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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 12-30-09, 10:26 PM   #1
mtalinm
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suggestions for commuter bike w/ internal gearing, disc brakes

Hi, I'm new here so pls excuse any breach of protocol...I read the FAQ and 10 screens of the Commuting thread, so I think this is OK

I have recently started commuting from Westwood MA to Cambridge MA. It's 13-15m depending on the route I take, usually this one. I am really out of shape, so hills are hard and I avoid them where possible (not always possible though!).

There are a couple dozen intersections on the way, at least half of which have stoplights. So I'm always downshifting, or forgetting to. That's why I want an internally-geared system (sorry if that is the wrong terminology). Also, I am trying to ride year-round, and it has been a problem using the rim brakes when it's wet - especially b/c there are a couple of downhills where I don't want to go too fast.

I'm currently riding a Giant Cypress ST, which I suppose I could upgrade in place but it seems easier to just get a new bike and keep this as a backup. Also, the upright riding position of the Cypress (comfort bike) was comfortable at first but now feels weird/slow esp in a headwind.

So my question is, what's a good commuter bike with disc brakes and an internal hub? I don't really care about the bike coming with fenders or a rack b/c I can harvest the former from my current bike and I want a Topeak MTX for the latter. Ditto the lights, though I'd use a generator-powered set if it came on the bike. Would like to keep it around $1000 but could be convinced to go above that.

Two bikes I have looked at include

Giant Tran Send EX
Giant Seek 0

The Tran Send EX strikes me as an in-place upgrade of my Cypress, nothing else to write home about. And I would want to replace the rear rack.

Loved the Seek 0 and almost bought it but thought I should look/ask around first. Tempted to go back to it though...seems like it could be used for distance/speed riding if I ever get to that level.

and three others I have heard about but not yet seen (hope to see Trek Soho tmw) are

Trek Soho
Breezer Finesse
Raleigh Detour Deluxe

Soho looks groovy w/o chain but has drum brakes instead of disc, which I understand may not be so great on the downhills (though any improvement over rim brakes would probably be OK). Also, I've heard that the Nexus hub is inferior to the Alfine hub on the other bikes, though I may not be discerning enough of a cyclist to tell the difference.

The Breezer Finesse is a bit pricey and looks like more of a lean-over orientation than I want. (Too bad their Uptown 8 doesn't have disc brakes.) Don't know much about Raleigh.

The one wild card is the Xootr Swift folding bike, which they claim rides like a regular bike. Would be great for those days when it starts to rain at lunchtime; I could take the subway/train home. But it doesn't have the disc brakes...

Any thoughts are much appreciated, and apologies if it is presumptuous to start such a self-centered thread!! -Matt
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Old 12-31-09, 12:39 AM   #2
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Here are a few bikes you may want to check out:

Civia Hyland
Felt X-City 1
Kona Dr. Fine
Raleigh Alley Way

I'm in the same boat and I'm looking for the same type of bike. These are just a few I came across that are available in my area. They should all be available in the Boston area as well.

Good luck and ride safe.

Last edited by irclean; 12-31-09 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 12-31-09, 01:11 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by irclean View Post
Here are a few bikes you may want to check out:

Civia Hyland
Felt X-City 1
Kona Dr. Fine
Raleigh Alley Way

I'm in the same boat and I'm looking for the same type of bike. These are just a few I came across that are available in my area. They should all be available in the Boston area as well.

Good luck and ride safe.
Wow. I love my Felt X City D, so I'm sure I'd love the X City 1, but that Kona is 2/3 the price and looks sweet! I would really like to try that Dr. Fine.
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Old 12-31-09, 01:44 AM   #4
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thanks irclean, will check them out! looks like there are plenty of commuter bikes in this category

now the fun will be to figure out where they're (locally) available and at what prices...
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Old 12-31-09, 01:59 AM   #5
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Gotta' love that Kona!!!
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Old 12-31-09, 02:43 AM   #6
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You have quite a long commute, and as there are some hills you need to crush, I narrowed down the options a bit.

Giant Seek 0
Felt X-City 1
Kona Dr. Fine

None of them have a belt drive, which may be a bit more noisy and need more cleaning.
Though, they allow a more aggresive position which makes climbing the hills more easy and would lead to a higher average speed.

