Commuting - what bike to get?

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pq
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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby pq » 18 Nov 2009, 3:59pm

I wouldn't go for a road rat. They weigh a ton and are not as fast as a proper road bike,

They have a clever design and clever marketing. They are very versatile and are aimed at people who usually ride mountain bikes. That market believes that any bike without disc brakes is a death trap, and are so accustomed to riding fat knobbly tyres that anything with slicks seems fast.

A commuter doesn't need much of what the road rat can do. You just need a fast bike you can fit mudguards and a carrier to, so an audax/winter road bike is a better choice.
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Sgt.Fatknacker
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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby Sgt.Fatknacker » 18 Nov 2009, 9:01pm

Hi, I bought a Boardman Team about a month ago for my 10mile each way commute, love it to bits, really comfy, Sram gears seem pretty good after 20 years with Shimano, and you just can't beat discs for reliable power, and low/no maintenance. Coming from a background of MTB's, rigid, front and full suss, I'm really impressed with the way that you can get up to, and more importantly, keep up a good average speed, even compared with the mtb on 1.25 slicks. I was always the big rufty tufty mtb'r who didn't see the need for mudguards, but with the weather the last two weeks, I was in real danger of getting rising damp right up my jacksie ! So I bought a set of the new Crud race guards. Even with discs and the wide carbon fork, they fitted in about 20 mins. I was lovely and dry coming home today, until that van overtook me through that huge puddle !

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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby MacBludgeon » 19 Nov 2009, 12:21am

pq wrote:I wouldn't go for a road rat. They weigh a ton and are not as fast as a proper road bike,

They have a clever design and clever marketing. They are very versatile and are aimed at people who usually ride mountain bikes. That market believes that any bike without disc brakes is a death trap, and are so accustomed to riding fat knobbly tyres that anything with slicks seems fast.

A commuter doesn't need much of what the road rat can do. You just need a fast bike you can fit mudguards and a carrier to, so an audax/winter road bike is a better choice.


I would add that the roadrat made my shortlist of two along with the Crosscheck, the Roadrat wasn't quite as versatile and it wouldn't take a Schmidt dynohub, so that made my mind up.
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squeaker
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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby squeaker » 19 Nov 2009, 9:45am

NickTheLid wrote:Advice please. I will be looking to do a 22 mile (each way) commute early next year. I have lined up 3 hybrids but would like advice on which will be best for the distance and the most reliable. I can't ride racers due to a back injury (can't lean forward for more than a little while) - so it has to be a hybrid.
Or a fast recumbent bike? As others have said, your proposed commute is a significant distance, and aerodynamic drag will be a major factor in journey times unless its a hilly route. If you can't get very aero on a DF bike due to your back, a 'bent bike might be a solution.
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s1965c
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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby s1965c » 19 Nov 2009, 10:47am

That's a considerable distance you'll be totting up each week. If you're intending to ride in all weathers, you'll be chomping through components regularly.

Disc brakes will stop your rims being worn away and covered in black gunge.

Chains and cassettes become a consumable, especially the ones with lots of gears. I'd be looking for eight at the back at the most (or a geared hub). Chains and cassettes last longer and cost buttons when they need replacing.

Mudguards (with a mudflap on the front one) are a given, as is some kind of rack.

Are you needing lights? I'd be looking for a dynohub for fit-and-forget-ness sake for that kind of distance.

Plus some tyres with decent puncture resistance (everyone has their own favorite, so I'll not make any recommendations!)

This'll make a bike suitable for regular commuting, but it won't be as fast as a stripped down racer. But, having bought one last year,a stripped down racer is a poor choice for all-weather commuting.
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glueman
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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby glueman » 19 Nov 2009, 11:32am

Whatever you decide get something low maintenance, with good bearings and seals. If you're on a bike for 15 hours a week just to get to work and back, fettling won't be on your agenda.

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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby geocycle » 19 Nov 2009, 1:14pm

pq wrote: You just need a fast bike you can fit mudguards and a carrier to, so an audax/winter road bike is a better choice.


Yes I agree, I'd look at something like the Hewitt Chiltern or the Thorn audax for this type of job. Both are robust, will take racks and guards, can be customised to fit and are reasonably sprightly. 22miles is a long commute and you'll be looking at somewhere between 1 and 2 hours depending on the terrain so will need something comfortable. Less than 90 minutes would be a decent enough commuting average but with a quick bike you might get this down and save quite a bit of time each day.

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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby saudidave » 19 Nov 2009, 9:33pm

pq wrote: What you need more than anything is speed, so any kind of hybrid or tourer won't cut it. .


I would beg to differ. Is this a serious response from a knowledgeable individual? I would very much doubt that anyone could maintain much higher speeds on an audax than they could a tourer of equal quality. If they could it could be measured in units of diddly squat. What on earth does he think tourers were made for? Lumbering slowly around mountain ranges or something? Tourers are for doing high mileages day after day, whilst maintaining some degree of comfort and having carrying capacity. In my opinion that is exactly what the OP should be seeking.

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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby Big T » 20 Nov 2009, 1:16pm

I agree with Saudidave.

My tourer is a bit slower to accelerate away than my summer bike, but once you get it rolling, it's hard to tell the difference. Perhaps it's a bit more sluggish on hills, but if your 22 mile commute is really hilly as well, then I think you're in for a hard time.

I used to commute 21 miles each way on an audax type machine, which did the job fine, but I used to go through rear wheels and tyres at quite a rate. Tourer will be more sturdy and the tyres won't wear as fast.

