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  1. #1
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    Better commuter bike?

    Given the choice between a CX bike with a backpack or a Surly Big Dummy with mounted bags, which would you use for a sub 5 mile commute on paved suburban streets?

    Thx!

  2. #2
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    For short rides I prefer a backpack. I regret it during the hottest week of the summer, but the rest of the time it's comfortable and stays away from the road grime that envelopes the bike. I also always had a hard time hoping curbs on a loaded bike.

    I'm in a minority though, as most commuters prefer to have the weight on the bike. And if I was carrying a more than 10 or 15 lbs of weight, I might too.

    I've never ridden a Surley, so no help there.
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

  3. #3
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    It really depends on other variables. Are you using road tires on the CX bike? Do you plan to carry a lot of gear? Is there a chance you might want to stop at the grocery store on the way home?

    I'm assuming from the choices that you have both of these bikes already. If so, why not just try both and see which one you like more?

    Personally, unless I was going to be getting groceries on the way home I'd definitely go with the CX bike.

  4. #4
    Bedwards Of The West
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    If my ride was 20 miles one way and I had to carry an anvil, I'd still use a backpack before I'd strap anything to the bike.


    ...personal preferences aside though, a Big Dummy for the ride you describe sounds like major overkill.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  5. #5
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    The way I look at it is that a big dummy is a car replacer. If you aren't losing a vehicle, get a traditional bike, as it will be far more comfortable to ride.

    Cargo bikes can be fun, but they get old real fast if you aren't carrying anything.

  6. #6
    swanny
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    My commute is 15miles and I do it with a backpack loaded with change of clothes and lunch. I do this on a CX bike with road tires.

    My coworker rides a Surly Long Haul with two bags on each side.

    Guess there isn't a right or wrong way to go, just depends on what bike you'd rather have and will use more when no commuting

  7. #7
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    I would pick the backpack and cx for sure. Unless I had a family of five or needed to carry a whole lot of stuff for work, it would be more fun and faster on the cx, even if I stopped every night for a few groceries to add to the pack.

  8. #8
    Squeaky Wheel
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    I would choose a cx bike with a rack for mounting a bag. Oh, wait, I already did.


  9. #9
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    unless your commute includes carrying 50 pounds of cargo or a kid with your every day, I see no reason to ride a Big Dummy, except for the looks you will get from passers by.

  10. #10
    RAKC
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    Just commuting to work, backpack all the way. Throw a rack on just for the times u need to carry something extra. I have a nice UA pack that's padded and breathable plus water resistant (and one pouch is sealed zipper and all for stuff that really cannot get wet at all). I have a rack and planning on getting basket/bag for when I use the bike to run errands instead of the car. For work though go with lighter, faster bike and backpack. Big dummy ur going to hate on days ur tired and its hot or crappy weather, its a beast.

    Sent from my Nokia Stupidphone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    CB of the East
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    You posted this question just to stir people up didn't you? It's like asking, should I buy a sports car or a dump truck. If you said CX bike with a backpack or a Surly Cross Check with mounted bags, that would be a more valid question.

    I'd go the CX/Touring route with panniers or a backpack. A 5 mile commute is not a place for a cargo bike.

  12. #12
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    Re: Better commuter bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    You posted this question just to stir people up didn't you?
    Maybe, but I plead the 5th... 😁

    I could have added in my Pugsley with Alfine 8 drive train, or my rigid SS 29r as options, too... That'd stir things up a bit...

    No, in reality I'm trying to talk myself into/out of a Big Dummy (I don't own one yet).

    Thanks!

  13. #13
    CB of the East
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    I see you are another bicycle aficionado so I certainly don't want to talk you out of a big dummy but you are going to need a better excuse than commuting. I'd pick either of the others over peddling a 55lb bike around.

  14. #14
    Bedwards Of The West
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    You could also consider the trailer option if you need the cargo but don't want to lug the Big Dummy all the time.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    I'm in a minority though, as most commuters prefer to have the weight on the bike.
    When I said most...

    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    If my ride was 20 miles one way and I had to carry an anvil, I'd still use a backpack before I'd strap anything to the bike.
    ...I didn't mean him.

    I also used to re-purpose the baby trailer to haul cargo from time to time. But if you want to buy a cargo bike, buy a cargo bike. N+1, kids.
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

  16. #16
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    I've always wanted a Big Dummy just to have a bike called Big Dummy. Maybe I'll just get the decal kit and put it on one of my other bikes.

    I can't imagine a scenario where you can use commuting to justify buying a Big Dummy, but if you got one for other purposes you could probably tolerate riding it for 5 miles.

    A CX bike is overkill for a 5-mile commute, but for the opposite reason. Five miles isn't really far enough to make the drop bar shine. On a longer ride, the comfort and speed are nice. On a 5-mile ride you barely have time to get into a groove, particularly if a lot of the ride is in an urban area.

    I think I'd be tempted to throw some slicks on the 29er. Or, better yet, get a new bike tailored for a ride like this. Maybe get the Big Dummy for hauling and also get a something like a Jamis Coda for the commute.

