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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 12-25-10, 11:08 PM   #1
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Carbon for commuting?

Hi, Noobie back with more questions. I've started bike commuting a couple weeks ago. I'm riding an old Giant CFR2. Everyone here seems to ride steel. My commute is 18 miles now (I added a couple miles since my last thread). Is there a reason not to commute on a carbon bike? It's my only option at the moment, but I'm wondering if it is going to break down on me or something? Why would commuting on carbon be different than road riding on carbon?

I'm planning on working my way up to a 28 miles round trip commute by next Summer, and really enjoy the lightness of this bike.
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Old 12-25-10, 11:20 PM   #2
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Just keep riding your bike. Here are 2 basic reason not to ride carbon fiber but plenty of people do because they love their carbon fiber bikes.1. They can be expensive bikes so them getting stolen is an issue to some people. This can be the case for bikes made out of any material.2. Some carbon fiber bikes aren't really built for commuting without eyelets for racks and fenders. Bikes made out of other materials can have this issue as well. Like I said ride what you have and enjoy it. I have an aluminum Trek mountain bike and its a fantastic commuter for me but some people would hate it. If you like the bike just keep riding and enjoy.
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Old 12-26-10, 12:24 AM   #3
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I spent 12 months commuting on a carbon bike. It's perfectly doable, but it has its limitations. The biggest limitation for me was carrying capacity. Carbon bike = no rack mounts, which meant I had to carry everything in a backpack. Even carrying only the essentials, it was tough going. If I ever had to travel to town (instead of to work) it also meant carrying a change of clothes, toiletries, shoes and usually study guides and the like. That was a much heavier load to carry and I'd usually wind up with bruises around my shoulders and armpits from the shoulder straps.

12 months on, I've bought a bike just for commuting - an alloy road bike with rack & panniers. I love it. It lets me carry a reasonable load (instead of bare bones), and is much more comfortable. That said, if you really want to commute on your carbon bike, do it. If you can tolerate the load on your back over the distance you're doing, just do it. You'll like it better than driving, I guarantee.

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Old 12-26-10, 06:49 AM   #4
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The other issue with carbon is vulnerability to scratching and scoring at a busy bike lockup, eg BMX bandits leaning their spiky pedals against your chainstay.
I see no problem riding the bike you have.
If you need to carry lugagge check some of the larger saddlebags.
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Old 12-26-10, 07:16 AM   #5
commuter and barbarian
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Show us pictures. Then we will make our ruling.
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Old 12-26-10, 09:38 AM   #6
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
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No rack eyelets? Don't worry, other people with marketing and engineering and manufacturing clout have thought of a solution.

The only concerns I would have about my carbon bike are that 1) it looks expensive, and 2) I don't want it to get banged up.
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Old 12-26-10, 10:51 AM   #7
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I got hit by a 40mph cross wind at the crest of a hill on a commute on a carbon race bike. The wind blew me into the middle of the road, fortunately there were no cars behind me. The combination of light weight and tight geometry made it impossible to control the bike under those conditions. My current bikes are heavier and have a longer wheelbase.
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Old 12-26-10, 08:07 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. I can keep my bike in my office, so theft isn't a problem. I'm carrying a napsack, which can get heavy pretty quickly. I did buy a Banjo seat bag, which is big enough to hold a jacket and some other stuff, although I haven't put it on the bike yet. It should help. I'll try it tomorrow.

I'll try to post a photo of the bike soon.
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Old 12-27-10, 12:46 AM   #9
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Carbon Fiber with rackmounts. I don't have one, but I found a shop and will be making a visit to test ride one. Not sure how the wife will feel about going n+1. She ok with me having 2, not sure how she'll feel about 3. Of course I could sell my cro-mo to a college kid....
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Old 12-27-10, 11:53 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by tabriz View Post
Everyone here seems to ride steel.
It's a fashion thing. The commuter uniform is a steel bike with a leather saddle, and wool clothing. You don't actually have to conform.

The only reason I don't commute on my carbon bike, is that I can't take it into the building. My aluminum bike is basically for errands (including work) where I need to lock the bike.
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Old 12-27-10, 12:20 PM   #11
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Do like the pros, have a trailer full so you can replace it at night,
while the cameras are not taking pictures.
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Old 12-27-10, 01:58 PM   #12
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Ride what you have. However if you want steel I will exchange my xmart special bike for your Giant CFR2 ;-).
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Old 12-27-10, 04:26 PM   #13
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Ride exlusively on my CFR roadbike to work. Its fast and light, and I manuever in traffic just fine. I use a backpack and really do not have a need for racks. I have a titanium mtb from bikesdirect that I use for foul weather. I live in Morocco (job) and the drivers here are absoulutely stupid or arrogant. I am not sure which or maybe combination of both, but quickness and manuerverability is my key to safety. I am fortunate that I don't have to lock the bike and can pretty much park it anywhere on the embassy compound.
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Old 12-28-10, 01:23 PM   #14
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I commute every day, and most days ride an older Specialized Roubaix, which is a carbon road bike. It makes a great commute, although I do park it in my office building, and wouldn't leave it locked up on the street.

I use a Topeak beam rack to carry my stuff, which works nicely with the dedicated bag:

However, I did change the seatpost to an aluminum one, since you have to torque the beam rack clamp pretty tightly to keep it from swinging around. Not sure if that was really necessary, but I was concerned about squashing the carbon post.
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