Author Topic: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike  (Read 11788 times)

LWYRUP

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Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« on: July 13, 2015, 08:19:02 PM »
Hi,

I am moving from a location 5 miles from work to one that is 14 miles.  (My rent is going down by 1/3 and I am getting more space, and my public transit commute will actually take about the same amount of time because it will be by commuter rail, not slow trolley.)

I currently bike to work on a semi-regular basis and I would like to keep that up.  I currently own a hybrid bike made for short-distance urban commuting, the Marin Kentfield City Series.  (See http://www.marinbikes.com/us/bikes/family/kentfield.  I am not sure which type mine is, I got it used from a good bike shop for about $400 about seven years ago.  My model also has a horizontal crossbar rather than a slanted one.)

I am wondering whether I could cut the commute time / increase the commute comfort by buying a fancier bike built for long-distance commuting.  My new route will be mostly by paved bike trails, with about 2 of the 14 miles being on a mix of urban and suburban streets.  I am willing to spend over $1,000 if it would get me something materially better by spending the extra $$.  I will save $11 a day each time I ride rather than taking commuter rail, so if I end up riding even just one day a week extra the bike will pay for itself in a couple of years (not to mention the health benefits). 

Can you recommend a punch-me-in-the-face bike?  Any tips on how to cut down the price (e.g., order online, buy used)?  How do I make sure the bike fits me right if I order online?

I am 6'2, 200 pounds if that matters in terms of frame size. 
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 08:34:05 PM by blinx7 »

MoonShadow

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2015, 08:22:59 PM »
Two questions...

1) Does the commuter train have a bike car?  Or otherwise permit the standard safety bike on the trip?

2) Have you ever tried a recumbent road bike?

LWYRUP

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2015, 08:31:15 PM »
Two questions...

1) Does the commuter train have a bike car?  Or otherwise permit the standard safety bike on the trip?

2) Have you ever tried a recumbent road bike?

1) During rush hour, only folding bikes are allowed.  I am going to be less than a five minute walk from train on both ends, though, so I don't envision ever really needing to take a bike on it unless I change jobs (and probably move as well).

2) (EDITED -- I misread the question initially.) I've tried a regular road bike, but never a recumbent one.  When I tried the regular road bike, I did a big 56 mile loop and had never gone more than 10 miles before that!  I remember it being much faster than my normal bike.  I found the position less comfortable than my hybrid bike but it wasn't a big deal and my back wasn't sore afterwards.  I do remember that my butt hurt like heck the next day though. 
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 09:12:44 PM by blinx7 »

MoonShadow

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2015, 08:44:27 PM »
Two questions...

1) Does the commuter train have a bike car?  Or otherwise permit the standard safety bike on the trip?

2) Have you ever tried a recumbent road bike?

1) During rush hour, only folding bikes are allowed.  I am going to be less than a five minute walk from train on both ends, though, so I don't envision ever really needing to take a bike on it unless I change jobs (and probably move as well).

Maybe you never will, but having the option of riding into work, but taking the train home with the bike is still quite the advantage.  But folding bikes are also expensive, and more fragile than a standard safety frame bike.  Your statement implies that, outside of rush hours, standard bikes are permitted, correct?  If so, keep your bike.  In this way, if you ride into work and find that the weather sucks as you leave, you can choose to lock the bike up at work and take the regular train home; or wait till after rush hour to see if the weather clears up before that.  It's almost certain that a recumbent won't be welcome on the train, though.

Quote
2) I tried a recumbent road bike once.  I did a big 56 mile loop and had never gone more than 10 miles before that!  I remember it being much faster than my normal bike.  I found the position less comfortable than my hybrid bike but it wasn't a big deal and my back wasn't sore afterwards.  I do remember that my butt hurt like heck the next day though.

Yes, recumbent bikes are ideal for long trips, but use somewhat different muscle groups.  They are also very expensive.

