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Convertint Giant Defy Advanced 3 to a city commuter

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Convertint Giant Defy Advanced 3 to a city commuter

Old 03-04-12, 09:39 PM
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Barnabus Reynol
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Convertint Giant Defy Advanced 3 to a city commuter

Gents, I have 5 miles to get to work through poop southern salt lake city (Sandy).

Some bad roads, wetness, traffic, and I have to cross a triantrack and go under a interstate overpass. I am not excited, but I want to take that 10 mile round trip.

So, I have a decent bike. Full carbon, Mavic starter wheels, Armadillo tires (newish), 105's with an Ultegra derailleur. Was a great road jaunt bike.

But I haven't "road biked" for endurance in like 2 years. So, how do I update my bike for more of a commuter, street bike.

I figure that something like Gatorskins is first. What about a new step and bars? straight bars? And pedals - I am thinking of speedplay Frogs (I have speedplay light action and then Shimano 105 road). Other than that, it's pretty much a long-distance "get on your spandex bike!" So should I just get some platforms? Really aggressive platforms? Or use my road shoes ($250 carbon shoes, carbon soul) with the Speeplays I have. I am worried about dismounting and walking over the train tracks and such.

Since it's 5 miles, I don't predict an incredible sweat. I have a full kit, both summer and winter. But I prefer to wear some work clothes.

I have no problem wearing a small backpack to carry some clothes and my computer, but I have no mud guards.

How hard is it to do a drops to straight bar conversion? Or should I just invest my money into a cyclocross bike with platforms?

OR, just get some gatorskins, lower the seat a bit, maybe get the straight bars, a mirror and lights, and call it good.

What say you? I want a commuter and there's a 10% I'll ever do anything but ride my 5 miles through the rural city, in light traffic (a biway with a lot of long stretches, and just the few sketchy areas.

Help me rhonda.
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Old 03-04-12, 09:48 PM
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Invest in another bike.
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Old 03-04-12, 09:50 PM
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Well I am into this bike $2500. And zee wife wouldn't take kindly to a commuter bike sine I hae a road bike I haven't rode in a long long time.
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Old 03-04-12, 09:55 PM
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I would invest in another bike strictly for city commuting. It sounds like you have a good idea what you will need. Good luck!
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Old 03-04-12, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Barnabus Reynol View Post
Well I am into this bike $2500. And zee wife wouldn't take kindly to a commuter bike sine I hae a road bike I haven't rode in a long long time.
Well, if you haven't been riding it- sell it. Then you'll be able to afford a more versatile platform.
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Old 03-04-12, 10:39 PM
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I am just worried I wouldn't be able to sell the bike for jack.

I am going to at least invest in some rough gatorskins and flat pedals, see how that works out.
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Old 03-04-12, 11:04 PM
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We could trade! My 3 month old 2011 Trek 7.2FX for your Defy ? It was worth a shot, right? But honestly, I am the exact opposite boat, so to speak. I want to get rid of my commutter so I can buy a road bike. I was looking at the Trek 1.5 or a Giant Defy (I think the defy looks better [it's not about looks, but I still take that in to consideration]). Flat bars are a good way to start.

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Old 03-04-12, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Invest in another bike.
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cross_cx2.htm - bike (No Shipping) Mine's got over 20,000 year 'round commuter/utility miles w/tire change to SMPs and routine maintenance. It'll be 4 years in May. Just replaced the bb.
http://www.bikeisland.com - Topeak Road morph w/gauge frame pump, Planet Bike Fenders, Multi tool(s), tire levers, tube(s), patch-kit, chaintool (No Shipping)
http://www.pricepoint.com - Sette Glo HL and Sette 316 Rear blinkies. 10 bucks ea. Again...(No shipping)
http://www.nashbar.com - Niterider 150 cordless re-chargeable HL. 7.00 shipping unless you catch them on the right day.

Rack, bags and any other accesories are up to you. These are my recommendations for a consistant low-maintenance commuter bike w/drop bars, a stout frameset and sure-fire accessories.
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Old 03-05-12, 02:11 AM
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Why do you think you need to change a lot of things? Fenders are nice for commuting, and a little harder to set up on a road racing bike. Crud catcher makes fenders that will fit road racing tires/frames.

