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Longer commute bicycle (Europe)

Old 11-26-22, 01:11 PM
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Fandomii
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Longer commute bicycle (Europe)

Hi folks,

I'm riding daily 11 km (7 miles) back and forth on a relatively flat road (31m total incline). I've done this route with a number of bicycles and I'm looking to upgrade. Personally I have average fitness and flexibility, and I my neck is sometimes stiff.

Here are the bicycles I've tried (all semi-upright position):
- Aluminum commuter bike (Nexus 7 hub, slick tires), I go relatively fast, but I end up quite sweaty to work and the slick tires transmit a lot of chatter.
- Cube Travel SL touring bike (belt drive, Alfine 8 hub, touring tires) which was riding a bit more slowly. The "slow" part makes the commuting less fun.
- Speed pedelec (belt drive, enviolo hub, Bosch Speed motor, large tires) is a lot of fun and goes super fast, however the amount of exercise is minimal and it needs extra care, charging batteries, fear of theft, motor noise and higher cost.

At this point I am wondering if I should get a road bike with mudguards and panniers and give that a try, instead of using an e-bike. I've never ridden a road bike and I find them a bit too twitchy and a bit uncomfortable in small test runs. Do you guys have any models to recommend for someone like me to look into for my commute? My budget would be around 2000 Euro new, give or take a few hundred. I also consider a gravel bike for the more comfortable riding but the gravel tires will be a waste as I ride on roads. Many thanks in advance!

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Old 11-26-22, 01:27 PM
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You seem to say you want a bike that you can sit more upright on since you mention the neck trouble. That's going to be more of a cargo bike or a cruiser style bike with a high stack and a very slack seat tube and head tube. Or perhaps you want a recumbent bike or trike.

Road bikes, at least the things I consider road bikes will have a lower stack and you'll lean forward more than the bikes you may have previously had. But it'd help to know what exact models those were. Except for the Speed Pedelec, I am just guessing about the geometry of those others. Also most road bikes won't have the attach points for mud guards and panniers. So you'll have to stick to the narrower category of road touring bike.
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Old 11-27-22, 05:34 AM
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There's pretty much always a trade off between comfort, speed and cost, in that you can generally only have 2 of them.

Drop bars feel very twitchy compared to flat bars, but you get used to it pretty quickly. They do let you go a bit faster and give you more hand positions but they also result in you being more bent over.

Generally, smaller, smoother tyres will mean you'll feel the road harshness more (because they require a higher pressure to compensate for the reduced volume), but even going from a standard 25/28mm (at ~100psi) road tyre to 32mm (at ~80psi) will be a bit more comfortable without any notable reduction in speed.

However, if the issue is just about sweat on arrival to work, the solution is either to get better cycling clothing that wicks it away and/or just cycle a bit slower to avoid getting sweaty.
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Old 11-27-22, 06:39 AM
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I commuted 15 miles (24km) one way to work for a long time, about 30 years, and experienced a few things along the way that have directed by cycling ways.

1. As I became more fit there was less perspiration. By the end of summer the first 12 miles were essentially sweat free.
2. Flat bar bikes were uncomfortable as there were not enough hand hold positions to relieve strains on the wrists.
3. Road bikes are fun commuters, especially a road touring bike.
4. A modified mountain bike is the near ideal commuter. Change bars to drop bars and adjust stem for reach accordingly.
5. Ebikes are fine for some individuals, however if you don't use the muscles by pushing them the road to fitness is longer and limited. (docs words, not mine, so don't flame me!)

My experience says a high trail bike is very stable and preferred commuter. My main commuter has a trail of 70, 43 chain stays, and drop bars. This particular bike is a custom made to fit me, but is modeled on the first generation Kona Jake the Snake. To this day it is still my favorite bike to ride, and I have plenty other offerings to choose from. The road touring bike is another of my favs, again it is a custom made to fit me, but is modeled on the Giant Anthem from 2010, but has drop bars. Supremely comfortable ride, and again a high trail of 70.
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Old 11-27-22, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Fandomii View Post

