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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.

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Old 07-02-07, 03:03 PM   #1
Joker021971
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Accessory Assistance

Iíve been riding my bike to work for over 2 months now. Iíve got a short commute of only 8.5 miles round trip. I bought this bike Ė Trek 7.2 FX Ė for the sole purpose of commuting and I havenít done much to it yet except adding a blinking taillight and a cage and water bottle. I hesitated doing anything to the bike when I first purchased it until I knew what I needed and wanted, but it is time now to pick up some accessories. Any specific recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

First, I need new pedals. The pedals that came with the bike are coming apart Ė the screws are constantly coming loose. Iím not interested in clip-ins or anything fancy, just something that doesnít fall apart and will work with my Vans. Iím a big guy (250 pounds) and I think my weight on the stock pedals might be too much?

I need a rack. I purchased a rack from a local chain store on a recommendation from the 16-year-old ďsalespersonĒ and it didnít come close to fitting. I still need to take it back, but in the meantime, I need to find one that fits my bike. If you have this bike and you have a rack, please let me know specifically what youíre using.

Iíd like to use the rack with panniers Ė actually, these bags from JensonUSA are what Iím looking at, but Iím open to other ideas. I just need to carry a change of clothes and my lunch, so I donít need huge bags.

Finally, I need fenders. I didnít think I was going to need these since Iím in a fairly dry area, but as it turns out, I can get pretty messy on my commute unless Iím careful to avoid the puddles.

To recap my rambling, I need:
  • Pedals
  • Rack
  • Fenders
  • Bags
Any recommendations would greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-02-07, 03:42 PM   #2
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For pedals, I would think any non-plastic platform would work. Here is a link to the ones offered from Nashbar (the last one listed is the only one I would definitely stay away from).

If you wanted something to get a little more power put don't want clipless, you could get PowerGrips. The above link has a pedal that comes with PowerGrips, or you could just buy them separately. Alternatively, you could get toe-clips.

If you are at all open to the suggestion of clipless, I used Crank Brother's Egg Beater C's, and was happy with them. They are viewed as MTN bike pedals, but they also work well for commuting if you need to be able to walk a bit. I eventually switched to a Look Keo pedal since I do more recreational riding on that bike than commuting.

As for fenders, all I can say is that I did not have good luck with a pair of SKS clip on ones. Other people swear by them, but I just couldn't get them to fit well on my bike. I ended up sticking with a Planet Bike rear fender that straps on to the seatpost. It looks really weird on a road bike, but it's effective at preventing getting a skunk-stripe on wet days...

I don't have a rack or panniers, so can't give you an opinion on those.
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Old 07-06-07, 09:36 AM   #3
Joker021971
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Thanks RahTx...anyone have a recommendation for racks? Anything at all...
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Old 07-06-07, 10:10 AM   #4
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As far as racks go, I've been using a Delta Mega rack from REI for over a year and am pretty happy with it. I got the adjustable one, which fits my 700c bike great, and can be adjusted to fit anything. It will definitely fit a 7.2fx. It's $28.

Bags - I'm happy with the REI Novara Transfer bags.

As far as fenders go, I'm a big fan of the PlanetBike Freddy Hardcores. You would want the Hybrid/Touring size. ebikestop.com has the best prices, but you should be able to find them for $25 most places. I don't like the SKS fenders (chromoplastics) that came with my other bike. They rub the tires, can't be adjusted like the freddies, and the plastic mounting tab broke on my front fender, and I can't seem to fix it, even with epoxy.

Items you haven't mentioned, but would be important:
a mini pump or CO2 inflator
flat repair kit
front light/blinky
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Nothing says "in good times and in bad" like a good pair of fenders
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Old 07-06-07, 11:14 AM   #5
hubcap
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Pedals: I like the MKS GR-9 as platforms. Use them with Powergrips and you have an awesome pedalling combo. http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=453

Rack: Lots of decent options out there. Tubus and Old Man Mountain make some great bombproof racks. Surly makes the Nice Rack. Blackburn, Trek, etc. all should be ok. Just be wary of the cheapest thing you come across. Also keep in mind the potential for heel strike if you are using panniers. A longer rack allows you to push the pannier further back.

Fenders: PB Freddies

Panniers: You will get wide variety of opinions of these. Generally, the more expensive brands (Ortlieb, Arkel, etc.) are going to be more durable and water resistant/proof. They also attach more securely to the rack. You have to decide how durable and water resistant you need yours to be. I carry a laptop in mine, so I don't take any chances.
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Old 07-06-07, 01:57 PM   #6
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Ditto for Power Grips. I didn't think they'd make a huge difference until I rode the other day without them.

