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Planning for long commute

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Planning for long commute

Old 10-30-09, 08:40 PM
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habals
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Planning for long commute

Hi,

I'm a new to the forum, and this is my first post.
I'm planning for a long(12.5 miles) commute every day, and looking for a bike.

I've read many reviews, and talked to local store guys, and narrow down my choice to
between Cannondale Synapse 5, Specialized Allez Elite Compact, and Trek 520.
(Allow me I'm not knowledgeable on bikes)
I tried to find CAAD9-5, but can't find it at any local shop.

Well. I have a couple of questions + want to hear about your opinion.
(Please no opinions like "search the forum" because I actually read a lot,
bu I want to clarify many things)

I liked Synapse 5 the best, but only downside is that I can't install a rack besides beam racks.
I have to carry 15" MacBook Pro, LunchBox, and clothes, which I think would be around 20lbs.
Q1 Synapse 5 + Topeak beam rack == good idea for commuting?
Q2 Do paniers that fits on beamrack big enough for 15" laptop?

I haven't test ride Allez, but it seems 105 components & have rack mount point.
I like the way Trek 520 rides, but the shifter location was far from the hand position.

...
However, local bike shop offered $1500 for Synapse 5, but I found that REI sells
it for $1349 (+additional 10% membership rebate).
Q3 Is there a reason to buy a bike at local shop for $150 more instead of REI?
I wonder why the price is so different.

Q4 Any other bike you recommend for this kind of commuting?
BTW, I live at Annandale, VA and commuting to Arlington, VA.

Any comments will be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 10-30-09, 08:48 PM
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Your bike shop can be your new friend.
You will have problems and they should have the answers.

I use a Topeak Seat Post Rack for Touring.

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Old 10-30-09, 09:08 PM
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I have Topeak beam rack. I like it very much. Now they have bug for laptop http://www.topeak.com/products/Bags/MTXOfficeBag

Other option - messenger bug. It's going to be good for cold season. Starting from May it's better to have a rack.
 
Old 10-30-09, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by habals View Post
Q3 Is there a reason to buy a bike at local shop for $150 more instead of REI?
I wonder why the price is so different.
REI is a great place to buy stuff - fantastic return policy.
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Old 10-30-09, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
REI is a great place to buy stuff - fantastic return policy.
A Touring Bike with fenders would be best for you.

http://www.surlybikes.com/bikes/long...cker_complete/
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Last edited by 10 Wheels; 10-30-09 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 10-30-09, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
A Touring Bike with fenders would be best for you.

http://www.surlybikes.com/bikes/long...cker_complete/
First of all, thanks for your kind reply.
Why does most touring bikes have shifters at the end tip of drop bar handle?
I feel it inconvenient.
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Old 10-30-09, 09:46 PM
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They are easy to use once you have them.
Brifters are much more expensive to replace.

Ride some touring bikes. Make your own decision.
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Old 10-30-09, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
REI is a great place to buy stuff - fantastic return policy.
Oh. That is good to know. I never thought bikes are covered by the return policy.
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Old 10-30-09, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by fast View Post
I have Topeak beam rack. I like it very much. Now they have bug for laptop http://www.topeak.com/products/Bags/MTXOfficeBag

Other option - messenger bug. It's going to be good for cold season. Starting from May it's better to have a rack.
http://www.rei.com/product/768570
Messenger bag seems pricey.
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Old 10-30-09, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by habals View Post
http://www.rei.com/product/768570
Messenger bag seems pricey.
Timbuk2 makes a great backpack sorta similar to that one, for $100

http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/...mlock-backpack

REI should have it for sale. It has a crazy amount of storage space
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Old 10-30-09, 10:39 PM
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Is front fender a must for commuting? Do you know if I can install one for Synapse 5?
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Old 10-30-09, 11:27 PM
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Look ar cyclocross bikes like the Brodie Ronin, Specialized Tricross or Kona Jake the Snake. These will have space to fit fenders and 28 or 32 mm wide tires , which you will need for the extra baggage weight. They wont be as heavy as a touring bike and will have more nimble handling., You can reduce baggage weight by keeping lock, towel, shampoo, shoes and some clothes at work. Regular racks can be installed on undrilled frames using P clips - this will keep the weight lower than on the high seatpost rack shown above.
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Old 10-30-09, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
Look ar cyclocross bikes like the Brodie Ronin, Specialized Tricross or Kona Jake the Snake. These will have space to fit fenders and 28 or 32 mm wide tires , which you will need for the extra baggage weight. They wont be as heavy as a touring bike and will have more nimble handling., You can reduce baggage weight by keeping lock, towel, shampoo, shoes and some clothes at work. Regular racks can be installed on undrilled frames using P clips - this will keep the weight lower than on the high seatpost rack shown above.
+1... Sage advice. The ability to mount fenders and wider tires is a HUGE plus...
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Old 10-31-09, 03:58 AM
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My commute is 17 miles each way. I have both a "road" bike and a "hybrid" (which is what I commute on primarily). If I had it to do over again I definitely would have bought a cyclocross bike. It has the speed of a road bike (well, almost) plus the ability to add larger tires and fenders.

