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  1. #1
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    Commuter Bike Advice

    I'm thinking about commuting - probably starting with a ride/bike combo, I have a 36 mile round trip commute. Its all roads, I work in a high crime city theres a bike rack(with a security camera). I have a Trek 7100 and Trek GF Mamba 29er, I don't want to ride my nice road bike. Which of the two bikes should I use? What changes should I make to make it more commuter ready? I wear scrubs once at work and have a shower, the only thing I will be carrying is my cell phone and lunch. Thank you for any feedback and advice.

  2. #2
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    Well, my first suggestion is to discuss with your co-workers who ride to see what thie expernaces have been - have any of them had thier bikes stolen?

    Anything you consider with a 36 mile RT commute needs to be reliable and durable. I don't commute that far, and it's all rural, low-crime, and safe for bikes to stay unlocked (!) If it were me, I would pick up nice used road or touring model and, if it's as high crime as you state, "deface" the bike enough with some mixed color spray paints to detract attention. My cousion did this while commuting in Phillidelphia after his first new mountain bike was stolen the first month he owed it. Hard to consider defacing a bike, but much better than the consiquences of not doing it.

  3. #3
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    I work at a hospital and around the hospital is safe, theres a bike rack and from what I can tell I don't believe there's too many that commute by bike. I'm wondering what types of things I need to do to the bike, different tires, tubes, etc..... Thanks

  4. #4
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    Your weight, and the weight of anything you might later carry, seems to be worth considering. Are the wheels sturdy? A strong wheel set would be essential no matter what. Since it is a good distance you are covering, a sturdy drop bar road bike would probably be a top choice. A dependable steel framed touring bike, especially. Other than that, you could try the two you have and see which would serve you best. Hope everything works out well for you.

  5. #5
    Failboat Captian
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    Lights and fenders, obviously. A small rack for your lunch, unless you want to use a backpack just for your lunch, and end up sweating a lot more.

    Then, bullet proof tires and self-sealing tubes (Slime tubes or generic equivalent). I use self-sealing tubes and just replaced my 3rd worn out tire using the same set of tubes which have not needed a single patch. My tubes are also slightly over sized. I think they are meant for 28-35c tires, and I run 28c. So they don't get stretched thin. If you are passing through risky neighborhoods, you don't want to be stopping to fix a flat.
    "I'm tired of people not treating me like the gift that I am."
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  6. #6
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    Is another bike out of the question? For that distance, I would think you want a road bike, preferably something like a sport tourer or cross bike. Speed is imperative when commuting long distances and it's hard to do that on a mtn bike. It's equally important to have a frame that will accommodate larger tires and fenders, unless your roads are really smooth and it never rains. Even if you can't afford a new bike, you can sometimes find nice older sport touring frames for sale on Craiglist. Trek made some nice ones as well as a number of Japanese brands -- Miyata, Panasonic, Shogun, Centurion, Lotus, Fuji, Nishiki, Bridgestone, etc.

  7. #7
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    I dunno guys - the 7100 should be fine for that distance. He might want to adjust the fit to a more stretched out, efficient position (vs. comfort) but I know folks who have done multi-day charity rides on hybrids (and I myself did Boston to New York on a MTB with slicks).

    I would at least start with the 7100 and see if it sticks. If you're commuting a LOT and enjoy it then maybe a purpose-built bike.

    Advice on tires and fenders is good - the Bontrager Satellite HD's have served me well and fenders really help too. Also like the Specialized Armadillos and Conti Gatorskins.

    Re: theft - you don't need to permanently deface it with paint, but wrapping the front triangle with old inner tubes (secured with tape) will protect your frame in the rack and make it look less theft-worthy.

    Good luck!

  8. #8
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    I'd definitely recommend looking at a touring/cross bike. I commute on a SOMA double-cross - the steel is super comfy, it has mounts for a rack (which I use with saddle bags) and fenders - handy for SF in the rain, etc. Might not be worth having something too fancy given the crime issues... a 29er would be out of the question for me and I think the 7100 would probably work, but wouldn't be ideal.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    You have a security issue even with cameras. The least expensive bike is the Trek 7100, that's the one I would take.

    I would tighten up the front suspension as tight as I could to make the bike more responsive for the road.

    You might want to get a (Blackburn) seat post mounted rack to act as a fender but also to put stuff you'll be carrying on it instead of on your back. A fender on the front would be nice as well as on the rear if it will clear the rack, but the rack can serve the same purpose.

    You should also consider some durable flat resistant tires like the Specialized Armadillo series of tires, so the worry of flats will be all but forgotten; I don't happen to like the Gatorskins, the sidewalls are too fragile and the tread puncture resistance is only middle of the road. Speaking of flats, you should carry a spare tube, patches, and even a lightweight folding tire just in case something happens that could destroy a tire.

    Remember you're commuting, your work still requires you to be on time regardless of your mode of transportation, so you need to carry stuff with you that in case something fails you stand a good chance of fixing it and getting back on the road quickly. That means carrying a spare tire, spare tube, patches, tire tools, pump (not CO2, and not one of them flimsy tiny mini pumps either they can break on the first or second use), mini tool, pair of mini folding pliers, batteries for any lights in case a set you have in a light dies. Just think prepareness. You never know what can happen, so you want to be prepared so you don't get fired if your boss decideds your mode of transportation is unreliable and or you've been late too many times. This also means plan on arriving a half an hour early, just in case you get a flat, or some other problem, you have a half hour margin for getting going again.

    I only commute about 4 miles to work, I don't need a half an hour window, I could walk there if something happened to my bike...but also I don't have to clock in, I have the luxury of showing up whenever I want...I don't ever abuse that though, in fact I work more hours then required.

  10. #10
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    Ride a road bike with 25c tires. That distance is not going to be fun on anything slower. Buy something off of craigslist. Even if you pay $500 it'll pay for itself the 6th time you don't fill up your car's tank.
    Côte du Petit Pas d'Ane - Best climb name ever.

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