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tourer as commuter?(5 posts)

tourer as commuter?Frith
Jan 5, 2003 9:04 AM
The touring post below got me thinking.
I'm thinking about building something up for commuting around the city. I was looking at older steel road frames. I wan't to eventually do some touring as well so I was wondering if I might be able to kill two birds with one bike. Would a tourer have the kind of manuverability I would need in the city. Could a road bike do the job of both instead (I don't plan on carrying huge loads when touring). Is there such thing as middle ground? If so what is it? I'd rather not buy new for this one but I will if the price is right.
re: tourer as commuter?Trent in WA
Jan 5, 2003 6:13 PM
Frith,

For the sort of riding you're talking about doing, a touring bike will work fine and will be much better adapted for carrying loads if you're going to be doing cycle camping (a/k/a loaded touring). Not all "older steel road frames" work well for touring, though--as is the case with new bikes, if you think you're going to be doing much loaded touring, you're best off looking for a bike that's designed for it. If you're more interested in lightly loaded touring (i.e. a saddlebag or rear rack and panniers, possibly combined with a handlebar bag), there were lots of "sport touring" bikes made during the bike boom that would serve your purposes well. Either a full-on tourer or a sport tourer would be fine for commuting.

Hope this helps,
Trent
The requirements for a good commuter ...Humma Hah
Jan 6, 2003 6:51 AM
Number one requirement: the bike must give an absolute minimum of excuses to NOT commute.

Any kind of bike can make a servicable commuter, but the recommended equipment and the preference for low cost can make high-end roadbikes trimmed for racing a bad choice. Commuters should have the following:

A means of carrying stuff. Panniers are a good option, but a backpack can do.

A means of locking it. "I need to stop at the store on the way home" is no excuse to not ride.

Fenders are a good bet if you don't live in a desert.

Lights are a must for year-round commuting. "I can't ride, I might have to work late" is no excuse.

Cheap enough that you don't worry about it.

All bikes are more maneuverable than cars. Cars are the primary means of commuting in the US. Therefor all bikes are plenty maneuverable for commuting. My cruiser is a GREAT commuter. While Schwinn cruisers are often considered "slow turners", the bike can u-turn in about its own length and has no problem avoiding obstacles.

Ruggedness may be a factor arguing against roadbikes, depending on your road conditions. Dealing with traffic may push you to the shoulder or gutter, or leave no way to avoid potholes. An MTB, hybrid, or cruiser is a great option here. A roadbike might do better with fatter tires, even cyclocross tires. I also prefer thorn-resistant tubes for commuting, as they help avoid glass f***s.
re: tourer as commuter?KeeponTrekkin
Jan 6, 2003 9:51 AM
Great Idea! I have a ~1990 MBK (motobecane) touring bike. It's a good ride, but on the heavy side. After all, it has a sturdier, larger frame, steel fork, pannier racks front and rear and full steel fenders. However, it's steady, comfortable over a distance and a real workhorse. It also has toe clips; I had't really thought about how perilous riding on city streets clipped into the Looks on my road bike would be until I saw your post. Also, without a high end, expensive build kit, the remorse factor over damage (if it occurs) is much less (as would be the cost).

I agree with other posters that the maneuverability is more than adequate - it's only about 2" longer than my road bike but it feels a lot more stable.

Best of all - you can go touring. My best vacations, before my daughter was born, were touring on that bike.

Good luck - glad you posted; makes me re-think how I might get a partial bike commute with my new job (and 55 mi. commute).
re: tourer as commuter?Andy M-S
Jan 6, 2003 3:18 PM
Watch those toe straps! If you yank them hard enough to keep locked in, you won't be able to get out of them when you need to. I've been commuting with SPDs for four years, and they've saved my life a couple of times when toast wraps would probably have meant getting killed. Literally.