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Bike suggestion for an aspiring commuter?

Old 08-14-19, 08:49 PM
  #1  
appar1tion
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Bike suggestion for an aspiring commuter?

*update: i bought the 2019 trek checkpoint al 4*

hello bike forums.
i've never done any serious riding, but i want to start and i have some money to spend to do it right. that said, i'd like to keep it to a soft-cap of 1,200$.

i'm leaning towards a road bike for the efficiency and speed.
i have about a 10 mile commute to work, on a mix of 30% gravel and 70% road.

the gravel trail is less packed in some areas (i can't post pictures on the forums yet, but google 'snoqualmie valley trail' to see what i'm talking about), and more packed in others (where my commute will take me).

any recommendations for a 10+ mile commute on a mix of gravel and road?
will the gravel be a problem for a road bike? does a hybrid offer any advantages for my type of commute?
road bikes seem so much faster and more efficient. it seems like at worse i would need to run some wider tires, but i had a bike salesman talking me out of a road bike on the premise that the gravel trail would be too much for it to handle.

other considerations:
-i'm 6'1".
-i want to run disc brakes, because it gets wet here (pacific northwest) and i want the extra stopping power.
-fenders would be nice for the wet roads
-since it's a commute, i need some kind of rear rack or pannier to bring a change of clothes and my laptop.
-tubeless tires sound very attractive, because the last road bike i owned would get pinch-flats in the city on crappy roads.

any help is appreciated!

Last edited by appar1tion; 08-28-19 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 08-15-19, 03:12 PM
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That's a pretty good budget - make sure you account for accessories (stuff to change a flat, floor pump, helmet, etc)

You would probably do best on a gravel bike - they're basically road bikes that can take wider tires, which will come in handy on non-paved roads. I assume you can find hybrids out there that have the same benefit and as an added plus should be rack and fender ready (Like the Trek FX line)

Many, many options out there. I'd suggest finding a good local bike shop nearby and ask them the same questions. This is also the time of year when new models roll in and old models get discounted, which can be a nice plus.
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Old 08-15-19, 03:29 PM
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Old 08-15-19, 03:34 PM
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I'm with @TrojanHorse.

Look at the "Gravel Bikes", "Cyclocross Bikes", "Anyroad" bikes.

I do take my road bike on short segments of gravel (driveways, pea gravel, etc), but I don't always like it.

You might find this topic interesting if wishing for a more hands-on approach: Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions
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Old 08-16-19, 03:28 PM
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I have a commute just a hair longer (20km). I've been through a lot of bike setups.

I am currently riding an 88 Bianchi Strada, set up running a 3 speed sturmey archer igh with a downtube shifter and drop bars. I've got 30mm front and 32mm rear vittoria zaffiro tires and a rack, about to switch the rear to a drum brake, which is right now on the hub but not hooked up. I may switch to 5 speed Sturmey, I have another wheel with a vintage sprinter elite hub ready to go.

I just sold my carbon road bike with 105 - I didn't ride it enough, and I didn't find it was good for my commute. (And I wanted to use the money to buy a bmx race bike. )

If I were to buy something off the rack for commuting (highly unlikely), it might be an entry level gravel bike.
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Old 08-16-19, 03:36 PM
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I like Giant's Escape 1 disc. It has a Carbon fork, D-Fuse seat post, and 38mm crosscut tubeless tires a for smooth quick ride on pavement and most gravel with gearing for pretty much any situation you encounter, and of course Disc brakes. There is room for 45mm tires in the unlikely event you need them, as well as mounts for racks and fenders. It's priced low enough you can accessorize the bike and remain in your budget.


https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/escape-1-disc-2020

I have their 2018 Sedona comfort bike and love it for recreational riding, even a 6-7 mile commute, But for a 10 mile commute on mixed surface roads, I would buy their Escape. IMO it is well balanced for Comfort and efficiency on a mix paved and gravel roads.

Last edited by xroadcharlie; 08-16-19 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 08-16-19, 07:02 PM
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A backpack or saddlebag might also work for your commute. That my open up more bike options.

Though if you are riding on gravel a gravel bike (duh) would be appropriate. So might an endurance bike. Though whatever bike you get I think 32c tires would be the thinnest to go with.
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Old 08-16-19, 10:40 PM
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thanks for the posts, everyone!

i've never done serious research into bicycles before, and i've been enjoying learning about carbon forks, disc brakes, frame geometry, tubeless tires, and so on.

i rode the 2019 Giant Contend 1 today at a nearby bike shop, as well as the 2019 Giant Escape 1.

wins for Escape:
-hydraulic brakes
-eyelets for a rack
-comfy ride

wins for Contend:
-it's lighter by several pounds.
-it's fast

overall i like the feel of the Contend. i enjoy how easy it is to accelerate and maintain speed.
i can't speak from experience, but i've heard that the road bike dropbar riding position is more comfortable over the course of several miles compared to the upright hybrid position.
it has 28mm tubeless tires, so that makes me feel better about avoiding flats. and from the research i've done on forums / youtube / bike articles, 28mm is what i see recommended for segments of light gravel.

it doesn't have eyelets to mount a rack, but it looks like there are products available to use the lower mount points, then hook onto the frame or seatpost?
a rack would sure be convenient, and it looks do-able from a cursory search on amazon.
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Old 08-17-19, 07:16 AM
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For what you are looking for, if I had a budget of $1,200 I would be looking at the All City Space Horse.

