What makes a good commuting bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What makes a good commuting bike?

    Hi,

    I am moving next month and want to continue commuting to work. Right now it takes just 10 minutes, but after the move it will be an hour or more so I've been thinking about getting a better bike. I have been looking at options but am confused about what is important. By the way, this will be all on smooth surfaces - road, path, etc.

    For starters, is a front shock a good thing or useless? I had been thinking that I needed front shock to deal with rough pavement, some cobblestone, sometimes bumping on and off curbs etc, but I am not sure.

    I have also assumed lightness would be a big factor since a lighter bike would be faster and easier to pedal. But if I am them carrying several pounds on my back, I don't know how much of a concern the bike weight should be.

    How about geometry? I think I prefer MTB style flat bars (instead of drop bars) for city driving, but wouldn't want to be completely upright. Is there any preference about how much forward lean is a good compromise between comfort and efficiency?

    Any other considerations?

    Craig

  2. #2
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    In my experience, reliability is the most important thing for a commuter bike to have. If you're constantly having flats, breaking chains, adjusting brakes and otherwise not riding you'll never get to work on time.

    Also important is simplicity (or efficiency, depending on how you want to look at it). Closely related to reliability, it basically just means trying to minimize what can go wrong. A suspension fork would be an example of moving parts you don't need, sapping energy as you pedal. Another example would be multiple gears vs single speed. Obviously there will be less to go wrong with a single speed.

    I would would focus on a simple, reliable bike that won't get stolen when you lock it up outside. Consider things such as cyclocross bikes, and perhaps mountain bikes with slicks. You can also consider all the funky bars that are now available. Something like On-One Midges, or Titec (or Jones) H-bars.

    As with all things, it's a matter of preference. Go sit on some bikes, find out what's comfortable and enjoy the ride.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlintPaper

    I would would focus on a simple, reliable bike that won't get stolen when you lock it up outside.
    I live in Osaka, Japan - where people are very honey and don't steal bikes or parts, and I lecture at a women's university where my bikes is very safe. The bike parking is right beside the security house, but safety wouldn't be much of an issue anyway. One co-workers leaves his $2000 Trek there unlocked most days. Another doesn't lock his Gary Fisher Kaitai most of the time. Another guy has an expensive Klien. People don't steal bikes here.

    But back to the reliability issue - don't front suspensions help to soak up the bumps in bumpy roads and cobblestones? Wouldn't it be jarring to ride over those surfaces without suspension? I had always thought ridgid bikes were for perfectly flat even pavement.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlintPaper

    Consider things such as cyclocross bikes, and perhaps mountain bikes with slicks. You can also consider all the funky bars that are now available. Something like On-One Midges, or Titec (or Jones) H-bars.

    That is interesting. I didn't even know what cyclocross was until a few days ago. I also don't know much about bars other than straight vs. dropped. I am quite sure I don't want dropped. I'll do some google searches to find out what you mean by midges, H-bars etc.



    Craig

  4. #4
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    I would much rather get a bike (like a cyclocross bike) that has room for large tires than get a bike with front suspension. Remember that most (all?) of the suspension forks you would find on a road or hybrid bike are poor. Very, very poor. With 32c to 45c tires, I don't think that you'd have many problems with cobbles or rough road.

    You may disagree though, I ride a rigid 29er offroad. Though it has a 2.5" front tire and a 2.3" rear (at low pressure, that's actually a decent amount of squish).

    Hopefully some other people will chime in and give some more perspective.

  5. #5
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    My commuter bike is an old fully rigid converted mountain bike. The roads around here are not the best, especially on the border with San Francisco as the counties involved don't care to sped money on the roads in a fringe area. I did change my bike from 26" mountain bike wheels with slicks to 700c road bike wheels with kevlar belted road bike tires, though. The larger diameter wheels and tires take some of the edge off of the hits and I've been lucky enough to not have any pinch flats (115 PSI of tire pressure helps, too). The kevlar belted tires have not let me down, yet. I will say that my commute is only on paved roads so my situation may not be similar to yours.

