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Commutin' help

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,357
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Need some help deciding what to commute on. I've got about 7.5-8 miles which will be mostly rough roads and minimal but occasionally heavy traffic. There are limited climbs unless I go a weird way. On the way, I have the option to jump into the woods, but it's not particularly necessary and not possible at times due to a giant effin' field of poison ivy. The place I work has locked doors with internal bike racks, but the bike will likely be out of my view for the entire day. It's not really possible for me to lock the bike up in my office at this point, but it might be a possibility later. It's unlikely that I'll commute in the rain, at least for a little while (free parking and good car) but as I become more regular, I'd consider it.

Here's what I've got:
A "Douglas" titanium road bike, with rather expensive wheels and drop bars, but with a triple and 10 spd.

A Scott aluminum hardtail 29er, with an older Reba and newer XT components and currently knobbies.

"My wife's" 1999 cannondale F600, which is an older aluminum hardtail with a blown headshok which needs rebuilt. I'm currently trying to sell it in order to get her a hybrid, but if it becomes my commuter that's fine too. Has knobs.

Buy something new.
___

So what's my best option? I don't want to have anything stolen, but the RB and niner are more dear to my heart than anything else. I don't fully know the security of the building, but FWIW people leave cheaper bikes unlocked and simply parked in the stairwells every day. I'd like something that's at least a little bit fun to ride, so no 80's era huffies, even though they are unstealable. I could get slicks for the c'dale, and have the fork redone/ride it locked out, slicks for the niner but worry about theft, ride the RB but worry about theft/weather damage, or buy something entirely new which I can do whatever I want to with...in which case, what?
 

JohnE

filthy rascist
May 13, 2005
12,645
664
Front Range, dude...
I usually ride my Kona Unit single speed, with high pressure slicks. I have the luxury of in office storage, unless it was raining in which case I stash it outside. Watch CL for something old and cool, but not too cool...in the meantime ride the 29'er.
 

stevew

unique white person
Sep 21, 2001
32,249
3,075
people commute on walmart bikes every fvcking day....
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,357
1,198
01776
:think: For seven and a half miles you could ride your kid's tricycle. Well, maybe not quite, but pick up any cheap old bike, get it working right, put some decent tires on it (I kind of like Kenda K-Rads for commuting) and turn pedals.
I get that, but I'd like to enjoy it, at least a little bit.

people commute on walmart bikes every fvcking day....
those are people with too many dui's.
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,411
0
SF
I don't know where your office is, but unless it is downtown NYC, the chances of a knowledgeable bike thief wandering into your office building is nil.

They want to grab unsecured bikes from the suburban garages, or do a quick clip and run.

I've used all my bikes, from my Seven ti to a Blur LTc to commute on, and I have never had a problem at work.

First, if you are really worried, buy yourself a Kryptonite New York Lock and Chain and leave chained to your bike rack. You don't need to bring it with on your commute. Also if you really paranoid, make sure your bike rack can't be lifted up and taken away.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,357
1,198
01776
I'm not terribly concerned/scared. I have a cable lock which I figure will be good for 99% of people, and the few that would try and gank a nice bike probably wouldn't do so during work hours. I appreciate the heads up. Getting a heavier chain is certainly not a bad idea...
 

OGRipper

Turbo Monkey
Feb 3, 2004
9,765
192
NORCAL is the hizzle
Cheap SS cross bike with rack and fender mounts. All year capability, comfortable, more efficient than an mtb, low cost, low maintenance. You could turn the niner into something like that but better to just get a dedicated commuter.

I commuted from Boston out to Newton on a single speed road bike in all weather for four years or so. In the winter I often wished for meatier tires and better brakes (i.e., a cross bike).
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,357
1,198
01776
waltram to basically porter square ish. I have the opportunity to cut through a couple of parks; a couple in waltham and the belmont rock meadow, but waltham will cost me a bit of time vs. just going up the road another block, and rock meadow is literally teeming with poison ivy...not so good on a work commute, and one section chokes the only "biking approved" section of trail...so much so that I turned around and opted out. The commute is going to mix some nice open roads, some trafficky roads with a good shoulder, one or two notoriously terrible intersections, and some decent bike lane'd roads. I'd like to have a good gear selection, though I don't necessarily need a huge range nor huge top gear. woody just gave me some 26" slicks, so I think I'm going to give the c'dale a shot. The niner is just a little too dialed as a woods bike to turn it into a commuter.

Thanks for the help errbody.
 

JustMtnB44

Monkey
Sep 13, 2006
779
65
Pittsburgh, PA
I've been using my old '98 Trek 8500 for occasional commuting, road rides, and touring, but it has always been a bit small for me so for long periods in the saddle get really uncomfortable. I also used my Kona Unit 29er before, but I would have to change the gearing for it to be useful on the road but then it wouldn't work for trails. My girlfriend recently built me up a Novara Buzz to replace the Trek with. She works at REI and got it at one of the garage sales new but in pieces. I've only ridden it once so far but it is definitely more comfortable, especially with the swept back handlebar, although it is biased more towards casual comfort then performance. Once I move at the end of the month, I will start commuting more regularly (5 miles each way with one major hill) and can give more feedback then. My work has a bike parking container outside and our facility is fenced and gated so I don't have to worry about bike security either.
 

bean

Turbo Monkey
Feb 16, 2004
1,338
0
Boulder
With free slicks, definitely go with what you have.

When I went carless for a while I got a Cross Check and put on a rack and fenders. It worked really well for me. The cross tires were good on snow and ice. Most of my rides were fairly short so snow and ice buildup on the drivetrain was never much of a problem. If I was going to do more riding in those conditions I might consider going single speed, but for riding just a few miles it wasn't necessary.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,357
1,198
01776
I've been using my old '98 Trek 8500 for occasional commuting, road rides, and touring, but it has always been a bit small for me so for long periods in the saddle get really uncomfortable. I also used my Kona Unit 29er before, but I would have to change the gearing for it to be useful on the road but then it wouldn't work for trails. My girlfriend recently built me up a Novara Buzz to replace the Trek with. She works at REI and got it at one of the garage sales new but in pieces. I've only ridden it once so far but it is definitely more comfortable, especially with the swept back handlebar, although it is biased more towards casual comfort then performance. Once I move at the end of the month, I will start commuting more regularly (5 miles each way with one major hill) and can give more feedback then. My work has a bike parking container outside and our facility is fenced and gated so I don't have to worry about bike security either.
I was actually just looking at the Big buzz...neat bikes, not expensive.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,357
1,198
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Test rode it last night...too small. Like, uncomfortably small :( And it needs a new derailleur. Oh well, new plan.