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  1. #1
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    Advice on commuter bike

    Hi,

    Want to know your opinion on bike that I am going tu buy. Here is the use that I am going to do:

    Pull a Chariot Trailer. Rides would be between 40 and 70km a day.

    Use this bike to go to work (75km return trip)

    I will put fenders and panniers.

    What bike (s) do you recommend and why ?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Just about anything can be a commuter bike. You just need to fill you needs or wants.

    Need more information. What is the trailer for, a child? Do you need to carry a lot? Are you an experienced cyclist? In the city or not? What kind of roads? Lots of hills? What is your budget? Do you need to leave the bike outside at work?
    I don't understand your distances? Add one TO the other? Or one OR the other?

  3. #3
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    2manybikes:

    I will try to be more precise and answer your questions.

    The trailer is to carry a child.

    Do you need to carry a lot? I don't need to carry heavy loads, just extra clothes, food, etc.

    Are you an experienced cyclist? I been cycling for a couple of years and I have a road bike. Commuting to work in new for me but not cycling.

    In the city or not ? Most of the time, bike will not be use in the city. Mostly use in the suburbs.

    What kind of roads? Paved roads most on the time.

    Lots of hills ? Some hills but mainly flat terrain

    What is your budget ? No budget for now. Just would like to know according to my needs, what would fit best

    Do you need to leave the bike outside at work? No, bike will be brought in everyday

    I don't understand your distances? Add one TO the other? Or one OR the other? For distances, during the week when I work, I will use to bike to go to work and the return trip is 75km. During weekends, I will use the bike and carrier to go on daily trip with my daughter and distances with the carrier will vary between 40 and 70km.

    What are possible bikes in:

    Giant
    Specilaized
    Trek
    Cannondale
    Kona

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    On the note of Charriot, I just think their sidecar is pretty hot, especially what with its parallel linkage (or whatever one would call it) that allows one still to lean. If I had a dog, that's what the pup would ride in. That is all. As for a commuter bike - avoid full suspension, look for one that has moutning eyelets, slick tires (can be after market of course) and decent gearing. i prefer internal gears myself, can be switched at a stop - but they're heavier and don't have as many gear choices. But when commuting especially in an urban envirnment, I find I don't need more than 3-5 gears, if I have them I might use them, but don't need them - I hear good things about the Nexus 8 too .. and the Rohloff is you're rich!

  5. #5
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paolo
    2manybikes:

    I will try to be more precise and answer your questions.

    The trailer is to carry a child.

    Do you need to carry a lot? I don't need to carry heavy loads, just extra clothes, food, etc.

    Are you an experienced cyclist? I been cycling for a couple of years and I have a road bike. Commuting to work in new for me but not cycling.

    In the city or not ? Most of the time, bike will not be use in the city. Mostly use in the suburbs.

    What kind of roads? Paved roads most on the time.

    Lots of hills ? Some hills but mainly flat terrain

    What is your budget ? No budget for now. Just would like to know according to my needs, what would fit best

    Do you need to leave the bike outside at work? No, bike will be brought in everyday

    I don't understand your distances? Add one TO the other? Or one OR the other? For distances, during the week when I work, I will use to bike to go to work and the return trip is 75km. During weekends, I will use the bike and carrier to go on daily trip with my daughter and distances with the carrier will vary between 40 and 70km.

    What are possible bikes in:

    Giant
    Specilaized
    Trek
    Cannondale
    Kona

    Thanks
    Good Information!

    Do you wish to keep the road bike out of the commuting picture for some reason? Many people do. What do you have now? A typical road bike may have gearing a little to high for comfortably pulling a trailer and carrying a load. The tires may not be the best for a heavy load or bad weather. A road bike may not have clearance for fenders either. Any decent hybrid bike would be a good start. They will have lower gearing more fender room and wider tires. All the bike manufacturers have similar bikes in similar price ranges. It's very competitive, so they have to do this.. You may find different features from different brands at the same price or you may like the feel of one bike over another. They are all good. I would start with finding a bike shop that you trust, that listens to you and is helpful. See if you can find other cyclists that recommend a good bike shop from experience. Maybe find a local cycling club and ask for advice about who to buy from.
    Tell the bike shop everything you just posted. If you see a bike you may like test ride it as far as possible.. If you go comparison shopping be sure to compare similar price points between shops.
    The road feel of the bike and a trustworthy shop matters a lot more than the brand.

