Commuting whats best?

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  • Commuting whats best?
  • z1ppy
    Member

    Do you have space for another bike?
    I personnally would prefer to use a 700cc wheel for commuting a decent length journey regularly in all weathers.
    Doesn’t have to be a new swish jobby, just some old racer maybe?
    (or 2nd hand flat bar 700cc halford’s hybrid – cheap on fleabay)

    I did read this “I only have the one bike and right now I’m not going to be getting another one just for commuting” but then ignored it BTW, as it’s the most sensible option

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    As with all these threads you’ll get the extremes of opinion and every type of recommendation.

    Personally, I’d agree with Zippy and look to get another bike, commuting will comprise most of your riding time, why not have a more appropriate bike.

    I rode in today on my carbon road bike with full Dura Ace and Power Tap wheel – why should your most used bike as a dog!? Depends where you leave it though. In winter I do use a Spesh Allez with mudguards and what not, but make no specific consolations to commuting.

    Would definitely say that a road bike will be more pleasant, and then you’ll be more inclined to get the miles in.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    Commuting year-round on your good bike will ruin your good bike.

    Get something dedicated to the job; you’ll save money overall.

    I would disagree with both of them. Mountainbikes are more comfortable and not that much slower if you put road tyres on. Disc brakes are such a boon when commuting.

    For 20km i’d go for some fast 1″ tyres, such as Conti gatorskin/grand prix 26″, or specialized all condition pro. These are around 300 grams and very quick. Problem with is you’ll spend the whole time in big ring using bottom couple of gears on the cassette, which will wear out pretty quickly. i did this for a while but eventually put 48t chainset on and road cassette.

    The best option is definitely a commuting bike if you have room, even something cheap like a carrera gryphon.

    I never used waterproof trousers (too sweaty), just a waterproof top and walking trousers. Full mudguards help a lot in staying dry. Its suprising how little its actually raining when you commute, but the ground is usually wet.

    rootes1
    Member

    best way to stay clean and dry is to use proper mudguards… and luggage should go on the bike and not on your back

    with the money and hassle of messing with the ragley do what z1ppy says and get a cheap hybrid…

    but if you want to just use one bike:

    Tyres – Schwalbe marathon in 26×1.5 or 1 3/8 – pretty puncture proof if a little slow but reliable and have reflecting strip..

    http://www.spacycles.co.uk/products.php?plid=m2b0s142p1092

    The racer version is quicker rolling that comes in 26×1.5
    http://www.spacycles.co.uk/products.php?plid=m2b0s142p1628

    can also get a folding version in the racer which is a bit lighter

    also get some clip on mudguards

    argyle
    Member

    disc brakes are rubbish for commuting, pads pick up too much crud from the road and are pricier to replace than on v/calliper brakes.

    i use an old kuota carbon something-or-other with a flat bar and it’s ace. mudguards a must though, and some comfy puncture resistant tyres

    MartinGT
    Member

    Deffo mudguards, its amazing how great they are. Overshoes, another great item.

    I ride with luggage on my back, but, thats me, I dont like panniers.

    What facilities do you have at work? Can you take stuff in and leave it there?

    argyle – Member

    disc brakes are rubbish for commuting, pads pick up too much crud from the road and are pricier to replace than on v/calliper brakes.

    Oh – something must be wrong with my bike then. Used for road use all year round for a couple of years on the same set of pads. I don’t like wearing rims out and I do like reliable powerful brakes.

    stevenc
    Member

    Going to start commuting more often now that I have given up on the cost of running the car during the week. Working over the summer, 4km each way nothing massive. But come September and I’ll be back to college I have a 20 Km each way ride, I only have the one bike and right now I’m not going to be getting another one just for commuting. So, what tyres do people use/recommend? Water proofs? And backpack? I’m more concerned about the long commute to college over the winter months keeping dry and warm. My bike is a Ragley Mmmbop so I’ll be looking for 26″ tyres. All advice is greatly welcome.

    Having commuted on MTB and road bike, I know what I am talking about.
    I much prefer road bike. Quicker, comfier, more hand positions. Would prefer disk breakes for wet performance, and as you are generally not breaking too hard or often do not wear out quick, and believe me Argyle, you get far more crud through the off road trails.