    If your commute is mostly flat and the hills you climb aren't too bad then a single-speed would probably be the best way to go. If it has mild hills that you cannot handle with a single-speed then maybe a single chainring up front with an 8 or 9 speed (1X8 or 1X9) on the rear would work for you. Personally, I live on a hill. When I leave the house in the morning I only use the large and middle chainring but when I come home at the end of the day I use the middle and the small ring. I thought about reducing it to a 1X9 but that hill just cannot be tackled with the middle ring.

    Do they sell used bikes in Japan? Could you buy an older used mountain bike or even a road bike that you can put a flat handlebar on? If you are comfortable with flat handlebars then that's what I would use. Add some bar-ends for alternate hand positions for when your hands get tired and you should be good to go. I'm using a flat handlebar for my commuter bike as I like the more upright seating position - makes it easier to see around me when I'm dodging cars and pedestrians.

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    A comfy seat for sure!

    I'm thinking of adding ergonomic grips, (Ergon Grips I think is the brand) and a suspension seat post to my bike although I think commuter bikes come with these already.

    I have an F400 Cdale that I can turn on or off the shock. It's a trade off between the two. Without the shock I can ride more efficiently, quicker and *feels* like I have more control. With the shock on it's a bit slower and I'm guessing some of the pedal power goes into the shock (?) but there is less vibration obviously. I prefer no shock for street commute, my mountain bike tires can handle the bumps & potholes...although I just usually try to avoid them!

    You'll just have to get out and try the lot of them. 29ers, single speeds, flat bar road bikes, mountain bikes, commuter bikes, shocks/no shocks and see which one feels right for you.

  7. #7
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    I would say, along the same lines as Flint Paper . . .

    My opinion on what to look for, number 1 being most important and going down from there.

    1. Reliability
    2. Efficiency
    3. Comfort
    4. Options


    Expanding on item 4 . . . Just figure out what you do and don't care about. For example, you might want fenders, but don't care about rack mounts or visa versa.

    • Fenders: Yes/No
    • Room for bigger tires: Yes/No
    • Rack mounts: Yes/No
    • Water Bottle Holders: Yes/No


    My personal opinion is that a lightweight single speed (not necessarily fixed) road bike is the way to go. It's fast, efficient, serviceable and can be as comfortable as a mountain bike or more so if the fit is correct. From there, get some good puncture resistance tires, all the support equipment you need to fix flats and chain problems and loose bolts and you're good to go.

    Right now I'm riding a converted rigid 26" mountain bike with 1.25" slick tires. Next week I will have pretty much the same bike as Flint Paper. My commute is 17 miles ea/way so it's probably close to yours.
    John

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    Durability is key, for sure. So are ugliness and uniqueness - you don't want anyone to steal your ride, and if it happens, you want to be able to identify it in a heartbeat! Light weight is nice but not essential. Remember the old joke about the weight of the bike plus the lock necessary to keep it being a constant...

    I like being able to stick big fat slicks on my commuter. (Hey, I'm a heavy guy.) IMHO shocks are a total waste on pavement, even beat-up pavement. A 1.5" or 2" tire provides plenty of suspension for the street.

    Fender mounts are absolutely essential unless you live in a desert. Ditto mounts for a rear rack, I've done the backpack thing and I much prefer panniers these days.

    My knees won't let me do the single-speed thing even though my commute is flat. That's an option for younger or stronger riders though.

    I've got mixed opinions about riding position. My commuter is a converted rigid MTB. I've augmented the flat bars with bar ends that have both MTB-style bends and drops! It gives me a lot of positions to choose from, but none are really comfortable because the bike is the wrong size. I like being more upright in dense traffic, but the drops are handy when I'm covering lots of ground.

    My next commuter will probably be a touring bike like Surly's Long Haul Trucker - moderately priced, sturdy, and ready to haul loads. And it will have drop bars.