I would keep your present bike, and if 28 miles is too far in one day, plan your trip so one direction is outside of rush hour, and take your bike on the train in that direction.  You might even find that you have a strong preference for which direction you ride.  Perhaps the weather is more often pleasant at a particular time, or perhaps one direction is more 'downhill'.  Who knows.  But if you biked one direction each day, would your commuting budget be significantly lower?  I know of a bike commuting tax credit, but it requires a "regular" commuting schedule that includes the bike.

LWYRUP

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2015, 09:11:14 PM »

Correct, I can take standard bikes on the train after 7pm.  I actually work late frequently, so this is an option.  I had envisioned that I would need to leave my bike at work if I didn't want to bike home, but you are right -- if I work late, I can take the bike home.  I pay per trip (no monthly pass option), so if I biked one way I would save money.

Would it be worth it to buy one of the fancier road / performance hybrid bikes (like the ones people are discussing on this page: http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?834-Ultimate-longer-distance-commuter-bike) or is it just a lot of extra money for something not that much better than I have now?

MoonShadow

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2015, 09:22:46 PM »

Would it be worth it to buy one of the fancier road / performance hybrid bikes (like the ones people are discussing on this page: http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?834-Ultimate-longer-distance-commuter-bike) or is it just a lot of extra money for something not that much better than I have now?

You already have a quality bike, so I would doubt the upgrade to a "perfect" custom bike is going to be worth it.

johnny847

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2015, 09:34:42 PM »
Your bike is fine. If you had a cruiser bike or something I'd say yes, get a road bike, but your bike will suit your purposes.

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2015, 07:21:38 AM »
Correct fit is going to matter a lot more than a specific bike model. 14 miles is also still a relatively short bike ride. Long for a bike commute, but you already have a bike that should give you good comfort over 14 miles.

There are also ways to modify your bike for faster speed. What width tires are you running? A thinner tire like 700x28 is faster but still wide enough to soak up some road roughness and not get caught in cracks and joints like thinner race tires. I'm a fan of the Conti GatorSkins. Very smooth tread, excellent anti-flat, but great in bad weather and on groomed trails (except, obviously, snow/ice)

If you do feel the need for something faster that's still functional, many cyclocross frames are a good compromise between speed of a road bike, advantage of drop bars, but still strong enough to carry panniers and such. Fully loaded, they will be squirrellier than a hybrid, let alone a touring bike, but a good compromise. Surly CrossCheck is a good option. You can find it used or buy it new either bare frame or fully assembled.

patrickza

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2015, 08:26:19 AM »
Have you considered an electric bike?

James

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2015, 08:47:28 AM »

I would not suggest getting a new expensive bike without knowing for sure it would improve things. I would first try and find a used road bike that you could pick up cheap, something in your size, but maybe a lot older and heavier than you would get by spending more money. Or borrow one for a couple weeks if possible. The key is getting to know if the "road bike" style is something you really want. Once you know then you could upgrade to something more expensive, and since you used one for a while you will know more what features you like or want to avoid. Only you can know if the new expensive bike will make sure you bike to work more, or just be another toy you sometimes use while the old bike would have worked just fine. Certainly bikes are a place I don't judge as much, but don't let that control your decision completely.


Regarding the sore butt, that goes away just by riding more. Make sure you don't try to compensate with a soft and/or big saddle, that will just make things worse.

GuitarStv

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2015, 08:59:35 AM »
You are 6'2 and 200 lbs.  I'm 6' and 200 lbs.  Throw on winter clothing, a change of clothes for work, a water bottle, repair kit, and your lunch and you're probably somewhere around 230lbs on that bike.  We are at the very upper end of the weight limit that most bike stuff seems to be made for.  You will go over bad patches of road in the dark wee hours of the morning by accident.  Shit will break on a commuter.  Get a rear wheel with at least 36 spokes, get a spoke wrench, and at least monthly take some time truing your wheel/tightening up spokes when they loosen to prevent on road break downs.

