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Ok, I've been contemplating this for a while... I need to start commuting. Help me.

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Ok, I've been contemplating this for a while... I need to start commuting. Help me.

Old 10-26-04, 03:02 PM
  #1  
notfred
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Ok, I've been contemplating this for a while... I need to start commuting. Help me.

I need to decide on what kind of bike to use. Right now, this is my bike. It isn't really suitable for commuting, and I'm not going to modify it - it's remaining my mountain bike.

I need a second bike that I can ride 5 days a week 25 miles each way to work and back. I don't need to carry a whole lot of stuff with me, a single rack over the back wheel would be enough room to carry my stuff. I have a pretty good route the whole way, with clean streets and paved bike paths. The entire route iis flat.

I've considered an entry-level road bike, a single speed mountain bike with slicks, a "commuter" bike, even a fixed-gear bike, but I can't decide on anything. I would like to do the 25 miles quickly, which would fit well with a road bike, but I'm used to the mountain bike, and like the ability to bunny-hop over curbs and things. A road bike is probably more practical... I'm not sure, that's why I'm asking

25 miles each way, flat, good road conditions: What would you buy? I'm making my budget $750. Also, the bike will be stored indoors, theft is not a concern.

I'm sick of contemplating this and need to start acting rather than thinking, so I need to make this decision and get a bike
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Old 10-26-04, 03:11 PM
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That's 50 miles a day! How are you going to do that without burning out? Well, you definitely have to go road bike. Maybe a nice touring bike, like a Cannondale.
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Old 10-26-04, 03:13 PM
  #3  
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25mi ea. way is a nice good solid distance! So I clearly see the option of slicks on the mtb as not being a good option, plus you will want to carry stuff on the bike, not your back.

Perhaps consider a cyclocross bike - they can put up with more abuse than a roadbike, are fast (you can put fast skinny 23c road tires or fatter 37c trail tires) and many models have the right connection points for adding carriers, fenders, etc. With the mtb background you may like the option to take it on trails as well. But $750 is a bit low.

So perhaps a used (or new) touring bike?

As to bunny hopping curbs, no problem on a cyclocross bike, but realistically how many folks bunny hop curbs on their commutes - I stay on the roads.

Al
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Old 10-26-04, 03:17 PM
  #4  
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Ok, I don't know what shape you're in but if you haven't ridden that far or anything, consider starting out slow. Getting on a road bike and popping off half centuries every day isn't exactly going to go well with your body.

If you can find a nice route, you can make the trip in about 1:15 assuming it's flat and you're in reasonable shape.
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Old 10-26-04, 03:39 PM
  #5  
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I know it's pretty far, and if I have trouble doing it every day, may be I'll start out with only three days a week. I have no problem doing 25 miles on my mountain bike, though, so 25 miles on a more road-friendly bike should be easier, and with the 8 hour break in the middle, I don't think that a second 25 mile trip will be too bad. I'll work nmy way up to 50 miles a day if I have to.

What do you guys think of the Specialized Allez triple? Can I put a rack on the back of this bike?
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Old 10-26-04, 03:53 PM
  #6  
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I agree that's a long way. Maybe borrow a friend's road bike and do it one weekend to see if you're ready for a nap after 25 miles when you get to work!

Not many road bikes have rack braze-ons. Mostly the sub-$1000 range, which is where you want to be anyway. The cyclocross route is a good one, as it will allow you to put larger tires on them to hop/drop curbs. But having 25 miles to go each way, I think you'll soon be heading to the store to get 23s or 25s so you can get to work more efficiently. Thus ends your curb hopping days. You can do curb drops, so long as you land perfectly and your tires are pumped up to 100+. I only do it at a dead slow pace, just ekeing (is that a word?) off the curb. Some say you can do it, but I don't want to find out. I have a mtb for that.

That being said, I don't think many cyclocross bikes have rack eyelets.

As far as reasonable road bikes with rack mounts, try the Jamis Aurora, Nova (cyclocross), Satellite. I think they all do. Also people love Surly Cross Checks.
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Old 10-26-04, 03:56 PM
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Also, I just tried to calculate the actual distance that my route would be (25 miles was an estimate). Looks like the actual distance is a bit shorter - more like 21-22 miles.
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Old 10-26-04, 04:01 PM
  #8  
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I ride a single speed cyclocross bike with tough, treaded 28c 'commuter tires' that run about 90 psi. My commute distance is 30 miles with a couple significant climbs. It takes me two hours. Your commute is flat, you should be able to do it in about 90 minutes, with time to change. Fortunately, my wife works at the same company I do, so can pedal to work then throw the bike in the van for the ride home. As much as I like to ride, I neither have, nor want, 4 hrs. a day for the bike.