  6. #6
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    Thanks 2manybikes.

    I want to purchase a bike that will be my commuter/weekend bike with the kids which I could put fenders/panniers and keep my road bike just for road. I have a OCR 2 right now.

  7. #7
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paolo
    Thanks 2manybikes.

    I want to purchase a bike that will be my commuter/weekend bike with the kids which I could put fenders/panniers and keep my road bike just for road. I have a OCR 2 right now.
    That's what I do.

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    Depending on whether you want drop handlebars or straight I think either some of the hybrids or a touring bike make good commuters. Either one should have enough clearance for appropriate tires plus fenders and should easily mount a rack. There are some cyclocross bikes that might be worth looking at too, I have a LeMond poprad which I really like and makes a great commuter.

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    If you have a roadbike and are not afraid of drop bars, then a sport/touring bike will be a good alternative. The major manufacturers do not serve this market well. Ceck out some of the smaller outfits such as
    http://www.somafab.com/extrasmoothie.html
    http://www.gunnarbikes.com/sport.php
    A cyclo-cross/tourer is becoming a popular option. This is a good example:
    http://www.surlybikes.com/bikes.html

    I prefer a caliper brake rather than the cantelever of the surley, they are easier to setup, give better modulation and just as much stopping power.

  10. #10
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    A cyclocross bike does not come with gears as low as most hybrids. Not as good for towing a trailer with a child and some extra weight. Not very good for this particular application. They also start out much higher priced than hybrids. The straight bars will be just a little easier if the trailer is pulling the bike back and forth. And at very low speed.

  11. #11
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    Racing cx bikes have higher gears, but the touring style cx bikes usually have road triples. Pulling a trailer AND riding a commute may need a set of gears tuned for this application.
    Flat bar bikes like the Specialized Sirius are good for this kind of riding, but their main advantage over sport-touring bikes is for riders who are put off by drop bars and the fact that scale of production makes them cheaper. They are basically the same kind of bike.

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    Thank you for your advice. Right now, my choice is almost made. I thinking seriously about an Hybrid (Giant Cypress SX) where I would add fenders and panniers.

    What do you think about the Aluminium frame with Cro-moly fork for a commuter bike ?

    This bike comes with 25c tires. I think I should go with 28c for a commuter bike. I plan to use this bike from April to October and I live in Montreal. The roads are still a bit dirty in April. Would you stick to 25c or change for 28c or even bigger tires ?

    Concerning tires, I am looking for speed when I use the bike to go to work and a comfortable/slower ride (my wife will come with me !!!) when I would be pulling the trailer. What size of tires would be a good compromise ?

    Thanks

  13. #13
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paolo
    Thank you for your advice. Right now, my choice is almost made. I thinking seriously about an Hybrid (Giant Cypress SX) where I would add fenders and panniers.

    What do you think about the Aluminium frame with Cro-moly fork for a commuter bike ?

    This bike comes with 25c tires. I think I should go with 28c for a commuter bike. I plan to use this bike from April to October and I live in Montreal. The roads are still a bit dirty in April. Would you stick to 25c or change for 28c or even bigger tires ?

    Concerning tires, I am looking for speed when I use the bike to go to work and a comfortable/slower ride (my wife will come with me !!!) when I would be pulling the trailer. What size of tires would be a good compromise ?

    Thanks
    It's a beautiful bike. All of the tires would be good enough. But, I would go 32 0r 28 for that bike, in that particular application for the best compromise. The Panaracer Tourguards are fast Kevlar belted tires. The 32's are pretty fast. That's what I have decided on after trying both the 28's and the 32's.

    However that is a performance oriented bike, they do not come with low gears for towing. The low gear of 30t in front and 26 in the rear is not going to be low enough with a full load and a steep hill NO WAY. You can always change the gearing with $$$ if you like the bike. It's a great bike. I would buy that bike and Change the rear derailleur and the cassette to 12-34 for pulling the trailer. I have done this exact modification on bikes pulling trailers with that exact drive train more than once. It is successful.