While there are absolutely advantages to wider tires for commuting and many applications, you're probably overstating their necessity, especially over a 10 miles round trip commute. I ride 23mm tires around sort of crummy roads around town all the time, and occasionally for short patches offroad if I feel like it honestly. If you're riding perpendicular to tracks you can absolutely can just ride over them on road wheels/tires. You already have reasonably puncture resistant tires.

Switching to flats or mtb pedals of some kind would be a pretty good idea for commuting, which will cost like $10 for the former and maybe $100-150 total for the latter if you're reasonable about it.

The advantages for straight bars commuting isn't particularly clear. If drops are comfortable to ride 20-200 miles, why not 5? I think straight bars are sold to commuters because they have a shorter learning curve and to distinguish them from road racey bikes, not because they're strictly very superior for commuting. Changing to straight bars isn't strictly very difficult, but you'll have to buy new 10sp straight bar shifters/levers which is a fair amount of money that would be more reasonably spent on an inexpensive commuting bike.

The problem with your bike is that it is significantly valuable. I would consider this a really bad trait for commuting unless you specifically are never parking outside in public. I wouldn't mess with the nice race bike except for maybe different pedals and lights, that money would be better spent on a bike that is more commutery (like a cross, touring, or old mountain bike).
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Old 03-05-12, 03:28 AM
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Is your bike too nice to commute on? maybe. The Defy Advanced carbon is not as commutable as the basic aluminium Defy and has racebike clearances. Ride it if you feel OK about security but I would keep an eye out for a decent used commutable bike with wider tyre clearance and rack/fender eyelets. Drop bars are not really an issue. In the dry climate of SLC, fenders are not an absolute necessity but there may be days you prefer them.
I would keep a Defy Advanced for a play bike.

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Old 03-05-12, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
Why do you think you need to change a lot of things? Fenders are nice for commuting, and a little harder to set up on a road racing bike. Crud catcher makes fenders that will fit road racing tires/frames.

While there are absolutely advantages to wider tires for commuting and many applications, you're probably overstating their necessity, especially over a 10 miles round trip commute. I ride 23mm tires around sort of crummy roads around town all the time, and occasionally for short patches offroad if I feel like it honestly. If you're riding perpendicular to tracks you can absolutely can just ride over them on road wheels/tires. You already have reasonably puncture resistant tires.

Switching to flats or mtb pedals of some kind would be a pretty good idea for commuting, which will cost like $10 for the former and maybe $100-150 total for the latter if you're reasonable about it.

The advantages for straight bars commuting isn't particularly clear. If drops are comfortable to ride 20-200 miles, why not 5? I think straight bars are sold to commuters because they have a shorter learning curve and to distinguish them from road racey bikes, not because they're strictly very superior for commuting. Changing to straight bars isn't strictly very difficult, but you'll have to buy new 10sp straight bar shifters/levers which is a fair amount of money that would be more reasonably spent on an inexpensive commuting bike.

The problem with your bike is that it is significantly valuable. I would consider this a really bad trait for commuting unless you specifically are never parking outside in public. I wouldn't mess with the nice race bike except for maybe different pedals and lights, that money would be better spent on a bike that is more commutery (like a cross, touring, or old mountain bike).
+1. You can commute on any damn bike. Seriously.
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Old 03-05-12, 02:22 PM
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2 Answers:

1. Straight bars are said to give you better visibility in traffic and intersections since you're posture is higher /shrug

2. The bike will be kept inside my office so security is not an issue.

3. I was looking at the gatorskins or another tire with some tread just for the water/melted snow where the armadillos might be too slick to function well.
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Old 03-05-12, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Barnabus Reynol View Post
2 Answers:

1. Straight bars are said to give you better visibility in traffic and intersections since you're posture is higher /shrug

2. The bike will be kept inside my office so security is not an issue.

3. I was looking at the gatorskins or another tire with some tread just for the water/melted snow where the armadillos might be too slick to function well.

1) Overrated. A CX bike has brake-levers located under the flat part of a given set of drop-bars. Much better stopping power than the old 'bike-boom' levers of the 70s-80s. One is usually on the hoods anyway as riding in traffic usually requires frequent shifting. The levers are available separately form a variety of online stores.