So anyway, get yourself a good steel touring or cyclocross frame that will take bigger tires - 28 to 38 centimeters wide (that means long reach or cantilever or even V-brakes). Bigger tires mean fewer flats and less wheel maintenance. You'll probably go through a couple sizes and styles before you find a good balance between comfort, durability and speed. I wouldn't think you need triple chainrings, but that's a personal thing. Back packs suck. So you do need a rack with a trunk or even dual panniers. I have both but make due with a trunk. If you can't afford both get panniers. There's no law says you can't ride with just one when you're travelling light. Can you leave your car at work? If so, try driving in the morning and riding home, then riding to work the next day. I'd definately work up to that 50 mi. round trip. At least try it out on the weekend when you don't have to stay at work for 8 hrs. only to find your too pooped to putt home.

Remember lights. I run one red and two amber blinking LED's in the back. I've had cops stop to complement me on my visibility. At least if someone runs me down you can call homicide - 'cause they meant it! I make due with battery LED headlights because I got tired of the charging issues associated with the really bright halogen units.

Considering your budget... A lot of folks at this forum have given only good feedback for Bikesdirect.com. I haven't heard of any problems with bikes arriving broken or anything. They do arrive in 'shop ready' condition though, which means there is some assembly required. This may or may not be an issue, depending on how much wrenching you're comfortable with. Myself, I'd maybe taket the wheels to a LBS for truing if they needed it, but would be alright with the rest. I've heard of some folks taking the whole box in, but you might get attitude, depending on the shop.

Sorry about the long winded answer - especially about buying a bike. You could probably save a couple bucks shopping used. Of course there's nothing to get you jazzed up for commuting like a shiny new ride. YEA! Let us know how you're doing.

DanO
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Old 10-26-04, 05:33 PM
  #9  
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21-22 miles is doable. I do 20 to school. I wouldn't dream of doing it on anything except my old road bike. Rides real nice.

Added a rack + panniers. Main thing is to enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it you won't do it... for long.
Bike every other day, or take the transit back one day etc. etc.
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Old 10-26-04, 06:05 PM
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The points about the long distance are good, and pushing the road bike seems reasonable. I'd add one caveat though: you want a bike that doesn't need much maitnence becasue you need it to work every day.

This mostly means you want a sturdy wheel set, and you should expect to replace it sorta regularly (at 1000 miles a month, its hard to avoid). So don't drop all your money on tricky racing wheels. Get a good frame, and components you can afford to replace when something breaks.

I bought a frame and built it with a kit from http://www.jensonusa.com . Jensen was pretty excellent. I got exactly what I wanted, but would have saved money buying a stock bike.

That Specialized looks pretty, and appears to have rack mounts.
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Old 10-26-04, 06:17 PM
  #11  
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get a nice solid bike. I would probably go with a entry level Raleigh or another $500 roadie with STI levers, and then see if you can swap the wheels out at the shop for 105 hubs/ mavic ma-3 rims....I use that wheelset myself and find it to be plenty tough. Stay away from the "hi-ten" steel frames as much as possible. The STI levers are not a must, but I'm against buying a mass-produced bike that has downtube shifters (Fuji League...but it's only $350...and really it's a half cooked deal).

Then get your rack and such....even if you dont have braze ons, there are adaptors to get racks to fit on either your threded or QR axles (I dont know how well they work though).

Just make sure it fits well...buying new is best here since the shop can give you a thorough fitting to make sure it will be comfortable for that ride.

Then take it easy, do the ride one day a week, then two, then three, etc....just dont dive in and leave yourself hurting by friday man. I do 20 a day total for weekdays, and sometimes it's a bit much to me.

About my Fuji league comment....I test rode one, and the wheels were pretty weak, and in general it didn't impress me....hi-ten frame, downtube shifters, weak wheelset...In truth, my mal-fitted Trek 1100 I paid $100 for (then $100 in repairs) was a far better bike for the money than that Fuji. If you want that fuji though, go ahead, but swap out the wheels for the set I mentioned.

Basically, buy quality, but don't go for racing glitz or anyhting like that...just something that won't crap out on you, and hopefully can take a good beating as well since with miles comes abuse....my wheels already had some nice pothole incidents...and if I had cheap wheels, they probably would have been bent by now.