    Believe it or not a less performance oriented and less expensive hybrid will have lower gears and so will a touring bike. Because of the trailer and panniers you DO want low gears. If you don't want to make any changes to the bike, another bike will have lower gears. Giant will have something.

  14. #14
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Regarding the gearing.....

    You would have to go down to the Cypress LX to get the gearing right if you have any hills at all. It's a little slower when not towing though. Since you have a good road bike I would get the LX for towing. Better towing, less top speed.

    CYPRESS® LX .... cranks Shimano M440, 26/36/48T .....cassette Shimano 11-30T, 8 speed

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    [It's a little slower when not towing though.QUOTE] Why is that ? If I put 28c ou 32c for tires, I should go a bit faster that the 40c that comes with the bike.

    Not sure about these components for the use I want to do:


    Fork: SR/Suntour Magnesium suspension (never heard of that before)

    derailleur Front: Shimano C102, Rear: Shimano Deore (I think that is really resistant)

    derailleurshifters Shimano Deore 9-speed (I think that is really resistant)

    spokes Stainless steel 14G (not sure about the wheels)

    I think Cypress LX would do the job at a cheaper price. On nicer days, I could always take my Giant OCR2 for speed.

    Thanks again for your advice. It is really appreciated.

  16. #16
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paolo
    [It's a little slower when not towing though.QUOTE] Why is that ? If I put 28c ou 32c for tires, I should go a bit faster that the 40c that comes with the bike.

    Not sure about these components for the use I want to do:


    Fork: SR/Suntour Magnesium suspension (never heard of that before)

    derailleur Front: Shimano C102, Rear: Shimano Deore (I think that is really resistant)

    derailleurshifters Shimano Deore 9-speed (I think that is really resistant)

    spokes Stainless steel 14G (not sure about the wheels)

    I think Cypress LX would do the job at a cheaper price. On nicer days, I could always take my Giant OCR2 for speed.

    Thanks again for your advice. It is really appreciated.
    I did not word that very clearly.

    With the tire switch you will get a big boost in performance, yes.

    What I meant was, if you compare the LX to the SX, when you are riding without the trailer and have no need for the low gears, the SX will be just a tiny bit faster with the smaller tires and I think it is a little lighter. But in this case it really does not matter because you have the OCR2.

    If you put equal tires on each bike ( the LX and the SX) the difference would be miniscule.

    I agree the LX would do the job and you have the OCR2 for speed. Get the LX. Save some cash for the fenders. You have it exactly right. Don't worry about the components at all, they are fine.

    If I wanted to have 16 bikes (which I don't) I would buy that bike with no hesitation.

    edit post: I just went back and checked the price difference. ...another vote for the LX.
    Last edited by 2manybikes; 03-07-05 at 10:50 AM. Reason: incomplete

  17. #17
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    Any particular brand name for fenders you recommend ?

    As for panniers, I could get a good deal with Vaude panniers. If I wouldn't have a good deal with Vaude, I would get Arkel panniers. Here in Quebec (maybe Canada), Vaude is not very popular and difficult to find. What is your opinion on Vaude panniers ?

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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paolo
    Any particular brand name for fenders you recommend ?

    As for panniers, I could get a good deal with Vaude panniers. If I wouldn't have a good deal with Vaude, I would get Arkel panniers. Here in Quebec (maybe Canada), Vaude is not very popular and difficult to find. What is your opinion on Vaude panniers ?
    There is very little difference in the brand of fenders. I think I have some of them all. Just be sure to get full coverage fenders and not the smaller partial coverage ones. To keep the salt and dirt off the lower part of your bike you really need a good long mud flap. I use two pieces of mtb tube glued together with tire patch cement. One layer of tube, curls up too much. I go down as low or lower than 1" from the ground. It is a huge help. Just be careful not to step on the flap and trip while tipping the bike to one side or rolling it up/down stairs. The Vaude panniers that I have seen are very, very, nice. I don't have any first hand experience with Arkel.

