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What kind of bike is best for commuting?

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What kind of bike is best for commuting?

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Old 02-18-09, 07:52 PM
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AmandaK1987
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What kind of bike is best for commuting?

Hey

I want to start riding my bike to work. Its about 15-20 miles with a few hills in the Seattle area. Right now I have a cruiser for riding around town but I'm not sure what kind of bike would be best for that long of a ride. Thanks

**Also, does anyone know where I could find alternate bike routes to make sure I'm going the easiest/safest way?
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Old 02-18-09, 08:06 PM
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depends really what you like.... you can go with a hybrid which some come with a suspension fork or you can go with a road bike with flat bars or drop bars... its all in what you like to ride..... hybrids and road bikes are better for commuting rather than a cruiser and mountain bikes mainly because they get you from point A to point B with less energy exerted on the commute. oh and to get a better look for a route try google....type in seattle, wa under the maps tab...you sill see the map to right of your screen and some buttons, click satellite and have at it

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Old 02-18-09, 08:07 PM
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Why, a recumbent bicycle, of course........


Do you/have you ever ridden that far and on what kind of bike?
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Old 02-18-09, 08:07 PM
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Pretty long commute. Something roadish I would think, triple chain ring up front, maybe a touring bike for the comfort of day in day out riding.
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Old 02-18-09, 08:10 PM
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Get yourself to your local bike shops and test ride as many bikes as your heart desires.
Your first priority should be a bike that fits you well. Then, you want to look for the abilty to install a rear rack, fenders, front and rear lights, etc. A light touring bike is always a good choice for your distance and terrain, something like a Bianchi Volpe, Trek 520, or even a Surly LHT or Crosscheck. Again, go shopping, make a short list of the bikes you like best, then come back here with your list and we can give you some specifics based on your list to help narrow down your choice for purchase.

As far as routes, Google Maps is a good starting point...then go out and walk/drive and especially ride all the different routes you find, not only to choose your primary route, but to get to know the area and potential alternative routes too.

Good luck, you'll find a lot of great tips and advice right here in BF
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Old 02-18-09, 08:20 PM
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Thanks for the advice everyone! In response to JanMM: I rode my cruiser 55 miles once for a charity event (it was a Push America regional ride). I never thought I was going to make the entire way and had to take a few breaks but thats why I think communting on my bike would be good for me. I'm just trying to figure out something to get me to and from worker faster than a cruiser.
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Old 02-18-09, 08:35 PM
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I would suggest that you need something with enough gears to get you up the hills and with tires a bit skinnier than what is likely on your cruiser. If you were able to ride your bike 55 miles, than riding half that difference on an appropriate bike shouldn't be a problem for you.
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Old 02-18-09, 08:44 PM
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Any bike your comfortable on. If you like the feel of a cruiser most, by all means ride it. I know people who commute on their weekend carbon race bike (one person who even toured on it, yes. self sufficient.) Test ride a few, but remember, a ride around the block will only tell you so much. If you can somehow get a bike for a longer period of time, and take it on a real ride, that will be much more helpful.
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Old 02-18-09, 08:51 PM
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these

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=368115
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Old 02-18-09, 09:59 PM
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Well I think the best bike would be a Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen.

But some might say I'm biased.
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Old 02-18-09, 11:02 PM
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I commute here in the Seattle area (eastside) on a cyclocross bike with a compact double front chainring setup. 37 miles round trip with almost 2000 feet of climbing. Works fine for me, but you should see if you can demo a few different types of bikes and see what works for you.

If you post your route over in the PNW forum, there are many that can suggest alternatives.
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Old 02-18-09, 11:42 PM
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If it's not a high-end carbon racing bike, why even bother?

Just kidding. Any kind of bike is good for commuting if you like riding it. Personally, I like touring bikes with pretty wide tires, fenders, and panniers. It's not as slow as it sounds; I can ride comfortably the touring bike on flat ground with no serious headwind at 16-18 mph for extended periods of time. (Or until the next hill.)
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Old 02-19-09, 08:18 AM
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Just make sure it doesn't have any sort of suspension and does have mounts for racks/fenders if you want to carry stuff. You might also want to get something that has room for wider tires, depending on your preference.