Last edited by catatonic; 10-26-04 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 10-26-04, 06:47 PM
  #12  
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put more money into the budget. you will save way more than that in just a couple of month of commuting!!!
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Old 10-26-04, 08:44 PM
  #13  
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I've typed this a lot here, I commute 17 miles each way on a Volpe with MTB shoes/ SPD. It's fun.
The first seven miles in the morning and the last ones back are hilly as hell.
The Volpe is Reynolds 520 with Tiagra/Deore RD.
I wish I were on an 853 or True Temper OX or Foco bike with Chorus, but it would be stolen, as I lock outside. For Notfred's commute I would probably just ride my road racer. At 17 miles I am already at my max for street clothes, beyond that I would have to wear cycling specific clothes for wind cheating and a chamois.
The hills make my commute more of a challenge, and three miles of riding in dense urban traffic full of aggressive nuts makes it a challenge that could always be my last.

But, commuting real distances can be a break from BEING one of the aggressive drivers. Use any kind of 700c or 27" bike with a rigid fork and slicks. Maintain consistently, check brakes and QRs before you start, carry a tube and pump.


Good Luck and ENJOY!
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Old 10-26-04, 08:52 PM
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I recently got a 2003 marin portofino and love it

unless I decide to race or this one falls apart... I'm sticking with it... I really love it


... you might be able to find one of the old 03 models online... should be under $550, shipping included... or you can find an 04 model for under $600, shipping included
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Old 10-26-04, 10:27 PM
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yo man. Just put her together.
Surly crosscheck, with a bunch of old stuff from other bikes, and some new wheels and a salsa bell lap 46 cm bar. barend shifters, and some other bits.

i love this bike.

I spent 700 bucks...(had quite a bit laying around to build with)

I'm running Avocet fat 28's....it's plush and wonderful to ride. the fenders for winter (san diego...winter???) are from a 20 yr old trek 620 touring rig i bought for 100 bucks. I used the crankset too. 50/45/30 and a 11-34 xt cassette, xt deralier.

It' kicks ass. here she is:
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Old 10-26-04, 11:07 PM
  #16  
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I was riding that distance everyday last year, on a number of fixed gears, in the winter you'll want to carry extra clothing, just in case. I've also ridden this distance on a hybrid Bianchi, Boardwalk, it was a great ride. If you get a hybrid get one that the stays are large enough for some beefy tires, in colder weather a bigger tire will give you more footing and you'll need the traction in the cold, and snow.
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Old 10-26-04, 11:54 PM
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I live in California. It doesn't snow. We really don't even get frost more than a couple times a year.
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Old 10-27-04, 12:00 AM
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cajonezz, where did you get the avocet 28s? I loved my old pair of them, but couldnt find a replacement after mine died from old age (cracking rubber = bad...it was on a 15yo used bike I bought)
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Old 10-27-04, 08:49 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by notfred
What do you guys think of the Specialized Allez triple? Can I put a rack on the back of this bike?
The Allez is a pretty nice bike, and it looks like that model has rack mounts. I looked at the Allez this summer but I ended up going with the Sequoia instead (which also has rack + fender mounts). The entry-level Sequoia is a little pricier but you might be able to find one on sale right now.
The Sequoia has an adjustable stem, so you can raise the bars for a less agressive posture. On the Allez your back and neck will probably be very sore at first if you're used to an MTB. Also, I think the Sequoia has a slighter longer wheelbase, which will give you a more stable ride.

If your route is flat, you'll probably be fine with a double, and the triples tend to have some issues with chain rub.
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Old 10-27-04, 09:06 AM
  #20  
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one added suggestion:

with that mighty distance, if it is really flat, you might wanna consider a singlespeed. because:

1. on flat sections you'll probably use the same gear most of the time anyway.

2. no derailleurs or gears bring the cost to buy a bike down a bit.

3. you'll have less replacement maintenance issues in the long run casue singlespeed drivetrains are SLOW to wear down. less costly to replace a drivetrain if you ever need to buy anything other than just a chain.

i'd recommend trying this theory out though before you go and buy a singlespeed and curse this advice everyday.... but if your gonna try it 42x18 is my recommended starting point in gear ratios for a semi-inshape person to ride around on. if you stick to that commute everyday though, you'll be pushing a bigger gear SOON.

this specialized looks decent though i have never ridden one:
http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkMode...3tdilke.j27011
though adding racks and bottles might be a pain in the @ss

bianchi makes nice singlespeed roadbikes as does surly and 18 billion smaller frame manufacturers.
good luck, you'll never know how possible it is till you try.

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Old 10-27-04, 09:31 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by notfred
I need to decide on what kind of bike to use. Right now, this is my bike. It isn't really suitable for commuting, and I'm not going to modify it - it's remaining my mountain bike.

