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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 10-27-11, 08:10 PM   #1
boatrider
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Commuting under $3000

I'd like to hear from people who don't spend thousands of dollars on trendy bikes that are theft risks. Yes to no suspension hard rocks, rock hoppers, schwinns, no name bikes, etc. No hub generators, only blinkies on the back, no HID ballasts for the ride to work. I don't want to hear about seatpost weight and material, or shaving grams. I enjoy passing the person on titanium who has spent lots of time examining the frame geometry, consulting with their gyneocologist, and waxing their frame.

If you like talking about the different frame materials, forks, seatpost, etc, this may not me the thread for you. If you cheaply, regularly, ride a crappy bike, chime in. I just don't see the need to ride a few miles on a $3000 bike- I like the idea of commuting on a bike as a cheap form of transportation. I have more expensive road & mtn bikes- I see the value in those, but I personally enjoy communting on a home made mess. Anyone?
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Old 10-27-11, 08:12 PM   #2
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Can we talk about bikes that cost about 2500.00?
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Old 10-27-11, 08:22 PM   #3
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my fairweather commuter is a $2,000 titanium road bike, so this thread is right up my alley!

I've got 28 miles/day to go on my commute, so when weather allows, I like to be on the fastest bike I own. And it was way less than $3,000.

Last edited by Steely Dan; 10-27-11 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 10-27-11, 08:25 PM   #4
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My commuter is a relatively old Trek 4300 hard-tail that I've knicknamed "The Rig". I think I remember it cost about 4 or 5 hundred bucks in 2005. I added a rack, have panniers and a trunk bag on it (when necessary for shopping etc), a $20 rear blinky and a $120 MiNewt 200 light on the front. I replaced the fat tires with 26x1.6 Continental 80psi and ride the bike nearly to death
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Old 10-27-11, 08:31 PM   #5
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Seems like you have an extra 0 in this thread. Shouldn't it be >$300?
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Old 10-27-11, 08:42 PM   #6
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I spent 1100 RMB on my bike two years ago, with added extras, including a Brooks B17, rack, guards, locks and lights, that should come in at a whopping 2500 RMB. About USD$400? Maybe less?

I have since replaced lots of bits on it, but it has done over 13,000 km (8000 mi) in those two and a bit years.

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Old 10-27-11, 08:47 PM   #7
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My commuter bike cost $2,500 and I love it! I think it's great idea to start a thread for those of us who didn't go overboard on a bike that gets used and abused on a daily basis.
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Old 10-27-11, 08:56 PM   #8
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search for good deals on CL .... people are always getting rid of bikes that haven't been rode much
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Old 10-27-11, 08:58 PM   #9
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I have two inexpensive bikes that I use for commuting to work. One is a Specialized Allez Steel that I bought on clearance for $400, and the other is a Sierra Schwinn hybrid. The road bike is more fun to ride in fair weather, though the Schwinn gets more usage in fall and winter months. It is outfitted with 26x1.5 Vittoria Randonneur tires, Planet bike fenders and mud flaps, and a cheap Nashbar rack. I have a basket that I throw on there when grocery shopping. Both bikes have inexpensive components, but serve me well.

Based on my current mileage, my mileage will be somewhere around 500 miles by the end of the month. While I would love to have a fancy bike, I would still average about 500 miles per month. As it is, I don't worry about my bikes getting dinged up from use.
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Old 10-27-11, 09:02 PM   #10
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I started off with a $150 Schwinn mountain bike... broke it, swapped the parts onto a free Nishiki frame... it was too small, so I bit the bullet and bought a Surly LHT frame and swapped the remaining parts to it. With everything including dynohub lights, it came in under $800. Well worth it.
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Old 10-27-11, 09:16 PM   #11
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I started commuting on a (as I later realized, youth-sized) $179 Schwinn mountain bike from Target. A little more than two years ago, I bought my Bianchi Eros for less than twice that, and have only put a couple hundred more into tires, lights, pedals, and other things for it. It has reliably taken me across Iowa three times, and to work and back numerous times.

I'd be scared to ride a $3000+ bike -- that's what I paid for my last car!

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Old 10-27-11, 09:18 PM   #12
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Seems like you have an extra 0 in this thread. Shouldn't it be >$300?
My category is <$300.
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Old 10-27-11, 09:24 PM   #13
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Under $3000? Yikes! I'm commuting for under $200.


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Old 10-27-11, 09:44 PM   #14
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Seems like you have an extra 0 in this thread. Shouldn't it be >$300?
+1, my last three commuters have come in around there. There are plenty of bikes in the Commuter Bicycle Pics thread that easily fit that description.

Now that I think about it, I haven't seen any commuters touting their gram-shaving, gyno-approved bikes.
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Old 10-27-11, 09:51 PM   #15
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If you know what to look for, you can find excellent deals on Craigslist. I once saw a Bob Jackson tandem for $100 in near perfect condition. That was 20 minutes after the ad was posted and it was gone. That bike, by the way, is worth about 20x that on the used market.

My 05 Kona Caldera (hard tail mountain bike) is the most versatile bike I own. I put a rigid fork on it, have ordered some more neutral bars (VO Milan bars), added a VO touring saddle, full coverage fenders, and put on a small front rack. No panniers, as I've opted for the Nelson longflap on that bike. Those same upgrades could be done to any quality mountain bike and it would make an excellent commuter.

Lately, I've been commuting on this bike part time. It has the capability of doing some light touring, and I pull my Bikes at Work 64a trailer with it. I own a Surly Crosscheck, which is an excellent bike. However, I've found that a properly converted mountain bike is truly the jack of all trades bike.