Thinner tires aren't faster.  They're lighter.  If you don't do much climbing on your commute, I don't think you'll see any benefit from using a thinner tire.  Get flat proof tires with kevlar lining though and pump your tires up before you leave every morning . . . changing flats sucks on your way to work.

My commute is 11 miles each way.  I do it comfortably on a flat bar hybrid bike in the winter and on a steel framed touring bike in the summer.  I like the touring bike better because drop bars let me get lower so headwinds are less tiring to deal with, and multiple hand positions makes the ride more comfy.  You can fix the multiple hand positions part by getting bar ends for your flat bar bike.  You can significantly help the wind disadvantage by raising your seat and dropping your handlebars as low as they can go.

So, summary . . . No need for a new bike.  A really fancy race bike isn't going to help that much when you're commuting anyway.  They're fun to ride, but are very much purpose built.  It'll have weaker wheels (lighter), no place for a luggage rack, and will be more difficult to put full length fenders on.  Better to invest in very strong wheels, bar ends, and do a little work on your current bike to make it a great commuter.

MoonShadow

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2015, 12:24:40 PM »

Thinner tires aren't faster.  They're lighter. 


No, they are faster also, all else being equal.  Of course, it's very rare for all else to actually be equal, but narrower tires typically can handle a higher working max pressure.  A narrower tire plus higher pressure equals to less of a "foot" (contact surface area) for the tire; which is bad for rough terrain or anything close to off-road travel, but great for momentum efficiency on hard, consistant surfaces.  It's a trade off like anything else.  Additionally, a narrower tire is typically lighter in the most important part, near the rim; which reduces gyroscopic momentum, thus improving both exceleration and rapid turning ability.  Gyroscopic momentum helps keep kids up, but an experienced adult cyclist shouldn't need much at all.

GuitarStv

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2015, 01:05:18 PM »
You can't say 'all things being equal' and then change one of the things (pressure).  :P

Sure, higher pressure in a skinny tire makes the tire roll better.  Put more pressure in a wider tire and you actually get less rolling resistance (faster tire) than a skinnier tire at the same pressure though (as per the diagram by Continental at the bottom).  There's a particular pressure that you should be aiming for based on your weight and the weight of your bike to get optimum tire deflection for a ride though.

I already mentioned that skinnier tires are lighter.  They're also slightly better aerodynamically.  The 'rapid turning' theory sounds like BS to me, could you explain it?  The tradeoff with a skinny tire is a more jarring and uncomfortable ride and more punctures due to the higher pressure needed though, so calling one faster than another for commuting is somewhat variable.

« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 01:07:54 PM by GuitarStv »

MoonShadow

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2015, 01:22:34 PM »
You can't say 'all things being equal' and then change one of the things (pressure).  :P


Heh.  I meant tire construction, materials, etc.  The higher pressure isn't a result of different materials, but of the cross-sectional circumfrence of the inner tube.

Quote

Sure, higher pressure in a skinny tire makes the tire roll better.  Put more pressure in a wider tire and you actually get less rolling resistance (faster tire) than a skinnier tire at the same pressure though (as per the diagram by Continental at the bottom).  There's a particular pressure that you should be aiming for based on your weight and the weight of your bike to get optimum tire deflection for a ride though.

Perhaps a circle has a slight advantage over an elongated oval with the same surface area, but I'm skeptical.   My very fastest safety frame bike, though (for commuting, not racing or such) was due to a kevlar belted tire that could take 110 lbs per square inch.  It wasn't the narrowest bike tire, but a hybrid tire width.  I can't remember, but I can go check it if I have too. It had a nearly circular contact patch at 100 lbs, which was the maximum shop pressure at my work.  It also never got a flat.  I've made it to work and found all kinds of stuff stuck into the rubber, but nothing ever made it past the kevlar. 

Quote


I already mentioned that skinnier tires are lighter.  They're also slightly better aerodynamically.  The 'rapid turning' theory sounds like BS to me, could you explain it?

Not really, just my experience.  It seems to me that the lighter tires were able to lean into a turn a tad quicker.  Not the most important thing, but noticable to myself.

