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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 09-18-09, 01:32 PM   #1
jd27
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first "real" bike HELP!

Not that my previous bikes were imaginary, but I need to get something that is easier on the body while commuting to and from school, stores, etc... I have been to one LBS and when I asked the sales person if they carried any GT products, she asked if GT was a type of bike....So I need some real help. I have been looking at:

trek FX line 7.2 and 7.3
gary fisher wingra
GT transeo 3.0 and 4.0

I do not want a single speed bike, I want something with good speed and decent components.

I will be riding in the winter in Chicago, so should I definitely go with disc brakes?
Also, should I(for the winter)pick up an extra set of wheels and tires?

is it worth it to settle for a bike with lower quality components and add them as you go?
or is it better to front the money right away?

At this point I am weeks away from buying a new bike, so any help in answering these questions would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-18-09, 02:00 PM   #2
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A friend of mine at work has a 7.2 and he says nothing but good things about it. Not much help, I know but it's a positive. Research them all and test ride them if you can. This is one instance when size matters.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.
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Old 09-18-09, 02:02 PM   #3
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For winter duty, you might consider a bike with an internally-geared hub (IGH) rather than one with a derailleur. Not that derailleurs can't handle the duty, but they will require much more upkeep, particularly in the winter.



If your budget allows, check these out in the $1,000-ish range:

Swobo Baxter: http://www.swobo.com/catalog/product...cPath=201_1473

Giant Seek1: http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...le/2345/32164/

Trek Soho S: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/urban/soho/soho/



Reserve $150-$250 for fenders and lights.



For winter, simply swap out your tires for a set of Schwalbe Marathon Winter's (or similar), then install a good set of fair weather tires (Marathon Supreme, Gatorskins, etc) and your in business with a low maintenance, efficient, durable and stylish commuter.



Just my $.02................................
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Old 09-18-09, 03:48 PM   #4
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For Chicago in winter, I recommend a large beater mountain bike with fenders, street-tread tires and bottom-of-the-line rear derailleur and cassette.

I have ridden in Chicago winters for 8 years and the biggest problem is not snow but salt and muck. It will tear up your pretty new bike, ruin whatever components you get and leave you sobbing all summer. I consider the drivetrain on my winter bike "disposable" and replace it (chain, cassette, derailleur) once every other year or so.

Now for the SUMMER!! (By which I mean April - November, out of the salt season.)

Personally I went for a Jamis Nova cyclocross bike with 22mm tires.
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Old 09-18-09, 03:51 PM   #5
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I should add that the dead of winter is probably a great time to SHOP for a new bike. All the LBSes are sitting on their hands and would have plenty of time to talk to you about all sorts of different bikes and options and may even be motivated to cut you a deal to bring in some cash. Pick it up at the end of salt season and you're ready to go - and in reasonable shape if you pushed through the winter.
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Old 09-18-09, 04:04 PM   #6
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Can I reply to myself three twice?

You asked about buying a bike with cheap components and upgrading later. Generally that is A LOT more expensive than getting them right on the bike the first time.
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Old 09-18-09, 09:58 PM   #7
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The nice thing about the Wingra is that it is very non-descript, in a Men In Black kind of way. It doesn't draw attention to itself. When I was last in the market for a winter bike, I was looking at the Wingra, the Marin Muirwoods 29er and the Jamis Coda. I went with the Muirwoods, mostly because I got a good deal on it.

The Muirwoods is a complete tank in both the positive and negative connotations of that word. It's great as a winter bike, but in the summer I find myself avoiding it. The Coda is probably the most road-like of the three I was considering. I think the Wingra might be somewhere in between.

Disc brakes are very nice for sloppy weather, but not entirely necessary.

BTW, I upgraded my Muirwoods to a full Deore XT drivetrain for around $300. If you watch for bargains, it can be done. Of course, if you go this route you can end up with components that are much nicer than the frame you've got them on, in a lipstick-on-a-pig kind of way. I may have the only full XT non-suspension bike in the country that weighs over 35 pounds.
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Old 09-19-09, 05:35 PM   #8
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Wow, Lots of great responses! I appreciate all the help. Today I stopped in Kozy's on Halsted in Chicago. The guy there was very helpful. I looked at a Giant Transcend complete with fenders and a rack for $519. But I think I'll take Carl214's advice and use a beater for the winter. The salt is killer on cars, so I suppose an exposed drivetrain is extremely vulnerable to Chicago slush. I already have a ****ty MTB, guess I'll just add some fenders and a rack, some new tires and save for an awesome summer commuter. I have been getting myself pysched about a new bike. But why settle for a decent $500 bike, when I can save a little longer and get a much higher quality bike?

Again Thanks for all the suggestions.
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Old 09-19-09, 05:37 PM   #9
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thanks for your input, I checked out the links, I LOVE the Soho S. The Swobo comes in a close second. I just may be able to afford something in that range by late winter.
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Old 09-19-09, 05:40 PM   #10
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That is Exactly what I noticed about the Wingra. When I have seen them on the street, they don't scream GARY FISHER! It seems decently equipped, but when I went to look at it the sales person was not very helpful in pointing out the pros and cons over the Wingra in comparison to bikes in it's price range.
Thanks again
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Old 09-19-09, 05:44 PM   #11
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I bike year round in Madison, WI except when really heavy snowstorms (cuz I'm terrible at riding in snow). I have a 15 year-old mountain bike that I use for the winter. I actually use studded tires (Nokians) for the winter riding. I don't know about the winter tires mentioned above but Madison does not clean its streets as well as Chicago does (I lived there most of my life) and I think the studs are necessary for me.

