Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

I bought a bike for commuting. What upgrades should I make?

General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

I bought a bike for commuting. What upgrades should I make?

Old 05-29-18, 09:03 AM
  #1  
2wheelride
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
2wheelride's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 9

Bikes: an HM Snakehead and a Kona Dew

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I bought a bike for commuting. What upgrades should I make?

I'm no professional cyclist, nor some rich kid with a ton money to spend. I bought a Kona Dew a couple weeks ago and I absolutely love it, but I'm worried about problems presented by the quality of the roads I take to get to work and school. I would greatly appreciate any advice on what upgrades to make to the bike to preserve it and to prevent malfunctions and failures while on the road. Thanks
2wheelride is offline  
Old 05-29-18, 09:52 AM
  #2  
bluetape
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
At the very least, I recommend an underseat bag with a spare tube, patch kit, two tire levers, and size 4 & 5 Allen wrenches. Then, get a decent frame pump and some cheap bottle cages and bottles. You could also get one of those Park Tool bicycle multitools in lieu of the Allen wrenches. Other than that, just keep it maintained well (chain lube, regular adjustments, check the tires for wear and tear, clean it / keep it dry when not riding, etc.).

Also, don't forget about lights (front and rear), a bell to warn pedestrians that you are approaching, and maybe some reflective clothing if you commute before sunrise / after sunset.

As always, get a good, well-fitting helmet.

Don't go for junk, but there's no reason to get the super-expensive stuff that you'll see advertised everywhere.
bluetape is offline  
Old 05-29-18, 09:55 AM
  #3  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,392

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 183 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6700 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 119 Times in 100 Posts
A very secure lock..



You are not really needing 'upgrades', but adding useful accessories..




...
fietsbob is offline  
Old 05-29-18, 10:02 AM
  #4  
travelinhobo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: No certain place. Catch me when you can.
Posts: 352

Bikes: I'm not a guy - brand doesn't matter.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 166 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Regular bike maintenance and upkeep is all you need. If you don't know about bikes, either waste your money taking it to the local bike shop, go online or go find a used bike maintenance book and learn how to do basic maintenance. The most common and used tools will be Allen keys, a 10mm wrench and maybe screwdriver. If you bike a lot, I also recommend a chain break tool. Don't believe that this forum is used by only the wealthy. I'm sure enough of us are dirt poor. Also, check to see if there's a bike co-op near you.
travelinhobo is offline  
Old 05-29-18, 10:08 AM
  #5  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,247

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3586 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Buy a small saddle bag, some tire levers, and a spare tube. Hang all that under your seat. Buy a frame pump and hang it from a convenient spot on your bike. Find a lock suitable for where you are parking and leaving your bike unattended.

Past those things, the upgrades will become evident after riding a while.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 05-29-18, 10:09 AM
  #6  
Dchiefransom
Senior Member
 
Dchiefransom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Newark, CA. San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 6,244
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Mount the rear flasher on the seat post so it aims back where you set it to all the time, not on your helmet or backpack. If you use a solid white front light to see, also put another on that flashes.
Dchiefransom is offline  
Old 05-29-18, 11:24 AM
  #7  
Doug5150
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: IL-USA
Posts: 1,864
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
One change I would advise is to get some puncture-resistant tires, such as the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. These tires are heavy and slow, but they're still not as slow as getting a flat tire--and they make flat tires a lot less likely. And then skip the patch kit.

Schwalbe M+ tires are kinda expensive in the US. If you have a bike with 28" / 559mm wheels then you can try the CST Salvo tires, that are a Cheng Chin copy of the Marathon Plus. Unlike the Marathon Plus, the Salvo only comes in one tire size (26" x 1.75).
Doug5150 is offline  
Old 05-29-18, 12:04 PM
  #8  
Darth Lefty 
Disco Infiltrator
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 9,386

Bikes: '76 Paramount, Salsa Timberjack, Burley Samba, Terra Trike

Mentioned: 57 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1435 Post(s)
Liked 52 Times in 38 Posts
What we talk about endlessly on the commuting forum are...
inclement weather
darkness
luggage
parking
breakdowns

The kind of repairs you can make on the roadside, and all adjustments, are pretty easy with a standard bike multi tool and maybe a Leatherman.
Darth Lefty is offline  
Old 05-30-18, 12:56 PM
  #9  
carlos danger
Banned
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: the danger zone!
Posts: 517

Bikes: steel is real. and so is Ti...

