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View Full Version : Which bike for 46mi/day commute?


Ox302B
12-11-2007, 06:38 AM
I would like to purchase a bicycle that I can use to commute everywhere (including up to 22.6mi one way commutes) in place of owning a car. Since this will be my main means of transportation I'm willing to put a bit of money into a really good bike that will last some time, be reliable, and comfortable to ride for such a long distance.

My total budget is probably around $3,000 US; but this includes essentials such as lighting, locks & security devices, clothing, etc. So a bike closer to $1,000 mark would be ideal. Of course the less I spend the better!

I'm already sold on disc brakes, so it would need to either already have them or not cost too much to add them.

I've looked at a few bikes online from various companies and the only one I've seen that (visually + features) appeals to me is the Trek Portland. I'm of course open to other suggestions. Also, can any bike be 'fitted' to a person through changing parts? Or do I need to wait and get to Portland and see a fitter and go with a bike from there? I definitely will be going to a fitter (currently through Mike Sylvester as he seems highly recommend)

Also, since I'm new and my knowledge is next to none, where is a good LBS to go where I don't have to worry about getting the same treatment a female going in to a car mechanic would.

Thanks everyone!

shhambo
12-11-2007, 07:38 AM
The best way to figure out what bike to get is to go out and ride them.
You may like the frame on one bike and components on another. In which case you can upgrade. I myself have a hilly 15 mile commute and like to go out for week long bike camping trips so wanted many gears. I found a lot of frames I liked(I dig steel) But didn't like the lower end Shimano components they were putting on them(it shifted weird). So I ended up having a Surly Crosscheck built from the frame up with a triple ring in the rear. But could have taken the Bianchi frame that I liked and upgraded the components. The other bike I really like was a Specialized Tricross. It has an aluminum frame but has carbon fiber fork and something in the handlebars to dampen the chatter of aluminum.
Long story short go ride em. If you like the feel of the Trek but need an upgrade, they can do that. Going to a fitter is a great idea. It can make the difference between a ride that's like butter and and an ow my butt, my back ride.
Also check out bike forums.net for tons more info on everything bikey.
Welcome to Oregon. Well er... Washington. You know the NW.

PDXGS
12-11-2007, 07:48 AM
Simple things:
-Get a fitting
-Test ride what fits-if you intend to ride loaded with gear, then test ride the bike loaded with gear as bikes tend to behave differently when loaded.
-Triples will save your knees and will make load transport much easier
-Cantilevers work well but good discs are great.
-Weight reduction efforts should start at the wheels and tires and then move inward. Spend the extra $$ on lighter/better wheels , lights and clothing.
-Womens specific fits are available from several manufacturers- Trek is one of them.
-Front low-rider style panniers work the best for moderate to heavy loads.

How much to you weigh and what's your height and inseam?

As far as shops...I'd suggest River City Bicycles and The Bike Gallery chain.

Ox302B
12-11-2007, 08:04 AM
I have a small frame, I'm just under 5'8 and weigh roughly 140lbs. Length of pants are 30-32", so inseam should be close to that, give a few inches.

Reading those two posts show me just how much more I have to read up. I don't know what half of the stuff mentioned is, such as triples, cantilevers, front low-rider style panniers, etc.

How do the LBS handle test rides? How long do you get to test each bike? How long do you recommend testing one for? I'd much prefer getting a bike sooner than later so I can start riding and have some transportation.

I think test riding with loaded gear might be a bit of a problem and a catch 22. I don't think I'll know what I'll be brining with me until I have a bike, and in order to test a bike to have I need to know what I'm bringing with. I have an idea of some things, but who knows what I'll actually end up carrying until I actually start commuting daily.

Off to bed for me, have to be up in 5 hours for work. Would have already been in bed if it wasn't for being recalled to work. Meh, just means more money for me and to put towards me bike when I return ;)

lynnef
12-11-2007, 09:14 AM
Test rides...

