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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 01-10-10, 03:01 PM   #1
atetrachordof3
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Does your beater/commuter bike get way more miles than your nice bike?

Hello! I have noticed that a lot of people on the forum, particularly the commuter one, own multiple bikes and one of them is always the designated beater. Sometimes this beater is also the commuter, especially for folks who can't bring the bike into their offices/school classrooms.

I am one of such people-- I have a nice touring bike and a beater. I commute on the beater, because I don't have anywhere but outside to store it, and I don't want my nice bike stolen. I also sometimes get groceries on the beater, because when I ride my touring bike to the grocery store I keep thinking if it's still there. I love riding on my nice bike, but I realized that even with long rides on weekends, my beater still gets more miles.

Does this happen to anyone else?
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Old 01-10-10, 03:12 PM   #2
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No, my commuter bike is my nice bike. I put about 140 miles per week on my commuter bike, and the ride includes a fair amount of rolling hills terrain. I have an enclosed bike locker at work, so I don't have to worry about theft or leaving the bike outside in the elements. So I get to use my nice bike for commuting, which is the majority of my weekly bike distance. My "errand bike" which is used for short trips near home is the closest thing I have to a "beater bike", but it gets light use and low mileage. My fair weather "weekend bike" is a 29 year old Ciocc which doesn't have fenders or a rack. I like to take it out for a 40+ mile leisure ride like I did today. After riding the heavier commuter bike during the week, the Ciocc feels a lot different, and is a bit quicker on the hills.
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Old 01-10-10, 03:34 PM   #3
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Yes, my commuters sees all the miles and my road bike stays in the car trunk or in the house.
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Old 01-10-10, 03:34 PM   #4
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No, but I built up a cheap singlespeed road bike to save my nice bikes from commuting wear and tear. I enjoy the bike a lot, and have even taken it on some longer road rides. Now that I realize I like the singlespeed thing, I'm building something a little nicer, though it will still be a commuter. Not sure that answers the question, though.

I will say that most of my recreational miles in the past year have been off road rather than on, so a bike that's good for commuting isn't going to be so good for my "fun" rides.
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Old 01-10-10, 03:41 PM   #5
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i have three bikes: rb, cx, mtb. Mtb currently doesnt work and is the oldest. I dont consider any of my bikes to be beater bikes. I commute on my favorite one (rb) but all my bikes are left outside, in the rain, snow, whenever I cant bring them in (another story).
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Old 01-10-10, 03:41 PM   #6
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I noticed the same thing a few years ago, so I started commuting on my nicer bike and just figured out a way to keep it safe. If I'm going to put all those miles on, might as well do it on my favorite bike...
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Old 01-10-10, 03:42 PM   #7
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All of my 3 bikes are nice and expensive. They all get used a lot. That's what I bought them for.
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Old 01-10-10, 03:46 PM   #8
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I own three bikes, however, the X gets all the miles and all the bling. I am not sure what to do about the other two. If I sold them, then, I would need them. It doesn't cost anything to keep them around.
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Old 01-10-10, 03:55 PM   #9
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I'll let you know once I get a nice bike.

My general philosophy, though, is if I can't afford to really use something, don't buy it. When I buy a nicer bike, it will basically be an upgrade to my low-end hybrid/comfort/commuter bike, which is very much in the "it ain't pretty, but it works" category. I ride to get around and have fun. If I'm not going to be able to use the bike for those, what's the point?
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Old 01-10-10, 03:57 PM   #10
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The question presumes one bike that is better than another. My bikes are all in some sense beaters. I don't have what most people would consider a nice bike. So...... I just ride what suits me that day.

EDIT: the question also presumes that one keeps track of miles, which I don't do either. All of my bikes are a "favorite" at one time or another.
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Old 01-10-10, 04:35 PM   #11
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sadly my commute bike gets more miles.

eailier in the year had a small crash, and bent the front wheel. so that wheel is on my commute. and my road bike i never bought proper cycling shoes so i have to transfer the front wheel and commute toe clips to road bike. finaly i just replaced the seatpost on the road bike because i could never get a comfortable angle for the seat. on my road bike it seems like one thing after another. i've also had to replace the handlebars(ergo wasn't comfortable for me), new stem, replace cables and housing, the seat, bought new bibs, still need to buy new front wheel.

hopefuly this year i will get more road bike miles in. lesson learned is that somethings its better to invest a bit more money on something rather than take a gamble on something half the price that just breaks after a month or two. you don't know how important a good seatpost is till one breaks and your riding around for weeks till one arives in the mail.