    Personally am now on Single Speed and the very low maintenance is a huge advantage.

    If doing it on MTB get thin tyres, I used Citijets. Lock out forks and enjoy. Not a great deal slower, but slower it is.

    MartinGT
    Member

    Im with TJ! I had to commute with a MTB for a couple of months and no problems. HOW do they pick up more crap than a V-Brake?

    jp-t853
    Member

    I do about 15m each way on a Cove Handjob with a spare set of wheels with 1″ slicks on and it works well for me, I rarely commute in winter though. The tyres need to be puncture resistent or you can end up being late for work. There are some cheap brand tyres called Bronx on ebay which are very tough but they weigh a lot, I use conti gatorskins and they are very reliable..

    Mudguards are a real bonus. If you don’t need to carry much then a 10ltr backpack works well. I leave clothes at work and carry tools & lunch in the backpack. If I need to carry more (laptop, shirt & trousers) then I put a pannier on.

    As someone else said a waterproof jacket is good but I use some ronhill pants which keep most of the water off. I changed to yellow jacket after nearly being hit a couple of times.

    I am running a genesis IOID with rigid forks, hope discs, mary bars, mudguards and road biased wide tyres. Rarely more than 7 miles at a time tho. I like the comfort, the sit up and beg riding position, the great brakes and great grip.

    uwe-r
    Member

    My tip for one bike that needs to do it all.

    DMR MOTO 2.25 tyres. very fast tread pattern and when pumped up to the max they have a very large and very round profile so they make your wheel feel bigger and they run on a very thin contact with the ground. I find them faster than normal 1.5” slicks.

    Then at the weekend if its dry drop the pressure and they grip a lot more. If its wet then you need to change them but for 90% of my riding (commuting or dry trails) they have been brilliant.

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=3244

    cupra
    Member

    Kona dew plus here , 700c wheels, cable disc brakes, full mudguards and rack with panniers – sorted. Weighs a ton but I think of it as good training! Bike new was a tad over £300 in a sale.

    kudos100
    Member

    Get another bike. You can get some second hand dog for £100-150 that will do the job and you won’t worry to much about it getting nicked or riding it through winter.

    By the time you have bought new tyres for the mtb you are almost half-way there.

    joao3v16
    Member

    The best bike for commuting is whatever you enjoy ridind the most.

    I too commute on an mmmBop, in (almost) full off-road spec 🙂 – 14 mile (~20km) mildly hilly route, takes me ~45 minutes.

    The only changes I make for commuting are Continental Travel Contact (folding) tyres and a 48T chainring to give me a higher top-end ratio.

    Granted, it’s not as fast as a road bike would be (having said that, there are guys on road bikes I pass on my commute 8) ).

    I could probably get to work 3 minutes quicker on a more ‘suitable’ bike, but I love riding the mmmBop so I don’t care.

    An added bonus is that I can lock my bike in a very secure & covered private bike park whilst at work, so thievery is not a concern.

    joao3v16
    Member

    disc brakes are rubbish for commuting, pads pick up too much crud from the road

    HOW do they pick up more crap than a V-Brake?

    I assumed argyle was referring to the type of crud : i.e. on-road it’s more likely full of oils and other contaminants that can diminish the performance of disc brakes.

    Never noticed it as a problem myself though.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I’d prefer flat bars and a more MTB position if it were busy urban streets mind.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    So there we go, the whole spectrum covered in the first 5 posts.

    I for one detest riding my MTB on the road. I took a 60 mile route home from work the other day, I’d not do that on my MTB. I guess it depends if it’s a means to an end, or if you want to enjoy the riding.

    For my money, if you’re doing it on the road, a road bike is better. There’s nothing really special about commuting, and I’d never otherwise consider a mountain bike a more appropriate tool if riding on the road.

