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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 05-13-08, 08:10 PM   #1
mr jones
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Newbie Recommendations?

Greetings all. I've been watching the forum for a few days now and decided to register yesterday, and now my first post. ...and please excuse my stupidity.

I have myself a 2006 Specialized Hardrock Sport; love it! Most of its use has been in near-by MTB parks. Lately, I haven't had time to head out to the parks and ride. So, I've been doing more street use, commuting and recreational purposes. After riding a couple weeks on 2.5 inch wide MTB tires and a backpack, I think it's time to maybe make the bike a little more road/commuter friendly. So I'm looking for any product recommendations and/or ideas. I really don't want to spend too much as I want to see how this goes and also keep it as an easy switch...switch to commuter mode to MTB or vise versa without making it too completed/time consuming. I visited my local bike shop, but he didn't have too much in stock for me to look at. Hopefully this isn't ask too much I want to do some online research and I suppose purchasing when I figure out what I want. I really need some recommendations of brands to consider (or stay away from). I'll try to put down as much info as I can.

Tires. Obviously I will need some sort of street tire. I'm in South Florida, so its either sun or rain. Most of the riding will be in the sun, but it does rain (especially in the summer), so I would like something that can handle the wet roads. Some of my routes take me down next to the beach, so at times, there can be a light coating of sand on the road here and there. I suppose not much can be done to deal with this as even with my MTB tires, it can be "slippery". I do like my tires a little on the wide side. I'm not sure how wide they go, but something at or somewhat below the 2inch wide would be nice.

Rack. Nothing fancy, just something I can strap...whatever onto, rather than stuffing a backpack (save my back a little). I'm kind of leaning towards at seat post mounted rack, as it would be easy to install/uninstall, throw on the top shelf of the closet when not in use. What I'm wondering, do they stay in place...do they tend to move over to one side or the other after a while, especially with weight on them?

Compact pump. I'm unsure which way I should go, hand power or CO2? CO2 would be nice for the convenience, but how many tubes can one cartridge fill? Are they worth it?

Fenders. I'm considering fenders, but I'm not sure yet. Would be nice to keep the muddy/sandy water out of my face. Front MTB fender seems adequate and could use it during my MTB rides. I'm not too impressed with the rear MTB fenders for a commuter ride. I'm liking the looks of rear fender found on cruiser type bikes; having the fender extend below the seat stays/behind the seat tube area. Is it possible to fit these type of fenders on my bike, good or bad idea..or other ideas?

That is all. Anything at all will be much appreciated. Thanks
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Old 05-13-08, 08:29 PM   #2
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If you like wide slicks.. Bontrager Hanks. Those things are massive.
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Old 05-13-08, 08:33 PM   #3
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For fenders get PlanetBike full fenders. For pump go for the Topeak Road morph, i don't know about cartridges. For me a pump and a spare tube is enough to change a spare tire once in a while.
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Old 05-13-08, 09:20 PM   #4
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For fenders get PlanetBike full fenders. For pump go for the Topeak Road morph, i don't know about cartridges. For me a pump and a spare tube is enough to change a spare tire once in a while.
+1 on both these recommendations. I've got 2 TPRM's, both w/guage. http://www.bikeisland.com 30.00US and no shipping. Best deal on the best pump on the market.

http://www.bikepartsusa.com carries PB fenders, but DOES charge for shipping. They're located in FL, so shipping may not be much.

For commuter/street tires I wouldn't go over 1.75 in size(unless you're going off-road, too). Wallyworld has some nice 26x1.75 Kenda's that I run on one of my commuters. They're about 13.00 per. (DON'T get the 26x1 3/8 Kendas, because they're NOT 26". Got a set thinking I would downsize from the 1.75s and had to take them back as they were some 'inbetween' size. Major PITA!) I overinflate them to 90psi and they don't slow me down, too much. Mr Tuffy/brown tire liners(also, availale from bikeisland...no shipping).

