Commuter options

mikey2341
mikey2341 Posts: 170
edited July 2019 in Road buying advice
Hi,

Starting a new job soon, which will result in a 12 mile each way commute. Will be a mix of canal towpaths, cycleways and roads. I’m fancying having a bike specifically for the commute, set up with bullet proof tyres, full mudguards and lights etc and will use this all year round.
Initially (and possibly still am) was veering towards a hydraulic disk brake flat barred PX London road. Having wasted most of the afternoon looking at bikes on the internet, I’m now considering getting a bike with a dynamo and hub gears.
I ride road bikes at the weekend and am comfy on hoods / drops, but thought that a flat bar would be best for commuting (happy to be proven wrong). What do people think? Is there any benefit to dynamo lights over recharging them (apart from not having to recharge them). Thinking 1 x 10/11 gears (or hub gears) and Hydraulic brakes a must. Would prefer through axles, but not a deal breaker.

Thoughts / suggestions? Budget of up to £1000ish

Comments

  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,301
    You are massively overthinking it.
    My commute is 12 miles. A dynamo is OTT for the distance, hydraulic brakes are expensive and unnecessary. Hub gears are nice, but typically very pricey for the quality options (Alfine 11 and Rohloff). Flat or drops is irrelevant, given the distance. I suggest you try to commute for a month with the bike you've got and then see what you really need under the C2W scheme
    left the forum March 2023
  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    Guess it depends on the conditions of the towpaths ? As above - ride the route with what you have and see what you think ?

    I can see the attraction of the dynamo tbh - or you'll be charging the lights just about every day in winter ?

    Sturdy tyres and mudguards are essential I'd say on a commuter.
  • mikey2341
    mikey2341 Posts: 170
    I've ridden the route on my CX bike and it's a bit bumpy in places, but on the whole is a decent surface. My concern is that it will be pitch black come winter and I'd prefer to have a bike set up just for the commute, rather than adapt my winter bike as I wouldn't use Marathon Plus tyres (or similar) for winter weekend rides. I'm thinking substantial full length mudguards and 32mm (or bigger) tyres. I'll be riding in 6 days a week, regardless of weather. Expecting I'll need ice tyres, but can stick to the roads when weather is really bad.
  • I've got a BMC AlpenChallenge with mudguards, rack and hub gears/belt drive. For commuting it's absolutely brilliant. Hub gears aren't cheap, but I've had to do precisely naff all maintenance on the bike since I bought it just under a year ago.
  • kingstonian
    kingstonian Posts: 2,847
    Plenty of options are open to you. Almost 3 years ago I went with a cyclocross bike (Cannondale CAADX, the Ultegra version) which does come with both mudguard and rack mounts (I have mudguards fitted year round but never bothered with a rack). I have gone with 28mm tyres but could fit much bigger (definitely larger than 32mm) if I was so inclined. I have rechargeable lights, which I charge when I get into the office each day, and I'd always prefer going that route as it is super easy to use them on other bikes if I need to.
  • I have a 10 mile commute along a mix of towpaths and roads and use a normal road bike but with 25mm Marathon tyres, it’s absolutely fine. In hindsight, and with a bigger budget I’d have preferred discs and wider tyres but to be honest it makes little difference day to day.
  • joey54321
    joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    I've got the same length commute and take whichever bike I fancy. It is summery I might take my road racer with deep-section wheels, if it's raining I'll take my full-length mudguard machine and if I fancy a smile I'll take my cross bike. No issue with any of them. Having a bike you just use for commuting is kinda nice, you can leave puncture repair kit, lights, mudguard, etc... on it but it doesn't have to be a hub geared hydro disc super bike.

    Hydro London Road would be a cracking commuter bike IMO. With either flat or drop bars.
  • Midnight
    Midnight Posts: 80
    Ride 12 miles before I start work I would be more concerned about having a shower when I arrived for the sake of other workers :)
  • thiscocks
    thiscocks Posts: 549
    Been v happy with my Trek Checkpoint ALR 4 for commuting. Main reason I chose it was space for big tyres and mudguards with no worries about not having room.

    Think you can get the Checkpoint AL3 for just over 1k which has all the same features. Disc brakes, 12mm thru axle and space for up to 38c tyres. https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bike ... Code=white
  • darrell1967
    darrell1967 Posts: 470
    I’m a plumber working on HS2 at Euston and commute to and from everyday from my home in Mill Hill. It’s about 8 miles each way leaving home about 6.15am and then leaving work at 4.45pm. I did it all last winter apart from the day of our Christmas drink. I use the A41, the outer circle of Regents Park and about 200m of the Euston Road.

