Bike type for commuting- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Flat bar bike for commuting

    A new job is giving me the opportunity to commute. I have used my road bike as it is obviously intended but also for riding around town. Its main advantage is that it is quick. I rarely use my mountain bike for such things as the smaller tire with knobs doesn't have the nice roll. What it does have though is very nice access to cockpit controls where your hands spend the most time. It also is far superior in general handling, managing the curious changes of surface and debris of our roadways. We have one MTB with slicks but it lack the speed of the road bike.

    Once I realized that I took out my road bike again and realize its limitations for me as a commuter in an urban setting. Out on the open road it is so very different. Further, I only use the drops for downhill and certain windy areas. When I looked into commuter bikes I found all sorts of things with chain guards and fenders and fat saddles and upright positions but that's not how I ride a bike, though fenders can be a godsend. As such, I have found myself looking at 27-inch wheeled flat-bar bikes.

    All of my current bikes have XTR, XT, Dura-ace, Ultegra, components and carbon fiber bits where ever they make sense.

    I am looking at a Sirrus Expert but wonder if I will like the relatively modest Sram Apex componentry. I am also looking at the Spot Acme which looks good on the Internet but there is nowhere to actually see one.

    I would be interested to hear thoughts on these bikes or similar machines.
    Last edited by Berkeley Mike; 08-08-2011 at 09:01 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    A new job is giving me the opportunity to commute. I have used my road bike as it is obviously intended but also for riding around town. Its main advantage is that it is quick. I rarely use my mountain bike for such things as the smaller tire with knobs doesn't have the nice roll. What it does have though is very nice access to cockpit controls where your hands spend the most time. It also is far superior in general handling, managing the curious changes of surface and debris of our roadways. We have one MTB with slicks but it lack the speed of the road bike.

    Once I realized that I took out my road bike again and realize its limitations for me as a commuter in an urban setting. Out on the open road it is so very different. Further, I only use the drops for downhill and certain windy areas. When I looked into commuter bikes I found all sorts of things with chain guards and fenders and fat saddles and upright positions but that's not how I ride a bike, though fenders can be a godsend. As such, I have found myself looking at 27-inch wheeled flat-bar bikes.

    All of my current bikes have XTR, XT, Dura-ace, Ultegra, components and carbon fiber bits where ever they make sense.

    I am looking at a Sirrus Expert but wonder if I will like the relatively modest Sram Apex componentry. I am also looking at the Spot Acme which looks good on the Internet but there is nowhere to actually see one.

    I would be interested to hear thoughts on these bikes or similar machines.
    I think it would depend on city terrain. chicago is very flat. Montreal is quite hilly. Another thing is the quality of city street asphalt.

  3. #3
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    Take your road bike and swap out the drops for a flat bar and set up with a mtn bike drive train. Best of both worlds. Or take a mtn bike and rock some really smooth road tires on one of your wheel sets.
    But who am i to say, Don't get another bike. Getting a new bike is ALWAYS fun.

    I'm currently riding my road bike on my 9-mile commute with a lot of stop signs and stoplights. However, I hated my roadie clipless pedals/roadie shoes on my commute, and had hated them for years for town riding. The plastic bottoms of the roadie shoes were slippery on the asphalt and I was never 100% confident on the clip in.

    I put a pair of SPDs on my road bike, and now all is well.

  4. #4
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    Sorry......

    I'm in the SF Bay Area in the East Bay. The commute is 16 (32 RT) miles along the lower land near the bay with probably a total of 150-200 ft of elevation. Lots of surface changes in an evolving urban landscape which includes RR tracks and rough asphalt.

    I use spds on the 8 family bikes (2 racing HTs, 2 DS, 3 road bikes, 1 MTBSS with slicks) with flats on the BMX and the old Rockhopper.
    Last edited by Berkeley Mike; 08-04-2011 at 09:22 PM.
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  5. #5
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    You're obviously experienced enough to figure out what bike you want but I'm just gonna put this out there...

    The spot is not spec'd particularly well for $2000. I mean that belt drive better be amazing. I'd rather have BB7's than those hydros for a commuter. Alfine's are not that spendy and Alex rims are cheap (I have a pair). I'm sure the frame is nice but $2000 just seems like a lot for what you get. The specialized seems a little more reasonable pirce-wise, but both seem a little blingy for an urban commuter. Are you ever going to lock it up outside? You can't secure the carbon fork no matter how you lock it up.

    For a lot less money, you could grab a 700c cross or touring frame that would take wider tires (32-35) and build it up.
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    The carbon fork appears to be painted, so it's not as obvious as the one on my Marin Point Reyes 29er. Though the entire bike is a bluish-grey color so it's not too obvious from a distance.

