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Things to lookout for in a commuter bike

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Things to lookout for in a commuter bike

Old 06-01-21, 02:17 PM
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Mbel3122
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Things to lookout for in a commuter bike

I知 completely new to biking, but I知 moving to Minneapolis in August and thought that biking my 4 mile commute to work would be really great!

I知 looking for a good commuter bike. I was given a single speed Takara Kabuto from a sibling, but it might need ~$100+ in services and repairs (and frankly it just looks really silly).

I知 also considering a 1981 Trek 710 ($200) or Trek 1100 ($275) or buying new ($500+). The trek bikes might be the best option as I hear good things about them and both are in good condition, but being so new I honestly have no idea what to look for for casual commuter biking and aren稚 sure of what to look for generally in used bikes. Any help is appreciated!
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Old 06-01-21, 02:39 PM
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Let's break this process down a bit. Is your commute going to be flat or hilly? If you've got hills, you'll probably want gears, otherwise the single speed might work.

How are you going to carry things to work -- things like fresh clothes or shoes, lunch, or tools or files for work? If you don't mind a backpack, any bike can work. If you want to use panniers (bike bags), you may want to make sure the bike you use has mount points for a rack to carry the panniers.

Note that even a free bike doesn't stay that way. You'll have to replace tires, chains, and brake pads regularly. But even an expensive bike (say a $1,500 new bike) will be cheaper to operate than a car.
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Old 06-01-21, 03:12 PM
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For utility-minded use, get a utility-minded bike. To me, that means fenders and a rack. If wet weather is frequent enough, a long mud flap on the front. And some gears. And a good lock.
Flats will happen. If you value your independence/don稚 have a 波uaranteed pick-up service, you also need flat fixing stuff and the skills to use it.
A floor pump at home.
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Old 06-01-21, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Let's break this process down a bit. Is your commute going to be flat or hilly? If you've got hills, you'll probably want gears, otherwise the single speed might work.

How are you going to carry things to work -- things like fresh clothes or shoes, lunch, or tools or files for work? If you don't mind a backpack, any bike can work. If you want to use panniers (bike bags), you may want to make sure the bike you use has mount points for a rack to carry the panniers.

Note that even a free bike doesn't stay that way. You'll have to replace tires, chains, and brake pads regularly. But even an expensive bike (say a $1,500 new bike) will be cheaper to operate than a car.
this has definitely given me some stuff to think about! It痴 not a very hilly commute at all, so I am certain a single speed would work fine. I wouldn稚 want to use it just for the sake of it being free. I壇 like to think I知 not that much of a cheapskate .

and I honestly didn稚 even think about how I would carry things! The single speed doesn稚 have any way to do that, while the 1981 trek has a rack installed, so certainly something to consider! I appreciate your comment!
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Old 06-01-21, 04:28 PM
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You can commute on any bike, you just have the usual problems to solve. How do you carry your stuff, how do you show up to work fresh, where do you stash the bike and your gear at work and at home, how do you deal with inclement weather or darkness or flats, and why you are doing it. The bike itself is maybe not the most crucial part, unless you are dedicated to doing a long ride daily rain or shine, in which case you are going to develop opinions of your own pretty fast.

The Trek 710 from 1981 is a true classic, it was a really high quality racing/exercise/training bike forty years ago. There are, it turns out, lots of old bikes in fairly good condition because people buy them with good intentions and never use them, and that can happen a few times. But we obviously can't tell you if that individual Trek is an untouched diamond under a layer of grime, or completely clapped out from fifteen years of racing followed by 25 years of rust, and it won't have anything built into it that has happened since.

If you look at bikes marketed for commuting, you will mostly find folding bikes, or flat-bar bikes with a broad range of gearing, and attachment points for lights and racks and fenders which might be included. But you will also find a lot of other bike styles cross-marketed for commuting. This bike can take you anywhere you want to go, whether the tallest mountain, or crushing the pavement, bla bla...
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Old 06-01-21, 05:26 PM
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Mbel3122 You're lucky. Four miles is a nice distance to figure out your bike commuting needs. At a very conservative 9 mph (about 3x walking speed) a 4 mile commute Should take about 26 minutes, plus time for traffic lights, stop signs, etc. I'm 59 and average 11-12 mph (and getting slower every year), so each mile takes me about 5.5 minutes. Others ride even faster.

Almost any bike will work for a four mile commute, and most people who are new to commuting(and bike riding) learn after a short while what they need and don't need, what they like and don't like. The important part for now is to just commute.

This commuting forum on bikeforums is a fantastic repository of information, tips and guides to successful commuting. I commuted 17 years before discovering bikeforums, and it made a huge difference in my safety and enjoyment. There are many different ways to accomplish your goal and all the things that go into it, you just have to learn what works for you and your situation.

I commuted to work 28 years until last December and I loved it! It made a huge positive impact on my physical and mental health.

I started on a 6-speed 'beach' cruiser, then chose a mountain bike, then acquired a road bike and eventually knew exactly what I wanted, then found it at a reasonable price. Each of my bikes is different, each provides a different kind of enjoyment, each works just fine for commuting with the right tires and accessories.

It doesn't take a lot of money, just ride safely, be patient and thoughtful and everything will work out.

You can do it.

Last edited by BobbyG; 06-08-21 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 06-02-21, 07:26 PM
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Another great thing about a 4 mile commute is that once you get used to it, you can start picking routes to make it longer.
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Old 06-03-21, 12:15 AM
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From September to February I had a 3-mile each way commute and used a road bike with mudguards using a backpack (rucksack) to carry my clothes for the entire week in on a Monday morning and then bringing them home on a Friday evening. My work shoes, fleece and heavy coat (I worked outside) stayed in work. The backpack was barely noticeable and it all worked really well, so well that I've kept the same arrangement for my current 12-mile each way commute albeit on a three-day week.
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Old 06-03-21, 08:58 PM
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An old road bike can be a fine commuter. For me, fenders and a side basket are desirable. Not everybody commutes in the rain, especially when just starting out, but at least knowing that you can manage an unexpected wet ride will give you more days when you're willing to take the risk. Bring along the stuff needed to fix a flat. Also, don't depend on a mini pump for your regular inflation at home. Get a nice floor pump with a gage.

Whatever tires you get will eventually wear out, then you can look for ones with puncture resistance.
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