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  1. #1
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    Started Bicycle commuting - 8 miles each way

    Started riding to work, not really far but enough to get the blood flowing, anyway using my carbon road bike right now but I'm afraid it's going to get beat. What is a good commuting bike, would like to get racks one day and use bags. Any suggestions, maybe a cross bike? Would like to stay semi light and not break the bank.

  2. #2
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    I love my san jose. get something cheap steel built for racks and fenders.

  3. #3
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    I'm a huge fan of either a cross bike or a rigid 29er. I've used both. Either could meet all of your needs. also, 8 miles one way is a great distance. Way further than a lot of people on here are riding. In my opinion 6-9 miles is about perfect. Enough time out there to clear your head, but not too far.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  4. #4
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    my commute was 3 miles each way. super short, and not really even long enough to get into a groove. I'm in a new state now and will be finishing some work at home before I get a job that requires me to commute so we'll see what my commute distance winds up being.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spokeman View Post
    Started riding to work, not really far but enough to get the blood flowing, anyway using my carbon road bike right now but I'm afraid it's going to get beat. What is a good commuting bike, would like to get racks one day and use bags. Any suggestions, maybe a cross bike? Would like to stay semi light and not break the bank.
    Commuting is very hard on bikes....especially everyday commuting....maintance gets forgotten, hard miles pile up...

    I have found that high-end parts survive much better than the cheapee stuff....

    ie Chris King Head set is in it's 3 year, best ever before (with lots of maintance was 6 months)....due to winter salt etc.

    ie XT hollow tech II BB with stainless steel ceramic bearings last at least a year, three months max for shimano bearings.....excellent payout.

    Plus the pleasure of riding a smooth clean bike is priceless

    My point, if you are gonna do it...do it well.

    Type of bike is not nearly so important has quality of bike.

  6. #6
    jrm
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    For that same distance

    i say stick some 25c tires on the roadie and be done with it.

  7. #7
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    One of the things that's sort of ironic about commute bikes is that for many of us, it's actually the bike we get the most rides on. I commute four days a week. I don't go on a ride that's just a ride that often when school is in session.

    If you have a safe place to keep your road bike, just ride that. On the occasion that I have a job with safe storage for my 'A' road bike and I can leave some shoes, I switch, at least on the days when I'm just moving me, a change of clothes, maybe, and lunch.

    If you're going to buy a bike for commuting, I think a light touring or randonee bike is the way to go. 'cross bikes are a throwback to the versatility that used to be common to a lot more road bikes, so they're not a bad choice, but depending on your pricepoint, you can run into a tension between 'cross bikes being designed for and marketed to racers and the use you want to put the bike to.

    Lately, I'm riding a Trek Portland. Advertised as a touring bike, although it shipped with really stupid wheels. It has disc brakes, which are really nice for where I live, and assloads of clearance for fenders, also really nice for where I live. I think I could fit some big honkin' tour tires in there if I wanted to, but I really don't have a lot of use for something over 28 mm for how I use the bike. Trek ditched the line, which I think is stupid, but there are a bunch of companies making things that fit into that segment well. Off the top of my head, the Specialized Tricross, now that it's not pretending to be a racer, and the Redline Metro and their old Conquest Classic. Also, Jamis has a bunch. A friend of mine has a ginormous heavy tourer of theirs that he's pretty stoked on; I think the lighter version of that would be a fun commuter.

    For commutes that are all on-road, including dirt roads, and maybe even with some little singletrack detours, I prefer a road bike of some sort. I'd really need a route to be mostly singletrack, at least by time, or have some significant off-road climbing and descending, before I'd want to be on a mountain bike.

    All depends on the goals and the budget. (EDIT: I feel I should say something facetious about your budget. I don't know how big or durable your bank is, so you really need to give a number. For me, "budget commuter" is, like, $200. Some people say that and then buy a Cervelo.)
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    ie Chris King Head set is in it's 3 year, best ever before (with lots of maintance was 6 months)....due to winter salt etc.

    ie XT hollow tech II BB with stainless steel ceramic bearings last at least a year, three months max for shimano bearings...
    Man, salt must be seriously destructive. So glad they don't use it here. I'm on gritty dirt, slop, slush, snow, rain, etc... and I've never thought about servicing a headset. after 5 or 7 years I sell the bike and move on anyway. I've replaced a couple BB's when they started making noise, after 10k miles or so.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    i say stick some 25c tires on the roadie and be done with it.
    I Like this idea, I need some new tread anyways. I'll just stick with the backpack until I win the Lotto and can afford a "just commuter" bike. Yeah I was a little sketched out riding home the other night, pitch black, the roads around here are full of pot holes and cracks, riding with skinny 23C a bit of a pucker factor Lucky I have a 600 lumens lamp, helps some.
    thanks again all for the reply's

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    Man, salt must be seriously destructive. So glad they don't use it here. I'm on gritty dirt, slop, slush, snow, rain, etc... and I've never thought about servicing a headset. after 5 or 7 years I sell the bike and move on anyway. I've replaced a couple BB's when they started making noise, after 10k miles or so.
    Salt is nasty. You should have seen my auto mechanic in Texas flip out the first few times he worked on my car after it had spent a few winters in the "salt belt".