    I don't know if I can spell "Ortlieb" correctly??? (Help?) They make wonderful totally water proof panniers. I would invest in these if mine were wearing out.

    A huge long mud flap......

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    Yes, ortlieb is correct. I will check that out. Thanks again for your knowledge.

  20. #20
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paolo
    Yes, ortlieb is correct. I will check that out. Thanks again for your knowledge.
    You're welcome, when you are done with the fenders and panniers etc. can you post a photo?

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    SKS make the best fenders: they are indestructable, have rustproof fittings that are easy to adjust and come with a safety release for the front, which works.
    The P-35 model works well with 28-32mm touring tyres.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes

    However that is a performance oriented bike, they do not come with low gears for towing. The low gear of 30t in front and 26 in the rear is not going to be low enough with a full load and a steep hill NO WAY.
    What is a steep hill for you ? In Montreal and it surroundings, it is pretty flat.

  23. #23
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paolo
    What is a steep hill for you ? In Montreal and it surroundings, it is pretty flat.
    That's a hard question to answer. I assume you are still considering the SX too. I have not been in Montreal since the 1970's. I can't remember too much, but it did seem flat. It depends a lot on how strong you are and what your total loaded weight is, the tires on the trailer etc. I live in New England and there are some hills around here I need to go up in first gear even on my 17 lb. bike. It varies a lot.

    Also the wind will do the same thing and the trailer has a lot of surface area.!!! I think I remember it being windy in Montreal?

    Maybe you can try a loaded trailer at a bike shop? Do you have a friend with a similar set up? I would guess that you can, at the very least try both bikes one after the other to feel the gearing. Can you make an estimate of your biggest load and simulate that someway?

    If this new bike is coming from the shop where the other Giant came from, I would ask to try both bikes,
    (the LX and the SX) one right after another. And the trailer too, especially if you are buying the trailer there too. And load it up when you try it. If you are still not decided.

    If you get the bike with the low gearing, and you don't need the lowest gears, there is not much downside unless you will be towing or carrying a load in top gear at high speed. If it is flat this is not likely. I hope you don't try it actually.

    If you want to ride at top speed without the trailer then this is more important. If you get the bike with the higher gearing and find it's not low enough, you can Have the gearing changed at the bike shop. Get a quote for this before buying. In US dollars that might be $100. I know there are others on this forum who could give you a closer estimate than I can. If no one is reading this you could start a new thread to get a better idea of the cost. If you can afford the SX and $100 more if you need to change the gearing, then I don't see a big problem going with either bike. Get a better estimate than mine.

    If it were up to me I would do this:
    A) Get the bike with the lower gears
    B) Get the SX because it's a little nicer bike, but have the gears lowered at the bike shop before I bring
    it home. I would get that included.

    I feel more prepared for anything, with a couple of extra low gears. Even if I don't use them, I have
    a little insurance against a heavy load or a high wind.
    I think even if it's flat... to get going from a stop, or to maintain a slow pace in traffic or a narrow
    space the low gearing will make your life easier.
    If you need to get out of an intersection with the trailer in tow, in a hurry, when the light
    changes, and THE most precious cargo is in the trailer, You might like low gears. You might want
    500 hp too.
    Last edited by 2manybikes; 03-07-05 at 07:42 PM. Reason: incomplete

  24. #24
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    You pretty answered my questions. Like you guessed, I prefer the look of the SX, but the gears of the LX. As for gears, the SX is equipped exactly the same as my OCR2 road bike.

    It is hard to estimate the loads I will be carrying. The trailer I want to buy is good up to 100lbs and it's a two place trailer. So, only the trailer, if I put two kids in there, it is a good 60-70lbs.

    I would have to try the LX. I am concern that if I buy the LX and I use to go to work, I usually ride at 27-28km/h. (It is a good cruising speed without forcing too much. I don't want to arrive at work a in complete sweat ! ) Considering that speed (27-28km/h) at around 90rpm, I suppose the gears will be ok. On my OCR2, I usually ride on the middle bracket (don't know if that is the correct word) in front. The worse that could happen with the LX, I would ride on the top bracket in front.

    Will try both bikes, pay a particular attention to the LX, when time comes and when the snow dissappears. Thanks

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