So, consider getting an old bike that you won't mind beating up and consider investing in studded tires if you plan on being on icy streets.

Oh yeah, my derailleur is usually useless under 5 degrees or so (frozen).
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Old 10-05-09, 04:10 PM   #12
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So...my bike was stolen, I had to go get a bike...After all the research and listing the things I was looking for, I ended up buying the 2009 Redline 925. It's so far so good. It's quick, it's a single speed bike, but I have managed to deal with it. I was set on buying a bike with some gears, but after riding the 925 I realized I liked it's simplicity. It came with fenders, now I just need a rack.

Can anyone recommend a portable pump? How about winterizing the bike? Thanks again for everyone's input.
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Old 10-05-09, 04:32 PM   #13
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my top choices for a portable pump:

Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HP pump

http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...1_20000__54501

Topeak Road Morph

http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._400007_400166
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Old 10-05-09, 09:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jd27 View Post
So...my bike was stolen, I had to go get a bike...After all the research and listing the things I was looking for, I ended up buying the 2009 Redline 925. It's so far so good. It's quick, it's a single speed bike, but I have managed to deal with it. I was set on buying a bike with some gears, but after riding the 925 I realized I liked it's simplicity. It came with fenders, now I just need a rack.

Can anyone recommend a portable pump? How about winterizing the bike? Thanks again for everyone's input.
Sharp bike, jd. I think you're on the right track with the low-maintenance single speed hub and fenders. I don't know if there are any studded tires that will fit your application. The narrowest tire that I know of is 35c. IMHO studded tires are the singlemost important component for safe winter riding. Besides tires a Hebie Chainglider would be a benefit in winter weather. Check out these links and good luck and safe journey!

http://www.schwalbetires.com/node/1788

http://www.bikefront.com/products/ch...glider-for-44T
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Old 10-06-09, 11:14 AM   #15
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Simple is good. That's a nice looking bike at a very reasonable price.

We don't actually have winter around here, so my first thought about winterizing was, "It's already got fenders, what else do you need?" Then I remembered you'll probably get snow and ice there in Chicago. Any advice I gave about that would be useless, except this: check out icebike.com. Other than that, get good lights. I'm loving my new DiNotte.

The Topeak Road Morph is a nice pump. Having a hose makes a world of difference. I actually have the Turbo Morph because my winter tires are huge, but the pump is huge too but very functional.

Get a Pedro's Trixie. The first time I got a flat on my fixie, I pulled out my spare tube and tires levers then realized I didn't have a tool to take off the wheel. Oops -- no quick release. A 15mm wrench will do that, but the Trixie has a nice assortment of other handy features.
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Old 10-07-09, 12:25 AM   #16
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http://www.khsbicycles.com/05_flite_tr_101_09.htm
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Old 10-12-09, 08:45 AM   #17
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Sorry about the theft, but congratulations jd, nice bike!

I want to chime in about studded tires. There is very little if any application for them in Chicago.

While we do get snow and ice, I assume you will be riding on the streets / bike lanes. These are all plowed and salted just like the road - and you know how aggressive they are with plowing here in chicago. One little flake and mayor daley has 500 snowplows pouring oceans of salt on the road. They even occasionally plow the lakeshore path!

The only time you will ride in snow is when it is either actively snowing - and heavily - at the time, or you intentionally seek it out. And if the roads are iced up so bad that the salt is ineffective, well... just skip riding that day and your workplace will probably be closed because no one can drive either.

I recommend a 28 to 32 tire with light inverted tread. The less tread, the larger the contact patch with the pavement and the more traction. The only reason I don't like slicks is because they need to shed water. Just be very careful over the metal bridges in the wet - if you come into the loop, both Wells St and Wabash Ave have nonmetal bridge paths for bikes.

As far as winterization, make sure to keep the drivetrain lubed and take advantage of any thaws to hose it off and relube. Lube up the brake cables to protect them. With a single-speed you will have a lot less maintainence to worry about, but don't be too surprised when you need a new chain and sprocket after a season.

Also, if you have a protected place outside to put the bike (balcony, unheated garage), do so and resist the urge to bring it inside. This helps with two issues - ice melt and temperature cycling. If your bike has a bunch of ice/snow on it, that is preferable to it melting and possibly causing more trouble. Also, it is better for your bike (primarily seals and plastic bits) if it stays a constant temperature, even if that temperature is cold, and doesn't warm up and refreeze every day, which causes the parts to expand and contract at different rates.

Have fun! Winter biking is great, especially on those cold sunny days when you are out there feeling warm and energized, with the heat of the sun on your face, and everyone else is huddled up at the bus stop wishing for a warm sunny day.
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Old 10-12-09, 08:51 AM   #18
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One more tip- you might want to get some bearing grease at the bike shop and grease up exposed unpainted metal parts. You can also apply car wax to the painted frame to protect them some too.

The seatpost is a prime concern for seizing because it is often of a different type of metal than the frame (steel vs aluminum for example). In the salty environment, they can fuse together. Pulling it out and greasing it a couple times a season will keep it from bonding up solid.
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