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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 07-30-09, 09:39 AM   #1
b1keness
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Looking for a weight bearing road bike - Specialized Tricross Comp 2009 recommended

Has anyone had any good experiences with a road bike that can take a couple of paniers? I want something as speedy as I can find without destroying it with the load (suit + hairdryer + shoes etc. - it's quite heavy). My bike shop recommended the Specialized Tricross Comp 2009 (or the 2010 model when it becomes available). Still a little clunky for my liking and the reviews on brakes aren't good.

My commute is 15 miles/day and the roads are pretty clean. There is a small amount of curb traversing and I cycle in the rain and ice. The bike lives outdoors all year.

Comments or suggestions all very gratefully received.

Yours,

B1keness
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Old 07-30-09, 09:45 AM   #2
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For only 15 miles, you may want to concentrate more on your wheelset than the overall bike. That said, you could check the touring forum for good bikes that are designed for a load and accommodate wider, studded tires..
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Old 07-30-09, 09:55 AM   #3
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and the reviews on brakes aren't good.
The brakes have changed at least once over the life of the bike, so half of the "reviews" are irrelevant.

I personally don't see how you're going to ride in snow and ice and not have a "clunky" bike.

--------

queue all the Surly fanboys
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Old 07-30-09, 10:00 AM   #4
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Surly Long Haul Trucker?
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Old 07-30-09, 10:15 AM   #5
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The need for a rack and panniers with a more durable build immediately takes most "racing" specific bikes out of contention, because racing frames lack the eyelets to accommodate the rack, and the wheels are not built to take heavy loads.
The next speediest option would be a cyclocross bike, so the Tricross is certainly a good option.

If your ride is predominantly flat, a singlespeed cyclocross bike like http://www.bianchiusa.com/09-bicycle...-jose-pro.html would do the trick and be almost maintenance free. Singlespeeds will not offer the same top speed as geared bikes, but are fun and simple.

If you have the cash, this would be a great commuter with a 3-speed hub and belt drive http://www.spotbikes.com/bikes/highline , but it may be more upright than you would like.

Other options:

Cyclocross: http://www.bianchiusa.com/09-bicycle...-d2-volpe.html
Cyclocross: http://www.surlybikes.com/crosscheck_comp.html
Touring road bike: http://www.surlybikes.com/lht_comp.html
Road bike inspired commuter: http://www.salsacycles.com/casseroll08.html
Cyclocross with disc brakes: http://www.salsacycles.com/laCruzComp08.html

For load capacity, the wheel build is critical. All of the bikes above (except the bianchi) are available as a frame/fork, which you can build as you need.
A very flexible build is a 1x9 or 1x10 setup (single chainring up front, 9 or 10 cogs in back)

Happy bike hunting!
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Old 07-30-09, 10:20 AM   #6
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How much ice are we talking about and how frequently will you be riding in it? Normally for riding for in snow and I'd ice I'd say you'd want a bike that can accommodate at least a 35mm tire. Nokian however does make the A10 in a 32 mm size that's really closer to 30 mm. I tried it last year and wasn't that impressed but it might be OK if you don't really have to worry about snow and only the occasional ice patch.

There are people who ride here year round with just plain old road tires so I guess it's up to you.

Not that it would make much difference as far as bike choice goes but do you really need to transport a hair dryer and shoes every day? Can you just get an extra hair dryer for work and leave your shoes there?
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Old 07-30-09, 12:31 PM   #7
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Would you explain what I need in terms of my wheelset please?
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Old 07-30-09, 12:33 PM   #8
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(MNBikeGuy). And thank you all for your replies. It's London so limited ice. I just don't want to have to stop for the weather but would rather not go clunky. Can't have it all, accepted.
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Old 07-30-09, 12:50 PM   #9
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Love my Tri-Cross

I've got a Specialized Tri-Cross. I went through the same decision making process you're going through right now. This bike is considerably faster than my previous steed (a Trek 1000), and it's been able to take the abuse of my 225# self and all my gear for over 4000 miles without any problems. I just broke a shifter cable last week, but that's been my first broken part.

The only thing I felt compelled to upgrade quickly was the seat. I love my Tri-Cross, but I loooove my Brooks!
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Old 07-30-09, 01:18 PM   #10
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Would you explain what I need in terms of my wheelset please?
32 or 36 spokes. No racing wheels. With panniers on, you don't really want to shave too much weight on the wheelset.
Ask your local LBS what they have that's load durable.
You also should discuss with them a compromise between your desire for speed with a proper tire width for your London conditions.
Personally, I like Mavic, Bontrager and Salsa simply because I've used them and are familiar.

I've put a lot of miles on a lot of bikes over the years, but IMHO unless you work in a LBS and have information on the abundance of options out there, it's like asking a chipmunk what the forest looks like..
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Old 07-30-09, 01:32 PM   #11
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(MNBikeGuy). And thank you all for your replies. It's London so limited ice. I just don't want to have to stop for the weather but would rather not go clunky. Can't have it all, accepted.

There is nothing bad about a so called clunker. You in a hurry or something?

For year round commuting you need to concentrate more on substance than style.
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Old 07-30-09, 02:43 PM   #12
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There is nothing bad about a so called clunker. You in a hurry or something?

For year round commuting you need to concentrate more on substance than style.
Who said it was about style? There's nothing bad about a "clunker", but there's nothing bad about wanting to ride something nimble and quick either.