The few my husband and I have done in the past 3 years have just required a driver's license or credit card left with them. If the shop knows you really well, they'll let you take it away for a real ride. Bike&Hike on the eastside said "20 minutes", and my husband and I headed for the Springwater and had a really good time for, um, more than 20 minutes. Which was ok, because when we got back, my husband told them to wrap it up...

PDXGS
12-11-2007, 09:50 AM
I'd suggest that you purchase the basic clothing first:
- A good pair of women's specific shorts-pay the extra money for mid grade or better Pearl Izumi or other brand that fits
-A good pair of gloves
-A good helmet-Specialized or Giro quality
-A decent pair of glasses with interchangeable lenses (clear, amber, etc)
-A decent set of mid-weigh riding-specific tights to wear over your shorts
-A decent, fully-waterproof rain jacket-Gore, Showers Pass etc.

Once you have those basics you can start your own evaluation of bikes and saddles. There are plenty of bikes made for someone your size. Avoid bikes with what's called racing geometry where the vertical tubes (seat tube and head tube) are positioned at more than a 73 degree angle. These will test ride well and feel responsive but may be too responsive to handle well under loaded conditions.
The good news is that most bikes that come with a triple chainring set-up (the gears in the front that the pedals attach to) are mostly built with a more "relaxed" geometry.
Cantilever brakes are used for touring and cyclocross bikes and have better braking performance than standard brakes. They also allow you to use wider tires than what you could use on a bike with standard brakes.
Good disc brakes are better than most of the above but I'd suggest that you buy the bike with the disc brakes rather than trying to retrofit discs to a non-disc bike.
There are several bike styles that might offer what you've mentioned as attributes. They are: touring bikes, hybrid bikes, cyclocross bikes and city bikes. Each of them is designed with a particular use in mind but share similar brakes and gearing.
Good luck with this.
Cheers,
Jorge

lynnef
12-11-2007, 10:31 AM
I'd recommend passing on the Pearl Izumi shorts, and get some Shebeest (w/Shelastic chamois or better) or Sugoi RS Flex ones, first. And you'll want to pay attention to the inseam length. For some reason, men's shorts always have a sufficiently long inseam, but many women's shorts don't. Fashion, I suppose.

The Shebeest pedal pushers (3/4) length are great for commuting during fall and spring, and large parts of the winter. Not today, though. Brrrr.

nuovorecord
12-11-2007, 02:13 PM
+1 on the Trek Portland idea. Very nice bike and designed for the type of commute you describe.

In regards to shops - Bike Gallery will treat you well, as will River City. Another suggestion is Veloce, on SE Hawthorne at 32nd. Demitri (the owner) has a number of good commute bikes and can also do custom fitting.

PDXGS
12-11-2007, 02:41 PM
The Shebeest pedal pushers (3/4) length are great for commuting during fall and spring, and large parts of the winter. Not today, though. Brrrr.

Agreed, Shebeest is also a great brand and 3/4 length tights and knickers are great for our climate.

BTW- I suggested Pearl because they outsold all others when I was in the business and they're a local company who are at the forefront of women's specific apparel design and have been for a while.

Ox302B
12-11-2007, 02:51 PM
A good pair of women's specific shorts
Um, I'm a male and though I have nothing against cross-dressing, its just not my thing ;)

Thanks for the rest of the advice though.

PDXGS
12-11-2007, 03:01 PM
Um, I'm a male and though I have nothing against cross-dressing, its just not my thing ;)

Thanks for the rest of the advice though.

:)

Ha!
Sorry for the assumptions!
I guess it was the bit about "where I don't have to worry about getting the same treatment a female going in to a car mechanic would."
PS and I'm sure you'd still look fab in some pedal-pushers or clam-diggers!

mike_khad1
12-11-2007, 05:57 PM
Bicycle - Trek Portland

Figure out where you'll store your bike at your destination - rent a locker? chain it streetside?

See if you have a shower facility available and whether you need to bring towels, change of clothes, toiletries, etc.

Get good lights - light up the road light and visibility blinkies for you and your bike.

