Author Topic: Best Bike type for Commuting  (Read 7516 times)

cbr shadow

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Best Bike type for Commuting
« on: June 03, 2013, 03:37:14 PM »
I've been riding my bike to work for the last few weeks.  This past weekend I went to a wedding in Indianapolis and while I was gone we had a friend stay at the house to take care of the dog.  I believe she left the garage door open at night and someone came in and stole my bike.  This was a road bike that I paid ~$450 a few years ago.  I live in a good neighborhood but I suspect an open garage at night was too tempting for some local teenagers walking by.

Anyways, moving on past that frustrating event, I need to replace my bike so I can continue to commute.  I'm debating what type of bike I should get though..  I liked doing my commute on my road bike because I could get to/from work veyr quickly.  I also do some long recreational rides with a friend of mine on paved trails, so a road bike would also be good for that.
I'm also considering getting a hybrid.  A hybrid wouldn't be as good for the paved trails with my friend, or fast rides, but I can put a rack on the back and panier bags for holding items instead of a back pack. 

I think I'm leaning towards the road bike, but what do you guys think?  I'm thinking I could rig some type of bag onto a road bike.

Also when winter gets here I'll probably end up buying a hybrid for our cold winters through the snow/ice anyways.

Thoughts?
Thanks,
Ryan

AboutTime

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Re: Best Bike type for Commuting
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 07:03:16 PM »
If the winters tend to be fairly inclimate I would go with a hybrid over a road bike.  In the Midwest I rarely (read never) see anyone on a road bike if there is any chance for foul weather.  I think you can swap out tires on the hybrid when the seasons switch over and still enjoy a fairly fast ride.

Hamster

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Re: Best Bike type for Commuting
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2013, 07:41:54 PM »
My commuting preference is a touring (not racing) road bike since you can go pretty fast, but still can carry a load. Touring bikes are designed to go long distances with lots of weight, fairly quickly. They have lots of "braze ons" to attach fenders, racks, extra water bottle cages, etc. and are very ruggedly built, so can handle a lot of weight, which is the . For an example, see the http://surlybikes.com/bikes/long_haul_trucker, which also comes in a disc brake version. You could get something used for better value on craigslist.

I ride in rain for most of the year, but not in snow/ice. Since my long haul trucker has 37mm tires (compared to 23mm skinny on a racing bike), I can ride on many dirt/gravel trails (not single-track) without a problem. It's as fast down hills, and nearly as fast on the flats as my racing bike, but much slower uphill because of the extra weight.

For around the neighborhood and pulling kids on the trail-a-bike, I prefer a mountain/hybrid/city bike just because it's more maneuverable at low speeds and just easy. Wide/flat handlebars are better at dealing with low-speed maneuvering and kids shifting weight on the back of the bike.

Rollin

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Re: Best Bike type for Commuting
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 07:48:32 PM »
I like the best of both worlds and commute on a touring bike.  Not as light as a road bike, but it will take fenders and a rack.  When you load it up it doesn't feel like a wet noodle (like a road bike would), but when you want to make some time you can because of the fairly aerodynamic position.  Since you already had a road bike I'd recommend this rather than a hybrid.  If it was your first time I might suggest hybrid, but eventually you'd like the touring geometry better.

Not sure of your price range, but there are many that fit the bill.  Start with what I have (just to get the idea) and if you want to pay less just find one that has the same style, but less expensive components.

http://salsacycles.com/bikes/vaya/

markstache

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Re: Best Bike type for Commuting
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013, 07:59:17 PM »
I'm sorry to hear about your bike being stolen.

Cyclocross bikes are also frequent road/commuter options. Surly has their Crosscheck. BikesDirect.com has very inexpensive options. A friend ordered a BD. It came basically assembled. The quality was higher than I expected. When looking at cyclocross bikes be sure to check if they have braze-ons for racks and fenders. The race specific options won't have these, so pass on them.

Another option might be a folding bike. I've been riding one for the last few weeks and absolutely loving it. But I also have two other bikes I can ride if the mood suits. The big plus to me is that I can bring it inside my work and not have to worry about theft. It sits in a closet, nice and dry, whenever I'm not riding it.