And as you will be able to harvest some parts from the old commuter, it's a good idea just to leave out anything you don't need. You might be able to spend a bit more on function that way instead of accessories you already have.
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Old 12-31-09, 07:00 AM   #7
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Old 12-31-09, 07:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
Hi, I'm new here so pls excuse any breach of protocol...I read the FAQ and 10 screens of the Commuting thread, so I think this is OK

Two bikes I have looked at include

Giant Tran Send EX
Giant Seek 0

The Tran Send EX strikes me as an in-place upgrade of my Cypress, nothing else to write home about. And I would want to replace the rear rack.

Loved the Seek 0 and almost bought it but thought I should look/ask around first. Tempted to go back to it though...seems like it could be used for distance/speed riding if I ever get to that level.

and three others I have heard about but not yet seen (hope to see Trek Soho tmw) are

Trek Soho
Breezer Finesse
Raleigh Detour Deluxe
I have a Giant Seek 1 disk brakes and Shimano Alfine IGH. The same bike is called the Seek 0 for 2010. I use it daily for a 20 mile commute each way. I added Planet Bike fenders and a Topeak rack that is made for disk brakes.

I really enjoy this bike. The only issue with it, and it really isn't much of a problem to me, is that there isn't a lot of tire clearance to go beyond the 700x32 tires that came with it. It's not a problem in the summer but it limits your choices of snow/studded tires. I use 700x32 Nokian A10 tires and they do great for my winter conditions.
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Old 12-31-09, 08:27 AM   #9
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thanks RitterJD, that is pretty much exactly what I was thinking - Seek 0 with planetbike fenders (harvested from my current bike) and Topeak disc-brake rack (currently $20 at Amazon).

I'm not planning to install studded tires, so the clearance isn't an issue for me. Good to know there is a set that fits!
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Old 12-31-09, 09:30 AM   #10
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thanks FreddyV - did you mean that a bike w/ belt drive is more noisy? I thought it was the opposite, but maybe I'm misreading your sentence
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Old 12-31-09, 09:44 AM   #11
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Novara Fusion.

http://utilitycyclist.blogspot.com/2...w-of-2009.html
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Old 12-31-09, 10:00 AM   #12
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thanks coolio, looks like the fusion has what I'm looking for plus the generator-powered lights for less than other bikes w/o lights. will definitely go look at this one.
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Old 12-31-09, 10:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
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thanks FreddyV - did you mean that a bike w/ belt drive is more noisy? I thought it was the opposite, but maybe I'm misreading your sentence
I may have mistyped there. I meant belt drives are less noisy than chain
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Old 12-31-09, 10:12 AM   #14
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Another option is the Raleigh Superb Roadster. I comes with the full Alfine group, fenders and a chainguard. I added the rear rack and B&M lights and later replaced the stock Albatross bars with some Dimension Arc bars. I had no problem putting my 700x35 studded tires on it.

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Old 12-31-09, 10:39 AM   #15
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I wanted the same type of bike about 2 years ago. I bought a Swobo Dixon, http://www.swobo.com/catalog/product...?cPath=201_204

I am happy with this bike, but keep in mind that it is heavy. Especially in the back. I actually did a century ride with it, but after the ride I decided to buy a road bike for long distance riding (flat bars aren't conducive to long-distance riding). I bought a 1983 Trek 613, and after getting used to it, I love it. I ride it as much as possible. It's lighter, faster. I'm not trying to talk you out of buying something like the Dixon, but if you're going to have two bikes I highly recommend one of them be a road bike. For just moving on clean roads, nothing is better. You already have one heavy bike (I've ridden a friend's Cypress) - consider selling it and buying a road bike, along with this disc/internally-geared bike you want. Especially considering your commute certainly isn't short. This will give you a nice variety.

I've found that the disc brakes aren't so impervious to weather as I was led to believe. If the discs get wet, they still slip. Not as much as my v-brakes, but you certainly still have to be careful. The internal hub is pretty nice but sometimes I find myself wanting the tighter gear spacing of my 12-spd road bike - even though I use only the 6 cominations with the small chainring.

