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Help me choose a new year-round commuter

Old 11-03-17, 08:39 AM
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Help me choose a new year-round commuter

Hey guys!

I've been commuting semi-regularly for a few years now. I ride an entry level Specialized Allez aluminum road bike with 23mm tires and Shimano Claris components. This was my first bike and I use it for everything, from triathlons to running errands. I want to rely less on public transportation and the car that I share with my wife. So, I am on the market for a new commuter bike.

The main issues I've had commuting in the past are:
- Limited carrying capability. My current bike has no rack mounts and I didn't want to invest in a clamp rack. I have to carry all the weight on my shoulders (in my awesome Osprey Radial 34L pack)
- Falling when the wether is bad. I live in the northeast and part of my commute goes through a road that can get pretty windy. I've had a couple of falls on snowy windy days. I hope wider tires and maybe studded tires will improve my stability.
- Braking with bad weather. Where I live right now there are very steep hills and I've had a couple of close calls due to wet rim brakes. I am moving to a much flatter town, but I still would feel more at ease having disc breaks.
- Not being able to fit good fenders

Other things that are important for me are
- I want the bike to look nice. I will ride this thing every day for years. How it looks matters to me.
- Drop-bars are a must for me. I like the road bike geometry. I have never find my current bike uncomfortable, and sometimes I like to ride fast. My commute is relatively short (less than 10 miles).
- TBH I don't know a lot about the advantages and disadvantages of different materials (steel vs aluminum, carbon vs aluminum forks). I'm not sure that a couple of pounds will make a big difference for me. But I do want a high quality durable bike. The bike will sleep in a closed garage, but I plan to ride on salty and snowy roads. I usually clean my bike weekly unless it gets too dirty, and clean the chain every 2 weeks or so
- The town I am moving to is really flat. I plan to stay away from the small chainring, but I would definitely appreciate a good groupset for longer weekend rides with my wife. We typically ride 40-100 miles every other weekend when the weather is nice. Depending on the route and road conditions I guess sometimes I could take my commuter.

After checking out all the LBS in my area I've narrowed my search down to three options (I guess I could also order online, but I prefer to establish relations with the local cycling community):

(1) A Trek CrossRip 1, 2, or 3 - This is my top choice at the moment. I don't know whether I will like the geometry because my local Trek store doesn't have any on inventory, they would have to order it for me. It is advertised as a city/gravel bike. The higher end build comes with Shimano 105 and hydraulic disc breaks. I like their blendr stem that allows to mount lights and a computer or go pro on the handlebar in a very clean way.

(2) A Specialized Sequoia basic or elite - This is the heaviest of the three. It is advertised as a touring/adventure bike. The higher end comes with mechanical disk brakes and 105. It has mounts for a front rack. It is the heavier of the three by almost 5lbs. I rode it a bit around a parking lot, it felt ok, but it was only for a couple of minutes. I like the super wide tire clearance. It comes with 42mm tires!

(3) A Felt F65X Crossbike - This is a cross bike and I like the geometry. Aesthetically it is the one I like the least. It also comes with 105s and mechanical disk brakes (this is an older model so I don't get to choose components). My major concern is that it can fit at most 32mm tires with fenders. I don't know if I would regret that when the winter gets bad

All bikes are on the same price range. Any advice will be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 11-03-17, 09:27 AM
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If you have a Fuji dealer nearby, add the Fuji Touring to your list. It feels lighter to me than the LHT and Trek 520, but as a touring bike it's got a full set of rack mounts (and I think comes with a rear rack), and is reasonably priced. Remember, you can replace the components as you wear them out.
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Old 11-03-17, 09:42 AM
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I like the CrossRip models, you won't be disappointed.

Also consider Salsa Vaya... components are a little cheaper but good enough.
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Old 11-03-17, 10:10 AM
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Looks like you have most of the major brands except Cannondale CAADX. Add them if you have a dealer that sells them, perhaps? Other than that, I unfortunately don't have any experience with cyclocross/gravel bikes. I saw a dude with a Diamondback Haanjo once on the commute. It also looks cool and had 40mm tires on it.
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Old 11-03-17, 10:38 AM
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I bought the Crossrip 3 a month or so ago as my daily commuter. I had many of the same requirements as you (disc brakes for rain, drop bars, rack mounting). I really love this bike. After test riding several bikes with mechanical disc brakes I realized hydraulic was the way to go. Braking power in the rain has been great on this bike. And the 105 shifting is super smooth.

