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Thread: Commute bike

  1. #1
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    Commute bike

    I've tested a couple bikes and found a few that I like.

    The following are all 2010 models because for no other reason than because they're on sale now...

    Scott Sub 20 and Sub 10 -- almost the same thing but the 10 is higher spec'd
    The 20 has Alivio bottom bracket, crankset, and hydraulic disc brakes
    The 10 has Shimano Alfine crankset, bottom bracket, and internal gears. Brakes are Deore hydraulic disc.

    Point Reyes 29er appears to be a step up from the Scott Sub 20.
    The drivetrain is a mix of Deore and Truvativ Five (I think this is Sram equiv to Deore). Brakes are Hayes MX4 cable operated --- I have no idea how this compares in product tier o how hydraulic compares to cable

    Otherwise, the Marin bike appears similar to the Scotts.

    Price wise, the Sub 20 is $660, Sub 10 is about $900, Point Reyes $750.

    Is there any advantage to having internal gears? Is it less maintenance?

    Differences I noticed in the rides are that the Scotts feel quicker, and the Marin feels a bit slower. The Scotts have a harder ride going over bumps and fissures in the roadway. The Marin is more cushy ride. I rode the Scotts both Medium size and the Marin in 19 and 21. The 21 feels too stretched out for me. The 19 is ok, but it's definitely more stretched out than the Scott medium frame. I think I need to go back and try the 17" since that's what's recommended for 5'8" people on the Point Reyes 29er. The sales person suggested the 19 at the time and thought the 17 might be too small for me.

    Looking at the specs, the Marin Point Reyes 29er smallest size has a longer effective top tube than the largest Marin Point Reyes w/ 26" wheels. Why does the 29er have so much longer effective top tubes?

    From what I'm told, 700 and 29 are the same wheels? The Scotts have 700x32 and the Marin has 29x1.6 tires. Is this what accounts for the harder/softer ride and the Scotts feeling quicker?

    Marin bikes:
    http://www.marinbikes.com/2010/bike_...riescode=URBAN

    Scott (2011)
    http://www.scott-sports.com/us_en/category/10060/sub

  2. #2
    weirdo
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    Heya, Jseko! Welcome.

    "Is there any advantage to having internal gears? Is it less maintenance?"
    Yes, less maintenance. Like everything else, IG hubs have their good and bad points.

    "Looking at the specs, the Marin Point Reyes 29er smallest size has a longer effective top tube than the largest Marin Point Reyes w/ 26" wheels. Why does the 29er have so much longer effective top tubes?"
    Toe overlap. Bigger tires need more distance from the bottom bracket (the spindle that the cranks revolve around) in order to clear your toes when you turn.

    "From what I'm told, 700 and 29 are the same wheels? The Scotts have 700x32 and the Marin has 29x1.6 tires. Is this what accounts for the harder/softer ride and the Scotts feeling quicker?"
    True on both counts.

    Which bike makes you feel warm and fuzzy? They`ll all do a fine job.
    Recalculating....

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Which bike makes you feel warm and fuzzy? They`ll all do a fine job.
    +1
    although you already realize the harder/softer vs the quicker feeling, and I would choose depending what I want in those terms.

    If you go Scott, think twice about getting their "Urban Kit", those fender/racks don't seem too trusty.
    Last edited by martinsillo; 01-25-2011 at 06:09 AM.

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    It seems they're almost different animals. I like the components on the Marin since it's full Deore compared to Deore and Alivio mix on the Scott Sub 20. However, I'm not digging the 27mm rims on the Marin compared to 16mm on the Scotts.

    Looking around, this is a huge difference because 1.6 is about as small as I can go on a 27mm wheel, but I can also go all the way up to 2+ which I'm not sure is useful. I think with 16mm rim, I can go up to 37 or 38 or there abouts, but I'm not sure about clearance at this point.

    I almost want to find a middle ground between these two.

  5. #5
    weirdo
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    Wow, you take product research very seriously! If tire sizes are your main concern, you could always get an extra wheelset. Four wheels for one bike can be close to having two different bikes.
    Recalculating....

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    What kind of a commute do you have?

    I'm not a great person to ask about purpose-built commuter bikes, since I refuse to buy one, and prefer drop bars for non-dirt riding anyway. But if it's an all-pavement commute and you don't need to contend with snow, 28mm tires are (at least in my world) quite enough. I think it makes a real efficiency difference, although that may not matter much if you're riding mainly in a city and stopping and starting a lot. The rule of thumb for tire sizing is that they need to be at least 1.45x the internal width of the rim, so I think you're about right on the minimum size for the 27mm rim, and no more than 2x that same internal width. People use fatter tires than that routinely on off-road bikes, but I'd be a little more nervous about them on a road bike - the cornering forces are often much greater. However, if you're not riding your commute like a crit race, it's probably not a big deal. On mountain bikes, people occasionally go even more than 3x as wide.

