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Choosing a bike for commuting...

hugh1982hugh1982 Posts: 40
edited February 2009 in Commuting chat
I'm planning to cycle to work (through London c.20 miles per day) and having had a boardman hybrid bike nicked, i need to find another bike to do the job. As well as being a good commuter bike, I want it to be decent fun to ride on the weekends as well as have the capacity to fit a rack for some light touring in the summer. Perhaps such a bike doesn't exist...

The types of bike i've been eyeing up are the fast commuter/flat handle bar racer such as the Bianchi Camaleonte 4 or Scott Speedster S30 30, as well as audax/light tourers such as the Dawes Audax Supreme.

My budget is c.£900 and i have to buy through Evans Cycles (cycle to work). If anyone has any advice, please pass it on!

Posts

  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 20,049
    Welcome hugh1982, myself being a bike hoarding out of work old bum i'd recommend you look at Wheelbase.co.uk (just spotted their ad in C+ mag) and put down £450 deposit then £37.50 a month on a Trek Madone 5.2 orrrrrrr £525 deposit and £43.72 a month on a Wilier Izoard yummy.

    Must not buy more bikes, urge toooo strong! arg!!!!!!

    That almost sounded like a advert apart from the losing will power bit, perhaps I could claim commission?!?!

    Good luck in your hunt.
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • Hi Hugh!

    Did the hybrid fit into the 'decent fun to ride on the weekend' mould? If so, then perhaps look for a road bike with a longer head tube, more comfortable and upright.

    You can fit a rack to pretty much any bike, although I wouldn't recommend it with a carbon frame :shock: so I wouldn't worry too much about that aspect, and don't let evans bully you into buying a bike with braze-ons just because you say you want panniers. P-Clips work just fine.

    I wuold go for drop bars over flat bars, if you want brakes on the flat bit of your drops it's no bother, and they offer a lot more options for hand position which will be great for longer rides.
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Are Dawes Galaxies still recommended? When I was first looking to upgrade in 2005 I was advised it might fit the bill (in the end I went on one test ride on a Trek 1000 and it completely changed my outlook - I HAD to have a racing bike after that).

    http://www.winstanleysbikes.co.uk/produ ... _Bike_2008
  • AguilaAguila Posts: 622
    Hi,
    I think an audax bike will suit you very well. They have a more relaxed frame geometry (longer wheelbase etc) have mudguards and all the rack mountings you will need. They are usually steel framed too which IMO is the most comfortable for longer rides.

    I commute on a dawes audax supreme 22 miles round trip and its a very good bike. Decent reynolds frame and drivetrain. I've had mine for a year and no major problems. I will probably upgrade the brakes and wheels this year which are probably the weekest part of the bike. If I were getting one now I'd get an audax bike from condor.

    http://www.condorcycles.com/fratello.html

    They do all the ride to work schemes. If you have to go for evans I think you'll like the dawes (they do test rides so try one before you decide).

    Enjoy!
  • I would suggest you look at the "original" hybrid bike, a cyclocross bike. Gives you lots of options for on-road/off-road/touring/commuting pretty much almost anything. Slacker geometry with a more upright position. At your price point most come with braze-ons for guards and racks.

    Evans are doing the Pinnacle eXpede 1.0 for £750 at the moment with Shim 105 kit with freindly compact gearing (46/36 abd 12-27) suitable for touring and commuting. Takes guards etc but will need some slicker tyres for road work. Gets 4-star rating on bikeradar reviews http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/bikes/cyclo-cross/product/expede-10-08-28895
    SC61.10a: FCN 3, with clip-on guards for winter
    Uncle John: FCN ?? knobblies, or 'fat' slicks n guards

    If you haven't tried these things, you should.
    These things are fun, and fun is good.
  • Thanks for your responses. Someone mentioned the Condor Fratello and that is the bike i'd buy in an ideal world. Sadly, i'm limited to Evans Cycles so the choice on audax is pretty limited. I think a full on tourer like the Dawes Galaxy would be wasted on my daily commute, while i'm not sure i'd want to risk a loaded rack on a road bike (lost_in_thought: thanks for your suggestions on p-clips though). on this last point, has anyone tried light touring on a road bike? What kind of weight could i realistically put on a typical road without risking damaging it. I weigh c. 80kg.
  • hugh1982 wrote:
    Thanks for your responses. Someone mentioned the Condor Fratello and that is the bike i'd buy in an ideal world. Sadly, i'm limited to Evans Cycles so the choice on audax is pretty limited. I think a full on tourer like the Dawes Galaxy would be wasted on my daily commute, while i'm not sure i'd want to risk a loaded rack on a road bike (lost_in_thought: thanks for your suggestions on p-clips though). on this last point, has anyone tried light touring on a road bike? What kind of weight could i realistically put on a typical road without risking damaging it. I weigh c. 80kg.

