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Thread: Any mags bike commute?
06-09-2006, 04:16 PM #1
Any mags bike commute?
Im starting my first real job out of college this monday and Im thinking of buying a bike to commute.
My office will be 5 mi away from my apt.
The main question is mountain or road bike. Here are the pros and cons from what I gather.
pro: Much faster
con: more likely to break down, get a flat, etc.
cannot really be ridden on a sidewalk or grass if need be.
Pro: I would probably use it other than to commute (on trails and such)
May still be able to take the bike on lightly snowy days.
Very slow. I once rode 100 miles in a day on a mountain bike and it sucked bad.
I have very little cycling knowlege or experience. What would the maggots on high do?
Also how cheap could I get away with on either while still geting a somewhat decent bike?
1/2 the reason Im doing this is to save money on gas. If I spend $1000 on a bike, that point will be moot. Im thinking of something like $200 ( will buy used from craigslist or ebay) - so probably $400-$500 retail."Verily, my folly has grown tall in the mountains." - Fredrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
06-09-2006, 04:24 PM #2
i commute on a road bike and think it's by far the best way to go. i know you mentioned much faster as a pro for roadbikes, but it should be MUCH faster. if you put some tires on that are a little wider than racing tires and find a steel frame on craigslist, you could definitely ride comfortably on sidewalks and probably even some grass.
you should be able to do 5 miles in about 10 minutes, which in my experience is about as fast as the cars do it.
06-09-2006, 04:35 PM #3
I occasionally do. It's about 4-5 miles each way for my commute too; done it on road, cross, and mountain bikes.
For only a 5 mile commute, it really doesn't matter what bike you pick. Sure, a road bike will be faster, but over a 5 mile stretch, who cares?
Do you intend to use this bike for anything other than commuting? If not, just get a used rigid mountain bike, put on slick tires, and be done with it. Use Mr. Tuffy tire liners too, if you have broken glass/ thorns/ etc. on your route. Add fenders if you are going to ride in the rain.
Used mountain bikes = much more readily available than good road bikes. $75-100 on craigslist should get you something acceptable for commuting.
06-09-2006, 04:35 PM #4
road bikes are much faster but then again you are only going 5 miles,
also your comute will by more like 20 minutes not 10, 10minutes is 30 miles an hour, unless you know its down hill both ways..
06-09-2006, 04:37 PM #5
yeh, i guess that was a bit overoptimistic. my ride is flat both ways and feels like about 10 minutes, prolly more though. not too hard to hold over 20 on a roadie on flat though.
06-09-2006, 04:42 PM #6
Im thinking it would probably be 20min on a road bike and 30 min on a mountain. I would have to contend with stoplights- so Im sure I couldnt really beat the cars.
I think my main question is about how reliable a road bike would be. Its my understanding that they are much more prone to flats and other breakdowns."Verily, my folly has grown tall in the mountains." - Fredrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
06-09-2006, 04:53 PM #7
I bike commuted for several years on a slick tired mtn bike. I had the benefit of a bike path paralleling a street, 4.5 miles was same or quicker than driving, more fun too. Go with a mtn frame and slick tires, beefier rims you can zip down some stairs if need be, bash a curb/pothole/hobo.
06-09-2006, 04:55 PM #8
I ride my bike to work. Currently I’m riding a single speed mountain bike which is really slow. Some days I ride my geared mountain bike which is faster, but the rolling resistance is noticeable (knobby tires). I used to ride a road bike with a fixed gear, but I got pissed and tossed it into a tree. I really enjoyed this bike and it was pretty fast. I haven’t ridden my geared bike in a long time.
Road and mountain bike that are appropriate for commuting for available.The trumpet scatters its awful sound Over the graves of all lands Summoning all before the throne
Death and mankind shall be stunned When Nature arises To give account before the Judge
06-09-2006, 05:05 PM #9
If you don't ride a fixed gear track bike with a "Young, Poor, and Angry" sticker on it, you're a pussy. In Philadelphia, at least.In the long run, we're all dead.- John Maynard Keynes
06-09-2006, 05:32 PM #10Squatch Guest
i assume you have a car as a back-up option, right? that makes things easier, for the most part. if not, here are some things that might help:
-get some good fenders, for the love of god. get as much coverage as possible.
-if you're biking in the snow, consider getting a cheap wheelset you can mount with wider, stickier tires. a "winter wheelset" if you will. road slicks in snow/slush require you to go a LOT slower.
-if you store your bike outside, consider going singlespeed. a couple times this year i had to bike to work and leave my bike outside...the rear derailleur froze and riding back was a bitch.
