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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 05-11-08, 08:28 PM   #1
neilfein
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Anyone here commute on a touring bike?

I just lost an argument with a car, and my bike is dead. (I'm fine, only minor scrapes and aches. There are details in this thread for the curious.) It's time for a new bike.

My commute is mostly by train these days, shaking it up with commuting the full 40 mile RT around once a week. Folding bike/train commute soon a well.

I'm planning to replace my MTB with a touring bike along the lines of a Surly LHT or a Trek 520. Anyone have experience commuting on a touring bike?
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Old 05-11-08, 08:32 PM   #2
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I commute on a 1984 Trek 720. The geometry is very similar to a LHT. Works great for a commute bike. I updated my drive train with a Nexus hub, but I commuted on it with the original 6 speed on the rear and triple up front for a long time before doing the upgrade.
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Old 05-11-08, 08:34 PM   #3
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Does sport-touring count? I do all sorts of riding ... commuting, recreational riding, centuries, randonneuring brevets, and touring with my Marinoni Ciclo.
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Old 05-11-08, 08:35 PM   #4
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I commute on a Trek 520 that I bought new in 1983.

Rides smooth as butter... tracks straight and isn't twitchy like a short wheel based bike. Carries a load well.

I ride my aluminum Trek 1000 when I don't have a load to carry, or I want to get there fast.
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Old 05-11-08, 08:42 PM   #5
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I've commuted on an LHT for the past year. It's about 20 mi. RT. The only bike I can compare to was my old Raleigh hybrid, which sucked, but the Surly has been fantastic! It's an extremely stable bike, and carries a load very well (as one would expect from a touring frame). Based on my experience with the hybrid, upgrading to a touring frame from a mountain bike should be like night and day. If you go the Surly route, make sure to test ride extensively, and try different sized frames if you can. I almost got a frame that would have been too small for me.
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Old 05-11-08, 08:44 PM   #6
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Novara Randonee, 36 miles round trip, made for it!

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Old 05-11-08, 08:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
I just lost an argument with a car, and my bike is dead. (I'm fine, only minor scrapes and aches. There are details in this thread for the curious.) It's time for a new bike.

My commute is mostly by train these days, shaking it up with commuting the full 40 mile RT around once a week. Folding bike/train commute soon a well.

I'm planning to replace my MTB with a touring bike along the lines of a Surly LHT or a Trek 520. Anyone have experience commuting on a touring bike?

I ride 17 miles RT on a Jamis Aurora. Touring bikes are great for commuting, they will take fenders and racks, and in a straight line will be nearly as fast as a road bike. They don't have quick handling, but whatever.
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Old 05-11-08, 08:48 PM   #8
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I ride a Trek 520. Perfect for commuting.
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Old 05-11-08, 08:53 PM   #9
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Yes, I commute on a Trek 520. It is the best commuting bike I've had, and I've tried hybrids, racing road bikes, and the accessory-laden Specialized Globe "commuter bike."

Personal taste matters, of course; but I like having drop bars, 700x32 tires (wide enough to absorb bumps, but not so wide that it slows you down), and a geometry that doesn't waste your energy. Plus, it comes standard with Kevlar beaded Hardcase tires. Also, with any touring bike, you are certain to be able to attach fenders -- real fenders -- to your touring bike, and no serious commuter should be without those.

I didn't really shop beyond Trek's offering -- I was raised in Wisconsin, so I feel I have no choice -- but I also hear great things about the Cannondale T2000, the Fuji Touring, and the Jamis Aurora.

Cyclocross bikes are also a fine choice, by the way, but they often come with knobby tires that aren't as good for commuting.
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Old 05-11-08, 09:04 PM   #10
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I always thought touring bikes were an evolution of commuter bikes. In that they're way more functional for commuting, especially carrying a load.
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Old 05-11-08, 09:06 PM   #11
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My old Specialized expedition touring works great. ~35-40mi round trip.
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Old 05-11-08, 09:16 PM   #12
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I highly recommend a touring bike for commuting. But, it might depend on your route, road surfaces, amount of stuff you need to carry, weather, etc.

