Good Commuter bike.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Good Commuter bike.

    We took our bikes to San Diego and they got stolen. It was my old bike one I used to commute to work. It was a hardtail mountain bike. I want a bike that will be good for commuting to work. Or I might want a 29er hardtail. I also love the look of beach cruisers. I don't know if a 29 or cruiser would be good for commuting.

    I want to go fast so a part of me whats a hybrid bike. I have been thinking an old school road bike could be fun.

    My commute is short 3 miles both ways slight up hills nothing crazy. I do ride threw a meadow for part of the ride so maybe a road bike is a bad Idea.

    What is your commuter bike? How do you like it? What would you recommend? I also want the bike to be cheap. I will buy a fixer upper.

  2. #2
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    check out what is available used for sale

    cross bike

    hard tail

    pick the one that catches your eye.

  3. #3
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    If it is just for commuting without the need for a large spread in gears, I would recommend an internal gear hub, like a nexus or alfine 8. Buy an old frame and a used rearwheel and go.

  4. #4
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    Used and whatever is cheap that you like is a winner. If it came down to actually comparing bikes for multiple uses, I'd go 29er hardtail everyday. good trailbike, and every desirable part of a hybrid, plus rear tire clearance and strength. You can swap out the tires to 40mm hybrid width for commuting, or leave it at some big ole 2.2" widths at higher pressure (~45psi).

  5. #5
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    You want a rigid 29er. Throw on some slick-ish tires and maybe fenders, and all your needs will be met.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  6. #6
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    I second the hardtail 29er. It's nice if you can fit fenders and a rack. There are work arounds if you don't have fender or rack mounts. Slicks will make a hardtail just as fast or faster than a hybrid.

  7. #7
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    When I had a bikeable commute, I liked to use a road bike. I think there's a sweet spot for value on mid-'90s bikes: modern enough to be easy to maintain, old enough to be cheap.

    Think about whether you want fenders and how to carry your stuff.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    It would be nice to have a rack and fenders but I could live without it because I have been for years.

    I have found some cheap 700C aka 28" schwinn bicycle at target one with fender and rack. But the handle bars were weird to me. I could always change them. I might go that rout. I am not finding many used bikes I like.

  9. #9
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    If you don't get along with drop bars, don't buy a bike with one. There are other differences in geometry that go with them, and the controls are different enough to transfer badly.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
    jrm
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    For the urban environment i commute in i ride either a steel 700c SS 42/18 gearing, fenders, surly open bar (flat) or giant defy 1. Pretty good for fast spurts, easy to load/off load off buses and trains, loads easily in bike lockers/racks/enclosures at transit stations-work. social rides-pub/brewery rides, group rides and i can ride it to the field for survey work. I do ride "light" though. So 14 years of cycling -commuting and this seems to be what works..for me

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Ireland View Post
    It would be nice to have a rack and fenders but I could live without it because I have been for years.

    I have found some cheap 700C aka 28" schwinn bicycle at target one with fender and rack. But the handle bars were weird to me. I could always change them. I might go that rout. I am not finding many used bikes I like.
    Most large bike shops will have some trade-ins on a rack at the back of the store...check that out...also check out bike shops find a bike that fits your eye...

    No you can go approximate that searching on-line etc.

  12. #12
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    So sorry about your loss.

    I have a Surly Long Haul Trucker for commuting and love it. It's a steel frame and it feels super stable.

    The other day I realized, "wow, this is literally a dream build." I wouldn't leave this bike outside in front of some building unattended for a stretch of time and I am fortunate in that I do not have to.

    I'd recommend a used Surly. You can find them in working order for a few hundred dollars and fix it up as you feel it is necessary.

    There have been a few upgrades to my ride. I have the Surly "Nice Rack" front and rear. I also have a Surly "Bill" trailer. It's a 6 foot long, 2 & 1/2 foot long, 40 pound trailer, I have done a couple hundred miles hauling over 200 pounds on it. I also have a "Bob" trailer and it's more common to see (especially where I live since the engineer lives in town). They're recognized internationally for touring and commuting and are super handy.