    Something else to consider is whether or not the bike has mount points for a rack and/or fenders if you decide to ride in the rain or carry some cargo or use panniers. With carbon seat stays on the Sirrus, I think you cannot use clamps like you can with aluminum or steel tubes.

    Personally, I'm riding a Marin Point Reyes 29er as previously mentioned. It has 700x42 tires and it's not fast by any means, but my commute is within San Francisco, or purely urban, and going more than 500 without stopping or slowing is not common so speed isn't too big an issue for me.

  7. #7
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    convert the old rockhopper!

    Honestly... ahh I give up

  8. #8
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    What you really want is a beat-up cross bike. Best all rounder and will not attract thieves.

  9. #9
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    I really appreciate all of the input; it helps me to think about an issue with which I am not familiar

    I just happened to ride the Rockhopper this weekend on the street; not something I want to ride much anymore. Great bike, though, and I may keep it for my son when he goes to college. Beat-up frame, mismatched rims, but totally dialed; a true sleeper. Nice job on the Rockhopper Highdell!

    I want a quick, light-weight bike that has a little cush. I'm going on 60 and ride steel and carbon fiber now and am still pretty aggressive. I don't want a 26 inch wheel or to ride in the drops.

    I can park my bike in my office. I NEVER park my bikes outside or use a lock and walk away from them out of my sight.

    Great input on the Spot. One of my sponsors is their rep and also builds my wheels so those issues are dead-on but not so pressing for me. He also is very hot on belt-drive and has built up many bikes for customers with them. I have never seen one. I like the disc brakes. I have faith in his recommendation but really don't know any more about the Spot than I think it is really cool. For as much as I know about bikes this is pretty hair-brained but there you have it. I recall years ago thinking that the GT I-drive was cool, too. That is why I am posting here.

    The Sirrus Expert has frame mounts above the wishbone in the alu and just above the dropouts.

    I'm looking for input on similar bikes, too.

    Blingy? Maybe but I like nice purposed bikes and this usage is outside my experience. I keep my bikes a long time. I had my Medici Pro Strada for 12 years before I sold it for the Roubaix. I've had my Bontrager Racelite for 12 years and just refurbished her last year.
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  10. #10
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    Make sure that it is insured........It will get stolen!

  11. #11
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    This is somewhat off topic but important. I get the concern for theft from you Yogi but how is this different from any other bike? I'd appreciate your thoughts.
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  12. #12
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    Tires make a bigggg difference...

    With suspension the slicks still feel comfy.

    Rim brakes suck in the snow and rain.

    Last thing you want is to slide underneath a car.

    26 to 29 doesn't matter has long as you have enough top-end or bottom end on the gears.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    26 to 29 doesn't matter has long as you have enough top-end or bottom end on the gears.
    Interesting. My son's SS is an old M2 with Slicks. Absent low and top end it at least deals with acceleration, roll, and handling. I'll give it a try.
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  14. #14
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    Don't forget to look on CraigsList. I have two budget commuters I got there cheap. That gave me the option to try different things without worrying about price and/or theft.

    One bike was a road bike with flat bars. That has become my main commuter - except when the weather gets really crappy.

    My bad weather bike is a single speed 29er.

    One bike was $80, the other $200. I could basically have thrown the $80 bike away after a couple rides if I didn't like it. That cost less than a night out with the wife.

  15. #15
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    ... I also wanted to add that (IMO) road bike geometry, wheels, and cockpit all just seemed a little to sketchy for me on the varied terrain of a commute. Nice for a sunday morning ride with little interruption. Horrible against traffic, lights, dogs, pedestrians, chickens, bums....

    I also gave up on the clipless for the commute. I found mountain clipless acceptable but ultimately fell in love with a decent platform pedal. If you had told me a year ago that I would prefer platforms, I would have btich-slapped you. But they really are better for me.

  16. #16
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    Don't like the road bike for all the conditions you mentioned.The drops are useless in most all of those circumstances. That's why I want a flat bar and the control positioning they offer. I hear you on the possibilities of geometry and will test that a bit more.

