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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 06-03-11, 04:01 PM   #1
indythegreat
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Recommendation Requested

Hello,
You must get this question alot, and I know it is general, but please have mercy as I am 100% new to the idea of bicycle commuting. Basically, I am willing to spend up to $1,000 on a bike. What I need out of it is this:

1. A good, solid, well-built brand and model that will last me years.
2. Comfortable enough to ride for hours per day.
3. Not a road racer or mountain bike, but also not a big bouncy pure comfort thing...I want to be able to take it on rides with other riders on weekends and I want to at lesat keep up.
4. Easy to maintain.

Any suggestions? Thank you so much!!
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Old 06-03-11, 04:06 PM   #2
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Old 06-03-11, 04:11 PM   #3
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Do you plan on carrying things on the bike?

Sounds like you want a touring or cyclocross bike.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:14 PM   #4
indythegreat
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I would just have a bag that I could carry on my back. But, what is the difference between a Commuter, and the types you mentioned? Again, please forgive my ignorance.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:22 PM   #5
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Cyclocross bikes should fit the bill. They're sporty and quick like road bikes, but as tough as most moutain bikes. Slightly more relaxed geometry than most road bikes, so it's a comfortable riding position for long commutes, and it can handle offroading and rough trails. Surly Cross Check, Kona Jake, Etc.

You could also look into touring bikes like the Surly Long Haul Trucker or Novara Safari. They're similar, but with a longer wheelbase for a smoother, more cadillac-ish ride. The only downside is that they're typically less nimble than cross bikes.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:25 PM   #6
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"commuter" is a pretty general term. Some manufacturers make bikes (like Trek's Soho) specifically targeted to commuters by having things like rack and fender mounts, and a relaxed riding position. The term "commuter" alone doesn't mean too much. Any cross bike can be a commuter, especially since most of them have rack and fender mounts, for example.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:26 PM   #7
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I ride a surly cross check as my main commuter. Any bike can be a commuter really, but I like the eyelets for fenders and rack braze-ons that the cross check has. The 2011 cross checks even have rack braze-ons for a front rack in case you should ever decide you want to use one. The cross check is super versatile as it can be run single speed, fixed gear, with an internally geared hub, or a derailer. It might be a touch over the amount you are willing to spend though.

If you want to look into touring bikes you might want to check out a novara randonnee, as it can be a great bike at a killer price with on of REI's 20% off coupons.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:37 PM   #8
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Comfortable to ride for hours has as much to do with "fit" as with which bike you get. If you get one that's too big or small, you'll have problems. But there's a staggering amount of detail beyond that ... look at the debates that pop up from time to time about which saddle ( "seat" ) is best. The handlebars on my girlfriend's bike are too narrow for her, and she can't ride all that far because of it.

Most bike makers have very good rides in your price range. Trek vs Novara vs Kona, etc, shouldn't matter very much.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:42 PM   #9
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The key question is whether you want drop bars. If you don't want drop bars there are lots of options under $1000 which are all good. In that case I would shop for a bike store you like and then buy the bike they have you like the best.

If you want drop bars $1000 becomes a little bit tougher of a figure. A lot of the bikes most recommended on here are slightly over $1000.

If you can wait for the REI 20% coupon that can be a great option to get a drop bar bike under $1000. I like the Novara Verita a lot or the the ETA for flat bar.
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Old 06-03-11, 04:50 PM   #10
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Based on your criteria, a sporty flat bar bike with an internally geared hub sounds like a good match. You might need to stretch the budget a little to get one.

Charge Mixer
Brodie Ocho
Giant Seek 0
Swobo Baxter

You will get the gist from those linked, but there are others out there.
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Old 06-03-11, 05:18 PM   #11
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Thank you all very much! This is very good information to consider. Appreciated.
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Old 06-03-11, 05:34 PM   #12
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I hear the Surly Cross Check can fit the bill as well
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Old 06-03-11, 07:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Kona Jake
+1. It's what I have, and I'm very happy. They changed it some from 2010 to 2011 though. I have the 2010. I also have a different dedicated commuter, but commuting on the Jake is no problem, and more fun.
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Old 06-03-11, 08:04 PM   #14
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[QUOTE="commuter" is a pretty general term. ..".[/QUOTE]

and "commute" varies widely too. To some folks, commuting is five miles of flat, well-lit, quiet city streets. To others, 15+ miles of who knows what----hills, traffic, dark, etc. The right bike for the first may well not be the right bike for the latter. My Surly LHT is excellent for most commuting (well.....maybe not as an ice bike) but I could do a flat three-mile city commute on a Townie. . .