My commute is about 45 miles roundtrip (about 20 if I put my bike in the car and drive halfway for early or late season commutes. My route includes bridges, dirt trails, rough roads, and paved bike paths and I carry a bike briefcase and bike garment bag. My touring bike is the perfect commuter bike. For my commute, a steel frame long-wheelbase bike is ideal (Connondale is aluminium), couldn't do without fenders(!), need those racks, Kevlar belted 700x32 tires, drop bars....all features of a touring bike....make it the perfect commuter. A couple times I wasn't able to ride my touring bike so once I rode my 20lb aluminium road bike (fast but couldn't carry anything and a stiff, rough ride) and another time I rode my mountain bike (slow, required far too much effort, missed the variety of hand positions). I'd never commute again with a non-touring bike if I can avoid it.

You can't go wrong with a 520 or LHT.
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Old 05-11-08, 09:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I always thought touring bikes were an evolution of commuter bikes. In that they're way more functional for commuting, especially carrying a load.
Other way around

A Cannondale T800 is in my stable and works very well as a commuting bike. Much better than a cross bike...which I also use.
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Old 05-11-08, 09:47 PM   #14
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I think touring bikes make great commuters. Very versatile in how you can set them up. Wide gearing range is nice too. I only every used the granny ring on mine while actually on tour, but ona long hilly commute, it's nice to know that it's there. My 'cross bike with a low gear of 38 x 26 has no such bail out option.
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Old 05-11-08, 09:47 PM   #15
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I commute on a 2006 Trek 520. Great commuting bike -- I have around 2,000 commuting miles on it, maybe more.

I put on lower gearing (a Shimano Deore LX triple crank) a Brooks saddle, SKS fenders, and a kickstand. I rode it all winter in Seattle, and also use it as my "rain bike" on weekends when I want to ride but the weather is too crappy to go out on a better bike. I rode in all kinds of junk this winter and it's holding up well -- the paint seems very durable.

I think it's a great commuter -- plenty of low gearing for the hills I ride; the 32c tires soak up bumps and city potholes; it's very strong and stable...I feel like I can load it up with anything and it will keep ticking. So far, not a single flat on the stock tires.

Best of all, it's ready to go touring, too. I feel like that at practically any time I could just throw on a front rack and go off on an extended tour.
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Old 05-11-08, 09:52 PM   #16
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I commute on my new Sherpa 30.
I think its the best commuter I've ever had.
And it is my main touring bike.
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Old 05-11-08, 09:55 PM   #17
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Jamis Aurora. Love it.
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Old 05-11-08, 10:18 PM   #18
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There's really nothing in any of the previous posts with which I disagree. The Trek 520 and the Surly LHT are both fine bikes. My personal choice for a tourer is a 1996 Softride World Traveler. I don't use it for anything except touring. When I decided to get a new commuter many factors were considered. Componentry, quality, price, etc. Ended up getting a Motobecane Fantom/CX from bikesdirect.com. Entry level componentry, but a fine bike for the money(499.00), nonetheless. There was an LHT right in the same line of choices and it WAS tempting, but I wanted funds for the airless tires and some high quality raingear, which I lack. My daily commute is 40 mi rt. For fenders I use SKS Raceblades as I can transfer them from bike to bike. They don't have the coverage of full fenders obviously, but will keep alot of the spash off. The tires are off-road semi-knobbie 30mm, but I've got a set of 28mm 130 psi Nu-teck airless on order and they'll be here in a couple of weeks. Otherwise, I'd get 28mm Schwalbe Marathon plus w/tuffy liners. The frame is aluminum w/a cro/mo fork. The bike is surprisingly stable w/rack, panniers, lights, etc. W/my lunch, clothing, raingear, etc. it weighs in between 47-50 lbs, loaded depending on the day and what I need to haul.

The stock gearing was supposed to have been 2x8, but they slipped in a 2x9 upgrade. The stock front was 50/36(which I swapped out for a 40t right away...I never use it, but it's there if i need it) and 26-12 in the rear. They added a 13t cog(sort of a waste, really) to bump it up to nine. I really liked the idea of a double for a commuter as I've been running 1x7, 8 or 9 for years and find triples to be a PITA in varying the trim all the time. All in all I rate it a 9 out of ten only deducting for the entry level componentry. The generic saddle is comfortable and I've got no probs w/ 'numbness'. Spenco Ironman gloves from bikeisland take care of any potential wrist probs. It's only been 2 weeks and about 400 miles, but so far it's money well spent.

