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  1. #1
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    New commuter update

    Hello friends!

    So, after reading tons and getting a lot of great advice from some of you, I bought my Kona JTS and started commuting.

    I friggen love it.

    I go so fast and I feel like I'm getting so much stronger and healthier. Plus I'm way more energized at work during the day. Awesome!

    So I had a few questions...

    1) My JTS came with nubbly tires and I can feel that they're resisting a bit when I'm going fast on the road. I think maybe less nubbly, more slick tires would create less resistance. I was wondering what a good tire is? I don't want it to be too skinny because some of the roads I have to take are BAD with lots of holes and cracks, and not totally slick because I have ride on some dirt roads. Is there a middle ground? And what are good brands?

    2) It's my birthday coming up in a little over a month, and I want to use this oportunity to ask for bike stuff! So, what should I ask for? What would you ask for if it was your bday and all you had was a bike, a helmet, a pair of bike shorts, a trip computer and a water bottle?

    Thanks guys!

  2. #2
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    Oh another question:

    What about chain lube? What's a good kind? How do I know if I need some?

  3. #3
    Who farted? Ka_Jun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brushy View Post
    Oh another question:

    What about chain lube? What's a good kind? How do I know if I need some?
    You need some. White Lightning, there is no other.

    Glad you're enjoying the commute. You have good locks? Lights? A rack, maybe?

  4. #4
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    I run specialized armadillos (700x28) on my cross-check, they are pretty much slicks, but for the little amount of gravel I run through on my commute they seem to do pretty well. Plus they are tough as nails, I actually rode over about a 5 foot long swath of broken glass when I was forced into the gutter by a passing car and had no problems.

    I as for the lube, I just use whatever the bike shop has on sale, I re-lubricate my chain about once a week year round with whatever chain lube my lbs has for cheap because it only has to last a week.

    As for the birthday, mine just came up a couple weeks ago and I got a new helmet, I never gave much thought to the comfort on my noggin, but I have been much cooler on my commute since then. My bike is fully outfitted with the goodies so I really didn't need things like bottle cages, or fenders or a rack, those would be the first things I would ask for.

  5. #5
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    Congratulations!

    Congratulations on making the move. If you're still relatively new to commuting, you might want to check out this site. It may answer a lot of your questions.

    http://www.biketoledo.net
    rsbeach

  6. #6
    jackalope
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    get pumped dude. bikes rule. get a rack

  7. #7
    Senior Member m_yates's Avatar
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    There are some religious-type arguments about chain lube for some reason, so you will get lots of different responses. In my case, I use the traditional oily lube, Finish Line "Wet" lube brand to be exact. The oil lube is dirty and messy, but it works. Last year, I used "dry" teflon lube and cleaned my chain once a week for ~2500 miles. The end result was I wore out my cassette and chain in 2500 miles. The dry lube is unsuitable for any rain. When I was using it, my chain would develop rust spots after any rain and need to be cleaned and re-lubed. I've been using the "Wet" oil lube with my new chain for about 1000 miles and I have had to clean it just once. I only clean it when the chain starts making noise, which is a lot less frequent with "Wet" oil lube than "Dry" teflon. I think over-zealous chain cleaning actually shortens chain life. Not sure if there is evidence to back up my theory, but I am in the process of collecting evidence on my commute!

    I've used Schwalbe Marathon and Pasela Tourgaurd tires. Both of them work well and are inexpensive. Both of them are lined to help prevent flats. A lot of people say good things about Gatorskins, but I haven't tried them.

    If I was asking for a birthday present, it would be good LED headlights.

  8. #8
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    1) Something like the Vittoria Randonneur Cross would probably work for you, or maybe the Panaracer T-Serv Protex if you want something lighter.

    2) A nice U-lock, mountain bike shoes and Crank Brothers pedals, a good multitool, some hi-vis jerseys.

    3) Lube often, but always do at least a minimal cleaning when you lube. The oil will carry grit into the bearings of the chain and reduce chain life. You can't avoid that, but you can minimize it. Clean the chain, let it dry, apply oil, let it soak in overnight, wipe it off, ride, ride, ride. I use ProLink lube on my fair weather bike and Finish Line Wet on my rain bike.