    I’ve just been using my tricked up Specialized Allez Elite with 2 lights at either end, 23mm Gatorskins and plenty of reflective clobber including my rucksack. This Autumn and Winter I’m going to fit mudguards though.
  • Chaz.Harding
    Chaz.Harding Posts: 3,144
    I guess it depends on how much time / effort / £££ you want to spend on maintenance.

    You could use your Sunday best bike, but groupset maintenance gets pricey if you're piling on wet, gritty winter miles. Rim brakes are ace for simplicity, but you'll wear rims out faster if you're descending long steep hills in the rain on dirty roads - the grinding paste is super effective. It's even more aggressive if you're heavy and / or carry lots of gear to and from work.

    Rechargeable lights are good - cheap and easily removed for storage at work (if you can't really securely store your whole bike in an office / changing room where nobody will steal bits off it), but you'll need to remember / be bothered to remove lights to charge them.

    The laziest option is a full mudguard, Alfine / Rohloff / single speed (if you're feeling strong and have good knees) disc braked, dyno powered front and rear lights, fitted with tough 28c or 32c slicks for comfort / pothole resistance.

    Problem is, this is also kinda pricey. It will require the least maintenance - especially if you have a Gates carbon belt - but you'll need deep pockets when an Alfine 11 is about £250, or a (admittedly very very nicely engineered) Rohloff Speedhub is about 4 times that price...

    I'm properly lazy, so if it was me, I'd be building a steel framed disc brake hub gear / dyno light bike with big tough slicks and full 'guards. Minimal maintenance and maximum reliability would be my goal.
    Boo-yah mofo
    Sick to the power of rad
    Fix it 'till it's broke
  • Chaz.Harding
    Chaz.Harding Posts: 3,144
    Oh, and to add - if you don't mind riding a second hand bike, there's some hub gear commuter bikes that fit the bill perfectly, and come in way under £1k on eBay / FB market place, etc.

    That gives you some money for new tyres and sealant, new bar tape, your preferred saddle, hub service, new chain, brake bleed and new pads, mud guards, pannier rack etc, and still meet your budget.
    Boo-yah mofo
    Sick to the power of rad
    Fix it 'till it's broke
  • mikey2341
    mikey2341 Posts: 170
    RTW-Chaz wrote:

    The laziest option is a full mudguard, Alfine / Rohloff / single speed (if you're feeling strong and have good knees) disc braked, dyno powered front and rear lights, fitted with tough 28c or 32c slicks for comfort / pothole resistance.

    Problem is, this is also kinda pricey. It will require the least maintenance - especially if you have a Gates carbon belt - but you'll need deep pockets when an Alfine 11 is about £250, or a (admittedly very very nicely engineered) Rohloff Speedhub is about 4 times that price...

    I'm properly lazy, so if it was me, I'd be building a steel framed disc brake hub gear / dyno light bike with big tough slicks and full 'guards. Minimal maintenance and maximum reliability would be my goal.

    This is what I'm thinking, quick rinse with the hosepipe and minimal maintenance with decent reliability sound good to me.
  • Chaz.Harding
    Chaz.Harding Posts: 3,144
    mikey2341 wrote:
    RTW-Chaz wrote:

    The laziest option is a full mudguard, Alfine / Rohloff / single speed (if you're feeling strong and have good knees) disc braked, dyno powered front and rear lights, fitted with tough 28c or 32c slicks for comfort / pothole resistance.

    Problem is, this is also kinda pricey. It will require the least maintenance - especially if you have a Gates carbon belt - but you'll need deep pockets when an Alfine 11 is about £250, or a (admittedly very very nicely engineered) Rohloff Speedhub is about 4 times that price...

    I'm properly lazy, so if it was me, I'd be building a steel framed disc brake hub gear / dyno light bike with big tough slicks and full 'guards. Minimal maintenance and maximum reliability would be my goal.

    This is what I'm thinking, quick rinse with the hosepipe and minimal maintenance with decent reliability sound good to me.
    Just bear in mind, if you're cycling wet city roads, disc brake pad contamination (and hence obnoxiously loud squealing brakes) is something else to consider...
    Boo-yah mofo
    Sick to the power of rad
    Fix it 'till it's broke
  • mikey2341
    mikey2341 Posts: 170
    RTW-Chaz wrote:
    mikey2341 wrote:
    RTW-Chaz wrote:

    The laziest option is a full mudguard, Alfine / Rohloff / single speed (if you're feeling strong and have good knees) disc braked, dyno powered front and rear lights, fitted with tough 28c or 32c slicks for comfort / pothole resistance.