    Tried platforms on the Rockhopper. Nope.
    My son said the same thing on the SS. "Dad, I miss the spin; you don't use all of your leg." After so many years of racing and training in spds...............
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  17. #17
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    First off I didn't mean "blingy" to be negative, I like nice bikes too. It's just that shiny bits attract thieves. Also, apparently the 11 spd Alfine hubs are about twice as much as the 8 spd, so that makes the price on the Spot more reasonable. That being said, if I had that much to spend on a commuter I would build it up myself. I would get a steel frame, maybe cross or touring or maybe a 29er, and then build it up exactly how I like it. I'd go with solid but not fancy components. BB7 brakes, X-7 or equivalent shifter, derailer, and cassette. Then I'd keep my eyes peeled for deals on a solid wheelset and rest of the bits.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogbrain View Post
    First off I didn't mean "blingy" to be negative, I like nice bikes too. It's just that shiny bits attract thieves. Also, apparently the 11 spd Alfine hubs are about twice as much as the 8 spd, so that makes the price on the Spot more reasonable. That being said, if I had that much to spend on a commuter I would build it up myself. I would get a steel frame, maybe cross or touring or maybe a 29er, and then build it up exactly how I like it. I'd go with solid but not fancy components. BB7 brakes, X-7 or equivalent shifter, derailer, and cassette. Then I'd keep my eyes peeled for deals on a solid wheelset and rest of the bits.
    I'm not asking what I should do for a commting bike.

    What I am looking for is input from people who have actually had expereince on flat bar type commuters.
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  19. #19
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    whoa Mike (I saw the email post)

    There are plenty of 'accomplished' riders in this forum - I dunno, If you'd call me accomplished, but I've ridden ever-since I could ride a bike, grew up in the mountains of Trinity County, so I guess I was mountain biking before Mt. Tam came on the scene.
    I also ride my bike everyday to work (yeah, in the rain too) - I also tag it on w/ transit often.

    For most of here in this forum, a good commuter is something that's; uber dependable, fast for the local 'geography', and is also not a magnet for theft and is tough enough to withstand abuse from others - the bike is meant to be out of your immediate control for a bit - store run, class, your employment, etc...

    Point being... (*=No factual basis - only anecdotes) *Most commuters; ride steel w/ flat pedals - time-tested, bla bla bla.,have 'less than desirable' look to the uneducated, are not a major setback if nicked.

    Yeah, Maybe people didn't appreciate the dist. of your commute (26mi R/T?) - I wouldn't wanna do that SS if it was super hilly, nor would I think that flats would be good to 'just pedal'.
    There are a bunch of flat-bar commuters here - just wait till winter and then be humbled by some
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  20. #20
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    I rode one to and from school when I was in high school, and for a while in college. (San Francisco and Santa Cruz) Actually I found going to road bikes to be a big improvement, even in the urban environments in which I've done most of my commuting. Now and then, I find myself on a hybrid again if I'm visiting my mother; I'd rather ride a road bike to get around in San Francisco. It sounds like we use drop bars differently, though - I sprint from the drops too, and come out of stop lights that way if only because I notice that I sprint from the hoods on "real" rides if I come out of stop lights out of the saddle and on the hoods.

    Every flat bar bike I've ever ridden that wasn't a XC mountain bike has felt pretty slow to me. If I'm riding in a static way for long, like on a MUP as opposed to an off-road trail, flat bars also start to bother my shoulder. Really, even my MTB feels pretty slow on the road too, next to one of my road bikes, but I haven't tried it with slicks.

    So, that's my experience with flat bar bikes for commuting. I guess if it didn't bother my shoulder and I had one built on a decent frame, with more drop from the saddle to the bars, and with lightish wheels, I might feel differently. I realize those are all malleable, but it starts adding expense and trouble. For me, a traditional road bike already does the job well. Mine has a rack and fenders - great additions in Seattle.
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  21. #21
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    FWIW, I agree, w/ this post too
    Flat bars w/ ends, alt/h-bars, TT- rigs...whatever - one's ideal commuter does not equal another's - nor should it
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  22. #22
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    I ride a flat bar roadie as a commuter. To be exact, a 2009 Jamis Coda Elite, steel frame, carbon fork, BB7s,...pretty standard fare for this kind of bike. I still have the stock 700X28 Vittoria's on it. I haven't done much other than change to an Ultegra cassette, add plastic fenders (more like splash guards), Time pedals, ditch the stupid suspension post, and put Nokian or Schwalabe studs on it come October. I try to not spend money upgrading this bike, I just ride it, beat the hell out of it every day, and give it some love on the weekend.

    For me and my commute, it is the best way to go. I have a mostly bike path ride to work. It's fast, just a tad slower than my roadie. I think the fatter tire makes a big difference in comfort over a 23. It's obviously way faster than my mountain bike with CrossMarks.

    I can deal with the flat bar for 20-40 miles a day (varying routes home). Rides over an hour an a half, and I start to hurt in the shoulders the same as ANDRW, I think I need to be able to vary my hand positions if I will be on the bike that long. I have considered bar ends, but I can't find any purple anodized Onza's.

    Whatever you do, make sure the bike has disc brakes.