Fenders!! Raingear!! Lots of layers of clothing.

itsdirtybecauseirideit
12-12-2007, 02:46 PM
I started riding seriously a year ago. I had NO background with bikes. I commute every day now and ride as much around town as possible. Let me suggest you start by NOT buying a expensive bike first. Start with a used bike that is decent and build from there. I started with a $100.00 10-speed off of craigslist. Sure, I wanted a $1,000 plus bike, but I am now very pleased that I did not do that. Once I started riding AND reading a lot about bikes I started trying new parts on my bike, then bought another used bike, then another, all trying out different things, never spending much. I asked a lot of questions at bike shops. I picked what bike shops seemed to care and didn't make me feel stupid.
Through this process over this last year I not only have now built a bike that I love, I have learned to work on it and feel a great confidence in working on my bikes. I am not very mechanical, but feel super confident with bikes now.
I have slowly bought bike clothing, but have found modifying much clothing I already had has worked fine and saves money.
Also, I ride in the dusk and dark with a headlamp on my head so I can specifically look in the eyes of any driver who I feel does not see me, this gives me a ton of visibility and I believe keeps me safer (and its fun because it give you a post-apocalyptic feel as you ride)
As far as friendly honest service I cannot find any better than the guys at 7 corners in SE.
Hope this helps and make sure you are having fun when you ride.

nishiki
12-12-2007, 04:30 PM
I started riding seriously a year ago. I had NO background with bikes. I commute every day now and ride as much around town as possible. Let me suggest you start by NOT buying a expensive bike first. Start with a used bike that is decent and build from there. I started with a $100.00 10-speed off of craigslist. Sure, I wanted a $1,000 plus bike, but I am now very pleased that I did not do that. Once I started riding AND reading a lot about bikes I started trying new parts on my bike, then bought another used bike, then another, all trying out different things, never spending much. I asked a lot of questions at bike shops. I picked what bike shops seemed to care and didn't make me feel stupid.
Through this process over this last year I not only have now built a bike that I love, I have learned to work on it and feel a great confidence in working on my bikes. I am not very mechanical, but feel super confident with bikes now.
I have slowly bought bike clothing, but have found modifying much clothing I already had has worked fine and saves money.
Also, I ride in the dusk and dark with a headlamp on my head so I can specifically look in the eyes of any driver who I feel does not see me, this gives me a ton of visibility and I believe keeps me safer (and its fun because it give you a post-apocalyptic feel as you ride)
As far as friendly honest service I cannot find any better than the guys at 7 corners in SE.
Hope this helps and make sure you are having fun when you ride.

+1 good comment

Now let's be realistic dear aussie, if you don t already have an expensive bike in your closet and now just decided on a 50 miles daily commute, chances are very high you will end in a car. New years resolutions are great but you know...
Move closer to town. Danke shoooon

Schrauf
12-12-2007, 09:24 PM
It sounds like you may not yet have much cycling experience, so going entirely car-free in one fell swoop could be difficult. Read up as much as you can, and try to bike more now, if possible. 46 miles per day will be difficult if you are not in good shape when you start - but riding slow at first will make it doable.

I highly recommend The Art of Cycling by Hurst. Not overly basic, but good all-around book.

Ox302B
12-13-2007, 08:09 AM
Now let's be realistic dear aussieIf you read the beginning posts you would see I'm not an Aussie.

now just decided on a 50 miles daily commute, chances are very high you will end in a car.First, I didn't 'just decide' on a 50 mile commute, its by necessity not choice. Second, its pretty mighty of you to assume you know enough about me to state I'll end up with a car. I spent four years living in Japan without a car by choice and no dramas. Besides, even if I wanted a car its not financially viable at this stage or in the near future.

Move closer to town.Again, if you read the earlier posts you will see its not an option at this stage.

46 miles per day will be difficult if you are not in good shape when you start - but riding slow at first will make it doable. Mate I'm in very good shape. I'm ex military and now a copper over here. I exercise on a regular basis, its a necessity to stay alive in this job. Plus its no fun getting into a foot chase and the baddy getting away. All that aside though I have no expectations to just jump on the bike and ride 46 miles day one. Thats simply the max distance I'll end up riding on a regular basis. Just like with anything I'll start at the appropriate level for my body and work my way up from there.