Quote
  The tradeoff with a skinny tire is a more jarring and uncomfortable ride and more punctures due to the higher pressure needed though, so calling one faster than another for commuting is somewhat variable.


Yes, it is a trade-off.

MoonShadow

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2015, 01:26:19 PM »
Yes, the deflection is higher with an oval than a circle, but the bounce you get back from the section of the tire leaving the surface is equal to that hit you take from the front.  Excluding efficiency losses due to stretch heating, it should all even out.  However, now that I think about it, the efficiency losses might not be very small.

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2015, 02:39:05 PM »
When I had a 14 mile commute (mix of rural highways and in town roads), I used a surly cross check and it was excellent.  I would not have wanted to use a flatbar bike for that commute.  A few things that were really excellent about this bike: more eyelets than a sporty road or cross bike, so it was easy to mount racks and fenders, wide clearances so you can put on wider tires to soften potholes, and surly tends to prioritize durability over ultra light weight for frames and components, so even their bikes intended for pavement can handle heavier loads and rough roads.  You will generally find similar attributes on touring bikes (could search CL for cheap used ones too!), lower end cyclocross bikes, or older road bikes.

I would recommend buying in person, not online for such a purchase.  Fit is really important for a bike you plan to ride long distances, and there is no substitute for actually riding a bike.  The cheapest option would be to search for a used touring bike.  If going new, you may save a bit of money by trying to get a last year's model (I saved $100 on my cross check that way) but in the end, you probably would have to spend a bit over $1000 to get a quality cross or touring bike new. 

Rollin

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2015, 02:40:18 PM »
The Kentfield is a decent bike (I have two of them in the family), but you might find a touring style bike more comfortable, and yes a bit faster.  I don't put much into the faster basket though, as we aren't talking too much time difference.  You'd have a better riding position on a touring bike and you don't put as much effort into pedaling than you would on the Kentfield.

With a touring bike you are almost getting a bike between a pure road bike and a hybrid.  Don't worry about getting too fancy, just get good quality.  I have a Velo Orange Campeur, but there are tons of related examples (like the Surely CC).  I like steel frames, but don't want to start an argument about that.  I think 35mm wide tires are great for the distance you are riding.  Narrower tires are not faster, but are harsher (read not as comfortable), don't last as long, and are more prone to flats - especially if you are north of 200 pounds.

I have well over 150,000 miles under my tires and that was mostly riding touring and road bikes, but now I like the relaxed geometry of the "touring" style bike best.

davidw

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2015, 12:08:07 AM »
If there are some hills, a 'better' bike might help some - it'll be lighter and more pleasant, but otherwise you're probably fine with what you've got.  Depends a bit too on the facilities for storing the bike: the cheap one is something you can park anywhere and not get too stressed about it.

Bikes are something I'm generally happy to get from a good local shop, the kind where they're going to work with you in the long run.

galaxie

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2015, 03:12:00 PM »
My commuting bike is also a Surly Cross Check!  I've also heard great things about All-City bikes as practical commuters.  A road-style bike will put you in a more efficient riding position and you'll be able to go faster and get less tired.  The butt pain usually goes away after the first week or two of riding (it still happens to me if I stop riding over the winter), and/or you can get some bike shorts for that.

On the other hand, your current bike might be just fine.  Here's a test: what's your average speed if you go on a good long bike ride (or try doing your commute) with the bike you have now?  In the city, I find that there are so many stops that I can't really average more than 12 mph, even on a Nice Bike.  Also check how pleasant (or unpleasant) it is for you to have made the trip at your current average pace.  Then for extra credit, borrow a road bike and do the test again.  With bike shorts on.

pennyhandlebar

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2015, 12:21:15 PM »
I have cycle toured a bunch and been a more-or-less daily bike commuter for the last 10 years. I do my commuting on a beater MTB because it's short (4-5 miles), and there are a couple of places where I need to drop off curbs. I also have a punch-me-in the face road bike for summer road biking.

