hard on the back, and riding in this position can get uncomfortable on any ride longer than a few miles. Plus, it's inefficient. Then there' s the flat bars... and the corresponding lack of multiple hand positions.

I just hope that bikes like this don't turn would-be commuters off on the idea. I think that they are often purchased with great ambitions, but end up gathering dust in people's garages.

Sounds like you're just ranting now. Almost none of those bikes (maybe two out of 16) have a flat handlebar, and less than half are "bolt upright" bikes.

I would imagine that bike buying is rediculously complicated. If someone is genuinely going into the store to buy a bike to commute on, this could help. Depending, of course, on who's working behind the counter. If it's a chain store, then the high school kid can point them to the "commuter bikes". In most private stores, some greybeard can start them there, then provide some alternatives.
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Old 01-24-08, 04:25 PM   #15
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No, No, Implosion? Well I think there are probably too many of these bikes now and many are probably going to get shelved.

Come to think of it I'm still unsure any of you actually exist since I've yet to see a bicycle commuter in person. I see people out on group rides, training rides and kids on sidewalks but that is about it. [edit: I may have seen a few immigrant workers on bikes once but I dont' think they are buying any of those bikes] So really they can't have much of a market since I already have my bike

I do like the Raleigh Sojourn Touring bike on that page. They say "It would be ideal for a long commute (say, 8 or more miles)." I wonder if they mean RT or one way. IF I knew about it before I bought my fuji I'm sure I would have bought it instead.
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Old 01-24-08, 05:12 PM   #16
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I for one am a new bicyclist, never riding until this July, when I went to Amsterdam and saw the light, and now I commuter 9 miles round trip everyday and have 1,1560 miles on my new bike.

1. I see them at my LBS, Marty's Reliable in Morristown, NJ They have Breezers, Electra's, The Treks and Specialized.

2. Except for the local hispanic community riding as cheap transportation dangerously with no lights, no helmets, riding on sidewalks, etc., I see no one commuting and only on weekend do I see bikers around town being used as transport. I see the occasional roady group fly by though after work.

3. No opinion on 3.

I like the looks of the commuters and one day will probably get one but the hills and trails around here on my commute convinced me to get a Hybrid (Specialized Globe) instead of the comfort/commuter. In the end I had to add plenty of extras (fenders, lights and racks) to give me the utility I need out of the bike. I would like a comfort bike/commuter to ride to nearby restaurants/stores.
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Old 01-24-08, 05:56 PM   #17
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Sounds like you're just ranting now. Almost none of those bikes (maybe two out of 16) have a flat handlebar, and less than half are "bolt upright" bikes.
Yeah, I see what you're saying. The page with the bikes on it wouldn't load for me before. Still lots of comfort bikes there though.
And yeah, I was ranting... guilty as charged.
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Old 01-24-08, 07:40 PM   #18
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No, no, and yes. Our local bike shops sell to gringos. The breezer is available here. About half the bikes I see while I am commuting are high end bikes someone is training on and the rest come from Target and WalMart. Most regular commuters are in low end jobs and can't afford any of your bikes.
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Old 01-24-08, 07:53 PM   #19
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Come to think of it I'm still unsure any of you actually exist since I've yet to see a bicycle commuter in person.
You got us. Everybody but you on this forum are just two guys.

Maybe I'm biased because I have one, but I find these bikes interesting. One of the bikes I currently commute on is a Townie3. If I ever replace it, I'm going to take a serious look at the Townie8 700C.

A concept that some of these bikes have that I find interesting is marrying an IGH rear to 2-3 chainrings in the front.
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Old 01-24-08, 08:30 PM   #20
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#1 Yes Fuji Cross Town 2.0 setup road gearing and tires.
#2 Yes
#3 No
I commute 5 days a week weather permiting only rain when I leave stops me.
Its not a long commute at 5 miles one way leaving around 5:30am lights on packing my lunch and with a pair of shoes at work to change into with an extra 10 min. for flats only have had one to date on my way to work.
My co-worker rides 2-3 days a week with a 8 mile ride one way.
I don't see many others at that time but its kind of early for most to ride with the cold weather.
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Old 01-25-08, 12:21 AM   #21
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Don't forget Biria:

http://www.biriausa.com

To answer your questions - I purchased my Biria from one of two local dealerships. This said, both have discontinued the line, although Biria still claims a large US dealer network.
Thanks much! I will check this out.
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Old 01-25-08, 12:29 AM   #22
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I see those bikes in local bike shops all the time, but Davis is not typical when it comes to cycling, as far as the US is concerned.

Those bikes are interesting, but it seems to me that if one were to buy a road or mountain bike and then add the racks and fenders, one would end up with a better bike in the long run. Those bikes are basically hybrids that come with accessories attached.

The only ones that seem to stand out on their own merits are the ones with internal hub gearing, which is pretty cool and very easy to use, which is a plus for people who are confused by derailer gearing, or need an enclosed drivetrain for riding in a suit or something like that.

As far as people riding them, 90% of the bikes I see around here are from Wal-Mart, and if I ever see a bike with drop bars around here, it is probably a fixie.
Completely concur about the internal-hub gearing.

In regards to the point about buying a MTB or roadie and attaching the extras, I know where you are coming from, but I come at it a little differently.

In the late 90s when I first shopped for a bike to use exclusively for commuting, I was not a bike guy at all. I just wanted everything on the bike, out of the box. I wanted a package deal I didn't have to figure out for myself, that I could evaluate up-front.

There were just about no choices then. Now, there are at least several pretty good ones.

I see that as a great thing. I guess I think there is virtue and benefit to offering the complete package. I think people -- especially bike-ignorant people -- might want that service.
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Old 01-25-08, 12:35 AM   #23
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I do like the Raleigh Sojourn Touring bike on that page. They say "It would be ideal for a long commute (say, 8 or more miles)." I wonder if they mean RT or one way. IF I knew about it before I bought my fuji I'm sure I would have bought it instead.
Well, "they" is me . I was thinking of a 16-mile round-tripper. That's just an arbitrary number meant to convey what I would see as a longish commute, for which I would want drop bars. Shorter than that (all contingencies considered), I would stick with the 8-speed internal hub.
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Old 01-25-08, 01:04 AM   #24
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1) yes

2) yes

3) Why would you expect in implosion of the market?
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Old 01-25-08, 01:33 AM   #25
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3) Why would you expect in implosion of the market?
I wouldn't necessarily expect it, unless the target audience for these bikes doesn't really exist in the United States ... which seems like a distinct possibility.

Maybe the market does exist, or maybe it is growing. I hope so.

All I know for sure is, here in Lexington, Ky., I don't see anybody riding these kinds of bikes -- or many people bicycling commuting at all, for that matter.

So I am curious what others are noticing.
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