"Cycling is for pleasure not penance"
Look, OP, if you want a "road bike" style bike, but also want to do some light trails, you're going to need a cross bike. Many cross bikes come with mounts for a rack - which IMO is essential for bike commuting. A backpack kills your shoulders, shifts weight, and produces copious amounts of back sweat. It'll be worse with a messenger bag because it only has the one strap so it'll constantly be sliding back around your front, and moving around. Terrible idea IMO. Rack + pannier is the way to go. (or trunk bag)
Traditional road bikes don't usually have rackmounts. Mostly because they aren't built for utility.
If you want to do rougher trails, you're going to need a mountain bike. Even cross bikes aren't designed to really go bombing through the woods like a traditional trail ride.
I have a Surly Cross-Check. It's a do everything bike. It is a road bike, and it's a cross bike and it's a commuter. It has all the mounts for everything, it has space for narrow slick tires or wide knobby tires (I currently run 700x32 on mine, but I can go wider if I want. Some other cross bikes have this option as well. But you need to look.
I'd recommend it if you want to put tires for trails and still have a bike that looks like a "road bike."
I'd also recommend the All-City Space Horse (more expensive, but gorgeous to behold).
My wife has a Specialized TriCross, which is also very similar. Not sure how wide tires it can go up to, but it currently also has 700x32 on it.
I've really come to dread these threads.
The OP posted a link to his perfectly decent inexpensive zippy hybrid and a comparable cost drop bar bike. He was immediately, by the first responder, told he needed a 30 lb steel tank instead, with a $100 markup for being a Trek. Some snob has convinced him that his perfectly ok midgrade shifters that will serve him for a decade at least are junk. Why? Later posters have told him he needs cross bikes that cost two or three times his budget, or even more for artisan cottage industry stuff or else he will need to feel bad about it. He says he wears a messenger bag, which millions of people do every day, and was told he couldn't. He mentions he might want to ride trails on the weekends - that's not entirely clear, after he asks about a road bike at first. Maybe he needs 28mm tires, or maybe he needs a full suspension downhill bike, who knows? The website for his current bike says it will take 42's and it would probably be better for that than the road bike he's considering. Maybe he's thought of that. No one has said he needs to get and refurbish a 30 year old ruined mountain bike off Craigslist yet because no one knows how to say Craigslist in Australian.
A decent quality, properly adjusted messenger bag doesn't slide around anymore than a quality pannier randomly falls of the rack. They usually have two straps, - a shoulder strap and a sternum strap. I wore a messenger bag to commute for years and now I use a backpack. For the most part I don't even notice it's there and the same was true of the messenger bag until I suffered a shoulder injury.
Traditional road bikes frequently do have rack mounts, - especially the lower end aluminum models. The Trek Series 1 and Specilized Secteur are two examples.
I agree that if you want to ride off road, a "road" bike isn't the best choice, - which is sort of obvious. On the other, the occasional dirt road would likely be fine.
If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.
OP wants a drop-bar bike. Great! We all need another bike but, OP, your HASA you have now is awesome - looks more versatile than your road bike you will get.
OP, I commute on something pretty similar to that. No issues.
In hindsight, I would've gotten something with a bit longer wheelbase(probably a 'Cross bike, maybe 'light/sport' touring?) for the longer chain stays for panniers, but there's nothing wrong with a trunk bag. If I was willing to deal with backpacks or a messenger bag while riding, it wouldn't be an issue at all, and I don't regret buying a road bike even if 80% of my mileage is commuting. A 'commuter bike' is what you commute on.
Last edited by Sullalto; 08-01-14 at 08:21 PM.
Point taken. But if you're carrying serious loads, you want a bike with a longer wheelbase, with a stout frame and that feels like a large load is something it can haul. A road bike is fine for small loads that don't affect the bike's balance much but if you intend to haul more than a handful of items, definitely get a dedicated commuter bike.
I don't have any issues with a few days groceries on the bike using small panniers. I do get heel strike with M/L ones, thus my comment about wanting longer chain stays. I also have size 15 feet and am riding a 58 though. I'd imagine most people would have less problems in that regard. I'm a clydesdale, too. I can always get a trailer if I need to carry more than that. Or, y'know, drive.
All that said-I only have one bike, and road bikes(even entry level steel ones) aren't the most versatile. If I were doing things over, I'd look at cyclocross and light touring bikes before road bikes. Maybe drop bar mountain bikes, even. I'd probably still run 25-700c tires day to day, and just have a 2nd wheel set for off-road fun.