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  1. #1
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    Commuting Bike Advice

    I live in Salt Lake City, Utah and I am looking to purchase a new bike to commute year-round. It snow a decent amount in Utah and has a large number of days with adverse weather conditions. I am considering purchasing a Specialized Sirrus Sport, or a Giant Roam (2?). Any suggestions with regards to these bikes? I want a bike that will handle the weather (mostly rain and the occasional snow), is quick in traffic, but will deal with a little wear and tear associated with heavy daily use. I will be commuting 5-10 miles every day up and down hills and in traffic. I have experience with bikes both road as well as mountain. This will be my first hybrid bike. What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    I don't know if "one bike fits all" is ideal. I use a tour bike in the summer and rigid mountain bike with slicks in late fall/early spring (I don't ride on ice). I find the mountain bike's more stable ride and heavier tires better on damp fall days, when there is a lot of rotted leaf slime on the roads, and in spring for potholes. The tour bike has a lighter, more pleasurable ride in good road/weather conditions.

    In terms of budget I ride cheap but good quality used bikes (the Trek and Peugeot listed under my avatar), that are well maintained and thus as reliable as new bikes, but less likely to be stolen and less of a loss if it happens.

    Unless parking/storage space is an issue.

    If you still plan to go with one bike, rather than a hybrid, maybe think about a cyclocross design - sturdy for potholes and nimble for smooth summer asphalt.
    Last edited by cooker; 04-01-14 at 01:48 PM.

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    Both those bikes sound fine to me.

    The #1 thing with a bike is that it's the right size. Nothing else (other than safety, like nothing is broken and going to fall apart and injure you on it) is more important.

    Next thing for what you're talking about is that I would probably just check that the bike has the room around the tires to put both smaller or larger tires on it. If you end up wanting to bike when there's any sort of ice on the road, you'll want studded tires, and they don't come in sizes smaller than 35c (technically there's a 32c version, it's not great though, that's the smallest I know of).

    I personally think it's easiest to go with a hybrid to start off with - it's more work to dial in the bike fitting right with a road style bike. Many people are more comfortable on a hybrid to begin with as well.

    If you're commuting in rain and snow, fenders are very helpful. It's not as much about keeping water off you as it is about keeping road grime off you, and biking after it's rained or snowed and keeping that off you. Make sure the bike has clearance for fenders, and fender mounts - they usually do with that kind of bike though.

  4. #4
    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    As someone who got really tired of gooked up brakes and drivetrains, stuff getting sprayed on me, having to clean and adjust stuff all the time, and a number of other things, I went with an upright city bike and haven't shed a tear. Works great summer and Minnesnowta winter. Only change I make is putting some Schwalbe winter studded tires on for the winter (and sadly am just now switching for summer).

    City Bikes | LocalMile

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    I'd rule against the Roam, due to its suspended fork. However, the Sirrus appears to be a pretty good bike. If it were me, I'd much prefer a Giant Escape to a Roam!

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    Thanks for the advice everyone! Another question. Brakes. Should I upgrade to disc brakes from v-brakes? I am almost set on doing this, but cannot totally decide. If so, are there any true advantages to having hydraulic discs brakes versus mechanical discs brakes? I hear the hydraulic disc brakes don't work so well in the cold due to component contraction. Does anyone have experience with either kind of disc brakes in really cold weather? Thanks in advance!

  7. #7
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    I own a Roam 2 which I use for commuting in Minnesota. The 700x40 tires are good on the pavement when aired up to their max psi, but also handle very well in snow and ice. I went with the Roam because it has the suspension fork and hydraulic brakes. Our MN roads and sidewalks are garbage and I've actually been very grateful that I've got a suspension fork to absorb a lot of the bumps!

    My experience with bikes is limited, but I can say that I've been very happy with the Roam thus far. I can understand why some people shy away from a suspension fork, but, in my case, I am very glad I have a bike with it. I've had no issues with the hydraulic brakes in sub-zero temps. From the research I've done, I've gathered that hydraulic brakes are less finnicky than mechanical brakes and do not require adjustment as the pads wear.