It was on my shortlist for a new frame to build up a few years ago, but I ended up buying a Soma Fog Cutter. A good friend of mine bought a complete Space Horse about a year ago, and it seems really awesome, and if I could do it over again I may have gone with the Space Horse frame.
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Old 08-17-19, 11:52 AM
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If I had your requirements and were looking at Giant bikes I would be looking at one of the Anyroad models
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Old 08-17-19, 04:28 PM
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https://www.the-house.com/qbzdoppro5...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

$800. Reliable components, wide tires, front and rear rack mounts.

There are just so many options.
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Old 08-18-19, 12:58 AM
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If you like that Contend I see thereís a fatter tire version coming out in September
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Old 08-18-19, 10:42 AM
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appar1tion
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
$800. Reliable components, wide tires, front and rear rack mounts.
There are just so many options.
no kidding. there are wayyy too many bike options. it makes it fun to research, but hard to pull the trigger on anything.
that said, i'm going to check in with the bike shop on monday to see if they have the contend 1 in the size/color i want.
as for the lack of eyelets, i found several blog posts about using p-clamps for the upper mount.


Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
For what you are looking for, if I had a budget of $1,200 I would be looking at the All City Space Horse.

It was on my shortlist for a new frame to build up a few years ago, but I ended up buying a Soma Fog Cutter. A good friend of mine bought a complete Space Horse about a year ago, and it seems really awesome, and if I could do it over again I may have gone with the Space Horse frame.
lots of good suggestions in this thread. thanks again everyone.
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Old 08-25-19, 05:29 PM
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After having several expensive road bikes stolen here in NYC, i switched to the Giant Escape 2 as my daily commuter and love it. Because it has a long wheelbase, i use it for long tours as well. I just added marathon tires & stronger 36 spoke wheels. Also added a topeak back rack & panniers. I can carry my work clothes in them or groceries or supplies on long tours. I prefer flat bars, but added bar end grips to give my wrists a rest on long rides. Flat bars are a huge advantage for maneuverability thru city traffic. This bike is fast too. I can keep up with my buddies on road bikes just fine. Itís upright riding position is comfy as well. For a daily commuter, i donít think you can do better. It handles the pot holed streets of NYC just fine. Oh, mine is the 2013 model and after 6 yrs is still going strong. The 2020 Giant Escape 1 Disc comes with tubeless tires. Again, great value for a very versatile bike.

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Old 08-25-19, 08:52 PM
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alright y'all, i finally made a decision.
i went with the 2019 Trek Checkpoint AL 4 (the one with the pink lettering).

it's a little above what i was planning to spend, but i think that's how it goes in the bike world.
hydraulic disk brakes (big plus for me, because it's very hilly and wet in the PNW), tiagra grouspset, rack + fender mounts, and i got it for 1,300$.

now it's time to research pedals + racks + tires + tubes + it never ends, does it?
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Old 08-26-19, 12:15 AM
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If you're specifically just commuting, you can get away with platform pedals.

Shimano SPD stuff is good for clipless, even the low end SPD pedals are bombproof and there are so many shoe options for SPD.
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Old 08-26-19, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
If you're specifically just commuting, you can get away with platform pedals.

Shimano SPD stuff is good for clipless, even the low end SPD pedals are bombproof and there are so many shoe options for SPD.
I use some wellgo spd with a platform on the other side, and Botranger SSR shoes - I find them extremely walkable, barely even notice I'm wearing them rather than normal shoes.
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Old 08-26-19, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by appar1tion View Post
alright y'all, i finally made a decision.
i went with the 2019 Trek Checkpoint AL 4 (the one with the pink lettering).

it's a little above what i was planning to spend, but i think that's how it goes in the bike world.
hydraulic disk brakes (big plus for me, because it's very hilly and wet in the PNW), tiagra grouspset, rack + fender mounts, and i got it for 1,300$.

now it's time to research pedals + racks + tires + tubes + it never ends, does it?
If you're doing platform pedals, the Raceface Chesters are terrific value, durable as hell, and you can probably color coordinate them with your bike. I have a set of them on all three of my bikes, and they all have several thousand issue-free miles.

For a commuter tire under such circumstances, I think the Schwalbe Marathons go between road and gravel quite nicely, and are about as reliable as you can get.
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Old 08-28-19, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
If you're doing platform pedals, the Raceface Chesters are terrific value, durable as hell, and you can probably color coordinate them with your bike. I have a set of them on all three of my bikes, and they all have several thousand issue-free miles.

For a commuter tire under such circumstances, I think the Schwalbe Marathons go between road and gravel quite nicely, and are about as reliable as you can get.
the REI by my house carries chesters, so i'll go with them until i decide to go with clips.
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