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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 07-24-10, 12:40 AM   #1
Noot
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Bikes to use as commuters

I was wondering what bikes would be best to use as a commuter bike. The distances I'm talking about are ~15mi.

I used to use my old Schwinn Speedster II, but it's on its last leg and its time to get a new or used bike. Just doing some research.
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Old 07-24-10, 12:50 AM   #2
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Cross bikes, Touring bikes, '80 to mid '90s MTBs configured with slicks, hybrids all make excellent commuters.
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Old 07-24-10, 01:40 AM   #3
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I don't think it makes a difference. My commute's around 13 miles one way. I have a road 'touring' bike and a fixed gear bike. I ride both, depending on my mood. I see guys on mountain bikes, hybrids, beach cruisers... I see one guy every morning with what looks like a carbon race bike. I normally would think 'training' but he's got a messenger bag on his back that looks pretty full.
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Old 07-24-10, 04:42 AM   #4
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Any bike will work. I'd suggest something with a slightly wider tire, like a 700c x 38, 35 or 32, or a 26 inch tire. The reasoning is that they are typically more comfortable, having a lower pressure capability.

Check Craig's List for a used mountain bike without any shock absorbers or springs, if it's the right size it's perfect. When the tires need replaced, get some smooth tread tires and it will be even more perfect.

Something along this line (not mine, just the first one like I suggested that I could find.) http://columbus.craigslist.org/bik/1859865852.html
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Old 07-24-10, 05:52 AM   #5
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One that:

1) You like to ride. You're going to be on it a lot.

2) Supports your specific needs. Fenders, racks, lighting.

3) Matches your security concerns. Are you locking outside or cuddling it in your office?

If you've been riding a while, you probably know enough to make something fit these three results. So go get that one.
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Old 07-24-10, 09:40 AM   #6
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I've seen everything from a unicycle to a $4000 carbon fiber road bike in the rack at my office, but most people seem to ride mountain and hybrid bikes. Touring bikes and cyclo-sportive type bikes (light road bikes with fenders) would work well for that distance, but so would a lighter hybrid. Take traffic and road conditions into consideration. If you're mainly riding in heavier traffic you might want something a little more upright, and if your local roads have the same monster potholes that we have in Saskatoon, beefy tires and wheels are worth looking at.
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Old 07-24-10, 09:58 AM   #7
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The Speedster II is more of an upright, comfort bike isn't it? If that worked fine for you and don't necessarily want to change your style of riding then you may want to take a look at some hybrids with skinny tires. Here's an example:

Cannondale Quick 4


Or you can start experimenting with road bikes or cross bikes.
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Old 07-25-10, 02:38 AM   #8
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Or you can start experimenting with road bikes or cross bikes.
I like the Cannondale lineup.

I have looked at the CAAD8 6 and Spec. Allez Sport Models. Both containing Tiagra and Sora components. Is there any reason why I should fork over the extra money for 10 speed instead of staying below 1k for 9 speeds?
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Old 07-25-10, 10:59 AM   #9
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I like the Cannondale lineup.

I have looked at the CAAD8 6 and Spec. Allez Sport Models. Both containing Tiagra and Sora components. Is there any reason why I should fork over the extra money for 10 speed instead of staying below 1k for 9 speeds?
no. not for commuting. except that if you break a component, 10 speed is easier to buy now.
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Old 07-25-10, 11:32 AM   #10
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For those distances I'd say a sportive bike / cross bike / touring bike. Wouldn't use a flat bar handlebar for those distances.
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Old 07-25-10, 11:51 AM   #11
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Quite a few threads on the subject and it is mostly a personal preference issue.
For the distance you are traveling the main things that are going apply is most return on your effort. Tires are the biggest factor followed by gearing.

For the most part a light weight wheel combination is the biggest return for a commute of 15 miles. The heavier the wheel assembly the more effort it takes to get up to speed and maintain speed. You need to also concider the roads you will be riding. a 700x23 while being a fast size is also going to transmit a LOT of road noise to you and the bike that will wear on you. I have quite a few bikes and 700x28-700x32 (about the same as a 27x 1 1/4) is the sizes I find I like the best for commuting. The bigger tires tends to soften the ride without a huge impact on effort. You look at touring bikes made for long distance and most are running 700x32-700x35. The road surfaces you ride are goign to play into this a lot. Bad road or unpaved...wider is better.

Next is gearing. If the area you live is flat you need less range then if you are in a hilly area. The heavier you and the bike are the more this becomes important. I live in a relatively hilly area and for commuting I really like a 48-36-28 crank set (common to touring bikes) with a 11-28 cassette. I sometimes will spin out on the top end but there is no hill I cant conquer.

