Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    1,570

    Commuter bike: Road/Endurance/Gravel?

    I've moved to a new spot and am looking to get a new commuter bike despite knowing little about road biking. My commute is ~8 miles, mostly on dedicated bike path, with a 400ft/200ft climb/descent depending on the direction. I rode it on my mountain bike this weekend going the more uphill direction and it took me roughly 33 minutes one way. My goal is to do it more quickly, so I can bike commute more often despite limited time. I will need to carry lunch/books/clothes somewhat regularly, so a rack option would be nice, though I could wear a pack. There are tons of dirt roads out here so a gravel bike is tempting, but I do have a mountain bike if I want to explore them under my own power. I would prefer to keep it under/around $2000 so I have more money for mountain bikes.

    So what category bike should I be looking at? Endurance? Touring? Gravel? Cyclocross. I assume most performance road bikes are both too aggressive in posture and unlikely to fit a rack. Should I just find whatever is a good deal across those categories or will there be notable differences? Any particular recs?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Strong and Free
    Posts
    430
    Do you have a safe place to keep your bike at your destination? If not, $2K is a lot of bike to lose.

    Do you plan to ride rain or shine? Fenders are pretty nice for wet weather commuting, but many higher end bikes donít have room for full fenders.

    The cool kids use bikepacking frame bags these days, but an old fashioned rear rack and quick release panniers are way more convenient for commuting.

    Personally I would look for a good condition 1990ís vintage rigid mtb. Most of them have eyelets to mount a rack and fenders, and you can put on low rolling resistance slick tires.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    livin the dream
    Posts
    4,185
    Assuming you want drop bars.... get a gravel bike with fender and rack mounts. Plenty of options in the $1500 range. Salsa Journeyman, Kona Rove, Surly Straggler, etc... Iím sure most brands sell a bike like this...

    Call your LBS... Check theproscloset.com


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Best Skier on the Mountain
    Self-Certified
    1992 - 2012
    Squaw Valley, USA

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    LV-426
    Posts
    17,723
    Commuter bikes get beat up. Personally, with that short distance, I'd just buy a cheap 700c hybrid that can accept a rear rack. $200-300 and you're done.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Posts
    48
    I'd try to buy a used CX bike or a gravel bike that's a few years old. New $1500-$2000 bikes tend to be really heavy and have pretty terrible drivetrains and bad wheels. If you want to feel fast, you want reasonably light wheels and quick tires. I like the Schwalbe G-One Allround in 35c / 38c or the Panaracer Gravelking in 35c / 38c for this purpose.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    1,570
    Quote Originally Posted by TrueNorth View Post
    Do you have a safe place to keep your bike at your destination? If not, $2K is a lot of bike to lose.

    Do you plan to ride rain or shine? Fenders are pretty nice for wet weather commuting, but many higher end bikes donít have room for full fenders.

    The cool kids use bikepacking frame bags these days, but an old fashioned rear rack and quick release panniers are way more convenient for commuting.

    Personally I would look for a good condition 1990ís vintage rigid mtb. Most of them have eyelets to mount a rack and fenders, and you can put on low rolling resistance slick tires.
    I can stick it in my office when I get to work. I'm definitely not wedded to spending 2k though. I would be happy to spend less.

    I won't be riding in the rain, but that's mostly because it doesn't rain in Las Vegas where I live for hundreds of days at a time, so there won't be much of a chance.

    I actually have a 2008 steel Jamis Coda Sport hybrid with a rack that I commuted on in DC traffic, then for my super short commutes in CT and MA. It was great for heads up commuting, but you're riding pretty straight up if it's windy. Also after 12 years of being ridden in crappy weather, its hub bearings and drivetrain/shifters need an overhaul, so if I am going to get a drop bar bike, now would seem a good time. I likely will reassemble and do the ride on that bike for a bit though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    1,570
    Quote Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
    Commuter bikes get beat up. Personally, with that short distance, I'd just buy a cheap 700c hybrid that can accept a rear rack. $200-300 and you're done.
    I actually have a bike that would fit the bill with 2-300 of deferred maintenance.