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Old 01-10-10, 04:57 PM   #12
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All of my bikes are nice...they all work.
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Old 01-10-10, 05:28 PM   #13
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Dunno, none of my bikes really qualify as "beaters" and all but the Tri bike have been used for commuting on multiple occasions. I put down too many miles that I really want to risk walking, so I tend to buy nicer bikes and maintain them heavily.
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Old 01-10-10, 05:33 PM   #14
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Lately, yes. In fact the rainbike just got 34 more miles in a training ride today. But come summer, the "good" bike will get tons of miles.
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Old 01-10-10, 05:35 PM   #15
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My main commuter is also my nice brevet bike, so it's my big-mile machine. I'll have 4000km just in randonneur events on it this year, plus some commuter mileage.
My beater singlespeed is my commuter/trainer for building strength on the climbs. I'll probably put 35% of my yearly mileage in on that bike. and 5% on my utility/basket bike which gets used for grocery trips up the street.
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Old 01-10-10, 05:43 PM   #16
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My bike with rack and fenders is getting more mileage so far this winter. Come spring and summer it will probably be 50/50. I don't consider either of my bikes beaters, however the ones I have seen are doing their jobs.
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Old 01-10-10, 05:50 PM   #17
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My commuter, a Surly LHT, isn't a beater, but it still gets the most miles by a large margin. I try to commute at least 3 times a week, more if weather permits, and I'm pretty much ready for a rest on the weekends.
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Old 01-10-10, 05:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atetrachordof3 View Post
Does this happen to anyone else?
Yeah. I have a road-racing bike and an all-around road bike, and the all-rounder gets most of the road miles, while the race bike mainly gets used on race day. The all-around bike is a Soma Smoothie ES with a rear rack, fenders and lights, and is still reasonably fast. I also have an XC-racing mountain hardtail, and an XC full-rigid mountain bike that doubles as my winterbike & grocery getter, and I save the XC race bike for performance riding and races.

None of them are "beaters" in the sense of "old obsolete $100 bike," however.


Everyday bike


Raceday bike


Winter/everday bike, shown in summer performance mode


Raceday/performance bike

Last edited by mechBgon; 01-11-10 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 01-10-10, 06:14 PM   #19
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my "beater/commuter" is not entirely a piece of trash, but it is a $100 bike that came with pretty beaten up components and lots of scratches on the frame. It rides okay and is reasonably fast, but not nearly as smooth as my surly cross check fitted for light touring.

Peliot, on principle I totally agree with you, but do you have any tips on "keeping it safe"? I ride about 5 miles to a major university and spend all day in one building. I know there's a faculty who keeps his bike in the office, but for students the storage options are either outside on the bike rack, or under a roof (like a balcony) to wooden benches. I have a onguard bulldog and I am going to get a kryptonite soon since I lost my original receipt for the onguard and can't get the anti-theft protection.
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Old 01-10-10, 06:40 PM   #20
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My commuter (LHT) is not a beater, and it doesn't get nearly as many miles as my road bike. The reason, very simply, is that I live < 2.5 miles from work. And I like it that way. Commuting is great and all, but I'm far more likely to do it if it isn't a long way, and it leaves me more time to do other things with my day... like ride my road bike.
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Old 01-10-10, 06:59 PM   #21
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Unfortunately many people live where bike theft is a problem and don't have employers that will provide secure parking for bicycles. As you notice from the posts, people who have secure parking at work generally don't commute on beaters unless they have a very short commute. One thing you might want to consider is a folder. Check out the folder forum, some of them are very nice to ride and they fold down very quickly to a very small size that you may be able to bring inside at work and the grocery store. Then you can ride a nice bike and have it secure.

I have secure parking at work and I ride a very nice bike for the commute.
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Old 01-10-10, 07:10 PM   #22
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No. My commuter bike is a mode of transportation that also doubles as weekend rides. I see it nothing more than a refrigerator or toaster oven. It does keep my RX-8 nice and cozy in the garage though.
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Old 01-10-10, 07:15 PM   #23
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My "Chevy" is my '99 Trek 7500... definitely not a beater by any means as the wheel set and brakes are worth as much as a decent beater and it's a great all rounder, does everything without complaint, and sees a ton of miles.



If I have a beater it is my Kuwahara Shasta and even then, it has a triple butted Ishiwata frame, handbuilt wheels, and got built up for winter and messenger use and ended up seeing much more than that since it is such a nice ride and is rather bombproof.



The really nice bikes tend to be for specific purposes (mtb and road bike) or are vintage bikes that I don't subject to the daily pounding that is one's commute.
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Old 01-10-10, 08:11 PM   #24
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I don't really have a beater bike; I have a Specialized Tarmac and Hardrock and they are both beautiful and well taken care of, but my Tarmac was purchased for weekend fast rides and the Hardrock was converted for commuting (replaced the fork, tires and put on a rear rack) but I commuted on the Tarmac more last year. I may start using the Hardrock more this year though and give my Tarmac a rest for the weekend rides. I guess I'll also soon be a part of the 3 bike crowd since I want to do my first build this year and it will probably be a steel Surly, Salsa or Gunnar cyclocross type commuter. I like to own nice bikes so I guess I'll never truly have a beater bike.
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Old 01-10-10, 08:34 PM   #25
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Yup, I found out I like to ride for utility more then pleasure so I ride to the store and work and such, and now I am moving farther away so I can ride more.
So ya' all my bikes are really just commuters with secondary purpose's they seldom get used for.
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