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Your commuting bike choice: purely practical or were there other factors?

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Your commuting bike choice: purely practical or were there other factors?

Old 08-05-15, 10:53 AM
  #26  
Magz
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The first few times I commuted by bike, I was on my 20 year old MTB, with big knobby tires. I hadn't ridden anything but that bike for a long time. I decided to get something a little more practical so I bought a Trek FX 7.3, put a rack on it and wow, what a difference. Since then I bought a rode bike and did use it on the commute a couple times but have gone back to the Trek.
Reasons:
Load - prefer panniers w/rack over backpack
Pedals - road bike has clipless pedals (speedplay) I don't like wearing those shoes on the train - trying SPDs on the Trek but jury is still out
Experience - still getting used to the road bike, but the Trek doesn't require any thought at all, I'm able to focus on the traffic more
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Old 08-05-15, 11:55 AM
  #27  
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For me, pretty bikes are like pretty cars. I'll happily look at them but I have no particular desire to spend money on them. If two bikes are of equal practicality and one is prettier, I'll probably take the prettier one, but I won't spend more money for it. I can't see it when I'm riding it, and I'm not looking at it when I'm not.
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Old 08-05-15, 11:56 AM
  #28  
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Like a couple others, I weigh the practical against other factors when selecting which bike to ride.

The Mule is the only one that accepts studded tires, so it's what I ride all winter. In the other three seasons, it gets slick tires and I'll grab it when rain threatens or I need to carry something back and forth (like a couple days worth of clothes and/or some apples to snack on):


That leaves nice days when I don't have to carry anything. This Bianchi, dubbed "Beyonce" by a friend, is set up for more go-fast riding, and the more aggressive position helps me to improve/maintain my flexibility:


Ironically, this last bike doesn't see a whole lot of commuting, despite building it up to be more of an all-conditions bike. I can't put my finger on exactly why this happened, but it is a little sad. At least it sees plenty of miles from brevets:
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Old 08-05-15, 12:11 PM
  #29  
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At first it was purely practical: I found myself between bikes so I used my wife's. Then I moved over to a new one for me, figured out why it was suboptimal for me, moved over to another one, figured out why that was suboptimal in a different direction, finally landed on the Perfect One Bike, a longhaul trucker w/ 50mm tires. And ever since then I have been figuring out how to use ever sportier bikes more effectively (ultimate answer, there are usually about 10 nice weeks a year here, use a tank the other 42).

My current tank is a 1x7 crosscheck w/ 35mm tires, and my 14 yr old is commuting on that LHT. I have a shoulder season armored car, a traitor exile w/ 28mm tires.
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Old 08-05-15, 12:23 PM
  #30  
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Most of my commutes are done on my road bike, which I chose for reasons that have nothing to do with commuting.
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Old 08-05-15, 12:40 PM
  #31  
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Sure, I built mine up from the frame specifically for commuting and road cycling, and with the priorities of suitability, reliability and maintenance cost I suppose it was a purely practical choice. But since "suitability" includes training and having fun, it was a minimalist a road bike and relative light and nimble relative to commuters.

I don't think that image or associated lifestyle choices had anything to do with it.
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Old 08-05-15, 12:46 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by bmthom.gis View Post
Hmmm...mine were obtained with economy in mind. My"long haul" commuter is an 87ish Peugeot roadie with lomg chainstays. It is very comfortable and I have upgraded it to modernish components. My two "short riders" are 90s mountain bikes. One of them is a 91 Canadianadequate Peugeot and the other a mid 90s Univega. Each bike cost me $50. I like vintage bikes.

I just picked up a Trek Soho single speed for $10.50. It is in perfect condition. Someone was selling 20 bikes and assorted stuff for $ 300, split it with a friend. I'll sell most of my half but keeping that soho for at least awhile.
If economy was the real reason, would you have more than one bike ?
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Old 08-05-15, 01:27 PM
  #33  
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My bikes have always been based on practical considerations, even though decisions were not always the best.