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 211 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by 2wheelride View Post
I'm no professional cyclist, nor some rich kid with a ton money to spend. I bought a Kona Dew a couple weeks ago and I absolutely love it, but I'm worried about problems presented by the quality of the roads I take to get to work and school. I would greatly appreciate any advice on what upgrades to make to the bike to preserve it and to prevent malfunctions and failures while on the road. Thanks
I guess you should upgrade pretty much everything.. i mean to get really good. I build all my bikes from scratch and its not a single component on them I have not specifically chosen for one reason or another. I usually go for "the most durable possible on planet earth without getting excessively heavy"

I guess good fenders are nice to have on a commuter. Personally I prefer honjo brass fenders. for the bling.
then good tires, that are puncture proof. if you are riding lots of glass/herion needles and sh1t like that i recommend any schwalbe/continental tire that is smooth and says PLUS on it. then it has this extra rubber foam layer inside it. totally bullet proof.
then we have saddles. this a personal taste pretty much but my butt likes selle italia slr series. and i guess any other saddle that has the same profile as seen from the side.
then we have handlebars. and this is very personal too. only you can deciede whats good for you here. I have tried flat bars, mtb risers, nitto dirt drops, short/shallow ergo road bars, nitto north roads, north roads up side down, time trial bars. you name it i have it (and have seriously tried it).

the problem with changing bars is this: you sometimes have to change shifter systems/rear mech/brake levers/stem length (and it can be a very big difference in length with stems)

on a road bike my ETT (effective top tube) is 55cm and one mtb is 58-60 or so. if you have a mtb/flat bar on a bike and swap to regular road or short/shallow road you need to get a 5cm shorter stem pretty much, and a lot of steerer spacers to rise it up.
if you go nitto dirt drop you will need to go like 8cm shorter and 7cm higher lol no kidding.

My personal favorites that reside on my bikes is a nitto dirt drop. i regard this the most ergonomic handlebar ever made, and also the best ever made.
https://www.benscycle.com/nitto-rm01...14_870/product



runner up is vision time trial base bar in aluminum. its just the lower base bar here




and nitto north road up side down https://www.benscycle.com/nitto-b302...70-530/product



north road takes mtb shifters and brakes (22,2mm) the vision is also 22,2mm and the dirt drops are 23,8mm so shifter mounts needs to be modified A LOT (in position/angle/distance) to fit.


and xt 9sp shifter mounted on a vision alu time trial base bar, with cane creek reverse levers


xt 9sp on nitto dirt drop, made with a cordless drill and files


a bad ass mod plain and simple


questions?

Last edited by carlos danger; 05-30-18 at 01:00 PM.
carlos danger is offline  
Old 05-30-18, 01:14 PM
  #10  
TimothyH
- Soli Deo Gloria -
 
TimothyH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Northwest Georgia
Posts: 13,789

Bikes: 2018 Rodriguez Custom Fixed Gear, 2017 Niner RLT 9 RDO, 2015 Bianchi Pista, 2002 Fuji Robaix

Mentioned: 213 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6212 Post(s)
Liked 212 Times in 146 Posts
Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
Regular bike maintenance and upkeep is all you need.
This is number one.

If you use the bike to get to work and school then it must be reliable.

Learn to look for issues such as worn tires, brake pads and chain and how to do basic maintenance such as change/patch tubes and tires, lube, tighten bolts properly and adjust brakes.

Keep it clean and well maintained and it should last a long time.
TimothyH is offline  
Old 05-30-18, 01:27 PM
  #11  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 36,982

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 413 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5299 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 35 Posts
Get a bottle of Chain L chain lubricant. It's excellent stuff.

I also think a floor pump is a wonderful thing. When I got one, I wondered why I had toiled so long with a portable pump.

I put a lot of value on good lights, headlight and tail light. I tried to be satisfied with inexpensive lights, but they just don't do it for me. Budget at least $50 for a headlight and $30 for a tail light.

If you're interested in upgrading your bike, you get the most performance gain per dollar with tires. Components don't make the kind of difference people claim. Cheap components usually work just fine.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 05-30-18, 01:47 PM
  #12  
Iride01
Senior Member
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 2,215

Bikes: '91 Schwinn Paramount '78 Raleigh Competition GS

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 816 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 14 Posts
You'll spend more money trying to prevent things you imagine are going to happen as opposed to just letting the things that wear out tell you whether they should be simply replaced or upgraded.

