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Good commuting road bike?

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Good commuting road bike?

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Old 01-22-07, 01:50 PM
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draxine
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Good commuting road bike?

Hi all, I've been riding a cheap raleigh mtb to college for the past 5 months, and seeing as it's pretty knackered already i'm looking to buying a decent entry-level road bike. The journey is about 20-25 miles a day, and I'd like to take a new road bike for some weekend rides.

Basically, I've read on here that the Trek 1000 is generally considered to be a good beginners' road bike, but I haven't heard much about it from commuters. Any of you guys know if it's a good sturdy commuter bike?

Other options for about the same price are the Specialized Allez series and the Carrera Vanquish, but i have no idea if these are any good either

Thanks!
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Old 01-22-07, 01:57 PM
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x37
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You might want to consider a touring bike, such as the Trek 520. Touring bikes are good for commuting, because they can accept fenders and racks, and wider, more versatile tires.
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Old 01-22-07, 02:11 PM
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I think some of the best bikes for road biking and commuting are cyclocross bikes. They have the same aggressive geometry as most road racing bikes (although sometime slightly more relaxed), but a much sturdier frame and often come equipped with braze-on mounts for racks and fenders.

On the low end of the scale (although certainly not cheap or really that inexpensive), I'd consider a Bianchi Volpe. Some other slightly more expensive options would include a Surly Cross-Check, a Kona Jake, and a Lemond Poprad or Poprad Disc. All of these bikes work make for great dual purpose road racing and commuters.

I'd hesitate to ride a pure road bike like the Trek 1000 commuting. Some people do it and absolutely love it. I don't, however. I prefer my commuter to be much more sturdy and a little more upright. When I bought my road racing bike a couple of years back, I anticipated commuting on it quite often but not only was it not that comfortable for it, it just wasn't well suited for the task. The tires were too thin, it didn't have fender mounts, I hated wearing my Speedplay cleats for a commute, and it felt too fragile or slinky for weaving through the potholes. YMMV of course.
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Old 01-22-07, 02:22 PM
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I agree with the previous posts - the three things to look for in a Road/Commuter bike are:
1. Ability to take racks
2. Ability to take 28 - 32 mm tires
3. Ability to put fenders on.

I ride a 1983 Trek 720 with Sun CR18 wheels and 28mm tires, a rear rack with trunk bag and fenders - which weighs in at 27 lbs. When I take off the rack and fenders and replace the wheels with a lighter set and 25mm tires the weight drops to 23 lbs and it is perfect for general road riding. I use it on club rides with the B or C group and most of my longer solo rides. I do take my Lemond for A rides, but that is more for the handling and the better performance on hills.
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Old 01-22-07, 03:19 PM
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Here are a couple of shots of my jamis nova. I really like it, I've had tires as large as 700/38's on it but like the michalin city ones better. I am considering front low rider rack and small panniers. It's dressed up like a tank now with the fenders and big tires and stuff but if I want I can strip that stuff off and put some thinner tires on for a nice responsive ride.

If I had it to do over I would have looked harder at a touring model. I limited myself to selections in my LBS, plus I'm small so a touring model may have stretched me out too much. The surly LHT looks nice though.



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Old 01-22-07, 05:31 PM
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They're all the same. Picking between entry level road bikes is like picking between a Honda Civic and a Toyota Camry, one isn't really better than another, and they're hardly indistinguishable from one another aside from the brand name painted on it. Just get whichever one fits.

If you want to use use racks or fenders, get one with rack/fender eyelets, that's about the biggest difference you'll actually notice.
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Old 01-22-07, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by draxine
Hi all, I've been riding a cheap raleigh mtb to college for the past 5 months, and seeing as it's pretty knackered already i'm looking to buying a decent entry-level road bike. The journey is about 20-25 miles a day, and I'd like to take a new road bike for some weekend rides.

Basically, I've read on here that the Trek 1000 is generally considered to be a good beginners' road bike, but I haven't heard much about it from commuters. Any of you guys know if it's a good sturdy commuter bike?

Other options for about the same price are the Specialized Allez series and the Carrera Vanquish, but i have no idea if these are any good either

Thanks!
If you are parking this bike at school, you should give serious consideration to a used bike. I'd hate to spend $1200 bucks on a Trek 520 and then lock it up to any bike rack that wasn't completely secure.
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Old 01-22-07, 06:40 PM
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If you don't change gears much, you might want to look into a single speed or fixed gear road bike. Giant sells the Bowery which is pretty affordable, low-key (not as attractive to vandals/thieves as the brightly colored competition road bikes), light-weight, and easy to maintain.
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Old 01-22-07, 07:16 PM
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hmm, thanks to all the replies

I'll definitely need something that can fit fenders, but a rack isn't too important as I don't usually carry much and a rucksack should be more than enough.

I'm not familiar with the term cyclo-cross bike here. Are those like touring bikes? If so don't they tend to be quite heavy? And are there major differences in the gearing between the two?

