Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Should I commute on a Trek 1500

Notices
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.

Should I commute on a Trek 1500

Old 03-08-04, 12:20 PM
  #1  
Albino_Litigato
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: McLean, Virginia
Posts: 26

Bikes: 1990 Lotus Road, 1995 Trek 6500 MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Should I commute on a Trek 1500

I am thinking of commuting on a Trek 1500, but before I buy, I wanted to hear from the posters on this board.

But first, get to know me. For the past three years, I have been a fair-weather commuter, riding in 20-30 times a year on a route that is 13 miles each way. It is mostly paved bike path, with a couple of miles of city roads on either end. (For D.C. types, it is about 4 miles on the W&O D trail, the entire Custis trail, about 2 miles on Mt. Vernon trail, with a couple of miles in downtown D.C.) I have been riding on a 1990 Lotus Road Odyssey, which I think has an aluminum frame.

I think with a better bike, I might be inclined to double the number of times a year I ride and, who knows, maybe even become a year round rider.

I would like my next bike to do a better job of absorbing the bumps of the roads. The Trek 1500 has an aluminum frame, with a carbon fork. Will this give me decent absorption? Do the aluminum frames of today provide better absorption than the frames of 15 years ago? Do you think that, in general, I may be better off with some type of steel frame?

I also have to believe that the Trek 1500 is going to hold up pretty well for the type of commuting I plan on doing. Please disabuse me of this notion if I am wrong. I know that the Trek 1500 has not been marketed as a commuter machine, but I do not think the bikes that are marketed as commuters (such as the Trek 7000 line) are the best bikes for a twenty-six mile commute on well-paved surfaces. If there is some reason why this bike will not hold up well for commuting, please let me know.

With respect to tires, when I looked at the Trek 1500 in a bike shop yesterday, the tires looked, to use a technical term, pretty thin. I guess they were 25c. Will that size work for my riding, or do I need to go with something wider?

I never even considered the issue of gear ratio until I started reading these boards about a month ago. I do not even know what the gear ratio on my Lotus is, but I think it is fine. When I commuted a couple of times on my mountain bike, I did observe that it lacked some good high gears for taking downhills.

Lastly, based on what I have revealed about my commuting patterns, what other bikes should I be considering? I am not wed to the idea of buying this bike. It just seems like, based on the research that I have done, that it is a good choice. Upper limit on price will be about $1,500.
Albino_Litigato is offline  
Old 03-08-04, 01:09 PM
  #2  
blueline
Senior Member
 
blueline's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Cookeville, TN
Posts: 71

Bikes: Trek 1500 (04)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I purchased an '04 Trek 1500 back in January for possible dual purpose - one, as a commuter bike; second, as a possible century/touring bike. I did a bit of virtual shopping first, since the LBS population density is very low here. I quickly narrowed my search to either Trek or Fuji. I had already owned a '79 Fuji Grand Tourer which served me well, but was left behind when we moved back to the US from Japan (returning to its birthplace, so to speak). Anyway, I already had good experience with Fuji, and everything else started off as equal in my eyes, before research.

I most seriously considered the Fuji line up to about the Fuji Robaiux Pro, including the Fuji Tourer, and the Trek line. My bet would be that any of the bikes in that range would probably make a satisfactory commuter/century bike. Both Fuji and Trek seemed to offer a good price/component combination for this purpose, compared to some of the other popular brands.

The Fuji tourer, e.g. has a Cro/Moly frame, Sora components, comes with a heavy duty alloy rack, and lists for $849, but as I recall, could be had for under $700 in my area. The big problem for me was that the nearest Fuji dealer was over 90 minutes away, did not keep touring bikes in stock, and wanted a non-refundable deposit to order one.

I had two Trek dealers within a 60 minute drive, and one of them had a '03 Trek 1000 (58 cm frame), and an '04 Trek 1500 (60 cm frame). The Treks have braze-ons for adding racks, which some of the other bikes (Klein, e.g.) did not have. I test rode both and didn't notice a lot of difference, but I went with the larger frame and the known better components on the 1500.