    I think I'd have a really hard time putting up with a cheapo commuter bike. Mine's a decent bike, but I didn't put fancy bearings in it (yet). I just like not having to worry about it all the time. I lube the chain and inflate the tires regularly, but other stuff doesn't even need to be looked at for weeks at a time. the most frequent after chain and tires is adjusting the brakes for pad wear.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    Man, salt must be seriously destructive. So glad they don't use it here. I'm on gritty dirt, slop, slush, snow, rain, etc... and I've never thought about servicing a headset. after 5 or 7 years I sell the bike and move on anyway. I've replaced a couple BB's when they started making noise, after 10k miles or so.
    Yup, It can kinda of creep inside of things....the water carries it in then evaporates and leaves the salt behind in the grease etc.

    I hac a problem one year the headset would get really stiff when it got down to about oh -10C......Thought it was grease or something setting up....

    Turned out to be salty water inside the bearings, it would freeze at about -10C and the headset woudl stiffen about.....above -10C the thing was okay...

    That was the last straw when the headset failed, bearings and races eroded and corroded I went the Chris King...

    First year it was starting to get stiff, I took it apart and did a proper grease job on it.....Still going strong.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Yup, It can kinda of creep inside of things....the water carries it in then evaporates and leaves the salt behind in the grease etc.

    I hac a problem one year the headset would get really stiff when it got down to about oh -10C......Thought it was grease or something setting up....

    Turned out to be salty water inside the bearings, it would freeze at about -10C and the headset woudl stiffen about.....above -10C the thing was okay...

    That was the last straw when the headset failed, bearings and races eroded and corroded I went the Chris King...

    First year it was starting to get stiff, I took it apart and did a proper grease job on it.....Still going strong.
    Wow, I'm glad I live where they don't salt the roads! I just have to deal with the Pacific Ocean Salt water

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spokeman View Post
    Wow, I'm glad I live where they don't salt the roads! I just have to deal with the Pacific Ocean Salt water
    Well ocean spray is also very hard on bikes....Although you would only get it down on the docks or the beach.

    We sailed with two rental bikes strapped on to our boat for two weeks through the greek islands....

    The chains, headsets, and BB's wern't shot but were significantly damaged after that time in direct ocean spray.

    The chrome plating on my XTR pedals (i brought them over with me) was also damaged(rust showed through)....the pedals however are still going strong.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    We sailed with two rental bikes strapped on to our boat for two weeks through the greek islands....
    Wow that must have been horrible.
    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 CommuterBoy View Post
    Wow that must have been horrible.
    Yup it was really hot out.

  16. #16
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    Awwwww. I'm sorry man.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  17. #17
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    Cross bike

    I use a cross bike. What I noticed is that many of the bikes marketed as commuter bikes had geometry designed for riding short distances. Riding them more than a few miles would be uncomfortable.

    I bought a Surly Crosscheck. Steel frame with a great ride, gets you to work comfortably. Has the ability to add racks, panniers, fenders, wider tires.... Relatively inexpensive too. Check out the Surly forum for cross check photos, a very versatile bike.

    Cross-Check | Bikes | Surly Bikes

  18. #18
    miwuksurfer
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    Unless theft is a serious concern just ride what you got. I've gone full circle with panniers, messenger bags and now am happily commuting 27 miles a day with a backpack that isn't even designed for riding. Save your money for some nice wool sweaters, socks, new tires and food.

  19. #19
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    I'm in the salt belt (and near the shore, so I've got gobs of sand everywhere when it rains, to boot) and let me tell you...after the first good salting, my original chain was toast. I won't even think about buying an un-plated chain now.

    Other than that, not much to write home about in terms of durability. Get sealed parts, but don't splurge; my bike's original VP headset is still going strong (sealed, caged bearing headset) and last I knew, my original unsealed non-series Shimano hubs were still doing okay, though I did repack them every few months. I've personally noticed that internal bottom brackets need less care; I downright abused mine, including a trip through a coastal flood, and it kept coming back for more.