IMO you cannot commute without both front and rear fenders (unless you stick to "nice days" only). You also need a rear rack. Road bikes without the ability to add these things should not even be considered.
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Old 10-31-09, 05:12 AM
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IMO you cannot commute without both front and rear fenders (unless you stick to "nice days" only). You also need a rear rack. Road bikes without the ability to add these things should not even be considered.
Definitely, also in some cases lights are necessary. I commute on an Xtracycle. I like it. I also know that it is less than an ideal setup for most folk.
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Old 10-31-09, 08:05 AM
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As others have said, I'd probably look at a cyclocross or touring bike - I've got a hybrid now (Trek 7000) and am wishing I had drop bars. My storage setup is to put my laptop in a cheap laptop case, then inside a large waterproof pannier ($64.99 at Performance, on sale right now). The other pannier contains change of clothes, extra clothing for cold weather, lunch, spare tubes, and tools with which to deal with a flat. My rack is the el cheapo from Performance ($30) - it is not the seat post beam rack, but the kind that attaches to eyelets on the seat tube and rear wheel area. There are beam racks that are pannier compatible, but I like the kind I've got better. Round off with a good lock, and some reflective tape and lights, and that's my setup. Some guy on here keeps mentioning a Schwinn cyclocross bike for around $700 - that seems like a good place to start. I'd also look at the Surly Cross Check or Surly Long Haul Trucker - I think one of those two is going to be my next purchase. In any case, when shopping I would look for the ability to mount wide (at least 32mm) tires with fenders that will clear them.
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Old 10-31-09, 08:36 AM
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Look for a touring or sport touring bike. The Salsa Casseroll or Surly Long Haul Trucker are good options. I also like the Soma ES or their new touring frame. I commuted for nearly 2 years on an Italian racing frame before buying a Bob Jackson World Tour last winter. The touring frame is much nicer for carrying gear, and has mounts for fenders and racks. It also has canti brakes for better stopping power and will take larger tires. The Trek 520 is a decent touring bike as well.

Whatever you get, make sure it fits you. You are on the right track looking at road or cyclocross bikes. My commute is about 22 miles RT, and I would not enjoy it nearly as much if I had to ride a mountain bike. However, if your roads are bad or you ride on trails/gravel, then a mtn or cross bike are decent options.
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Old 10-31-09, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_antares View Post
IMO you cannot commute without both front and rear fenders (unless you stick to "nice days" only). You also need a rear rack. Road bikes without the ability to add these things should not even be considered.
I've commute without rear fender. It's just doesn't fit to my chip-chip Scattante R-330.
But I have beam rack from Topeak, and it's work like rear fender very well. I have only front fender. It keep my chain off the dirt on wet days.

Also there are the $5 fender attachment for Topeak beam rack. http://www.amazon.com/Topeak-MTX-DeF...f=pd_sim_sg_23

One more good thing about Topeak - all of the bags has special strap to attach rear strobe light.
 
Old 10-31-09, 09:29 AM
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Thanks for sharing all your opinions. I think I'd do some more research on cyclocross bikes, and try out the models mentioned here. I'll keep you posted when I actually get one.
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Old 10-31-09, 10:02 AM
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How is the reputation for Cannondale Cyclocross 5? It seems 105 components group. Perhaps easier to pedal than Surly models? I can't check if Cyclocross 5 can have a fender, but I can see the hole for the rear rack.
http://www3.cannondale.com/bikes/10/...R5C_0XR5T.html
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Old 10-31-09, 10:39 AM
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My commute is 23 miles round trip. I have a touring bike with bar end shifters, but other types of bikes could work.

Some things that I wouldn't want to ride without:

1. Full front and rear fenders.

2. Rear rack and panniers.

3. Lights.

The above 3 things give your bike utility to ride in wet or dry weather, day or night, and carry stuff you need for work and to make minor repairs on the road. I wouldn't want a commuting bike without that stuff.
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Old 10-31-09, 10:04 PM
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That is a nice bike and you already know you like the feel of a Cannondale. If you have any hills on your route, you may want to consider a triple chainring to cope with the baggage weight. Hills always seem longer and steeper after a long working day.
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Old 11-01-09, 05:06 AM
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You can use a touring bike or a road bike for a long, fast commute with some luggage but neither is ideal. The perfect long-commute bike is somewhere inbetween. It is quite a rare style in the USA but Raleigh make one, the Clubman.
The defining features are long-drop caliper brakes to accept 28mm tyres+fenders (some fit 32mm tyres), luggage and fender eyelets.
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Old 11-01-09, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
The defining features are long-drop caliper brakes to accept 28mm tyres+fenders (some fit 32mm tyres), luggage and fender eyelets.
I agree that you need eyelets for racks and fenders, but I'm not so sure that long drop caliper brakes are important. Many suitable commuting bikes have cantilevers, direct pull (V-type) or disc brakes. Also, 28 mm tires are the smallest I would ever consider (but then, I'm a big guy). My current setup uses a 32 mm tire in the rear, and I'm considering a winter tire that is a 35mm. This means that I need even more clearance than most oversize calipers would provide.
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Old 11-01-09, 07:34 PM
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Here's my rig:

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cross_cx2.htm

http://www.brandscycle.com/product/j...er-10169-1.htm

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000ACAMEM

Lighting consists of 2 niterider tailrat 2.0 and universal taillight w/2 planetbike superflash blinkies. Also, a 'knog' front blinkie for daylight riding.

Topeak Road Morph w/gauge, tubes, Park mtb-3 multi tool, Pyramid metal tire levers, universal spoke wrench, patch kit and headlamp from Wallyworld for 10.00. In case of night time repairs I'll have hands free lighting. SKS Race blade fenders and Schwalbe Marathon Plus 28mm tires complete my commuter rig.

All in all I've got about 1100.00 tied up in what I consider to be first rate equipment. My daily rt commute is 40 mi. My approach is as if I'm on tour. Also, carry extra spokes, a few links of chain, pepper spray(for dogs), etc. Being overprepared isn't a problem.
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