The only other upgrade scenario I like is when your level of riding changes and you have to change a tire size, gear ratio or even the entire bike to accommodate that.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 05-30-18, 01:52 PM
  #13  
ironwood
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Boston area
Posts: 1,684

Bikes: 1984 Bridgestone 400 1985Univega nouevo sport 650b conversion 1993b'stone RBT 1985 Schwinn Tempo

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 390 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
There is a commuter forum with lots of good information.
ironwood is offline  
Old 05-30-18, 06:08 PM
  #14  
Hoopdriver
On Holiday
 
Hoopdriver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,063

Bikes: A bunch of old steel bikes

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 389 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'll add dyno hub and lights if you will be commuting in dark. I messed around with battery lights for a year before I was enlightened. They are brighter, never lose charge, and if you get the right light you can charge your phone as you ride.
Hoopdriver is offline  
Old 05-30-18, 08:13 PM
  #15  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 2,599
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 609 Post(s)
Liked 12 Times in 9 Posts
Just to play devils advocate, since you mention riding to school, maybe a seat bag for your repair kit is inviting theft. Since all students carry backpacks, you could just keep that stuff in a pouch in your backpack.
Gresp15C is offline  
Old 05-31-18, 04:41 AM
  #16  
Jim from Boston
Senior Member
 
Jim from Boston's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 6,628
Mentioned: 39 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 614 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 18 Posts
My perennial safety suggestion is a rear view mirror.
Jim from Boston is offline  
Old 05-31-18, 06:42 AM
  #17  
52telecaster
ambulatory senior
 
52telecaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Peoria Il
Posts: 2,628

Bikes: Bob Jackson World Tour, 81 miyata 912 and 86 miyata 312.

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 809 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 3 Posts
fenders, lights and a bag. personally i like using a dynamo hub so my lights are always on but almost any lights will work. fenders are really great things to have on wet days. welcome to commuting by bike. its a great way to get around.
52telecaster is offline  
Old 05-31-18, 07:26 AM
  #18  
Ironfish653
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Virginia Beach
Posts: 914

Bikes: 1997 Cannondale, 1976 Bridgestone, 1998 Softride

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 299 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 12 Posts
@2wheelride It looks like your bike is pretty much made for commuting. Flat bar, disk brake, 35mm k-guard tires; I'd say there's not much 'upgrading' needed.
Lights and a bell are must-haves for any bike that spends a lot of time on city streets. Fenders, or a least a mudguard/splashguard, because you never know.
A spare tube, pump and patch kit means that a flat tire is a 10 minute delay, rather the 'Walk of Shame'

If you do a lot of curb hopping, you may want to get a bigger (40mm+) tire, as the frame permits, to smooth out the ride, and make life easier on your rims.
Ironfish653 is offline  
Old 05-31-18, 07:36 AM
  #19  
wphamilton
Senior Member
 
wphamilton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 14,438

Bikes: Nashbar Road

Mentioned: 58 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2460 Post(s)
Liked 27 Times in 20 Posts
Upgrades and accessories, one of our top topics here!

Since you are concerned about your rough roads and breakdowns, top of the list is a multitool, flat repair kit, and a saddle bag to carry them in. Plus a spare tube and pump (or CO2 pump. The saddle bag is a small wedge or rolled-up shape that hangs under the saddle, to put this stuff out of the way and forget about until you need it.

To me, the next most important accessory is how you carry your commuting stuff. Some people are happy with just a backpack but if you're not, a rear rack is convenient and gives you options. I bought a $12 steel rack from Amazon and it's worked brilliantly for my purposes for several years, so you don't really have to spend on that.
wphamilton is offline  
Old 05-31-18, 12:54 PM
  #20  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 22,660

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 84 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2956 Post(s)
Liked 47 Times in 42 Posts
upgrades? huh? what? we're going shopping?!
  • flat protection tires, a smidge wider than what you have now
  • fenders
  • rear rack & matching clip-on trunk
  • strobes front & rear
  • extra tube, flat repair kit & pump
  • cpl tools or multi-tool in case you need to make an adjustment before you get back home
  • mirror for your safety glasses
  • & all new clothes!
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 05-31-18, 01:20 PM
  #21  
TimothyH
- Soli Deo Gloria -
 
TimothyH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Northwest Georgia
Posts: 13,789

Bikes: 2018 Rodriguez Custom Fixed Gear, 2017 Niner RLT 9 RDO, 2015 Bianchi Pista, 2002 Fuji Robaix

Mentioned: 213 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6212 Post(s)
Liked 212 Times in 146 Posts
A summary of this thread is as follows.