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    For road runs, I love my hardtail. The front shock makes potholes and such less jarring, but even my low-end fork (a little stiff for my weight) works fine just to take the edge off. Full suspension is a waste, but a rigid rides a little rough for me.

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    strong legs

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    Quote Originally Posted by comptiger5000
    Full suspension is a waste, but a rigid rides a little rough for me.
    Yeah, that is something I have been wondering about. I have a full suspension bike now (cheap quality generic). I don't think the rear suspension works much anymore (the reliability mentioned in this thread) and I think the front suspension doesn't work as well as it used to. But I am not sure what the roads would feel like without it.

    I took a ride yesterday to check out my new commute (I am moving next month). I was really happy. Over half of the 25 km is along a big river. There is a path along the top of the levee banks that is perfectly straight and smooth. (But there are gates every so often to prevent people from riding motorbikes in so it is not a continuous ride.) There is also wide service road on the flood plain that is fairly flat, but rough and bumpy in places. There are also at least 2 places where I would have to ride across some gravel or down the grass banks of the levee. The second part of the ride is along a smaller river with a winding path beside it - much more bumpy and with the twists lots of accelerating and braking. I may just ride on the narrow road above the path. The last part of the ride before I get to my work would be on sidewalks with those interlocking bricks. It is fairly flat and smooth, but not like a smooth road. I think I would proabably be find on a fully rigid bike but will get opinions from some other local bikers about how they think those paths are.

    After thinking about it I am leaning towards a Gary Fisher Kaitai (my friend's bike) or Mendota (much more money, but seems better quality, lighter and faster) or a Cannondale Bad Boy. I like the idea of the disc brakes for performance in the rain (I ride 365 days a year) and consistant stopping power. I like the idea of a light bike with 700c wheels for a fast ride. I like the idea of flat bars ... well mostly because that is what I'm used to. But also riding in a (very big) city I think it is necessary to be more upright to see around and also BE seen. They also make dodging through traffic, popping onto and off of the sidewalk easier.

    Some people suggested single speed. I can't see doing this. I have ridden single speed bikes before and it doesn't suit me. I like to have the acceleration of goiing through gears and I like to ride really fast, so need the high gearing. Also, the university where I teach is at the top of a VERY steep road. I climb it is the lowest gear on my mountain bike. Almost everyone else has to walk their bikes up.

    Some people are worried about a bike or parts getting stolen. As I mentioned before I live in Osaka, Japan - people don't steal bikes or part here. Also, everyone (literally) has a bike of some kind so drivers watch out for cyclists. The sidewalks are also extra wide with a line down the middle so that pedestrians can use one side and cyclists the other.

    Craig

  12. #12
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    If you're going to be riding an hour each direction you should consider a road bike. The high pressure tires and better aerodynamics will save a lot of energy and you'll go faster. If you go with 25mm tires (or even 28s if the roads are rough) and a gel saddle the ride will be fine. Drop bars will allow you to change hand positions and you won't get hand pain. I'd think something with the geometry of a Specialized Sequoia or Trek Pilot would be suited for a commuter- more upright than most road bikes. You can get more information at MTBR's sister forum, http://roadbikereview.com

    It's nice to know there are still places you don't have to lock your bike
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  13. #13

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    Like others have said, reliability is key. Although with most non-walmart bikes this just means to buy some tires with puncture protection and keep your chain lubed. I really like internal hub gears or single speeds for flat areas. With internal hub gears you don't have to worry about derailers and adjusting most internals is very simple.

    For longer commutes (over ~10 miles one way) efficiency would become important. Almost anyone can ride 20 miles in a given day. To try and do this everyday without it becoming a drag, having a fairly efficient bike would help alot on those days you might not feel 100% or even 50%.

    Since I also have no security concerns, the next most important facet of a commuter bike for me, is how well you can add commuting accessories. Racks, fenders, bags and lights. I will never commute wearing a backpack again. Panniers are a god send if you are hauling groceries, heavy text books or laptops.

