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Newbie with newb questions.

Old 11-05-14, 01:41 PM
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67Vert
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Newbie with newb questions.

Hello Commuter Forum,

Newb here with a few questions.

I haven’t done any riding other than leisurely short rides around the neighborhood with the wife and kids (7 and 9) on and old mountain bike.

I have an old Trek 2120 that’s been sitting around unused in the back yard for 15+ years. My work has bike tuners onsite once a month so I brought it in for some tuning. After a 6 mile cruise, I decided I could ride it to work.

On Sunday I rode the route. Now I’m planning to start riding in to work a few times per week. One-way is 16 miles. 3.6 miles of that is dirt/packed gravel.

Tires are 700 x 25mm Continental Grand Prix inflated to 95PSI front and back. With clothes and back-pack I’ll be riding around ~170lb.

Will these tires be OK on the dirt/gravel portion?

Should I carry a spare tube, or a patch kit?



Thanks in advance,
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Old 11-05-14, 01:47 PM
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You should absolutely carry a tube and patch kit, and the tools needed to change a tube out.

I would highly recommend wider tires. Can you fit anything larger than 25mm? I'd go as wide as you can, maybe you can fit 32mm. If those don't fit, I would at least do 28's.
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Old 11-05-14, 01:50 PM
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That's about the same distance I ride with a similar mix of dirt and paved MUP. I have 700x35s or larger tires. Smaller is doable, but not particularly comfortable on the dirt. If it rains, skinny tires are pretty bad on the mud. Get some fenders which will help keep you and your drivetrain cleaner, and get a spare tube, patches, tire levers and a pump and/or CO2. Learn how to fix a flat before you get one.
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Old 11-05-14, 01:57 PM
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I ride roads like that all the time on 25mm tires, but I would try to fit as big a tire as possible. It will reduce the chance of a pinch flat, make the ride more comfortable, and give you better handling if it gets muddy.
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Old 11-05-14, 02:09 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback. I'm trying to minimize any purchases until this becomes a regular thing. So I'd like to ride on these tires for now.

There's not a lot of room for bigger tires. Maybe 27-28 max. Once this becomes a regular thing, I'll get bigger tires. Or until I get my first flat.

So you're recommending a tube AND a patch kit?
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Old 11-05-14, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
You should absolutely carry a tube and patch kit, and the tools needed to change a tube out.

I would highly recommend wider tires. Can you fit anything larger than 25mm? I'd go as wide as you can, maybe you can fit 32mm. If those don't fit, I would at least do 28's.
You definitely need to carry a spare tube and be prepared to fix a flat. That Trek should fit a 28mm tire but the trip is definitely doable with the current tires
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Old 11-05-14, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by 67Vert View Post
Thanks for all the feedback. I'm trying to minimize any purchases until this becomes a regular thing. So I'd like to ride on these tires for now.

There's not a lot of room for bigger tires. Maybe 27-28 max. Once this becomes a regular thing, I'll get bigger tires. Or until I get my first flat.

So you're recommending a tube AND a patch kit?
I am a belt-and-suspenders kind of guy. I carry a tube and a patch kit, a CO2 cartridge and a frame pump. The first flat gets a new tube and CO2. The second and subsequent flats (it's rare, but it happens) get a patch and a pump. I figure I'm already late at this point, so might as well take the time.
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Old 11-05-14, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 67Vert View Post
So you're recommending a tube AND a patch kit?
Not all holes can be patched. And you could get multiple flats if you fail to remove what caused the first flat or just get unlucky. I always carry both a tube and patches, and a pump and CO2. Also a small piece of Tyvek as a temporary boot in the event of a larger hole in the tire. You'll either learn this through experience or by listening to others.

The "walk of shame" can be long and lonely, but is a great motivator. I did it only one time, when my spare tube had a hole, I carried only a single CO2 cartridge, and was several miles from civilization. It takes a long time to push a bike that distance. Never again.
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Old 11-05-14, 02:30 PM
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Two things:
1. I would carry a tube and a patch kit in case you get multiple flats on the same ride. A lot of people prefer to switch out the tube roadside and then patch the tube at home.
2. I wouldn't like to carry a backpack on such a long ride. You might want to invest in a rack pretty soon.

Good luck!
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Old 11-05-14, 03:02 PM
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Redundancies like a spare tube and patch kit may seem silly until you need them both! Patch kits cost next to nothing, anyway. I carry a Park Tools patch kit that comes with patches that don't need glue. It was a couple of bucks. I also carry tire boots, also park tools, and also only a couple of bucks. Fingers crossed I never need them
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Old 11-05-14, 04:18 PM
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The only thing going in the back-pack is my laptop (5.6 lbs iirc). I'm not too keen on the idea of it riding mounted to a rigid rack, especially on the dirt portion of the ride. But I'm a newb, and haven't even tried the commute with the back pack yet.