    Also, if the OP wasn't clear, it's 8 miles either way. Still not long, but longer than the 6-8 mile urban commute I got that bike for in the past.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
    Posts
    2,307
    Quote Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
    Commuter bikes get beat up. Personally, with that short distance, I'd just buy a cheap 700c hybrid that can accept a rear rack. $200-300 and you're done.
    Should be lots of cheap options out there. Peruse craigslist for older, low end MTBs. Twice I've plucked old MTBs out of a trash bin and fixed them up using old parts from my parts bin. They were old steel frames. I put wider bars and used but decent drivetrains, tires and saddles on them. Great bikes. The old steel frames have really comfortable rides. As rigid bikes with triple chainring setups they are pretty fast and efficient on pavement and bike paths. Should be ok on dirt too with decent tires. And with low cost not a big deal if they get ripped off.

    Otherwise I'd get a low end gravel bike. If gain/loss is just a few hundred feet in 8 miles a heavier bike isn't a big deal.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Strong and Free
    Posts
    430
    Since you will be storing it indoors and not abusing it in bad weather, I will change my rec to a drop bar gravel bike with a rack as it's the most versatile. CX bikes tend to be more racy geometry (a bit harder to handle when loaded), endurance road bikes may not have enough clearance for gravel tires, and both are less likely to have mounts for a rack. True touring bikes are kind of rare these days, and not really needed unless you want to load up for an expedition.
    However, the lines between these categories are blurry and any of them should work for you if you find a really good deal.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    the most beautiful place in the whole wide world
    Posts
    1,958
    Check out Jamis renegade and Diamondback Haanjo lines.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    slc
    Posts
    13,445
    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    I actually have a bike that would fit the bill with 2-300 of deferred maintenance.

    Also, if the OP wasn't clear, it's 8 miles either way. Still not long, but longer than the 6-8 mile urban commute I got that bike for in the past.
    This is what I would do. I commute 8 miles RT on a flat-bar 700c commuter and double that distance would be totally fine.

    I find the suggestions to get a 90s-era MTB a bit odd. You definitely want 700c/29" wheels on the road.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Live Free or Die
    Posts
    1,120
    I'd run what ya brung to start. With the bike boom ongoing who knows what supply will be like and maybe there's some good lightly used deals coming down the line. But keep an eye out for an aluminum frame 105 level components gravel or endurance bike that has clearance for 32c tires minimum. That size tire is plenty for dirt roads and rough tarmac.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    789
    I have a Surly Midnight Special frame and fork if youíre interested. Seems to check all the boxes.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Boise
    Posts
    138
    I commute on an old surly cross check, Novara randonee, and I have a salsa Fargo. The cross check is perfect for what you describe. I climb 600 feet in the last 3/4 mile home so the gearing is important. Buy an old steel frame bike. Find it much more comfortable than aluminum on the roads.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Boise
    Posts
    138

    Commuter bike: Road/Endurance/Gravel?

    Also, I prefer to not ride drops on the road. I like to sit up a bit as I can see vehicles a little better. There will be varying opinions on this. I currently run Jones bars on my Cross check and feel I have better visibility than my randonee. Since you have a mountain bike, something like the cross check, straggler, salsa vaya.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    467
    Quote Originally Posted by rt17 View Post
    I commute on an old surly cross check, Novara randonee, and I have a salsa Fargo. The cross check is perfect for what you describe. I climb 600 feet in the last 3/4 mile home so the gearing is important. Buy an old steel frame bike. Find it much more comfortable than aluminum on the roads.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    +1 on Surly Cross Check. I commuted on one for years with a rack, now use it for around town errands and occasionally pull the rack and commuter dork hardware (bell and light) and put on big fat 44mm knobbies for a gravel bike loaner. Between the steel frame, slack geometry and big tires it is stable and relaxed in all conditions. Super versatile machine.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    inpdx
    Posts
    14,616
    I commuted many years on an alum road bike as well as a steel fixie. Nothing wrong with road geometry for commuting esp if you have a long enough commute that you can just ride without stop/start. If precip is at all in your world, get fenders. If the road bike is without fittings for fenders, you can usually get race blades to fit & just add zip ties over the elastic fasteners to make them more permanent. Fenders will keep road grime off both the bike frame and your feet, legs and back. Your toes will stay way warmer & dryer too. Also, use lights during daylight hours too; the difference in being seen is real. [I guess if youíre on a separated bike path thatís less of a concern.]
    I tried panniers, but I would graze the bags with my feet. So, eventually a backpack was my preferred carrying method. I had (still have) an osprey pack with a suspended mesh back that separated the load from lying directly at my back so heat could escape.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •