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  1. #1
    Will ride anywhere cyclist5's Avatar
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    Should I upgrade?

    I've been getting back in the commute by bike mode for a few weeks now. I love riding and all things about it. I currently ride a Trek 7000 hybrid with about 40lbs in a pannier. I am wondering if I should upgrade to an entry level road bike such as a Trek 1.1 for a faster ride? After doing some digging people have suggested getting new, thinner tires. But, they implied getting a road bike won't help too much unless there is hilly terrain, which I must say constitutes about 8 miles of my trip each way. These are steep, traffic-ridden hills. So, do I spend $250 on road bike wheels and tires or is it practical enough to plop $550 on a Trek 1.1? I do have some bumps and large cracks on my commute, fyi.

  2. #2
    Senior Member exile's Avatar
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    You can commute on any bike. You can also commutify your existing bike at a fraction of the price a new bike would cost.

    1. If your bike has a suspension seatpost I would swap it out for a non suspension one
    2. I would look to get some good flat resistant tires like panaracer t-servs or Schwalbe marathons
    3. I would look into adding bar ends to get more hand positions

    I don't think you need to get another wheelset unless you are having problems with your existing ones. I don't think there would be anything wrong with getting another bike if you have the money. Plus it is always nice to have a backup. If you are riding mostly hilly areas for 8 miles then a roadbike would probably suit you better.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member canyoneagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclist5 View Post
    with about 40lbs in a pannier.
    ^^^^ Unless there is something that can be changed about the amount you are hauling, I wouldn't expect any improvement on a road bike. In fact, the road bike would likely be more adversely affected (handling with load) and more limited in its gearing options.

    However, I agree that you may be more comfy in all of those hills on something a little more suited to that kind of riding. I would suggest a touring or perhaps cyclocross bike. If budget is a concern and you have some basic mechanical skills, it is hard to beat bikesdirect.com

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cross_cx3.htm
    Currently one bike: Singular Gryphon do-it all bike with Nuvinci N360
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  4. #4
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    I had a trek 7000 until recently, rode it quite a bit and recently upgraded. I'd say put a saddle or handlebars on it if comfort is an issue as you can reuse those, a non-suspension seat post and decent tires too. As far as making it faster, there's not much that you can do as the bike itself is pretty heavy with an odd geometry. I'd second the recommendation of looking at a cross or touring bike. Something you can put wideish tires on if you have crummy roads.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclist5 View Post
    So, do I spend $250 on road bike wheels and tires or ...
    A good pair or road wheels will cost you at least twice that much, and for quality, you'll spend more. So, spending $250 to replace wheels that are already doing what you need is a waste.

    A road bike is a wonderful thing, hills or no. But if you have 40 lbs in a pannier, you won't get much of the benefits it has to offer. I don't know what kind of bike you have now, but the gearing on a road bike might not be appropriate to climbing with heavy cargo.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I vote for Internal hub gears, on commuters.. now there are many options,
    and ranges
    latest the 11 speed Alfine, from Shimano.. single speed simple ..
    but more gears..

    this is also Trek Corp 8 speed
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes..._city/waubesa/

    You could just have wheels built, of course..

    want to haul stuff go more cargo yet Xtracycle long tails do a good job.
    add to old bikes or there is the Surly Big Dummy which is a long tail frame..
    Trek Corp wants a piece of that market, too.
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ort/transport/
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-10-11 at 07:51 PM.

  7. #7
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    40 pounds is a lot to haul for a commute, and the first thing I would do is try to cut that down. If that's not a possibility (or even if it is), depending on where you are located, $250 may well be enough to buy you a decent vintage touring bike, which would probably have: 1)the ability to hold all of your crap with front and rear racks, 2) low enough gearing to get you + your 40 pounds of cargo uphill, and 3) enough room for nice sized, comfy tires + fenders. Schwinn Voyageur/Passage, Trek 520/620/720, Miyata 210/610/1000, plenty of other brands. Look for lugs, cantilever brakes, rack/fender mounts on the fork and dropouts. My 2 cents, anyway.

  8. #8
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    A good pair or road wheels will cost you at least twice that much, and for quality, you'll spend more. So, spending $250 to replace wheels that are already doing what you need is a waste.
    Really? If you want to go with Ksyrium Equipe or better, then yeah. But for a pair of Mavic Aksium wheels, which are nothing to sneeze at, you can get 'em for just a shade over $250.
    Hell, I got my IRO Cold Fusions on high flange hubs with Sapim spokes for $180 for the pair. (But... they're fixed/fixed, so you're cutting out the cost of a freehub.)
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  9. #9
    Will ride anywhere cyclist5's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice. I'm probably going to get a used Trek 520 Touring bike. My only concern is the stem shifters which I worry will be harder to use than bar shifters (having to adjust your body). As for the weight I don't think I can do much about it. I'm a student and have several classes a day, so that means I need to carry 4 binders and two books as well as my laptop.

  10. #10
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclist5 View Post
    Thanks for the advice. I'm probably going to get a used Trek 520 Touring bike. My only concern is the stem shifters which I worry will be harder to use than bar shifters (having to adjust your body). As for the weight I don't think I can do much about it. I'm a student and have several classes a day, so that means I need to carry 4 binders and two books as well as my laptop.
    Stem shifters? How old is this 520 you're looking at? I haven't seen stem shifters since the early 80s.