Along with 4 bikes between us, my wife and I own a minivan and a small car.

Given the choice my wife would drive the minivan all the time. She likes sitting up higher, the smoother ride, and the feeling of being in something more substantial. Given the choice I would drive the small car all the time. I like the responsiveness. Neither of us is right or wrong though one vehicle might be a better choice than the other depending on circumstances.

I have similar tastes in bikes. It's nice to get someplace faster but even better is that it makes my commute more enjoyable if I can crank it up to 25+ now and then. I can't do that on my mountain bike, at least not without a hill.

In the the winter I use a mountain bike (though I intend to put dirt-drop bars on it) because I need something that takes at least a 40 mm tire and I can't justify getting a new bike right now. Plus my speed is drastically reduced in the winter anyway.
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Old 07-31-09, 04:00 PM   #13
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Actually, it's completely possible to put a rack and panniers on any road bike, you just have to get a rack that's designed for it like an Axiom Streamliner Road Bike Rack (http://www.eriksbikeshop.com/ride/as...s/PR3C1941.jpg) or a Tubus Fly rack (http://www.thetouringstore.com/TUBUS/Fly/FLY%20PAGE.htm). These racks attach where the bike is designed to take weight - on the bottom at the wheel skewer, and at the top at the rear brake mount (usually), or with a special seatpost clamp so it would attach to the seatpost clamp.

However, road bikes that will fit a studded tire (35c is the smallest you can find that reliably works in the winter) aren't the easiest to find, and that's going to be your biggest obstacle. I certainly wouldn't bike in the winter without studded tires.

I do have a suggestions - A Trek Portland isn't cheap, but it has everything you'd ever want for biking in the winter:
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...land/portland/


However, I feel the need to mention that a lot of us have 2 bikes, one for summer riding and one for winter riding. The winter riding one is because winter riding has a reputation for requiring replacing your entire drivetrain every winter. Either that or constant, time consuming cleaning of your bike every time you ride it. Those salts and sands on the road can really grind away on the parts.

So (because we don't want to spend the cash every year to replace your typical drivetrain) a lot of us have a summer road bike and a winter bike - somethings that's cheaper to maintain in the winter, so some people just a new crappy old mountain bike every year, some people ride single speeds, some people buy a bike with an internal hub that's fairly well sealed against the stuff that gets kicked up on your bike.

So if you really want to ride something less clunky, it is entirely possible to buy the road bike of your choice and put a rack on it for summer riding, then buy a second much clunkier bike for winter riding and be financially ahead.

P.S. Oh man, to the other people who have commented, I can't help it - I see you guys tell people they should ride a "clunker", then get all upset because you're tried to redefine "clunker" to mean something different than what the word mean. A clunker is a piece of crap bike. Well...it is. That's the literal definition of the word:

From Dictionary.com
clunk⋅er
  /ˈklʌŋkər/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [kluhng-ker] Show IPA
Use clunker in a Sentence
–noun Informal.
1. something worthless or inferior.
2. Also, klunker. an old, worn-out vehicle or machine, esp. a car.
3. clunk (def. 4).

From merriam-webster.com
* Main Entry: clunk·er
* Pronunciation: \ˈkləŋ-kər\
* Function: noun
* Date: 1943

1 : an old or badly working piece of machinery; especially : a dilapidated automobile
2 : someone or something notably unsuccessful <told a joke that was a real clunker>

From http://www.google.com/dictionary?aq=...=clunker&hl=en
*
clunker /kl'ʌŋkəʳ/
o
clunkers plural
o
If you describe a machine, especially a car, as a clunker, you mean that it is very old and almost falling apart. N-COUNT US
+
Synonym
banger


That's what the word literally means in the english language. It is, by definition, a bike with "something wrong with it". Stop getting upset at someone who doesn't want to ride something like that.
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Old 07-31-09, 05:36 PM   #14
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He said clunky, not clunker in the first place - not sure why the thread derailed over it - other than that's what messageboards do.
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Old 07-31-09, 06:11 PM   #15
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I'd throw in for a used bike. And as far as nimble goes, Mario Andretti can do a lot more in a minivan than I could in a ferrari...

My primary commuter is a '93 Univega hybrid that is 21 speed, 700X38C tires, canti brakes and North Roads bars. I do singletrack riding with it, commuting (last year was 19 miles round trip) and grocery getting. Over my hilly 9.5 mile (one way) commute, I'll average 15-17 mph.
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Old 08-01-09, 04:33 AM   #16
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Have a look at a Thorn Audax mark 3.
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Old 08-01-09, 08:52 AM   #17
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I recently went through exactly the same situation, though I was looking at the pro model. In the end, I had a rig custom built. It's a bit lighter and more aero due to the fact it doesn't need to be built for CX conditions, but it will take small panniers.

Unless you are heavy or plan to hop curbs, don't listen to anyone who tells you to get heavy wheels with too many spokes. A budget semi aero set will serve nicely.

EDIT: normally hauling gear does require heavier wheels, but I'm assuming your commuting junk weighs less than 10 lbs.

Last edited by banerjek; 08-01-09 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 08-01-09, 01:42 PM   #18
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I'd opt for a touring bike. With my Fuji Touring, it has a relaxed geometry, with room for fenders and panniers (front and back). It is heavy compared to tri-type bikes, but is geared high enough that when I feel like upping the pace, I can.
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