My commute was about 8 miles on rolling country lanes, 7 miles on a fast dual carraigeway, then 6 miles through flat suburbs into the city centre. Used to take between 1hr 10 mins and 1hr 25 depending on wind direction and how motivated I was to ride fast.
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thekelticfringe
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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby thekelticfringe » 22 Nov 2009, 9:32am

squeaker wrote:Or a fast recumbent bike? If you can't get very aero on a DF bike due to your back, a 'bent bike might be a solution.


I thought along similar lines and tried a number of 'bent bikes. In the end I bought a DD. Bents were an interesting ride but my decision was driven by:

Bents in general are heavier and/or more expensive and do require some specialist bits
In traffic they are more difficult (you can't hop off or 'scooter' through narrow spaces)
They are significantly different to ride - I'm sure you'd get used to it but initial acquaintance was that handling was bargelike (I rode three 'bents, from a 'learner' designed for stability to a more 'sporty' model according to the 'bent shop man)
Your riding position is lower, particularly because you can't stand up and look about. Fine on an open road, but not so good in traffic
My rail company (Scotrail) does not allow them on trains

A couple of positive points were
you can wind them up to significantly higher speeds, due to less air resistance
the braced riding position - where you can push against the set to add power to your legs helps
it is nice to have a seat, which is comfortable, rather than a saddle

I reckon a 'bent would be a great addition to a collection of bikes, but I think I would use it for long distance touring, rather than to dice with traffic on a (time-pressured?) commute.
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squeaker
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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby squeaker » 22 Nov 2009, 10:11am

thekelticfringe wrote:In the end I bought a DD.
DD?!?

thekelticfringe wrote:Bents were an interesting ride but my decision was driven by:

Bents in general are heavier and/or more expensive and do require some specialist bits
In traffic they are more difficult (you can't hop off or 'scooter' through narrow spaces)
They are significantly different to ride - I'm sure you'd get used to it but initial acquaintance was that handling was bargelike (I rode three 'bents, from a 'learner' designed for stability to a more 'sporty' model according to the 'bent shop man)
Your riding position is lower, particularly because you can't stand up and look about. Fine on an open road, but not so good in traffic
My rail company (Scotrail) does not allow them on trains
Agree with less good in slow / stationary heavy traffic flows if you want to 'filter' a lot. Don't understand the handling comment, unless you mean the inability to use your body to 'manual' the bike around at low speed?
As for the Scotrail ban: my Grasshopper is about the same length as my RoadRat :roll:
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thekelticfringe
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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby thekelticfringe » 22 Nov 2009, 11:23am

squeaker wrote: DD?!?
Sorry, finger malfunction compounded by inadequate checking (D and F next to each other on keyboard)

squeaker wrote:Don't understand the handling comment, unless you mean the inability to use your body to 'manual' the bike around at low speed?
As for the Scotrail ban: my Grasshopper is about the same length as my RoadRat :roll:


Well, I was only test-riding for a day, so didn't get really confident/familiar and it could easily be that things improve with familiarity and increased skill, but I found that there wasn't the 'flickability' of a conventional bike and gereral handling felt slow and stately - jinking round a pothole or bit of road garbage didn't seem an option.

As regards Scotrail - my commute involves a train journey as well as a bike ride. I've had guards resist accommodating my conventional bike because the service can be busy and passengers tend to stand, leave buggies and pushchairs etc. in the vestibule space (although it is designated as bike storage). It's good to avoid this as there's only one service every 2 hours. So it is essential that any bike I choose is 'allowed'. I queried this with Scotrail customer service as part of my decision-making and, after a lot of discussion to explain what a recumbent is, they told me that they only took 'standard' bikes.

TBH this was the final straw, and I was going off the idea by then anyway, so I didn't pursue it any further to establish a definition of a 'standard' bike, but I'm pretty certain that trying to load a 'bent into a crowded commuter service would shorten the odds of being turned away by some of the guards.
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squeaker
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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby squeaker » 22 Nov 2009, 5:00pm

thekelticfringe wrote:Well, I was only test-riding for a day, so didn't get really confident/familiar and it could easily be that things improve with familiarity and increased skill, but I found that there wasn't the 'flickability' of a conventional bike and gereral handling felt slow and stately.
IME 'bents can be as unstable steering wise as one can cope with - but I can understand that, after just a day, the different reactions needed to invoke controlled rapid directional changes might not be fully honed :lol:
As for rail operators, it seems to me that a folder (under a cover) is the only guaranteed, network wide, way of getting a bike onto a train at any time of day - bit sad really.
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thekelticfringe
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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby thekelticfringe » 22 Nov 2009, 6:00pm

Yeah the guards on my train are pretty good in general. Some have even suggested tyres, let me ride free to the end of the line when I had a puncture and that kinda thing - but there are definitely a few Jobsworths though!

I also took my bike to Newcastle on the express. Quite a lot of faffing with tickets etc etc. Strange thing was, when I actually got on the train the guard (after checking my 'bike reservation' several times :) ) took me to a cavernous goods compartment, just aft of the engine, which was almost entirely empty but could have taken about 15 bikes and still had space for a game of table tennis! It would be nice to get to a point where bikes were routinely and reliably accepted on all services.

Scotrail were recently showcasing mock-ups of their new fast commuter trains at Glasgow Central station. These are supposed to have a 25 year service life and are replacing aging sets that have between 6 and 12 bike spaces. The new trains have 2! I did email them asking if this was wise and got a corporate response.

At least when you get on a train you don't yet get asked the daft airline question of "Could anyone have interfered with your bags when they weren't in your possession?" Surely the truthful answer, although not the one I recommend giving, is "yes"!?
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Re: Commuting - what bike to get?

Postby thekelticfringe » 22 Nov 2009, 6:04pm

OOOps realise I've strayed a bit off topic. Apologies - I'll shut up now.
Pedal faster, I hear banjos!