Beginner questions-
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  1. #1
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    Reputation: ymduhh's Avatar
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    Aug 2008

    Beginner questions

    I am going to start commuting to school and work in less than a month. I am moving to Richmond and this is the first time I will be commuting on bike. I have a GT Avalanche I haven't used in years. I am use to just using my other bike to ride the trails, but I want to convert the GT to a commuter kind of bike. I have a few questions and hope some of you may be able to answer:

    Are there are any wheel locks and seat locks that will prevent a thief from taking them off my bike while I will be in class or work?

    Do you guys recommend the chain locks or u-locks? And what brand usually makes the better one?

    Seatpost rack, the ones that clamp to your seatpost so you can take it off when not in use, any recommendations?

    Fenders, just in case it rains and such I wouldn't want to show up to class or work with dirt spots, I am looking for a pair that won't cost more than $100?

    and anything else you guys recommend as well would be very helpful!

  2. #2
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    Reputation: Dann C's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Good luck in your decision to start commuting.

    I don't know much about seat locks but as far as wheel locks, you can always use a small u-lock. That is probably going to be your best bet. On the topic of an actual lock, I would never use anything that isn't a u-lock. I have always been a kryptonite guy so I have never really looked into the market of locks besides theres. I have the new york lock, which is there most heavy duty one, and it is scuffed up from people trying to steal it and they haven't made any progress other than a few scratches on it.

    I personally wouldn't do the clip on rack mainly because they are heavy themselves and they aren't as heavy duty as a normal rack. Also, a normal rack may be beneficial to you down the line if you ever decide you want to get groceries or you want to take panniers or whatever the case may be.

    Fenders: I use the planet bike cascadias ( I ride a Vaya, you would probably want the mtb ones). They work super well except when its really pouring the front mudflap will throw all the water right onto your feet. The real good thing about the fenders is that they keep my drivetrain in fantastic shape which is my main concern when it comes to fenders. The planet bike ones too only run about 50-60 bucks.

    Hope this helps.
    "Most people dislike vanity in others, whatever share they have of it themselves." - Benjamin Franklin

  3. #3
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    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Look into Pitlock locking skewers for seatpost and wheels. For a budget version use hose clamps.

    For a lock, use Small U lock and a good cable. Research "the sheldon brown lock strategy".

    For tires, find some semi-slicks. I like Schwalbe Big Apples myself.

    Get a normal rack. You may need to use p-clamps if your bike doesnt have upper eyelets.

    For fenders, get planet bike hardcore mtb, usually under $30. If you need more protection, go to planet bike's website and order the cascadia mudflaps for $5 shipped.

    Make sure you have some good lights if you'll be riding in the dark/dusk. Reflective tape helps too.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Reputation: bubbajoe72's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    I use the Pinhead locking system, and like the Pitlock, you can lock just about everything on the bike (wheels, seatpost, stem). Small U-locks work best but chains/cables are more versatile. It's usually best if you use a combination of the two - more locks, more time needed to mess with it.

    Full size fenders work the best but can increase drag and stuff can get caught in them.

    Seatpost racks usually can't carry more than 20 pounds so depending on what you plan on transporting, its probably best to get one that attaches to the seatstay/chainstay. Plus, if it's bolted on, less chance of it walking away.

    Invest in lights, both front AND back. As a commuter, I'm usually more aware of people on bikes while in my car but there have been plenty of times when I'm practically right up on someone before I see them because they only bought a front light. In general, bright blinky kind work best to call attention to yourself.

    Plan your route and a couple of backups. Keep in mind the time of day when you will be riding and where the sun position will be especially on east-west routes.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2011
    I didn't have anything to add on the questions. I just wanted to thank the OP for this thread as I was just getting ready to ask all the same questions!!

  6. #6
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    Reputation: ymduhh's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Awesome, thanks for the info guys I have been doing a lot of research today. I decided to go with the New York lock from Kryptonite and I am going to be placing an order on the Pitlock packs they have. Anything to keep my bike from being messed with will help a lot. I greatly appreciate the suggestions though on the racks and fenders. I am a college student, so I guess I will needing to put my bookbag on the rack and as well my groceries when I have to go the supermarket. I completely forgot about lights and want to thank you guys for the mentions on the lights, any bright lights you guys can recommend? Where would I be able to get a normal rack? I might also purchase the front rack for the front tire in case I have a lot to take back to my apartment from the grocery store or something one day.

  7. #7
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    Reputation: mtbxplorer's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    For your saddle, they sell bike-specific locks, or you can use any cheap cable lock, like one for luggage, skis, or a kid's bike. Loop it around the frame and saddle rails, just keep it out of the way of the brakes.

    For taillights, bright ones include the Planet Bike Superflash, the Princeton swerve, and another I can't remember. Rechargeable NiCad batteries will save you money if you're riding a lot.

    For headlights, the options are endless and overwhelming, you almost have to figure out what you want to spend and then look for the best value at that price, or you could go crazy. Generally, if you are somewhere with streetlights, you won't need as powerful a light as on dark country roads. Generally, the cheapest ones won't be worthwhile.

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