For the first time I went looking for the ideal (for me) commuter. This spring I set my wish list in motion and my lbs put together this:



Frame: Seven Cycles custom titanium Expat SL
Fork: Carbon fiber with fender eyelets
Seat post: PRO Vibe 7s with battery insert
Saddle: Brooks B17
Stem: PLT OS Stem100mm
Handlebars: PLT Ergo Handlebars
Headset: Cane Creek 110
Rims: DT Swiss TK540
Front Hub: Shimano Alfine Dynamo
Rear Hub: Shimano Alfine Di2 11 speed Internal
Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700x 28
Brake/Shifter(s): Shimano 785 Di2 Hydro
Brake Calipers: Shimano Alfine Hydraulic
Bottom Bracket: Shimano 5700
Crankset: Shimano 5700 42t Single
Rear Cog: 18t
Lights: Supernova headlight & tail light which run off the front hub
Fenders: SKS Chromoplasics Longboard

I went with a touring frame so I don't have to worry about heal strike with panniers and titanium so the frame won't rust.
Currently I am using a Caradice bag but I will soon switch to a rear rack with panniers. At that time I will also install the fenders.

The last winter was really tough on my Surly LHT since I ride so much of the time along a highway shoulder where gritty sand/gravel accumulates in the winter. When wet it forms a paste that is very hard on drive train components. My solution was to go with an IGH.

Also, to cure the problem of constantly having to recharge lights (and remember to put them on the bike after I do) I went with lights run off the dynamo hub so they never leave the bike and are always on.
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Old 08-05-15, 01:47 PM
  #34  
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Thread title: "Your commuting bike choice"

What some are reading it as: "How awesome is/are your bike(s)?"
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Old 08-05-15, 01:54 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Thread title: "Your commuting bike choice"

What some are reading it as: "Show me how awesome your bike is"
That's OK.

What I've learned so far is that commuters are a practical minded bunch by and large, - or at least they're pretty good at rationalizing.

I on the other hand, know that one of the reasons I like my road bike is because of the shiny blue paint.
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Old 08-05-15, 01:55 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
That's OK.

What I've learned so far is that commuters are a practical minded bunch by and large, - or at least they're pretty good at rationalizing.

I on the other hand, know that one of the reasons I like my road bike is because of the shiny blue paint.
I'm down with that. When I was a wine drinker I determined my purchase by how cool the label was.
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Old 08-05-15, 02:12 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
That's OK.

What I've learned so far is that commuters are a practical minded bunch by and large, - or at least they're pretty good at rationalizing.

I on the other hand, know that one of the reasons I like my road bike is because of the shiny blue paint.
I was helping someone buy a bike recently, and the number one criteria was that the bike was black. Secondary considerations were that the bike was not too heavy or too expensive. Issues such as fit, components, the right bike for the intended purpose, rack and fender attachment points, etc. were not even a factor. There were plenty of great bikes to choose from, but if they were not black, they were not even considered. It was a strange shopping experience for me, and a bit disconcerting.
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Old 08-05-15, 05:31 PM
  #38  
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Your commuting bike choice: purely practical or were there other factors?

Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
So there are purely practical considerations like cost or a particular set of features. But there is a whole lot else that can influence which bikes we choose to ride. Some of it may even be subconscious and plays on our desire to live a certain lifestyle. Advertising attempts to push these buttons.

Different types of bikes can be associated with different lifestyles or images. With mountain bikes, maybe it's adventure, toughness, or being out in a natural setting. With road bikes, maybe it's being fit, athletic, or competitive.…

My road bike? From a commuting perspective, it's not the most practical bike, but… I continue to commute on it quite a bit. I do so because it's fun, but if pushed I'd have to acknowledge that it fits a certain image I have of myself and my lifestyle. It's representative of some things I value: - fitness, hard work, speed, quickness, freedom

Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I don't have to bike commute and it's faster and easier not to, so I want something that I want to ride
Since I commute mainly for fitness, and have “easier” alternatives, my high end carbon fiber bike is more than just an incentive to commute…I crave the ride. The only impracticality, even riding on the urban streets of Boston is lack of carrying capacity, but easily remediable. Then its always there for my road cycling too.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…For years, I rode a steel Bridgestone RB-1, …After the introduction of carbon fiber bikes, I always wondered if the premium prices of CF…worth the presumed enhanced riding experience….

