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Old 04-13-08, 02:28 PM   #1
kmcrawford111
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Looking For Commuter Bike with Internal Gearing & Disc Brakes

With my second broken rear axle in two years, which I believe is largely my fault, and not being able to ride the last few days for not having the part, I am going crazy. I have been thinking about buying a second bike, and I've decided to go ahead with it now.

But I want a bike with only one derailleur - in the back. I've been using a mountain bike on only the middle chainring, and it has worked well enough. Only occassionally do I wish I had more speed - I don't try to break any land speed records, and I have to be careful anyway because I have to contend with some rough roads. I've never needed the small chainring on the bike I've been using. So a freewheel with a nice range of gear ratios would be fantastic.

I want a bike that will last a long time. I want a bike that can be relatively fast and that will work for longer rides. I want a bike that will be durable enough that accidentally hitting a pothole won't be disastrous. I would prefer a bike with 26" rims so I can use tires I already have, especailly my studded. I want a bike that places function first - and out of fear of theft, something that won't be overly attrative to hooligans. I want a bike made in the USA or more locally as much as possible. I want a bike that will be relatively low-maintenance and easy to work on.

I am thinking that something along the lines of a hybrid or touring bike may be best. I'm not looking for a road bike. The bike must have only one derailleur. The specs in the previous paragraph are of secondary importance. I realize that I am asking for an awful lot, but if anyone can mention some possible candidates that might come close to what I'm looking for, I'd be greatly appreciative!

Thanks,

Kevin

Last edited by kmcrawford111; 04-14-08 at 02:27 AM. Reason: Updated
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Old 04-13-08, 02:43 PM   #2
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Is single speed an option? That'd be even better.
Check out bikes w/Nexus hubs. That'd make for no derailleurs.

06/07 Trek SOHO (700 wheels)
New Soho 4.0

I'm curious to see what you'll find in a stock single ring, multispeed bike w/26" wheels.
Singlespeed would probably yield more flexible results.

I did just find this though:
Specialized Globe Centrum (Elite IG3 or Comp)
Flat bar, 26" 3 or 8 speed rear hub, disc brakes. Never looked at those before.

Good Luck.
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Old 04-13-08, 02:58 PM   #3
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Swobo Dixon

Sram I-Motion 9 speed internal gear hub.
Avid Disc Brakes
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Old 04-14-08, 01:23 AM   #4
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Nice; thank you. I was actually looking at a Globe before. I may get one of those. The other two bikes mentioned also look very nice. I'll have to read up on these internal gear hubs some more.

I wonder why the top-of-the-line Globe has the internal hub, but no disc brakes, where a less expensive variant has the disc brakes but no internal hub? I thought that disc brakes were the best.
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Old 04-14-08, 01:36 AM   #5
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OK, I'm looking a little more, and now I really want a bike with internal gearing. Forget the derailleurs! Also, I want disc brakes.

Last edited by kmcrawford111; 04-14-08 at 02:50 AM.
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Old 04-14-08, 04:05 AM   #6
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A 1x9 set up is a very effective and pragmatic set up.
With a 26" (559) wheel, 11-34 cassette and a 40 t chain ring you would have what you describe.
The gear range would range from a low of 30 to a high of 93, nice for mostly flat areas yet the lower
gearing is good for those steep ramps and rough roads. With a chain guard you won't get a dirty
pant leg and a inner ring chain stop will prevent chain suck. I've ridden my 1x9 CxCk 5-6k km with out any problems, at first I was a little concerned about the more "limited" gearing- now I wonder why I didn't go with this set up sooner. Internal hubs are nice, disc brakes are great; the 1x9 with canti brakes
has worked very well.
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Old 04-14-08, 06:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmcrawford111 View Post
OK, I'm looking a little more, and now I really want a bike with internal gearing. Forget the derailleurs! Also, I want disc brakes.
On an internal hub, you'll more likely see roller, drum or coaster brakes (all of which get decent reviews as snow/rain resistant brakes). Disc is newer technology, and it doesn't always interact well with commuter gear. Also seems like it doesn't easily "build in" to an internal gear hub, so the manufacturers use something else that does.

Most IGH bikes in the US just have regular rim brakes tho. Most of the time, that's Good Enough. Coaster brake + rim brakes is probably the next easiest to find, and it works well enough.
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Old 04-14-08, 08:33 AM   #8
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I second the Trek Soho 4.0. I don't have one, but if I were in your situation I would.
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Old 04-14-08, 10:56 AM   #9
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My bike has a Coaster + a rim brake, and I've never had any doubt as to stopping power. Disc brakes are very cool, but they're overkill for most applications.