    I really don't like riding my road bike to work. It makes me a bit nervous knowing that other people are coming and going at the bike rack with complete beater bikes, not caring if their 40lb. monster falls on my carbon work of art.

    Obviously, commuting on a Santa Cruz Nickel or my 20" park bike is insane......

    Maybe you have more specific questions?


  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll View Post
    whoa Mike (I saw the email post)

    There are plenty of 'accomplished' riders in this forum :
    I was not talking about this forum but other resources I have sussed out. It is pretty scary. That is why I came here.

    Yet...............I am getting all sorts of input that has nothing to do with my initial post. I didn't ask what kind of bike to get, or if I should get a road bike, or what you would do if you needed a certain bike or what kind of alternatives I had. Only 3 posts of 14 addressed my topic as stated. I said:

    "I am looking at a Sirrus Expert but wonder if I will like the relatively modest Sram Apex componentry. I am also looking at the Spot Acme which looks good on the Internet but there is nowhere to actually see one.

    I would be interested to hear thoughts on these bikes or similar machines."

    It sounds like folks are very concerned with theft. I get that and I have a sleeper Rockhopper for a townie but don't believe for a minute that somone will not steal it. I can lock my bike securely in my office.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbigisbudgood View Post
    I ride a flat bar roadie as a commuter. To be exact, a 2009 Jamis Coda Elite, steel frame, carbon fork, BB7s,...pretty standard fare for this kind of bike. I still have the stock 700X28 Vittoria's on it. I haven't done much other than change to an Ultegra cassette, add plastic fenders (more like splash guards), Time pedals, ditch the stupid suspension post, and put Nokian or Schwalabe studs on it come October. I try to not spend money upgrading this bike, I just ride it, beat the hell out of it every day, and give it some love on the weekend.

    For me and my commute, it is the best way to go. I have a mostly bike path ride to work. It's fast, just a tad slower than my roadie. I think the fatter tire makes a big difference in comfort over a 23. It's obviously way faster than my mountain bike with CrossMarks.

    I can deal with the flat bar for 20-40 miles a day (varying routes home). Rides over an hour an a half, and I start to hurt in the shoulders the same as ANDRW, I think I need to be able to vary my hand positions if I will be on the bike that long. I have considered bar ends, but I can't find any purple anodized Onza's.

    Whatever you do, make sure the bike has disc brakes.

    I really don't like riding my road bike to work. It makes me a bit nervous knowing that other people are coming and going at the bike rack with complete beater bikes, not caring if their 40lb. monster falls on my carbon work of art.

    Obviously, commuting on a Santa Cruz Nickel or my 20" park bike is insane......

    Maybe you have more specific questions?


    THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN' ABOUT! Thank you mrbigisbudgood.
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  25. #25
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    ^^^ well, some got the 'Idea' that you were looking at commuting 'in general' (see thread title). Not really a 'new-bike comparison.' -
    Have you looked at Masi? - There are some really cool offerings at my LBS...just wish I had extra $$
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll View Post
    whoa Mike and is also not a magnet for theft and is tough enough to withstand abuse from others - the bike is meant to be out of your immediate control for a bit - store run, class, your employment, etc...

    Point being... (*=No factual basis - only anecdotes) *Most commuters; ride steel w/ flat pedals
    Actually a pair of cleated pedals, make it very unappetizing for someone in plain shoes to steal...

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    "I am looking at a Sirrus Expert but wonder if I will like the relatively modest Sram Apex componentry. I am also looking at the Spot Acme which looks good on the Internet but there is nowhere to actually see one.

    I would be interested to hear thoughts on these bikes or similar machines."

    Truly you are over thinking this...ride, then ride some more....after 9 months and a least a little bit of 4 seasons, your choiice will be obvious...

    Commuting is all about everyday, ease and comfort....that doesn't mean a hybrid sit up commuter....it all depends on you and your ride.


    So you have that kids bike looks good....so how was your commute yesterday....mine was fast, but I noticed the mornings a getting colder....we have passed our maximum average temp day I think yesterday so it is all downhill till the spring now.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Actually a pair of cleated pedals, make it very unappetizing for someone in plain shoes to steal...
    ya got a bit of a point there
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  29. #29
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    Overthinking? I don't agree. It would be very different if I didn't have a huge fund of information about how I ride bikes and what I like in a bike. A road bike is good for going forward and straight on smooth surfaces over long distances. A mtb is great for rough surfaces and instantaneous handling and dynamic changes.

    It is not the thinking but a lack of a good sample of info; a fund of info on a certain type of bike. That is why I came here.