If you don't change gears much, you might want to look into a single speed or fixed gear road bike. Giant sells the Bowery which is pretty affordable, low-key (not as attractive to vandals/thieves as the brightly colored competition road bikes), light-weight, and easy to maintain.
I don't think a fixed gear bike will be for me either as there are a few hills on my journey. Also, won't a fixed-gear be bad for when i go on weekend rides? One of the main problems I have at the moment with my mtb is that I top out often on flats and riding in any kind of wind is a pain because of the upright-ish sitting position.
A friend on mine who does the trialathon recommended the Giant OCR series as a cheaper alternative (he rides a trek 1000 and highly recommends it, but I have to think hard before spending that much money).
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Old 01-22-07, 07:20 PM
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When you go to college on a bike you take a fairly decent risk on having it stolen. I would continue to ride that bike to college and or work. And if you wanting to make it a tad faster then upgrade the wheels to lighter ones.

The suggestions for buying a touring bike to commute on are sound. Both the Trek 520 and the Jamis Nova (which is owned by Trek) are good bikes for the money. Not sure what the price is on the Jamis, but the Trek runs about $1200 when not on sale and comes with racks and most fenders will fit. Try to find last years models and you could save about $500. And according to Roadbike Review the Trek got a higher review. Also the Fuji World touring bike is another great bike for the jack.
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Old 01-22-07, 07:24 PM
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I mostly recommend the bowery because of the low-key paint job, but the Trek 520 is just as good in that respect, and it does have gears. The thing about most road bikes from major companies is that they have really bright & eye-catching colors, which is cool for fitness and competition, but can you imagine a Discovery Channel Madone locked up to a stop sign outside, or on a bike rack with the Huffy-Murrays? If you can keep your bike in the same room that you work in at all times, then the Giant OCR would be a great bike & value, otherwise it might be hard to find an appropriate road bike that isn't all about gaudiness. Look into Trek's Portland, too.
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Old 01-22-07, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by freako
When you go to college on a bike you take a fairly decent risk on having it stolen. I would continue to ride that bike to college and or work. And if you wanting to make it a tad faster then upgrade the wheels to lighter ones.

The suggestions for buying a touring bike to commute on are sound. Both the Trek 520 and the Jamis Nova (which is owned by Trek) are good bikes for the money. Not sure what the price is on the Jamis, but the Trek runs about $1200 when not on sale and comes with racks and most fenders will fit. Try to find last years models and you could save about $500. And according to Roadbike Review the Trek got a higher review. Also the Fuji World touring bike is another great bike for the jack.
Yeah I've already had my saddle once and am a bit cautious about riding an expensive bike to college.
I've considered upgrading my current mtb, but it'd only bought it for 130 ($250?) in a sale and considering the cost of all the replacements wouldn't be better to get a decent bike with good components?
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Old 01-22-07, 08:35 PM
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A cyclocross bike is much closer to a road bike than a touring bike. They're not particularly heavy, although they fall somewhere in between (usually) a comparably sized road bike and touring bike in weight.
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Old 01-22-07, 08:53 PM
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1+ on touring bikes (check out the Novarra Randonee) and cyclocross bikes for commuting. I'm a big fan of the Bianchi Volpe. Folks around here love their Jamis bikes which are a good value.

I have a Trek Portland, which is about twice the price of the 1000. Better components, carbon fork, disc brakes, fenders, gearing more for hauling and touring. Trek markets it as a "commuter" bike, but I more think of it as a road bike for the rain (though I rode it in the snow tonight). I take it on weekend group rides.

Most important thing if you're going to buy new is to visit a bunch of bike shops and get your rear on a bunch of bikes in your price range. Happy hunting.
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Old 01-22-07, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by greenstork
A cyclocross bike is much closer to a road bike than a touring bike. They're not particularly heavy, although they fall somewhere in between (usually) a comparably sized road bike and touring bike in weight.
Cyclocross specs that i've seen so far tend to have a smaller large front cog compared to the road bikes. Would this affect the speed of the bike by very much?
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Old 01-22-07, 09:02 PM
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Road bikes are usually geared higher to accommodate pedaling on high speed descents. Most of my commuting is under 50kph however. As such, I could easily get by with mountain bike or touring gearing on the front ring. I have never really needed or wanted anything larger than a 48t chainring.

An 11 speed cog on your rear cassette is a significant jump from a 12 and 13 speed cog, making it much easier (and inexpensive) to adjust your gearing simply by changing out the rear cassette.

If you have concerns about speed, which I think shouldn't really affect you at all, enter in the gearing into Sheldon Brown's gear calculator and see what happens with 80 and 100 revolutions per minute cadence. In most instances, your largest ring, with an 11t rear cog is going to put up around 50kph or more, which is plenty fast for most occasions.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/

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Old 01-23-07, 03:14 PM
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I have a Specialized Sequoia which is a pretty nice commuter -- it has eyelets for racks and fenders, and a little bit more comfortable geometry than a road racing bike, but it's quicker than a touring bike.

But as other people have said, for college it might be wise to have a cheap bike. There are lots of older 10-speed or 12-speed road bikes available for cheap, and they usually make good commuters (good tire clearance, rack/fender eyelets).
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