Rockhopper or Trek 7.3 FX for 10 mile downtown commute - MI
Happy Holidays all --
I have both a Trek 7.3 FX and a Specialized Rockhopper, and have a 10 mile commute three days a week. The commute is downtown Lansing, MI, and I'm not too sure on the road conditions. The current way I go is with traffic, but I'm thinking I'll get on a back road once the snow hits for the extra protection of not having many cars around me.
I made plans to ride the Trek down to work because it's a commuter and I think it has room for fenders and a rack, possibly converting it to a fixie (it might not have horizontal dropouts :eek: ). If I rode the Trek, I'd get some different tires and add the rack, lights, etc.
Would the Rockhopper be a better alternative for me? It's slower, but the tires are fatter and I would think there'd be less problems falling. Also - what about the shocks and components on these bikes? If I rode the Trek as a fixie, or a SS, it would be minimal maintenance.
Thanks for all the help!
You posted this in the winter cycling forum so i will assume you are looking for a good winter commute bike. I always recommend a mountain bike for winter. It is the most versatile in my opinion. Wider tires are a big bonus for winter.
Also you can still attach racks/fenders etc. to a mtb. I have three mtb's with racks on all of them.
Not sure of what your local riding conditions would be but if you're likely to encounter much ice then I would make sure your bike can handle a studded tire. I've been using a mountain bike for winter but don't consider it an ideal commuter for more than short distances.
I'd prefer more of a hybrid or even a road bike as long as it could handle 700 X 35c tires + fenders.
There's a lot of people around here (Minneapolis) that commute using a road bike year round. I don't find wide tires to be much of an advantage unless you're going through a lot of fresh deep snow and you want to stay on top.
I commuted last year on a Rockhopper and I am now riding a Trek 7.3FX. My commute is 10 miles each way into downtown ... Milwaukee. Very similar story.
Last year with the Rockhopper, I ran 1.25" slicks, fenders and a rack/trunk bag/panniers. This worked well and keep me moving pretty well on the Rockhopper. It's only fault was a front shock w/o a lockout, so to me, having the shock moving around during my commute (especially when out of the saddle) felt like a waste. Otherwise - it was bulletproof.
This summer I sold the Rockhopper and bought the FX - and love it for my bad weather commuter. I run the stock 32s, Freddy fenders and I use a Timbuk2 messenger bag instead. This bike flies and can get me to work nearly as fast as my road bike.
As for bad weather - my roads/path are pretty well plowed/salted so I didn't have much trouble last year. I don't bike if there is a blizzard in the morning and I wait until most of the ice has cleared up on the road/path (maybe a few days after a snow storm). I will be switching to hikers and platform pedals soon for the winter.
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