I'm seeing a range of suggestions above, but I have to say I would agree with the folks who are suggesting a bike with dropped handlebars. The position is more efficient, both anatomically (you get more power with a more forward position), and aerodynamically, and I expect you would see a really significant difference in the speed you can maintain. Moreover, a more road-focused bike will have a lighter frame, which also makes a difference. Put another way, it's pretty normal for me to be passed a couple of times when I'm commuting on my MTB, but I'm almost never passed by other cyclists when I commute on my road bike. I'm substantially faster on the road bike at the same level of fitness/effort.

As far as what bike you choose, there are a range of options, from "hit me in the face with a blunt object" to "a light slap with a glove will suffice." Getting a used road bike from Craigslist could be pretty economical - probably less than what you paid for your Marin. The only challenge is that at your height, it could be a long wait to find a frame that's the right size. Or, you could buy a new bike at pretty much any price point you want. You could consider a cyclo cross bike like the Surly Cross-Check that others have suggested -- that's a well-regarded bike. My coworker commutes on another cross bike, the Redline Conquest, that she's happy with. Or you could consider a road touring bike - the Trek 520, REI Novara Randonee (especially if you use the member's 20% off coupon), or similar. Compared to a cyclocross bike, which is more competition oriented, a road touring bike will be more stable and offer better heel clearance for panniers, but heavier and less fun to ride.

If you're buying new, I would stay away from buying a pure road bike - as noted by other commenters, they will not allow you to readily attach racks and fenders. While there are workarounds, they come with weight limits (i.e., "floating" racks that only attach to the seatpost are rated for a max of 20 lbs, vs. 50 lbs for a traditional rack) that make them impractical for year-round commuting. An older used road bike is more likely to have attachments for racks and fenders - check before buying.

Agreed that the sore butt will go away with more hours in the saddle. Usually the 3rd day of extended riding is the worst, and after that you'll be on the mend.

One afterthought - BikesDirect.com is a possible source. They basically buy generic frames from Chinese/Taiwanese factories, put nice components on them, and sell them for a great price. Do your research before moving ahead - they get both good and bad reviews. If you do decide that you're interested, this bike could work for you: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gravity/liberty_cxd.htm


 
« Last Edit: July 16, 2015, 12:31:43 PM by pennyhandlebar »

Jack

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2015, 08:37:23 AM »
Yes, recumbent bikes are ideal for long trips, but use somewhat different muscle groups.  They are also very expensive.

I think that depends: I always heard that recumbents are great for relatively flat trips, while regular bikes are better for climbing hills.

You are 6'2 and 200 lbs.  I'm 6' and 200 lbs.  Throw on winter clothing, a change of clothes for work, a water bottle, repair kit, and your lunch and you're probably somewhere around 230lbs on that bike.  We are at the very upper end of the weight limit that most bike stuff seems to be made for.  You will go over bad patches of road in the dark wee hours of the morning by accident.  Shit will break on a commuter.  Get a rear wheel with at least 36 spokes, get a spoke wrench, and at least monthly take some time truing your wheel/tightening up spokes when they loosen to prevent on road break downs.

I'm heavier than I ought to be (which hopefully the bike commute I'm about to start will help), so I ride an old no-suspension mountain bike (a '90s Specialized Hard Rock, I think) that's been upgraded with smooth (but still wide) tires. I have no worries about overloading it. I also have an old aluminum road bike that I've stopped riding (until I lose weight) because every time I do I worry the damn thing is going to break in half. "Steel is real," after all...

Regarding tires: at equal pressure, wider tires are better, but pressure is never equal! I mean, sure, it'd be great if I could pump my 1.5"-wide mountain bike tires up to 100 psi, but I can't, and for that reason they aren't going to be as fast as a skinny tire that I could pump up to 100 psi.

mrpercentage

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2015, 02:22:55 AM »
Honda Rebel. $4000 msrp. 84 mpg. Brand new. Just as likely to get blasted on this as riding a pedal bike along the side of the road.
Then there is plates and insurance.