    However… as Molgrips said, if it’s 100% urban I’d possibly consider something a little more upright, probably not though. Road bike = faster = more fun. And discs are useless on the road IMO, if you’re using a slick high pressure tyre the limit of grip is reached rather rapidly, discs just add weight and make pad replacement more costly.

    argyle
    Member

    i was referring to things like oil and crap getting on the pads, making them guff and making for costly replacements. how very dare I suggest something TJ posted was wrong.

    each to their own like.

    joao3v16
    Member

    road bike = faster = more fun

    And just for the record, the counter opinion: I disagree

    A big part of the reason for my commute is ‘fun’
    I would have less of this on a road bike than my MTB

    @molgrips

    I’d prefer flat bars and a more MTB position if it were busy urban streets mind.

    This is another reason I like commuting on my MTB.

    Plus, the state of some of the road surfaces around here… I’ve ridden sections of trail-centre that are less pot-holed and rutted 😕

    Keva
    Member

    I run an 11/25 cassette and rigid carbon forks on the MTB I use more on the road than for XC. Still perfectly good for XC, rode it round the Rhayader trails last w/end but rigid forks and close ratio gears are better for regular road use. No preference to discs or Vs on the road here both have advantages and disadvantages…

    Kev

    argyle – Member

    i was referring to things like oil and crap getting on the pads, making them guff and making for costly replacements. how very dare I suggest something TJ posted was wrong.

    each to their own like.

    Never happened to me – and the pads last ages. still thats only thousands of miles usage over years – how much road riding with a disc braked bike have you done?

    Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    My commuter (crappy phone pic):

    Does everything I want it to do, on/off road etc. Disc brakes are great for commuting in Bradford where there would seem to be an above average number of, shall we say, short-sighted drivers 😕

    It is I suppose, just a rigid 29er now I’ve really looked at it!

    traildog
    Member

    I got to agree with getting a cheap road bike. I have a 40mile both way commute and I would hate to do it one a mountain bike. You are much faster on a road bike and it takes less energy. It’s maybe not much difference one day to you, but after a few weeks and you will notice this. I have found road tyres on a mountain bike to be slower than cross tyres on a cross bike.

    I’ve also never felt any need for discs and don’t really use the brakes that hard on the road, even through the city centre. If you’re braking hard you really need to think about the way you are riding. Staying alive must be a priority over getting there quickly.

    The other thing is nothing kills equipment like commuting. You also become very dependant on having a working bike. A spare bike becomes a must if you have no backup plan for getting there.

    flicker
    Member

    Ok, I wont tell you how you should do it, but this is my routine for commuting.

    I cover a hilly 20 miles per day, 5 days a week, all year round. I now have several routes I can use, all on road, 90% offroad and a couple of different routes that are 50/50. I pick a route depending on how I feel, how late I am, weather conditions etc..

    I use a Scott Scale with a crudcatcher rear and bender fender 2.0 on the front, Kenda SB8 at 40 psi all round, fast rolling enough on the road and ok off (I did run my fire XC pros in the deep snow though).

    In the summer I only ever wear shorts and a ss cycling top, I tried waterproofs and hated them, instead of being drenched by the rain (quite refreshing and keeps your temperature down) you end up drenched with sweat (this is not refreshing in any way). In the winter I only wear shorts and a ls cycling top, when the temperature gets below 4 °C I’ll wear a ss cycling top as well. When the temperature drops below 0 °C I wear my kyle straits(keeps my knees warm), motorcycle winter gloves, a neck/ear warmer and my endura over shoes. For me this works fine down to -15 °C, not once did I get cold through last winter, I do ride flat out, everywhere, all the time though.

    I have a shower before I leave in the morning and have a wash when I get to work (no showers sadly), no problems regarding personal hygiene.

    As far as wear and tear on the bike goes, as long as you clean the chain regularly and replace it before it begins to eat the cassette and rings, no problems.

    argyle
    Member

    I rode for around a year with discs on a commuter at 150 odd miles a week. Not masses granted but was almost at the point of new pads every month. Not for me, changed to road bike and is much better. As I said though, each to their own!

    cupra
    Member

    woody2000 – what bar ends are they? Sorry for hijacking!

    Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    argyle – 600 miles from a set of pads? Where where you riding? If it’s so shitty, then I’d be more worried about the state of my rims than replacing brake pads!

    I haven’t changed the pads in mine for 2 years, but I don’t always commute by bike.

    Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    cupra – cane creek ergos. Only bought them yesterday from this thread:

    http://www.singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/race-face-stem-10-red-hope-qr-5-cane-creek-ergo-bar-ends-9-all-posted

    Arrived this morning so I’ll be testing them on my way home 🙂

    cupra
    Member
    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    I use an old Marin mtb but my commute is very short. For 20km, I’d be looking at something like an old touring bike – fit mudguards and a pannier rack and you’re good to go. I keep full waterproofs in my pannier – if you get showered and changed at work I guess you could leave out the trousers.

    Something like a Roadrat would work well too, plus discs are much better than rim brakes.

    flicker
    Member

    Agree on the pads, I do 100 miles per week minimum. Pads last about a year for fronts and I’ve not had to replace the rears yet, this also includes various offroad events throughout the year, trips to delamere, various trail centres etc

    uwe-r
    Member

    I dont have an issue with pad wear but my drive train does suffer.

    If your on a budget of sub £1k for your bike which i am then i think it has to be 1 bike. You could get a £100 bike but that would be awfull to ride and a waste of money to maintain.

    nibby
    Member

    road bike, faster for me not as comfy but great if doing big miles.

    MB, great for taking avoiding action if needed (i.e. jumping on the side after a car has not seen you or is hugging the side of the road) also if you have some off-road on the way i.e. parks etc.
    Some of the roads I ride when commuting are a bit rough so again I find the MB easier on the old bones.

    Really depends on what mood I’m in though.

    Good base layer (woolpower or icebreaker both very good), light waterproof top that packs up really small, some overshoes.

    I use a backpack but would like panniers (too expensive for me)

    invest in some decent gloves for the winter (motorbike specific are usually the best, try HG Pathon, look funny but excellent pathon

    a buff which is good for covering the face when cold and you are good to go 😀

    DT78
    Member

    In the same situation as you – will most likely be purchasing one of those cheap kona commuters soonish. Often my commute involves swapping on/off pavement to get around considerate drivers who deliberately try to block cyclists on narrow roads (despite stationary traffic)

    It won’t take long for a thieving scrot to spot you commuting on a mmmbop and where it is left whilst you work….I have a lovely blue one and they are hardly discrete.

    And forget the c2w scheme, if you have it, cheaper to buy on closeout now

    Also disagree with the moto tyres comment, I have them, and a pair of 1,3 conti sport contacts. The contis are a hell of a lot faster – I use a garmin 800 on all my rides and they are approx 10% faster on average than motos, and slightly more agai than nobblier tyres like nevegals. Motos perform a hell of alot better off road than slicks though 🙂

    Watch out in winter. I found out hitting ice on 1.3 slicks means you hit the deck hard…

    AlasdairMc
    Member

    I commute on a CX these days, far better than my mountain bikes as it’s considerably faster and easier. The carbon forks soak up the road quite well, so I’m glad I made the switch.

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    only have 7 miles each way but 5 days a week regardless of weather
    old steel kona, rigid forks for me,schwalble marathon plus- puncture resistance is worth their slight weight increase- if it took discs id have em in an instant
    run it 1×9 with a superstar chainguide and 44t chainring is plenty for my flat route in
    for that distance my mtb is fine and some of the roads through london are pretty beat up and i go up and down kerbs a lot
    front crud guard and decathlon rear -mounts on brake pivot bolts-guard for me
    use a backpack ,have a waterproof relective cover for it,
    only ever full waterproofs if its properly lashing down
    showers at work are great if not shower before leaving and leave some wet wipes in work for freshening up the undercarriage and pits
    a drying area for wet/ sweaty clothes is good
    ss cycling t and shorts in summer
    3/4 shorts and base layer + t in the winter
    youll eat through drivetrains and also rims if your on vs
    look at your control points 100miles a week will take its toll- spds with a small platform cb acid or new xt trail pedals take weight of balls of your feet a comfy saddle and grips also essential

    most importantly dont let any other cyclists overtake you, ever, its a sign of weakness

    richcc
    Member

    I do 25 miles a day commuting. Currently use SS roadrat or giant OCR roadbike. Think you’d find roadbike quite a bit quicker – bigger wheels, lighter, no sus forks to squish robbing you of power. I use shorts and a merino or bamboo baselayer most of the time. Shell jacket if cooler, waterproof jkt if wet. Winter boots, winter gloves and tights when it’s cold

