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Old 02-11-12, 02:21 PM   #1
Scooby214
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Just Assembled My Newest Commuter: Bikes Direct Windsor Oxford

Here is my newest addition to the commuter stable:

The 56cm Windsor Oxford from Bikes Direct









I bought my other two bikes at local shops, but had difficulty finding a basic 3 speed bike with a large frame. Most shops around here have cruiser style 3 speed bikes, and wanted to steer me toward derailleur bikes (which I already have two of). The shops that had commuter style 3 speeds didn't have one in stock that would fit my 6' 1" body. I ordered the bike on Tuesday morning, and received it by Thursday afternoon.

The assembly was simple enough. I added a Cascadia mud flap ($5 from Planet Bike), Ibera PakRak rear rack, lights and computer, and water bottle cage. I ordered a set of MKS Touring pedals from Amazon to replace the plastic ones that came with the bike. I switched out the OEM Kenda tires for some Kenda Kwest 700x35c tires. The OEM tires are identical to ones that came on my old hybrid, and they were flat magnets. The Kwests are still cheap tires, but they roll much faster and have far less tread than the OEM ones. They also seem to pick up less flat causing debris. I will have to save up for some Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires, as they are not in the budget right now.

My main commuter bike up to this point has been my road bike, a Specialized Allez Steel Double:



The 3 speed isn't quite as fast as the road bike, but the 3 speed has a great ride. The bike came with a 44t chainring and a 22t rear cog, which makes the first gear really low. I ordered a 20t cog to put on it, as I've ridden a 3 speed with the 44/20t combo and liked its gear range.

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Old 02-11-12, 02:51 PM   #2
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Not sure, but IIRC, you live in the land of Thunder, right? Can't wait for a ride report of dealing with some of the winds we get around here... unless you plan on taking the Allez on those wind advisory days?
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Old 02-11-12, 03:20 PM   #3
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Not sure, but IIRC, you live in the land of Thunder, right? Can't wait for a ride report of dealing with some of the winds we get around here... unless you plan on taking the Allez on those wind advisory days?
I do live in Okla. City. I've had a couple of 3 speeds that I used around here before, so I know the challenges involved with riding one with a strong headwind. I got rid of the other 3 speeds because they were too small for me (I didn't know bikes came in more than one size back then). On my usual commuting route, there are a few stretches where I deal with a headwind on a regular basis. Fortunately, I don't have any major hills on my route.

The 3 speed replaces my old Schwinn hybrid that I rode my first commuter and later as a foul weather commuter bike. The hybrid has a rather upright sitting posture like the new bike. As I pondered the prospect of getting a 3 speed that would fit me, I started paying attention to the gears I usually used when riding my old hybrid on my commute. I found that I normally start out at 48 gear inches, then shift up to 58 gear inches. I usually stay at that gear if I am in an area with hills or when riding into a significant headwind. On my flat stretches or when I have little headwind to deal with, I shift up from the 58 to 80 gear inches. Once I install the smaller 20t cog on the three speed, the three gears on the new bike (45, 59, and 80 gear inches) will closely match the three gears I primarily used when riding the hybrid. I do recognize that there will be times when I wish for a gear between the 45 and the 59, but I wanted the simplicity of a 3 speed over an 8 speed IGH.

I used this visual drivetrain comparison tool to figure out what cog would make the 3 speed's gear range best match the gears I use on the hybrid: http://kstoerz.com/gearcalc/compare/

I still plan to use the Allez as a regular commuter bike, as it is still my favorite bike. The new bike will get some use on regular commuting days, and it will serve as my foul weather bike. I currently ride the Allez when I want to fly to work, as it is light and quick. The 3 speed will be for days when I want a more relaxed ride or when I need to carry lots of stuff to work.
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Old 02-11-12, 03:25 PM   #4
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Congrats, Scooby!
Really Nice Bike!