I refuse to live without a motor. Then again, Im sure you can find someones unwanted Geo-metro with reasonable miles for $2000. It won't matter if it rains.

For scooters you can't beat a Honda Rucus. It is the meanest looking semi offroad scooter I have ever seen. There is one parked outside my library all the time. I have a decent car but I look at when I walk by. My first thought usually is that I could have fun with that thing. Check it out 114 mpg
http://powersports.honda.com/2015/ruckus/colors.aspx
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 02:25:28 AM by mrpercentage »

LWYRUP

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2015, 07:54:29 AM »

Thank you everyone for all of your thoughtful suggestions!

I think I am going to try the commute for a few months with my current bike while researching these options.  I might even rent one of the suggested bikes from spinlister or a local bike shop and see how it feels / time myself before making a decision. 

Thanks again for all this great advice. 

mschaus

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2015, 09:27:18 AM »
You might also consider adjusting your stem to be in a more aerodynamic position -- the bike you linked has an adjustable stem so that's easy. On a regular threadless headset you can move the spacers around or even flip the stem upside down (to point down instead of up). If the riding position is too far upright now, it will be uncomfortable for a long ride.

If the handlebars are currently above the saddle height, try making them equal and see how it feels after a few miles.

GuitarStv

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2015, 10:26:08 AM »
Gloves are really more for grip and protection when you fall, not padding.  You should be able to ride your bike with no discomfort bare handed.

kasperle

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2015, 11:33:56 AM »
Quote
You should be able to ride your bike with no discomfort bare handed.

Absolutely.

In addition to grip and protection, I read that they also help absorb the bumpiness of biking. Without gloves, I usually get those 'shaky hand' tremors after, say, a 50 mile ride. It seems a bit less noticeable when I wear my padded gloves.

TrMama

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2015, 12:34:18 PM »
The specs for the bike you have indicate it has a suspension seat post, flat pedals and 700 x 38 tires. If you decide to keep this bike I'd change those to a regular seat post, clipless or cage-style pedals and 700 x 28 tires. This will make the bike faster and more efficient. However, an entry level road bike is another fantastic option.

A rigid seat post allows all the energy to put into the pedals to be transferred to forward momentum rather than just causing you to bounce up and down on the seat. Attaching your feet to the pedals allows you to exert force with both feet through all 360 degrees of each pedal rotation (this is especially helpful going uphill). Narrow tires, which allow inflation to a higher psi, reduce rolling resistance and make the bike faster at the same level of effort. All of these change will make the ride "harsher", but you'll be on the bike for less time so it's probably a wash.

GuitarStv is going to disagree with me on all points and call me a wussy pants. However, we can all see from his avatar that he's not quite human and therefore has superhero abilities. Us mortals benefit from from some mechanical tweaking of our rides. I myself ride a facepunch worthy carbon racing-style road bike for my 8 mi commute.

GuitarStv

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2015, 01:14:31 PM »
I like 28 mm tires, and think that a suspension seatpost is probably pointless weight to lug around.  Clipless is a little questionable.  I'm not convinced that using clips (or clipless cleats) is more efficient than studded flat pedals (that keep your feet firmly affixed).  There are plenty of good things with cleats . . . you can generate more power with them while sprinting, they keep your feet from sliding off on a bump, you can use them to more easily bunny hop the back of your bike over stuff . . . but haven't actually seen anything convincing that says they're more efficient.

Cactus

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2015, 05:56:20 AM »
I bought a race bike from the 90s for 100dollars a year ago and i still arrive to work with abig smile the days I use it. It is so much more fun than my old heavy old style bike.
If you get hooked I think you will notice that the bikes wear out and will need a lot of maintenance. So most have like 3 bikes for different weather and since it may take time for repair.  Thats at least here in Stockholm with often bad conditions like snow slush .

