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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 07-26-10, 09:46 AM   #1
jspruance
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Trek 1.2 700x23 for commuting, but still ride fast on the weekend!

Hey everyone. I am new to the forum and had a question. I have a Trek 1.2 road bike with 700x23 tires that I am thinking about using as a light commuter. I have seen question on here about using road bikes as commuters but most seem to focus on the ride when commuting and my question is about the commute and the weekend ride as well.

I am thinking about putting on the Topeak MTX rack and using a Pannier. I need to carry 20-25lb worth of stuff (latop, papers, clothes) to work 14mi round trip, a couple of days a week. First question is, will the bike be stable with that much load on 700x23 tires?

Second is that on the weekends and evenings, I want to be able to take off the panniers and still go ride 50-100 miles with the guys averaging 16-18mph. This is why I am not interested in changing the tires. Will the rack hurt the performance of the bike and will carrying that much load weaken the bike frame too quickly?

I'm fairly new to riding and have put on about 500mi on the bike in the last few months. I am loving the bike so much I want to get some weekday use and save a tree. But I don't want to sacrifice my safety, performance on road rides, or the structural integrity of the bike. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-26-10, 10:05 AM   #2
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1. No stability concerns.
2. Performance shouldn't get too killed. Once your rack is fit properly to the bike, taking it on/off is a pretty quick and easy job. Wake up a bit early on the weekend and you could do it easily.
3. Frame won't have any problem. Besides, if you bought it new, your frame has a lifetime warranty.
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Old 07-26-10, 10:30 AM   #3
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Before anyone can address stability concerns, how much do you weigh? If you're on the heavy side and add 25+ lbs it may be an issue.

And 25lbs high mounted on a rack will cause the bike to handle differently even if you're a flyweight.
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Old 07-26-10, 10:39 AM   #4
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I kinda doubt that taking the rack off will be worth the effort involved. Whatever tiny drag it adds will just make you a better man/woman in the long run! Since you are getting the Topeak MTX rack I presume you are thinking about this bag which has built in panniers. Just pull it off the rack and most of the added drag is gone. On the other hand those bags are insulated and as I finally discovered this weekend after owning one for a few months they are very effective in keeping your nice cold beverage nice and cold for a long time in hot weather. Since I don't ride with a peleton I have to keep up with I find the bag earns its keep and that was before I belatedly made use of the insulated compartment, that was back when I just used it to hold tire repair supplies.

As for the tires, 25 or 28 mm tires can be a lot better at absorbing bumps during your commute if you drop the pressure a bit and still very efficient on the road when you pump them rock hard. Just something to keep in mind if the 23's aren't handling the commute very well, no need to go that way from the beginning. The 28's will also be surprisingly good on limestone/dirt/gravel trails if you ever want to do that. My hybrid came with 28's and I ran them for a while. I changed them out partly because I do enough rougher trail riding to benefit from a bit wider tire and partly because my name is Hutchinson and who could resist having their name emblazoned on the side of their tires?

Ken
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Old 07-26-10, 10:45 AM   #5
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I ride a similar bike to work. Though the rack isn't on it at the moment, it was for most of the summer including for my group rides. We leave from a bike shop and I have them keep my panniers behind the counter while we're gone. I go straight there from work.

In a race where every second matters I'd take off the rack but I don't think it's worth it for the group rides. Our pace is similar to yours if not a bit faster (though we don't go quite as far).

I ride with a laptop, clothes, lunch, etc in my panniers and the bike rides fine. There's no stability issue though it feels like I'm dragging somebody behind me at times. I use a standard rack rather than a seat post mounted one however.
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Old 07-26-10, 11:01 AM   #6
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Check the weight limit on the rack. 25 pounds sounds like a lot to hang from a beam rack. I'd go with a conventional rack instead in that situation.
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Old 07-26-10, 11:06 AM   #7
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If you are only riding 2 days a week, cut down the luggage load by keeping shoes, clothes, towel, shampoo, lock at work, and only using a trunk bag, with lunch and laptop in it. Tires depends on road conditions, but Panaracer Pasela TG 28 foldables are light and fast.
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Old 07-26-10, 11:20 AM   #8
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Thank you very much DallasSoxFan. One question, in number 2 you said taking it on/off is a quick job. Do you recommend I take off the whole rack everytime I go for a more vigorous road ride? I was just planning on leaving it on and taking the panniers off.

Of course, I guess I will probably have to try it and see. I just didn't want to make the money investment if it's not even worth it. Thanks!
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Old 07-26-10, 11:44 AM   #9
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Thanks AndrewP. I thought about that. I am definitely planning on leaving shoes at work to cut down on bulk. The gym I shower at is actually 1/2 mile from my office at the top of the hill so I was going to workout/shower their then coast down the hill to the office, so I kind of need my clothes with me. I think the clothes could actually fit in a trunk bag. just fine, but the laptop is a concern. It is a 15 inch Macbook and is pretty bulky. I was thinking about the Topeak MTX DXP trunk bag which has side pockets with expandable panniers. It may be able to fit the laptop on it's own or I may be able to just wear it in a smaller messenger bag.

Thanks for the input everyone. I think I am going to make the investment and give it a try. 60% of the roads I ride are in great shape so I am hoping the 23s I have on now suffice.
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Old 07-26-10, 11:58 AM   #10
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Great input. I mispoke earier. I am planning on putting on the Topeak Explorer Tubular rack which supports the MTX series bags.
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Old 07-26-10, 12:38 PM   #11
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This is all great input from everyone. I am going to take the plunge and try the Topeak Explorer Rack and MTX DXP bag. Looking at the bag size, I may be able to fit my laptop/clothes in the Trunk without the panniers expanded. My first commute should be Thursday and then Saturday I have a group ride of 50 so I will go without the bag for that one. I really like the 23s so my hopes are they are stable enough and not too rough. I'll post a follow up next week.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 07-26-10, 12:50 PM   #12
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Take the bag and panniers off the bike and go hammer away on the weekends. The rack alone won't matter much, unless you are a cat 1-2 type rider.

Just go on and have a good time.
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Old 07-26-10, 09:46 PM   #13
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I have the same bike, and use it if my commuter is down. You should not have any issues with it.
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Old 07-27-10, 07:06 AM   #14
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Awesome. My trunk bag and rack should be here tomorrow. I hope to know on Thursday.
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Old 07-27-10, 09:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jspruance View Post
. Looking at the bag size, I may be able to fit my laptop/clothes in the Trunk without the panniers expanded..
I have that bag. Unless it's a netbook, or *maybe* a 13" small form factor laptop it's not going in the MTX bag.
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Old 08-01-10, 08:39 PM   #16
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Thanks - it worked

Thanks to everyone for their input. The Topeak bag and rack work great on my Trek 1.2. I installed them Wednesday night and commuted to work Thursday. My 15" Macbook Pro fits in the side pannier but I chose to leave it at work the night before and use my home machine. I was a little afraid of destroying work property.

The bike performed admirably although it was a little squirrelly in corners. I let about 15lb out of the tires because the ride was pretty rough.

On Saturday, I took the trunk bag off but left the rack on for a 50 mi team ride. Then today, I put the trunk bag back on and did 55 through the country to my parents house. Without the panniers expanded, it was just big enough for a change of clothes and sandals, a bottle of gatorade, banana and a couple of power bars. I noticed little difference with the bag on but the panniers up.

It worked out great and I think it was a wise choice. Thanks again for all the input.
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