Not that overkill brakes are a bad thing, just that you don't need to stress about not getting them included.
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Old 04-14-08, 11:05 AM   #10
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Discs and IG hubs have only recently been meshing with Shimano's new Alfine and SRAM's new iMotion hubs. This is a good thing,since while roller brakes require less maintenance,and work fine for a rear brake,they tend to weigh alot. Coasters are light,simple,amd basically maintenance free,but can't be modulated that well,and can get scary at speed in the rain/snow.

I have an Otis,basically a 3sp coaster version of the Dixon. The Dixon would make a sweet commuter. I also own a Surly 1x1 with a Nexus hub and front disc. This might also be the way to go,if you're interested in building your own bike.
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Old 04-14-08, 11:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torrilin View Post
Disc is newer technology, and it doesn't always interact well with commuter gear. Also seems like it doesn't easily "build in" to an internal gear hub, so the manufacturers use something else that does.
Would you mind elaborting on this point? I was thinking that disc brakes would be the best choice. I ride in almost all conditions, and my understanding is that discs are superior for wet conditions.

So far I am really liking the Trek Soho 4.0, and secondly the Swobo Dixon. These are pretty much exactly what I'm looking for. I have yet to see any feedback on the Dixon though (perhaps I should look up the Otis here, since they are similar).

Is there anything else comparable to these two?

Again, thank you very much!

Kevin
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Old 04-14-08, 08:22 PM   #12
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Gary Fisher Cronus has rear derailleur only.
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Old 04-15-08, 04:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Would you mind elaborting on this point? I was thinking that disc brakes would be the best choice. I ride in almost all conditions, and my understanding is that discs are superior for wet conditions.
He means you usually need disc-specific racks and sometimes have to do some MacGuyvering to get fenders on. These are not issues on either the Dixon or Soho due to their layout.
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Old 04-15-08, 07:07 AM   #14
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I'm not sure the length of your rides, but if you're looking at hubs consider the Breezer Villager or Uptown. I love mine. The stock tires on the Villager need replacing--they're prone to flats. Once that's changed out, you have a very reliable, sturdy bike. 26" wheels, which I like too.

For longer commutes, Bianchi has a couple of models. They have a Milano with the 8 speed hub, and a Milano Citta with a 9 speed derailer.
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Old 04-15-08, 07:17 AM   #15
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Coasters are light,simple,amd basically maintenance free,but can't be modulated that well,and can get scary at speed in the rain/snow.
And since they only control the rear wheel, you won't be stopping very fast and you'll be fishtailing as you try.
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Old 04-15-08, 08:22 AM   #16
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Check out the Redline R530. I haven't been able to ride one...yet, but mine on its way. The upright riding position is going to work against your desire for longer rides. But it is in the same class as the Breezer and some of the others. But it does have 700c wheels. I had an old Austrian built bike from the late 60's with a 3 speed hub and drum brakes, it was the only way to go in sloppy weather compared to my friends 10 speeds. Disc brakes have their place but in wet, crappy weather even those take a bit of clearing before they lock down. With an enclosed hub brake you get similar braking in all weather, based on tire traction. YMMV

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Old 04-15-08, 08:32 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martianone View Post
A 1x9 set up is a very effective and pragmatic set up.
With a 26" (559) wheel, 11-34 cassette and a 40 t chain ring you would have what you describe.
The gear range would range from a low of 30 to a high of 93, nice for mostly flat areas yet the lower
gearing is good for those steep ramps and rough roads. With a chain guard you won't get a dirty
pant leg and a inner ring chain stop will prevent chain suck. I've ridden my 1x9 CxCk 5-6k km with out any problems, at first I was a little concerned about the more "limited" gearing- now I wonder why I didn't go with this set up sooner. Internal hubs are nice, disc brakes are great; the 1x9 with canti brakes
has worked very well.
The set up I use is very similar to this. I've got a 1x8 w/barend shfting on an old c'dale aluminum rb frame(700x20mm airless tires). The gearing I use is 48x28-24-21-18-16-14-13-12. Sora rr der, which was only supposed to go to 27t, but I managed to squeeze another tooth out of it. The range in the previous post gives you much more on the low end(which I wish I had, sometimes). Also, the chainring I use is an unramped Rocket Ring, but I still experience 'chaindrop' from time to time. Chainguards would help, no doubt, but I'm just too cheap to invest in them. Grinding down an old 52t chainring might do the trick. All this being said I plan to go to an ig hub for my next commuter bike. Maybe even to a SHAFTDRIVE!!

BTW, the reason I went to a single chainring up front was exactly the same reason as you. I found I was only using one gear in the front, so why bother w/t other 2. Much simpler rig all things considered. Good luck in your search.
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Old 04-16-08, 12:15 PM   #18
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Disc brakes have their place but in wet, crappy weather even those take a bit of clearing before they lock down.
No they don't. Water and snow have zero effect. Unlike rim brakes,the pads aren't rubber/plastic,and the rotors are drilled. Drum brakes are heavy and not that strong. There's no way I'd trust one on the front of a bike with the hills we have around here.
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