Happy Trails...
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Old 02-11-12, 04:18 PM   #5
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Here are the three steeds that currently fill my stable:



The black hybrid never fit me quite right, so I don't know how much longer it will remain in the stable.
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Old 02-11-12, 04:28 PM   #6
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Your old Schwinn probably had either a flat or more likely a riser bar, correct? What's the main difference you notice between the Schwinn and the new Windsor as far as the cockpit goes?

I ask primarily because my current rig is a little too large for me, so trying bull horns are out. And I'm starting to develop some issues with my left hand that might be carpal tunnel setting in, and have doubts if my current set up will be comfortable when the pain/numbness flares up. The more neutral positioning of bars like yours on that Wellington might be helpful, but I can't past how wide those things must be...

EDIT: You posted a pic which answered the question as I was composing this.
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Old 02-11-12, 05:42 PM   #7
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The Schwinn has a flat bar. The problem I ran into is a result of my proportions. I have long legs in comparison to the rest of my body. The shop sized the bike to fit my long legs, but it is too big for my torso and arms. It was my first LBS bike, so I relied on the guy at the shop to tell me what would fit me. Long rides on the Schwinn give me pain in my lower arms and wrists. I could probably improve the fit on the Schwinn with different bars or a shorter stem.

The cockpit is different with the new Windsor, mainly due to the handlebars. I like the handlebars a lot, as they are in a more natural position for how my hands want to hold the bars. The top tube is shorter on the Windsor than on the Schwinn, and is similar in length to the TT on the road bike.

I will ride the new bike to work Sunday afternoon, before the snow/ice/sleet stuff comes in. I haven't ridden the new bike enough yet to trust myself on it in slippery stuff.
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Old 02-11-12, 07:54 PM   #8
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I don't have a scale, but I've read elseware that it weighs about 25 pounds. I know it feels about as heavy as my steel Allez. It feels significantly lighter than my aluminum Schwinn hybrid.
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Old 02-12-12, 07:11 PM   #9
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First Commute Ride Report

I needed to get in an hour or two of productivity today, so I rode the new 3 speed for its first commute (27 miles round trip). The bike performed well. I was surprised by how well the 3 speed's gear ratios worked for me. I dealt with a minor 15 mph sustained headwind on my ride home. Second gear seemed close to ideal, or perhaps just a little easy, when taking on a slight incline with the headwind. I may rethink my original plan to change the rear cog from 22t to 20t for now.

The only thing that will take some adjustment is the handlebar. This is the first bike I've ridden with the swept back handlebar. I made some adjustments that seemed to make things better. If I don't find a happy place with the bar that came on the back, I have some mid-riser handlebars that are very comfortable for me and would be at home on the bike. They look like the ones that come on the 2012 Giant Via 1.
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Old 02-12-12, 07:35 PM   #10
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Did you manage to beat the snow home?
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Old 02-12-12, 07:59 PM   #11
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Did you manage to beat the snow home?
Yes. The snow is west of me. It's still just above freezing here in NW Okla. City, so even if the precipitation was here, I would've been able to ride home without slick roads.

My three kids are all hoping for the snow to get here. They want a snow day tomorrow.
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Old 02-12-12, 09:47 PM   #12
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Are the fenders stock? are they metal? That little black mudflap on the front looks like the same one on most Planet Bike Fenders.
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Old 02-13-12, 06:25 AM   #13
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Are the fenders stock? are they metal? That little black mudflap on the front looks like the same one on most Planet Bike Fenders.
The fenders are stock, metal fenders. I added the mudflap. I had it in my parts bin. You can buy the pair of mudflaps for $5 from Planet Bike's website. The other mudflap from the pair is on my hybrid. The ATB size Cascadia mudflaps are a near perfect fit on the stock metal fenders.
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Old 02-13-12, 06:37 AM   #14
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The only thing that will take some adjustment is the handlebar. This is the first bike I've ridden with the swept back handlebar. I made some adjustments that seemed to make things better. If I don't find a happy place with the bar that came on the back, I have some mid-riser handlebars that are very comfortable for me and would be at home on the bike. They look like the ones that come on the 2012 Giant Via 1.
I was interested to see what you'd say about a cruiser handlebar. I picked one up for 10 bucks but am unsure about installing it. I live by a bay so consistently ride home in a headwind. I am concerned about being too upright and the swept bars not being a good for climbing.
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Old 02-13-12, 09:58 AM   #15
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Nice bike! Did you take it out today, and how did it perform in the wind? I was getting knocked around enough that I walked mine across the overpass rather than risk riding it it in the slush and ice.