BTW, That Rocky Mountain Sherpa 30 looks like a formidable ride. Love the Blacl/black/black color scheme. No BS, just a good no-nonsense tourer/commuter worthy of much respect. Gotta love the Brooks saddle...what is that, a B-72 or B-17? It's hard to tell.

Last edited by nashcommguy; 05-12-08 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 05-11-08, 10:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
I just lost an argument with a car, and my bike is dead. (I'm fine, only minor scrapes and aches. There are details in this thread for the curious.) It's time for a new bike.

My commute is mostly by train these days, shaking it up with commuting the full 40 mile RT around once a week. Folding bike/train commute soon a well.

I'm planning to replace my MTB with a touring bike along the lines of a Surly LHT or a Trek 520. Anyone have experience commuting on a touring bike?
I don't commute with a touring bike, but I see many, many, many people on them here, as well as cyclocross frames. My conclusion is that they must be good bikes for the job.
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Old 05-11-08, 10:49 PM   #20
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Uuuuuummmm, I guess I m on my own here...a Bianchi Volpe. 2 yrs and 2600 miles apprx. Love this bike.
If I were to do it again...I'd get a frame & build up the components for better value.
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Old 05-11-08, 11:11 PM   #21
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I commute both on touring and cyclocross bikes. I prefer the cyclocross bikes for commuting as they are faster and more agile in traffic, although for heavy loads the touring bikes are more stable.
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Old 05-11-08, 11:25 PM   #22
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tour bike

I use my Surly LHT to commute on when I am not riding one of my other bikes. Its my first choice if I have to travel any farther than about ten miles and if I want to carry a bunch of stuff. I am currently running some 40mm wide Marathon tires with the reflective sidewalls and I love them. I put 70 psi in them and never worry about what I roll over. These fatties are great for absorbing bumps and they grip well at 40 mph on corners. There are not many bicycles out there that can take 40mm tires with fenders and still sport racks and bags along with lighting etc. In my opinion, a touring style bicycle is simply the best all around road bicycle and when you add in wide tires, you can take it off road on gravel or dirt trails too. The long wheelbase makes for a comfortable ride that tracks well on 95% of the riding we commuters do. A zippy short wheelbase race bike is like a Ferrari, nice on a sunny day but not something you want for day in and day out riding. Unlike a full on mountain bike, a properly setup touring machine really lets you maximize your commuting comfort and convenience while still keeping a decent speed.
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Old 05-12-08, 12:05 AM   #23
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I commute with a Rivendell Atlantis which has the same geometry as the LHT. I ride with 1.3" Ritchey Crossbite tires which can be fast when I want to be and can also handle the potholes, gravel etc. The bike has a longer wheelbase and is a bit heavy but it is also very stable in decents and high winds. I commuted with a hard tail mountain bike for a while but a touring bike is a lot less effort and a much better choice for me. Sorry to hear about losing your bike. I was hit a few months ago and lost the bike - the Atlantis has been a great replacement.
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Old 05-12-08, 02:28 AM   #24
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One of my touring bikes is a Surly Cross Check. I'd almost always prefer the Surly. Carrying your stuff in a backpack on your race bike, as opposed to a set of Panniers is a real pain. With the weight factor, touring bikes work out just fine as a commuter.
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Old 05-12-08, 02:54 AM   #25
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I often use an 26" wheeled LHT for a Thirty Mile round trip commute. It's particularly nice, when tired at the end of the week to have the wide gearing and stable handling. Having racks and panniers makes for a very pleasant commute as well.

The only thing I would want you to be aware of has to do with the weight.

If you need to be able to carry your bike, at any point during your commute, a fully loaded touring bike can become a logistical nightmare. So, if you are doing a mixed commute you might want to consider a CX bike and forego the racks and panniers.

BTW, glad you are okay. Pretty hairy accident, that.

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