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  1. #1
    King of Typos rickyhmltn's Avatar
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    I am about to commit to a bike, as in today... Last minute help.

    So... after much contemplation going back and forth on every bike brand that I could see: Fuji, Raleigh, Giant, Trek, Schwinn, Cannondale, and others...

    The Trek 7.1 is what I've almost settled on as my commuter bike. A quick few questions.

    My commute is 14.5 miles each way with a paved mountain (thats right, not a hill) to cross going to and coming back.

    The road is a 4 lane road highway and I will be on the shoulder of it (has a good wide shoulder)

    The fellow I talked to said the trek 7.1 would be good because its a combination of steel (more shock absorbent) and aluminum. Since it'll only be used in the road and on the should (where some loose gravel and debris are) he said I would not need suspension on it. And of course theres the don't spend more then you have to and get accessories with the remaining money.


    * Does it hold Racks and Fenders, do you recommend (link/url) to any?
    * I noticed the 7.2 came with puncture resistant tires. Can I put these on or get puncture resistant tires? Is there any reason I couldn't do it?

  2. #2
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    Yes, it will take a rack and fenders. Yes, you can put puncture resistant tires on it.

  3. #3
    Old, but not really wise CptjohnC's Avatar
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    Suspension would be of no value to you, given what you describe, and would actually be a detriment. While I might not choose the 7.1 for the ride you describe, I see that as a personal choice. I wouldn't put too much stock in the 'shock absorption' of a steel fork. My ride has a cro-mo fork, and it is fine, but no more 'comfortable' than the aluminum fork on the bike it replaced. Also, the 7.1 (and the 7.2 for that matter) has a 'hi tensile steel' fork -- not even Cro-mo. This would, I believe, indicate a lower grade of steel which, while probably fine, is almost certainly spec'ed more for price point than for 'comfort'.

    Most folks who aren't married to a particular material (or making their living selling bikes on commission) seem to indicate that component design is just about as important as material for comfort, etc... This is to say a cheap steel fork isn't going to be significantly more comfortable than a cheap aluminum fork. And a well designed, high quality aluminum fork is likely to be just as comfortable as a comparable steel item.

    According to Trek's website, the 7.1 has braze ons for racks and fenders. You can almost certainly swap out tires for ones that are more puncture resistant. But as you figure out the cost of your upgrades, you may wish to just go ahead and get the next model up -- the component set is clearly superior (though still low-end) and the availability of more gears might be advantageous, though it looks like the 7.1 might be as good or better for all your climbing, as it has a larger set of cogs with the same chain-rings.

    As to help with rear racks: What do you plan to tote? This might help narrow the options.

  4. #4
    King of Typos rickyhmltn's Avatar
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    Paniers, and inside of them a pair of Khakis, Polo Shirt, Belt, Size 12 Shoes on the way to work.
    At work they have a shower and towels I can use.


    Thanks for the replies btw.

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    Try negotiating for freebie accessories:
    rack, fender (SKS chromoplastic P45), lights, spare lights, lock, helmet, spare inner tube, patch kit, pump, multi-tool.
    There are lots of rack designs, most of them worse than useless.
    With fenders keeping the dirt at bay, opt for the open frame top-plate for ease of lashing oversized loads.
    Look for 3, non-adjustable legs each side, a rear light bracket.
    The best locking pannier hooks enclose a single rod or tube for security. The rack needs lengths of single rod or tube at pannier hook attachment points. Many bad racks double up on the tube, welding them together so you cant rotate the locking gizmo around.
    This is a decent no-name rack, the kind to look for.

  6. #6
    Senior Member canyoneagle's Avatar
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    The hybrid should be fine for what you are wanting to do, but it is worth looking into a Cyclocross or Touring bike (IMO) given your terrain and distance.

