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Talking through a new commuter build

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Talking through a new commuter build

Old 05-09-19, 10:46 AM
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matimeo
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Talking through a new commuter build

In a few months my daily commute will be shortening down to two miles. Since I have to wear dress clothes (ties, slacks, etc.), I've always worn bike gear and changed at work. But with this short distance, I think I'd like to save some time and effort and just ride to work in my dress clothes (and rain gear over the top of that in the winter).

I'm trying to figure out the perfect commuter for year round riding that would be comfortable to ride in dress clothes. I think the ride is flat enough that I can get away with a single speed bike to cut down on maintenance and also to keep the bike cleaner. The ride will be mostly on residential streets and bike paths.

So far this is what I'm toying with, and I'd love to hear your feedback:

-Aluminum track frame with carbon or steel fork (depending on what I end up buying)
-Coaster brake in the back to simplify the design, on a 700c wheelset
-I've considered putting a disc brake on the front as a backup, but I'm going back and forth about whether I want to add the clutter and maintenance of another brake. Part of me thinks if I did his, maybe I might as well just run disc brakes front and back, but I've kind of liked the idea of just the coaster brake.
-Originally had thought about using drop bars, but maybe something more upright would be a better idea for comfort while riding in dress clothes?
-Full fenders and a chain guard to keep things clean

Any other thoughts?
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Old 05-09-19, 11:38 AM
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If you can get away with a single speed, why not?
Any frame material will work.
Coaster would be fine, but I would go disc simply for hand control.
Upright/flat bars for dress clothes commuting. At least enough that your tie hangs mostly straight down your chest.
Definitely full fenders and chainguard. Single speed makes this easier.

Consider your saddle carefully. The rear/crotch area of dress pants are no match for regular cycling duty (although four miles/day isn't much). A slick saddle will be easier on the fabric of your pants. Shoes or a shoe change is another consideration because no matter the fender coverage, your feet will catch a lot of grime in anything but the nicest weather.

A 2 mile commute could be walked comfortably in about 30 minutes (even if you're pushing a bike). I'd not carry anything more than a folding lock -- no tools, tubes, pump, etc.. Minimalist to the extreme.


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Last edited by Kedosto; 05-09-19 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 05-09-19, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by matimeo View Post
In a few months my daily commute will be shortening down to two miles. Since I have to wear dress clothes (ties, slacks, etc.), I've always worn bike gear and changed at work. But with this short distance, I think I'd like to save some time and effort and just ride to work in my dress clothes (and rain gear over the top of that in the winter).

I'm trying to figure out the perfect commuter for year round riding that would be comfortable to ride in dress clothes. I think the ride is flat enough that I can get away with a single speed bike to cut down on maintenance and also to keep the bike cleaner. The ride will be mostly on residential streets and bike paths.

So far this is what I'm toying with, and I'd love to hear your feedback:

-Aluminum track frame with carbon or steel fork (depending on what I end up buying)
-Coaster brake in the back to simplify the design, on a 700c wheelset
-I've considered putting a disc brake on the front as a backup, but I'm going back and forth about whether I want to add the clutter and maintenance of another brake. Part of me thinks if I did his, maybe I might as well just run disc brakes front and back, but I've kind of liked the idea of just the coaster brake.
-Originally had thought about using drop bars, but maybe something more upright would be a better idea for comfort while riding in dress clothes?
-Full fenders and a chain guard to keep things clean

Any other thoughts?
I would say, grab a 3 speed internal hub. Definitely upright bars, because if you are wearing work clothing, the position you have in drop bars makes it difficult to deal with something tailored in the shoulders/back area.

I don't like coasters, so I would just get real brakes...but that's me!

