Help choosing the right road bike for commuting

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Help choosing the right road bike for commuting

Postby Ollyh » 21 May 2009, 11:36am


I have just got my voucher through for £800 to spend on a bike that is suitable for commuting to work and also with the intention to taking it out for spin on the weekend etc. I have not used a road bike before as I have always had a mtb but am now ready for something a bit quicker. Can anybody point me in the right direction as to what would be a good choice given my budget and the need also to possibly put a rack on it to carry a pannier. I will be cycling about 18 miles each way a couple of times a week and it is a non urban route. I have been looking at the Spec. Tricross Sport but some of the threads I have read on here have not been too complementary.

Any views / pointers would be welcome as I am totally new to road bikes.

Many thanks

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Re: Help choosing the right road bike for commuting

Postby travelling » 21 May 2009, 12:54pm

Certianly the rising cost of motoring and the scheme to work is seeing a positive increase on the cycles front

Hybrids for this have made an impact, this give you some rear pannier/rack capability along with the general mountain bike style but a more road/urban style

the choice is vast so to choose or reccomend one is difficult so hopefully further advice will follow..good luck
I have the lightest bike in the world....then I put my fattest body in the world on it...the only pounds that have been lost are from my bank account

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Re: Help choosing the right road bike for commuting

Postby EdinburghFixed » 21 May 2009, 3:35pm

Cyclocross bikes seem to be the vogue for those who want a bike which is both fast and practical! :)

I don't have enough experience to give you really detailed advice; but I'd have thought the Tricross Sport has the potential to become an excellent utility bike.

Here are a few comments I would make about the Tricross from looking at the specs: first, it has mountain bike gearing with a triple chainring which may (or may not) be what you want. Unless you live in a very hilly area, a bike with a compact double and/or a closer ratio cassette would do just as well (with nicer shifting) - on the other hand, the MTB gears will let you winch yourself up anything. Personal choice!

Second, 'cross bikes tend to feature an old-fashioned style of brakes (which allow wider tyres and mud clearance) - the gold standard for bikes designed for the road are dual-pivot calipers. However, I don't know how the modern cantis on a Tricross compare, maybe they are just as good! I can only think of the terrible 70's/80's brakes I have tried, with the suicide levers attached! :?

Speaking of tyres, cross bikes invariably come with a pair of tractor-like treads... you can improve both speed and grip in all conditions by switching to a pure slick (unless you really do want to ride off-road). Once you budget this in - and I really think you'll hate yourself for riding a bike with knobblies once you find out what you've been missing - then 'cross bikes start to look a bit more pricey.

But all that aside, you can just buy full-length SKS mudguards and a rack and get going straight away. There aren't any easy answers I'm afraid!

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Re: Help choosing the right road bike for commuting

Postby neilob » 21 May 2009, 3:42pm

Olly, that is a very wide question. I suggest you first of all narrow it down to what type of bike you want rather than think specific models. Road bikes come in many flavours; from out and out racers to sit-up and beg shoppers - and a lot in-between. £800 will buy you something of good quality but you don't want to look back in a couple of months and wish you'd spent it differently. Given your 18 mile commute each way, you need something comfortable, reliable, quick-ish, and able to carry loads. That screams touring bike to most people but do look closely at whether you want drop bars or straights - the cost of swapping is major so its not something to get wrong. I'm sure you will get lots of replies, there are a large number of clever and experienced people on here! Not including me though.....
Using a car to take an adult on a three mile journey is the same as using an atomic bomb to kill a canary.


Re: Help choosing the right road bike for commuting

Postby workhard » 21 May 2009, 3:58pm

sounds to me like it needs wheels, a frame, decent width tyres to cope with potholes, mudguards, a rack, and drop bars so you have a variety of hand positions and the ability to reduce your profile in the face of a head wind. Off the shelf usability straight from the box in a pretty well do anything but race go anywhere but a downhill MTB course comes in the form of the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-Op Country Traveller or Country Explorer (Some will say "you can't ride one of those because the frame is aluminium") or something similar like a Claude Butler Regent or or or

Do you have decent wet weather gear and good lights you can re-use from your MTB'ing? May not need them if you won't commute in foul weather or in the dark. but you might want to put part of your voucher towards that. Just a thought.

Buy a tourer discover what tarmac riding has to offer, (be careful it is nearly as addictive mtb riding) figure out how much you will use it to commute then next year get another voucher and buy a lovely lightweight race bike or sportive or upgrade to a better mtb. A tourer is for life not just for cyclescheme

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Re: Help choosing the right road bike for commuting

Postby Ollyh » 22 May 2009, 10:46am

Thanks for the advise. I am going in to my LBS this weekend to have a chat and see what is on offer. Quite keen on getting something with drop bars but with a slightly relaxed position so possibly look for some Audax style models. I guess it is just a case of trying out some different makes/models etc until something just feels right.

Thanks again.

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Re: Help choosing the right road bike for commuting

Postby woollee23 » 22 May 2009, 1:21pm

I'm very happy with my Dawes Audax which I got in January. I cycle approx 15 miles each way to work, at least 3 times a week. Compared to my previous steed (an mtb with slicks) it's a much faster, smoother ride - responsive gear change, fast and allows me to ride confidently on roads

Good luck with whatever you decide

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Re: Help choosing the right road bike for commuting

Postby byegad » 22 May 2009, 2:14pm

If you are not sure about drops, or flat bars there is an alternative. Butterfly bars I fitted them to my Club Tour and they are great, lots of different positions for your hands and you can still fit a bar bag if you want.
"I thought of that while riding my bike." -Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity

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