    Lastly, I look for a comfortable bike. In short, I find that the added "comfort" of suspension is not worth the trade off in the loss of efficiency. Any road/cross/touring bike with 32-38c tires and a nice leather brooks saddle should be enough for any road commute.

    Since I'm still fairly young(I guess) I find that any bike that fits me is comfortable. I have some fairly rough roads and I have used both a cyclocross bike with high pressure slicks and a full suspension MTB with high pressure slicks on my commute. The MTB was a little more bearable over really broken pavement compared to my cross bike. I found that for really rough patches, I would be standing and using my legs as suspension on both bikes anyway. I really never jump curbs up or down on my commute since I do ride 20-28 miles a day and that seems like a horrible waste of energy to me. I've hit potholes a few times on my cross bike and yes, it's pretty jarring but after riding my route a zillion times I have the route memorized pretty well so I usually only hit a pothole once or twice. I'm a big fan of brooks leather seats. They aren't the most high tech thing but they are one of the few saddles that I feel comfortable riding long distances in any type of pants, even jeans.

    I don't believe in hybrid type bikes anymore. My main concern is the lack of hand positions. Discovering cross bikes with cross levers(they are brake levers mounted on top of a drop bar) was quite the revelation to me. I get 3 viable hand positions with easy brake access. I have the typical upright MTB position, the bullhorn positions and the drops for riding into the wind. Many cross bikes even come with disc brakes too. The only downside is they tend to be a little spendy compared to a hybrid. I really suggest you look into a cross or touring bike if your heart is not completely set on a hybrid.

    Have fun commuting in Japan, I had the privilege of living there for 3 years, it was a great time. It was a fairly rough transition coming back to southern California after living in Japan. It's hard to imagine how safe Japan is for someone that's never been there. I think for those 3 years I lived in Japan, I never locked my car, bike or house.
    Last edited by Industrial; 04-09-2008 at 10:33 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Industrial
    I really like internal hub gears or single speeds for flat areas. With internal hub gears you don't have to worry about derailers and adjusting most internals is very simple.
    Dérailleurs are so reliable that I don't think they are much of a concern. In a worst case scenario you end up with a noisy single speed. (Actually, in last year's TdF Levi Leipheimer had the chain wrap around one of his dérailleur pulleys, but that was such a freak occurrence that nobody ever heard of it happening before).

    (It reminds me of someone asking the easiest way to convert their bike to single speed- don't shift ).
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  15. #15
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    Cross

    Definately check out cyclocross bikes. Check Craig's List and you'll find plenty.

    Surly Cross Check is very decent with a steel frme to soak up the bumps. They're built like a tank and will last forever.

    I just got a used Cannondale Cyclocross for my 10 mile commute and love it. I commute from Texas into Mexico daily, believe me, the streets are not in top form. The cross eats 'em up. Plus, the geometry and gearing allow for cadence and speed your mtn. bike can't touch. Get's you there faster AND makes you a stronger rider.

    The cross drop bars also have dual brake levers allowing you to ride and brake in the up or down position.

  16. #16
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    I favor road bikes with drop handlebars because the wind can get very strong in the afternoon. With wider tires, they work well on the canals too.
    The only bikes I would avoid for commuting are rear suspension bikes or race bikes with no mounts for a cargo rack.
    "Rejoice...Rejoice...We have no choice...But, to carry on" - Crosby Stills & Nash

  17. #17
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    My ideal for my 10 mile commute over pavement is basically a steel road bike, 2 cogs, simple parts, bags or panniers added as necessary. The steel is heavy but it makes for a reasonably smooth ride over pavement, and if an unfortunate incident with a car happens, the steel is more likely to survive than aluminum would. Once you get moving, you don't notice the extra weight so much. Also, steel is relatively inexpensive.

  18. #18
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    Great thoughts in this thread.