I also wanted somewhat thicker tires. I'm running 700x35 Clement USH X'plor tires. That's as much that will fit with fenders. Without fenders you can supposedly fit 38s. But fenders are a must for commuting in the rain IMO.
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Old 11-04-17, 10:55 PM
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Crossrip. Buy the one you can afford. You should know that once you get it set up optimally for commuting it'll be less desirable as a weekend ride-with-the-wife toy. Fenders, rack(s), lights, etc. tend to get in the way on those weekend joy rides.

-Kedosto
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Old 11-05-17, 05:49 AM
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A little off the board, but I like the Raleigh Clubman - they have a bunch of other nice models. Many more of their bikes have rack and fender mounts.

I did a quick compare and it's similar to the crossrip one in components for less cash. I like the look - you might not. It also comes with matching fenders, which is nice.

If you can build or have a shop who would for a reasonable price, I also like the Some Wolverine 2.1 for the used you describe as well as overall versatility, while being an attractive frame.
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Old 11-05-17, 11:09 AM
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You've already set yourself a budget that will allow you an excellent bike. Try them out in person. Any of these will be superb.
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Old 11-05-17, 04:52 PM
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Everyone else has commented and made suggestions for your new bike, so I will only address the winter portion. As an all year rider in the same city, winter is harsh on bikes. This is why I try to have a winter only bike. Disk brakes are a must for our foul weather and studded tires. Make sure you buy the biggest studded tire that will fit on your bike, you won't believe how much safer these are until you try them. Some days they slow you did a bit but when you need them, you will be glad you have them.
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Old 11-05-17, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by blakcloud
Everyone else has commented and made suggestions for your new bike, so I will only address the winter portion. As an all year rider in the same city, winter is harsh on bikes. This is why I try to have a winter only bike. Disk brakes are a must for our foul weather and studded tires. Make sure you buy the biggest studded tire that will fit on your bike, you won't believe how much safer these are until you try them. Some days they slow you did a bit but when you need them, you will be glad you have them.
i would never discourage someone from getting disc brakes but to say they are a must for year round commuting is a bit much. i commute everyday rain or shine or snow or whatever. my commute involves some seriously steep hills as well. i have tektro 720 cantis and never feel a need for greater stopping power. frankly i don't understand how someone who cant figure out how to stop with aluminum rims and decent caliper brakes can manage the changing levels of traction that the weather will give you. btw i do run studs when it gets really bad. got a separate set of wheels for them.

ymmv
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Old 11-25-17, 08:34 AM
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I decided to get the CrossRip 3,I got a sweet Black Friday discount too. I’ll still have to wait one week to get the actual Bike
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Old 11-25-17, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by salcedo
I decided to get the CrossRip 3,I got a sweet Black Friday discount too. I’ll still have to wait one week to get the actual Bike
Cool! Let us know how how it works for you...although, I'm sure it will be mostly awesome!
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Old 11-25-17, 10:26 AM
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Get the other things added, changed at point of sale, they will put them on for you, free, and knock off 10%

racks, mudguards saddle pedals, etc, if you want different than stock parts

get lights ..






....

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-25-17 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 11-25-17, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by salcedo
I decided to get the CrossRip 3,I got a sweet Black Friday discount too. I’ll still have to wait one week to get the actual Bike
good solid choice!
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Old 11-25-17, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Get the other things added, changed at point of sale, they will put them on for you, free, and knock off 10%

racks, mudguards saddle pedals, etc, if you want different than stock parts

get lights ..
Thanks, I got a back rack and back trunk, full fenders, a set of lights, studded tires and a bell (it is the law in Ontario)

I also wanted to get pannier bags and pedals, but I already exceeded my budget. For now I'll have to use some old flat pedals that I have stored somewhere
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Old 11-25-17, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by salcedo
Thanks, I got a back rack and back trunk, full fenders, a set of lights, studded tires and a bell (it is the law in Ontario)

I also wanted to get pannier bags and pedals, but I already exceeded my budget. For now I'll have to use some old flat pedals that I have stored somewhere
i use flat pedals all the time. they will be fine!
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Old 11-25-17, 02:32 PM
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Late to the thread, but you made a great choice! For biking in snow/ice, I would want to avoid carbon fiber because it tends to crack more easily in a fall. Disc brake.... check. Not a boat anchor.... check. Clearance for wide tires..... check. Holes for fenders and panniers.... check.

