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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 02-25-09, 07:45 AM   #1
MrBri
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Performance upgrade question

So, I bought a Trek 7.2 FX last year to commute to work occasionally. My ride is 20 miles round trip with about 15 or so stop signs and traffic lights along the way and some rolling hills to climb. I average a measly 12.5 mph on the way in and around 12 on the way back (Going home is more uphill). Bear in mind that the bike is pretty loaded down with clothes and such for the work day and has flat handlebars.
I went with a relatively inexpensive hybrid to ride until I decided what kind of biking I wanted to do(Mountain, road, etc.).
I am considering purchasing a 2009 Surly Cross Check for commuting.
Here are my questions...
Will I see a difference in my average mph?
Do you think I should get another bike (say, a Tricross)?
and...
Will the color "Beef Gravy Brown" clash with my blue gloves and helmet?
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Old 02-25-09, 08:04 AM   #2
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The Surly tends to appeal to those who like classic lines and classic steel. The Tricross is more for the techy type. Both are good "do it all" machines. You have to decide who you are.

Yes, I think you will find an increase in your average speed. But you could probably acheive that by changing to skinnier, higher pressure tires and lowering your handlebars a bit. You could also pedal harder.....

The Tricross (2008) comes in blue. Maybe that solves your delema.

What part of Cola you riding in. I use to do a lot of riding out past Irmo when I was young.
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Old 02-25-09, 08:37 AM   #3
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Will the color "Beef Gravy Brown" clash with my blue gloves and helmet?
That has to be one of the better questions I've seen around here. It will look faaahbulous!
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Old 02-25-09, 09:08 AM   #4
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Don't buy into the "bike = personality" thing you see so much of on BF. If you like the way a bike rides and the price is right, go for it.

And yes, a Tricross or Cross Check will be a bit faster than your 7.2FX. A true road bike would be faster though...
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Old 02-25-09, 10:20 AM   #5
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I upgraded to a 2009 Cross Check from a hybrid this winter for my commuter and I have noticed a ton of changes but a big jump in average speed is not one of them. If your main goal in upgrading is to gain speed don't buy a cross check, it would probably be heavier than your hybrid anyway.
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Old 02-25-09, 11:35 AM   #6
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You may gain some small increase in your average speed due to gearing, aerodynamics and perhaps a reduction in rolling weight...but if an increase in speed is your main reason for spending the money on a new bike, you might as well just wad up each bill, light it on fire, throw it down the road in front of you, then ride like the wind to put it out before it is unspendable. Repeat as necessary until the intervals make you faster, or you run out of money.
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Old 02-25-09, 11:51 AM   #7
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7.2's not a bad bike, not uber-high performance but hardly a clunker. Given that you have to haul stuff, you're not going with a carbon-fiber roadie, and short of that, you'll get a lot more speed improvement by upgrading the engine than you will by buying new hardware.
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Old 02-25-09, 12:36 PM   #8
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Your average speed is heavily biased by stops. Like others have stated, even on an unobtainium road bike you would probably not increase your average speed by much.

For example, I can take a very leisure ride to work and back, and my average speed is about 13-14 MPH. If I hammer it (and I can ride pretty fast) so that I am gasping for air, sweaty as a racehorse, and my legs are dying (think 22-25 MPH while I am moving, with a fully loaded pannier bag) my average only goes up to 15-16 MPH. This is the result of multiple stops at stoplights etc.

My commute is about 38-45 minutes depending on my effort. Some of my stops are longer than 3 minutes, and there are many of them. These stops are what really kill commute times, and hence average speed.

Last edited by daaxix; 02-25-09 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 02-25-09, 12:56 PM   #9
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Any decent bike computer will not calculate zero's into the average speed. So only the slowing down to the stop sign (and speeding back up) effect your average speed. Not the time you are sitting still. So screech to a halt at the last minute and jump off the line like a jack rabbit and you will increase your average speed!
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Old 02-25-09, 01:05 PM   #10
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"if an increase in speed is your main reason for spending the money on a new bike"

It's not. I just wanted something nice and decided I am neither a roadie nor a moutaineer.
I had ankle surgery (ex-runner) last August and today was my first commute since then. I know I will get faster the more I do it, I was just wondering how my new bike is going to be different. Of course, considering the fact that I have never ridden with drops, the new ride will be very different.
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Old 02-25-09, 01:08 PM   #11
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"if an increase in speed is your main reason for spending the money on a new bike"

It's not. I just wanted something nice and decided I am neither a roadie nor a moutaineer.
I had ankle surgery (ex-runner) last August and today was my first commute since then. I know I will get faster the more I do it, I was just wondering how my new bike is going to be different. Of course, considering the fact that I have never ridden with drops, the new ride will be very different.
I have ridden with drops a few times (on a friend's bike) and must say it is excellent for wind. My commuter is a converted flat-bar MTB, so sometimes I wish I had drops. I have not ridden very far with the drops however.
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Old 02-25-09, 01:11 PM   #12
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Any decent bike computer will not calculate zero's into the average speed. So only the slowing down to the stop sign (and speeding back up) effect your average speed. Not the time you are sitting still. So screech to a halt at the last minute and jump off the line like a jack rabbit and you will increase your average speed!
Hehe, I don't have a computer so my average speed is

speed = dist/time = 11 miles / (whatever time it takes);
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Old 02-25-09, 01:18 PM   #13
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Are your feet clipped in? If not, that will increase your speed--drops or no.
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Old 02-25-09, 01:58 PM   #14
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I tried to use toe clips today for the first time and that's a completely different issue. That needs to be a new post. I need clipless pedals I think.
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Old 02-25-09, 02:37 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by bkbrouwer View Post
Any decent bike computer will not calculate zero's into the average speed. So only the slowing down to the stop sign (and speeding back up) effect your average speed. Not the time you are sitting still. So screech to a halt at the last minute and jump off the line like a jack rabbit and you will increase your average speed!
While this may sound on the surface like it's just turning it into a numbers game (where can I get a computer that will calculate my median and mode speeds?), there is actually something to the jack rabbit start. If you do that, the stop signs will give you an interval-like effect that should make you faster in the long run.
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Old 02-25-09, 05:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by bkbrouwer View Post
Any decent bike computer will not calculate zero's into the average speed. So only the slowing down to the stop sign (and speeding back up) effect your average speed. Not the time you are sitting still. So screech to a halt at the last minute and jump off the line like a jack rabbit and you will increase your average speed!
So slowing down and rolling through intersections would be the worst thing since we don't hit zero ...
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