I need a second bike that I can ride 5 days a week 25 miles each way to work and back. I don't need to carry a whole lot of stuff with me, a single rack over the back wheel would be enough room to carry my stuff. I have a pretty good route the whole way, with clean streets and paved bike paths. The entire route iis flat.

I've considered an entry-level road bike, a single speed mountain bike with slicks, a "commuter" bike, even a fixed-gear bike, but I can't decide on anything. I would like to do the 25 miles quickly, which would fit well with a road bike, but I'm used to the mountain bike, and like the ability to bunny-hop over curbs and things. A road bike is probably more practical... I'm not sure, that's why I'm asking

25 miles each way, flat, good road conditions: What would you buy? I'm making my budget $750. Also, the bike will be stored indoors, theft is not a concern.

I'm sick of contemplating this and need to start acting rather than thinking, so I need to make this decision and get a bike
Here you go, if it fits you this could be your bike. I just got the same bike without all of the panniers or upgrades off of eBay for $410 shipped so I don't think this one will get to the BIN price. Pretty comfortable ride even as mine is with an AL fork (this one has steel). Fast and climbs well.
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Old 10-27-04, 10:30 AM
  #22  
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I bought a Trek 1000 to do my commute instead of using my MTB. It took me a little while to get used to the feeling of the drop handle bars, the tires, and the overall difference in handling between a Road and MTB. I would suggest that you drive part of the way, then bike in. Work your way up to the 25mi.

Commuting 25 miles and riding 25 miles on a weekend is a little different. You have to consider when commuting (at that distance) showering at work, changing at work, packing food (?), tire repair ect. You might need to look for a bike that can handle multiple packs, or a large pack.
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Old 10-27-04, 12:17 PM
  #23  
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I have to agree with Max-a-mill. Before I mentioned going single speed, but if the commute is indeed fairly flat I would really suggest one gear. Reading Max's post I realized that one thing I rarely think about - and thus really appreciate - is the lack of maintenance my SS CrossCheck requires. Even washing the thing takes half the time because I don't have to clean and lube gunked up derailleurs and pulleys.

If you can knock off 25 miles on your mountain bike I would say you could start with a 42/16 gear no problem. I only had moderate fittness when I converted my bike to single speed and that's what I run. You might have to walk up a really steep hill (and you might just surprise yourself at what you can struggle up.) but you should be able to spin up to about 15-18 mph on the flats. And yes, you would be coasting down the hills instead of cranking out 25-30 mph. But hey, I've learned that there's nothing wrong with coasting along and enjoying the view once in a while. That amount of freewheeling doesn't cost you much time... unless you're a racer boy. But we're talking about commuting. And one thing that makes commuting more enjoyable for me is just throwing a leg over the bike and peddaling away without even needing to think about which gear I'm in.

Here's a pic of my CrossCheck.

Good luck and all the best. DanO
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Old 10-27-04, 01:45 PM
  #24  
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The Allez looks like a good bike within the budget. When you get used to the stretched-out position (it took me about a month) the road bike will eat up the 20+ miles much faster than your mountain bike. But then, my commute is only a wimpy 7 miles each way. My only suggestion would be to add mucho lights/reflectors and fenders. That is, if it ever _does_ rain in southern Cal.
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Old 10-27-04, 01:49 PM
  #25  
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Notfred,

You forgot to mention the type of weather you would be cycling in.

You sound like your are about a month or so behind where I was. I also was thinking of a bike in the $800 range. After riding a few and comparing the road bikes with the Jamis Coda Elite. I found I loved the disk brakes. I had a blow out from rim brakes going downhill fast and that was too scarey to repeat. You don't have hills, but do you have a lot of rain. Rim brakes will take much longer to stop. If you don't have a lot of potential opening of car doors, teens walking in the street not even aware there are bikes, or auto cross traffic, you would be ok with rim brakes. But if you do, then narrow down your choice to bikes with disk brakes.

Investigating disc vs rim brakes, I found good disc brakes, i.e. avid, were about $200. So I added 200 to the 800, to get $1000 for a ballpark. I thought I had a 10 mile commute which seemed long to me, so I starting looking at the strength of the bike and the ability to handle addons. I ended up getting the Giant OCR Touring. My fitting had the handlebars tilted up to come fairly close to the MB experience. Performance has a 0% deal for 12 months, so we took advantage of that rather than putting down the grand now.

If you go OCR touring, some recommendations:
1. swap out the 11-31 cassette for a 12-23 or 12-26
2. don't get performance bike rack but get Old Man Mountain.
3. fenders are a challenge, but with slight bends the SKS's work well.

Huff
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