Also, where do you commute to/from(approximately)? I've been looking for a new house, but have concerns about safe routes to bike to work with. I'm not sure I want to ride too far on one of the major arterials given our general lack of shoulders.
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Old 02-14-12, 11:42 AM   #16
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I'm sorry, but they did a great job designing that bike. It looks really awesome. I'm considering one now. I'm sure my wife will love it when she hears that.
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Old 02-14-12, 07:19 PM   #17
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Nice bike! Did you take it out today, and how did it perform in the wind? I was getting knocked around enough that I walked mine across the overpass rather than risk riding it it in the slush and ice.

Also, where do you commute to/from(approximately)? I've been looking for a new house, but have concerns about safe routes to bike to work with. I'm not sure I want to ride too far on one of the major arterials given our general lack of shoulders.
I didn't get it out in Monday's snow/slush stuff, as I've not ridden the bike enough to trust my handling of it when hitting an unexpected slick spot. I trust myself on the hybrid, as I know how it will handle. I'll get there with the new bike. I also chickened out today (Tuesday) after hearing all the accident reports due to black ice and freezing fog. Once I got away from the house, I quickly realized that I could've ridden the new bike today. I did ride it to work Sunday afternoon, and found that its gearing worked quite well with my loaded bag on the rack when riding in the minor 15 mph headwind. I do get to ride the new bike again on Wednesday.

As far as route is concerned.. I spend almost no time on arteries. I live near the fairgrounds, at NW 19th Street and Portland Avenue. I work near NW 150th Street and Western Avenue. My route uses NW 19th, Drexel, Independence, Grand, Greystone, Ridgeview, Greystone again, Highland Park Blvd (by Quail Springs Mall), five blocks of Penn. Ave., then I cut through an apartment parking lot and a housing neighborhood so I can avoid riding on 150th St. I come out of the housing neighborhood right in front of my work.

Do you ever do any rides with the Okla. Bicycle Society groups? I've been enjoying the floating crapgame rides on Saturdays.
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Old 02-14-12, 07:24 PM   #18
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I was interested to see what you'd say about a cruiser handlebar. I picked one up for 10 bucks but am unsure about installing it. I live by a bay so consistently ride home in a headwind. I am concerned about being too upright and the swept bars not being a good for climbing.
So far, I'm not sold on the cruiser handlebar. I have it adjusted to where I'm not sore after a full 27 mile round trip commute, but I have ordered a nice set of grip shift compatible ergo leather grips to use with my riser bars. The risers have just enough sweep to put my wrists in a comfortable position. The new grips are also longer than the ones that came on the bike.
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Old 02-15-12, 10:21 AM   #19
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I didn't get it out in Monday's snow/slush stuff, as I've not ridden the bike enough to trust my handling of it when hitting an unexpected slick spot. I trust myself on the hybrid, as I know how it will handle. I'll get there with the new bike. I also chickened out today (Tuesday) after hearing all the accident reports due to black ice and freezing fog. Once I got away from the house, I quickly realized that I could've ridden the new bike today. I did ride it to work Sunday afternoon, and found that its gearing worked quite well with my loaded bag on the rack when riding in the minor 15 mph headwind. I do get to ride the new bike again on Wednesday.

