Single Speed? Cyclo Cross? Other? Which is the best commuter?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by gregk, Dec 16, 2004.

  1. gregk

    gregk New Member

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    I am going to be building up an all purpose commuter/campus bike next summer, and I'm looking for some help. I was originally going to do a cyclocross frame with Shimano 105 (bar ends in the drops) and some Mavic Open Pro's with decent hubs. Now I'm starting to consider other options- single speed, fixed gear, anything. This bike will be used during the summer time to commute 8 miles each way to work, and during the school year as a campus bike. I might also use it as a winter training bike for the road. Bike messengers around here typically ride single speed or fixed, ofter times with homemade cowhorn bars (they cut off the drops on regular road bars and put them upside down). Doing a single speed would undoubtedly be cheaper than a 'cross bike, but do you think I need more gears for commuting to work? I'll probably run 700x28-32 tire, possibly with fenders, but not sure. Any ideas or suggestions are welcome. Cheaper is better, but I value quality more.

    Here are a few that I have been eyeing:
    Surly Cross Check
    Surly Steamroller
    Salsa Las Cruces (a bit expensive)
    Salsa Ala Carte
    Trek XO 1
    Bianchi Pista
    Lemond Poprad
     
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  2. permajeo

    permajeo New Member

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    Depends on your commute. I do a short 10 mile round trip on mine SS that's relatively flat. Having said that I also do a Sunday ride round trip of 44 miles with various hills with no problem. I've yet to brave a fixie for commuting, too much stop starting I think.

    I ride an On-One Il Pompino. Great bike and very good value. I bought mine direct from Planet-x.
     
  3. 10timesbetter

    10timesbetter New Member

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    Are you in the city? stoping and starting isn't bad, that's what makes a fixed gear fun, and you can learn to do track stands anyway, so you won't have to put your feet down anyway, which would technically make it easier than a bike with a freewheel, more fun too,

    I'm in pittsburgh, so i've got plenty of hills, they're not that big of a deal, is that lemond you mentioned the fixed gear they sell? that bike is gorgeous, out of my price range though, I'm looking at an Iro markv for spring, it's about the same price as the bianchi pista, I think it looks nicer though, but i just like the black, and the thicker tubes,

    I would say a single speed would defiantely be the way to go, and fixed gear is defiantely more fun than that, but if nothing else, get the fixed gear, and if you don't like it, but a freewheel and a front brake on,
     
  4. Azulene

    Azulene New Member

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    I commute 10 mile each day on my fixedSS and love it. My route has some moderate hills and 4 stop lights, I try to time the lights to hit them green if possible. On a fixedSS you can ride slow approching the light. My Fixey also gives me a good workout going down hills without using the brake. I'm a 60 year old grandma if I can do it anyone can:p. I vote for FixedSS.
     
  5. vichercules

    vichercules New Member

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  6. 10timesbetter

    10timesbetter New Member

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    fixed gear cyclocross??
     
  7. gregk

    gregk New Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback. I live in the suburbs, and the commute is relatively flat, with probably 3 small/medium climbs that I can think of. One thing I could do with a fixie like the Surly Steamroller is get a flip flop rear hub and have 1 side fixed and one side freewheel.

    The Lemond Poprad is their cyclocross model. It is the Filmore that is their fixed/single speed bike. I almost forgot about that bike.

    One thing that I definitely want is a frame with ample tire clearance for some good winter tires (700x35 sound good?). In nice weather I'll most likely do closer to a 700x28 or so.

    What kind of gears does everyone run for their fixed/SS bikes? The Lemond Filmore has a 44 in front and 16 in back- is this pretty typical for a commuter? I'm so used to having a 20 speed race bike, that I haven't even thought about gearing for a fixie/SS.

    Any more feedback is certainly welcome.
     
  8. 10timesbetter

    10timesbetter New Member

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    i've got 39/14, which is pretty much the same thing is 44/16, which is fairly common, I'd love to get a bigger sprocket, but i've got some pretty big hills in my daily ride, that I don't know if i'm ready for it, atleast not in december, wait until spring, and i'll make my legs get used to it, If you're not sure what gears you'd go with, just go out on your road bike, and see how long you can go without shifting, and then see which gear you're in, I knew it was time for me to go to a single speed after i went about 4 days, and then realized I hadn't shifted once, and those shifting brake levers i had were worth some money, so i cashed them in on ebay
     
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