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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 10-04-10, 08:25 PM   #1
Agent
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Help a Newbie commuter.

I joined this site because I have some extra money and plan on using it to turn my bike into a urban monster.
My Current bike:

(^^That image is from website new, Mine is about 6-9 months old.^^)
The bike cost me $260ish from a local bike shop.
If anyone can help me on what I should upgrade first. I am open to changing almost anything, I want fast
I am 13 turning 14 in late November and I weigh 150ish pounds.
I take the bike threw a good bit of street riding and hopping off curbs ect.
Thanks in advance to anyone who helps
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Old 10-04-10, 08:33 PM   #2
531phile 
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Why do you want to upgrade? Just for upgrading sake?

I'd upgrade the wheels, after the frame and fork, the wheels are the most important part of the bicycle

But you have to take in account that the cost would be as much as the bike itself for something decent.

How's the fit? Does the seat suck? If so, change that.

Is the handlebar comfortable? I personally find that I need a handlebar with a good amount of backward sweep to keep my wrist from hurting.

If you just want to blow money, upgrade the tires to something good. If you don't want flats get Specialized armadillos. If you want to go fast get Continental Grand Prix 4000.

You like hopping curbs so maybe 700 x 23 isn't so good. Try fitting the widest tires you can on them. It doesn't look like that bike takes wide tires.

BTW, the production artist bot whoever worked on that photoshop clipping path needs to be fired. Just look at those tires. I'd be scare to ride that thing.

Last edited by 531phile; 10-04-10 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 10-04-10, 08:57 PM   #3
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BTW, the production artist bot whoever worked on that photoshop clipping path needs to be fired. Just look at those tires. I'd be scare to ride that thing.
Looked at that front tire for a while thinking just that.

I wouldn't upgrade even if money was burning a hole in my pocket. I'd just ride it till something needed to be replaced.
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Old 10-04-10, 08:58 PM   #4
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Why do you want to upgrade? Just for upgrading sake?

I'd upgrade the wheels, after the frame and fork, the wheels are the most important part of the bicycle

But you have to take in account that the cost would be as much as the bike itself for something decent.

How's the fit? Does the seat suck? If so, change that.

Is the handlebar comfortable? I personally find that I need a handlebar with a good amount of backward sweep to keep my wrist from hurting.

If you just want to blow money, upgrade the tires to something good. If you don't want flats get Specialized armadillos. If you want to go fast get Continental Grand Prix 4000.

You like hopping curbs so maybe 700 x 23 isn't so good. Try fitting the widest tires you can on them. It doesn't look like that bike takes wide tires.

BTW, the production artist bot whoever worked on that photoshop clipping path needs to be fired. Just look at those tires. I'd be scare to ride that thing.
The seat is fine for the time being.
I went for a 18 mile ride yesterday and my wrist were hurting a little bit.
If I were to buy one thing at a time what should I buy first, second, and so on?
Thanks for the reply
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Old 10-04-10, 09:56 PM   #5
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You are really quite limited by that frame, one piece bottom bracket can't be upgraded so you will always loose some power transfer on those big bearings. The frame is important in how a bike rides and how fast you can go. That being said, for this bike for speed go with the lightest wheels and tires you can afford. You can always use them one a new bike so no loss down the road. Don't jump any curbs on them. Less rotating mass = speed uphill and on the flats especially accelerating. Next, or maybe first would be clipless pedals and shoes. Some people say that is worth 40% more power.

Maybe a heart rate monitor so you know you are pushing things to your limit. although you are a little young for that...

Just ride a lot. That can be worth more than most upgrades. Think about it, you will spend $3K to knock 4lbs off a road bike or you could put in some more miles and eat just right. Not only will you loose the 5lbs you will gain power. except for the super elite the difference between a 14lbs bike and a 19lbs bike is not significant as long as the rotating mass is the same. Put Lance on a department store junker and he will still wax the field most days.
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Old 10-04-10, 10:19 PM   #6
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Huh, I didn't notice the 1-piece crank. Thats amazing on a bike costing that much. If you ever want to put a bigger tooth crank on there just look in some junk piles and you will find loads of cranks to stick on there for free!!! LOL Its a cool bike though from what I can see though. Like others have said upgrade stuff you can put on another bike. The thing is though generally speaking you can get a complete bike for less than upgrades. Basically ride this one to beat on and have fun with, but if you want to go fast save up some money and buy a 2nd bike thats a road bike. Thats my opinion
Here are a couple of questions.

What kind of cash are you willing to spend?
What kind of riding do you really want to do?
What is the market for used bikes in your area?

It sounds like you are having a ton of fun on your bike. Keep it up. =)
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Old 10-04-10, 10:34 PM   #7
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Kidd, the best way to "upgrade" (i.e. replace perfectly functional components with "better" components) your bike is to save your money until you can buy a better bike. Unless you spend lots of time on ebay or craiglist looking for deals, individual components will be very expensive relative to what you can get from buying an entire bike new.

