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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 03-02-14, 08:04 PM   #1
WalksOn2Wheels
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Cross Commuter build via Cannondale CAADX

Since she is more or less "finished" I thought I'd post up a photo. Here she is:



Sorry I'm too busy/lazy to take real pictures.

I tried to keep it mostly stock. The base bike is a 2013 CAADX with the 105 trim. Major changes are a SRAM D7 dynamo hub on an A23 rim, B&M IQ Cyo Premium headlight and Secula tail light. (You can see the wires run on the downtube using Shimano Di2 wire cover tape), Electra Ticino Fenders, and Pasela Panaracer 32c tires. Small touches are Arundel stainless steel cages, Thomson setback seatpost, and bar tape chainstay protector.

Changes I'd like to make down the line: For sure, this thing needs bigger gearing for the road. It comes stock with 46/36 cyclocross gearing and I'm thinking a 50/34 would be more appropriate. I also want to build up a rear wheel with another A23 rim and am toying with the idea of some tubeless cyclocross tires with a fine file tread down the center.

All in all, I've been really happy with this bike. I love my Bianchi, but hate locking up a really nice bike at school, and I wanted something with real fenders. I think aluminum cross bikes are pretty much the best thing to come around on the market since proper touring bikes have become such a niche product. And even though this was the farthest thing from a weight weenie build, the bike as pictured actually only weighed in at 23.5 pounds. I was pretty surprised with that.
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Old 03-02-14, 10:36 PM   #2
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Nice. I like your choice of components.

I don't know if you need bigger than 46x11 for your commuter bike, but I like the idea of going tubeless. FYI, Pasela tires can be setup tubeless. Sealant will sip through the side walls for a while, but they are well worth the trouble. I also recommend Grand Bois tires if you like tubular tire feel.
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Old 03-03-14, 06:38 PM   #3
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I certainly don't need the compact crank, which is why I'm able to put it off for a while, but I was doing 25 mile one way commutes over the summer on a 53-39, so you kind of get used to it. Very annoying when I run out of gear downhill or with a good tail wind.

Also, I forgot to talk about it, but seriously, dynamo lights are the best commuter investment I've ever made. Aside from the no recharge schedule to keep up with (which I was terrible at because school makes for sporadic night commutes), they're properly made lights that don't blind other people, but provide superior width and distance compared to any battery lights I've tried.
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Old 03-03-14, 07:12 PM   #4
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Would ride.

I agree with the crankset wishes. I use a 52/38 and love it. 105 parts are sweeeet.
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Old 03-03-14, 07:25 PM   #5
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The bike looks pretty sweet, and I like your wall-rack too! What's your stem-to-wall interface?
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Old 03-03-14, 08:44 PM   #6
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That is amazing. A killer commuter bike if ever there was one. I have a fully geeked out Bianchi Volpe which has a rear rack, and it's about 39 pounds. This is niiiiice.
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Old 03-03-14, 08:49 PM   #7
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Nicely done.

Though I did the opposite of what you did, I took off my SRAM Rival compact 50 x 34 and replaced it with a White Industries 46 x 36. I never go fast enough to warrant using 50 X 12 on a commuting bike. When the snow finally melts, I will see if I made the right decision or not.
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Old 03-03-14, 08:49 PM   #8
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I like your bike-hanging hook, too.
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Old 03-03-14, 11:45 PM   #9
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Thanks for the kind words. Especially with honors from the famous noglider.

The bike hook is something I had seen around online. It has celeste tape on it because that is where the Bianchi hung when it was my main ride (this is right by the front door). Instructions can be found here. But he's using an older really skinny stem. I had to go a size up on the pipe and shim it out with some thin rubber. It was sort of tough to get just right, but the end result is very clean and nice to look at.
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Old 03-05-14, 03:20 PM   #10
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36/46 is not a bad gearing for the road. A 46-11 will get you 34mph at 100 rpm. Are you going down mountains?
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Old 03-05-14, 04:13 PM   #11
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Well, if we want to get technical, the stock cassette is a 12-28. I typically like something more around 90 rpm, which puts me at 27.7 mph. It's not hard to do much more than that with a downhill, especially with a good tailwind. It just bothers me to run out of gears. I'm nitpicking.

I didn't say it was bad, I just think for my preferences and use, a 50-34 would be more appropriate. I didn't mean it as a one-size-fits-all statement, though it may be easily interpreted that way. I also want this to be my century/rando/touring bike. And Like I said, I was commuting 50 miles a day over the summer on a 53-39 and a 11-27 cassette. You get used to these things.