    I posited the Spot and the Sirrus, getting useful perspective on the Spot. I got a nice contribution from mrbig on the Jamis. The need was stated clearly. I'm not sure why the info is so elusive. It may be that this particular forum moves a bit more slowly than others but I do value what we have here very much.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    Overthinking? I don't agree. It would be very different if I didn't have a huge fund of information about how I ride bikes and what I like in a bike. A road bike is good for going forward and straight on smooth surfaces over long distances. A mtb is great for rough surfaces and instantaneous handling and dynamic changes.

    It is not the thinking but a lack of a good sample of info; a fund of info on a certain type of bike. That is why I came here.

    I posited the Spot and the Sirrus, getting useful perspective on the Spot. I got a nice contribution from mrbig on the Jamis. The need was stated clearly. I'm not sure why the info is so elusive. It may be that this particular forum moves a bit more slowly than others but I do value what we have here very much.
    No problem....I am under the impression you have yet to ride to work....if not true....tells us about the ride. The ride and bike go togeather that is probably why the info is so elusive.

  31. #31
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    LOL!!!!!!

    Jeffscott, (taking a huge deep breath) I can't be any clearer

    I'm not asking anyone to analyze my need. I'm asking about info on a certain type of bike.

    A good example of a response to my question was from mrbigisbudgood on his Jamis.
    Andrwswitch had good info on his flatbar experience.
    Dogbrain has an interesting perspective on the Spot.

    FWIW I have made the ride 6 times and teased out a couple of routes, each with strengths and weaknesses; challenging neighborhoods, overly heavy traffic, little room for bikes. Adding a few miles avoids a lot of these things.

    I doubt I will commute in rain. The local transit, BART, has a station right by my work so I can also ride one-way.
    Last edited by Berkeley Mike; 08-09-2011 at 06:09 PM.
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  32. #32
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    I have no knowledge of either of the bikes you asked about, and don't own a flat bar commuter.

    That said, a few thoughts on bike type for commuting...
    Since we don't get to choose our commute, it is usually sub-optimal - more traffic, poorer pavement, more lights, less dirt, worse weather, more theft , etc.- than you might choose for a "fun" ride. So the commuter bike should address the sub-optimal parts of your particlular commute.

    Also, since it is a day-in-day-out thing that some commuters aspire to, the bike should be comfy, yet not ridiculously inefficient - obviously this depends on the distance, hills, free time. any physical issues, etc.

    The existence of all these variables is why there is no be-all-end-all commuter bike for everyone, despite what the marketing departments would like us to believe.

  33. #33
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    It totally depends on road conditions, but here are things to think about:

    1. Fatter tires over roadie tires... around here people soon find out that thin tires = blowouts. The roads suck, so low-knob mtb or balloon slicks are the way to go.

    2. Handlebars... go as narrow as you can stand. I'm always squeezing through some narrow space.

    3. Pedals... tough call. I use powerstraps, but they suck in the rain. Rain is where clipless work better.


    Any bike will do if you will do. The idea of a commuter-specific bike is silly. Anything that is in reliable shape will work.
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  34. #34
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    I just picked up a 2009 Sirrus Expert with some 105 componentry, used. It has the original tires and it looks like it has barely been ridden. $550 out the door ($1400 new). I adjusted everything, removed the reflectors and pie plate and went out and hammered on it hard.

    Tight, quick, gorgeous and pristine.


    Done!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bike type for commuting-esirrusexpert81411.jpg  

    Last edited by Berkeley Mike; 08-14-2011 at 04:11 PM.
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  35. #35
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    Score.

    IIRC, those bikes will take a rack and fenders. Hard to imagine a better choice for your desire for a fast bike and flat bars.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  36. #36
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    Just curious but why remove the reflectors?

  37. #37
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    i hopped on craigslist and looked around, didnt want to spend a lot of course for just a commuter. I found a bianchi strada steel frame, the very limited info on the internet indicated that the frame was basically a volpe which is a cyclocross/touring frame. I popped on some backup mountain bike parts cassette, chain, x7 shifters and dereaillers and a new handlebar and i was all set. Best of both worlds as some have said. It also allows me to worry less about damaging my more expensive road or mtb, the parts are significantly more expensive i feel on those two.

  38. #38
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    I am jazzed about this find. I entertained the idea of building one up but the cost ended up at around $1400. I did see a set of wheels with an Alfine 8 spd for $350 which would have save me $350 in wheels. Then I found a cyclocross frame and a carbon fork combo that saved about $150 so I was under a grand. A good bike for under a grand is not bad. Then I found this one. No brainer. My wife, who was lukewarm on the whole thing, was happy for me.