Something like this would be great for you: https://www.prioritybicycles.com/pro...iorityclassic2
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Old 05-09-19, 01:21 PM
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It sounds like you’re trying to build a beach cruiser that for some willful reason has a track frame in the middle of it.
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Old 05-09-19, 01:28 PM
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My commute is a little over a mile to the train station. I ride a beach cruiser with a rack and a commuter pannier. I've been commuting on this bike since 1992, and my longest commute has been 3 miles one way. The only weather that will prevent me from riding my bike is when the snow on the road is still too deep to get through. It's the perfect short-distance commuter IMO. I service the bearings every once in a while (like every 5-10 years) and put used motor oil on the chain every few years. Still using the original tires. I wear my regular clothes on the bike. That used to be a suit, but the world seems to have gotten more casual so now it's chinos and a blazer. I wear overshoes and an old REI rainsuit over my work clothes when the weather is crappy. When It's dark I wear one of those construction worker safety vests. Sometimes I'll clip a light on the back, but usually not.
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Old 05-09-19, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
It sounds like you’re trying to build a beach cruiser that for some willful reason has a track frame in the middle of it.
I would think of it more like I'm trying to build a much improved version of the beach cruiser. What I have in mind certainly wouldn't be equivalent, or I would have just bought a beach cruiser already. I want better rolling 700c tires, a lighter and nimbler frame, decent components and handlebars that don't make me look like a clown. So I think that's a bit reductionist to say that's what I'm trying to do.

I do very much appreciate any and all feedback- because in the end maybe I am just glorifying the beach cruiser and that may not be the idea cruiser. Feedback on using a coaster brake for this type of commute would also be nice, since that will be a first for me (since childhood).

Last edited by matimeo; 05-09-19 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 05-09-19, 01:41 PM
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Perhaps you're right.

Take a second look at that Priority. I had a first generation version, the newer one fixes pretty much all the issues I had with it. It's pretty much all aluminum except the fork and spokes, weighs somewhere in the mid-20's even before any weight weenie improvements.
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Old 05-09-19, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Perhaps you're right.

Take a second look at that Priority. I had a first generation version, the newer one fixes pretty much all the issues I had with it. It's pretty much all aluminum except the fork and spokes, weighs somewhere in the mid-20's even before any weight weenie improvements.
That is an intriguing option I hadn't seen before, worth considering. Still not sure I want this bike to have to deal with gears or rim brakes (they don't work well here in the rain). I do like the belt drive.
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Old 05-09-19, 02:33 PM
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Have you considered the other option and take the l o n g way to work? I'm sure you could devise an interesting route that's longer than two miles.
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Old 05-09-19, 03:28 PM
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My coaster brake works great if that's a concern of yours. Regarding that priority, I wouldn't have a commuter without fenders, and belt drive seems like a gimmick to me. Chains last a long time on a single speed and they are super cheap to replace. I have another bike with drum brakes, a 3 speed IGH and dynamo lighting that would be an awesome commuter, but I don't like leaving nice bikes locked up outside. I run a waxed chain on that one so I don't need a chainguard.
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Old 05-09-19, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by matimeo View Post
That is an intriguing option I hadn't seen before, worth considering. Still not sure I want this bike to have to deal with gears or rim brakes (they don't work well here in the rain). I do like the belt drive.
Internal gear hubs, especially the 3 speeds, are basically bullet proof! The maintenance is very very minimal. In your case, once a year you add some oil. Also they are great for commuting since you can shift while stopped. I am sure you can also find a disk quipped 3-speed.

The Priority bike also has a coaster rear brake.

Personally, the last recent times I tried a coaster - once in Amsterdam, and once from a hotel bike rental, it was really hard for me to modulate. But I went from coaster brake to brake levers in basically my second kid bike. Around age 9-10, so I hardly remember using a coaster.
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Old 05-09-19, 08:17 PM
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The Priority has standard fender mounts, and a chain drive swap would cost maybe thirty bucks.

They put some thought into it, really.
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Old 05-09-19, 11:00 PM
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Apart from the track ends and 700C wheels, you're dangerously close to reinventing the English 3-speed.
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Old 05-10-19, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by matimeo View Post
In a few months my daily commute will be shortening down to two miles. Since I have to wear dress clothes (ties, slacks, etc.), I've always worn bike gear and changed at work. But with this short distance, I think I'd like to save some time and effort and just ride to work in my dress clothes (and rain gear over the top of that in the winter).

I'm trying to figure out the perfect commuter for year round riding that would be comfortable to ride in dress clothes. I think the ride is flat enough that I can get away with a single speed bike to cut down on maintenance and also to keep the bike cleaner. The ride will be mostly on residential streets and bike paths.