Faraday

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #29 on: August 24, 2015, 06:37:55 AM »
The specs for the bike you have indicate it has a suspension seat post, flat pedals and 700 x 38 tires. If you decide to keep this bike I'd change those to a regular seat post, clipless or cage-style pedals and 700 x 28 tires. This will make the bike faster and more efficient. However, an entry level road bike is another fantastic option.

A rigid seat post allows all the energy to put into the pedals to be transferred to forward momentum rather than just causing you to bounce up and down on the seat. Attaching your feet to the pedals allows you to exert force with both feet through all 360 degrees of each pedal rotation (this is especially helpful going uphill). Narrow tires, which allow inflation to a higher psi, reduce rolling resistance and make the bike faster at the same level of effort. All of these change will make the ride "harsher", but you'll be on the bike for less time so it's probably a wash.

GuitarStv is going to disagree with me on all points and call me a wussy pants. However, we can all see from his avatar that he's not quite human and therefore has superhero abilities. Us mortals benefit from from some mechanical tweaking of our rides. I myself ride a facepunch worthy carbon racing-style road bike for my 8 mi commute.

+1 to TrMama. Agreed on all points.

I've seen that Continental chart cited as "fatties are not less efficient than skinnies" for years now and I'm just not buying it. Never have, never will. Maybe they mean "more efficient because you can't go fast on them"?

That doesn't mean I don't run fat tires. I have 1.5's on my ebike and have run 2.25's and 3's before on offroad bikes. They have their advantages, but running fast and efficiently isn't one of them.

I find wind resistance to be the worst of it. No matter what, it's always wind resistance....

GuitarStv

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2015, 06:45:18 AM »
The specs for the bike you have indicate it has a suspension seat post, flat pedals and 700 x 38 tires. If you decide to keep this bike I'd change those to a regular seat post, clipless or cage-style pedals and 700 x 28 tires. This will make the bike faster and more efficient. However, an entry level road bike is another fantastic option.

A rigid seat post allows all the energy to put into the pedals to be transferred to forward momentum rather than just causing you to bounce up and down on the seat. Attaching your feet to the pedals allows you to exert force with both feet through all 360 degrees of each pedal rotation (this is especially helpful going uphill). Narrow tires, which allow inflation to a higher psi, reduce rolling resistance and make the bike faster at the same level of effort. All of these change will make the ride "harsher", but you'll be on the bike for less time so it's probably a wash.

GuitarStv is going to disagree with me on all points and call me a wussy pants. However, we can all see from his avatar that he's not quite human and therefore has superhero abilities. Us mortals benefit from from some mechanical tweaking of our rides. I myself ride a facepunch worthy carbon racing-style road bike for my 8 mi commute.

+1 to TrMama. Agreed on all points.

I've seen that Continental chart cited as "fatties are not less efficient than skinnies" for years now and I'm just not buying it. Never have, never will. Maybe they mean "more efficient because you can't go fast on them"?

That doesn't mean I don't run fat tires. I have 1.5's on my ebike and have run 2.25's and 3's before on offroad bikes. They have their advantages, but running fast and efficiently isn't one of them.

I find wind resistance to be the worst of it. No matter what, it's always wind resistance....

On flat ground with no wind, 1.5 inch tires pumped up appropriately for my weight my speed was pretty similar to running with 28 mm tires.  The rolling resistance thing makes sense to me for that reason.  Where the big tires kill you is starting/stopping, and hills . . . I think the additional weight (tires + tubes) matters more for this, and is certainly noticeable.  Your bike certainly feels more spritely and quicker with skinnier tires (appropriately pumped of course).

I can tell you that flats happen WAY less often with 1.5 inch tires than when you're running 24 mm.

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2015, 07:16:42 AM »
To me thin tires are only bad downhill with ice on tthe road. One time last winter I woke up finding myself sitting on the ground hugging a tree trunk. Front weel skid happens really fast. now I use spiked tires on one of my bikes.

Faraday

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #32 on: August 24, 2015, 05:20:43 PM »
...good stuff here...
I can tell you that flats happen WAY less often with 1.5 inch tires than when you're running 24 mm.