2) I've got a closet right off of my work area where my bike's stored. Along w/clothes, deo, talc, towel, etc. Keep a 'wiping rag' as well for days when you ride in rain.

3) Try Schwalbe Marathon Plus. They're pricey, but as flat-resistant as any tire on the market. Maybe moreso. The smallest size they come in though is 25mm. I run 28mm on my CX and 25mm on my fg commuters. Supposedly, they're not so good in the rain, but I've never had a problem in 3+ years of use. They're heavier than some other 'flat resistant' tires, but that's from an extra layer of compound.

Btw, this all may be moot because if you've got a relatively flat commute you may be able get by w/an inexpensive single-speed. Something like this: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/.../clockwork.htm

Good luck and welcome to BF!
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Old 03-05-12, 03:58 PM
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If it were my bike, I'd get some wider tires (if the bike will accept them-Armadillos are fine & in my experience less comfortable, but more puncture resistant than Gatorskins), a set of fenders (if nothing else, at least those raceblades or whatever they are called), some lights if you will be out late, pedals & a rear view mirror, raise the stem so you are a bit more upright than on the bike (if you feel that the current set-up is too 'racy' feeling) & then ride. You may want a seatpost mounted rack to carry a light pack with a change of clothes, etc, but your ride should be good enough for the time being. I rode a racing bike to work as one of my first commuters & it was fine. Not ideal, but certainyl good enough.
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Old 03-05-12, 04:07 PM
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Getting a new bike is pointless. Especially since the resale value of carbon blows. You would be lucky to get a crappy low end 9-speed commuter with the money from the sale of this bike. Both my commuters are full carbon flat bar road bikes with a mix of ultegra and 105. I love them.

>I figure that something like Gatorskins is first.
Definitely a good idea to get tires with aramid/kevlar belts. They help but are no panacea.

>What about a new step and bars? straight bars?
Flat bars are IMO indispensable if you plan on riding extensively in traffic. If your stem is too low you should be able to flip it and buy a decent carbon fiber or alu flat bar ($20-100). You would also need new mountain bike levers ($10-50) and microshift/shimano flatbar shifters ($50-140 depending on brand and number of gears). Microshift shifters are 100% shimano and road component compatible.

>And pedals - I am thinking of speedplay Frogs (I have speedplay light action and then Shimano 105 road).
Road pedals are definitely annoying for utilitarian riding. Frogs or standard spd are great. I prefer spd because one can buy excellent wellgo ( ~300 gm same weight as XTR) pedals for $25-30. (Wellgo manufactures shimano's spd pedals.)

>So should I just get some platforms? Really aggressive platforms?
Forget the platforms. If you've learned how to use clipless there is really no point in ever going back.

>Or use my road shoes ($250 carbon shoes, carbon soul) with the Speeplays I have.I am worried about dismounting and walking over the train tracks and such.
Except for race-level shoes, mountain cleats are recessed. I have keen commuting shoes, keen commuting sandals, and shimano mountain bike shoes. They work great and I've walked a mile or two in my keens without much discomfort.

As far as fenders, I recommend SKS p35s since they are much less prone to bend and get caught. I've run p35s on tires as wide at 28 mm and unless you are riding on gravel or dirt I cannot imagine why you would want wider tires. P35s can also be made to fit most road bikes although you may be limited to 25s.

Last edited by spare_wheel; 03-05-12 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 03-05-12, 04:26 PM
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Since you're already running Armadillos, I don't see any point to getting Gatorskins or Marathons. Tread can be helpful with loose snow/slush, but doesn't actually help with ice or rainy conditions.

I'm not seeing a point to flat bars. If you want to be seen, get good lights, wear high-vis stuff, and assertively take the lane. Using a different stem for more of an upright posture would be a good idea, but flat bars suck for riding IMO.

