Is there a perfect bike for commuting?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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The utility cyclist
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Re: Best bike

Postby The utility cyclist » 31 Jan 2019, 1:52pm

mjr wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:I don't see how a 'Dutch' bike is more advantageous over a lot of others.

Like you, I was sceptical, so I bought an old Polish clone to try it out, then I liked that so much despite its flaws (clanking metal mudguards, thin wire rear rack, ate its front wheel bearings once) that it largely usurped my modern hybrid so eventually I bought a modern Dutch bike. I find them much more fun to ride (higher riding position, wider tyres, springier frame) and much more practical (chain guard, thicker chain up away from road crud, shift while stopped, hub brakes impervious to most weather).

I heartily recommend a roadster for any non mountain commute, although I've lowered the gearing on mine for touring...

Folding bikes are better if you need to take it on trains, though.

But my hybrid is far, far lighter, can be as upright as I want it to be (in fact I flipped the replacement stem when I first bought the bike), it also takes wider tyres than many 'Dutch' bikes, I can fit 55mm tyres without and around 45mm with guards. I've gone down the route of not so much maintenance on the chain, this one is 4 seasons old now, it's ridiculously worn and the middle ring is getting pretty pointy as well but it continues to work without any slipping. I actually bought a middle ring about 5 years ago on the off chance, that was £8, I bought a job lot of SRAM 10 speed chains for a tenner apiece and the 10 speed Tiagra cassettes I bought were £12-£14. I'm still on the first 10 speed cassette (bike was originally 3x9) having done well over 10,000 miles. I'd never swap to having a narrower range of available ratios, 48-11 to a 24-28 means I can use the bike for carrying heavy loads from the shop/DIY store and everything else like the lawnmower I cycled across town on it last year. It also means I can cycle down the hill without spinning out, use it as a 'gravel' bike, to tour on etc.

I'm not saying Dutch bikes are no good, it's just there are better bikes out there that can do the same job and more besides AND are even more versatile in gearing whilst also being robust and not ridiculously expensive to buy or maintain. I'd never buy a heavyweight Dutch bike because it would be inferior to what I have in every practical way.

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mjr
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Re: Best bike

Postby mjr » 31 Jan 2019, 2:37pm

The utility cyclist wrote:
mjr wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:I don't see how a 'Dutch' bike is more advantageous over a lot of others.

Like you, I was sceptical, so I bought an old Polish clone to try it out, then I liked that so much despite its flaws (clanking metal mudguards, thin wire rear rack, ate its front wheel bearings once) that it largely usurped my modern hybrid so eventually I bought a modern Dutch bike. I find them much more fun to ride (higher riding position, wider tyres, springier frame) and much more practical (chain guard, thicker chain up away from road crud, shift while stopped, hub brakes impervious to most weather).

I heartily recommend a roadster for any non mountain commute, although I've lowered the gearing on mine for touring...

Folding bikes are better if you need to take it on trains, though.

But my hybrid is far, far lighter, can be as upright as I want it to be (in fact I flipped the replacement stem when I first bought the bike),

One of my roadsters weighs less than my hybrid, the other slightly more since I added a front hub brake/dynamo.

it also takes wider tyres than many 'Dutch' bikes, I can fit 55mm tyres without and around 45mm with guards.

That doesn't sound wider than that many.

[...] I bought a job lot of SRAM 10 speed chains for a tenner apiece [...]

While I buy KMC B1S chains individually for £5 from the LBS. If I was buying a job lot, I wonder if I'd get three chains for each one of yours.

It also means I can cycle down the hill without spinning out, [...]

Oh well, if that's a priority for you, stick with what you have with my blessing. I don't mind freewheeling!

I'm not saying Dutch bikes are no good, it's just there are better bikes out there that can do the same job and more besides AND are even more versatile in gearing whilst also being robust and not ridiculously expensive to buy or maintain. I'd never buy a heavyweight Dutch bike because it would be inferior to what I have in every practical way.

It seems like you're poo-poohing them ("there are better", "heavyweight", "inferior" ...) from a position of ignorance. Maybe your hybrid is better than an especially rubbish Dutch bike, but the average British hybrid is a far less suitable bike for most commuters than the average roadster.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Best bike

Postby PH » 31 Jan 2019, 2:55pm

Brucey wrote:
Ryan1967 wrote:Is there a perfect bike for commuting? folding/road or just your average normal bike?


The perfect bike is one that is fast enough, comfortable enough, reliable enough, and has acceptable maintenance demands......

....for you....

That, plus is an acceptable security risk, the bike I'd choose if it could be come into the building with me is different to one I'd have to park in the street. It's also probably a given, but for me it also needs to be fun.

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Re: Is there a perfect bike for commuting?

Postby Bonefishblues » 31 Jan 2019, 3:19pm

No, not a single perfect bike, as contributors have illustrated :)

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Re: Is there a perfect bike for commuting?

