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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 05-11-11, 11:27 PM   #1
Apollo324
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Buying a commuter

Hi,

I've got a fairly specific set of (soft) requirements that I'm looking for in a commuter and I'm having trouble finding them all in a complete bike. I'm trying to avoid custom for cost issues.

I need a commuter than can hold up to commuting 6km (each way) in Vancouver - so tonnes of rain and bike routes in pot-holey disrepair - and also for longer rides on weekends.

Based on getting advice various bike stores, and my cousin who was SERIOUSLY into riding before joining the Air Force, I'm looking for the following things:

- Drop bars
- Disc Brakes
- Steel frame
- NOT end-bar shifters (personal pref)
- Tiagra or equiv or better drive train
- Needs to be able to mount a panier rack (apparently this can be a problem with some disc brakes?)

I'm also hoping to spend a max of $1500 (before taxes etc.) on the bike.

To be honest, I don't even know if this is reasonable, but I figure this is a great place to ask. If this is pretty much impossible at that cost, how much would it be? If it's going to be a HUGE amount more, where can I best make sacrifices to bring the cost down?

Also is there anything important I'm missing?

Thanks!
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Old 05-12-11, 04:46 AM   #2
FunkyStickman
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There's not tons to choose from for drop-bar bikes with disk brakes. However, there are some out there. The Salsa Vaya, Civia Bryant, Trek Portland, and I'm sure there are a few others. You should be able to find most of these in your price range... look for deals on last years' models.
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Old 05-12-11, 04:58 AM   #3
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One thing you will need with tonnes of rain is fenders. OK, that's two things. In my experience, the type that wraps closely around the tyre does a better job than a cheesy flap on top of the wheel. But even a cheesy flap is better than nothing.

Sounds like you could take a look at various bikes sold as cyclocross, or CX, bikes. They generally have drop bars, tend to have better mounting options for racks and fenders (and more clearance to fit studded tyres, should you need them), and they won't mind rough surfaces.

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Old 05-12-11, 06:04 AM   #4
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True, they're starting to sell more CX bikes with disks for now, including the Motobecane Phantom Outlaw... that's a great deal.
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Old 05-12-11, 08:00 AM   #5
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The closest I can come, off the top of my head, is the Salsa Vaya (I don't know how you feel about the entry level SRAM Apex components). It may be on the edge of your budget. Runners up include the Trek Portland (alumninum) and the Raleigh Sojourn (bar-end shifters - but it includes a good rack and fenders).
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Old 05-12-11, 10:50 AM   #6
Apollo324
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The Salsa Vaya is extremely interesting...going to call around and get it priced today.

I may be back with more questions ^^.

Thanks.
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Old 05-12-11, 12:18 PM   #7
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I've got a 2011 Salsa Vaya and love it; I think as long as you like the ride/it fits you, it would be perfect for your criteria.
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Old 05-12-11, 07:22 PM   #8
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If I were to upgrade today, it would be a Vaya with thinner road tires. FWIW.

Good luck! Hope you get something great.
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Old 05-12-11, 08:21 PM   #9
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If you can sacrifice the steel frame, maybe check out the MEC Cote. I know a guy who rides one year-round in Calgary (considerably less rainy, to be sure), and having MEC's warranty behind you could be pretty sweet.
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