Finally a PSA: Everyone, please lock up your bikes in your garage! I screwed eye-bolts into the studs and run braided cables through. While not as strong as a u-lock (in fact the materials to defeat it are sitting close by in the garage), at least it is something.

cbr shadow

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Re: Best Bike type for Commuting
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 12:28:51 PM »
Thanks for the information everyone!
One bike I'm looking at is the Specialized Allez Triple.  Would this fall under the touring or racing category?  I can get a 2009 for $400 which is less than half the price of the new bike ($820 new in 2009 for this model). What do you guys think?

Also I agree with locking up the bike in the garage.  We live in a nice area and theft is generally not a problem, but the garage door was wide open at night and the bike was sitting against the wall, so I'm guessing some shady kids walked by and decided to grab it.  Either way, even whne the garage is closed I'm going to be locking it to a few studs.

cbr shadow

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Re: Best Bike type for Commuting
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 12:29:56 PM »
At the risk of someone snatching it up from under me, here's the bike I'm looking at.  What do you guys think?
http://chicago.craigslist.org/nch/spo/3847836933.html

markstache

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Re: Best Bike type for Commuting
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 12:33:00 PM »
One bike I'm looking at is the Specialized Allez Triple.  Would this fall under the touring or racing category?  I can get a 2009 for $400 which is less than half the price of the new bike ($820 new in 2009 for this model). What do you guys think?

I wouldn't recommend this for commuting. Fenders and racks are going to be hard to fit. I like wider tires (~35mm+) than this bike will fit.

Russ

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Re: Best Bike type for Commuting
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2013, 01:08:17 PM »
I had an Allez back in the day. The one I owned had rack and fender mounts but it looks like they did away with that for the model year shown. Skinny tires are IME OK enough for winter with some care and that wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, but like others have said, I'd hold out for a bike with rack and fender mounts if I were you.

GuitarStv

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Re: Best Bike type for Commuting
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 07:15:06 AM »
I use a hybrid in the winter here in Toronto, and a touring bike in the summer.  Both work well for their purpose.

I don't use the touring bike in the winter for two reasons:
- lots of road salt/snow/slush + steel frame = fast rusting
- Even well set up, cantilever brakes are not as good at stopping the bike when it's wet and icy as v-brakes.

Bar ends make long winter rides on the hybrid MUCH more comfortable.  I have no problems with grip on 32 mm, 85 psi tires in heavy snow in the winter.  I will say that you should get the most puncture proof tires you can find though . . . nobody wants to be swapping tubes at -15 in blowing snow.

Bike rack and fenders are non-negotiable for me when commuting.  Absolutely essential!

zinnie

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Re: Best Bike type for Commuting
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 08:04:05 AM »
I've been using the trek 7.3 fx for similar uses you're describing. It's light (23 lbs for my frame size) so it's pretty fast but it is perfectly suitable for trails. I have an aluminum rack on the back that can carry a full farmers market trip but doesn't add much weight when I don't need it. My husband and I both have this bike and have used it for work commutes, grocery trips around town, and longer rides as well. It's comfortable and seems to be a good multi-purpose bike. I don't know that I'd want to take it longer than say 50 miles, but have done that far comfortably. (Though, that may just be my own fitness level limitation!)

Mine was in the high 500s new so I imagine off Craigslist you could get one for $200-300.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 08:08:53 AM by zinnie »

thefrugaltwo

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Re: Best Bike type for Commuting
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2013, 08:43:24 AM »
I think road bikes are actually great in all weather. I have ridden one (with groceries and all, just get a huge messenger bag) through winters in Boston, snow, ice, rain, everything. People think that in bad weather you should go with a wider tire, well this is only really true if you're biking on a smooth slick surface. For snow, narrow wheels are much better at cutting through, and stuff doesn't get stuck in them. I never even changed my tires based on season, and the only time I will forgo riding is if it is absolutely so icy that it seems dangerous to ride on any kind of tire.

Rollin

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Re: Best Bike type for Commuting
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2013, 06:47:29 PM »
I've been using the trek 7.3 fx for similar uses you're describing. It's light (23 lbs for my frame size) so it's pretty fast but it is perfectly suitable for trails. I have an aluminum rack on the back that can carry a full farmers market trip but doesn't add much weight when I don't need it. My husband and I both have this bike and have used it for work commutes, grocery trips around town, and longer rides as well. It's comfortable and seems to be a good multi-purpose bike. I don't know that I'd want to take it longer than say 50 miles, but have done that far comfortably. (Though, that may just be my own fitness level limitation!)

Mine was in the high 500s new so I imagine off Craigslist you could get one for $200-300.

Nice for what you are looking for.  The only thing I'd change are to wider tires.