To fix the wrist isssue, you might want to try ergon grips or bar-ends. Or, for a fun and relatively inexpensive project, convert to drop bars.
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Old 10-05-10, 02:34 AM   #8
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I can't tell from the picture, but does it have the proper spots to mount a rack? If so, one of those would be a nice, inexpensive upgrade.

Alternatively, how do your parents feel about you riding after dark? If they don't put a blanket ban on it, a nice headlight and some LED blinkies won't cost too much, and can move from bike to bike as long as they hold together.

Got a decent bell? They're like 5-10 bucks and help a lot in just about every possible circumstance.

A decent repair kit would come in handy, too. Spare tube and tire, some tools, a tire pump that fits on the frame...Shouldn't be too expensive, and if you're looking to go from "biking for fun" to "biking as main method of getting around town", the extra reliability will give you more actual security, and probably help smooth over any problems your parents might have with the possibility.

In general, I'd say stay away from direct upgrades to the bike. There's not much you can do that wouldn't be better spent just saving up for a nice new one. Useful accessories can always be transferred along, so they hold up a lot better.
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Old 10-05-10, 11:17 AM   #9
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If you are commuting, I advise you to get fenders and a rack with panniers. Using panniers takes the weight off your shoulders making for a more pleasant ride. Do NOT JUMP curbs, this is not a BMX bike. As others have said, bike fit is everything. I would not worry about going fast for now. Commuting is about doing it regularly day after day. Its far more important to be safe than going as fast as possible. Therefore, invest some money in multiple lights and a visibility vest (dollar stores have them for cheap). You did say its for commuting right?

After riding it for a year, you will have a much better idea of things you want to change. If your wrists hurt after an 18 mile ride, you are probably leaning too much forward, consider a shorter stem, or an adjustable stem or a handlebar that sweeps backward a bit more. If you want to go fast right away, changing to lighter bald tires is the way to go although given the season of the year right now, that might not be a smart thing. At 14, I understand that speed is important to you. But as a commuter, you need to think safety and reliability of equipment first. Hope this helps.
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Old 10-05-10, 11:25 AM   #10
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just ride it till something needed to be replaced.
+1
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Old 10-05-10, 12:58 PM   #11
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If your main goal is speed, clipless pedals and drop bars?
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Old 10-05-10, 01:20 PM   #12
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Upgrade the engine.
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Old 10-05-10, 01:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Yalborap View Post
I can't tell from the picture, but does it have the proper spots to mount a rack? If so, one of those would be a nice, inexpensive upgrade.

Alternatively, how do your parents feel about you riding after dark? If they don't put a blanket ban on it, a nice headlight and some LED blinkies won't cost too much, and can move from bike to bike as long as they hold together.

Got a decent bell? They're like 5-10 bucks and help a lot in just about every possible circumstance.

A decent repair kit would come in handy, too. Spare tube and tire, some tools, a tire pump that fits on the frame...Shouldn't be too expensive, and if you're looking to go from "biking for fun" to "biking as main method of getting around town", the extra reliability will give you more actual security, and probably help smooth over any problems your parents might have with the possibility.

In general, I'd say stay away from direct upgrades to the bike. There's not much you can do that wouldn't be better spent just saving up for a nice new one. Useful accessories can always be transferred along, so they hold up a lot better.
+1 Frame/fit is most important, almost every thing else on a bicycle can be changed.

As they like to say around here--- The job of a first bike is to teach you what you want in your next bike.

I feel that accessories (aka bike bling) are not a bad choice to throw money at-- for the most part they transfer fairly well to other bikes. Actually I have more money in my accessories than I spent on the bike to start with.
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Old 10-05-10, 01:28 PM   #14
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A commuter tends to be more about utility. If you want to go faster it really depends on how much you are willing to spend. Things like tires, wheel sets, and components can help. However the bike you have will have its limits and only see a marginal gain by replacing items.

Your best bet is to save up or have your parents help you purchase a road bike with drop handlebars.
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Old 10-05-10, 01:53 PM   #15
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Lights for safety first. Otherwise, ride it until something needs replacing.

I think it's great to see a teenager choosing a bicycle. I know that at your age driving is not an option, but I hope you stick with the bicycle when it is. By then, you will know much more about what you want/need in a bicycle.
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Old 10-06-10, 04:03 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the fast responses guys.
I am going to deal with it until stuff starts to break as most have recommended.
I see now that my best option is to just use this until I can just get a whole bike to replace it after it starts to be troublesome and parts start not working.
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Old 10-07-10, 07:43 AM   #17
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Like others have said,
If you are commuting:
rack, panniers, lights, and I would recommend gloves (I just like them, and they might help a little with your wrists)

As for upgrades, just ride the crap out of it until you really know what you want. I would say for a least 6 months. Being so young I assume you don't have a ton of income, so don't worry about upgrading wheels and stuff, just ride it and see if there are any bike swap meets near where you live to pick up parts and mess around.
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