1- Nelson longflap ~$100
2- VO touring saddle, ~$85
3- VO Milan bars, I found them on-line last week for $19.80 with shipping
4- Sunlite Goldtec front rack (identical to the Nashbar front rack), $10
5- Planet Bike Hardcore ATB fenders, $40
6- Straight blade Surly 1x1, $60

In my opinion, most of these items aren't needed, they only make it ideal for me due to the added versatility. You could get by with just the fenders and Longflap. Add those to any quality mountain bike and you'd be set. You can probably find one on Craigslist for less than $150.

Last edited by hopperja; 10-27-11 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 10-27-11, 09:54 PM   #16
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errrr 3000? for real? I'm commuting on a 500 Aus dollar hybrid bike and it serves me fine... I don't see why I need to 6 times more just to commute I'd rather spend that money on a race bike.
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Old 10-27-11, 10:03 PM   #17
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My wife spent $1000.00 on her commuter bicycle which was her only bicycle at the time and a replacement to her car... it has paid for itself over the nearly five years she has owned it and for her, a new bike made sense as she has almost no mechanical skills and wanted a bicycle designed for daily use and high reliability.

She rides a Breezer Uptown 8 and aside from regular maintainence and a few rim replacements because of wear the bike has been rock solid and soon after he got the Breezer... she met me so I have been able to take care of her bike for her.

With $3000.00 I could buy ten decent bikes...

My bikes tend to come from the other end of the spectrum as I do have the mad skills to do pretty much anything to a bike.

Until this spring my Trek hybrid was my primary commuter that I picked up used for $110.00 and over the 4 years I had it did a bunch of upgrades with gently used parts... sold it for $375.00 with new wheels and lesser parts than what I had been running.

Over the same time I used my Kuwahara Shasta as my winter bike and foul weather bike and after selling my Trek it has taken over those duties... paid $40.00 for the frame and fork and have run it as a fixed gear, three speed, and now as an 18 speed and would put it's value at about $300 - $400. It is a nice enough bike (handbuilt frame) that I decided to retire it from winter duty.

The old 3 speed wheel set now live on my new winter bike which was cobbled together from spare parts and cost me very little to build... the frame and fork were free and every part is recycled.

Helps that I have a small shop and bunch of decent pare parts.

Winter bike...



Bike for all the other seasons... and my trailer cost me $20.00 as it was free but was lacking a hitch.



Not that I limit myself to just 2 bikes... but a couple seem to handle the lions share of all my day to day riding, commuting, shopping, and errands as I live a car free life.
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Old 10-27-11, 10:11 PM   #18
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My commuter (a late 80's vintage Canondale hardtail mtn bike) was purchased for $50 at a yard sale. I bought a similar era GT Talera hard tail frame (in my correct size) for $90 and swapped out all the parts. I upgraded the brake set, handle bars and stem and shifters (via eBay) for another $55 or so. The fenders and racks ran me another $60 (thank you, CL). About $255 total.
My lovely wife bought me, as a birthday present, a Brooks Champion flyer for another $89 (super price!). Now I've over-shot the under $300 price range. This bike runs a seven speed cassette on the rear and has the ubiquitous threaded 1" steerer. Along with the old-school toe clips and straps; nobody notices this rig next to all the other more modern rides or those annoying hipster/poseur bikes. Thankfully, my ride seems to be overlooked by the bike thieves of Boston (Knock on wood!).
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Old 10-27-11, 10:47 PM   #19
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I am definitely in this camp. I bought my Kona Dew new last year for under $500 brand new. Like many others I've spent some money commuter-izing it to my liking, but it has been a solid bike mechanically for about the year that I have owned it.

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Old 10-27-11, 11:33 PM   #20
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I'm going to be upgrading soon but no, you don't need a fancy bike to commute. You just need to be in good shape and have the right mind set. I bought a Marine (off brand) Kentfield from Sun & Ski sports a few years ago, it was around $400 on sale. I commute year round, 100+ miles a week. Buy cheap but invest is some nice cycling shoes, clipless pedals and cleats though, they make a huge difference.
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Old 10-27-11, 11:41 PM   #21
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someone gave me a frame, someone else gave me a bike and I transferred the components to the frame. I do have a hub dyno, the wheel cost me $80 shipped.
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Old 10-27-11, 11:58 PM   #22
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With some smart craigslist shopping you can easily get a great commuter for under 300 bucks. I'd take that extra 2700 and go on vacation!
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Old 10-28-11, 12:09 AM   #23
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Oooh. Three thousand dollars gives me just about enough budget for my Kona Jake, my Surly Cross Check and my Specialized Rockhopper with a little left over for accessories.





The Rockhopper might even fit the spirit of the thread.
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Old 10-28-11, 03:12 AM   #24
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My regular commuter is basically similar to a built-up project- it's been progressively modified from the original 'from the skip restoration' to its current form. I've probably spent somewhere around 80 on a mixture of new and used parts, equipping a formerly cheap mountain bike with fenders, chainguard, 3-speed IGH, road tyres, upright handlebars and a rear rack. Considering the original bike cost me 6 (and I originally planned to just strip it for parts) I don't think I've done too badly.
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Old 10-28-11, 03:22 AM   #25
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The OP puts hub generators in the same category as weight-weanie components and big dollar fancy bikes.
I have commuted on cheap bikes and expensive bikes and they all ride well enough for most commutes. Fitting a hub generator to my commuter has been the best upgrade I ever made. It is totally practical, functional and simply better than any other solution. I never need to worry about if I should carry lights, or whether the batteries have sufficient charge. I never have to faff around removing lights at a lockup.
Everyday commuters should need a good reason NOT to use hub generator lights. I parts of N Europe where normal people use normal bikes for everyday transport, hub generators are universal.
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