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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 06-24-09, 02:15 PM   #1
FR1EL
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hybrid vs road... flat vs drop... my wants vs my wallet

Ok, so I'm looking to get a new bike. My trips consist mostly of 20-35 mile rides 4-5 times a week. They're mostly on pavement or packed dirt/gravel--nothing too crazy. I really like the feel of drop handlebars, though I'm going to be going to school in Boston (bumpy roads, crazy sidewalks, etc.) so I'm not sure if a road bike would take it (I don't have much experience with them or what they can handle). I also like the posture I get on a road bike vs on a mountain bike. I think I have my choices rounded down to the Trek FX (a hybrid with flat bars and upright riding position) and the Schwinn Le Tour GS (a road bike with slightly relaxed geometry and the lovely drop bars). Anyone able to offer me some advice? Let me know if more info is needed.
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Old 06-24-09, 02:27 PM   #2
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Unless the bike will be primarily for off-road use, I would personally always default to a bike with drop bars.

The Schwinn comes with 28mm tires and looks to be set up to take fenders and a rack if needed. I would guess that it would fit your needs fine. I would much rather ride the Schwinn road bike 35 miles a day than a hybrid.
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Old 06-24-09, 02:41 PM   #3
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I bought a trek fx for just such rides - and commute with it daily - pimped it out with saddle bags and fenders -

I lived in boston for 15 years - I am not sure ANY bike can handle THOSE pot holes - don't get lost in them....
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Old 06-24-09, 03:00 PM   #4
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road bike 100%, I use mine on poor roads (lots of potholes / bumps) and it is ok - wheels are true still too! I use 23mm armadillos which provide good puncture protection and the ride isn't too bad!

Drop bars all the time for any distance > 0 miles!
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Old 06-24-09, 03:20 PM   #5
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Sounds like a tailor-made situation for a cyclocross or touring bike!

Surly Crosscheck, Surly Log Haul Trucker http://www.surlybikes.com/
Salsa La Cruz or Casseroll http://www.salsacycles.com/
Specialized Tricross http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...icross&eid=123

Ohhh, so many more
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Old 06-24-09, 03:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by hubcap View Post
The Schwinn comes with 28mm tires and looks to be set up to take fenders and a rack if needed. I would guess that it would fit your needs fine. I would much rather ride the Schwinn road bike 35 miles a day than a hybrid.
A big +1.

I set up a friend of mine on a Le Tour GS a month or so ago. It's an '07 he got at Performance and I think he was out the door with bike, shorts, helmet, etc for under 500 bucks. Not a respected name around BF, but it appears to be a solid bike.
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Old 06-24-09, 04:03 PM   #7
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I commute in Boston with this beautiful lady (well, not the 2009 model). I've hit some gnarly potholes and never had a problem. In fact, I've never had any mechanical problems or even a flat tire. The one downfall is that the wheels aren't quick-release, so I have to carry an extra wrench in my bag in case I ever do get a flat.
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Old 06-24-09, 04:30 PM   #8
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I ride one of these.
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/fx/73fx/
I find it comfortable, quick, easy to ride. I've added a Topeak Rack and trunk bag, clipless pedals, and bar ends. I can ride hours comfortably this way and highly recommend it.

Jerry
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Old 06-24-09, 06:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by canyoneagle View Post
sounds like a tailor-made situation for a cyclocross or touring bike!

Surly crosscheck, surly log haul trucker http://www.surlybikes.com/
salsa la cruz or casseroll http://www.salsacycles.com/
specialized tricross http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...icross&eid=123

ohhh, so many more
+1
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Old 06-24-09, 06:38 PM   #10
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Trek FX Series for the win
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Old 06-24-09, 08:15 PM   #11
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If you find the potholes are too mean for 28 mm tire, you could probably switch to 32s. The drop bars are a boon in a stiff headwind and give easier lane splitting than wide straight bars. The thumb upshift on Sora is fine for city riding where you can upshift frm the hoods as you accelerate from traffic lights, then move down to the drops when you are up to speed. The Sora shifters are not up to gear shifting in a close peleton.
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Old 06-24-09, 09:41 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the feedback! I think I am definitely going to go with a road bike--now I'm just looking more into them to see what brand/model would fit me best.
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Old 06-24-09, 10:01 PM   #13
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1+ on the cyclocross. Had a guy stop and talk to me the other day after looking at my Salsa La Cruz, he said "I don't know why cross bikes are not more popular in this country considering the state of our ******** roads". This is in New Zealand we have bad roads and he is right.
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Old 06-25-09, 03:29 AM   #14
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R.E The sora shifters they are "ok" but I would try to get better ones, I didn't like the little lever for shifting it felt cheap and wasn't user friendly.
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Old 06-25-09, 06:42 AM   #15
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where in Boston? I think part of your consideration should be security and the riding you'll be doing here. will you be on the Cambridge side of the river by Harvard? Back Bay area by BU? Where will you be living? will you have to cross the Charles bridges? Where will you be locking it. There are some used bike shops up here that can sell you a decent used bike to get you started plus it won't be a security risk. Not sure what your current environment is like, but Boston is not like a suburb. We have lots of potholes and road grit. I've been commuting this week on old 10-speeds and I wouldn't want to be using a nice new bike for that stuff. the bikes have gotten very disgusting. you don't want something delicate up here. also Boston has lots of street thugs and scalper types that will steal or strip your bike even while you're standing next to it (only kidding)

anyway, come visit and see what others are riding

here's a pic of a bike I found at the end of school a few years ago. I guess some graduate used it and after he left he tossed it out his apartment window onto a giant pile of garbage bags. all it needed was a single crank arm. of course I swapped a few things sinc ethen - but it might kive you an idea that a simple used MTB might suffice to get you started
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Old 06-25-09, 08:13 AM   #16
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I'll be going to Northeastern so just southeast of the Fens. I still think the primary use of the bike will be recreation since I'll be using the T to get around a lot. I would say 70% of the time I will be riding just to get out and ride and the other 30% to actually get me somewhere. Thanks for the advice rumrunn6!
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Old 06-25-09, 08:16 AM   #17
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Good choice! :-)

I vote for tough road bike with straight bars. Good luck with that!
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Old 06-25-09, 08:52 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by canyoneagle View Post
Sounds like a tailor-made situation for a cyclocross or touring bike!

Surly Crosscheck, Surly Log Haul Trucker http://www.surlybikes.com/
Salsa La Cruz or Casseroll http://www.salsacycles.com/
Specialized Tricross http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...icross&eid=123

Ohhh, so many more
And you can always take this a step further: build up a mountain frame as a CX-style bike and get REAL fatties in there.

Wanna do it on a budget? Get one of the frames from Nashbar, Pricepoint or Performancebike, head down to your LBS and ask them to build it up as a 1x9 with drop bars and a rigid fork (or google for parts, put it together yourself and pay an LBS to assemble it for you). You will get the best of both worlds - reasonably fast bike, nice fat tires for cushioning and an ability to handle all sort of off-road conditions, etc. If you use a 29er frame, you will be able to swap road tires and MTB tires to boot (within reason, depending on your rim).

This is how I am building up my commuter.

V.
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Old 06-25-09, 04:03 PM   #19
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Here's another ***SWEET*** option, but it would require a road trip or a friend in the area to pick it up:

http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/bianc...os8/index.html
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