    If you have tried the other styles and have settled on the hybrid (nothing wrong with that), consider swapping the riser bar for a flat bar with bar-ends (or another aftermarket bar) - I've done this on a couple of former steeds and found it to really improve the climbing functionality - more akin to "honking the hoods" on a drop bar bike.
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  7. #7
    King of Typos rickyhmltn's Avatar
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    I appreciate it. The place I'm buying from isn't a bike shop but they sell cannondale and trek bikes. They are a gym, and as such don't have lights, spare lights, inner tubes to throw in. They have a few bikes in stock and repair but I think as far as accessories you are on your own. I have no LBS, and no experience with racks/paniers, etc.. So I'm trying to buy the right thigns the first time. So any links like that, that fit a trek 7.1 is great!

  8. #8
    Pepperoni Power ROJA's Avatar
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    That is a long commute to be doing upright. Are you sure you don't want a road/touring/drop-bar commuter bike? Just wanted to make sure you had enough experience cycling and with bikes to make an informed choice.

    With that small amount of stuff (just shoes and clothes), I would start with a backpack and then see before you invest more money in a rack and bags that may or may not be the right match for you.

  9. #9
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    If you can spring the $ I'd buy a 7.2 rather than a 7.1. That way you get Trek's Alpha Black frame. Definitely the best choice if you think you might upgrade parts down the road, as the 7.1's Alpha white is pretty much entry level and not worth dumping $ into.

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    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    If you are planning to commute that far, I would consider buying a sport touring bike like a Soma ES or Salsa Casseroll. My commute route is very hilly and about the same distance (30 miles round trip), and I want a bike that will go fast and as light as possible. My main commuter is a Casseroll and it is great for commuting -- reasonably light, mounts for fenders and racks, and very comfortable riding.

  11. #11
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    I agree with the rest of the crowd here...I'd be looking for more hand positions and drop bars. Cyclocross or an old sport touring geometry sound like just the ticket.

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    I think moustache bar clones are available in mountain bike-style diameters. That would be a cheap way to get more hand positions than the risers, while allowing a sportier position for long distances. It looks like there's room for the stem to go a few inches lower, too.

    I certainly wouldn't want to go that far every day in an upright position with flat bars.

  13. #13
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickyhmltn View Post
    I appreciate it. The place I'm buying from isn't a bike shop but they sell cannondale and trek bikes. They are a gym, and as such don't have lights, spare lights, inner tubes to throw in. They have a few bikes in stock and repair but I think as far as accessories you are on your own. I have no LBS, and no experience with racks/paniers, etc.. So I'm trying to buy the right thigns the first time. So any links like that, that fit a trek 7.1 is great!
    Um, okay, uh, well, my first questions is are the bikes brand new with factory warranty intact, or is the gym buying them through a local bike shop and re-selling them to their customers? Nothing wrong with that from a customer service angle, but be aware of what you're dealing with. I'd suggest going to a local bike shop to price compare to the gym prices, you might be surprised, and might end up with a fully rigged bike for the bare bike gym price. Or it could also be you're getting a deal from them, call around and find out. And if the rush to close the deal is due to pressure from the gym folks then pass on it would be my suggestion and keep looking.

    Flatbar roadbikes are okay, and some do well with them, others don't. And throwing in that paved mountain you mention along with the 14+ mile distance tells me you'd probably be way better off visiting a real bike shop and asking for advice and possibly being able to take a bike or two out for a test ride to see how you really like it. 5 laps around the parking lot won't do it, take it on the road and put 5-10 miles on it and include a few hills if you can to see how the bike really feels to you.

    A guy here where I'm currently working used to do his 10 mile each way commute on a MTB with street tires and flat handlebar. He then bought a road bike and now after two years he will never go back to commuting on a MTB and probably not on a flatbar bike either.

    If I was looking at a 15 mile commute with a paved mountain in the middle then I'd be wanting a road bike with drop bars and a triple chainring on front as a bare minimum.

    Just some ideas and opinions, do what you think will work best for you. Could be the gym deal is good, but I'm not there so I can't really say, but I will advise to go visit a bike shop or three before you decide.
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  14. #14
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    2 days worth, much shorter commute report on the 7.1 from an unfit, 5'10, 215# person on what's functionally half of your commute. (7.3 miles, 400 yard climb, most of that at the end).