The OP should get:

underseat bag
spare tube
patch kit
two tire levers
size 4 & 5 Allen wrenches
one of those Park Tool bicycle multitools
lights (front and rear)
a bell to warn pedestrians
reflective clothing
well-fitting helmet
a very secure lock.
a used bike maintenance book
10mm wrench
screwdriver
chain break tool
small saddle bag
frame pump
lock suitable for where you are parking
rear flasher
solid white front light
puncture-resistant tires such as the Scwalbe Marathon Plus
CST Salvo tires
leatherman
good fenders
any schwalbe/continental tire that is smooth and says PLUS on it
selle italia slr
handlebars
a 5cm shorter stem
a lot of steerer spacers
a nitto dirt drop
vision time trial base bar in aluminum
nitto north road
a bottle of Chain L chain lubricant
floor pump
good lights
dyno hub and lights
rear view mirror
mudguard/splashguard
bigger (40mm+) tire
CO2 pump
a $12 steel rack from Amazon
rear rack & matching clip-on trunk
strobes
cpl tools
all new clothes




-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 05-31-18 at 01:27 PM.
TimothyH is offline  
Old 05-31-18, 01:44 PM
  #22  
wphamilton
Senior Member
 
wphamilton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 14,438

Bikes: Nashbar Road

Mentioned: 58 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2460 Post(s)
Liked 27 Times in 20 Posts
Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
A summary of this thread is as follows.

The OP should get:

underseat bag
spare tube
patch kit
two tire levers
size 4 & 5 Allen wrenches
one of those Park Tool bicycle multitools
lights (front and rear)
a bell to warn pedestrians
reflective clothing
well-fitting helmet
a very secure lock.
a used bike maintenance book
10mm wrench
screwdriver
chain break tool
small saddle bag
frame pump
lock suitable for where you are parking
rear flasher
solid white front light
puncture-resistant tires such as the Scwalbe Marathon Plus
CST Salvo tires
leatherman
good fenders
any schwalbe/continental tire that is smooth and says PLUS on it
selle italia slr
handlebars
a 5cm shorter stem
a lot of steerer spacers
a nitto dirt drop
vision time trial base bar in aluminum
nitto north road
a bottle of Chain L chain lubricant
floor pump
good lights
dyno hub and lights
rear view mirror
mudguard/splashguard
bigger (40mm+) tire
CO2 pump
a $12 steel rack from Amazon
rear rack & matching clip-on trunk
strobes
cpl tools
all new clothes




-Tim-
Eh, it's $15 now, sorry about that.

I want to add "bike computer" to your list because I have one on almost every bike. I must have had a reason for it at some time, though it escapes me now ...
wphamilton is offline  
Old 05-31-18, 05:29 PM
  #23  
TiHabanero
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,238
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 630 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 16 Posts
" I would greatly appreciate any advice on what upgrades to make to the bike to preserve it and to prevent malfunctions and failures while on the road. Thanks" To answer this, the only upgrade needed right away is a set of tough tires to reduce chance of flats.
To preserve the bike, keep it clean and lubed. Overhaul the hubs yearly. Replace chain every 1000 miles, cassette as needed. If riding in the rain, cleanliness of the drive train is of utmost importance because the rain water carries a ton of grit with it and washes out the oil on the drive train, ultimately replacing it with gritty water. Clean it after every wet ride and save yourself lots of aggravation over time. Same goes with salty winter roads.
My son has a Dew Plus and had commuted on it from 2007 to 2018 when the frame broke. Moving to Seattle he quickly learned how damaging rain is to a bike. The thing has disc brakes and they needed to be replaced often due to wear.

Create a PMS schedule by the day. week, month, year and stick to it.

On the road repairs just follow the lists in previous posts for tools of choice.
TiHabanero is offline  
Old 06-01-18, 11:05 AM
  #24  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 36,982

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 413 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5299 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 35 Posts
Funny that you should recommend tougher tires. My inclination is to replace original tires with lighter tires to make the ride more pleasant and to be sure that you're prepared to fix the inevitable flat.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 06-01-18, 07:02 PM
  #25  
SylvainG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Ottawa,ON,Canada
Posts: 1,245

Bikes: Schwinn Miranda 1990, Giant TCX 2 2012

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 476 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Funny that you should recommend tougher tires. My inclination is to replace original tires with lighter tires to make the ride more pleasant and to be sure that you're prepared to fix the inevitable flat.
I had two flats within a month of installing my Continental GP 4000S II 28mm last year. I then added Mr. Tuffy liner and was flatless the other 6 months with these tires. I'm about to reinstall them this year (I use Marathon Plus 35mm during Fall and Spring season), hopefully I haven't jinked it...
SylvainG is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.