    Where are you measuring the rims? 16mm would be very, very narrow for the outside of any contemporary rim, but pretty reasonable for the inside of a lightweight hybrid; 27 is pretty big on the inside even for a mountain bike, but not too nutty for the outside.

    I actually raced some Alivio stuff for a few seasons. I don't know that I'd consider the crankset, bottom bracket or brakes on the Marin a step up from what's spec'd on the Scott. Definitely read some reviews on both sets of brakes.

    I'll be a bit envious of your discs if you buy either bike (and they work.) I'm already starting to eat through another rear rim on my commuter, and it's not much more than a year old.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    I figure if I'm going to spend as much as $800 on a bike, I want to get something that I can maximize its use and will durable. For the most part, I'm commuting on city streets in San Francisco. I'd like something that can do some hard pack trails. Nothing like fire roads, but there are some hard pack trails in Golden Gate Park that I might need to navigate.

    All the bikes I've bought in the past were from Sport Authority and cost about $350 or less and were Altus or maybe Acera so this is quite a step up for me. These were ok for putzing around on a picnic or to the store, but I don't know that'd I'd want to ride them very much or very far. They required lots of adjusting and even then would sometimes skip gears. Some of these also had big HEAVY hi-ten tubes made to look like the bigger aluminum tubes. I know better now...

    The thing about the tires was that when I tested the Scott, the ride was quite jarring and bumpy. The Point Reyes was much smoother so this is why I started looking into this. This was one of the most obvious things to me during the test rides.

    I think these are teh rims that come on the Scott: http://www.alexrims.com/product_deta...=4&cat=4&id=88

    And this is what comes on the Marin:
    http://www.wtb.com/products/wheels/r...disctrail29er/

    The crank on the Marin is Truvativ Five, which I think is Sram's equivalent to Deore. The Scott uses Alivio crank and bottom bracket.

    As far as the brakes go, I think it's prolly a toss-up, they seem to be the lowest model from Shimano or Hayes except one is cable and the other is hydraulic. I'm not entirely sure what the difference is here.

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Let some air out. Figuring out the right tire pressure for you is going to be based on the ride you want and what you weigh. Skinnier tires don't have to be harsher, within reason, and if the context is pavement riding.

    Did you actually search some reviews, or just figure out that the brakes are the lowest models? Both have had so-so reputations, but sifting through all that and figuring out whether it's improper setup, user error, or an actual problem with the brakes is difficult, and both companies should be fairly motivated to fix any issues. And just because SRAM says that the Truvativ Five is equivalent to Deore doesn't mean it is. Is it one with an internal or an external bottom bracket?

    Since you're in San Francisco, spending that kind of money is going to detract a lot from the usefulness of the bike. You'll only be able to ride it to places where you can lock it inside, or maybe the Sunset and the Richmond. (This is one of the things that keeps me riding older bikes to get from A to B.) I don't want to sound like I don't like nice things. I just don't like leaving them locked outside, and I really don't like things that try to look like nice things. If I was getting a bike for San Francisco, I'd probably start by visiting some used shops along Stanyan Street and seeing how far I could stretch $300 or less.

    Of course, if you only lock it inside, the sky's the limit.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    I`ve ridden 26 x 1.25 (32mm) over some fairly nasty fire roads, while lugging a load camping gear- not too bad. I haven`t used 28mm yet (gonna try a set when the 32s on my road bike wear out), but I can`t imagine them being too skinny for packed trails through the park.

    Also, keep in mind that perfection doesn`t exist, especially when you`re talking about such a broad range of applications. It`s fun to consider all the possibilities, but in the end you`re going to have some compromises no matter what- just don`t waste too much time torturing yourself over the decisions. Get whichever one and go from there. Next time you`ll have a better idea what issues are most important for your own situation.
    Recalculating....

  10. #10
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    I rode the bikes a few more times and while I love the speed of the Scott SUB20, the harsh ride really bugs me. It has 32mm tires, and I had the shop lower the pressure to 70 PSI, minimum for the included tires, and it's still quite bad on all but the smoothest roads. Every little crack, bump, or imperfection in the road is quite jarring on the bars. The aluminum alloy fork and frame probably are not helping here.

    The Marin Muir Woods (4130 Chromoly) and Point Reyes (Al frame, carbon fork) are a completely different animal. The is smoother by far, almost night and day, but they feel slower (at least during take off) and feel almost pudgy on the street. The wide handle bars feel quite awkward. Despite the longer top tubes, the riding position still feels ok when I ride a 19" frame with 29ers.

