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Old 05-14-11, 04:09 PM   #1
pavement_nyc
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Fast bike that's also good with potholes?

I'm looking for a bike that's fast, but also good for handling NYC potholes. If anyone has any recommendations that would be great.
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Old 05-14-11, 04:22 PM   #2
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Look at either Cyclocross bikes, or hybrid bikes, depending on if you like flat bars or drops. Most road bikes won't hold tires fat enough for real potholes. How fast is fast?
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Old 05-14-11, 06:06 PM   #3
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^ +1 Any decent cyclocross bike should be more than adequate. Steel will absorb more shock than aluminum. I currently only have one bike: an old rigid frame mtn bike setup with moustache bars so I can stretch out a little. With 2in wide slicks, it will eat pot holes and is surprisingly zippy (especially for city traffic). 2in tires are overkill, but zippy is mostly determined by how you setup your bike.

If I was buying new I would look into a Crosscheck by Surly.
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Old 05-14-11, 06:46 PM   #4
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I would also suggest an inexpensive rigid steel mountain bike and outfit it with slicks or some tires with minimal tread (I like my Continental Contact tires). If you can't find a full rigid bike, at least get a hardtail one, as the rear suspension found on many new mountain bikes will cause more problems than it's worth for commuter work. My road bike is fun to ride, but my commuter with 26x1.75 Continental Contact tires is very zippy, stable, and handles potholes much better than my Specialized Allez road bike. A hardtail mtn bike may not have as high of a top speed as a road bike, due to gearing, but in city traffic my road bike never uses those top gears anyway. Most recent hardtail mtn bikes have great gearing for commuter purposes.
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Old 05-14-11, 09:26 PM   #5
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Watch CL for mid 80s - early 90s road bikes. Lots of them used to clear 32mm tires. I've got a 1988 Trek 400 I pulled from the trash and fixed up for daily commuting. I can fit 32s on it if I went to a wider fender; that's the only thing holding it back.
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Old 05-14-11, 10:12 PM   #6
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my commuter with 26x1.75 Continental Contact tires is very zippy, stable, and handles potholes much better . . .
I use the same tires on mine, very fast for a mountain bike. I've done a 36-mile round-trip commute at over 20 mph average speed carrying 15 lbs in the rear basket. That bike is actually faster on rough roads than my modern road bike.
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Old 05-14-11, 10:45 PM   #7
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...I currently only have one bike: an old rigid frame mtn bike setup with moustache bars so I can stretch out a little. With 2in wide slicks, it will eat pot holes and is surprisingly zippy (especially for city traffic). 2in tires are overkill, but zippy is mostly determined by how you setup your bike...
This is the rig. When commuting urban I had a '94 Fuji Discovery hardtail. Had it set up 1x7. 48x12-28. Had all the commuting accessories including fenders. Rode on 2.0" knobbies I'd fished out of a dumpster for the first 2 years then went to 1.75" slicks. Total of 5 years. The ride difference was unbelievable. Had a 20 mi rt commute in heavy traffic and the response of the mtb frame got me out of trouble on more than one occasion. Only had 2 flats in all that time. There are potholes all over Nashville.
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Old 05-14-11, 11:19 PM   #8
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if you go mtn bike, there are plenty of rigid 29ers out there that can run 28/32/35mm slicks. with the same gearing, it will be faster on the road than a 26er. but you'd be faster still on a cyclocross bike, which is just about as rugged. if you don't mind drop bars, go cx. if you do mind drop bars, go 29er.
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Old 05-14-11, 11:43 PM   #9
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Rigid mtb from the 80's... touring geometry and the ability to run some pretty wide tyres as well as narrower slicks.

My Kuwahara Shasta is rolling on Schwalbe Silento tyres for the summer and they are quick, smooth, quiet, and blow through the rubble like nothing else.

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Old 05-15-11, 05:10 AM   #10
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Consider a Surly Pacer frame or Soma ES with 1x9 build that includes a very robust wheel set and 32 mm marathon or contact tires. Provides the strength and elasticity of a steel frame, much of the ruggedness of a mountain bike, more speed than a hybrid and better handling on bricks than road bike - tough wheel set and ample tires help with reliability.
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Old 05-15-11, 05:17 AM   #11
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Trek/Gary Fisher Superfly 100 Elite. Light, fast, carbon fiber, dual suspension. If you don't like the 2" mini-knob tires that come stock, switch them out for narrower road slicks. Thing would freakin' rule in the city!

Until you have to lock it up outside...
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Old 05-15-11, 06:31 AM   #12
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Rigid mtb from the 80's... touring geometry and the ability to run some pretty wide tyres as well as narrower slicks.

My Kuwahara Shasta is rolling on Schwalbe Silento tyres for the summer and they are quick, smooth, quiet, and blow through the rubble like nothing else.