So far this is what I'm toying with, and I'd love to hear your feedback:

-Aluminum track frame with carbon or steel fork (depending on what I end up buying)
-Coaster brake in the back to simplify the design, on a 700c wheelset
-I've considered putting a disc brake on the front as a backup, but I'm going back and forth about whether I want to add the clutter and maintenance of another brake. Part of me thinks if I did his, maybe I might as well just run disc brakes front and back, but I've kind of liked the idea of just the coaster brake.
-Originally had thought about using drop bars, but maybe something more upright would be a better idea for comfort while riding in dress clothes?
-Full fenders and a chain guard to keep things clean

Any other thoughts?
European city bike with street clothes, no reason to make this complicated.

Essentials include: IGH, dynamo, fenders, inexpensive.

https://www.fahrradmanufaktur.de/en/...gates-830-2019

Day in, day out, you won't beat this bike. Should last about 10 years of daily with zero adjustment/maintenance. Leave it outside and bikes don't belong inside.
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Old 05-10-19, 08:49 AM
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If you're riding in a tie and don't want to look like a clown, don't ride a track bike. Definitely something upright, with the SS/chainguard you want a very townie kind of bike
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Old 05-10-19, 10:01 AM
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I had a similar idea for my 8-mile commute and set up a fixed gear/single speed bike. Steel frame, rim brakes front and back, fenders, full chain cover (not just a guard). Add a rack and trunk bag for convenience. Maintenance is as close to zero as you get without doing something weird. Eventually stuff wears out, but it takes much much longer and I don't ever really mess with it until it does.


I have been 100% satisfied with that setup, and I do ride in office dress clothes in the cooler months. The only downside is that I'm slightly slower on that bike because of setting up more upright as well as completely disregarding weight. The upside of that is that everything is almost ridiculously cheap when you ignore how much it weighs.


Of course, lights are permanently affixed. I leave the trunk bag on on rack - it's too convenient to do otherwise.


Regarding the handlebar style, I wanted flat bars originally but was sent drop bars, and after consideration decided that I just didn't care. I set them up a little higher, works for me. Personally I wouldn't trade for disc brakes because the rim brakes are simple, effective, and not even used that much since I settled on riding fixed.
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Old 05-10-19, 10:33 AM
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Belt drive with an IGH. Fenders, rack and disc brakes.
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Old 05-10-19, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Apart from the track ends and 700C wheels, you're dangerously close to reinventing the English 3-speed.
Except it won't double as a boat anchor.
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Old 05-10-19, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by matimeo View Post
Except it won't double as a boat anchor.
Yep.
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Old 05-13-19, 01:47 PM
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I just put north road style bars on my PX-10 and it is quite the nice light bike. Grab some light weight horizontal dropout, fender brazeon bike and put the coaster brake hub on it with nice cruiser bars. Plus if your are riding in nice clothes get one of those poncho things like from Caradice. I have wanted to try one of those but it gets a little windy here.
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Old 05-13-19, 01:52 PM
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The Raleigh Tourist seems to check a lot of your boxes and it's only $250 right now.
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Old 05-13-19, 02:16 PM
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??? The MSRP of that leather saddle is almost half of the price of that bike!

If they had larger than 56cm in stock, I might've just bought one. (Almost thinking about buying one just so I can sell it for $400 after the sale is done)
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Old 05-13-19, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
??? The MSRP of that leather saddle is almost half of the price of that bike!
really? I don't think so, it's just another replica saddle.
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Old 05-13-19, 02:40 PM
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According to the Amazon reviews, everything about that raleigh tourist is super cheap. My daughter is moving off campus and needs a bike the last two years of college, so I've been looking for something in the disposable price range.
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Old 05-13-19, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
According to the Amazon reviews, everything about that raleigh tourist is super cheap. My daughter is moving off campus and needs a bike the last two years of college, so I've been looking for something in the disposable price range.
Why buy new? College towns/cities have tons of bike co-ops and she won't have to deal with the hassle of a theft annoying her. Also, the sunk cost (CO2 emissions have already been produced making the first bike).
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