-speed is not as important as reliability. get wider, reinforced tires.
-also consider mounting a rack or pannier on the bike. it can come in handy if you need extra storage/don't want to use a backpack.
06-09-2006, 05:47 PM #11Originally Posted by Squatch
06-09-2006, 06:06 PM #12Squatch GuestOriginally Posted by davep
06-09-2006, 07:08 PM #13Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2005
I don't know how hard core you are, but you probably don't need fenders in colorado springs, since it hardly ever rains. As for riding in the snow, if I were you I would just drive. It really doesn't snow much in the springs and when it does you will be riding on the side of the road where the plows have pushed the snow and through tons of cinders. To me it just seems dangerous and uncomfortable to ride when there is snow in the springs. I agree with most people's comments about a mtn bike with slicks. You could also look at a cyclocross bike, they have always seemed like good commuters to me.
06-09-2006, 07:29 PM #14
Biking really doesn't save much money considering that you own and drive the car anyway.
A cheap bike will require far more maintenance than an expensive bike; the costs will rack up pretty fast. Buy expensive tires, cheap ones give far lower performance and will end up costing a lot more.
The primary advantage of bike commuting is that you get exercise every day. If you want to save money, take the bus.
I have commuted by bike for the last few years. 7 miles one way takes me 20 minutes. I bike in shorts and keep jeans and street shoes in the lab where I work. Fenders make a huge difference when the road is even slightly wet.
If I were to start from scratch again, I'd look for a used road bike with high quality components. A cyclocross bike will give you more powerful brakes, more upright geometry, and will probably handle better if you expect dirt or grass on a regular basis. Entry-level ($500) road bikes are fine at first, but degrade quickly in my experience.
Something psychological to consider: if I am on a fast bike, I'll go faster. When I go faster, I feel stronger, so I push more, so I go faster. On a poor bike (or lower tires, or dirty chain, or whatever) I crank my brains out and never feel like I'm moving, so there's no incentive to ride hard. But maybe that's just me.
Last edited by Sphinx; 06-09-2006 at 07:31 PM.
06-10-2006, 11:16 AM #15Originally Posted by Sphinx
I've been comuting by bike for 5 years and probably have put on 25,000km or more over that time.
Not much to add to the other comments. I ride a hybrid which was only about $600 and its worked well. If you put on a lot of miles you end up replacing lots of components anyway.
Question for you , can you shower at the office when you get there? If not then your not going to push it anyway so does it realy matter what type of bike. For that amount of time on the roasd is it really worth working up a sweat anyway. Most of the people who commute a short distance at my work don't shower as they don't push it hard enough to work a sweat.Mrs. Dougw- "I can see how one of your relatives could have been killed by an angry mob."
06-10-2006, 11:29 AM #16
Don't mean to hijack this thread, but I figured I could ask it in here rather than start a new thread.
I am riding in one of the MS Bike Tours in September (66 kms in one day all on a paved highway), and I currently don't own a bike. I could probably buy a cheap used road bike from one of my friend's Dads who has a garage full of them, but cheap and used are the key words. I don't really want to buy an expensive road bike, since I want to be able to use it on some trails I have around my cottage.
I know jack about bikes, so should I look at a decent hardtail or what? Anyone have any suggestions on what brands or types I should be looking at?Yep, seen this before. Crazy liquor & cheeseburger party got out of control.
06-10-2006, 11:57 AM #17
I was full time bike commuter in Santa Cruz, and the first year went with my mtn and wore a backpack for clothes. Once I was into it, I got a Cross bike (road bike, 27in wheels, but ran thinker knobby tires, pannier, and fenders).
The other thing no one has mentioned......if you put a rack and pannier on the bike, it is key for carrying your work stuff. For 5 miles you shouldnt need a shower or anything....but if have to wear a backpack, you are more likely to sweat!Donjoy to the World!
06-10-2006, 12:34 PM #18Originally Posted by nealric
Key points when buying older road bikes:
-No steel rims. If the rims have any rust anywhere on them, they're steel. Steel rims are weak and heavy. Avoid.
-Wiggle the wheels side to side. If there is play, avoid. Sometimes you can fix loose hubs, but don't bet on it. Hub disassembly is an advanced skill.
-The wheels don't have to be perfectly straight, but if they're seriously tweaked, you may not be able to true them up. Flat spots cannot be fixed -- avoid.
-The chainrings and cassette shouldn't be visibly worn. These parts cost a lot more to replace than you think.