Yeah, I certainly don't NEED it, which is why it hasn't happened yet. But I certainly would like it.
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Old 03-05-14, 04:19 PM   #12
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36/46 is not a bad gearing for the road. A 46-11 will get you 34mph at 100 rpm. Are you going down mountains?
My former Ti cross bike was 46-11 on top;I had two hills I rode where I could spin it out. Unfortunately,it was stolen before I got around to swapping the rings from 46/36 to 50/34.
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Old 03-19-14, 08:11 PM   #13
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Thought I'd just update this post. I took some time to take some better photos and made some more changes to the setup.







Cleaned up the fender lines to give me additional clearance for the v-brakes I decided to go with. Cantis: never again. And I had the cantis set up really well. No squealing and minimal fork shudder. They stopped well enough once adjusted, but the v-brakes makes it feel like a different bike. One that can stop.

I went with the "Sora" level V-brakes that Shimano made for use with STI levers, but decided not to tell anyone about. The Tiagra level ones come with nicer cartridge brakes (I just swapped the one and done pads on the Sora level with my Tektro cartridge shoes from the stock canti's). They also make a 105 that has a nicer two-tone finish and, as far as I can tell, slightly more recessed adjustment screws. At any rate, you can get a front and rear set of the Sora level v-brakes ( br-r353 ) for right at 50 bucks total. Better than 150 for TRP CX9's if you don't mind the extra grams.

I also switched pedals. Just wasn't digging the loose feeling of my eggbeaters anymore (I think I just wear out the brass cleats fast by walking on campus). The Deore XT pedals have been awesome so far. Very solid feeling overall.
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Old 03-20-14, 06:04 AM   #14
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You were bike commuting 50 miles a day? I bow down to you!


Love this bike. And are you new to SPD? It's one of Shimano's best inventions.


I'm another dyno light apostle, so it's nice to have you among us.
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Old 03-20-14, 08:21 AM   #15
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...the "Sora" level V-brakes that Shimano made for use with STI levers, but decided not to tell anyone about.
Wait, so are they special long-pull brifters? Or are they special short-pull V-brakes? Do they have a built-in/included travel-agent-like adapter?
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Old 03-20-14, 10:55 AM   #16
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noglider: To be fair, it was only 3-4 days a week for 3 months and I worked at a shop that opened at 10, so I didn't have to get up insanely early. Just regular early. I tried SPD a long time ago, but those particular pedals were junk. I moved to eggbeaters for a long while, and have been running speedplays on the road bike. I think because I walk on campus a lot, I grind up those soft brass CB cleats, so I decided to try some nicer Shimano SPD's for commuting and they have been great. Not as much float as the speedplays, but the same solid feeling. My eggbeaters always felt like they had some play once I was clipped in.

RubeRad: I should probably be enough of a bike nerd to remember all the specifics, but generally speaking, the current generation STI (increased the cable pull) works well with 90mm mini-v's. They recommend 85mm arms for Campy and Sram. So they made these three levels of 90mm mini-v's to work with their STI levers. No travel agents needed. Alternatively, for extra bling, you can buy TRP CX9's.
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Old 05-31-14, 07:05 PM   #17
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So yeah, this bike had an unfortunate run-in with a gate due to user error.



Basically, I had just pulled a safety pin out of my rear tire and was checking to see if the sealant would hold. This was on my commute and I had been through this gate at least a hundred times. I maybe looked ahead to see that it was open and seeing that it was, I returned to checking my rear tire and as soon as I looked up, the gate was right in front of me, half open and pointing towards me.

The upper part of the gate went over the top tube and nailed my leg right above the inside of my left knee. Another section further in demolished the frame. Sad, sad day. Trip to the ER after waiting for my wife to pick me up, and a small fracture on my left knee has me out of commission for a long time.

Anyhow, the worst part is, they don't make this finish anymore, and as much as I loved this bike, I just don't think I can love it in the currently available colors. It was just so perfect. It just kills me.

I already had my eye on the new Trek Boone, and the disc model has hidden fender mounts. They aren't available yet, but I'm going to go ahead and part this one out and start saving my pennies for the Boone.

So, anyone need some slightly scuffed 105 5700? Or a reasonably cheap dynamo hub?
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Old 05-31-14, 07:28 PM   #18
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Sad day.

Are those drop bars+stem bolted to the wall, or a commercial rack? I like it.
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Old 05-31-14, 09:50 PM   #19
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Holy cow dude, fractured knee?

Focus on recovering and worry about new bike when you're able to ride again.... just keep the bike and see if you can't find the frame and transfer the parts over.

Get well soon!

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