    Not that it's a problem, though. If the price is right, an 80s bike like the 520 is a good steed. I ride a late 80s Trek 400 singlespeed conversion as my commuter right now. I got the original bike for free out of a dumpster.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  11. #11
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    I thought the older 520's came with downtube shifters. Could be wrong though. Stem shifters are a bit less convenient than ones near where you keep your hands, but it's not that bad to get used to. Just make sure it fits and the gearing's not too steep.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Really? If you want to go with Ksyrium Equipe or better, then yeah. But for a pair of Mavic Aksium wheels, which are nothing to sneeze at, you can get 'em for just a shade over $250.
    Are they really a big upgrade over what a decent bike comes with, though? I just think that replacing wheels that don't have a big problem with other wheels ... isn't the most cost-effective way to have a nicer bike. ( Unless you're either looking for very light or aero ones, or very strong ones, because you specifically need that - but the OP doesn't. )
    Don't believe everything you think.

  13. #13
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    Are they really a big upgrade over what a decent bike comes with, though? I just think that replacing wheels that don't have a big problem with other wheels ... isn't the most cost-effective way to have a nicer bike. ( Unless you're either looking for very light or aero ones, or very strong ones, because you specifically need that - but the OP doesn't. )
    If you compare the Aksium vs. the Trek 7000 stock wheels (Bontrager 550, 36h, can't find specs, assuming single wall looking at side profile) or the Trek 1.1 stock wheels (Bontrager Approved rims, 32h, looks like maybe a re-badged Alex DA16 if you're lucky) then they're a step up.
    If you're looking to go with a totally different style of bike (road vs. hybrid) then the Trek 1.1 is a reasonable purchase at the $550 price instead of slapping a $250 wheelset on a "still gonna be really heavy" Trek 7000.
    Honestly, I have no issue with the heavy old singlewall rims on my utility cruiser bike, and that thing is a tank. It's about 45 pounds with racks and baskets, big fat 2.2" street slicks, and all the heavy old components on it from the late 80s. But it works fine for what I do with it: Cruise to the grocery or whatever errand I need to do. I do have my fancy brevet bike, but I'm also a big proponent of the "run whatcha brung" theory: If you've got a bike that works, be happy and ride it.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  14. #14
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    Are they really a big upgrade over what a decent bike comes with, though? I just think that replacing wheels that don't have a big problem with other wheels ... isn't the most cost-effective way to have a nicer bike. ( Unless you're either looking for very light or aero ones, or very strong ones, because you specifically need that - but the OP doesn't. )
    I just bought a set of lightly used Aksiums for $130, and I like 'em a lot. Even so, don't think I'd put them on a hybrid and use them to haul 40 pounds of stuff in a pannier.

    If I were in the OP's position, I'd probably keep the 7000 for hauling the books and binders around campus and get a light road bike for recreational riding.

  15. #15
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclist5 View Post
    Thanks for the advice. I'm probably going to get a used Trek 520 Touring bike. My only concern is the stem shifters which I worry will be harder to use than bar shifters (having to adjust your body). As for the weight I don't think I can do much about it. I'm a student and have several classes a day, so that means I need to carry 4 binders and two books as well as my laptop.
    A Trek 520 would have come with bar end shifters or down tube shifters depending on year.

    In my opinion a used road bike is your best bet. Get in it relatively cheap , see if you like it. If you don't, you should be able to get what you paid for it back out.

    My main commuter is a '88 Trek 1000 that I paid 2 cases of beer for. I've since put over 15K miles on it, mostly commuting. Pannier and rack, but no fenders. When it's rainy I take the fender bike.
    Last edited by dedhed; 03-12-11 at 09:46 AM.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  16. #16
    Will ride anywhere cyclist5's Avatar
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    Trek XO1

    All of this sounds good. But I encountered a lot of problems once I went to the bike shop. Mainly, my size road bike (58-60cm) didn't have holes for a rack. also, I felt like I was going to fall over though it wasn't that big a deal. I road a 1.5 and it was awesome. So fast and agile. But the guys said plop another $200 for a 2.1 and you have a bike that's 3x better. In the end the store owner (sales rep was shooed away) told me for commuting i'd need something more versitile but since I had a 7000 it'd have to be lighter and faster.

    So, he sold me a Trek XO1 for $1200 as opposed to the msrp of $1800. I thought, "a cyclocross?". I was turned off by the knobby tires but he said I can replace those with road tires if I wanted to but given he commutes the same distance I do (he actually lives in my neighborhood, who'd have thought?) I'd want more options for having to go off the road or onto a sidewalk to cut my commute time.

    In practice I road a few laps around the park I go through for 2.miles of my hilly ride. This park has a lot of steep hills and traffic (2 lanes, one car one bike/walk, one way in a loop) so it represented the hardest part of my commute the best. Overall it took me 10min less to do two laps, 5 miles than it did on my hybrid. Now, I rode without a rack and about 5lbs of accessories but it was a nice ride.

    I'm glad I upgraded. My palms are red and sore where they were on the hoods, my inner thigh is surprisingly sore too like rug burn. But I think this will make my commute a lot easier in the long run (10min/5miles saved x 6 = 1hr commute saved). Was it worth $1200? Not yet. I don't have the leg muscle to fully utilize the potential but it felt half as heavy as my commuter even though it's officially only 7lb lighter. Do the wheels really cost $300? that was surprising.

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