Postby Vorpal » 31 Jan 2019, 3:50pm

There is a perfect bike for *my* commute, but that might not be the same for someone else's commute. :lol:
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

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Re: Is there a perfect bike for commuting?

Postby Bonefishblues » 31 Jan 2019, 4:40pm

Vorpal wrote:There is a perfect bike for *my* commute, but that might not be the same for someone else's commute. :lol:

You mean that there are more than one of these Unicorn Commuter models?

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Re: Best bike

Postby The utility cyclist » 31 Jan 2019, 5:33pm

Brucey wrote:if you don't have secure bike parking then you need something that works well but looks like a tatty heap, and has no parts on it that could conceivably be of the slightest interest to thieving toe rags.

My own hack bike looks like a disaster area on wheels but it is normally kept in a condition such that I would happily ride it a hundred miles or so. I am loathe to make it look any better than it does, (even though it wouldn't be difficult to do so) because it will only attract thieves.

Remember that there is a balance of quality of lock vs 'desirability of bike' (in the eyes of a bike thief). Up to a point all you have to do is make your bike less appealing than those parked around it and it should be relatively safe. However if you park in the same place every day and there are even a few nice bits on it then some toerag may take a fancy to them and take the bike anyway.

cheers

I leave my bike unlocked in plenty of places, sure not for extended periods but how do you define unsecure? I park my commute outside the shopping parade in a very shady area of my city of birth when I visit the folks, one that is well known for well above average crime, even the city centre I've left it locked up in an exposed area for 4-5 hours at a time, in fact one lady had her seat stolen near the art gallery, it was mostly because she had a QR and an ugly wide seat, mine with the carbon bits and ti railed saddle etc, as usual was untouched.

I've never gone with the notion of having a ratty/hack bike in case it gets pinched or to deter thieves, if a thief has a chance then they'll pinch whatever, a nice looking bike might well lure some but it would put others off because of the fact it was more likely to be traceable. Others may want to ride a rat bike a 100 miles, for me, no thanks, by definition they are inefficient and unnecessarily heavy.

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Re: Is there a perfect bike for commuting?

Postby Jamesh » 31 Jan 2019, 5:35pm

I think that for commuting reliability is important and you don't want one that is in constant need of fettling or repairs.
Therefore I would suggest a £300 road bike with carbon forks and claris which you then sell after a year for perhaps £200?
Cost £100 ÷50= £2 a week.
Nothing needs replacing in that time.
You don't get too attached to it either so if it's nicked you don't feel so bad!

Just my thoughts but I don't commute! But a good freind does...

Cheers James

hamster
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Re: Is there a perfect bike for commuting?

Postby hamster » 31 Jan 2019, 5:57pm

There's no single right answer. Key questions:
How far?
How hilly?
Busy or quiet roads?
Ride in clothes you wear all day, or shower and change?
How much stuff do you need to take?

Answering these questions will help narrow down candidates.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Best bike

Postby The utility cyclist » 31 Jan 2019, 6:16pm

mjr wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:
mjr wrote:Like you, I was sceptical, so I bought an old Polish clone to try it out, then I liked that so much despite its flaws (clanking metal mudguards, thin wire rear rack, ate its front wheel bearings once) that it largely usurped my modern hybrid so eventually I bought a modern Dutch bike. I find them much more fun to ride (higher riding position, wider tyres, springier frame) and much more practical (chain guard, thicker chain up away from road crud, shift while stopped, hub brakes impervious to most weather).

I heartily recommend a roadster for any non mountain commute, although I've lowered the gearing on mine for touring...

Folding bikes are better if you need to take it on trains, though.

But my hybrid is far, far lighter, can be as upright as I want it to be (in fact I flipped the replacement stem when I first bought the bike),

One of my roadsters weighs less than my hybrid, the other slightly more since I added a front hub brake/dynamo.

it also takes wider tyres than many 'Dutch' bikes, I can fit 55mm tyres without and around 45mm with guards.

That doesn't sound wider than that many.

[...] I bought a job lot of SRAM 10 speed chains for a tenner apiece [...]

While I buy KMC B1S chains individually for £5 from the LBS. If I was buying a job lot, I wonder if I'd get three chains for each one of yours.

It also means I can cycle down the hill without spinning out, [...]

Oh well, if that's a priority for you, stick with what you have with my blessing. I don't mind freewheeling!

I'm not saying Dutch bikes are no good, it's just there are better bikes out there that can do the same job and more besides AND are even more versatile in gearing whilst also being robust and not ridiculously expensive to buy or maintain. I'd never buy a heavyweight Dutch bike because it would be inferior to what I have in every practical way.

It seems like you're poo-poohing them ("there are better", "heavyweight", "inferior" ...) from a position of ignorance. Maybe your hybrid is better than an especially rubbish Dutch bike, but the average British hybrid is a far less suitable bike for most commuters than the average roadster.