At this point I am wondering if I should get a road bike with mudguards and panniers and give that a try, instead of using an e-bike. I've never ridden a road bike and I find them a bit too twitchy and a bit uncomfortable in small test runs. Do you guys have any models to recommend for someone like me to look into for my commute? My budget would be around 2000 Euro new, give or take a few hundred. I also consider a gravel bike for the more comfortable riding but the gravel tires will be a waste as I ride on roads. Many thanks in advance!
...look for something with a longer wheelbase, and longer chainstays. Something like a touring frame from the early 80's, or some of the early 70's stuff out of France. Sometimes they are labeled "randonneur", Smoother ride, absorbs the road shocks more, and relatively speedy, if you equip it with modern box section rims and modern, light, higher pressure tires. If it does not already have them, install a rear rack and fenders. A front bar bag is also a useful accessory on a commuter.


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Old 11-28-22, 08:01 AM
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Have you tried switching to lighter tires on the touring bike?
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Old 11-30-22, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...look for something with a longer wheelbase, and longer chainstays. Something like a touring frame from the early 80's, or some of the early 70's stuff out of France. Sometimes they are labeled "randonneur", Smoother ride, absorbs the road shocks more, and relatively speedy, if you equip it with modern box section rims and modern, light, higher pressure tires. If it does not already have them, install a rear rack and fenders. A front bar bag is also a useful accessory on a commuter.


beautiful bikes! Envious to not be able to use them as my commuter bikes
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Old 11-30-22, 07:43 AM
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I am currently considering a light carbon/Alu gravel for commuting (eg. Giant Revolt Advanced 3) or a steel touring bike such as the Trek 520.

What are your thoughts on comparing the above two for commuting on mostly flat, 22km per day?
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Old 11-30-22, 08:13 AM
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Cannot really comment on the carbon/alu type bikes, but i have spent ~8.000 km this year on my steel randonneur from the 80ties with lots of metric centuries and never have i felt that the bike was a hindrance. Esp if it's flat it should be a non issue. Personally I wouldnt use carbon for the commute if there is a risk of it getting banged up. Steel/Aluminium can take a bashing w/o having to worry about cracks.
If you are interested, my bike is a Puch Clubman (originally 2x5) which i restomodded with friction shifters and a 11-34 cassette combined with a 34/48 Crankset from VO. (Grand Cru Drillium). Fenders and rear rack mounts included.

EDIT: spelling
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Old 11-30-22, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Fandomii View Post
I am currently considering a light carbon/Alu gravel for commuting (eg. Giant Revolt Advanced 3) or a steel touring bike such as the Trek 520.

What are your thoughts on comparing the above two for commuting on mostly flat, 22km per day?

Id have a look here

https://www.fahrradmanufaktur.de/en/bike/bikes-2022.php
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Old 11-30-22, 08:52 AM
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Would you get drop bars or flat bars for 22km mostly flat commuting daily?
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Old 11-30-22, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Fandomii View Post
Would you get drop bars or flat bars for 22km mostly flat commuting daily?
Drop bars but what I/we would get isnít important itís what youíre the most comfortable with
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Old 11-30-22, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Fandomii View Post
Would you get drop bars or flat bars for 22km mostly flat commuting daily?
I have been commuting on flat bars for years, but have recently switched to drop bars. Latter are far more fun for me and a lot more comfortable due to the different hand positions. Also I occasionally have a brutal headwind on my commute, and using drop bars to tuck in, somewhat reduces the annoyance factor. But in the end it's about what you are comfortable with.
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Old 12-02-22, 12:58 PM
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Rather than get a whole new complete bike, why not do a tire or wheel upgrade. Your internal gear hubs and belt drive situation is really well suited for your intended use. The thing is though, commuters often tend to want steel-belted garden hose tires for flat-resistance.

It's really not hard to save 30+ (or more) watts of effort and easily well over a pound of rotating mass by switching to a tubeless system with high quality tires.

A wheel build on your existing hubs would be spokes, rim, & labor. High quality aluminum rims can be had all day on either side of $100, expect ~$100 labor & $35-70 in spokes. $500 is a reasonable cost. You could save $200 by building the wheel yourself.

Another ~$80 for rim tape, sealant, valves, sealant injector, miscellaneous.

