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  1. #1
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    Need a new commuting bike - Hybrid or more road-like?

    Hi there. First poster. I'm planning to start an internship this summer in Boston and want to take the trip to work by bike. I'm looking for something $500ish and have been debating if I should get a road bike or a hybrid.

    My only caveat is that I need a bike that can handle gravel and non-paved surfaces for the weekend ride or detour just as much as I need a reliable commuter bike, hence why I've been thinking hybrid.

    I was looking at this As I'm personally a fan of Diamondback (They're a Raleigh subsidiary aren't they?) but I wanted to ask what others think here. The price seemed good to me considering the tires are a tad better for unpaved and disc brakes.

    Thoughts? Is this an alright choice or am I missing an important thing I should know?

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    Welcome to BF, Laos!

    Looks like a hybrid is the correct choice, given the unpaved and gravel surfaces you'll be commuting upon. That Diamondback Trace bike with the rigid fork looks like the appropriate bike for your commuting challenge. I also think that the GT Zum Wheels4Life "Commuter Bike" and the GT Traffic 1.0 "Endurance Bike" at www.performancebike.com are also a good candidates for your commute. They even come with both rack and fender mounts.
    Last edited by WestPablo; 05-10-14 at 02:50 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    I can't wait for the next pint of good chocolate milk after a long ride.

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    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TransitBiker View Post
    I'd doubt the OP would need a front suspension. I feel as though the Diamondback model he asked about would make a better candidate.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

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    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    OP, how far will your commute be? Any other riding? What clothes do you plan to wear? What kinds of stuff do you need to carry?

  6. #6
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Front suspension is common on German city commuter bikes and I recommend it to new cyclists.

    It's quite useful in an urban and/or trekking environment.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    Front suspension is common on German city commuter bikes and I recommend it to new cyclists.

    It's quite useful in an urban and/or trekking environment.
    I think that we should only select bicycles based upon efficiency and their most practical application to our environment. Once we've determined the type of terrain that we're cycling upon, the decision to use a suspended fork should be made at that time and that time only. We shouldn't choose to use a suspended fork based solely upon popularity.

    Suspended forks are usually avoided during bicycle trekking, due to their extra added weight and the amount of added energy required of the cyclist on distant tours. That's why we almost never see suspended forks on touring bicycles. If you image Google "Bicycles, Trekking", you won't be viewing any bicycles sporting suspended forks. That means that there's no common or practical use for suspended forks on Trekking bikes.

    I think that the most efficient use for a suspended fork would be on a quality mountain bike, where it's suspended fork can be utilized more practically on gravel, roots, rocks, boulders, and terrain cracks. MTbikes can also be used more practically in perhaps even an urban setting where the road infrastructure has immensely deteriorated.

    Of course, it would be absolutely useless to mtb in an urban area where streets and roads are well-maintained, and that's despite their popularity within any given region.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    A cross bike would work well both for commuting and handling mixed surfaces. If the OP can build a bike, bikes direct has cross bikes in his price range that would do the job:

    Save up to 60% off new Cyclocross Road Bikes - Motobecane Fantom CX Clearance

    Save Up to 60% Off Cross Bikes - Dawes Lightning Cross Cyclocross

  9. #9
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
    I think that we should only select bicycles based upon efficiency and their most practical application to our environment. Once we've determined the type of terrain that we're cycling upon, the decision to use a suspended fork should be made at that time and that time only. We shouldn't choose to use a suspended fork based solely upon popularity.

    Suspended forks are usually avoided during bicycle trekking, due to their extra added weight and the amount of added energy required of the cyclist on distant tours. That's why we almost never see suspended forks on touring bicycles. If you image Google "Bicycles, Trekking", you won't be viewing any bicycles sporting suspended forks. That means that there's no common or practical use for suspended forks on Trekking bikes.

    I think that the most efficient use for a suspended fork would be on a quality mountain bike, where it's suspended fork can be utilized more practically on gravel, roots, rocks, boulders, and terrain cracks. MTbikes can also be used more practically in perhaps even an urban setting where the road infrastructure has immensely deteriorated.

    Of course, it would be absolutely useless to mtb in an urban area where streets and roads are well-maintained, and that's despite their popularity within any given region.
    Suspended forks are preferred on German/European trekking bikes, which are often considered superior in quality design to their North American counterparts.

    https://www.google.de/search?q=trekk...w=1279&bih=809
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
    Rohloffs seen on the commute: 3

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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    Suspended forks are preferred on German/European trekking bikes, which are often considered superior in quality design to their North American counterparts.

    https://www.google.de/search?q=trekk...w=1279&bih=809
    Hmmm...Interesting...

    So, are the roads traversed in Germany frequently unpaved or not well-maintained?

  11. #11
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
    Hmmm...Interesting...