-The crank should spin smoothly and not make any noise. Old bottom brackets are difficult to deal with.
-A rusty chain doesn't cost much to replace but helps you get a big discount on the price, especially if it squeaks. No big deal by itself, but watch the chainrings and cassette.
-The brakes should move in the correct path, the levers should not be bent or wobbly, and none of the adjuster bolts should be stripped. The levers will be kind of mushy and sticky. This is OK because you'll need to replace the cables and housing, guaranteed -- which will make the brakes feel like new.
-The rear derailleur should move in and out properly and without much play. If it points any direction but absolutely straight down, either it or the hanger is bent and you will never get it to shift right. Avoid. Don't worry about not shifting into high or low gear -- you will have to completely readjust them anyway.
-The front derailleur should move in and out properly and not be bent. I've never seen one fail, but check anyway.
-If the derailleurs and brakes are really rusty the bike has been stored outside for a long time. Water gets in stuff. Avoid.
Plan on replacing ($$$) the tires and tubes, the rim tape, the brake cables and housing, and the bar tape. There isn't much shifter housing on old road bikes with downtube shifters, but you may need to replace the cables. You may need to replace brake pads and the chain.
Of course, if you don't know how to do repairs, this is all useless to you.
06-10-2006, 02:11 PM #19Registered User
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
- North Vancouver/Whistler
5 miles isn't that far.
Road bikes flat too much. Way way too much. You can get fenders on road bikes but not as easily as with a mtb. My route had lots of road grit. If your route is on a bike path then maybe a road bike but the speed advantage over 5 miles won't be that great.
Mountainbike with slick tires; fenders. Rack with panniers. Toeclips rather then spd's to preserve versatility/
Get a used bike with a rigid fork. Make it look ugly; lots of tape; reflective stuff; lights and reflectors.
If you'll be winter-commuting then there's quite a bit more you can do.
I've bike - commuted for the last 10 years all year round. Mind you not much snow in Vancouver
06-10-2006, 02:29 PM #20Originally Posted by nealric
This is impressive...and how long did that take?
Anyway, there's a forum called sprocket rockets
...check ebay for touring bikes..there's some good deals on the older bikes
06-10-2006, 05:31 PM #21
I commute on my old steel hardtail. All I have done is add fenders (definately a must if you dont have rear rack) and put on slicks, narrow ass slicks at that about 1.5's. It works great and the total for the conversion was about $50, $25 for slightly used slicks and $25 for the fenders from the bike shops bargain bin.
I find that the mountain bike gives a good upright stance (I also have a riser bar on there) which helps with vision as well as being very comfortable. For me this is the perfect set up, your tastes may differ though.Move along nothing to see here.
06-10-2006, 09:11 PM #22Registered User
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
I commute ~5 miles on a MTB. One thing that I find really important - if you're gunna be riding in wet weather, get a bike with hydraulic discs (which obviously implies MTB). I had two incidents on my old bike with cars where better brakes would've avoided any trouble. In one, I was headed down a hill on the sidewalk to bypass traffic and a car came out a driveway I had like 100yds to stop but barely made it in pouring rain. Another time I was riding along pretty fast on the road and a car overtook me until I was even with it's rear tire and then turned cutting me off. I hit the car's side, got hung up and it pulled me around the corner for 20yds or so. Driver never even slowed down. Brakes wouldn't have prevented the incident, but it would've meant I was only dragged a couple of yards instead of 20. Since I've had discs, no incidents (touch wood). Oh, and ride super-defensively. Cars just ignore you some of the time.
06-11-2006, 12:17 PM #23Registered User
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
Flatlander#2 has it right: a MTB frame with slicks = best of both worlds.
I have a "hybrid" style bike, it's a tweaked MTB frame, but I have mavic rims that I run 1.5" slicks on.
Canondale bad boy - rigid fork of course.
Handles very well, nice bike and solid BLACK.
not "steal me" yellow
Try to find a used one maybe?
06-12-2006, 08:59 AM #24
Slick puncture proof tires can be put on a mtb or road bike. Fat road slicks are available. Either will work, get the frame that fits you & your budget.
There seem to be mechanical advantages for the bigger wheels. 29er mtb riders sure like them.
06-12-2006, 09:29 AM #25
My 2 cents - Use a backpack, not one of those bike messenger bags like the Patagonia Critical Mass. The diagonal position of the pack is bad for your back. And they carry too much weight - keep the weight down! Keep shoes and stuff at the cube.
mirror in the bathroom
for all my crimes of self defense