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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 06-04-13, 09:33 AM   #1
jdguhwb
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Recommend me a bike

I recently joined this forum seeking advice on what bike I should get for commuting. The commute is a few miles to and from where I'll be going in a city that's flat. It rains a decent amount but doesn't snow. My budget is $500-1000.
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Old 06-04-13, 09:53 AM   #2
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Hi! Here's are the additional things I'd want to know about before I make a confident recommendation (other people's lists might be slightly different).
1. Would you enjoy working on the bike yourself, or would you rather just bring it in for occasional tune-ups?
2. How much of a priority is speed (remember that a HUGE speed difference usually only makes a few minutes of difference in commute).
3. Do you ever have back or neck pain/stiffness?
4. Could you park the bike inside, or would you lock it outside?
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Old 06-04-13, 09:57 AM   #3
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Name the Brands sold by Local Bike Shops.
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Old 06-04-13, 10:03 AM   #4
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To add to Penny's list:
5. How much are you carrying on the commute?
6. Would you intend to have the bike to double for other activities, such as races, tours, etc?

For Q5, I ask because I've done the backpack on the bike before, and on a warm day, the back gets soaked with sweat pretty quickly. Now I use racks and a pannier that can work as a shoulder bag on rest days. That kept my back pretty dry from sweat.

You might also have to factor in accessories for rain gear, if you are going to commute in the rain (or at least get yourself caught in the rain). Getting soaked, esp if you ride in street clothes, won't be fun.
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Old 06-04-13, 10:46 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by PennyTheDog View Post
Hi! Here's are the additional things I'd want to know about before I make a confident recommendation (other people's lists might be slightly different).
1. Would you enjoy working on the bike yourself, or would you rather just bring it in for occasional tune-ups?
2. How much of a priority is speed (remember that a HUGE speed difference usually only makes a few minutes of difference in commute).
3. Do you ever have back or neck pain/stiffness?
4. Could you park the bike inside, or would you lock it outside?
1. I'd rather bring it in.
2. It's not something I'm concerned about.
3. Nope.
4. I'd have it locked outside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by calyth View Post
To add to Penny's list:
5. How much are you carrying on the commute?
6. Would you intend to have the bike to double for other activities, such as races, tours, etc?

For Q5, I ask because I've done the backpack on the bike before, and on a warm day, the back gets soaked with sweat pretty quickly. Now I use racks and a pannier that can work as a shoulder bag on rest days. That kept my back pretty dry from sweat.

You might also have to factor in accessories for rain gear, if you are going to commute in the rain (or at least get yourself caught in the rain). Getting soaked, esp if you ride in street clothes, won't be fun.
5. Just a backpack, but I'd like to have it on my back.
6. Nope, I'll just be using it for commuting purposes.
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Old 06-04-13, 12:12 PM   #6
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I definitely agree with Fietsbob: get something they sell at your local bike shop-- don't order it online or buy off of craigslist unless you do your own repairs and stuff. I'd say you want an aluminum hybrid of some kind. My biases say:

1. The things worth paying more for are more durable wheels and a better rear derailleur (I like Shimano Alivio derailleurs as a good cost/quality compromise).
2. Get an aluminum or steel fork. Most people here will probably agree that you don't want a suspension fork, although many people here would rather have a carbon fork than aluminum or steel. Aluminum forks have the bumpiest-feeling ride, but with reasonably fat tires it doesn't matter.

If your local bike shop sells Trek, I'd say:
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ness/fx/7_2_fx

If it sells Specialized instead, I'd say:
http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...us/sirrussport

If it sells other brands, I'd get something along those lines. All big bike companies have a version of this bike.

I also agree with the other posters that you'll want to have a rear rack and fenders mounted when you buy it. The rear rack is so nice-- you can just bungee your bag right to it. You'll be glad you have fenders any time you bike over a wet road, let alone rain. And both of these add-ons are cheap compared to the bike.
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Old 06-04-13, 01:32 PM   #7
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I have a LBS that sells only Trek so that should work out. That bike looks really nice.