As far as route is concerned.. I spend almost no time on arteries. I live near the fairgrounds, at NW 19th Street and Portland Avenue. I work near NW 150th Street and Western Avenue. My route uses NW 19th, Drexel, Independence, Grand, Greystone, Ridgeview, Greystone again, Highland Park Blvd (by Quail Springs Mall), five blocks of Penn. Ave., then I cut through an apartment parking lot and a housing neighborhood so I can avoid riding on 150th St. I come out of the housing neighborhood right in front of my work.

Do you ever do any rides with the Okla. Bicycle Society groups? I've been enjoying the floating crapgame rides on Saturdays.
I chickened out in the fog and ice and drove it. I had no visibility what so ever in Edmond on Broadway or Bryant, was pretty nasty. I also wussed out today, but that was just laziness.

Not a bad route, I was trying to figure out why I never bump into you on Greystone until I realized that you're on Ridgeview for the section of it I ride. Riding Penn would worry me, but I guess it wouldn't be bad in the mornings.

I don't ride with the OBS, though I've thought about it. I'm usually pursuing my nerdly hobbies on Saturdays. I may start doing it more as the weather warms up, I'm looking at picking up a road bike this spring. My current hybrid is a little chunky and covered in Fred gear for a fun ride.
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Old 02-15-12, 03:14 PM   #20
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The fenders are stock, metal fenders. I added the mudflap. I had it in my parts bin. You can buy the pair of mudflaps for $5 from Planet Bike's website. The other mudflap from the pair is on my hybrid. The ATB size Cascadia mudflaps are a near perfect fit on the stock metal fenders.
Could you take some close up photos of the added mudflap? I might have to try this on my girlfriends bike. It's a Linus Mixte(what these Oxfords are copys of)
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Old 02-15-12, 07:08 PM   #21
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Could you take some close up photos of the added mudflap? I might have to try this on my girlfriends bike. It's a Linus Mixte(what these Oxfords are copys of)
I will be happy to. The bike and I didn't get home until dark, so I'll do it when I have daylight.

The mudflap came in handy this morning during the rain. There was leftover sand and salt on some stretches of my commute from Monday's snow, and the rain caused my tires to kick it up.

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Old 02-15-12, 07:13 PM   #22
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Not a bad route, I was trying to figure out why I never bump into you on Greystone until I realized that you're on Ridgeview for the section of it I ride. Riding Penn would worry me, but I guess it wouldn't be bad in the mornings.
I ride two sections of Greystone. My first section is from Grand Blvd. to Churchill, where Greystone runs out. I pick up Greystone again about a mile north, at Northampton, and ride 122nd up to 122nd.

I only have to ride Penn for about five blocks, from the stoplight at 140th St. to the stoplight at 145th St. Since I turn at both intersections, the stoplights stop cross traffic while I turn. Traffic catches up to me before I turn off Penn, but they see me up ahead and easily go around me. I can PM you a link to my commute map, if that would help.
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Old 02-17-12, 05:48 PM   #23
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Could you take some close up photos of the added mudflap? I might have to try this on my girlfriends bike. It's a Linus Mixte(what these Oxfords are copys of)
I remembered to shoot a few pics when I got to work this morning. Glad I did it then, as it was sprinkling out when I left work.





I'm glad I put it on, as I've had rain rides on both Wednesday and today.
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Old 02-17-12, 06:03 PM   #24
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I would definitely get the 8-spd version if I had the coin. I have to save because as of the end of this year, I will be out of a job. Then bicycle commuting will be my standard! No excuses then! hahaha

I like the mudflap though. You pretty much have the bike I really want. I think it would make an excellent commuter.
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Old 02-18-12, 04:10 PM   #25
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I got my package from Niagara Cycle with pedals and grips. I switched out the original handlebars for a set of riser bars I had on hand. I like the ergo leather grips with the riser handlebars. The fit is perfect for me. I also switched out the plastic pedals for some MKS Sylvan touring pedals. I've been using them on my steel road bike for the last year, and really like them for commuter use.



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