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  1. #1
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    "Commutinizing" a road bike

    I have a commuter "mule" bicycle - 622x40 tyres, heavy, sturdy. I also have a nice road bike - 105 equipped on a Scott Speedster S20 FB frame.

    I find that I very seldom ride the road bike - weekend joyrides, when I'm not hiking, or riding motorcycle. However, I love riding the road bike - feels a lot quicker.

    I was thinking of adding a rack to the road bike (the frame has all the mounting holes - AND room for 28 mm wider tyres). All that I lack for commuting on the road bike is someplace to put my backpack with change of clothes, papers etc. So it would be a fair weather, quick commuter. Has anyone done such mods, is it too crazy?


    2nd solution is to just sell the bike since I'm seldom riding it - but when I do it is nice, and I thought it might be OK to have a backup.
    Evviva il comunismo e la libertà.

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
    I have a commuter "mule" bicycle - 622x40 tyres, heavy, sturdy. I also have a nice road bike - 105 equipped on a Scott Speedster S20 FB frame.

    I find that I very seldom ride the road bike - weekend joyrides, when I'm not hiking, or riding motorcycle. However, I love riding the road bike - feels a lot quicker.

    I was thinking of adding a rack to the road bike (the frame has all the mounting holes - AND room for 28 mm wider tyres). All that I lack for commuting on the road bike is someplace to put my backpack with change of clothes, papers etc. So it would be a fair weather, quick commuter. Has anyone done such mods, is it too crazy?


    2nd solution is to just sell the bike since I'm seldom riding it - but when I do it is nice, and I thought it might be OK to have a backup.
    Why not? If you use a trunk bag, heel strikes on panniers aren't a problem. I'd keep the load to as small as possible to keep from having an adverse effect on handling or damaging the wheels but I also think that many commuters carry too much stuff to work anyway. A Tubus Vega rack would be a good choice on your bike. It's lighter and smaller than many racks.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Your Scott sounds like a good candidate for commuting. I started commuting on an old Italian racing bike (De Bernardi) and also rode an Eddy Merckx Corsa quite a bit, and neither of those frames had mounts for fenders/racks or clearance for larger tires. I personally feel you would be better off using a trunk or Carradice bag than a backpack, but that's a personal choice. I used a Carradice Barley when commuting on my racing bikes because I had no good way to mount a rear rack on those bikes, and it holds as much gear at most trunk bags.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    Here's what it looks like:



    And I was planning on putting something like this:




    The frame has all the right screw holes for screwing the rack on. That will carry my backpack with change of clothes (trousers, jacket).
    Evviva il comunismo e la libertà.

  5. #5
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Try a messenger bag and slightly bigger tires (or even the same tires). I feel faster with weight strapped to my back than I do with it wagging the tail around on a rack. Fenders on the mule for rain.
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  6. #6
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great way to get more enjoyment from your Scott.

  7. #7
    tsl
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    Do you have to tote stuff every single day?

    If there's a place to stash clothes at work, you can do what I do. I haul in all my stuff for the week on Monday, using a bike with a rack.

    On the mid-week days I ride the roadie. The only concessions to commuting are lights and a mirror.

    At the end of the week, using a bike with a rack, I haul home the laundry.
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    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Do you have to tote stuff every single day?

    If there's a place to stash clothes at work, you can do what I do. I haul in all my stuff for the week on Monday, using a bike with a rack.

    On the mid-week days I ride the roadie. The only concessions to commuting are lights and a mirror.

    At the end of the week, using a bike with a rack, I haul home the laundry.

    Great idea. Unfortunately, yes - I have to drag clothes every day. I work on the 4th floor, while the dressroom (with showers) is on the ground floor. So I'd have to run to the 4th floor, take bag of clothes from my office, then run downstairs to change, then go back up AND come 30 minutes earlier so that boss doesn't see me in shorts.


    Plus when it's cold, I take clothes off as I ride and get warmer. So definitely need some baggage room.
    Evviva il comunismo e la libertà.

  9. #9
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    A good rack is by far the most convenient but the downside is having the extra weight on your weekend joyrides. There are a lot of options, slinging it under the saddle, the handlebars, etc, I'm in the minority but even hanging off the frame framebag2.jpg works fine.

  10. #10
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Step 1 -- leave stuff in the backpack and put it on your back
    Step 2 -- ride the bike

    Yeah, I know the backpack makes you sweat more. A rack makes your road bike feel less sporty.

  11. #11
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    Step 1 -- leave stuff in the backpack and put it on your back
    Step 2 -- ride the bike

    Yeah, I know the backpack makes you sweat more. A rack makes your road bike feel less sporty.
    +1

    not only will your road bike feel sportier without the rack, but as an added bonus, it will also look better too!
    The first rule: if you're riding a bike and not having fun, then you're doing it wrong.

  12. #12
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    Step 1 -- leave stuff in the backpack and put it on your back
    Step 2 -- ride the bike

    Yeah, I know the backpack makes you sweat more. A rack makes your road bike feel less sporty.
    This.

  13. #13
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
    I work on the 4th floor, while the dressroom (with showers) is on the ground floor. So I'd have to run to the 4th floor, take bag of clothes from my office, then run downstairs to change, then go back up AND come 30 minutes earlier so that boss doesn't see me in shorts.
    Good opportunity for some "cross-training" there.