  17. #17
    Human Test Subject
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    I have a half fat big dummy and a 4 mile commute, so I can tell you from personal experience that they're awesome and everyone in this thread who says otherwise is wrong.

    Unless you're in a hurry because you're like me and leave the house at the last possible moment and are running late to work and need to grab the CX bike so you don't want to have a supervisor talk to you.

  18. #18
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    Have you posted the same question over on the cargo subforum yet? That would be interesting!

  19. #19
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    Re: Better commuter bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    Have you posted the same question over on the cargo subforum yet? That would be interesting!
    Not yet, but may... I hadn't thought of a trailer, but I also happen to have an older (before design changes) B.O.B. Yak... I'd have to keep that on the CX bike (not a true CX but an older Voodoo Wazoo), as I don't have the 29r yoke for it...

    We make the odd trip to the farmers market in the summer and a lot of 40-50 mile long dirt road/ mixed surface rides... If I got a BD, I'd probably have to offload the Voodoo...

  20. #20
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    Re: Better commuter bike?

    Oh and the brakes on the Voodoo are not good enough to stop (in a timely fashion) with a moderately loaded trailer... Even with Salmon Coolstops...

  21. #21
    Teen Wolf
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    cx all the way. more fun to whip around without all that weight on the frame.

  22. #22
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    There's no reason why you couldn't put a rack on the Cyclocross bike. It should have rack mounts, and if it doesn't, there are several racks that will mount on the wheel skewer, racks specifically designed for bikes without rack mounts.

    I would personally definitely go with the Cyclocross bike. The Big Dummy seems like it has the excitement of moving a slow moving bus. Fine if you're doing what it's intended for hauling a ton of gear, trailer, massive saddlebags, etc. But a very boring and slow turning ride (like driving a bus).

  23. #23
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    Big Dummy all the way! I have a 4 mile commute each way. The BD is like the mini-van of biking and you'll never own another bike that is so useful. True, you won't have chicks hitting on you, but they wouldn't do that regardless of the bike you rode, so stop worrying about it. People saying they are sluggish haven't ridden one, and I bet I could pass them, pavement or dirt. And anyway, your riding 5 miles one way; that's just enough distance to get a good warm up. You don't need one of those finicky, anorexic, high maintenance carbon fiber bikes for that kind of ride. You can carry 6 or 8 of those on a Dummy and still have room for groceries!

    Seriously, I also have a fleet of bikes, including an MTB, a Fattie and a flat bar commuter/roadie. The one bike that I would not want to be without is the Dummy. Its hands down the most useful bike I've ever owned. Any commute under 10 miles (one way) should be made on a Dummy.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by minte View Post
    True, you won't have chicks hitting on you, but they wouldn't do that regardless of the bike you rode, so stop worrying about it.
    Oh, that's a relief! I wasn't being hit on and I thought it might be my bike.

  25. #25
    29er and 26er
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    Was just over on the Surly site and this was there:

    Solving the One Bike Conjecture | Blog | Surly Bikes

  26. #26
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    I think either would work, it depends on what you want to do. On a shorter commute almost anything will work. I have about a 5 mi commute and have been riding the dummy most of the time. It is great to swing by the grocery store and the library and the pet store and where else do I need to go today? That said it is a tank. My fat bike was my "fast" winter bike this year and my troll which is probably around 38lbs at this point feels much faster. My dummy only goes fast when going downhill. It is a fun N+1 bike but if you arent looking to get something new I would vote for putting a rack on the cross bike.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by minte View Post
    Big Dummy all the way! I have a 4 mile commute each way. The BD is like the mini-van of biking and you'll never own another bike that is so useful. True, you won't have chicks hitting on you, but they wouldn't do that regardless of the bike you rode, so stop worrying about it. People saying they are sluggish haven't ridden one, and I bet I could pass them, pavement or dirt. And anyway, your riding 5 miles one way; that's just enough distance to get a good warm up. You don't need one of those finicky, anorexic, high maintenance carbon fiber bikes for that kind of ride. You can carry 6 or 8 of those on a Dummy and still have room for groceries!

    Seriously, I also have a fleet of bikes, including an MTB, a Fattie and a flat bar commuter/roadie. The one bike that I would not want to be without is the Dummy. Its hands down the most useful bike I've ever owned. Any commute under 10 miles (one way) should be made on a Dummy.
    Words could not be more true! I have 9 bikes and my Big Dummy is one of the best. If you've never ridden one you have no idea what you're talking about. It looks big (well, it is) but it rides like a bike. You just don't know the rest is there until you run over something and the second wheel hits later than you expect.

    In short, the Big Dummy is a commuting dream. You want to stop at the store on the way home?-- your bags are ready. You want to give your friend a ride across campus to her bike?-- throw her on the back and woo hooo all the way there. There's no way I want 15-40 pounds on my back when the bike can carry it. You wouldn't do it on a tour so I don't know why you'd do it around town.

    Big Dummy FTW!

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