    So, are the roads traversed in Germany frequently unpaved or not well-maintained?
    The majority of urban cyclepaths are composed of "pavers" or interlocking bricks. In addition, most trekking done in Germany is often like this:

    Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 14.12.05.jpg

    Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 14.12.57.jpg

    There are also more touristy routes such as the Donauradweg, but alas it's full of tourists, which is quite boring!

    Donauradweg ? Wikipedia
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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  12. #12
    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    The one i recommended i've ridden in a town on a test ride, and it was great, even on some gravel and on some grass.

    It has the tires and the suspension to go off the pavement, soak up some bumps and whatnot, and still not be a weight drag long distance on the road..... Seatpost shock also allows you to get comfort without adding the drawback of how full suspension soaks up pedaling force. I believe it also has a lock out feature.

    - Andy
    Last edited by TransitBiker; 05-10-14 at 08:31 AM.
    I can't wait for the next pint of good chocolate milk after a long ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    The majority of urban cyclepaths are composed of "pavers" or interlocking bricks. In addition, most trekking done in Germany is often like this:

    Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 14.12.05.jpg

    Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 14.12.57.jpg

    There are also more touristy routes such as the Donauradweg, but alas it's full of tourists, which is quite boring!

    Donauradweg ? Wikipedia
    Thanks for sharing, Acidfast7!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Giant Doofus's Avatar
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    I've been commuting on a hybrid for the past year. I like the more upright position that makes it easier for me to keep an eye on traffic. My commute is about 12 miles round trip over roads that are pretty beat up, probably about like Boston roads. One thing I would recommend is to replace the stock tires on any bike you get with puncture resistant tires right away. You'll need them on Boston roads and especially if you find yourself riding any gravel paths. I also regularly clean out the treads on my bike just so little bits of stuff that gets trapped in there doesn't wiggle its way into the interior.

    I also used the bike for longish (30-50 miles) weekend rides on bike paths and a little bit of off pavement riding. Mine is a 10 year old Giant Cypress DX. It worked well for all of these functions, so I suspect the hybrid you have identified will work well. Mine does have a suspension fork, but I haven't really found that to make any difference from the hybrid I had before (a Giant Option) that didn't. Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
    OP, how far will your commute be? Any other riding? What clothes do you plan to wear? What kinds of stuff do you need to carry?

    Only about 15 minuets, couple miles. Weekend riding for groceries and such and occasional trails when time allows for it. I will need a rear rack in any case. Is there an advantage to fenders aside from aesthetics?

    For $200 more Diamondback does make this model with a front suspension, but it's a bit outside my price range. Are disc brakes or a front suspension a better value in the long run? This bike willl need to be shipped a few times - are Disc brakes easier to adjust before and after shipping? That's a significant advantage to me.

    My other thought was also about tires - as Doofus points out - and whether it's better to pay a little less (read: $400) and upgrade tires and other components or to pay $500 and be with stock.

    Thanks so much for the insight!

  16. #16
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    If you're in the US...

    I'd look at this by Giant:

    Sedona DX (2014) | Giant Bicycles | United States

    It MSRPs for 420 USD.

    1. Has front suspension.
    2. Has option for upgrade to front disc at later point (front disc is enough as most braking is done through the front wheel)
    3. Has fender mounts on front and rear.
    4. Has rack mounts in rear.
    5. Has adjustable stem so that you can dial the fit in quite nicely.

    With helmet and lock ... I would offer 500 USD at a shop.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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  17. #17
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TransitBiker View Post
    The one i recommended i've ridden in a town on a test ride, and it was great, even on some gravel and on some grass.

    It has the tires and the suspension to go off the pavement, soak up some bumps and whatnot, and still not be a weight drag long distance on the road..... Seatpost shock also allows you to get comfort without adding the drawback of how full suspension soaks up pedaling force. I believe it also has a lock out feature.
    I hope I didn't sound critical of your recommendation. I just feel as though a suspension fork is more burdensome than useful in most urban cycling situations. I test rode Trek DS and FX back to back on Seattle streets, which are pretty bad with cracks, potholes and old asphalt material. Maybe it was Trek's poor implementation of the suspension, but I didn't feel the DS to be much more comfortable than the FX in terms of shock and vibration from the road. Hence my recommendation for a rigid fork.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  18. #18
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    Once you settle on wheel type , ie wider 700c , its about the handlebars and controls ..
    Cross-commuter drop bars vs straighter MTB- and figure 8 bend trekking bars..

    I cant say anything about brands as I dont know what is sold where you live.

    Diamond Back and Raleigh are made in contract factories in Asia by someone else.

    Name is the property of the importing distributor , applied by the sub-contract manufacturer.

    they may be both owned and part of a larger sports products multi brand holding corporation.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 05-10-14 at 11:06 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by laos View Post
    Only about 15 minuets, couple miles. Weekend riding for groceries and such and occasional trails when time allows for it. I will need a rear rack in any case. Is there an advantage to fenders aside from aesthetics?