    Plus when it's cold, I take clothes off as I ride and get warmer. So definitely need some baggage room.
    Unless hypothermia is a concern, you should dress for how you feel 10-15 min into the ride after you've warmed up, expecting that you'll feel chilly at first.
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  14. #14
    Disco Infiltrator Darth Lefty's Avatar
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    I sometimes haul the bike in to work and stop on the way to pick up my shirts at the cleaners. Then I'm pretty well set for unloaded riding the rest of the week, and I can leave the truck at the office where I sometimes need it.

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I see fork tip eyelets.. so Mudguards and a front rack will fit.. I like the front panniers . more than rear..

    I can dig in them at quick stops .. Here, It's often to take out the Cycle Rain Cape and put it on.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-11-13 at 01:26 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    With 28 mm tyres (wheels are 36 spokes, not ultralight) - is there a reason (apart from looks) why rear rack is a bad idea?
    Evviva il comunismo e la libertà.

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    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
    With 28 mm tyres (wheels are 36 spokes, not ultralight) - is there a reason (apart from looks) why rear rack is a bad idea?
    I commuted with a rack on my road bike for one summer due to a shoulder injury suffered while snowboarding. Normally I used a messenger bag and I've since switched to a backpack.

    There's no particular reason not to use a rack other than once you throw your backpack on it the whole reason for using a road bike might just go out the window. I didn't particularly like the way my road bike felt with panniers on it but you might not notice the difference with a backpack strapped to your rack at all. I'd say give it a try. Racks aren't terribly expensive and even if you decide you don't like it, it's nice to have one available to use even if it's just once in a while.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  18. #18
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    A rear rack is a good, not bad idea. It doesn't make you feel slow in my experience. I feel much better with the weight off my back and on the bike, and I get a lot less sweaty. I honestly think it's a little bizarre to want to carry the weight in a backpack or messenger bag when you don't have to.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
    +1

    not only will your road bike feel sportier without the rack, but as an added bonus, it will also look better too!
    not a bonus. the looks of my road bikes are an essential part of the pleasure of riding them.
    This is why motorists hate us, and why I've given up riding on the road...You should be ashamed yourself, and you should be reviled by cyclists everywhere.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    when I commuted I always arrived way before anyone else so that I could cleanup cool down change and snack. Plus it allowed me to leave early thereby avoiding the bulk of rush hour.

    OP - wutz your mule? and how do you carry stuff now?
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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    I've used my Cannondale 'criterium-geometry' road bike frequently with a rear rack for either commuting or bike camping trips. It's a very short wheelbase frame but I've found no problem with heel strike as long as I keep the panniers back as far as they can go on the rack. I am limited to tires of about 25mm width or less. Can't say I can tell the difference in how the bike feels with vs. without the rack attached - the weight difference is about as much as whether my water bottle is full or only half full - can't feel that difference either.
    Last edited by prathmann; 10-11-13 at 02:51 PM.

  22. #22
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    A rear rack is a good, not bad idea. It doesn't make you feel slow in my experience.
    To clarify, I would agree that it doesn't make the bike feel slower, but it does change the way it feels in corners. That's not to say the handling is bad with a rack and pannier. I'm certain it's safe. It just feels different -- not as fun. I've convinced myself that the effect isn't as bad with a rack and trunk bag as with a rack and pannier, but that might just be in my head.

    My body prefers the weight on the bike, but parts of my mind like it better on my back. FWIW, the two bikes I use most often for commuting have racks, but I have a road bike that I sometimes commute on in really nice weather using a backpack or messenger bag.

  23. #23
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
    Here's what it looks like:



    And I was planning on putting something like this:




    The frame has all the right screw holes for screwing the rack on. That will carry my backpack with change of clothes (trousers, jacket).
    Should work. Personally, I prefer a rack with rods for the top stays. This one from Sunlite for example



    Tubus or Racktime have similar racks. The rods allow for easier installation since they have some side-to-side adjustability. That may be important on a shorter wheelbase bike.
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  24. #24
    Farmer tan f4rrest's Avatar
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    I commute on an aluminum Allez, 23mm tires, no rack. Clothes fit in a messenger bag. I've never understood the need to add a bunch of junk to a bike to make it worthy of riding to work.

    I add lights when it gets dark, but that's it.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    when I commuted I always arrived way before anyone else so that I could cleanup cool down change and snack. Plus it allowed me to leave early thereby avoiding the bulk of rush hour.
    For several reasons, it is a lot more convenient to carry change of clothes with me. The previous job was more relaxed about that - I could leave clothes, change when in the office, but not here.

    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    OP - wutz your mule? and how do you carry stuff now?
    Here it is:



    Used to be a cheap hybrid bike. After several years, the front "suspension" was replaced with a 5 euro metal fork. Changed geometry - now it is almost 90 degrees steering tube angle, so it turns like a race bike , bars are now lower and a bit more away, so I can be more aero, more weigh on the fron wheel (which is good since the rear carries all the stuff). Acera groupset, including hubs. Indestructable, reliable, UGLY, but extremely heavy.





    Evviva il comunismo e la libertà.

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