What Kind of Bike Would You Use for Commuting?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by bengyap, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. bengyap

    bengyap New Member

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    Hi All:
    I have a friend who wanted to buy a new bike, primarily for commuting to work. Average distance is 25km one way, four days a week. Question is: what kind of bike would you use for this purpose?
    Thanks
    Ben
     
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  2. RC2

    RC2 New Member

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    It depends on the the type of commuting.

    Mostly on bike paths or roads without a lot of stop/go/merge type stuff = road bike.
    Mostly on streets w/lots of traffic to dodge = flat bar road or nice hybrid.

    The key to me -- the faster I can get there means the longer I can sleep! ;)
     
  3. jhamling

    jhamling New Member

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    A cheap one! - leaving it in the same place every day is asking to get it nicked, especially in Wandsworth.
     
  4. chicagodave

    chicagodave New Member

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    That's the key, low end beater won't attract too many thieves either. My commute is done on a single speed conversion. fondly dubbed frankencycle. It ain't glamorous but I get to work.

    Ride on and be safe.
     
  5. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    If I could only have one bike it would be an MTB because they are just so versatile.

    The posters are correct about a nice bike getting lifted. Unless the bike can be stored inside during working hours then a used beater is the way to go.
     
  6. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    The thing I consider when looking at commuting is ...drive train that can take 1000 km a month in all weather with minimal maintenance and hassle. Commuters typically ride in slop that other wiser souls have sense to stay away from. Paying the premier prices for lighter than air components doesn't make a lot of sense to me when you consider how much crap we tend to pile on the bike -- racks and cargo systems, changes of clothing, box of books, lights, bells, whistles blah blah blah.

    I have a Giant hybrid...Cypress DX. I like it; it's zippy when I want a bit of pickup but not squirrely. It handles frost covered bridge deckings, rain soaked streets, leaf covered intersections. I'm not sure how secure I'd feel with the skinny little tires of a road bike under my caboose. I think a road bike might be a little "too" zippy for my road conditions. I'm not a "fair weather only" commuter.
     
  7. meehs

    meehs New Member

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    If you have to leave the bike unattended outdoors, the point made about using a cheap bike for commuting is very valid. I commute to work and I'm able to bring my bike inside where it's safe.

    Cyclocross bikes are great for commuting (that's what I use). You don't give-up much to road bikes in terms of speed on pavement but off-road "short-cuts" and gravel shoulders are no problem. Plus you're in a little more upright position, which allows you to view traffic better.

    If your commute is relatively flat, a single speed might be cool too because of the simplicity and light weight. If you suffer a mechanical on your way to the office it sucks because it means you're going to be late. Single speeds have fewer parts to potentially fail. In the same vein, puncture resistant tires are a good idea too!
     
  8. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    I can think of a number of different bike types that I'd be happy to take into commuting situations... which one would depend on the town, the weather, my mood... currently, I just use one of my road bikes. Given a little extra time and money, I hope to get a new commuter together myself.

    Particularly suited to commuting situations:

    A modest cyclocross bike would have to be the ultimate commuter, suited to the worker with a love of cool bike tech and an interest in really tackling the route. Like meehs, I love the combination of speed-oriented road parts and geometry, coupled with a little extra toughness, knobby tires, fender clearence, and badass-ness.

    A minimalist single-speed or fixed gear, like a track bike or converted "messenger-special," is classic for big-city death runs. Takes guts, but judging by my limited time on fixeys alone, makes anyone a better rider. Great for legs, nerves. I'd love an old steel track bike to beat around.

    A touring bike would have to be the stretch limo of the commuter world -- not particularly agressive or daredevilish, but intended for comforting, efficient rides over long hauls, and built to last.

    I could see myself using one or all three for my daily commute; in a perfect world, I'd have all three, and cycle through them depending on my mood.
     
  9. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    ...and I'd also be happy to add a cool, tough townie or speedbike to the mix, something like the Kona Dr. Dew, or an old Voodoo hardtail with slicks...
     