    Maybe removing the reflectors was a bad move. It comes from the old non-commuting thinking that they look too noob. I am not immune to vanity. Anyhow my PM commute is at 2:30 in the afternoon. I permanently mount rear light and Night Rat brackets on the bike for lights as needed. I see a removable seat bag for lights, tube and such.

    Now I will immediately look for a killer U-lock and use a combination with a very heavy lock and cable I already have to lock it in the office.
    I don't rattle.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robb Thundr View Post
    i hopped on craigslist and looked around, didnt want to spend a lot of course for just a commuter. I found a bianchi strada steel frame, the very limited info on the internet indicated that the frame was basically a volpe which is a cyclocross/touring frame. I popped on some backup mountain bike parts cassette, chain, x7 shifters and dereaillers and a new handlebar and i was all set. Best of both worlds as some have said. It also allows me to worry less about damaging my more expensive road or mtb, the parts are significantly more expensive i feel on those two.
    It's great when a bike goes together like that.
    I don't rattle.

  40. #40
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    Mike, just load the bike up with reflective tape, it will do a better job than reflectors.

  41. #41
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    I left all my reflectors on the bike, front, rear, wheel, pedals. I'm not sure how much they help, but I figure they cannot hurt. Perhaps they make me look like a n00b, but I ate a spandexed roadie for lunch on a 8% hill climb this afternoon. He dismounted and started walking his bike about 1/2 mi.

    Must have hurt, I ride a hybrid with all the required reflectors, had a back pack on with a water bottle, and was riding in blue jeans.

  42. #42
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    I am a plumber in London and I consider getting a bike. I am not sure if its a good idea.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by jseko View Post
    I left all my reflectors on the bike, front, rear, wheel, pedals. I'm not sure how much they help, but I figure they cannot hurt. Perhaps they make me look like a n00b, but I ate a spandexed roadie for lunch on a 8% hill climb this afternoon. He dismounted and started walking his bike about 1/2 mi.

    Must have hurt, I ride a hybrid with all the required reflectors, had a back pack on with a water bottle, and was riding in blue jeans.

    You're just an animal; no prisoners!
    I don't rattle.

  44. #44
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    I just got a Diamondback Apex I want to make a urban cruiser out of.Any advice for good road tires?Thanks

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    You're just an animal; no prisoners!
    I'm still slower than some people...I got burned by a lady on a Dutch style bike during the evening commute riding down Market St in SF. Maybe my commute is in a secluded part of SF that I don't notice so many bikes, but I had to get my bike from the LBS which is near SF Financial District after work. On the way home I was in a pack of maybe a dozen or so bicyclists going down Market and she was faster than all of them.

    Most people were just wearing what they'd wear for work, except some had yellow jackets or vests on. Heck, one guy was riding a road bike in a business suit with bike shoes. I had trouble keeping up with him and even he couldn't catch the woman on the Dutch bike.

    Dutch bike had a rear derailleur so it wasn't a single speed, but it had the wheel guard, upright position and the bars with leather or cork grips that curved toward the rider.

  46. #46
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    First longer and involved ride included BART Train, which includes up and down flights of stairs. Nice to have a light bike.

    I was able to dial-in the seat position and tune the spd pedals. Bars are about 1.5 inches below the seat but still too high and close so I sit on top of the bike rather than attacking within it. I have it at 10 cm and 8 on the stem. I'll flip the stem but when hammering out of the saddle the cockpit seems small.

    I had a bag with papers, locks and such. Managing money, tickets, and phone was awkward. Full-fingered cloves don't help. At one long shopping stop removing the front wheel, using the Kryptonite lock (both wheels and frame) and the heavy cable and huge lock is time consuming. Leaning a nice bike against a steel rack.......ugh. I won't do that often. Got removable seatbag for spare tube, C02, multi-tool, levers, patch kit. Mounted blinker on the back.

    Having carbon fiber in the frame was nice on nasty rough city streets. Tires seemed a bit hard. Got her up to speed, about 25, hammering on the flats in spite of the position. Nice bike.
    I don't rattle.

  47. #47
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    I rode my '94 Cannondale MTB with commuter tires, fenders and a rear pannier rack as my commuter for the better part of last year. I had flat bars and ended up putting bolt on drops around the first of the year. I wish I had left the bars flat, but once I trimmed them for the drops it just didn't make sense.

    I've since converted it to an Xtracycle and put a new fork with real dropbars. I kinda wish I still had the flat bars though. Its still my commuter, but its a completely different bike now.
    Searching for Biketopia

  48. #48
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    Flipped the stem to a -8 and it is better. I'll leave it for now and see how it goes. Replaced the stock Ergo grips with true lock-on Ergos which are stiffer and give far more support.