I'm trying to hold off big purchases, but will be ordering the following tonight:
-Multi-tool - Ether the Topeak The Mini Plus 18-Function or the Crank Brothers Multi Bicycle Tool (17-Function)
-Pedro's tire lever
-Portland Design Works Shiny Object CO2 Inflator with 16G Cartridge
-innertube
-spare link

and possibly this
Amazon.com : AGPtekģ Roswheel 2013 New Waterproof Bicycle Cycling Frame Pannier Front Tube Bag w/ Headphone Jack (Including Clear PVC Window Pouch for 5.5" Cell Phone, Reflective Strips for Safe Night Riding) : Bike Handlebar Bags : Sports & Outdoors
to hold all that stuff above and to replace this
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Old 11-05-14, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I am a belt-and-suspenders kind of guy. I carry a tube and a patch kit, a CO2 cartridge and a frame pump. The first flat gets a new tube and CO2. The second and subsequent flats (it's rare, but it happens) get a patch and a pump. I figure I'm already late at this point, so might as well take the time.
I pretty much follow this method with one exception, I carry 2 tubes, and flats 1-2 warrant a new tube.
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Old 11-05-14, 06:26 PM
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Definitely yes to the extra tube and patch kit. I've had to fix two flats in the past two weeks. Fortunately in the comfort of my own office rather than the side of the road. I just carry a pump. No CO2.
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Old 11-05-14, 06:51 PM
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Just curious, hadn't heard of the 2120 model before. Looking at Google, is it a higher end racing bike? Carbon?
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Old 11-06-14, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Motolegs View Post
Just curious, hadn't heard of the 2120 model before. Looking at Google, is it a higher end racing bike? Carbon?
Iím not very familiar with bikes. Iím just a casual user. My wife paid ~$1200 for it before I met her in the late 90ís. To me, that would be high-end. It is an aluminum frame with the top and down tubes, and fork made of carbon fiber. Again, I donít know much about the bike market, but I think that back then carbon fiber anything was high-end. Itís the nicest riding bike Iíve ridden, but again, thatís not saying much.

I donít know much other than what the Google machine tells me: 1998 Trek 2120 - New and Used Bike Value
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Old 11-06-14, 02:33 PM
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Not a single thing wrong with that bike. I too commute on skinny tires (either 25 or maybe even, gasp, 23s). It's important to keep them properly inflated. I pump them up every other day. I've only been at it with my hot bike for two months, but so far, no flats. And yes, I have a spare tire and a repair kit. If that fails, I call the teenager to come and get pops.

Originally Posted by 67Vert View Post
I’m not very familiar with bikes. I’m just a casual user. My wife paid ~$1200 for it before I met her in the late 90’s. To me, that would be high-end. It is an aluminum frame with the top and down tubes, and fork made of carbon fiber. Again, I don’t know much about the bike market, but I think that back then carbon fiber anything was high-end. It’s the nicest riding bike I’ve ridden, but again, that’s not saying much.

I don’t know much other than what the Google machine tells me: 1998 Trek 2120 - New and Used Bike Value
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Old 11-06-14, 02:49 PM
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Oooh that's a nice bike. Definitely good for a commuter.

I run 25s on my all purpose bike. Conti, Gator skins, heavy duty Forte tubes, and Mr Tuffies tire liners. Heavy as hell but i can ride across a pile of rusty bayonets. I check my tire pressure every 3 days.
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Old 11-06-14, 03:00 PM
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I think the 2120 was almost a transitional species: carbon tubes in the main triangle fitted into aluminum lugs. I think these came out just before the OCLV frames (5X00) made famous by a certain former triathlete from Austin.
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Old 11-06-14, 03:03 PM
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Get out there and try it, but 25's do sound rather slim for a dirt road.
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Old 11-06-14, 03:18 PM
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1. 25's will be fine on a dirt road, maybe not ideal, but don't worry about it, just ride. Someday when they need to be replaced throw 28's on they'll be a little more forgiving.

2. You absolutley don't have to carry stuff to fix your bike. You can always walk in the event of a breakdown. You can carry a cell phone and have your wife come and get you overtime something happens. Or you can put a small seat pack on the bike with a tube, patch kit, co2 inflator or pump and a multitool and take care of most common breakdowns quickly and easily yourself. It's up to you.
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Old 11-06-14, 03:57 PM
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Some of the BF favorites, from numerous threads and searches, are:

Rema Tip-Top Patch Kits
Topeak Road Morph Pump

If you do go with CO2, be sure not to leave with just one cartridge.

Basically, not self-sticking patches and a pump with even a short air hose are considered, by the majority, to be the favored choices.

A tube only weighs around a quarter pound, give or take depending upon individual tube chosen, and takes up very little space in 700X25 size.
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Old 11-06-14, 05:08 PM
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I bought; C02, innertube, patch kit (self-vulcanizing fluid type), levers, multi-tool last night.

I got the danger zone tail light last week, but held off on a headlamp. Now, the wife just said no more purchases. So that's it for now. I plan to ride only in daylight hours for now. But I will rig a flashlight if I have too. I have a nice LED one with a strobe.

This is a very active forum. Thanks for all the replies everyone.

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Old 11-06-14, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by 67vert View Post
i bought; c02, innertube, patch kit (adhesive type), levers, multi-tool last night.

I got the danger zone tail light last week, but held off on a headlamp. Now, the wife just said no more purchases. So that's it for today. I plan to ride only in daylight hours for now. But i will rig a flashlight if i have too. I have a nice led one with a strobe.

This is a very active forum. Thanks for all the replies everyone.
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Old 11-06-14, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by 67Vert View Post
I bought; C02, innertube, patch kit (self-vulcanizing fluid type), levers, multi-tool last night.

I got the danger zone tail light last week, but held off on a headlamp. Now, the wife just said no more purchases. So that's it for now. I plan to ride only in daylight hours for now. But I will rig a flashlight if I have too. I have a nice LED one with a strobe.

This is a very active forum. Thanks for all the replies everyone.
That's a really cool bike. Now on topic, have you changed out a tube/ tire yet? It's not a really difficult task- but one you wouldn't want to try and learn on the side of the road. Road bike tires aren't as easy to get on the rim as say a mountain bike.. anyway you may want to do a practice run. The rear tire may seem intimidating but it's NBD once done a time or two.
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Old 11-06-14, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Motolegs View Post
anyway you may want to do a practice run.
Especially the CO2 part. Better to waste a cartridge at home than on the road. You won't have so far to walk.
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