    If you really want to save money, hit up a used bike shop, and pick up an old ten speed with lugs for racks/fenders. Spend a couple of hundred, maybe replace a few worn parts, and come out with an able commuter.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson View Post
    I use a cross bike. What I noticed is that many of the bikes marketed as commuter bikes had geometry designed for riding short distances. Riding them more than a few miles would be uncomfortable.

    I bought a Surly Crosscheck. Steel frame with a great ride, gets you to work comfortably. Has the ability to add racks, panniers, fenders, wider tires.... Relatively inexpensive too. Check out the Surly forum for cross check photos, a very versatile bike.

    Cross-Check | Bikes | Surly Bikes
    Another vote for the cross check. My commuters 11 or so miles each way and it is a great ride for sure.

  21. #21
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    Daily commuting is fun. I've ridden 7-10 miles each way to school for the last 3 semesters and haven't missed a day. Most days, that's my only break.
    This semester I commuted about 1,800 miles. The bike has probably 8,000+ miles on it in the last 3 years.



    I'd recommend getting a tough steel frame, either cyclocross, touring, or mountain bike, with a rear rack.
    Here's what I'm running.
    Vassago Fisticuff frame/fork
    OMM rear rack
    things that spin - make sure these are quality
    Headset: Cane Creek S3
    Bottom Bracket: Phil Wood square taper, bought used at a swap meet for $20!
    Front hub: DT 370 disc
    Rear hub: DT/S-works non disc mtb hub, with the star drive. $15 at the same swap meet
    Front rim: Bontrager Maverick
    Rear rim: WTB Dual Duty Freeride
    Tires: 35 mm Kenda Kwest, slime tubes - good for a few thousand miles
    Spokes: DT 14 gauge
    Front brake: Avid BB7
    Rear brake: Avid SD 7 with good pads
    Levers: the $15 Avid ones.
    Stem/post: cheapo stuff
    Seat: WTB SST
    Bars: Jones Aluminum
    Grips: Ergon
    Frame bag, pannier/backpack: made by me
    Speedometer: Cateye Velo 5
    Cranks - freebies from a parts bin - Specialized something or other on the right side and a mismatch Sugino (same length) on the left. Works like a charm.
    Sram X-4 rear derailleur and 8 speed shifters
    some cheap 8 speed cassette and chain
    Locks: Kryptonite U lock, Specialized Cable lock - they live in the left pocket of the frame bag.
    Lights, mirrors, reflective tape...... blah blah

    This thing runs like a dream. I've had very very few mechanical needs on it, and the DT hubs, Phil Wood BB, and Cane Creek sealed headset are a key part of that. I sure can tune cup and cone bearings - but why when you can get the good stuff and forget about it for 7k?
    The Maverick rims have eventually developed little hairline cracks by a couple of the spoke holes. That's what I get for running skinny high pressure tires on a cheaper mtb rim. That is also why I rebuilt the rear wheel with a freeride rim..... overkill for commuting, even with books and groceries on the rear rack? Perhaps, but now I don't have to think about it for a long, long time....
    Anyway, if you're putting in that many daily miles, it sure is nice to have something that doesn't look that nice locked up on campus, yet has some really high end bearings deep down inside, and has cheap but reliable wear items - the tires and drivetrain.

    Welcome to the club!

  22. #22
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    I bought a Bikes direct windsor wellington. It was $400 new with sora components and carbon fork. I use a rack with setback so no heel hits. was riding this 22miles round trip 3 days a week for work until it got too cold. I love it. It does the trick and im not out a whole lot. Reliable and not terribly heavy.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spokeman View Post
    Started riding to work, not really far but enough to get the blood flowing, anyway using my carbon road bike right now but I'm afraid it's going to get beat. What is a good commuting bike, would like to get racks one day and use bags. Any suggestions, maybe a cross bike? Would like to stay semi light and not break the bank.
    8 miles is like 13km and its a good chunk to get into shape!
    When commuting the best advice I can give is heavy and beefy is better and not that much slower. Like steel frame, heavy everything (except tires possibly) and put the money into comfort, like trying out bars and stems and saddles and such. Its a zero sum game this weight game. sincce heavier takes more energy to accelerate but also keeps momentum longer. I would go for steel frame and budget components and a lock that is so beefy its not even worth the hassle for the thieves. Like the Pragmasis chains. 12mm or so like 1m and a squire padlock with hidden shackle. Also discs! Hydro discs! Make sure the bike can handle studded tires if you live in an area where you might encounter real winter.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

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