YMMV. . .
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Old 06-03-11, 08:07 PM   #15
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1. Find a shop that you like.
2. Join a club that has "no drop" rides. Since you're just starting out, they'll make sure you won't ride alone- even if you are the last in the peloton. The equipment is only part of the speed equation.
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Old 06-03-11, 11:24 PM   #16
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Old 06-03-11, 11:55 PM   #17
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Honestly, I'd look at something along the lines of the Trek FX series bikes. Anything starting at the 7.2 on up the 7.5 would be in your price range and fit the bill just fine. This is a fun/sporty bike to ride, but with a ride position that many non-cyclists will be more comfortable with compared to a drop-bar bike like many mentioned above. You can even add more hand positions by adding some bar ends for longer rides.

I would also consider whether $1000 is the budget for the project, or for the bike. Because the bike is only one part of the expense. You'll need a helmet, lights, and a flat repair kit as a minimum, and it would be hard to get by without a good floor pump for home. That's over $100 in stuff right there. Are you going to ride in the rain (Fenders - $30). How far is your commute (bags are great for <10 miles, beyond that you should look into a rack/panniers - $100+). What about storage, can you bring it inside at work (lock, $50). You want the bike to last, so there are some basic tools and supplies you will need for general maintenance (lube $10, mini-tool or other allen wrenches $20). This is hardly an extensive list (no mention of cycling clothes or clipless shoes/pedals, which for longer commutes will be very desirable), and that's already $300 in accessories. Granted you don't need everything at once, and can add on as you need stuff or find deals, but I would MUCH (caps don't stress that enough, honestly) rather commute on a $600 Trek FX 7.3 with that stuff than a $1000 tricross or crosscheck without it. I would really look at this not as buying a bike, but as buying what you need to commute comfortably and happily. A bike is part of that (and the most fun and glamorous part too), but you could get the most absolutely perfect bike, and if you get a flat halfway to work without a flat kit, or into an accident because you don't have lights, you won't enjoy the experience as much.
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Old 06-04-11, 12:13 AM   #18
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Unfortunately, as is true with most threads like this, I can only tell you what I'd buy with your $1000. IMHO (in my humble opinion), your best option is to find a reputable LBS (local bike shop) with a decent variety of brands/styles of bikes. Tell them you have a big wad of cash to spend in their shop, but you want to ride as many different bikes as possible to determine what you like. Once you've narrowed your choices, come back here and ask opinions about the bikes you've chosen. That way you'll be more likely to get real-world experience from folks who ride those very same bikes.

Good luck, and have fun shopping!
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Old 06-04-11, 12:16 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
Do you plan on carrying things on the bike?

Sounds like you want a touring or cyclocross bike.
+1
but touring bikes sort of have a boring ride quality. Test ride both types and you'll notice the difference.
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Old 06-04-11, 12:19 AM   #20
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Honestly, I'd look at something along the lines of the Trek FX series bikes. Anything starting at the 7.2 on up the 7.5 would be in your price range and fit the bill just fine. This is a fun/sporty bike to ride, but with a ride position that many non-cyclists will be more comfortable with compared to a drop-bar bike like many mentioned above. You can even add more hand positions by adding some bar ends for longer rides.

I would also consider whether $1000 is the budget for the project, or for the bike. Because the bike is only one part of the expense. You'll need a helmet, lights, and a flat repair kit as a minimum, and it would be hard to get by without a good floor pump for home. That's over $100 in stuff right there. Are you going to ride in the rain (Fenders - $30). How far is your commute (bags are great for <10 miles, beyond that you should look into a rack/panniers - $100+). What about storage, can you bring it inside at work (lock, $50). You want the bike to last, so there are some basic tools and supplies you will need for general maintenance (lube $10, mini-tool or other allen wrenches $20). This is hardly an extensive list (no mention of cycling clothes or clipless shoes/pedals, which for longer commutes will be very desirable), and that's already $300 in accessories. Granted you don't need everything at once, and can add on as you need stuff or find deals, but I would MUCH (caps don't stress that enough, honestly) rather commute on a $600 Trek FX 7.3 with that stuff than a $1000 tricross or crosscheck without it. I would really look at this not as buying a bike, but as buying what you need to commute comfortably and happily. A bike is part of that (and the most fun and glamorous part too), but you could get the most absolutely perfect bike, and if you get a flat halfway to work without a flat kit, or into an accident because you don't have lights, you won't enjoy the experience as much.
This is true, but don't skimp out on the bike you really want. Most of these additional items can be put on hold.
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