A cycloputer or whatever they're called is a nice accessory. the only other thing I've added is some long bar ends. It's nice to stretch it out once in a while. I keep mine pretty flat. Then when I hit the mountain, I raise them up a bit.
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Old 07-06-07, 02:09 PM   #7
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I have these pedals and really like them. They are regular on one side and offer clipless on the other. I don't use the clipless much, but it's there if I need it. They're sturdy too.

I have a Trek Interchange rack on one bike and an Old Man Mountain Red Rock on the other. They have both served me well. I would think the Trek rack would fit your Trek bike.

I actually don't have fenders (gasp!), but I find that my racks, having solid bottoms, sort of act like a back fender. Of course I also don't mind getting wet and/or dirty as I shower and change when I get to work.

If you only want to carry a change of clothes and lunch, you can get by with a trunk bag. All of my bags are Arkels because I really like their quality and service (and I can afford them) I normally just use the seat bag if I'm taking keys and my cell phone, and I use the Tailrider (their trunk bag) for almost everything else. The thing looks small but holds a lot. I keep a bunch of junk in mine along with my lunch, and clothes. If shoes are an issue, leave your shoes at work. I also have the Bug which is a pannier that converts into a backpack. I only use that a few times a year when I need to bring something big into work.
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Old 07-06-07, 03:01 PM   #8
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I have a 2007 Trek FX 7.5 (I am sure its the same as the 7.2 for braze on positioning, etc), and am using a Tubus rack that I purchased here:

http://www.thetouringstore.com/TUBUS...OME%20PAGE.htm

I think the Tubus Logo and Cargo are very similar, but without the Abus U-lock carrying mounts.

Its been working out great for me. I mounted it with the left side rack "arm" outside of the rear brake's "noodle", see this pic:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/canti-direct.html

Not much clearance, but the Tubus racks are very adjustable, so I got the arm angled so as they never touch.

No probs with my pedals, maybe the 7.5 came with upgraded pedals, or it could be because I am lighter.
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Old 07-06-07, 03:11 PM   #9
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Oh, if you've only had the bike for a couple few months, the pedals might be under warranty still? Maybe you can get the shop where you purchased the bike to work with you on replacing them if you want to upgrade them, perhaps with you paying the difference of what the cost would be if you replaced and/or repaired the pedals that came with the bike? Worth trying anyway.
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Old 07-06-07, 03:30 PM   #10
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What didn't fit about the rack? I got a basic $25 Axiom rack for my 7.2FX, and it did feel like I had to spread out the supports quite a bit to get it to fit. I also had to run the top supports to the seat post clamp instead of the seatstays because the rear brake was in the way.

If you can afford it, get a rack with the bent supports pointing back - they'll let you use cheap or unevenly loaded panniers without sucking them into the wheels.

I got Axiom Cartier panniers. Can you just use one of those Appalachians, or are they connected? I usually only need one.

For pedals, I have no complaints with the stock ones, but I'm a lightweight. I put powergrips on them, then went clipless for the summer, and I'm probably going back to powergrips for the school year.

If you're using the stock tires, get hybrid or 29er fenders. Planet Bike 35mm fenders don't fit so well on 35mm tires.
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Old 07-07-07, 05:14 PM   #11
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Old Man Mountain Racks were the answer for us for our Trek 7.5 FX bikes. I didn't think anything would ever fit - especially for my very small 13" frame. I ordered over the phone from them after looking at their web site and was pleased with the service and the great racks. Our Ortliebs fit on them perfectly. I can't remember which model we got - I can look it up if you can't decide.
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Old 07-07-07, 09:33 PM   #12
JeffB502
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I've got about 915 miles on the 7.2FX that I bought in late March of this year...here's what I've found useful for me:

Pedals: I read somewhere online that the reflectors tend to fall off. I noticed one had already fallen off, and 2 were loose. I used zip ties to secure the ones that were still attached, and put reflective tape on the pedal that was missing the reflector. Haven't noticed the actual pedals coming loose from the cranks. I'm still using the stock plastic & metal platform pedals and they do fine for my commute (about 9 miles round trip).

Rack & Bags: I use a Topeak Explorer rack with a Topeak MTX trunk bag with built in expandable/fold-up panniers. Rack fit on with no problems. The bag slides into a track in the rack and clicks into place. Don't have to worry about tying it down, and it comes off quickly to take inside wherever I'm going when I have to lock the bike outside.

Fenders: Planet Bike Freddy full fenders front and rear. Haven't ridden in the rain yet, but they seem to keep the occasional liquid in the road away from me.
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