    I don't know any of these are giving me that warm and fuzzy feeling. Any suggestions as to a middle ground here?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jseko
    Any suggestions as to a middle ground here?
    Well you've figured that steel/carbon ride smooth, as do bigger tires. You seem quite particular as to what you like and don't like. So go custom. Pick a frame and go wild. With some bargain hunting/ebay deals you'll end up with something that you'll love, for less than you'd get it at the store.

    If you're set on a store, go visit the good people at American Cyclery (by Golden Gate Park) and talk to them. They'll have good suggestions for you.

  12. #12
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    I have no idea how to put a bike together, nor the tools, or even where to start aside from the frame.

    The most sophisticated thing i've done is changing a tire and adjusting the deraillers.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jseko
    I have no idea how to put a bike together, nor the tools, or even where to start aside from the frame.

    The most sophisticated thing i've done is changing a tire and adjusting the deraillers.
    Would you be interested in doing it yourself? There are a ton of online resources to help you, and have a shop do the work that requires tools (headset, bottom bracket, etc) since the one-time cost of install is usually less than the tool itself. Or if that seems too much, I'm sure most good shops in your area will custom build one for you, just go talk to them and they'll help you pick out the parts. Most shops have a bin of "take off" parts that you can get for pretty cheap too, so there are deals to be had by having a shop build one for you. Usually when you think "custom" you think expensive, but that doesn't have to be the case.

  14. #14
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by jseko
    I rode the bikes a few more times and while I love the speed of the Scott SUB20, the harsh ride really bugs me. It has 32mm tires, and I had the shop lower the pressure to 70 PSI, minimum for the included tires, and it's still quite bad on all but the smoothest roads. Every little crack, bump, or imperfection in the road is quite jarring on the bars. The aluminum alloy fork and frame probably are not helping here.
    I'm obsessive enough to keep notes on the tire pressures in all my bikes.

    My 34mm 'cross tires have a recommended pressure of 43 psi. I ran them at 37 in front and 45 in the back last season. 40 was too low - I got pinch flats.

    You haven't found the minimum yet, by a long shot. Don't worry too much about what the company's lawyers made them print on the sidewall.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    I ended up buying the Marin Point Reyes 29er. I've been riding it around today and so far I'm pretty happy with the purchase. It doesn't feel as quick at the Scott SUB 20, but I bought it more for the less jarring ride.

    The wider handlebars feel a bit awkward. I'm not entirely sure yet if I want to shorten them just yet. I'm told that the longer bars are more stable at low speed and the increased leverage means I have better control when I hit something.

  16. #16
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    nice bike jseko, i think the point reyes 29er is very good looking.
    i seriously considered buying one last fall. yeah, it felt pretty long & low so not very agile but over the time i test rode it, was impressed with the stablilty that made it comfy on the raggedy roads here.
    i ended up going with a very impractical ss/fg bike just for the fun & entertainment factor, but of all the real "commuters" i tested i think the point reyes was my 1st choice.
    in fact am still keeping it in the back of my mind just in case i come to my senses so would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on yours after living with it for a while longer.

  17. #17
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by jseko
    I ended up buying the Marin Point Reyes 29er. I've been riding it around today and so far I'm pretty happy with the purchase.
    Cool! Get yourself some lights and ride it to work!

  18. #18
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    Way ahead of you. I picked up a Planet Bike 2W front light and a Portland Design rear blinker.

  19. #19
    weirdo
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    Radbot 1000? That`s likely going to be my next bike purchase.

  20. #20
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    Danger zone

  21. #21
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    Nice choices. Bike and lights. Very interesting value, that 29er.

  22. #22
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    First commute...I need to find a different route. I have a 250 ft climb on the last .5 mi of my commute. According to Google Maps, it looks like I went up one of the steeper routes. I was wasted half-way up. Anyways...it looks like adding .6 mi or so I can attack the hill in a more gradual manner until I'm in better shape to take the more direct route. Proper planning prevents piss poor performance...

    Aside from that, the commute was fine except a gear skipping once that nearly made me fall over. My foot completely left the pedal as a result of the skipping gear.

    Trip home was fun aside from getting sandblasted by the wind.

  23. #23
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    Oh and schools suck. The danger is not from the kids running around but the stupid actions of the parents.

    Double parked across the street to drop a kid off mid-block? Seriously?

  24. #24
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    High schools are worse.

  25. #25
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    I'm fortunate enough not to have to pass any high school on my route. I think they I pass two elementary schools and one pre-school.

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