    - Ride is smooth enough for me.
    - I'm never going fast except on the return downhill.
    - 53 minutes on the climb half of the commute, 37 on the return.
    - The final hill is too much for me to climb, but that's fitness not gearing.
    - Seat isn't as bad as I feared.
    - Haven't found a really comfortable position yet, but I suspect I'll need to adjust the fit somewhat. A straight posture lends itself two one of two crappy hand positions:
    -- Leaning into the grips hard enough to be numb by the end.
    -- Holding onto grips with fingertips, and a shift away from the shifters or brakes.
    - One chain drop when shifting under torque (my fault).
    - 4-5 missed shifts in both front and back.
    - Some chain rub.
    - And my first flat at around 20 miles... haven't removed the wheel to ascertain the why yet, but I road through a nicely flooding bike path for about a mile of today's 7 so there could have been something hiding in there.
    - I think it's a keeper, but it's not quite as turnkey an experience as I might have wanted for a non-Walmart bike. (Albeit the entriest of entry levels.)
    - I would absolutely not (at current fitness) be enthusiastic about riding it much further, but I think that's about duration of ride, not comfort. I think.

    G'luck.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member canyoneagle's Avatar
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    IMO better to take a step back, breathe, and perhaps figure out how to get to a nearby town or city with a real bike shop (preferably more than one). Don't be in too much of a hurry. I've made the mistake of buying something without fully thinking things through and have spent far more in the end as a result.
    If, after test riding, contemplating and comparing several different styles of bicycle, the 7.1 still tops your list, then go for it! I know it would not be my first choice for a commute as you describe, but hey, everyone is different.
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  16. #16
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickyhmltn View Post
    Paniers, and inside of them a pair of Khakis, Polo Shirt, Belt, Size 12 Shoes on the way to work.
    At work they have a shower and towels I can use.


    Thanks for the replies btw.
    If you can, leave things at work that don't need to be taken home to wash. Shoes, belt, shaving kit/soap/shampoo, etc. Whatever you can spare yourself from carrying is less weight to drag up the mountain and more room for things you need.
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  17. #17
    King of Typos rickyhmltn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scroca View Post
    If you can, leave things at work that don't need to be taken home to wash. Shoes, belt, shaving kit/soap/shampoo, etc. Whatever you can spare yourself from carrying is less weight to drag up the mountain and more room for things you need.
    Great idea actually. I will round up some stuff and grab a bag and maybe do that.

  18. #18
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    Some good advice here and I second the drop bar bike for that kind of distance and hill.

    As far as rack for everyday use pretty much any Planet bike or Delta will work just fine for most panniers. The advice about single tube at the side is good.
    http://ecom1.planetbike.com/4001.html
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  19. #19
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    rickyhmltn, what is the frame size for the trek bikes? if you have size 12 shoes you might need a tall bike. bicycle fit will be important for that long of commute. gearing will also be important if your in the appalachian mountains.

  20. #20
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    I have size 12 feet and am relatively short for foot size (a tad under 5'10). My feet have often been a problem for me with rear racks and panniers...I went with a very long rack and the longest chainstays I could find.

    It's funny...I got my first custom last year and my builder asked me foot size. It really changed what he did...I ended up on a larger bike than I was used to riding and he was absolutely correct, it rides better for me.

  21. #21
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    A 7.1 will do the trick, but get as much bike as you can at the outset. I'd lust for a 7.5, but would easily settle for a 7.3. You'll like the better quality components in the long run.

    Having said that, 7.1 will give you a perfect bike to start with. For your longer commute, bar-ends would give you up to a couple more hand positions.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  22. #22
    King of Typos rickyhmltn's Avatar
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    roashru it's a 20" frame.

    Well the reason I ended going with this bike and the somewhat upright position is because I've done the commute two or three times on Schwinn Avenue from walmart and I like the basic position and setup of it. It had 21 gears as well and while I could probably use 24, I can use 21 through most of it.