    For me however, if I was commuting an hour or so each day (one way) I would definitely have a 3 wheeled 'bent bike. http://www.mswobbles.com/recumbent/

    I will eventually have one as my back is less and less tolerant of a road bike type posture.

    This would be true especially if your town is even the least bit bike friendly. The only downside I see is a few folks don't consider a recumbent due to their initial price. Well, that and you are lower to the ground and harder to see by the average H.U.A. auto drivers.

    If you have the benefit of dedicated bike lanes or bike only pathways, a 'bent is the only way to travel, IMHO.
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  19. #19
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    A. Comfort
    B. Make your "comfortable" bike as efficient as possible
    C. Carry spare tubes, air, etc.
    D. Learn to work on your own bike...Reliability comes from maintenance and your ability to make repairs...emergency, preventative, AND general

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProfGumby
    Great thoughts in this thread.

    For me however, if I was commuting an hour or so each day (one way) I would definitely have a 3 wheeled 'bent bike. http://www.mswobbles.com/recumbent/

    I will eventually have one as my back is less and less tolerant of a road bike type posture.

    This would be true especially if your town is even the least bit bike friendly. The only downside I see is a few folks don't consider a recumbent due to their initial price. Well, that and you are lower to the ground and harder to see by the average H.U.A. auto drivers.

    If you have the benefit of dedicated bike lanes or bike only pathways, a 'bent is the only way to travel, IMHO.

    You are joking right? It looks like a lawn chair on wheels. You aren't the "Ms. Wobbles" from that link are you? (Neither of the people pictured look all that fit.) I can't see myself using a recumbant bike for any reason. I like being up high enough to see around, and am sure it is safer where I ride. Speaking of which - where I live (Japan) this thing is WAY too wide to get around on the roads, sidewalks, alleys etc and there is no way I could park it in any normal places (side of the road, outside a train station, outside a convienience store etc). There IS a bike path I plan to use, but it has these little gate things to allow (normal) bikes to pass but prevent people (kids) from driving scooters (50 cc bikes) on them. A recumbant wouldn't bit through the gates, and I don't think it could get through the half-round option they have for wheelchairs or stollers. I can't imagine commuting on one of these in any circumstances.

  21. #21
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    Today was the first day back at work since the end of January (I lecture at a university) and I noticed a new bike in the parking area. I am not sure about the maker (maybe Trek), but it was a single speed - first I have seen 'in the wild' - with bullhorn style handlebars and little else. Oh yeah, and I could lift it with a finger! (not sure if it was carbon or something exotic). I was very impressed with how light they can make bikes today. I am pretty iffy on the idea of a single speed for myself, but I think such a light bike would make a long commute very enjoyable.

    Thanks for all the responses, by the way. Here is what I have determined for myself: I would like a multi speed bike that is fairly light (without spending tons - probably steel or aluminum), strong enough to carry a rear pannnier (preferably with mounting points but if not Old Man Mountain can attach anything), with disc brakes for the rain, fully rigid (although I would consider a front shock that can be switched off), big narrow tires - 700c X 32 but not skinny racing tires (which might not be wise on wet / sandy / rough roads or dirt) and flat handlebars. Basically a bike with more road geometry, dressed like a mountain bike. (Like a cyclocross, but with flat bars?)

    Some people here, and one other threads / forums strongly recommend drop bars. Seems a lot of people are sold on them. I haven't used them since I had a 10-speed back in my undergraduate days in the 80's. I never liked the dropped position or the kink in my neck. People mention how dropped bars offer more positions for tired hands (or make riding more efficient over some speed). I have been thinking that since I like and am used to flat bars I will try bar ends to have a choice of positions. You can even get dropped bar ends! Or (for a whole lot of money) there are aftermarket bars like these:

    http://bontrager.com/model/04996/en

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    Light bikes don't necessarily make long commutes enjoyable. You want something comfortable for you and efficient. You can have a 15lb race bike and carry 30lbs in a backpack on wet streets with water kicking up everywhere or you can have a 25lb commuter bike and carry 30lbs on the bike with full fenders to keep the water in check. You will arrive to work maybe 5 minutes later than you would on the race bike but you won't have a sweaty back, a sore spot on your shoulders from the straps and be covered in street grime.