While I appreciate all the various information, I would appreciate it even more if people would keep on topic. My request was for advice on what would be a good bike to get for up to ~50 mile round commutes. Not about the difficulties, changing my location, or any of the various other noise that is getting thrown into this thread. There have been some helpful posts, but the recent ones seem to be getting side tracked.

Ox302B
12-13-2007, 08:26 AM
Let me suggest you start by NOT buying a expensive bike first. Start with a used bike that is decent and build from there. I started with a $100.00 10-speed off of craigslist. Sure, I wanted a $1,000 plus bike, but I am now very pleased that I did not do thatI'd be happy to buy a $10 bike as long as it holds up well to ~50 mile commutes and is comfortable to ride.

The problem is though I wouldn't have a clue which bikes to buy from C-list that meet that criteria, or whether they were in good shape and worth the asking price. I really don't want to buy a lemon. I want something dependable that I don't have to worry about breaking on me.

What are other's opinions about the cheap fix-me-up approach? Workable, or best to buy a good commuter from the start?

As far as friendly honest service I cannot find any better than the guys at 7 corners in SE.Thanks, I'll keep them in mind and check them out when I get in.

lazlo
12-13-2007, 09:28 AM
I'd recommend seeing Corey at 7 Corners. I went in there last summer, told him my budget ($1000), riding patterns and ambitions, and he showed me 4 completely different bikes. He let me test ride as long as I wanted without any security whatsoever. I went in at noon, he gave me new bike, and said "We're here till 6." Couldn't ask for better service. Definitely ride a bunch of bikes. I thought I wanted a Jamis Aurora after researching online and asking questions in forums, but once I did some test rides, my choice changed to a Cross Check.

zeldabee
12-13-2007, 11:43 AM
Ok, I don't do this now, but I did do a 15-mile each way commute in NYC, year round and in all weather. I did this on a crap bike, and on good bikes, and the main difference was that I worried more about the good bikes being stolen and/or messed up.

My main commuter for years was a modified MT bike with cut-down handlebars and fenders, cantilever brakes, and a study rack. My favorite commuter was my touring bike, but again, I had more worry about that, and hated to leave it locked outside.

Personally, I think that if the bike is comfortable for you, and is reasonably equipped with adequate lights, rack and fenders, and you always carry a tire changing kit and basic repair tools, you'll be fine. I'd go cheaper at first, until you know how you like to ride. For me a touring geometry is most comfortable, but it may not be for you.

Maintenance will be a huge factor when commuting like that every day in weather. I have no experience with disc brakes, but cantilevers would be my personal choice because they're easier to fix IMO. Anyway, keep them clean because the wetter it is, the more grit gets in there, and that wear everything. If it is at all possible, hose the bike down after riding in the rain.

I'm a big fan of rain gear, and clothing wise, that's what I've spent money on. A breathable rain jacket that's well-designed with pit zips. I know some people disagree with me, but that's what's worked for me. Silk or polyester shirt, no cotton. It doesn't get too cold here, so you don't need as many layers, but I'd go for a fleece jacket that you can unzip down the front if you overheat. I wear rain pants in wet weather (again, breathable with vents), but it's mostly because I'm not comfortable wearing tights or shorts. Pedal pushers when it's not wet. Mainly if you keep your feet, hands and head as warm as you can, you won't be too cold as long as you're in motion.

Truly, though I would not spend your whole 3K until you know more what will work for you, and you won't know that until you're doing that commute for a while. And, FWIW, my all-time favorite bike ever ever ever is a Jamis Aurora touring bike, which cost me I think $800 in about 2000, before customization. I've paid 4x that for a bike, but liked that one the best.

That's all I can think of for now. Good luck, and check back in and let us know how it's going!

bp071117
12-13-2007, 03:23 PM
I would like to purchase a bicycle that I can use to commute everywhere (including up to 22.6mi one way commutes) in place of owning a car. Since this will be my main means of transportation I'm willing to put a bit of money into a really good bike that will last some time, be reliable, and comfortable to ride for such a long distance.