I really like the looks of the Trek Soho, especially the 4.0 model that came out just before the current model with the belt drive (though the new one looks very nice as well). Sometimes I wish I would have tried one of them before buying the Dixon, but I went with the Dixon because it uses 26" tires like the other bike I had at the time. I still like my Dixon, and it's currently serving as a winter commuter with Marathon Winter tires and the stock platform pedals (I usually use dual-sided Shimano PD-M324). It's always there as a backup to the road bike, too. I also have a rack for it for large loads.

Good luck!

Last edited by kmcrawford111; 12-31-09 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 12-31-09, 10:40 AM   #16
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An expansion on the original poster's question:

In addition to the Raleigh just mentioned can anyone recommend steel frame and fork bicycles that compete with these (similar level of components and price range). Or sources for inexpensive stock steel frames that could be kitted out? VO sells something close but it's set up for rim brakes.

thanks
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Old 12-31-09, 10:50 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreddyV View Post
You have quite a long commute, and as there are some hills you need to crush, I narrowed down the options a bit.

Giant Seek 0
Felt X-City 1
Kona Dr. Fine

None of them have a belt drive, which may be a bit more noisy and need more cleaning.
Though, they allow a more aggresive position which makes climbing the hills more easy and would lead to a higher average speed.
I just want to point out the Trek Soho again.
belt drive and I know some folks with this bike. They absolutely love it.
I've been looking at getting one for my wife just because the WSD design doesn't work for her and I want something that I don't have to do as much maintenance with. =)
I know someone in Northern California (and by northern.. I mean FAR northern (in the mountains).. not SF) and she absolutely loves the bike.
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Old 12-31-09, 11:00 AM   #18
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The Runabout 7 is internally geared and employs an enclosed shaft drive to keep out the elements but it doesn't have disc brakes.



http://www.dynamicbicycles.com/buy/Bikes.php?prodid=46


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Old 12-31-09, 11:03 AM   #19
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http://www.rei.com/product/774424

' comes with generator hub and costs <$500.

Oops, sorry no disc brakes.

Last edited by DVC45; 12-31-09 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 12-31-09, 02:17 PM   #20
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For those of us north of the border there are also these choices:

Norco Ceres
MEC Hold Steady
Brodie Ocho, Section 7, and Section 8
Rocky Mountain Metropolis NRT

It would seem we Canadians know about the need for an all-weather commuter. I hope to test drive the Norco and MEC offers soon.
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Old 12-31-09, 02:28 PM   #21
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How's about a Jamis Commuter 4> http://jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/s...commuter4.html

I have a Commuter 3 with a Brooks B17 saddle and the Topeak MTX rack. It is a great everyday commuter!
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Old 12-31-09, 03:50 PM   #22
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Just to throw one more bike in to the pot, take a look at the Torker Graduate. Drum brakes not disc brakes, but it seems like a relatively inexpensive ($500 or so) no nonsense commuter.

http://www.torkerusa.com/bikes/commu.../2010-graduate
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Old 12-31-09, 04:15 PM   #23
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This is what I wanted about two years ago, and there wasn't much on the market. I wound up building up a Cross-check with Nexus red band hub. Discs on the front only through swapping out to an econo disc-compatible fork from QBP. Mostly just for fun, certainly didn't save any money.

It is great to see so many options on the market now. I really like my set up, but there are some sweet ones out there now. Good luck finding the right one, have fun!

If I had it all to do over again, I'd be sure to get the Alfine -- it wasn't readily available when I bought my hub, but it seems smoother than the red band.
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Old 12-31-09, 04:40 PM   #24
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If you can wait a few more months there is also the Civia Bryant

http://www.civiacycles.com/civiacomplete_bryant.php

This is what I am waiting on.....
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Old 12-31-09, 04:43 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grillparzer View Post
Just to throw one more bike in to the pot, take a look at the Torker Graduate. Drum brakes not disc brakes, but it seems like a relatively inexpensive ($500 or so) no nonsense commuter.

http://www.torkerusa.com/bikes/commu.../2010-graduate
Oooh, I like that one! Very minimalistic.

Just for s**ts and giggles let's throw one more in the mix; after all it's the only one with drop bars:



Of course, no disc brakes.
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