    You would be sold on drop bars too if you lived where it was windy. It's probably not a problem living in a crowded city. When I have even a 15mph headwind it kills me when I'm riding on the flats of my bars, as soon as I go into my drops it feels like I cut 10mph off that headwind. It's definately not subtle. When I'm screaming down a hill, I can easily maintain more speed in the drops than on my flats. Tons of examples like this. Basically whenever you go faster than ~20mph, you are fighting the wind and having the option to become more aerodynamic is nice.

    More hand positions is just a bonus you can get with bar ends, trekking bars or bullhorns like you said. Seems like you have a good idea what you want. I'd like to suggest that whatever bike you end up with has braze ons for attaching a rack and fenders. Having to work around these is a pain. You end up with fenders that don't cover well and racks that don't hold much weight and don't take panniers well.

    Check out the trek soho series. The 4.0 is a pretty neat bike. They are well though of amongst commuters on my other forum.
    Last edited by Industrial; 04-14-2008 at 10:49 AM.

  23. #23
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    The issue of comfort is very dependent on the rider I guess and your philosophies. For me, an hour isn't really long enough to become excessively uncomfortable anyway unless your bike is totally unfit. I like to go as fast as possible on my commutes and get it over with. Besides it's just more fun to go fast. Now over that, say two hours or more, it would be much more important to me. If you put comfort at the top of the list, you will end up with a bike that's cumbersome to ride (thinking comfort bike now). That's just MY take on comfort, just throwing this out here.
    John

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    i know you asked what makes a good commuter, but i thought you might want some recommendations based off of my search for a commuter.

    i just got the kona smoke 2-9 as my commuter. comes with fenders, and i plan on putting a rack (maybe a front one also) on it. i cant think of another commuter bike thats as good value for the price. indeed, the low price is one key reason why i chose it since i live in los angeles where things can get stolen left and right; i wasnt willing to risk leaving my mountain bike out and losing it. however, since you dont have the same worries about theft, i guess price might not be as important an issue. still, i think its a great bike, and you might want to take a look at it.

    and some other kona bikes as well. the various dew models are made specifically for commuting. the jake models are cyclocross if youre still thinking in that direction. the sutra comes with racks already. the ute and eighty-eight might be good if you just want to be different. and the phd is my personal favorite, though too pricey for me to comfortably lock up anywhere. but if you really have money to spend, the kapu is amazingly cool (though really more a road bike). or the paddy wagon or unit 2-9 if a single speed is still a possibility.

    a cannondale dealer told me the bad boy is just one of their regular mountain bikes with a 700c wheelset and marked up price. in other words, you could get a cannondale hardtail, put 700c wheels (not fat 29 ones though), and it would be the same thing. you could also do ther reverse and put 26" wheels on the bad boy and go mountain biking. but in the end, i am not too impressed with cannondales urban bikes and hybrids.

    i too had looked at fishers. better than cannondales imo. specifically the mendota, the utopia (similar to the kaitai), and also the triton, but eventually decided against. however, this year they also have a new simple city series you might want to look into.

    i also considered the trek soho (similar to the mendota) which has multiple versions this year. again, the price (last year) just made it not worthwhile because of theft issues.

    the other bikes i looked at were rei house brand novara (dont know if rei exists in japan) and some marin hardtails, but they werent what i wanted either.

    so while i love cannondale mountain bikes and own a fisher mountain bike, i would recommend taking a look at the kona bikes for commuters.

    as for the suspension, i actually started mountain biking first, so i wasnt used to the rigid fork on my bike at first. im getting used to it, but if you think thats a concern, then i would say get the kaitai or utopia.

    oh and i am now looking at getting an on-one mary handlebar because it looks to be comfortable. hope that helps at all.

