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Looking for an "all weather" commuter

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Looking for an "all weather" commuter

Old 10-31-09, 05:11 AM
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cyber_hawke
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Looking for an "all weather" commuter

Am in the DC area and looking to buy an all weather commuter bike. Have been considering the Cannondale with disc brakes, but not very knowledgable about what is out there. Would like to stay around the $1300-1500 range. Do ride in very hilly areas sometimes so a wide range of gears is critical ( I think). Should I be looking at another line of bikes. Other than Trek, Giant, or Specialized...who should I be looking at?
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Old 10-31-09, 05:13 AM
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How far is the commute?
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Old 10-31-09, 05:20 AM
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If you ride in the snow a lot you might want to consider an internal gear hub as they don't get clogged up with snow like derailleurs do, meaning you can actually shift in the wintertime. I'm very happy with my Alfine.
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Old 10-31-09, 05:26 AM
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You can get a nice Jamis (steel or otherwise) for that kind of money. Check those out, too.
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Old 10-31-09, 05:46 AM
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All weather I'd be looking at Cross bikes. Specialized TriCross, Trek XO, Fuji Cross, lots of good choices out there. Pretty much as fast as a road bike, take wider tires and fenders, and with the wider tires comes a more compliant ride.
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Old 10-31-09, 07:20 AM
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You need to figure out your max tyre size . Do you want to fit studded snow tyres, MTB/cyclo-cross knobblies or just normal wet-weather winter commuter tyres. How rough and potholed are the roads?
Disc brakes are good in wet winter conditions; wet and dirty rims significantly affect braking and you have to keep the rims clear by feathering the brakes. I don't know if hydraulic brakes have any advantages for city riders, my cable disks seem OK.
Hub gears such as Alfine are low maintenance and give the same gear range as an 11-34 cassette on a single front ring. With hub gears, you need to pay attention to the chain tensioning system. Dearilleur-like chain tensioners are good for conversions but a cop-out by manufacturers for re-using derailleur style frames. Horizontal style dropouts are simple but may have brake alignment issues with discs. Sliding dropouts are a good solution. Eccentric bottom brackets can be good but some types are notorious for slipping, sticking or squeaking.
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Old 10-31-09, 08:47 AM
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More Data

Actually will probably not ride during a snowstorm, unless caught in one. Paths are pretty well paved and I typically ride 15-20miles to and from work. Lots of wet weather but not much in the way of mud/snow.

As I am not a light weight, I think I want discs to make sure I can slow down when needed.
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Old 10-31-09, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by cyber_hawke View Post
Actually will probably not ride during a snowstorm, unless caught in one. Paths are pretty well paved and I typically ride 15-20miles to and from work. Lots of wet weather but not much in the way of mud/snow.

As I am not a light weight, I think I want discs to make sure I can slow down when needed.
Disc are also great in wet weather and really save on the rim wear that wet weather is famous for. Do you want a bike with flat or drop bars?
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Old 10-31-09, 08:52 AM
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I have been riding to work in the DC area year-round for twelve years. I echo the recommendation for internal gears. I rode for two years with a derailleur hybrid, and it was like using a violin to pound nails. I have a seven speed hub and it gets me up any hill in the area, even towing a child in a trailer, so gear range is not too critical.

There is a daily freeze and thaw cycle here, so Nokian Hakkipilita W106 tires are good to have. They are not cheap, but my current set has lasted 7 years and about 4,000 miles so far. They go on in December and come off in March. The snow is wet and soft, so about a 35-38 mm tire is good. I use drum brakes, but disks are probably also OK. Rim breaks wear out fast here, as do the rims. No way I would want them for daily use here. Lots of sand and so much salt that it is amazing that trees still grow. My bike is aluminum, but I just replaced the steel fenders, as they had rotted out after eight years. I'm not sure how well a steel frame bike would fare, and I don't want to do the experiment.

Manufacturers -- dunno. I ride a European commuter bike that is not generally available in the US. Breezer makes bikes that are in your price range, would work well for winter transport, and are available in this area. I don't recommend buying anything that you can't test ride, because bike preference is really individual.

Oh, yeah -- lights. Get good ones. That's much more important than bike brand, as only some winter nights are snowy, but all are dark.


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Old 10-31-09, 10:22 AM
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Two I found on the internet

I found two good candidates on the internet: the Fuji Absolute 1.0 and the Cannondale Quick CX Ultra.

Lights are critical and I have a good set of those.