Tru dat. I run Schwalbe Marathons and I love them - I hit all KINDS of crap on the side of the road and have little troubles with flats.

I used to weigh a lot more than I do now, and whenever I would ride the road bike (700x25's) I got snakebites all the time. Now that I'm down near 200 lbs and keep the tires at their rated 110lbs, I rarely get snakebites.

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2015, 03:50:14 AM »
I want to chime in on the e-bike idea as an alternative for you to consider.

I just got an e-bike for commuting and chores and am now selling my petrol scooter.

I believe e-bikes are a game-changer in that you won't look for any excuses to not ride into work.  You can also carry a fair bit of weight and maintain higher overall speeds if time is an issue.  You can get conversion kits with a hub-driven motor or whole bikes with frame-integrated drives and batteries.  Price points vary considerably just like regular bikes depending on the drive system, battery power/range, frame and component quality.

While you might not be working quite as hard as a regular bike, you can cruise in many weather conditions without working up a big sweat and shower before you leave home rather than doing it at work.  For me this is far more convenient.

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2015, 09:13:44 AM »
I want to chime in on the e-bike idea as an alternative for you to consider.

I just got an e-bike for commuting and chores and am now selling my petrol scooter.

I believe e-bikes are a game-changer in that you won't look for any excuses to not ride into work.  You can also carry a fair bit of weight and maintain higher overall speeds if time is an issue.  You can get conversion kits with a hub-driven motor or whole bikes with frame-integrated drives and batteries.  Price points vary considerably just like regular bikes depending on the drive system, battery power/range, frame and component quality.

While you might not be working quite as hard as a regular bike, you can cruise in many weather conditions without working up a big sweat and shower before you leave home rather than doing it at work.  For me this is far more convenient.

Preach it Rev. Wadiman! I'll say amen! I'm doing the same with my ebike: I take it easy on the ride into work (I still pedal, just not as hard as I could...). Then going home, I wail on it. I pick up a couple more MPH average and see much better speeds by adding my own effort to the motor.

You are right about ebikes being game changers - especially since they can cut the time to make any given trip, as compared to a manual bike, in half or less.

I was very surprised to realize that I can make my daily commute (32 miles each way) only a little slower than I can in a car, without needing the full speed of a car. That's because traffic is so heavy and I can pass all of it on the ebike. It's a huge time equalizer on the morning commute!

Now I don't forsake my manual bikes. I've put more miles on my flat-bar road bikes and touring bikes than I have the ebike. But any bike trip where I'm in a hurry or the round-trip distance is 10 miles or more, I'll take the ebike.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 09:16:08 AM by mefla »

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2015, 03:42:35 PM »
Not to hijack this forum, but I'm in a similar situation, except my current bike has 26" wheels on a "hybrid" frame thats more Mt bike than street bike. It makes a nice stable city ride but feels slow and heavy. Would shifting to something with 700cc wheels be significantly faster/easier to ride on long distance rides? Or is there not much of a practical difference?

GuitarStv

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2015, 03:49:40 PM »
There are a couple big changes with bikes:

- body position (the flatter you get your back while cycling, the lower towards the bars, the faster you'll go generally
- weight (the lighter you get the easier it is to climb hills)
- gearing (mountain bikes are geared easier, so it's easier to pedal . . . but this usually means that you can spin out on long down hills or when you're riding quickly with some friends)

If your mountain bike has a steel frame, a suspension, and big knobby tires you will notice a huge difference moving to a light road bike with smooth tires.  If your mountain bike is an aluminum framed hard tail, just stick some slick tires on it and you'll notice a huge improvement in speed.

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Re: Punch-Me-In-The-Face Commuter Bike
« Reply #37 on: August 29, 2015, 12:49:01 AM »
kasperle wrote:
I usually get those 'shaky hand' tremors after, say, a 50 mile ride. It seems a bit less noticeable when I wear my padded gloves.

That sounds terrible. Have you tried adjusting things? Like pushing the saddle back? Or perhaps a wider front tyre for a while.