Background: I am 6'2", and around 220 lbs. at the moment. The bike now has a Blackburn EX-1 rack on the back, with two Arkel T-42 panniers, two old Cannondale bags (rack and seat), a homemade 20W front light, a Cateye front light, and a 5 LED Trek rear light (see included picture). The original Bontrager saddle lasted about 5 seconds before I eventually replaced it with the Brooks B17 Special. The Bontrager saddle annoyed me even during the test rides, but I figured I knew what to do about that

I have been commuting one to three times a week, by bike, on a 2.5 mile (each way) commute. The limited commute is because I am only working part time, and I sometimes cannot commute by bike for childcare reasons. So far, except for needing to get the gearing re-tuned up, I've been very happy with the result. Even loaded down with all of my stuff, the bike is very responsive and very fast. I don't know, of course, about the long term effect of all of this loading on such narrow tires (given my weight, and all), but so far it hasn't collapsed under me.

In summary, yes, the 1500 would make a fine commuter bike. You might be quite happy with another bike for the same purpose, but the 1500 will also do the job nicely.
blueline is offline  
Old 03-08-04, 01:17 PM
  #3  
MichaelW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
How is the bike for tyre + fender clearance, and rack attachments.
Personally I think you need room for 28mm + fenders on a commuter, so you are looking at long-drop caliper brakes. Check out the Gunnar Sport for ideal commuter specs.
MichaelW is offline  
Old 03-08-04, 01:26 PM
  #4  
blueline
Senior Member
 
blueline's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Cookeville, TN
Posts: 71

Bikes: Trek 1500 (04)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Albino_Litigato
I am thinking of commuting on a Trek 1500, but before I buy, I wanted to hear from the posters on this board.
...
I would like my next bike to do a better job of absorbing the bumps of the roads. The Trek 1500 has an aluminum frame, with a carbon fork. Will this give me decent absorption? Do the aluminum frames of today provide better absorption than the frames of 15 years ago? Do you think that, in general, I may be better off with some type of steel frame?
...
I never even considered the issue of gear ratio until I started reading these boards about a month ago. I do not even know what the gear ratio on my Lotus is, but I think it is fine. When I commuted a couple of times on my mountain bike, I did observe that it lacked some good high gears for taking downhills.

Lastly, based on what I have revealed about my commuting patterns, what other bikes should I be considering? I am not wed to the idea of buying this bike. It just seems like, based on the research that I have done, that it is a good choice. Upper limit on price will be about $1,500.
I realized that I skipped some of your points. As far as Steel vs. Aluminum. I don't have a strong opinion about this. To me, the bumps were bumpy with my Fuji (Cro/Moly) and the bumps are bumpy with my Trek (Al). The Trek feels like a feather (w/o all of the added gear) compared to the Fuji. Will the Al frame hold up over time - ? I hope so.

The upper gear on the Trek should be plenty of gear for level or downhill, I would think. The third sprocket is to me a dream (my Fuji was pretty good at the time with 12 speeds!), but if you are used to MTN bike ratios, then you might wish for more. The Fuji Touring bike has a Deore cassette, as I recall, so I think would give you a wider gear range, if required. I don't recall the setup on the Trek 520, but may have the same kind of setup as the Fuji, but with higher-end components.

One last thing, the 1500 frame, like many modern frames, uses a more compact design than the touring bikes, and more compact than on my old Fuji. If the frame layout makes a big difference to you, you might want to compare a touring bike (if you can find one somewhere!) vs. a road bike frame.

Finally, as usual, your mileage may vary.