My total budget is probably around $3,000 US; but this includes essentials such as lighting, locks & security devices, clothing, etc. So a bike closer to $1,000 mark would be ideal. Of course the less I spend the better!


For 46 miles/day comfort is the key! That would be hard to achieve on a wedgie even with some serious butt-butter. :) What you need is a recumbent, maybe a nice RANS Rocket:

http://www.ransbikes.com/Rocket07.htm

It's a Short Wheel Base model that can fit in a bus rack which is convenient if you're going multi-modal. Check it (and many other models) out at Coventry Cycle Works:

http://www.coventrycycle.com/

donnambr
12-13-2007, 06:59 PM
I'd recommend seeing Corey at 7 Corners. I went in there last summer, told him my budget ($1000), riding patterns and ambitions, and he showed me 4 completely different bikes. He let me test ride as long as I wanted without any security whatsoever. I went in at noon, he gave me new bike, and said "We're here till 6." Couldn't ask for better service. Definitely ride a bunch of bikes. I thought I wanted a Jamis Aurora after researching online and asking questions in forums, but once I did some test rides, my choice changed to a Cross Check.
Yes, Corey at 7 Corners (http://www.7-corners.com/) will not steer you wrong. :)

Schrauf
12-16-2007, 01:43 PM
Keep your panties on - no offense intended above. :) From your initial post many people probably assumed there was a 90% chance you were going to do too much too fast and be back in a car in no time - we are just trying to avoid that. Many people who start don't stick with it.

But if you are in that other 10%, and already in good shape, and a car is possibly not even an option, then that is good to know, and maybe replies will stay more on point. Nobody is trying to be an ass - and this advice is all free.

Mate I'm in very good shape. I'm ex military and now a copper over here. I exercise on a regular basis, its a necessity to stay alive in this job. Plus its no fun getting into a foot chase and the baddy getting away. All that aside though I have no expectations to just jump on the bike and ride 46 miles day one. Thats simply the max distance I'll end up riding on a regular basis. Just like with anything I'll start at the appropriate level for my body and work my way up from there.

While I appreciate all the various information, I would appreciate it even more if people would keep on topic. My request was for advice on what would be a good bike to get for up to ~50 mile round commutes. Not about the difficulties, changing my location, or any of the various other noise that is getting thrown into this thread. There have been some helpful posts, but the recent ones seem to be getting side tracked.

Ox302B
12-16-2007, 06:46 PM
Keep your panties on
But they're starting to chafe me and squeezing just a little too tight...

BTW, The last paragraph wasn't directed at you, it was a general statement.

nuovorecord
12-17-2007, 09:43 AM
Sellwood Cycle Repair sells good quality, tuned up used bikes. They keep their website up-to-date with their current stock.

www.sellwoodcycle.com

Ox302B
12-17-2007, 06:33 PM
Cheers, I think I'm starting to lean towards just grabbing a fixed up used bike as apposed to buying new. Use the left over money for better things like renting my own place, Uni fees, etc.

Ox302B
12-24-2007, 06:07 PM
Woot, Woot... got my Chrisie present today. I managed to score accommodation in NE Portland with my cousin. So now instead of 23mi from home to PSU, I'm only be a measly 7 miles. Throw in TriMAX into the works and its a piece of cake! Now if only Feb would hurry up and get here. I want to be home already.

lynnef
12-24-2007, 07:37 PM
Well COOL! Although I'd forget Tri-Met - you'll probably get there faster on your bike!

toddistic
12-27-2007, 10:53 AM
NE PDX to PSU should take around 30-40 minutes (depending how far in NE you live) and yes, its much faster to mash it on a bike then taking Trimet.

I would suggest you take the williams / vancouver cooridor if you going to be going up/down the hill. It's by far the most pleasent grade to go up on the way home. Plus its a fairly well known bike cooridor and I find cars more observant.