    I also weigh around 80kg, and have a SS road bike which is not exactly high-tech. I have a pannier rack on it, attached with p-clips, and regularly carry panniers on that rack heavy enough that I struggle to carry them with the shoulder straps off the bike. I don't weigh them though I'm afraid!
  • Charge Duster SS.. I use one with slicks and a 36 tooth chain ring.. The roadies are quicker.. Until I cut across the park, hop a few kerbs and pop down some steps... The guy on the Langster who cruises by every morning only to have meet me at the lights a few miles on can't work it out..

    You can always stick some knobblies back on for some trail riding in the spring.
    Get any old set of 100mm forks from e bay. Best of both worlds.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Some road bikes are surprisingly good for touring, my girlfriend has a Trek 1.2 (a £550 Alu road bike, has rack bosses). She carried about 14kg between two pannier bags and the bike handled perfectly.

    I have a Dawes Audax (1997 model, Reynolds 531c (c for competition, thin diameter tubes)). I could not take the same load on this happily as the rear triangle is too flexy. Newer Dawes Audax may be better (different steel), and although steel is very comfy, thin-tubed steel can be too flexy for heavyish touring. The older Galaxies used 531ST (super tourist) tubes which are beefier.

    I don't think the touring weight would be a problem for most road bikes unless they are super-light, however the effect on handling may be an issue, but from the above experience a cheaper alu frame can serve very well. P-clips can work well, you need to protect the frame (www.stagonset.co.uk do some nice stainless steel rubber lined p-clips), though you can fit the rack at the top using an M-Part seat post clamp with built in rack bosses, and for the bottom you can use a Tubus Quick-Release axle adapter so you can avoid the use of p-clips all together if you want.

    Another option could be a cyclocross bike that has rack mounts.
  • Try a dawes galaxy, really nice bikes to ride actually (I was seriously surprised when i took one for a spin this morning) large load carrying capacity but still sprightly.
  • I use a trek 1000 for my commute.

    It's turned out to be very sturdy with a couple of panniers and 80kg of me to support. It's pretty cheap as well, which leaves plenty of money for upgraded wheels/components etc.

    Only thing is the components might not be up to the standard you want and you can't use tires wider than 23c if you want to fit mudguards -though raceblades might be an option.

    Commuterfied trek 1000 http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... 7/sizes/l/
  • Specialized Tricross

    Can be all things to all men?
  • The art of touring is not to carry more than your really need ;)

    You can always add a Carradice Bagman to hold a proper saddle bag for touring, no need for panniers unless you intend to camp out in the wilderness or like taking the kitchen sink with you :D
    SC61.10a: FCN 3, with clip-on guards for winter
    Uncle John: FCN ?? knobblies, or 'fat' slicks n guards

    If you haven't tried these things, you should.
    These things are fun, and fun is good.
  • bratboy wrote:
    The art of touring is not to carry more than your really need ;)

    You can always add a Carradice Bagman to hold a proper saddle bag for touring, no need for panniers unless you intend to camp out in the wilderness or like taking the kitchen sink with you :D

    If I could find a Carradice Bagman (Q/R Sport version), I'd do exactly that. (I had a discussion with one of the staff at Condor yesterday around what beard style I was considering and my preferred brand of sandals. :lol: ) But everywhere is sold out (including Carradice themselves) with no indication of when they'll be back in stock. And I ain't fannying around with those leather straps twice a day on a commute (I save that for when I get home ...).

    So I'm grudgingly coming around to the idea of a rack. I'm still considering swapping my carbon seatpost for an aluminium onoe and going down the SQR route. But darn it, panniers are so much more spacious for my laptop and clean, ironed shirts when the credit crunch finally bites me on the butt and I stop going for the lazy, laundering option.

    +1 to the Fratello idea - but then I would say that. Have you checked if Evans can get one in specially? I know Halfords will get in anything you ask if your cycle-to-work scheme is with them. One of the guys I work with got a Planet-X bike from Halfords by doing that.
    Never be tempted to race against a Barclays Cycle Hire bike. If you do, there are only two outcomes. Of these, by far the better is that you now have the scalp of a Boris Bike.
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    Specialised Tricross or the Dawes you mention look good.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
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