Last edited by blueline; 03-08-04 at 08:03 PM.
blueline is offline  
Old 03-08-04, 07:41 PM
  #5  
Djudd
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 60
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I am a longtime everyday commuter in DC. I suggest you consider an older steel road bike. A steel bike is much more forgiving than aluminum and versatile. Here is your key to making a commute everyday adaptability. Rain, snow, heat etc. if you plan to make that commute everyday you will need to adapt to all this. An older steel bike you can fit easily with fenders (re:brake clearance), a necessity in the rain. An older frame gives you room to experiment with parts and strategies. Fpr example, you might want to change the bag you use from say messenger bag to panniers or saddlebags. An older frame (or newer touring frame) with eyelets lets you do that.
Admittedly I am a retrogrouch (I-BoB) but there is a logical reason. Unless you are climbing the L'Alpe d'Huez with Ullrich on your tail there is almost no reason to ride a bike that can't be put to several uses. A faithful commuter during the week can become a two day tourer on the weekend. My beef with these new aluminum deals is they take away from everyday riding...the kind of riding you are talking about doing. (Plus the compact frames are ugly as all get out). If you really want a project go on eBay or to a LBS and recycle and old frame find the parts that you like (I'm a superbe pro man myself) and build your own. You will do it for less than half the price and have it longer. Since I live in your area I'd be happy to help you.

Peace
Djudd is offline  
Old 03-08-04, 08:17 PM
  #6  
marnan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Hartford, CT
Posts: 147
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have been doing long distance commuting for 11 years. 38 mile round trip (3,000 commuting miles a year). Sounds like you want an Audux style fast bike with fenders and racks. Europe has a lot of these bikes sold as stock, but they are not as standard in the US. The Trek 1500 is a nice bike, but in the long run, I would recommend something like: Bianchi Volpe, Jamis Nova, Surly Pacer, or even a Trek 520 for fast commuting. You could swap to 28c or 25c tires. You have clearance for thin SKS fenders, eyelets for racks, and longer chainstays. You are more comfortable in the long run. I commute on an Aluminium Touring frame (2001 Raleigh R300) with Ultegra upgraded components (double crank with 12-27 cassette). I keep my gear in a rear trunk bag and have SKS fenders. My wheelset is Mavic MA3s (32H) with Continental 28c gatorskin tires. These tires look more like 25c than 28c. The bike weighs around 25 pounds. I also have a lighter higher-end road bike that I save for the weekends. In the long run, having 2 bikes is a nice way to go. You put the wear and tear of commuting on a stronger bike and save your lighter bike for faster rides. My 2 cents worth. Good Luck
marnan is offline  
Old 03-08-04, 10:33 PM
  #7  
iceratt
contre nous de la tyranie
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Little Siberia
Posts: 564

Bikes: Trek 830, Trek 520, Surly 1x1 fixed

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I think that one should have the lightest, stiffest, norrowest tyred bike that one can ride comfortably given the road conditions. You will work less, or get to your job more quickly, all things being equal. Where I live, I chose a Trek 520, because its pretty good in all those catagories. But if I had many more potholes, I'd ride a MTB yearound. Now I'm on the MTB, so that I can get over ice and snow more easily, but will gladdly switch when the sand, gunk, and wet stuff are cleared.

Could you test ride the 1500, wearing a backpack and going over terrain equivalent to the worst of your commute? If you'll save a million zillion dollars by commuting, could you have more than one bike?
iceratt is offline  
Old 03-10-04, 12:54 AM
  #8  
pucci
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Posts: 95
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Consider some simple questions:

1. Do you plan to ride in bad weather?

2. Will you have to leave the bike exposed to thieves and the elements?

3. Will you carry loads or keep a stock of clothing at work and travel light?

If the answer is no, no, no, then get the best road racing bike you can afford and have a blast. I do a 50km round-trip commute on a Specialized Festina SL 3 to 4 times a week. This is a no-compromise racing bike since, for me, the commute
is race training.

If you need to carry loads, look at a fast tourer/audax bike. If you plan to ride in really bad weather, think about fender clearance. Better yet, get a good rain suit, forget about fenders and use your current bike as a rain bike. I ride my old Nishiki Professional when it looks like rain. If it's already raining, will just take the train, except in summer when it is hot and the rain is unavoidable.
pucci is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.