  9. #9
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    Lights are a good gift idea in the $150 range. A decent tail light runs about $25-$30 and a good headlight runs upwards of $100. If you're doing mostly city riding you can probably get by with a much cheaper headlight.

    Tools are always nice. You might want to start with a multi tool, tire levers, patch kit, spare tube, and a portable pump or CO2 inflator. This is probably in the $50 range.

    Some folks like pedal and shoe systems. I prefer platforms for commuting but love my clipins for road riding. This will cost around $150-$250.

    Cycle computer if you don't have one. $30-$100

    Winter gear if you're hoping to ride this winter. You're probably mostly missing clothing but you might also appreciate studded snow tires.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicyclerampage View Post
    get pumped dude. bikes rule. get a rack
    dudette

    Thanks for all the tips! I have a lock (Kryptonite Evolution). I don't have lights though or any tools, so those are great ideas!

    Also, cleaning my chain - is this hard? Am I going to risk damaging it doing it myself if I screw it up? Or is it pretty easy?

    Finally, tires: I'm going to head out today to the LBS and see if they have any you guys have suggested and put them on my wish list!

    Oh ya, winter riding: I imagine it's pretty impossible to do it where I live...

  11. #11
    Newbie mechanic
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    You're not liable to damage your chain, just get some degreaser on there, clean it off, then put some lube on. You only need a drop of lube, especially if its the Finish Line Wet stuff, on each roller. But the easiest way to apply it is backpedal while you drip it on the chain as it rolls over the cassette.

    Vittoria Randonneur tyres are brilliant for puncture protection but only go as small as 700x28c and are a bit heavier. Gatorskin tyres are generally pretty good. To be honest I've had good runs with all my Vittoria tyres for commuting, even Rubino Pros which aren't specifically puncture-proof but I've only had one pinch flat in months with them.

    Grab yourself a multi-tool with 4mm, 5mm and 6mm hex keys and some tyre levers as gifts and you're halfway set, but nice bright lights and a Topeak rack + bag can make carting stuff to and fro easier. All the Topeak MTX stuff is a lot easier to use than pannier bags because it slides on and off pretty quick.

    Nice choice on the Jake The Snake by the way, very versatile.
    Last edited by Tywin; 07-29-09 at 06:40 AM.
    Single speed commuter, simplest works best.

  12. #12
    Who farted? Ka_Jun's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Brushy;9376660]dudette

    Thanks for all the tips! I have a lock (Kryptonite Evolution). I don't have lights though or any tools, so those are great ideas!

    Also, cleaning my chain - is this hard? Am I going to risk damaging it doing it myself if I screw it up? Or is it pretty easy?

    Finally, tires: I'm going to head out today to the LBS and see if they have any you guys have suggested and put them on my wish list!

    Oh ya, winter riding: I imagine it's pretty impossible to do it where I live...[/QUOTE]


    Tell that to her. She's bad as hell.

    Learn to clean your chain. Not hard. Take care of your ride.

  13. #13
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brushy View Post
    dudette

    Thanks for all the tips! I have a lock (Kryptonite Evolution). I don't have lights though or any tools, so those are great ideas!

    Also, cleaning my chain - is this hard? Am I going to risk damaging it doing it myself if I screw it up? Or is it pretty easy?

    Finally, tires: I'm going to head out today to the LBS and see if they have any you guys have suggested and put them on my wish list!
    [U] Oh ya, winter riding: I imagine it's pretty impossible to do it where I live[U]...
    I live in Farmington, Maine and I rode all but about 10 days (actually nights because I work nights) last winter, studded snow tires are the key. (as well as warm clothing) I use Nokian Mount and Ground 160 tires.
    Living in Quebec I would imagine that you have warm clothing.

  14. #14
    smatte
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    I'm riding on Bontrager hard case tires through some potholed areas, hit a big one hard this morning not paying attention. (watching the farm animals). No problems and the prices is good. don't know your frame but these are 700x32 slicks.