  25. #25
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    Honestly, based on what has been said in the thread, one of the flat-bar road-bikes (Bad Boy, etc) is probably a good choice.

    This style of bar end seems to be popular, though I haven't tried them myself:

  26. #26
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    For under $1000 you can get a "fast city" hybrid with carbon fork (for a bit of bump compliance). Here's one example:
    http://www.bikes.com/bikes/2007/city/rc-70.aspx
    Kona's Dew series is pretty nice too:
    http://www.konaworld.com/08_dewdeluxe_c.htm

    Most brands have similar bikes, 700c wheels and MTB components. Best choice often depends where you are. For me Kona has the best bang for the buck, but you might look at Giant, Specialized, etc.

    Bars - yeah if you don't like drops, then a flat bar with long bar ends is pretty good, you can still get lower into the wind.
    Last edited by fsrxc; 04-15-2008 at 12:56 PM.

  27. #27
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    If you decide to convert a road bike into a flat bar commuter then consider that road bikes typically have shorter top tubes compared to mountain bikes because drop bars extend forward, giving you the forward lean that is so important for an aerodynamic riding position while flat bars actually place your hands slightly back compared to the mounting position of the bars at the stem. Putting drop bars on to a rigid mountain bike frame will put you uncomfortably stretched out while flat bars on a properly fitted road bike will make the riding position very upright.

  28. #28
    enjoys skidding
    Reputation: jasevr4's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
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    1,098
    Craig,

    Out of curiosity, have you ridden to work on your new commute yet?

    If it definitely all paved/bitumen? I thought the same, went out and got a roadie, then realised that there are some considerable shortcuts I could take on the way - as in ride 500m on dirt which then cuts out about 5km of road riding!

    If you've already looked into it, fair enough, but just thought you might want to suss out your route completely before making a decision on your bike.

  29. #29
    My Brain Hurts!
    Reputation: ProfGumby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    697
    Quote Originally Posted by kotsubu
    You are joking right? It looks like a lawn chair on wheels. You aren't the "Ms. Wobbles" from that link are you? (Neither of the people pictured look all that fit.) I can't see myself using a recumbant bike for any reason. I like being up high enough to see around, and am sure it is safer where I ride. Speaking of which - where I live (Japan) this thing is WAY too wide to get around on the roads, sidewalks, alleys etc and there is no way I could park it in any normal places (side of the road, outside a train station, outside a convienience store etc). There IS a bike path I plan to use, but it has these little gate things to allow (normal) bikes to pass but prevent people (kids) from driving scooters (50 cc bikes) on them. A recumbant wouldn't bit through the gates, and I don't think it could get through the half-round option they have for wheelchairs or stollers. I can't imagine commuting on one of these in any circumstances.
    Nah, I'm not the Ms Wobbles in the link, I'm a 43 year old man. And those are just an example I googled real quick. And I know were are a MTBR, but where is the love?


    And until you have tried a recumbent bike, don't knock them.

    I have to say this as well, I consider you rather lucky to live in a place where the culture supports bikes as a viable means of travel, unlike a lot of places in the US where cyclists are generally sneered at. ( I reference what some guy yelled at me last summer, "Why don't you get a car like an adult!" )

    BAck to the point, some people need to ride in that posture due to bad backs and other health reasons. My neighbor across the way rides a bent bike as he has a few fused vertebrae in his back and cannot otherwise ride.

    And there are plenty of two wheeled recumbents out there as well. They will go anywhere any road bike will go.

    Not everyones cup O' tea, to be sure, and they can be hard to see compared to other bikes, but like I said, if I still lived where there were miles and miles of paved bike paths and no vehicular traffic.....(Milwaukee Wisconsin's Lake Front Parks) I'd probably have one....
    Remember when we were kids and our Mom's said we could not play in the mud? I'm making up for it now!!

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