Aside from that, you might decide whether you want drop bars or a flat bar, and go test ride some bikes.
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Old 02-19-09, 08:23 AM
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Look for a bike with mounts for fenders and racks, which could include touring, sport touring or cyclocross frames. Touring bikes are ideal for commuting but hard to find these days. A lot depends on how much gear you plan to carry. If you plan to carry a lot of stuff, look for a tourer such as the Surly Long Haul Trucker or Jamis Aurora. However, some of the sport touring frames could work just as well, and should be lighter and more nimble. Some good ones to consider are the Salsa Casseroll and Soma Smoothie ES. You might also want to consider a cyclocross bike, which a lot of commuters use because they can handle wider tires and off-road use. Examples: Surly Cross Check, Soma Double Cross, Salsa La Cruz, Bianchi Volpe.

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Old 02-19-09, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by woodenidol View Post
Pretty long commute. Something roadish I would think, triple chain ring up front, maybe a touring bike for the comfort of day in day out riding.
My thoughts exactly. I read the OP's post and the first thought that popped into my mind was 'touring bike.'

It will have a relatively comfortable riding position as well as enough gears to comfortably negotiate those hills, and it'll be able to carry stuff.
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Old 02-19-09, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
Touring bikes are ideal for commuting but hard to find these days.
Hello? 1999 called and they want their outdated news back.
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Old 02-19-09, 09:19 AM
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My commute is 17 miles. I use a cyclocross with a MTB triple (46/36/22) at the front to provide a low enough bottom gear for getting up the hills easily. I use a 12-23 cassette at the back, to avoid big jumps in gear ratio when cruising. Cyclocross bikes are lighter than tourers, which makes the hills easier. I avoided disc brakes to save weight, but they are better if you like going down hills fast.
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Old 02-19-09, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
Cyclocross bikes are lighter than tourers
Not necessarily. My Fuji World is lighter than your run-of-the-mill Cross Check, Volpe, etc.
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Old 02-19-09, 09:37 AM
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"What kind of car is best for driving?"
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Old 02-19-09, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by AmandaK1987 View Post
Hey


**Also, does anyone know where I could find alternate bike routes to make sure I'm going the easiest/safest way?
Post your question in the Pacific NW forum.

If you're comfortable giving a general idea (neighborhood, etc.) where you live, you will also like get some good bike shop recommendations.

Also, both King County and the City of Seattle public bike maps that clearly mark preferred cycling routes. I've found them really good for getting started on long-distance routes in the area - you can than make variations off of them as you need to.
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Old 02-19-09, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
"What kind of car is best for driving?"
Yellow
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"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey
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Old 02-19-09, 09:51 AM
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Thank you Chipcom, that's something we can all agree on. And don't forget, yellow bikes also go faster
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Old 02-19-09, 11:55 AM
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For route planning, you might also look at Bikely, Sanoodi, and MapMyRide to see what routes other people like. Lots of routes on those sites are recreational, and so may not take you where you want to go, but not all of them. But just seeing what roads people are riding on can give an idea of what they feel are safe areas.
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Old 02-19-09, 01:19 PM
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Starting to feel like I'm pimping for Specialized but I found this bike yesterday and saw it as my nearly perfect bike http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=38417

It has braze ons for fenders, front and back racks, 700c Nimbus flak jacket tires, 24 speeds (48 x 38 x 28t chain rings, SRAM PG-830, 8-speed, 11-32t cassette) of course no bike is perfect but I think it's a good place to start upgrading from.

The price isn't too bad either. I found it for less then MSRP. I can't afford the really fancy dream bikes. This one is obtainable.

As for route planning... yeah look at Bikely see where other people ride. Map out your own ride from your house to work paying attention to the less traveled side streets. Don't worry too much if it adds a couple of extra miles. On your day off ride the new route you made with a print out of the map and directions so you don't get lost.

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