    The lighter bike is good for the contstant stop and go. I'm liking the flatbar a lot; immediate access to the controls is very nice and gives the mtb feel I like. I'm not quite used to the quick handling on skinny tires (28) at the relatively higher speeds on pave but I'll get there.

    Each ride teaches me something new. Traditional bike clothing is awful for immediate access to phone, money, tickets as pockets are behind the back or inside jackets if they exist at all. Both of my Timbuktu bags seal everything incoveniently for access. Full finger gloves do not work on my touchpad on the phone.

    Today, jeans and fingerless gloves made things easier. A heavy bag today was defintely felt.
    I don't rattle.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by connolm View Post
    I also gave up on the clipless for the commute. I found mountain clipless acceptable but ultimately fell in love with a decent platform pedal. If you had told me a year ago that I would prefer platforms, I would have btich-slapped you. But they really are better for me.
    Another recommendation for platform pedals. I actually use the Shimano MX30 DX pedals on my commuter. Extremely comfortable on the foot and very grippy, though the pins wear the soles of your shoes faster.

    Plus, at traffic lights I will (unintentionally) leave the cyclists using clipless pedals in the dust as they take that moment to get their shoe clipped in

  50. #50
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    Hey

    when i have gloves on, i found that i can answer my iphone using my tongue. Im not kidding. You might consider signing up for a clipper card to use for BART and AC. They come in very handy when your just commuting or getting out of a bind.

  51. #51
    It's about showing up.
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    [QUOTE=jsilva;8363088
    Plus, at traffic lights I will (unintentionally) leave the cyclists using clipless pedals in the dust as they take that moment to get their shoe clipped in [/QUOTE]

    Yeah, right. See you at the traffic lights. I went clipless on this rig, as with all my bikes.
    I don't rattle.

  52. #52
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    Dude!I was wondering what that was. I'm on it. Muchas gracias.
    I don't rattle.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    Yeah, right. See you at the traffic lights. I went clipless on this rig, as with all my bikes.
    Are you suggesting I have not been at a light with someone like you? This happens almost every morning on my commute and I chuckle to myself every time. Granted there are some cyclists who are quicker than others, but I am bewildered when I see a guy in a complete cycling kit, racing bike and clipless pedals get a slow initial start as they get their foot clicked in only to stop again and do it all over in 20 seconds at the next light!

    Just yesterday this happened (I was initially behind the guy), and I waited for him to get his act together and when his start was insanely slow I had to pass him. I felt a little bad since I probably don't look like a serious cyclist. And no, he didn't catch up!

  54. #54
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    The whole sneering macho thing about beating people off the line as if it were some kind of race is weird. If that's what floats your boat....... One thing you learn as a cyclist, sooner or later, is that you can look good on one part of the course but it is the overall that makes the difference.

    I work with teen racers from noobs to champs. Training new riders you see them worry about keeping up. They rush and fumble to stay attached. Our training rides start with a 5 mile city-run to the trail head. New riders learn that if they are patient with themselves that they pick up ground a bit at a time as the riders up front have to wait for crossings, lights, traffic and such. At the end of it all they have learned something; don't worry about just one part of the course.

    I have always had a great respect for commuters with their dialed-in style and steady method. You can spot them a mile off on the paths and routes. My son shares the same bikeways on his way to school or work and he will often tell me about a commuter who will grab his wheel....for a bit. It is the same when the kids ride with the advanced riders at the local Sunday ride; they just look back over their shoulder, turn it up a notch, and wait for them to crack. It's called "hook 'em and cook 'em."

    Riding for sport and commuting are very different things. So forgive me if I do not value your point much.

    PS. Do a search on clipless vs. flats. For that matter search:
    best lube
    best chain
    HT vs DS.
    .............................
    I don't rattle.

  55. #55
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    Rode to the LBS, bought an Easton Carbon Fiber Flatbar which they cut and installed while I waited. Also added Ergo grips which grab the bar with a wrap-around strap-like clamp as opposed to a screw in the bar; better for carbon. Hung out and chatted with the mechanic's charming girlfriend while they did the install.

    Anyhow, put 22 city miles on the new set-up. The new handles gave nice support and the damping of the bar was appreciated. Dialed.

    Oh, and some guy beat me off the line when I could not clip in and I burst into tears.
    Last edited by Berkeley Mike; 08-20-2011 at 08:20 PM.
    I don't rattle.

  56. #56
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    You misunderstood what I was saying. I don't find it humorous that I beat anyone 'off the line', I do find it humorous that people go the effort of using clipless pedals for commuting when it seems like a hassle with little or imagined benefit. My reference to the slow starts was to point to the hassle of clipless, or the delight I have of not having to deal with them.

