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Advise on commuter bike(10 posts)

Advise on commuter bikeJR007
Sep 18, 2002 7:37 AM
I've been commuting to work since June (40 kms. per day) on a mountain bike with slicks. I much prefer a road bike, so I'm selling the MT bike and looking for a commuter. I have an old lugged steel custom road bike that I love, but don't know if I want to use it as a daily commuter. My ideal is to get a Rivendell or Atlantis, but funds are limited. I like the idea of a Cyclocross bike for the versatility, and I have just about all the spare parts I need to build a bike, I just need a frame and fork. I'd appreciate any advise from you guys.
Don't spend big bucks on a commuter, IMOSilverback
Sep 18, 2002 7:55 AM
I own an Atlantis, and a Rivendell would be my first choice frame if I'd won the lottery--but I wouldn't use either one regularly as a commuter. A commute bike takes a beating, and while I have a place to secure mine, I trust it to contain a $400 bike, not a $2000-$4000 one.
My commute's about the same length as yours, and I switch between two bikes. One is similar to yours--a Bstone MB3 with slicks and a tall stem. The other's an old touring bike I used to ride with gears, but have turned into a singlespeed. Both have rear racks, and in winter I put fenders on them (though I don't commute regularly then). They work fine, and while I take decent care of them, I really don't care much if they get scratched, wet or stolen.
I like the idea of a cyclocross bike (I thought about using a Surly Crosscheck, but I'm pretty tall and they don't come big enough). Unless you need low gears on the ride, I'd consider a singlespeed or maybe a single chainring with a derailleur in back--it's just one less thing to go wrong, and it's lighter. Fenders are really nice, and my single will take tires up to 40mm (I got some Continental semi-slicks from Nashbar for $9.99 apiece).
You might also look in the newspaper for a used touring bike, either to ride as is or modify. They're common and cheap where I live, and if you get a touring (as opposed to "sport" or racing) frame, you'll have room for fenders and big tires, plus slightly more relaxed geometry.
Agreed, something less expensiveGinz
Sep 18, 2002 8:14 AM
If you plan to ride in snow and rain, you'll be happy you got something less expensive. The Surly crosscheck is ok, but doesn't have rack mounts.

Check out sjscycles.com, click on Road Frames. They have some very inexpensive frames suited for this purpose. You might also check places like chucksbikes.com or jacksbikes.com (sp?).
Also, theped.com has some nice, cheap frames. (nm)Ginz
Sep 18, 2002 8:16 AM
re: Advise on commuter bikejradford
Sep 18, 2002 9:41 AM
I have an older Peugeot that I have been commuting on. I have found the biggest problem with it being a commuter is that yes it takes a pounding. It being a French bike it has a French bottom bracket and headset. Well 1 mouth in I broke the bottom bracket axle. It took 1 month to find a new one that would fit the bike. Two months ago I broke the bolt on the stem. I went out and bought a new stem. But French bikes have a 22mm headset not 22.2mm. Well 3 hours of sanding down the stem it now fits just right. Next problem is French bikes have handle bars are 25mm not 26mm so I had to buy a new set of bars.

What is the moral of the story? Well if you are using it as a commuter find a bike that can take parts that are easy to find so your bike is not down for long.

Good luck
Why use a beater bike for commuting?Fredrico
Sep 18, 2002 12:40 PM
Consider this argument for a commuter bike: it must provide a good ride, hold up well to the abuse of daily commuting, not require frequent maintenance, and reliably take you to work for a long time.

For this, you want a good bike, with good components, lightweight enough to be efficient, but strong enough to give you a good workout, provide a quality ride, and require minimal maintenance between overhauls.

A Rivendell is the right concept for such a bike. Lugged steel will go forever with resilience and comfort. Wider 700C rims on 36 spoked hubs will take the potholes with aplomb, and with 28C or larger tires, less likely wipe out on gravel, sand and wet roads. There are steel bikes out there with 700C wheels, drop handlebars, and threaded eyelets on the dropouts for mounting fenders and racks. Some of them have slightly longer wheelbases so the fore-aft balance isn't screwed up when loading the rear wheel with panniers or a backpack.

If you're serious about commuting, why settle for a beater? Why not go in style?

I've commuted off and on for 18 years, and have never had to leave my bike outside for any length of time. Every place I've worked has been supportive and always provided a secure place to stash the bike. A high quality bike will wash down as easily as a beater after a rainy commute, and be more likely to work the next day.

Is that custom steel frame you have equipped with fender eyelets? If so, put some good components on it and go with it.

Ciao,

Fredrico
That makes sense, and if you're going to ride a bike every day, you might as well make it a good one. But the place I have to lock it is only semi-secure, and I also use it to get around town, so that's more exposure. Both my beaters are set up so they fit and are decent to ride, and I'd rather use something I don't have to worry about.Silverback
Sep 18, 2002 2:26 PM
approved
Wow. How'd I do that? (nm)Silverback
Sep 18, 2002 2:28 PM
I tend to agree...JR007
Sep 18, 2002 3:04 PM
Thanks to everyone for your input. I tend to agree with Fredrico. My daily commute is also my main riding time. I have 3 small kids with soccer, dance, school plus the demands of home renovation etc. I can't find the time to ride other than my commute. So I enjoy having a comfortable, responsive bike to commute on. My current lugged steel, though a bit long in the tooth, has Ultegra STI 8-speed and newer wheels, so it's fun to ride, but due to brake clearance I can't really get any decent sized tires on it with fenders. Hence the Cyclocross idea, or maybe a single-speed...although, there is that one killer hill...
The other side of the coin...Steve_0
Sep 19, 2002 6:57 AM
certainly, you want to minimize downtime on a commuter. By purchasing 'good' components, you mimize downtime. To take it a step farther, though, you ELIMINATE downtime by removing components - this is one of the main reasons FGs are so popular amongst the messenger crowd.

A comforable frame, which your not afraid to beat up, a minimalistic component set, and some sturdy rims with a lot of rubber is ideal, imo.