It will be a good all round bike. Congrats!
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Old 12-02-17, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster
i would never discourage someone from getting disc brakes but to say they are a must for year round commuting is a bit much. i commute everyday rain or shine or snow or whatever. my commute involves some seriously steep hills as well. i have tektro 720 cantis and never feel a need for greater stopping power. frankly i don't understand how someone who cant figure out how to stop with aluminum rims and decent caliper brakes can manage the changing levels of traction that the weather will give you. btw i do run studs when it gets really bad. got a separate set of wheels for them.

ymmv
That had crossed my mind, since I also ride year round with V-brakes - but then I checked OP's (and blackcloud's) location: Ontario, Canada. I believe their winters get rather harsh. With ice/frost on rims, it will take some time for rim brakes to start working. If the area also has hills (don't know about that) - I'm not sure disk brakes don't make a big difference.
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Old 12-02-17, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by salcedo
CrossRip 3, have to wait one week
longest week of your life, right?
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Old 12-02-17, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar
That had crossed my mind, since I also ride year round with V-brakes - but then I checked OP's (and blackcloud's) location: Ontario, Canada. I believe their winters get rather harsh. With ice/frost on rims, it will take some time for rim brakes to start working. If the area also has hills (don't know about that) - I'm not sure disk brakes don't make a big difference.
for sure i don't live in canada and like i said i would never tell someone not to get them but i get tired of hearing people parrot industry positions on disc brakes. its almost as if no one ever commuted year round without getting killed until whatever the latest fad is.
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Old 12-02-17, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster
for sure i don't live in canada and like i said i would never tell someone not to get them but i get tired of hearing people parrot industry positions on disc brakes. its almost as if no one ever commuted year round without getting killed until whatever the latest fad is.
Rim brakes work as do drum brakes in a car but if you're buying a new bike there's no reason not to get one with discs which are clearly superior for winter commuting.
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Old 12-02-17, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83
Rim brakes work as do drum brakes in a car but if you're buying a new bike there's no reason not to get one with discs which are clearly superior for winter commuting.
drum brakes work on bikes as well. i just think bike frames are simpler prettier and lighter when they dont have cast stuff stuck into the frame to accommodate disc brakes. i freely admit i am a curmudgeon.
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Old 12-02-17, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster
drum brakes work on bikes as well. i just think bike frames are simpler prettier and lighter when they dont have cast stuff stuck into the frame to accommodate disc brakes. i freely admit i am a curmudgeon.
Similar thinking, maybe a bit different reasons. I don't like disk brakes for commuting because:

- Parking in a crowded bike park makes it more likely to end up with a bent disk than a bent wheel.

- Disks on motorcycles and cars drag, can't be made to engage without too much travel (lever space and time) without a bit of drag. On a bicycle it's not acceptable - both the noise and the loss of power are a lot more noticeable. And with disks on a bicycle it's often the case they will need some fine tuning, paying more attention when replacing a wheel etc.

So for commuting in a flat city I live in it's more weight, more cost and more hassle for minimal gains.

For other uses - I don't like the fact that self-securing QR system doesn't work with a front brake due to caliper position, while most thru axle systems I've seen don't have a self-securing design for retention. And they seem to not hold the wheel exactly in the same place when you remove it and put it back.
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Old 12-09-17, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
longest week of your life, right?
Lol, yeah it was
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Old 12-13-17, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster
for sure i don't live in canada and like i said i would never tell someone not to get them but i get tired of hearing people parrot industry positions on disc brakes. its almost as if no one ever commuted year round without getting killed until whatever the latest fad is.
We certainly can disagree on brake choices but my advice is built around over 30 years of winter riding in Canadian winters. I have tried all types of brakes, from cantilever, V brakes and discs and there is no comparison. Rims do get iced up and it takes a few rotations of the wheel to remove that ice. Disc brakes do not have that problem. Rim brakes also wear out rims rather quickly in the winter. Sand and salt mixed with snow do wonders on the rims braking surface. I always find the biggest naysayers of disc brakes are the people who have never used them. So as a parrot I wholeheartedly endorse disc brakes for commuting in the winter in the city of Toronto. Plus it isn't just about getting killed, it is being able to stop for pedestrians who cross in front of you, the stupid squirrels who chose not sleep for the winter and the ability to hit the stop or at least slow done effectively when crossing streetcar tracks.
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