  10. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    My vote is the flat bar road bike, a road gorup based hybrid or speedbike, like the Felt SR71/81/91. But then i'm biased, see signature...

    Most manufacturers have this type of bike in the range now.
     
  11. whackyscientist

    whackyscientist New Member

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    Motorbike

    This is because it is leveling out the playing field with those other commuters in metal boxes. I have had too many experiences with vehicle owners while riding my pedal bike.
     
  12. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    Yup...all the speed of a motor vehicle; all the passenger compartment integrity of a bicycle. It's what we call the "best of both worlds."
     
  13. wadoflove

    wadoflove New Member

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    Speaking from 15 years of bike commuting experience in several different cities with different traffic problems, bike paths, road qualities (Toronto, Copenhagen, Strasbourg, Paris and Basel):

    In the past I have commuted 20Km each way on a racing bike. The problem there was carrying my clothes in a backpack and keeping them clean and not sweaty or wet from rain (. I also tried to commute the same distance on a mountain bike but was frustrated by the extra resistance and felt a lot slower.

    I decided to get a Cannondale touring bike for touring (of course) and have found that this is the best bike for commuting in cities. It has a waterproof panier for my clothes, laptop etc. and I don't have to wear a backpack which not only is uncomfortable but dangerous because it upsets your center of balance (as I found out the hard way), it rides like a racing bike except more stable and stronger wheels etc. and its less likely to get stolen than a mountain bike because its not that trendy.
     
  14. meehs

    meehs New Member

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    I respectfully disagree. As cyclists we can't live in fear of motorists. I've commuted in traffic for a lot of years and have had some close calls with motorists but I'd still way rather ride a bicycle than a motorcyle. While having two wheels, motorcycles still puke out nearly as many noxious fumes and even more noise than an automobile. I'll ride my bike thanks.
     
  15. gubaguba

    gubaguba New Member

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    As for myself i commute on a Trek its a Carbon-aluminum frame forget the model. My steel frame rusted through and I got a deal on this. I can usually bring it inside so I don't worry to much about that. Its not so attractive as it has fenders and a rack and most theives are looking for flashy mountain bikes. I have retro friction shifters and a seven speed rear. Specialized armidillo tires are bullet proof. Very low maintenance machine. The coolest part Zeus drilled brake levers.
     
  16. kps142

    kps142 New Member

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    I commute to school everyday no matter what the weather is like. If its snowing really hard then i take out my hybrid otherwise i use my road bike. I'd rather get there quicker and get out of the cold faster.
    Road bike mean more risk of sliding around with the thin tires and all, but from personal experience i can tell you that you get used to the sliding. Its just a different type of riding.
    I'm a poor college kid and my equipment is pretty low tech. My road bike is an Old schwinn world sport, which is still amazingly light. I have no trouble keeping up with riders on long rides.
    yesterday however I totally broke the rear derailler. Came out a corner and tried accelarating too fast,, the result, derailler gets yanked off the bike and gets totally mangled and distorted. The plastic sprockets are completely shredded. But shit happens when you ride a 10 yr old bike.
    Right now i'm riding my standby road bike, a 2 yr old Rampar that used to belong to my gf's brother. This thing is seriously heavy.
     
  17. drewjc

    drewjc New Member

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    I use a MTB (hardtail) with 700c slicks and disc brakes for basically all of my riding. It is the fasest town bike i have ever ridden with the ability to launch off or onto gutters, footpaths and often over the top of slow moving cars...... it has the best all round ability along with great handling and strength for everyday riding in the toughest jungle of all. I find narrow(er than usual) bars with wrap around bar-ends give me an added sense of security when trying to squeeze through some smaller gaps especially when im in a hurry.
     
  18. mgagnonlv

    mgagnonlv New Member

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    I would have separated road and touring bikes.

    I use an old touring bike -- probably classified as light touring nowadays -- with racks, full fenders and 700x30 slicks in summer. In winter, I replace these with 700x37 knobbies or studded tires.
     
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