One question I have is since I have a maximum budget of around $1000, would it be worth it to get one of Trek's more expensive FX bikes? If so, which one?
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Old 06-04-13, 02:17 PM   #8
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The upgrades to the 7.3 don't strike me as things that are worth the extra money, but I'd say just go to the bike store, talk to the sales staff and try them out. It looks like 7.4 is where they start going to carbon forks. That's a big plus to a lot of people, but they have a history of not being as durable (that may be ancient history, I don't know). I'm sure they get lighter as you go up in price, but that doesn't affect riding much. It might be more important if you had to carry your bike up stairs a lot, etc. But if a bike weighs two pounds more, your water bottle weighs that much!
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Old 06-04-13, 02:32 PM   #9
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If you are leaving it outside, make sure to budget for a good lock.
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Old 06-04-13, 03:42 PM   #10
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If you are leaving it outside, make sure to budget for a good lock.
I'll be sure to do that.

Also, can someone else weigh in on carbon forks? Is it true they're not as durable?
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Old 06-04-13, 03:59 PM   #11
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Dynamic Tempo 8
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Old 06-04-13, 04:18 PM   #12
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Also, can someone else weigh in on carbon forks? Is it true they're not as durable?
I've commuted for years on a carbon fork on some pretty badly potholed roads, and (knock on wood) haven't had any issues.
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Old 06-05-13, 07:12 AM   #13
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Verb me a noun.

Sorry, I don't have anything actually useful to say That's just been bugging me every time I come up here and see that thread title.

ISTM that absolutely any bike will work for you and you don't need nearly that much money. On a flat "few mile" commute any old rust bucket will work. Depends on what you like, unless there are bad roads or something else not in your original message.

Personally I started with a hybrid that I paid $300 for - a Giant Cypress. I don't think it's smart to spend $1000 on a bike until you've ridden for a year or two and have some idea what you want your bike to do. I would recommend the same to anyone. Even if you wind up with a nicer bike later, the hybrid can be used by spouse/kids/friends or as a bad weather bike.
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Old 06-05-13, 07:52 AM   #14
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The problem with carbon is not the expected load - it seems to do as well or better than aluminum and steel in straight-on fatigue tests. What people are worried about are unexpected loads: crashes, deep scratches from jerks trying to lock their bikes next to yours, etc.

I agree with ItsJustMe about starting with whatever you can find cheaply and then trying to figure out what you like and don't like about it. That worked really well for me.
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Old 06-05-13, 09:57 AM   #15
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I use that strategy for almost everything. I'll buy a $20 tool that's good enough to do one or two jobs rather than buying a $100 tool that I may not need or may not be quite what I need. If I wind up using it enough that I wear it out, by then I should have a much better idea what to look for when shopping for a better replacement.

So in the end I've spent $120 and when I spend that last $100 I get what I really want and I know that I'll use it enough to justify the expense. Otherwise I might buy a lot of $100 things and only get $10 use out of many of them, and even the thing I want I may wind up buying a second $100 thing because the first wasn't really what I wanted.

I think it's a good strategy.
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Old 06-06-13, 11:41 AM   #16
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TREK 7.2 FX Came To Mind...

...immediately after your original post. Check with your local shop to see if it'll accept fenders (a helpful addition in a rainy climate) and a rack (don't discount the value of getting the weight OFF of your back and onto the rack) plus simple waterproof panniers. You might want to go with a wider and/or more durable tire (can't remember whether the 7.2 has 35 millimeter or wider). This will factor into the choice of fender. Your seatstay bridge and front fork crown clearance will be the limiting factors. You'll need accessories, too. That will consume your budget...

Last edited by Phil_gretz; 06-06-13 at 11:42 AM. Reason: closed parenthesis
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