Great looking bike setup!
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Old 05-15-11, 09:35 AM   #13
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Look for older Cannondale rigid fork MTB's with slick tires. Light and fast.
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Old 05-15-11, 03:27 PM   #14
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Consider a Surly Pacer frame or Soma ES with 1x9 build that includes a very robust wheel set and 32 mm marathon or contact tires. Provides the strength and elasticity of a steel frame, much of the ruggedness of a mountain bike, more speed than a hybrid and better handling on bricks than road bike - tough wheel set and ample tires help with reliability.
Either will work for 32mm tires if you don't want fenders. 28mm max with fenders (and a short 28, at that.) Friend of mine had a true-to-measure 28mm tire which would barely clear inside an SKS fender on his Pacer.
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Old 05-15-11, 03:34 PM   #15
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Whatever bike you end up on, don't ride like a sack of potatoes. Far too many folks just bounce along with all their weight on the saddle in such a way that even relatively good pavement beats them up and damages their bikes.
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Old 05-15-11, 04:20 PM   #16
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check out the Redlne D440
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Old 05-16-11, 10:41 AM   #17
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Find an old road bike frame made of steel. That should hold up to the potholes.
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Old 05-16-11, 10:57 AM   #18
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!st thing to get damaged will be the rims, a 37 tire will have more air in it.

Hybrids above a minimum price point will have a suspension fork.

add a suspension seat post..

OTOH , there are some small wheel Chubby tires on like folding bikes from

like daHon, to take the bike in off the street, park it in a corner, folded up.

so It won't get damaged or Stolen from the street..

I would bring a bike I wanted to keep , in with me , if I were in NYC.

Bike Friday Tikit, the better of the lot, there is a Green Speed slick
40mm wide tire for those wheel-sizes.
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Old 05-16-11, 11:21 AM   #19
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Any bike with clearance for wider tires. That would be mostly older steel frames with 700 wheels.
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Old 05-16-11, 12:52 PM   #20
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I find that the 26 inch wheel is the best compromise for wheels as there are +'s and -'s to every wheel size... they give the nicest balance of strength, performance, and tyre size options and they are not much smaller in diameter than a 700c road tyre.

My 20 inch wheels might spin up a little faster because they are lighter, my road wheels might go a little faster because they are skinny and very slick and in the middle I run some very nice 26 inch tyres that offer a nice blend of ride, speed, and decent strength.

My Moulden XC bike is lighter than many steel road bikes and is fitted with drop bars but runs 26 by 2.0 Schwalbe Hurricanes which roll out faster than the narrower Silentos and the bike handles like it is on rails.

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Old 05-16-11, 01:10 PM   #21
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I ride a road bike in a city with as many potholes as anywhere else. On a regular commuting route, it doesn't take long to learn where they are and learn to go around them (where possible). Some roads are like a slalom course.
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Old 05-16-11, 07:05 PM   #22
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I'm pleasantly surprised at how zippy my new steel touring bike is. Much livelier than the aluminum i.g.h. hybrid I have been commuting on. I might have bought a 'cross bike, but couldn't find one that was quite right, or had a triple crank for my bad knees. The long wheelbase and Reynolds 753 frame really smooth out the lumpy roads we have here.
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Old 05-16-11, 08:04 PM   #23
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road a bit today on the commute home with a guy with one of these:
salsa vaya

he put 32s on it, and he was FAST.
im pretty fast, but he was keeping a 20-25mph pace for a long time... potholes or other things didn't slow him.
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Old 05-16-11, 08:30 PM   #24
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!st thing to get damaged will be the rims, a 37 tire will have more air in it.

Hybrids above a minimum price point will have a suspension fork.

add a suspension seat post..
I picked up an '10 Marin San Rafael with 37 tires suspention fork and seat post for just under $400 w/ shipping and tax.
I bunny hop off curbs and bounce over/off just about anything I come across. (Once a mountain biker--Always a mountain biker)
The bike is fairly robust and reminds me of my first "good" hardtail.
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Old 05-16-11, 10:15 PM   #25
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I'm looking for a bike that's fast, but also good for handling NYC potholes. If anyone has any recommendations that would be great.
It ain't the bike so much as the rider. Any bike can handle potholes or any bike can be folded in half depending on what you do as the rider. Avoid them when you can but if you can't use the best suspension that is OEM on you...your legs and arms. Ride the bike 'light', i.e. don't just sit in the saddle like a lump. Don't let the potholes surprise you by looking ahead and when you can't avoid them, go across the pothole with your feet parallel to the ground with your legs and arms flexed. When the impact comes let the bike move under you and let your legs and arms absorb the impact. Your legs and arms have more 'travel' then any bike on the market.

Frame material makes little difference and neither, honestly, does tire width. The difference between a 23mm wide tire and a 37 mm tire is only 14mm (a little over 1/2"). Volume-wise that's nothing.

If you really want to learn how to handle rough rides and rough terrain, learn how to ride a mountain bike off-road. Mountain biking teaches you bike handling skills that road bike riding will never teach you.
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