    For $200 more Diamondback does make this model with a front suspension, but it's a bit outside my price range. Are disc brakes or a front suspension a better value in the long run? This bike willl need to be shipped a few times - are Disc brakes easier to adjust before and after shipping? That's a significant advantage to me.

    My other thought was also about tires - as Doofus points out - and whether it's better to pay a little less (read: $400) and upgrade tires and other components or to pay $500 and be with stock.

    Thanks so much for the insight!
    Hi there, Laos!

    First of all, you absolutely do NOT need a suspended fork. However, you do need wide tires, instead. Disc brakes are most useful, if you're braking downhill on a paved wet surface. Cyclists have been doing quite well without disc brakes for the past one hundred years. I suspect that we could continue braking without them for another century or so.

    The only two times to think about another new set of tires, are either; 1) At the point of sale, where you can make a new set of tires a part of the bargain, or 2) When you truly do wear them out...

    Of course, it's always nice to have an extra tire or two laying about and ready for an emergency installment.

    IMHO, Continental Gatorskin tires work quite well as standard commuter tires.

    Always purchase the best bike you can afford, if you know for certain the type of cycling you'll be doing. You'll spend thousands of hours on this bike. Those hours should be made to be as enjoyable and comfortable, as possible.

    Good Luck!
    Last edited by WestPablo; 05-10-14 at 11:06 AM.

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    Thanks again for the additional insight. I was looking at Direct Bikes since I do my own assembly (just take it in for a tune-up after the first 10 miles) and want a second opinion about either of these two bikes.

    Save up to 60% off new Hybrid Adventure Bicycles | Disc Brake Adventure Hybrid 29er Bikes Windsor Rover 3 from bikesdirect.com
    Save up to 60% off new Hybrid Adventure Bicycles | Disc Brake Adventure Hybrid 29er Bikes Windsor Rover 3 from bikesdirect.com

    my only curiosity is the price. Why are they so much lower with so much more feature-wise. Is there a component quality issue I should be worried about?

  21. #21
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    fixed it for you:

    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    German/European trekking bikes, which acidfast7 considers superior in quality design to their North American counterparts
    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.

  22. #22
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    fixed it for you:
    lol.

    show me something under €450 - 19% tax (roughly 500 USD without sales tax) that can compete with this out of the box from a US bike company:

    : LC-15 EDITION

    i dare you!

    edit: adjusted the price to 500 USD because the dollar continues to sink, which makes my student loans cheaper by the day ... sink like a stone baby!
    Last edited by acidfast7; 05-10-14 at 11:29 AM.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by laos View Post
    Thanks again for the additional insight. I was looking at Direct Bikes since I do my own assembly (just take it in for a tune-up after the first 10 miles) and want a second opinion about either of these two bikes.

    Save up to 60% off new Hybrid Adventure Bicycles | Disc Brake Adventure Hybrid 29er Bikes Windsor Rover 3 from bikesdirect.com
    Save up to 60% off new Hybrid Adventure Bicycles | Disc Brake Adventure Hybrid 29er Bikes Windsor Rover 3 from bikesdirect.com

    my only curiosity is the price. Why are they so much lower with so much more feature-wise. Is there a component quality issue I should be worried about?
    Bikesdirect can sell at much lower prices, due to the fact that they don't have a "middle man". They don't have to pay building rent, or sales people, who would ordinarily be located inside of brick & mortar bike shops. They also work out special deals based upon volume, with a certain bicycle manufacturer (Kinesis), located in Taiwan. Their bikes are usually of a high quality, as well as their components. Of course, as with everything, the more you pay, usually the better the components.

    Therefore, there is absolutely no need to worry. However, if you do order from BD, and there is a problem with your order, you might be held responsible for the return shipping costs.
    Last edited by WestPablo; 05-10-14 at 12:02 PM.

  24. #24
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    Answering one of your questions - yes, fenders are a huge improvement when riding in locations where weather changes. They keep the bike, and you, much cleaner. The biggest advantages are your laundry bill, and the fact that your bike won't be as maintenance intensive.

    Plus, it's much more enjoyable riding when the streets or paths are damp. Longboard style fenders, or long mudflaps really help here too.

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    lol.

    show me something under €450 - 19% tax (roughly 500 USD without sales tax) that can compete with this out of the box from a US bike company:

    : LC-15 EDITION

    i dare you!

    edit: adjusted the price to 500 USD because the dollar continues to sink, which makes my student loans cheaper by the day ... sink like a stone baby!
    a cookie cutter chinese frame with suntour chinese suspension fork, suntour chinese suspension post and an 8 speed drive train?

    drat!

    "german" engineering triumphs again.
    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.

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