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Tips for a Newbie's Commuter Bike

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Tips for a Newbie's Commuter Bike

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Old 08-09-02, 07:29 AM
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Corri
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Tips for a Newbie's Commuter Bike

As a COMPLETE newb to the wide world of cycling, I figured I would come to a place like this for information rather than trust some salesman looking to make money off my dumbass.

Working with a budget of maybe $1500 CDN, what kind of things should I look for in a solid road bike to commute to work everyday?

The main thing would have to be comfort (I don't want to feel every little pebble on the 30km trip to work rattling my spine). It doesn't have to be too fast but it should definitely be durable!

OK, thanks for any input.
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Old 08-09-02, 08:02 AM
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Oh, and here are a few I've had a look at so far..

The Trek 1200
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Old 08-09-02, 08:05 AM
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Specialized Allez Sport
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Old 08-09-02, 08:06 AM
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Allez Sport once again

(still haven't gotten a handle on getting these imgaes to work right)
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Old 08-09-02, 08:07 AM
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The Fuji Roubaix
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Old 08-09-02, 08:08 AM
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And Fuji Newest
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Old 08-09-02, 10:06 AM
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Originally posted by Corri
Working with a budget of maybe $1500 CDN, what kind of things should I look for in a solid road bike to commute to work everyday?

The main thing would have to be comfort (I don't want to feel every little pebble on the 30km trip to work rattling my spine). It doesn't have to be too fast but it should definitely be durable!
It sounds like you might want to get a touring bike and not a road bike.

If you really want a road bike, then carbon fiber should provide the comfort you are looking for. But I don't know of any CF bikes for the price you want to spend.
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Last edited by RonH; 08-09-02 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 08-09-02, 10:08 AM
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I could look into that I guess..

What are the major differences?
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Old 08-09-02, 10:16 AM
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You may be able to get something like a Cannondale T800 for under $1500 CDN.

Not sure what other brands or models are available in Canada.
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Old 08-09-02, 10:18 AM
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One thing I would recommend is make sure that the bike you choose has eyelets ito attach a bike rack for panniers. If you do a lot of commuting, the panniers are well worth the $ since your bike carries the weight and you don't suffer from the sweaty back syndrome from riding with a backpack.

Also, I may get bashed for this but I'm a firm believer in using slime in your tires. With all of the goat heads around here the slime has saved me many flats.
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Old 08-09-02, 10:20 AM
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Thanks! I was definitely planning on investing in panniers.

And as for that Cannondale bike, looks great! So a Touring bike is just a little heavier then eh?
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Old 08-09-02, 10:48 AM
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For the kind of fast, lightly laden, all-weather riding you will do, I would recomend a light touring bike. These fall somewhere between road racers and full touring bikes. A reasonably good example is

http://www.jamisbikes.com/bikes/spec...oraspec02.html

Compared to a racing bike, it has longer chainstays (so your heels dont bash your pannier bags), and more clearance at the brakes for wider tyres and fenders.

They are lighter and nippier than full touring bikes, and excellent all-purpose bikes. I ride mine summer and winter, carry heavy shopping loads over short distances, and ride on tracks and trails.

You probably wont find them as stock in any bike shop, thay are far too good to be a mass market product, but most bike makers do make them.

Another alternative, which is better in harsher weather and poorer roads is a cyclo-cross style bike. Modern examples of this off-road racing bike come with threaded fittings and they are very practical.

You should chose your gearing according to your strength and terrain. Many racing bikes are geared too highly for daily commuting. A triple chainset is useful in hilly areas.
You also need to consider your luggage and lighting requirements.


Find yourself a good local bike shop (LBS) who dont glaze over when you talk about touring bikes.
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Old 08-09-02, 12:47 PM
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I commute using an old road bike I originally bought used. It is of the road racing geometry and I like it. Some things you should take into consideration:

I like the road bike because it is built for speed and agility, which is helpful when the road is full of traffic. Get one which has eyelets for a rack and is suitable for attaching fenders (the permanent kind that cover most of the wheel).

I think a steel frame would be the best. Good steel bikes are cheaper than good bikes of any other material and they do not weigh much more. Moreover, they actually have a chance in heck of triggering a left turn signal.
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Old 08-09-02, 12:51 PM
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OK, quick question then..

How much am I really gonna feel the difference between a steel, aliminum, cro-moly, or carbon-fibre frame??

The price difference is HUGE! 20 pounds of Carbon for $6000? O-M-G
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Old 08-09-02, 01:53 PM
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Originally posted by Corri
How much am I really gonna feel the difference between a steel, aliminum, cro-moly, or carbon-fibre frame??
How old are you and what's your size - height, weight?

I'm 57, 6', 195 pounds and can tell a lot of difference between my commuter (aluminum road bike ~22 pounds unloaded) and my 17+ pound Litespeed (titanium).

If you're an "older" rider, read Joe Friel's book Cycling Past 50 . Has lots of great information. :thumbup:
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Old 08-09-02, 01:55 PM
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20 years old, 6'2 and 180.

I knew light bikes were faster, but like I said.. I'm a NEWB. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 08-09-02, 03:27 PM
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I think you should just find a good bike shop, ride a bunch of bikes, and decide what you like best! You may be riding this thing every day, so it really should be something you like! It really all comes down to personal taste.

Equipment may be more important than bike type or brand. You will almost certainly want fenders and a good lighting system. If reliability is an issue, as you stated, you may want internal hub gears.

Flats can be a real problem in commuting. You will probably want thick tires (like Specialized Nimbus Armadillo), tuffy, and slime. A patch kit and pump are a good idea. For winter commuting, there are a variety of options (www.icebike.com).

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