Not poo-poohing, they do what they do, however they aren't the best all around commute bike compared to some bikes for what some want a bike to do, they are much heavier, less able to have a wide gear range, not able to take as wide a tyre, ergo they ARE inferior to some bikes.
Which models of Dutch bike do you know about that can accept a 700x55 tyre, c'mon you know that that's very few and far between!

If £5 over the lifespan of a chain is enough for you to offset all the upsides of a bike like mine over a Dutch bike, that's fair enough, for me a couple of quid per year is insignificant. i any case didn't buy them discounted because of the number, I just bought 4 at the same time at the ongoing price the retailer was selling them for, they just happened to be an outgoing model (replaced by the 1031). if you can save yourself a few quid by buying multiples in one go then that might save you a few more quid but I doubt you'll get a decent chain for much under £5, either way it's still not enough for me to want to buy a bike that does not have the wide scope of use, efficiency & comfort comparative to what I already have for all round utility and commuting. Not sure where you got going fast downhill as a priority when it was just another of the advantages over a Dutch bike I don't have to spin out down hills.

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Re: Best bike

Postby mjr » 31 Jan 2019, 6:39pm

The utility cyclist wrote:Not poo-poohing, they do what they do, however they aren't the best all around commute bike compared to some bikes for what some want a bike to do, they are much heavier,

Myth. Some are, some aren't.

less able to have a wide gear range,

OK but how many commuters want to pedal hard downhill?

not able to take as wide a tyre,

Debatable - I think the two are similar and I suspect the average hybrid comes with narrower tyres.

ergo they ARE inferior to some bikes.

I'd say your idea of a Dutch bike is inferior to your idea of a hybrid for some purposes, but that's not the reality. The comfort, robustness and ease of little maintenance would make them at least as good for most commuters.

Not sure where you got going fast downhill as a priority when it was just another of the advantages over a Dutch bike I don't have to spin out down hills.

It seems like that's the only real advantage you've posted so far.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Best bike

Postby Bonefishblues » 31 Jan 2019, 6:46pm

The utility cyclist wrote:Not poo-poohing, they do what they do, however they aren't the best all around commute bike compared to some bikes for what some want a bike to do...

Take above sentence. Apply to any bike anyone cares to suggest is more perfecter than what another is. The end :D

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Re: Is there a perfect bike for commuting?

Postby Bez » 31 Jan 2019, 6:51pm

Same as almost every question: it depends.

I regularly commute on four different bikes: one for just riding to the station and locking up, one for when I also have to ride at the other end of the train, one for the 30 miles to a particular office, and another for doing the same with luggage.

The last two are fundamentally similar, but otherwise there are three very different commutes which demand different bikes.

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Re: Best bike

Postby thelawnet » 31 Jan 2019, 10:14pm

mjr wrote:It seems like you're poo-poohing them ("there are better", "heavyweight", "inferior" ...) from a position of ignorance. Maybe your hybrid is better than an especially rubbish Dutch bike, but the average British hybrid is a far less suitable bike for most commuters than the average roadster.


I don't have a roadster but I do have an upright bike with cheap cassette/chain & derailleurs.

My thoughts:

* for most people (not 'cyclists', just 'people' generally), low maintenance should be #1 highest priority. Because if you take your bike to the LBS and they ask for £120 for a service just from routine use then you are just going to walk out, because it's ridiculous.
* hence answers based on derailleurs etc. are simply wrong. This isn't really a matter for debate, because you just need to look at the average bike on the street to see how poorly maintained they are, anything based on buying cassettes and chains cheap on ebay and fitting them yourself, or changing chainrings, is laughable for the overwhelming majority of the population.
* in reality concerns about bicycle A being lighter than bicycle B are completely irrelevant for nearly everyone. Firstly most people are just cycling a mile or so, and it literally makes no difference. Secondly, even if your bike weighs 20kg like mine does, you can still ride 100 miles on it, go up 10% hills just as well as on a 7kg carbon bike, or lightweight hybrid. I know because I have. It just takes a bit longer (but not very much tbh, we are not talking perhaps 15% longer, it doesn't really change anything)
* Lightweight bicycles are nice things when you are cycling up a steep singletrack road for the fun of it - if you are riding around for no reason besides for the joy of cycling, they are great. But if you are actually trying to get something done, like shopping, or picking up children, or going to work, they are rubbish! Why? No luggage capacity, no mudguards (completely useless for something you rely on for every day purposes), etc. Sure, you can fix these things with a rack, mudguards, etc. But then your lightweight bike is not so light anymore! So why not just get a heavier bike to start with. Not for the sake of being heavier but because it's more practical.

If you want to cycle a very long distance to work or have other special circumstances you might need something different, but otherwise something dull that's upright, easy to control in traffic, as low maintenance as possible, is the right solution.

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Re: Is there a perfect bike for commuting?

Postby softlips » 1 Feb 2019, 4:24pm

Love my Brompton M6L.

Ridden it in Doncaster, London and Edinburgh - and that’s just this week.