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Old 03-05-12, 04:27 PM
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Overrated.
Straight bars are said to give you better visibility in traffic and intersections since you're posture is higher /shrug
but flat bars suck for riding IMO.
In defense of flat bars:


The geometry of flat bars gives you more control and responsiveness. You can turn on a dime because you are not turning a heavy drop bar from the center flat or ergonomically awkward hoods. In my opinion, its also easier to brake more rapidly than when on hoods. Moreover, switching from a drop to a 90 gm carbon fiber flat bar shaves off a lot of unnecessary (for utilitarian biking) weight. The difference in posture makes track standing and bunny hopping much easier which IMO is an essential skill for aggressive city riding.
YMMV.
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Old 03-05-12, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
In defense of flat bars:

The geometry of flat bars gives you more control and responsiveness. You can turn on a dime because you are not turning a heavy drop bar from the center flat or ergonomically awkward hoods. In my opinion, its also easier to brake more rapidly than when on hoods. Moreover, switching from a drop to a 90 gm carbon fiber flat bar shaves off a lot of unnecessary (for utilitarian biking) weight. The difference in posture makes track standing and bunny hopping much easier which IMO is an essential skill for aggressive city riding.
YMMV.
You left out the actual "drop position" where you get the best control and braking with those bars. I'm all for people using what works best for them, though...
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Old 03-05-12, 04:35 PM
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The correct answer is n+1. Buy another bike. BUT....

If that's not possible at this point you can commute on that bike for sure and still enjoy it as a road bike. Throw some 25mm Gatorskins on, they'll still be fast and tough. Change the pedals to a mountain bike style of clip/pedal and buy some shoes to go with them. If you are used to clipless pedals forget platforms and rest assured road shoes totally blow for everyday use. Leave the bars and shifters alone. Flat bars are not an upgrade or necessary in fact they are the worst of all bar choices for many reason IMHO, and the brakes won't be as good. So far you've maintained it's usefulness as a real road bike. Then start commuting, and saving your pennies. See how it goes for the first 6 months on that bike and as you ride everyday think about what it does and doesn't do well and what you really want in a commuter. Then buy or put together your dream dedicated commuter. You'll already have shoes and pedals, and still have a road bike for the weekends, although the n+1 equation still remains a constant.
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Old 03-05-12, 07:48 PM
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http://saltlakecity.craigslist.org/bik/2886582571.html

Problem solved. Then let every day you must spend on such a hideous contraption be a reminder not to sink 2500 dollars into a bike that you never ride.
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Old 03-05-12, 09:43 PM
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Just get up early and ride your bike!

change the pedals if you have to, but that's it.

Why make this hard.
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Old 03-06-12, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by boro View Post
http://saltlakecity.craigslist.org/bik/2886582571.html

Problem solved. Then let every day you must spend on such a hideous contraption be a reminder not to sink 2500 dollars into a bike that you never ride.

It's not hard, it's fun. Modding and changing things is fun for me. Part of the hobby of biking is the constant customization and modification.

At any rate - this gives me a good chance to just buy a Giant TCX instead =D
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Old 03-06-12, 10:38 AM
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I’m +1 to the CL idea. Find a good quality late 80’s early 90’s mountain bike 26” tires and no suspension. Toss the mountain tires and put a wide higher pressure tire with some road tread on. Fenders if you need them and a rack. Take the toe straps off if they are still on there.

Here is the bike I would do the five on if I was in your shoes. I have $12 bucks in this bike only because the cup holder was new. All I would add was a rack and some bungees.

Those 2.5 beach tires are great on train tracks.
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Old 03-06-12, 10:41 AM
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Just use it. I use my Scott Addict for my commute... I enjoy drop bar more than flat bar (in fact converted my folding bike to drop bar). It's like commuting in Vette vs. SUV argument to me...
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Old 03-06-12, 11:11 AM
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Another vote for just using what you have.

The conversion to flat bars isn't terribly hard, but it isn't really an improvement and it would mess up the fit of the bike. For five miles any bike will do, including a really nice bike. If you don't want to use your road shoes, put platform pedals on it. If you feel that your riding position is too agressive, get a stem with a steep rise angle. If you find that you get flats, buy some new tires.

I wouldn't spend any money on it at all until you're excited. Most of us here love riding our bikes to work. If you don't, chances are that you won't stick with it. If you end up loving it, I wouldn't be surprised to see you getting the Defy back out on weekends.
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