Then another $35-70 per tire depending on sale prices/availability, etc...

The whole project would cost a third of your new bike budget & yield a much faster, more capable & flat resistant bike to commute on.

The caveat after the initial investment is the occasional checking & topping up of sealant level. Which is fine because you should be checking over your bike at least that frequently anyway.

Having said all that, the Giant Revolt, even with the $1000 price increase that happened in the 2022 model year is a really strong bargain for a high quality bike.
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Old 12-02-22, 04:27 PM
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A singlespeed is perfect for such a short commute.
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Old 12-03-22, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
A singlespeed is perfect for such a short commute.
Why? I don't see the point of a single speed (plus, i don't consider 22 km one direction to not be a terribly short commute ). A geared setup is surely way more comfortable - And complexity-wise i don't think this is an issue.
If you are single-speed curious, sure, go for it. But i would not reccomend such a setup to anyone willing to try bike commuting from the get-go
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Old 12-03-22, 01:21 PM
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Most of our long range members in the commuter subforum settle in on some kind of drop bar bike. Thatís what lets you push hard for a while and not make drag. But thereís the normal variety, as you see. From single speeds to heavy duty tourers.

Riding for half an hour and never getting sweaty does not seem like a reasonable expectation. Better to have a solution than a goal to prevent it.
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Old 12-03-22, 02:54 PM
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I'm good with sweating a bit - I tend to wear proper moisture wicking clothing anyway
The commute is 11km , twice a day. Single speed could work but there's some hilly parts and a lot of wind, which would suck. I like my gears. I just don't think I need more than 10 gears.

What bothers me with the "outside" gears compared to a gear hub, is that I cannot dump a lot of gears when I have to stop. It requires a certain awareness when riding. I hate starting with a very high gear, makes me feel I'm stressing the drivetrain unnecessarily. So in that sense, a 2x10 or 2x11 drivetrain might actually make sense because I can switch only the front cog and that can act as a "gear dump" ?
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Old 12-03-22, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Fandomii View Post
,.. It requires a certain awareness when riding. I
I reccomend having a certain awareness when riding Esp on a commute, where i presume you have to go thru traffic/cities Be safe my friend.

Regarding your "gear dump", yes you could shift down the front derailleur, but that might lead to an amount of crosschaining. Might be negligible, might not be But i don't think it would stress your drivetrain more than starting from a standstill in a higher gear. Not cleaning your drivetrain regularly, is arguably worse and would result in more wear of your drivetrain than the occassional high torgue you put in.
2x10 systems are quite cheap too. Even cheaper would be a 3x9 and components are longer lasting (chain, cassette).
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Old 12-03-22, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Positron400 View Post
I reccomend having a certain awareness when riding Esp on a commute, where i presume you have to go thru traffic/cities Be safe my friend.

Regarding your "gear dump", yes you could shift down the front derailleur, but that might lead to an amount of crosschaining. Might be negligible, might not be But i don't think it would stress your drivetrain more than starting from a standstill in a higher gear. Not cleaning your drivetrain regularly, is arguably worse and would result in more wear of your drivetrain than the occassional high torgue you put in.
2x10 systems are quite cheap too. Even cheaper would be a 3x9 and components are longer lasting (chain, cassette).
Of course - biking for me takes a lot of awareness and having to manage gears (e.g. dropping from a hard 7 to a low 2) while coming to a stop adds a bit extra cognitive load.

Is 3x9 more long lasting than 2x10 due to the wider variety of gears and spreading out the usage across more cogs?
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Old 12-03-22, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Fandomii View Post
Is 3x9 more long lasting than 2x10 due to the wider variety of gears and spreading out the usage across more cogs?
I'd say yes. You will however, likely find yourself mostly using the middle/large ring in the front. On my commuter 3x7 I rarely ever use the smallest cog in the front. Also, due to thicker and sturdier construction, 9 sp chains are more robust than their thinner 10sp counterparts.
For reference, I had to change my 10sp chain after 8k km of riding this year. crankset and casette (48/34 and 11-34 resp.) are fine and will likely last me for quite some time. I do however, regularly clean and lube my drivetrain So, if you are less dilligent, expect fewer k's from your setup.
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