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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 04-22-09, 10:08 PM   #1
giaoster
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Commuting bike: Giant Tran Sport or Marin Novato

I am looking at these 2 bikes, both are $350 at LBS.
Giant Tran Sport DX 2008
Marin Novato 2008

My commute is 24 miles round trip on a 41 lbs beater with 16 lbs at the front rack.

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...llections_id=3
http://www.marinbikes.com/2008_html/...?serialnum=702

All helps and opinions are welcome.
Thanks,
Giaoster (almost qualifyfor 50+)
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Old 04-23-09, 08:57 AM   #2
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I own a Novara Safari(the bike the Tran Sport is copying) and a Novato. The Novato will be lighter,has disc brakes,and a touch better components. It'll take a rear fack and full fenders no problem,and Nashbar sells trekking bars like the Giant's for like $20. You'd need to accessorize the Novato more,but I think in the long run it would be worth it.

My $.02. You also really need to ride both bikes and decide which one feels better for you.
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Old 04-23-09, 08:58 AM   #3
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Yeah, if you haven't test ridden each bike then it's best not to go off Internet opinions.
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Old 04-23-09, 08:07 PM   #4
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$350 for the Giant looks to be quite a deal. You're getting two racks (usually around $40 each). Special handlebar. Beefy tires. Buy it and sell it if you don't like it. You shouldn't take much of a loss.
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Old 04-23-09, 10:12 PM   #5
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I went to the bike shop after work today. The Marin Novato is all out. They do have some Marin Kentfield and Muirwoods, but all are in large size and too big for me.

The Muirwoods look sharp in matte black and feel light.

I tested the Giant Tran Sport DX (small size).

The seatpost is painted black and easily scratch when adjusting seat height. Handlebar is also painted black and has soft cushy foam cover (feel cheap to the touch and hard to clean)

There is no quick release for front wheel and seatpost. All those gave impression of low quality parts.

Shifter jumps more than 1 cogs at a time mostly from large to small cogs (it may need some adjustment).

Both racks have adjustable sidings (spring loaded hinges) that can fold up or down form a larger carrying surface (up 90 degrees) or to form the 2 sides (up 180 degrees) to hold things in the middle.

Overall the bike feels a bit crampy, but they don't the medium size for me to try.

For now I will wait and search around some more.

-G
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Old 04-24-09, 11:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giaoster View Post
There is no quick release for front wheel and seatpost. All those gave impression of low quality parts.
-G
no quick release is better for commuting, less part theft.
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Old 04-24-09, 01:24 PM   #7
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good point, I am using enclosed bike locker that company provided.
Learn something new today.
-G
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Old 04-24-09, 03:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giaoster View Post
Overall the bike feels a bit crampy, but they don't the medium size for me to try.

For now I will wait and search around some more.
Good call. Even though $350 for the Giant sounds like a good deal, if it doesn't feel good to ride, you're better off looking for something else.
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Old 04-24-09, 03:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giaoster View Post
I went to the bike shop after work today. The Marin Novato is all out. They do have some Marin Kentfield and Muirwoods, but all are in large size and too big for me.

The Muirwoods look sharp in matte black and feel light.

I tested the Giant Tran Sport DX (small size).

The seatpost is painted black and easily scratch when adjusting seat height. Handlebar is also painted black and has soft cushy foam cover (feel cheap to the touch and hard to clean)

There is no quick release for front wheel and seatpost. All those gave impression of low quality parts.

Shifter jumps more than 1 cogs at a time mostly from large to small cogs (it may need some adjustment).

Both racks have adjustable sidings (spring loaded hinges) that can fold up or down form a larger carrying surface (up 90 degrees) or to form the 2 sides (up 180 degrees) to hold things in the middle.

Overall the bike feels a bit crampy, but they don't the medium size for me to try.

For now I will wait and search around some more.

-G
If the LBS doesn't have a Tran Sport in your size, they probably never will. It's been discontinued. 2008 is quite possibly the only year that they were made/sold in the U.S. (by/for Giant anyway).
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Old 04-24-09, 05:48 PM   #10
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I made the jump from a 45lb raleigh mtb to a 25lb Marin Point Reyes before I started adding racks and fenders. I love the Marin Its quick,comfortable and light. It has eyelits for front and rear racks and I like the look of the matte smoke finish. My commute is 26 km one way.
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Old 05-15-09, 09:12 PM   #11
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This is to update this post.
I went back and test rode the Giant Tran Send DX, the Cypress DX, the Marin Muirwood, and the Novato.
The Tran Send and Novato have fenders, but they rattle and making noise. Also several times I left foot hit the front fender.
The Cypress with disc brake, suspension seat post and front suspension would make it felt heavy. I felt better with the Muirwoods. So I got myself a 19" Marin Muirwoods.
The standover height fits me alright with a little over an inch clearance. The bike weights 28 lbs.
I added the front basket, bottle holder cage, and a bike computer with cadence. I am all set.
This week I rode it to work 3 days ~74 miles. The new click shifter works flawless on all gears when I need them.
Atleast I don't feel tired at the end of my commute like before. So I am happy to make the switch.
The old bike will be use as spare and to learn bike maintenance skills.
Bike specs below and yes, it's a typical black color commuter bike, but it's mine and you don't have to like it.
Good luck to all searching for their commuter bikes.
-G
http://www.marinbikes.com/2008_html/...?serialnum=207
http://www.marinbikes.com/2008/us/bi...T_URBAN_MW.jpg
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Old 05-15-09, 09:17 PM   #12
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It's a great-looking bike. Enjoy.
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Old 05-25-09, 05:45 PM   #13
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Marin Muirwoods for commuting.

Hi all,
Here is the pciture of my commute bike.
It's a 2008 Marin Muirwoods. Original weight is 28 bls. I had the handle bar cut to 23 inches, added bar ends, bottle holder cage, bike computer, and swapped out the pedals for an old platforms.
This weekend, I added rear rack and converted a Nokia picnic igloo into bike pannier. It holds my change clothes, plus laptop computer fine. The weight is now 37 lbs before anything in the pannier.
-G
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