    I'd go with tools before upgrading tires, don't forget to get a spare tube to keep with your tools. Don't leave home without them.

    I use the Tri-flo lube, works fine. I do a light clean (WD-40) and lube every few hundred miles.

    Lights are necessary when it gets dark, don't be a ninja rider.

  15. #15
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brushy View Post
    Also, cleaning my chain - is this hard? Am I going to risk damaging it doing it myself if I screw it up? Or is it pretty easy?
    Spray it with degreaser, but be careful not to get any degreaser in your hubs or bottom bracket. That's about the only thing you can do that will break anything. You should also avoid getting degreaser on your rims as that could make them slippery, but that can be cleaned off.

    Let the degreaser sit for a few minutes, then grab a middle section of the chain with a rag and back pedal. Rinse if necessary and then let it dry.

    When applying lube, be sure it doesn't drip on your rims.

    Alternatively, clean your chain like this: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html

  16. #16
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Or you could get one of these:


  17. #17
    Senior Member DX Rider's Avatar
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    I use an oil based lubricant and a wax lubricant on my bike chains.

    The oil based lube is for my all weather/all season commuter, the wax lubricant is for my nice weather commuter, since it tends to be less durable in bad weather.

    Learn to clean your chain. Not hard. Take care of your ride.
    Chain maintenance 101 - http://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html
    Last edited by DX Rider; 07-29-09 at 09:53 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by stronglight View Post
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  18. #18
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    Great advice, thanks!

    It's not the cold that I think makes it impossible to commute in the winter, it's the snow. The snowbanks get so high and encroaching that there's barely enough room for two lanes of car traffic let alone a safe zone for a bike.

  19. #19
    Senior Member canyoneagle's Avatar
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    White blinkie on the front and at least one (red) blinkie on the rear would be among the first things I would get (with tires, perhaps), if cashflow prohibits getting totally set up in one fell swoop.

    Planet Bike makes great bang-for-the-buck units until funds allow for better (rear, mainly).
    http://ecom1.planetbike.com/3033.html up front on flashing mode and http://ecom1.planetbike.com/3034.html in back would cover your bases initially

    Rack and trunk bag / pannier would be high on my list as well.

    A nice headlight for Winter riding would be in the wings as the days grow shorter.

    Welcome!

  20. #20
    Senior Member crazybikerchick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brushy View Post
    Great advice, thanks!

    It's not the cold that I think makes it impossible to commute in the winter, it's the snow. The snowbanks get so high and encroaching that there's barely enough room for two lanes of car traffic let alone a safe zone for a bike.
    Actually this is why I like winter commuting in traffic better - when you take the lane car traffic can see there is no room for you to move over for them and lay off the harassment pretty much. In summer there's still narrow lanes but people are more edgy about it and like to threaten with their 2 tons of steel.

  21. #21
    Senior Member crazybikerchick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brushy View Post
    2) It's my birthday coming up in a little over a month, and I want to use this oportunity to ask for bike stuff! So, what should I ask for? What would you ask for if it was your bday and all you had was a bike, a helmet, a pair of bike shorts, a trip computer and a water bottle?
    A rearview mirror. (either one that mounts to the bike, or my favourite the Take-a-look mirror which can mount to sunglasses or helmet)

    Headlight and taillight - important when fall hits and darkness comes earlier!

    A rear rack.

    Fenders.

    Rain gear.

    Maybe a jersey.

    Pannier or rack bag.

    Floor pump.

    Portable pump (I like Topeak road-morph)

  22. #22
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    Use a bike from a charity store for winter commuting, as the salt wont be kind to your JTS. Panaracer Pasela TG foldable gives a nice ride and has kevlar belt, but wait till your current ones are wearing out. Put a rack on the bike and carry tools, lunch etc in a trunk bag. Leave the lock at work. If you commute on roads with lights, a couple of $ store LED flashlights fixed to the bars with elastics will be sufficient + blinkies.

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