Am I missing a bike that I should be looking at?
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Old 10-31-09, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by cyber_hawke View Post
I found two good candidates on the internet: the Fuji Absolute 1.0 and the Cannondale Quick CX Ultra.

Lights are critical and I have a good set of those.

Am I missing a bike that I should be looking at?
Drop or flat bars?
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Old 10-31-09, 11:28 AM
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Echoing the suggestions here - look at cross bikes, make sure it can take full fenders and wider tires. For carrying clothes, etc- can you mount a rack + panniers or must use a backpack? Rim brakes have been OK for me but I'd look at discs. Don't forget lights - Planet Bike Superflash is IMHO the best less-expensive taillight; but I swear by my Dinottes. I've been OK with a derailluer but I'm prepared to single-speed it and I clean and lube the chain more frequently.

The challenge of DC winters is one area can be snow-covered, another ice, and a3rd part of the region all rain, and this can change over the day. Last winter was mild and I think there were just a few weeks in Jan and Feb where I could not ride daily because of snow/ice or threat of same, and some may have been rideable if I changed my route off the W&OD onto some plowed streets. I've ordered studded tires so I may be trying more severe conditions this season.

There is a local email group on Yahoo that has a lot of commuter discussions - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BikeWashingtonDC/

Ride safe!
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Old 10-31-09, 11:54 AM
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Flat Bars

After commuting for several months with my road bike and drop bars, definitly want flat bars...just seem to give more control and easier to shift without moving around on the drop bar. Agreed on the varying conditions of the trails here.....have experienced black ice last year and still have a scar to prove it. Carry chain lube with me during the winter......

Funny thing though, I drive part way because there is no trail where I live, but I have gotten to the car on the bike only to find I cant drive home....now that is crazy

I will give the DC commuter forum a look...thanks

Where can you buy Cannondale or Fuji? Local bike shops in Woodbridge don't carry them.
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Old 10-31-09, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by cyber_hawke View Post
Where can you buy Cannondale or Fuji? Local bike shops in Woodbridge don't carry them.
One shop that has a lot of Cannondale is Bicycle Pro Shop, located next door to Revolution Cycles where the Key Bridge runs into Georgetown. I can't remember offhand who carries Fuji, though.

I wouldn't switch to flat bars for as long as your ride is, but that's me. I'm in Capitol Hill, and don't like riding my flat bar bikes very far outside the District.
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Old 10-31-09, 12:29 PM
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Salsa La Cruz. On sale now at $1249. If you cab find your size, a great deal.
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Old 10-31-09, 02:08 PM
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Try the Schwinn Super Sport DBX. It has disk brakes and a commuter geometry. Can be had for $700.
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Old 10-31-09, 02:39 PM
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cyber_hawke, how tall are you?

My DBX:
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Old 10-31-09, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by cyber_hawke View Post
Where can you buy Cannondale or Fuji? Local bike shops in Woodbridge don't carry them.
Cannondale - REI, Fuji - Performance.com->Store Locator

Look: http://www.performancebike.com/webap...&storeId=10052
 
Old 10-31-09, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
Try the Schwinn Super Sport DBX. It has disk brakes and a commuter geometry. Can be had for $700.
Just gotta shill that bike on every post, huh?
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Old 10-31-09, 05:08 PM
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Not really. Just on commuter threads like this one!
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Old 10-31-09, 05:10 PM
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Cool pic! Its rare to find a road bike that lets you install fenders and wider tires. That's why I liked it for those two reasons. Having disk brakes is a plus!
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Old 10-31-09, 05:15 PM
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I think I've adjusted that rear fender since that pic, so it's more circular now.
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Old 10-31-09, 05:15 PM
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for that money you could look into building up a Surly Crosscheck or Long Haul Trucker. A lot of people use them, although I've only test-rode them.

I have a Fuji Absolute 4.0, and can attest that it's a nice line of bikes.

Just don't go for that Schwinn that guy is shilling all over the place, both since Schwinn sucks (IMO) and that he's shilling.

edit: I see the hypocrisy in my post, yes. but he asked about that Fuji, so I gave my opinion.
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Old 10-31-09, 05:26 PM
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Don't discount the Brodie Tesla, either. Nicely spec'd, with disc brakes.
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Old 10-31-09, 05:27 PM
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Weather = Weather Tires. Nothing else has to be any different than any other bike. Fenders, and guards are great but ultimately just make it harder to clean and not going to keep you try anyways.
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