    Your best bet is to ride both bikes a bit to see what feels good. I rode several bikes before going with the Roam 2. Is there an REI in your area? They sell the Novara Buzz (and Novara Big Buzz, an upgrade from the standard Buzz) which was a close contender with the Roam for me.

    Good luck! The bike market promotes over-analyzing and second guessing... Practice due diligence and be sure to ride as many comparable bikes as you can!

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    Thanks! This is great help! I find that in the bike industry lots of people love to critique every facet of every nut and bolt! I like your approach! It is great to know you have had no problems with the hydraulic brakes in a cold climate! Thanks again!

  9. #9
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcfarley View Post
    Thanks! This is great help! I find that in the bike industry lots of people love to critique every facet of every nut and bolt! I like your approach! It is great to know you have had no problems with the hydraulic brakes in a cold climate! Thanks again!
    I left my bike outside and commuted all winter in Germany.

    A CUBE Acid MTB with Hayes hydraulics disc brakes.

    not mine but bike is same:

    2010 Cube Acid - PistonHeads

    No problem.

    Also, hydraulics are set and forget and drop in pad changes ... not so with mechanicals ... i don't like exposed brake cables when riding in freezing conditions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcfarley View Post
    Thanks for the advice everyone! Another question. Brakes. Should I upgrade to disc brakes from v-brakes? I am almost set on doing this, but cannot totally decide. If so, are there any true advantages to having hydraulic discs brakes versus mechanical discs brakes? I hear the hydraulic disc brakes don't work so well in the cold due to component contraction. Does anyone have experience with either kind of disc brakes in really cold weather? Thanks in advance!
    Disc brakes have more stopping power (if you have a wide enough tire), they work better in the rain, and they don't grind road stuff into the rim of your wheel when you stop. They also work better if you have freezing rain or water, as the rim of your wheel can get iced up and stop rim brakes from working.

    Problem is, they sometimes make taking the wheels on and off more annoying (the wheel getting back on at a slightly different angle is more likely to cause brake rub with disc brakes than with rim brakes), and if they get wet they can start squealing like a banshee.

    I live in Minnesota and have (hydraulic) disc brakes on my winter bike for the above reasons and they work great. No problems with them working in the cold.. But on my summer commuter I prefer rim brakes, despite their reduced performance in the wet, because I got tired of the screeching from my disc brakes. My dad just sold his disc brake bike because he found it so annoying (he also is always taking off the front wheel to put it into and out of his car).

  11. #11
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcfarley View Post
    I hear the hydraulic disc brakes don't work so well in the cold due to component contraction. Does anyone have experience with either kind of disc brakes in really cold weather? Thanks in advance!
    My hydraulic disc brakes worked the morning it got down to -24 F. Maybe if it had gotten colder they wouldn't have.
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  12. #12
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Problem is, they sometimes make taking the wheels on and off more annoying (the wheel getting back on at a slightly different angle is more likely to cause brake rub with disc brakes than with rim brakes)
    Pop open the QR,count the number of turns you loosen it. When reinstalling the wheel,position the lever in the same spot as when you removed it,and tighten the same number of turns. QED.

    For locking/bolt-on skewers,note the position you hold the the key/wrench to start,and count the number/amount of turns.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by scroca View Post
    My hydraulic disc brakes worked the morning it got down to -24 F. Maybe if it had gotten colder they wouldn't have.
    The fact you even knew that makes you a hardier soul than me.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    Pop open the QR,count the number of turns you loosen it. When reinstalling the wheel,position the lever in the same spot as when you removed it,and tighten the same number of turns. QED.

    For locking/bolt-on skewers,note the position you hold the the key/wrench to start,and count the number/amount of turns.
    Maybe, but it's simply a problem I don't have with non-disk brakes.

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