    Problem is, this is also kinda pricey. It will require the least maintenance - especially if you have a Gates carbon belt - but you'll need deep pockets when an Alfine 11 is about £250, or a (admittedly very very nicely engineered) Rohloff Speedhub is about 4 times that price...

    I'm properly lazy, so if it was me, I'd be building a steel framed disc brake hub gear / dyno light bike with big tough slicks and full 'guards. Minimal maintenance and maximum reliability would be my goal.

    This is what I'm thinking, quick rinse with the hosepipe and minimal maintenance with decent reliability sound good to me.
    Just bear in mind, if you're cycling wet city roads, disc brake pad contamination (and hence obnoxiously loud squealing brakes) is something else to consider...

    My winter road bike has discs and I ride that in all weathers. The brakes are yet to squeal though, despite being ridden for 1000 miles or so. Have I just been lucky??
  • cookeeemonster
    cookeeemonster Posts: 1,991
    RTW-Chaz wrote:
    mikey2341 wrote:
    RTW-Chaz wrote:

    The laziest option is a full mudguard, Alfine / Rohloff / single speed (if you're feeling strong and have good knees) disc braked, dyno powered front and rear lights, fitted with tough 28c or 32c slicks for comfort / pothole resistance.

    Problem is, this is also kinda pricey. It will require the least maintenance - especially if you have a Gates carbon belt - but you'll need deep pockets when an Alfine 11 is about £250, or a (admittedly very very nicely engineered) Rohloff Speedhub is about 4 times that price...

    I'm properly lazy, so if it was me, I'd be building a steel framed disc brake hub gear / dyno light bike with big tough slicks and full 'guards. Minimal maintenance and maximum reliability would be my goal.

    This is what I'm thinking, quick rinse with the hosepipe and minimal maintenance with decent reliability sound good to me.
    Just bear in mind, if you're cycling wet city roads, disc brake pad contamination (and hence obnoxiously loud squealing brakes) is something else to consider...
    If you're cycling on wet city roads...people stepping out without looking is a bigger thing to consider.

    Whatever you go for, go for hydraulic discs. Do the bedding in procedure when the pads are new and it's unlikely they'll squeal...certainly no more likely than rim pads in my experience.

    From what I understand hub gears add a bit of weight but tbh, that might not be a consideration unless you're hammering it away from.lights and so on
  • roger_merriman
    roger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    mikey2341 wrote:
    RTW-Chaz wrote:
    mikey2341 wrote:
    RTW-Chaz wrote:

    The laziest option is a full mudguard, Alfine / Rohloff / single speed (if you're feeling strong and have good knees) disc braked, dyno powered front and rear lights, fitted with tough 28c or 32c slicks for comfort / pothole resistance.

    Problem is, this is also kinda pricey. It will require the least maintenance - especially if you have a Gates carbon belt - but you'll need deep pockets when an Alfine 11 is about £250, or a (admittedly very very nicely engineered) Rohloff Speedhub is about 4 times that price...

    I'm properly lazy, so if it was me, I'd be building a steel framed disc brake hub gear / dyno light bike with big tough slicks and full 'guards. Minimal maintenance and maximum reliability would be my goal.

    This is what I'm thinking, quick rinse with the hosepipe and minimal maintenance with decent reliability sound good to me.
    Just bear in mind, if you're cycling wet city roads, disc brake pad contamination (and hence obnoxiously loud squealing brakes) is something else to consider...

    My winter road bike has discs and I ride that in all weathers. The brakes are yet to squeal though, despite being ridden for 1000 miles or so. Have I just been lucky??

    My brakes don’t squeal just occasionally get the odd squeak after a pad change, I certainly don’t seem to suffer with oil contamination. I do think folks overthink over brakes and disc in particular.
  • TFTBR77
    TFTBR77 Posts: 3
    Hi, I was in the same position as you a while back, I ended up buying a Cube Hyde Race with 8 speed Alfine hub, hydraulic brakes, from Ebay for £171, My commute is 11 km with 100 metres of ascent, needed a bit of work, new tyres, marathon racers 32 mm, mudguards and some bar end grips which I would recommend but the bike is great, zero maintenance and nearly as fast as my road bike.