Mountain bikes with front suspension can make a good city bike with a set of slicks but they are typically gear for climbing hills and low speed so you will spin out frequently with the stock cranks (42 or lower big rings) on the flats.

What makes a bike a Hybrid is the gearing. It is close to a Mountain in appearance but it is gear more like touring bike. The speed is there when you need it.

Rear Suspension or not....Suspension may smooth out a road but you usually looses some forward propulsion efficiency on bikes with rear suspension. If you commute had a significat portion of unpaved..maybe it would work otherwise a ridged tail is the most desirable.

Front suspension. Hurts a little in forward propulsion. Bad or unpaved or jumping curbs in the city it is a good trade off except for weight and potential for extra maintenance.

Straight bar, Trekking bar, Mustach or drops. Long distance the straight bars may be a problem. You have one hand position and you may have discomfort after 4-5 miles. Trekking bars on a upright bike (mountain/Hybrid) solve the complaint.

Drop bars big advantage is aerodynamic. Riding a 15mph average most people are in the hoods or tops. You start running into a 20mph head wind your effort goes WAY up. Moving into the drops cleans up your aerodynamic profile in that instance. An option you just don't have on other styles of bars.

I like touring bikes. Gearing is good for the flats. I can run larger tires for a better ride, Drops when I need them, mounting points for racks to haul junk on.

Last edited by Grim; 07-25-10 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 07-25-10, 12:36 PM   #12
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Giant

You might try this one.. http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...11/7243/43943/ seen this at the bike shop the other day..It isn't a bad bike..Cheers.
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Old 07-25-10, 01:00 PM   #13
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Comfortable, easy to maintain, easy to repair, easy to ride. Doesn't get tons of flats, has everything you need, nothing you don't...

Yeah, I don't know, either.
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Old 07-26-10, 09:26 PM   #14
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Thank you all so much for your help. I have purchased a Specialized Sect. Elite so that i can use it as an entry level bike in local rides. I found the rear frame to allow for a rear fender or rack. I know its a stretch, but since all i need is a backpack, I think I made a good selection.

What do you think?

-Noot
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Old 07-26-10, 10:34 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Noot View Post
Thank you all so much for your help. I have purchased a Specialized Sect. Elite so that i can use it as an entry level bike in local rides. I found the rear frame to allow for a rear fender or rack. I know its a stretch, but since all i need is a backpack, I think I made a good selection.

What do you think?

-Noot
Nice bike... did you get the double or the triple? BTW you might want to try strapping that backpack onto a rack to see how much more comfortable it is. Reduces the amount of sweat on your back, too. You could also drop it in a folding basket attached to the rack or use a pannier.
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Old 07-27-10, 06:13 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Noot View Post
Thank you all so much for your help. I have purchased a Specialized Sect. Elite so that i can use it as an entry level bike in local rides. I found the rear frame to allow for a rear fender or rack. I know its a stretch, but since all i need is a backpack, I think I made a good selection.

What do you think?

-Noot
Not familiar with the bike but if it's wheelbase accommodates a rack and panniers/bags, then it's an excellent commuting choice. Though I know there's two sides to the backpack scenario, I'd say anything to get the futzing backpack off your back.

My ideal commuter...

- Drop bars for multiple hand locations. High for traffic, low for hills. Double taped for comfort between brifters and stem.
- Chainstays long enough for rack/bags. Great for carrying spare tube, tools, as well as lunch/clothes.
- 28-32mm puncture resistant tires
- Brifters AND brake levers up high.
- kick stand

I settled on a Fuji Touring.

Ironically enough, and for reasons I won't go into here, I had to take my MTB this morning. Completely different experience. The staccato drum of the tires... the running out of pedal resistance just starting down the hills, feeling like an upright sheet of 4'x8' plywood fighting against the wind. Got to work fine, just took a bit longer.

JW
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Old 07-27-10, 06:40 AM   #17
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I bought a 2010 Cube Acid because I wanted to hit the local trails and it works well as a commuter. The commute is only 12km each way and with the streetlights it takes only 35min. I also usually commute with a 60L Lowe Alpine rucksack so I can fit a change of clothes, showering stuff, climbing stuff, some food and have space left if I want to go shopping or carry a few laptops around.

Basically, there is no correct answer, you should commute with whatever you can get your hands on, and then, after a few months buy something.
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Old 07-28-10, 11:05 AM   #18
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I think the only bike that wouldn't work well as a commuter is a bike that just doesn't fit you.

Like those mini-clown bikes with 3 inch wheels. Those are probably not good for 13 mile trips.

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