    I also put on a "Jones Loop Bar" and it is a personal favorite. It's a 'paperboy' styled handlebar that provides a comfortable upright position with the option to move my hands around on the bar for more aggressive pedaling posture. It's also comfy to switch around. Worth looking into, though it's half the price of what some people are willing to spend on a commuter bike. I also put Clement X Plor MSO 40c tires on it, they're wider and more aggressive than the average commute tire. It's for mixed terrain. If I know my commute consists of more pavement for a longer period of time I put on some slicks for that. I put on some inexpensive Avid brake levers and moved my bar end shifters to the downtube for the handlebar transition.

    It also has a Selle Italia saddle, Ritchey seat post, Ritchey stem, and a pair of Shimano clipless pedals with a large platform. I have Blackburn bottle cage (could probably hold a 64 oz bottle like a Klean Kanteen) and another old aluminum cage. Blackburn trunk bag and two Jandd panniers. And a bell.

    I also scratched off every single logo. The rest is stock. Sometimes I go on foolish feeling mountain bike rides with this rig. It's a blast.


    I used to commute on a Marin Venezia but made the switch when I started to demand more out of the bike. I still have the Marin Venezia, it's typically faster (aluminum frame with carbon rear seatstays and carbon fork) but there are only tabs to mount a rack on the front and mounting a rack on the rear risks compromising the structural integrity of the carbon rear seatstay. It feels unstable at speed when hauling heavy amounts of gear.

  13. #13
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    Craigslist is a great source. If you look long enough, you'll find something for certain. I agree with the above - 90's steel frame mountain bikes are my favorite commuters. Nice enough to be worth fixing/updating, but "used" enough to leave outside in inclimate weather, risk theft, etc. I picked up a cheap ($40-50 if I recall) Specialized HardRock from the mid-90's off craigslist a few months ago and tweaked the fit and function of it with parts I had already, and spent a little more $$$ on additional upgrades. It's now my dedicated commuter and favorite bike.

  14. #14
    jl
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    I would look at craigslist or some local garage sales. You should find some different bikes like the one below to fix up with some new tires, brakes, seat, bars, etc. It'll will probably still cost an extra $100 or more to get a used bike up and running as new.

    https://sacramento.craigslist.org/bik/5225823267.html
    We don't need more to be thankful for; we just need to be more thankful.

  15. #15
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    To consider all usable (and affordable) options
    when shopping for a used commuter,

    1. 26" or 29er (you can get great nimble, fast-and-cushy tires for either)

    2. MTB/ATB/Hybrid frame (make sure you can stand over it of course)

    ----------------

    After buying a used bike for commuting,
    depending on what you get already with it, consider upgrading:

    * the tires

    * seat (also an extended seat-post if the frame is on the low side.
    A low frame is good for winter-biking, due to extra layers often worn)

    * rear-cog: freewheel or cassette depending on the wheelset it has.
    A versatile gear range is 11-32T (or 11-34T if the rear cage can run it)

    * also any other components you might want to add or replace
    (handgrips, shifters, etc.).

    I mostly ride:
    a '95 Schwinn Moab 3 26" ATB/Hybrid (with useless suspension forks, lol)
    but I also ride a Mongoose Dolomite (fat-tire steel cruiser) in the snow/winter.
    A 26" x 4" fat tire wheel has a diameter about the same as a 29" wheel,
    but can be way more cushy, depending on the preferred tire pressure.

    You can get a Mongoose Dolomite for $200-250.
    A newer version of this budget fat-bike steel cruiser is the Mongoose Malus,
    which I have seen listed for under $200.
    These bikes are not very fast compared to front/50T+ road bikes, but
    they are cushy and capable, and maybe cheaper than other beach cruisers!
    You can refit these Mongoose fat-bikes with
    affordable Sunlite Crusher tires (26 x 3.5) on the stock 4" rims
    (beach cruiser type tires), to make them faster.