My average speed stayed the same, but I think I was hampered by injuries from the accident, and I believe the new bike compensated at least to maintain my average speed. I did note that I was more inclined to sprint (successfully) to beat traffic lights before they turned red. I further craved the smoothness of the ride, including the shifting, making cycle-commuting more pleasurable. Of greatest benefit, while long (greater than 40 mile) rides took the same amount of time as before, I felt much less tired at the end...

So in summary, the ultimate advantage was comfort, especially on long rides, but the joy of riding such a bike has encouraged me to start training to improve my speed...
The mountain bike is essentially to keep the CF bike off the road in bad weather.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
If my bikes were cars, the S-Works would be a Lamborghini, and the Cannondale a Humvee, both beautiful in their own way and well-suited for their own particular conditions.

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Old 08-05-15, 05:37 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
If economy was the real reason, would you have more than one bike ?
Economy as in I can't go out and spend hundreds on a bike...and I like finding deals.
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Old 08-05-15, 05:38 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Thread title: "Your commuting bike choice"

What some are reading it as: "How awesome is/are your bike(s)?"
That interpretation never occurred to me.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
If my bikes were cars, the S-Works would be a Lamborghini, and the Cannondale a Humvee, both beautiful in their own way and well-suited for their own particular conditions.

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Old 08-05-15, 06:19 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
I was helping someone buy a bike recently, and the number one criteria was that the bike was black. Secondary considerations were that the bike was not too heavy or too expensive. Issues such as fit, components, the right bike for the intended purpose, rack and fender attachment points, etc. were not even a factor. There were plenty of great bikes to choose from, but if they were not black, they were not even considered. It was a strange shopping experience for me, and a bit disconcerting.
Luckily black is a fairly common color. In my case, having a shiny blue finish wasn't a requirement, it was just icing on the cake.
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Old 08-05-15, 06:40 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
I was helping someone buy a bike recently, and the number one criteria was that the bike was black. Secondary considerations were that the bike was not too heavy or too expensive. Issues such as fit, components, the right bike for the intended purpose, rack and fender attachment points, etc. were not even a factor. There were plenty of great bikes to choose from, but if they were not black, they were not even considered. It was a strange shopping experience for me, and a bit disconcerting.
That sounds exactly like me. When I go looking for a bike the first thing I look at is to make sure that the bike is either black or dark grey. As of now I have two bikes which are black and one dark grey. Other then the colour, the most important thing for me is rear track-ends or horizontal dropouts.
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Old 08-05-15, 06:48 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
That sounds exactly like me. When I go looking for a bike the first thing I look at is to make sure that the bike is either black or dark grey. As of now I have two bikes which are black and one dark grey. Other then the colour, the most important thing for me is rear track-ends or horizontal dropouts.
Just like those colours or is more to make them not stand out?
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Old 08-05-15, 07:59 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by scroca View Post
My bikes have always been based on practical considerations, even though decisions were not always the best.

For the first time I went looking for the ideal (for me) commuter. This spring I set my wish list in motion and my lbs put together this:



Frame: Seven Cycles custom titanium Expat SL
Fork: Carbon fiber with fender eyelets
Seat post: PRO Vibe 7s with battery insert
Saddle: Brooks B17
Stem: PLT OS Stem100mm
Handlebars: PLT Ergo Handlebars
Headset: Cane Creek 110
Rims: DT Swiss TK540
Front Hub: Shimano Alfine Dynamo
Rear Hub: Shimano Alfine Di2 11 speed Internal
Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700x 28
Brake/Shifter(s): Shimano 785 Di2 Hydro
Brake Calipers: Shimano Alfine Hydraulic
Bottom Bracket: Shimano 5700
Crankset: Shimano 5700 42t Single
Rear Cog: 18t
Lights: Supernova headlight & tail light which run off the front hub
Fenders: SKS Chromoplasics Longboard

I went with a touring frame so I don't have to worry about heal strike with panniers and titanium so the frame won't rust.
Currently I am using a Caradice bag but I will soon switch to a rear rack with panniers. At that time I will also install the fenders.