    Here's a snapshot of it: http://runkeeper.com/user/rickyhmltn/activity/54736978

    Check out the graph around the 6 mile mark.

  23. #23
    Senior Member canyoneagle's Avatar
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    Nice to be able to see the actual route.
    It is definitely a solid commute for daily riding, but fortunately the hills are moderate 3%-5% grades with nothing longer than a mile at a stretch. This route will get you FIT!!!!!!!!! 700 feet of net elevation gain (with alot of ups and downs in between) is reasonable, and you're at a low elevation so you have plenty of oxygen.
    Here's the link to this route on mapmyride.com http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view...=1&new_route=1

    The road looks nice - what is the speed limit?
    FWIW both mapmyride and google maps recommend taking a slightly different route. the terrain looks similar, and the route is 2 miles shorter. http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view...=1&new_route=1

    Of course, the road itself may not be optimal for riding.

    Another note, it looks like the majority of the highway is parallelled by streets nearby - have you considered taking the side roads to avoid riding on the highway?

    Good luck, and enjoy the new bike!!!

    Consider slapping some bar-ends on the handlebars or some more versatile handlebars - it will make a big difference on the climbs. Mount the bar ends slightly above level, facing forward.
    Also, get some ergonomic grips - they'll REALLY help. Some models actually have integrated bar-ends.
    Last edited by canyoneagle; 11-03-11 at 10:47 AM.
    Currently one bike: Singular Gryphon do-it all bike with Nuvinci N360
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  24. #24
    Old, but not really wise CptjohnC's Avatar
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    Given the relatively modest amount of stuff you are planning to carry, you might consider a trunk bag instead of panniers? I ride with two panniers, one holds my clothes (slacks, shirt, underwear, socks plus wallet, ID badge, 'pocket stuff') and breakfast/lunch (this is packed into a 9x8x6 lunch container, generally completely full) and whatever other day to day gear I might need. The other pannier contains my locks (one U lock, one cable, sometimes a second U lock), my foul weather gear (jacket and pants); balaclava, extra gloves, extra lights, spare spare tube, zip ties, duct tape, and whatever other junk I decide I need from time to time. I could definitely ride with one 90% of the time. There are some good sized trunk bags that should swallow your shoes and clothes with no problems, and some of them, like Topeak, are quick mount/dismount, which is good for getting them on and off the bike. Some even have zip down panniers to add storage capacity when you need it. I am a bit concerned about whether or not your shoes will fit, though. Another option might be this duffel bag.

  25. #25
    King of Typos rickyhmltn's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=canyoneagle;13447876]Nice to be able to see the actual route.
    It is definitely a solid commute for daily riding, but fortunately the hills are moderate 3%-5% grades with nothing longer than a mile at a stretch. This route will get you FIT!!!!!!!!! 700 feet of net elevation gain (with alot of ups and downs in between) is reasonable, and you're at a low elevation so you have plenty of oxygen.
    Here's the link to this route on mapmyride.com http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view...=1&new_route=1

    The road looks nice - what is the speed limit?
    FWIW both mapmyride and google maps recommend taking a slightly different route. the terrain looks similar, and the route is 2 miles shorter. http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view...=1&new_route=1

    Of course, the road itself may not be optimal for riding.

    Another note, it looks like the majority of the highway is parallelled by streets nearby - have you considered taking the side roads to avoid riding on the highway?

    Good luck, and enjoy the new bike!!!

    Well there isnt' really any side roads for the most part. There is one alternative way to get get there, it's flatter or so.
    The speed limits is 55mph. It's basically a 4 lane highway road with a median in the middle. I ride along the shoulder.

    In fact this bridge you see is something I cross daily. http://www.cs.unca.edu/~boyd/touring...adshoulder.jpg

    http://www.kentuckyroads.com/images/us23/p1030035.jpg

    Here is a helicopter shot of part of the commute: http://matchbin-assets.s3.amazonaws....eek_Bridge.jpg

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