    It seems to me the primary advantage of clipless is that you can consistently get an excellent foot position without having to fiddle. I question the benefit of that for city commuting, which is what I do. I know the old argument about using the up-stroke with clipless, but as I understand it the jury's still out on the real benefits of that, certainly for the average cyclist. Has there been some new tests or info on the matter?

  57. #57
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    I've been using clipless pedals since 1992, and clips and straps since 1978. If I didn't use them I would fall over.

    As far as the jury being out...nah... a cajillion racers say different. My sample is larger than just the guys I know on the Sunday ride. I've been working with large grousp of riders for 15 years and training racers for 11. Flats for racers are abandoned about as quickly as BMX and skateboard hemets.

    The variety of muscle groups clipless pedals allow you to employ simply cannot be denied. A great example is climbing out of the saddle. On regular pedals you just employs the body weight in a static, quad-heavy hammer. With clipless you also get the pull from the upstroke.

    My spin is hardly perfect but my spin is smoother than without them and not so quad-dependant. Clipless pedals, especially with fatigue, give me access to fresher muscle. If I am rolling along and flagging, pulling back on my feet and pushing forward can give the larger muscle groups a bit of a break and bring me back up to cadence where the major groups can get back to work. That event also reminds one to use all of the leg. One notices these things mostly at levels of fatigue, say in mile 90 of a Century where the last ascent is 6 miles at 9% and you are praying to god and making deals with the devil for any sort of help.

    As this an mtb forum, stiff climbs, 15%, and up to 37% in one case I can think of, beneifit much from being clipped-in, especially where surfaces are loose or uneven. Smooth circular power transfer is vital to succeeding those climbs. It is the rare athlete who could succeed on such climbs without being clipped in.

    I'm an old dude. I don't have the kind of physiology of younger athletes who recover quickly or any of the other benefits of that time in life. As I ride with a lot of young athletes I appreciate such facility; envy may be a better word. What I do have are skills which I value, understand pretty well, and depend upon to keep me riding respectably, with command, and the subsequent safety it brings.
    Last edited by Berkeley Mike; 08-21-2011 at 01:51 PM.
    I don't rattle.

  58. #58
    i also unicycle
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    i dunno about you guys but even after waiting for a light or a stop or whatever for a bit i can get on the bike and into my clipless pedals before i take off. a 2 second track stand is easy and i like the consistent foot positioning and general better feel with clipless, but i've been clipping in 99% of the time for 10+ years. i especially like to clip in the winter. solid connection to the bike, better power transfer, won't slip off when i hit an unexpected slippery bit or a deeper/more solid than normal drift.
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  59. #59
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    I forget if you're using a messenger bag, panniers, backpack, or what...

    I use a messenger bag for commuting if I'm not grocery shopping or something too. I have a little cell phone holster that attaches to the strap. That doesn't do anything about the keys, but Timbuk2 has a pretty nice line of accessories available for their bags. IME, pick one accessory for the shoulder strap if you go that route - more than one and it starts getting crowded.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  60. #60
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    Thanks Berekely Mike for your thoughts on clipless, it is interesting at the least. My understanding of one study (I can't remember the details) was that, although there is an increase in power somewhat with clipless, there is greater fatigue overall. Of course the extra certainty on the pedals is useful, but not really useful for commuting on paved roads.

    My recreational/fitness rides are usually between 25-50 miles and I considered clipless, but since I also commute it just didn't make sense to me. Carrying around special shoes, the annoyance of stopping at lights, and the fact that I love my Shimano MX30 pedals keeps me in platforms.

    You might be amused that on my commute this morning there was a cyclist in front of me at a light who got in his clipless pedals fast enough that the difference between me and him was minor. Humorously, he was a "Joe-Shmoe" commuter in regular clothes on a non-descript upright bike with panniers riding not very briskly (15mph?). Maybe he had a "lucky" click

  61. #61
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    You gotta watch the joe-schmoe riders. Day-in/day-out riders, thousands of miles on some POS, rock-steady cadence. No substitute for being out there.

    The extra shoes are a pain but once I'm in class I have sandals, change my socks, and shirt. I am thinking (hoping) that I will not need a chamois. I rode in regular shorts the other day for several hours and it was cool. We'll see.
    I don't rattle.

  62. #62
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    I commute on a cheap-ass track bike with a front brake. It's pretty light, tough, and looks like it isn't worth anything so I'm not worried about someone trying to steal it. Toe clips so I can wear whatever shoes I feel like.

    Generally speaking the only people who pass me are roadies.

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