    Premier Icon gonetothehills
    Subscriber

    My 2 cents worth:

    I commute once or twice a week – 22 miles each way – mainly on quiet (but poor surfaced) lanes, a bit of main road and some cycle path. I love it – it’s the best way to start and end the working day and really look forward to it. I started out with a Genesis Vapour CX bike which was great, but found the cantis to be pretty ineffective. I’ve recently swapped it for a Kinesis Tripster which I’m very pleased with. It’s great as it’s designed for the job – and does it very well. I like the carbon fork, discs, riding position (it feels like an ever so slightly stretched hardtail xc bike crossed with a road bike), full mudguards (SKS) and drop bars.

    I have Crank Bros Candys on it so I can wear my mountain bike shoes (and boots in the winter) and not fall down the stairs at work. It has a 2×9 spd Tiagra drivetrain on it, so it’s not mega bucks if I do drop it, and for when it wears out. The wheels are disc specific Halo rims and some cartridge bearing mtb hubs – cheap to maintain and fairly well sealed anyway.

    SS top, gilet and armwarmers for most of the time with bib shorts. Merino LS top, gilet and tights when it’s colder.

    I swear by the Schwalbe Marathon tyres (available for 26″ wheels too) – excellent puncture protection and fast rolling (80psi) as like someone said earlier – you can’t be late for work. I use a clip on, seatpost mounted Topeak pannier rack as even though the bike’s got bosses for a proper rack, I like the ease of just taking the whole lot off and having it at my desk. I carry a bit too much crap with me, but usually pack a waterproof top, multitool and a few bits, tube, pump, zip ties, levers etc (can’t be late for work…) a small spare rear light, packed lunch, backup hard drive, phone etc. Could probably tour for a week on it… 😳 Also recommend the diddy Exposure lights and a FibreFlare at the rear that sits very nicely across the width of the panniers.

    If you do nothing else, get some fast rolling puncture proof tyres for your Ragley and consider a seatpost mounted rack – I don’t know if they come with bosses like On Ones do? I just prefer it to wearing a pack. A hi vis jersey, gilet or jacket and some decent lights and you’ll be ready to roll.

    HTH

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    Specialised Nimbus Armadillo types – slick tread pattern, roll well if pumped up hard, very robust and puncture proof.

    I have some 26 SKS raceblades which are good and effective mudguards for a commuting mtb, but I can’t find a link to where you can buy them.

    Maybe get some rigid carbon forks and fit the same crown race as your main forks, then you can swap between the forks at the weekend. Likewise it is useful to have a spare wheelset with the slick tyres on for commuting.

    Disk brakes will be useful for when a car pulls out on you, a door opens, or a pedestrian steps out in front of you.

    [Remember to always lean into the pedestrian that steps out on you – stops you bouncing out into the road and under the next car that is coming along – and shares the pain 🙂 ]

    You see some pretty nasty accidents in London where someone on a road bike with crap brakes is flying along at high speed and then something similar happens.

    Dibbs
    Member

    Why 20 km? is it just because it sounds more than 12 miles? 🙄

    jonb
    Member

    I’m not reading all the bit in the middle but will reply with my experience to your original post. Ultimately though I’d go with your gut.

    My commuting bike gets as many miles in as any of my other bikes so a halfords special was out of the question. But I had a low budget because I am aware that some day it will get stolen because I leave it locked up in the city centre quite a lot.

    It needs to be reliable and require minimal maintenance. Therefore singlespeed (hub gear would be another option, its what my financee uses).

    Fast, I’d love to stop off at the skate park, jump the steps and take the scenic singletrack but 99% of the time I just want to get where I’m going and quickly. Slicks and a fast setup (narrow bars, low front end etc.)

    I prefer a mountain bike as the roads are poor and I have to ride through the city centre. I find it makes me feel more in control than when I ride my road bike.

    Mudguards rack etc. are a good idea for most of the year.

    I bought a bike that meant I could swap bits with my others. So I kept the same wheel size, hub size etc. Proves useful as it means I can take bit in an emergency and old bits from my mountain bike keep my commuter bike running.

    I run a rigid singlespeed on-one inbred.

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