For a rack I use a Delta Universal Mega Rack on all my commuter bikes(I've got 3). They're priced reasonable(30-35.00)and are VERY sturdy. They mount w/4 bolts. Once you've sized it to your bike...no muss, no fuss. They go on and come off in about a minute. Delta has a website...you can order the racks direct and they're available from several online sources(http://www.nashbar.com ), including your lbs, I'd imagine.

If you do any night riding I'd recommend the Niterider Trailrat(10w/Halogen) and Universal Taillight combo from http://www.brandscycle.com The HL is 100.00US and the taillight is 55.00US w/no shipping. Have been using them for years w/minimal probs. Cateye Sport 1 LED HL w/wraparound attachment and some generic blinkies for the rear and you're good to go for day and/or night riding.

Have fun w/t conversion.
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Old 05-13-08, 09:48 PM   #5
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Fenders are a must for commuting. Full fenders, not the useless little bitty things that attach to the downtube or seat post. There are various brands, and you should be able to find some wide enough for your slicks.
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Old 05-13-08, 09:58 PM   #6
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I've got a Delta Universal rack, and I just had an issue with it. I was moving it from my old bike to my new bike and when I went to take the bolt out to size it, the head of the bolt snapped off. I can only assume it was weakened by repeated stress from bearing loads. Before this I would have said any rack will do.

I saw about half a dozen empty CO2 cartridges on the road today, which reinforces my opinion that they're not a good option if you care about sustainability. You can get different sizes, but I don't think you get many inflations out of even the biggest. Use a pump. It builds character.
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Old 05-13-08, 10:54 PM   #7
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I've got a Delta Universal rack, and I just had an issue with it. I was moving it from my old bike to my new bike and when I went to take the bolt out to size it, the head of the bolt snapped off. I can only assume it was weakened by repeated stress from bearing loads. Before this I would have said any rack will do
Should've mentioned I use cabon/steel heat treated bolts for exactly this reason. Availabale at Home Depot. Take the origianl bolt(s) w/you to get the correct thread/length match. The stock bolts wont hold up over a long period of weight bearing. I aways carry an extraset in my seat bag, too. Along w/a spoke wrench and Park chaintool. Also, 'Threadlock Blue' helps a great deal to maintain rack stability. DON'T use the 'Threadlock Red' ...you'll never get the rack of the bike w/o a hacksaw!

BTW, lock washers are a big help, too.
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Old 05-14-08, 12:06 PM   #8
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Tires: if you want to go street and trail without swapping,Specialized Crossroads. They're heavy,but will do both well,I've never flatted a Flak Jacket tire,and you can get them with reflective sidewalls. If you don't mind swapping tires,then Specialized Nimbus Flak Jacket,Conti Sport Contact,WTB Slickasaurus,and Schwalbe Marathon Supreme(pricy,but worht it) are all good street tires.

Rack: anything that fits really.

Pump: Topeak Morphs. Basically mini floor pumps. Easy to use,and no CO2 carts to run out of.

Fenders: Planet Bike makes full fenders called Speed-Ez that will go straight on even with your suspension fork. Full fenders really are worth it to keep crap off you and the bike.
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Old 05-14-08, 12:48 PM   #9
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Thanks for the responses! Really appreciate it; very helpful

Providing me with the websites/brands has exposed me more to what's out there, so thanks for that!

Question about having a rear full fender w/ a rear rack. They both look like they connect in the same spot at the center of the rear wheel. Having both items on the bike, is that going to pose any problems?
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Old 05-14-08, 12:52 PM   #10
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Question about having a rear full fender w/ a rear rack. They both look like they connect in the same spot at the center of the rear wheel. Having both items on the bike, is that going to pose any problems?
There should be a threaded hole above the rear axle for the attachment. If not you'd have to clamp something onto the seat stay that allows you to mount them.
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Old 05-15-08, 10:45 AM   #11
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Looked up your bike. You have eyelets just above the rear dropouts for racks/fenders. You can use the same hole for both;just use longer bolts and make sure the rack strut is the one closest to the bike.
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