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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 05-15-11, 08:09 PM   #1
no1mad
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Looking for input from the SS commuters out there

I know that there is a forum here dedicated to SS/FG, but from what I can tell, the usual advice is to either a) buy from BikesDirect or b) convert an old road bike.

Though there are hills around here, I've picked a few different routes that I use that avoids the biggest elevation changes. I have more issues with the wind, but again, I have different routes that minimize the time/distance battling it. I'm multi-modal (bike/bus) and use a backpack.

I realize that gearing will boil down to a personal trial and error thing, I could use some help in selecting a decent entry level SS sourced from the LBS. Problem is that the LBS push the mid level price point models or don't even stock SS/FG at all. The following are ones that I know I could order locally that are within budget, followed by some that are interesting but lack pricing info.

-KHS Urban Soul- Not exactly enthused about the fork, and the ride might be somewhat of a shock, as I'm used to 26x1.5's.
-Giant Via 3- Do be honest, if I went with this frame, I'd probably opt for the Via 1 to get the goodies and IGH.
-GT Traffic 5.0- The shop I have to order this one through claims it would be a special order, and they aren't thrilled with the idea of taking it back- even for an in store exchange.
-Redline 925- Another special order through a different shop. They would charge me a restocking fee if I returned it. Pricing info not listed, but aside from the pathetic fenders, I think this one appeals to me the most.

Again, I'm multimodal, so I need something that will fit on the Sportworks racks the buses use that have a maximum 44" wheelbase capacity or that I can lock up at the bus station all day and not worry about it. It's kinda hard to shop without test riding, but it's also hard to test ride when the LBS don't/won't carry these models...
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Old 05-15-11, 09:27 PM   #2
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I know that there is a forum here dedicated to SS/FG, but from what I can tell, the usual advice is to either a) buy from BikesDirect or b) convert an old road bike.

Though there are hills around here, I've picked a few different routes that I use that avoids the biggest elevation changes. I have more issues with the wind, but again, I have different routes that minimize the time/distance battling it. I'm multi-modal (bike/bus) and use a backpack.

I realize that gearing will boil down to a personal trial and error thing, I could use some help in selecting a decent entry level SS sourced from the LBS. Problem is that the LBS push the mid level price point models or don't even stock SS/FG at all. The following are ones that I know I could order locally that are within budget, followed by some that are interesting but lack pricing info.

-KHS Urban Soul- Not exactly enthused about the fork, and the ride might be somewhat of a shock, as I'm used to 26x1.5's.
-Giant Via 3- Do be honest, if I went with this frame, I'd probably opt for the Via 1 to get the goodies and IGH...
Took a look at all your choices and am inclined to agree. It's all set up for commuting and gives one the option of a 3 sp IGH. You'll thank yourself when encountering those headwinds under load. Also, backpacks get old real quick. Get yourself some bungee cords and let the bike carry the load.
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Old 05-15-11, 09:51 PM   #3
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really think the raleigh ss options are really nice (esp if you can find 2010 models still, and get those on sale)
http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/steel-road/one-way-11/
2010 one way
http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/road/2010-road/one-way/
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Old 05-15-11, 10:41 PM   #4
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Stay below 70 gear inches if you have hills and are not ready for all out effort. Anything around 66 gear inches is a good compromise.

I second the Raleigh One Way. Well equipped and practical.
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Old 05-16-11, 11:29 AM   #5
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There is another one that might be worth looking at...the Torker KB2...It retails for $399 and it is a solid bike. Like most of the bikes at this price range it has some pretty cheap components, but the SA 2 speed hub rear wheel is an interesting and useful addition. I have the U-District (its ss cousin...I use it as a winter bike) and the frame is good enough. The redline that you have on your list should be fairly similar with maybe a little nicer seatpost and crankset. IIRC Redline owns Torker.

I will say, though, I normally ride an '09 langster that has a all-city hub to open pro wheelset, and the ride on that is much better and much faster. It is up to what you want from your bike. If you don't care too much about looks, weight, or snappy ride, then the lower end models will be fine. Another to add to your list might be the SE Draft. You can usually find it for about $250. My girlfiriend and I made a pretty decent bike for her out of one of those, though only the frame remains from the original bike. In the end, I think it is cheaper to get a good solid bike to begin with. After building up a half dozen single speeds, I think that $100 spent in original cost will save you $250 in replacement parts (Of course that is only true up to a point...and it depends on what you expect out of your bike as well).

Hope that rambling helps, but just keep in mind what you would want to/need to replace and how much it will cost against the increased price of a less intro-level bike

Cheers,

Josh
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Old 05-16-11, 05:17 PM   #6
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There is another one that might be worth looking at...the Torker KB2...It retails for $399 and it is a solid bike. Like most of the bikes at this price range it has some pretty cheap components, but the SA 2 speed hub rear wheel is an interesting and useful addition. I have the U-District (its ss cousin...I use it as a winter bike) and the frame is good enough. The redline that you have on your list should be fairly similar with maybe a little nicer seatpost and crankset. IIRC Redline owns Torker.

...

Cheers,

Josh
I've thought about the KB2. However, if mostly ruled it out due to one LBS in town can order it can't ----------depending on who I talk to. I've actually emailed SBS (the parent of Redline and Torker) and inquired out tire/fender clearance. FWIW, it's 32 with fenders, 40 without.
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Old 05-16-11, 05:44 PM   #7
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If you can't find a LBS, then go with someone like adrenaline bikes, or universal bicycles.

I recommend the Surly SS Steamroller. While having a rack is nice, not everybody demands it, or is even okay with having to work to get things on and off their bike, especially someone who is doing a multimodal commute. Why do people just leap off this cliff in the commuter forums every. single. time?

The one way is a nice bike, btw. I got to ride one for about a week. The Redline is a nice bike too, and one I considered back in the day (about 2 years ago).

Could go through IRO and probably get one too, it all depends on your budget.
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Old 05-16-11, 09:59 PM   #8
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I'm a big fan of the Raleigh one way, at least in theory. That just screams classy commuter to me.
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Old 05-16-11, 10:06 PM   #9
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That just screams classy commuter to me.
Rivendell Quickbeam with a Carradice bag.
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Old 05-17-11, 04:36 AM   #10
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Rivendell Quickbeam with a Carradice bag.
+1 . When the 925's came out a lot of people liked them, I've not ridden one but they looked ok to me. ton of options out there really comes down to if you want to be able to mount racks and fenders. from what I remember the 925 can with fenders.
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Old 05-17-11, 04:48 AM   #11
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In looking at the bikes the OP I swear the 925 and KHS look like the same bike other than color. The GT looks like a turd. Kinda iffy on that Giant(I had twin top tube BMX that busted). The Raleigh that someone suggested looks really nice( I kinda dig retro looking stuff). Surly is good option but imho overpriced. And the Steamroller is limited could look at a Karate Monkey or Crosscheck. PAKE maybe? The Cmute has alot of options and if you decide that SS isn't for you you can always gear it, same with the CrossCheck and KM. http://www.pakebikes.com/product/F8EF09/C%27Mute+Frame
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