The last winter was really tough on my Surly LHT since I ride so much of the time along a highway shoulder where gritty sand/gravel accumulates in the winter. When wet it forms a paste that is very hard on drive train components. My solution was to go with an IGH.

Also, to cure the problem of constantly having to recharge lights (and remember to put them on the bike after I do) I went with lights run off the dynamo hub so they never leave the bike and are always on.
That is a FABULOUS BIKE!!! I really love all your choices! You really researched it out? That's pretty much a dream bike. It would be nice if the rear IGH were a Rohloff... but I don't know if it would work with Di2 shifters on drop bars. Alfine 11 is the next best thing. Good Job! I really envy your bicycle.

Last edited by InTheRain; 08-05-15 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 08-05-15, 08:13 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
Just like those colours or is more to make them not stand out?
Yes I like to blend in and I don't want my bikes to stand out. I've always liked darker colours, not only for bikes, most of my clothing is also dark.
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Old 08-05-15, 08:32 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
That is a FABULOUS BIKE!!! I really love all your choices! You really researched it out? That's pretty much a dream bike. It would be nice if the rear IGH were a Rohloff... but I don't know if it would work with Di2 shifters on drop bars. Alfine 11 is the next best thing. Good Job! I really envy your bicycle.
Thanks. I like riding it. And I started with the idea of a Rohloff, but they are really expensive. At the end of the day, even given how much I spent on what I got, money played a part.
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Old 08-06-15, 10:10 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
That interpretation never occurred to me.
Self incrimination.
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Old 08-06-15, 11:10 AM
  #48  
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I bought a bicycle after not riding one since college because I needed to exercise, and it became a commuter bike when I realized riding to work in the morning was better than getting up early to get some exercise riding somewhere and then driving to work. It's been modified like everyone elses, and I still haven't been able to justify replacing it when I consider upgrading the engine.
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Old 08-06-15, 11:29 AM
  #49  
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Hmmm....
My Dad got me into riding "road bikes". For a while he was commuting about 25 miles each way on country roads to get to work. And, we did a few races in the Midget category.

Sometime in my Freshman year in HS, I got my old Viscount stolen. By that time, Dad was planning a trip to Italy for a few months and I would come along. So I got a junky bike for a year, then headed off to Italy with a pocket full of money for a bike.

In Italy, we met a janitor at Dad's work who bike Aficionado named Renzo.

Renzo brought 2 or 3 bikes for me to look at, but they just weren't quite right. Perhaps I didn't know quite what to look for.

Then he showed up with an old Colnago Super. All Campy Nuovo Record. And, a good price... THAT WAS THE ONE.

I rode that around Italy, and then brought it back to the USA.

I rode the bike off and on for years. Then, out of college I got a swing shift job. I drug out the old "interim bike" with generator lights... WHEW That lasted about a week before I got some Night Sun lights for the Colnago, and that was solidly my everything bike.

The bike has gotten older over the years... but I still like it.
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Old 08-06-15, 11:33 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Thread title: "Your commuting bike choice"

What some are reading it as: "How awesome is/are your bike(s)?"
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
That interpretation never occurred to me.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
If my bikes were cars, the S-Works would be a Lamborghini, and the Cannondale a Humvee, both beautiful in their own way and well-suited for their own particular conditions.

Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Self incrimination.
Hey...I just noted the description of your bikes, @jfowler, "who gives a crap? / who gives a crap about your bikes?."
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