    If you really want to go fast, get a bike that you can run at least a 48T ring in front (and maybe have at least one smaller/granny gear, like a cyclocross bike.

  16. #16
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    KENT makes a "29er plus" bike (has 29 x 3 tires) that's often listed under $200.
    Has 100/135 hubs, aluminum frame, 24 speed. Cheap bike with big wheels.
    Even though the wheels are cheap department-store-level quality, I'd think the big tires would keep them from getting messed up from the shock/stresses of regular use.

  17. #17
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    I found a specialized Myka sport only 2 season years old for a good price. It's a 29er it fits perfect and is really fun on the trail too. I wanted to put slicks on it but I have so much fun riding the trail too that I will not put slicks on it.

    The 29er is a fun bike all around. What's a good tire for the commute and trail?

    Thanks guys.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Ireland View Post
    The 29er is a fun bike all around. What's a good tire for the commute and trail?

    Thanks guys.
    A fast rolling low profile knobby tire like a Kenda Small Block 8 is good. I have had those, a couple Vee Rubber tires that were similar in design (but weak in terms of flat protection), and what I'm super stoked on now that I just put on my Surly is a pair of Geax Saguaros. They looked way too meaty to be fast rolling on pavement, but they are awesome and waaaaay quieter on the pavement than the Small Block 8's. They do very well on the trail also. So far they are the best do-it-all tire I've tried.

    For "ok" trail manners and "really good" commute performance, check out the Serfas Drifter, and the Schwalbe Big Apple.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  19. #19
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    I had some WTB nano 2.1" 29er tires that were good for commuting. I put hundreds of road miles on them with no apparent wear (45 psi) and they handled themselves OK on the trail. Relatively inexpensive too at $20 a tire. I've also ran some smaller 40mm Kenda happy mediums that did great on road. I didn't try them for trail due to their width and my weight, but there are larger versions that I'd consider. Not much tread on them until you lean it over though. I wouldn't try them io anything slick but dry dirt would be fine.
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Ireland View Post
    I found a specialized Myka sport only 2 season years old for a good price. It's a 29er it fits perfect and is really fun on the trail too. I wanted to put slicks on it but I have so much fun riding the trail too that I will not put slicks on it.

    The 29er is a fun bike all around. What's a good tire for the commute and trail?

    Thanks guys.
    Ok so for commute (pavement, hard-pack) and trail, you probably want 'semi-slicks,' tires with a fast center tread, and maybe with
    side lugs for traction on trails and turns:

    Continental Country Plus (29er sizes, i.e. '622' in 47, 42 and 37mm)

    Continental Double Fighter III (622-50, i.e. 29"x2")

    Kenda Khan (622-42, might be tough to find stateside)

    Geax Evolution (622-48, i.e. 29"x1.9")

    CST Pika C1894 (622-40)

    Adding a vote for the Serfas Drifters (reverse-lug tread, for road and trail),
    if they're available in 700c/622mm/29" (edit: which they are )

    Ones I like for semi-slicks that I have ridden are the Country Plus,
    but they might be slower than preferred due to their anti-puncture layer.

    You should definitely find the right tire though. I'm inclined toward tires that run smooth on hardpack and pavement (i.e. slicks, like WTB/Freedoms, Schwalbe Kojak, Michelin Pilot Sport, Cheng Shin C1218's, Kenda Kommuter, Kenda Kwick Roller Sport, Hutchinson Gothic, etc):
    I'd rather avoid the tire-buzz, when riding most knobby/lugged tires on road surfaces. Instead, I'd rather risk traction 'sketchies' when off-road every now and then, but that's just me, riding mostly road and less trail.

    ---------------------------------


    Ok, more 29'er tires for commute-and-trail:

    Kenda
    Kozmik lite II
    Kwick K879

    Vittoria
    Peyote

    Continental
    Cross Ride

    WTB

    Nine Line

    Panaracer
    Comet

    Ok bye
    Last edited by 2wTrekr; 10-25-2015 at 04:58 PM. Reason: added more tire options

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