Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted also!

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted also!

Postby lunar_c » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:23 pm

Hi guys,
I am quite obsessed with cycling. I got back into it about 18 months ago and came over to road riding from MTB'ing. Due to being a uni student at the moment my bike is a cheap but functional flat bar road bike (basically a cheapish MTB with road wheels from the looks of it) which my fiance graciously bought me for my b'day (she is the best!). I added a Bontrager saddle, decent BBB tristop brake pads, and some 700c x 23 tyres to it to make it a bit less "hybrid" and a little bit more "road bike".

I was getting bummed about being so busy with uni and work, and not having enough time to cycle the 100km+ a week I wanted to, I decided to start commuting to work by bicycle (roughly 40km round trip) twice a week and have been doing this for a little while now. I'm a nursing student, health is very important to me, as is setting an example to my patients, and plus I just have the cycling bug bad.

So to make this a bit easier I added a Topeak Super Tourist rack, and their compatible MTX TrunkBag DXP. I highly recommend this combination for longer work commutes where you need a change of clothes and shoes. I also have room in there for toiletries, lunch and my wallet and keys with room to spare.

The TrunkBag mounts by sliding in onto the rail and attaches (quite securely, just in case you have your doubts like I did at first) with one clip. If you need to use the expanding side panniers, they attach to the side frames with an elastic cord to stop them flapping about.

Here's my bike kitted up :

Image

I'm building my retro/vintage steel frame drop bar bike up to be a fast cycling / training bike (with shimano 600 EX and 7 speed and as light as possible using late 80's stuff) and the flat bar from now on is going to be my commuter bike.

Now onto the advice part ..

I am getting a lot of punctures with the Michelin Speedium's I put on (got them because I wanted 23mm tyres that would roll a bit faster and they were cheap) .. I don't want to go to a lower pressure or wider tyre but I do want better puncture resistance. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated! Also, do you rate those puncture-resistant tubes?

And for when I eventually want to upgrade my commuter bike .. are there any alloy-framed drop bar road bikes out there now around the entry level $1000-1500 mark that still have rack mounts?
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by BNA » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:51 am

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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby westab » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:51 am

I use Maxxis RE-FUSE tyre with a tyre liner in the rear. They seem to give me good puncture protection even if they aren't the most grippy tyres and are a little heavy.

I have used Speedum 2's and found them nice to ride on and great in the wet (the Re-Fuse are not so good in the wet) but have dropped them as I found that all sorts of things would get through, including a broken stick once.

The other thing I do to keep punctures away is at least once per week I pull out the glass fro my tyres and keep them at the right pressure.
Not fast, no style, but still get there.
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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby lunar_c » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:01 am

Thanks mate.

I was looking at the Re-Fuse with interest actually. So you rate them? I also get a lot of sand on the paths/roads in my commute and the speedium's have no grip once there's a little bit of sand around. Good overall cheap training tyre though, I'm no expert on road tyres yet but they seem to roll pretty fast and have good cornering grip on smooth tarmac, just very little puncture resistance!

Thanks for the advice. I've heard mixed reports on tyre liners because of the risk of pinch flats.. so I may run those puncture resistance tubes instead.
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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby goneriding » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:39 am

I'll put my usual comment in about Bontrager Race Lite Hard Case's. Very difficult to puncture. The rubber was hanging off in bits and pieces when I replaced the last one after 15,000 km's of street sweeping/commuting on Sydney roads.

I've tried GP4000's and Gatorskins, and Schwables but none come even close to the durability of the Bonts.

The only downside is that their rolling resistance is not great. That said, I want reliable on a commuter. Fast comes from within :)
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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby westab » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:31 pm

lunar_c wrote:Thanks mate.

I was looking at the Re-Fuse with interest actually. So you rate them? I also get a lot of sand on the paths/roads in my commute and the speedium's have no grip once there's a little bit of sand around. Good overall cheap training tyre though, I'm no expert on road tyres yet but they seem to roll pretty fast and have good cornering grip on smooth tarmac, just very little puncture resistance!

Thanks for the advice. I've heard mixed reports on tyre liners because of the risk of pinch flats.. so I may run those puncture resistance tubes instead.


I use the tyre liners as there is alot of glass and metal shavings (swarf) on the road near my work. Sims metals have a scrap metal yard less than a block from my work and half the trucks that take scrap metal there don't tarp the load. Most places liners and these tyres are not required but I realy hate flats.

Cell bikes have these tyres for $19.95 both for the wire bead and the folding bead (get the folding bead) - I was planning to get some but I will have to wait till next months pay.

Threre is another down side - they do have high rolling resistance.
Not fast, no style, but still get there.
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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby lunar_c » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:31 pm

What did the GatorSkins feel like rolling wise?
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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby Aushiker » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:39 pm

lunar_c wrote:I am getting a lot of punctures with the Michelin Speedium's I put on (got them because I wanted 23mm tyres that would roll a bit faster and they were cheap) .. I don't want to go to a lower pressure or wider tyre but I do want better puncture resistance. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated! Also, do you rate those puncture-resistant tubes?


Oh boy here you go :) Lots of threads on tyres. My preference is for Continental Grand Prix 4000 or 4000s because of their wear and more importantly traction in the rain. Coming off in roundabouts hurts :oops: Puncture rates are not too bad to but that is really dependent on road conditions and whether you ride a lot in the rain or not. I have detailed my tyre history here for what it is worth.

And for when I eventually want to upgrade my commuter bike .. are there any alloy-framed drop bar road bikes out there now around the entry level $1000-1500 mark that still have rack mounts?


Image

I ended up going for a Kinesis Racelight GranFondo Ltd frame and building up a bike when I did this, but IIRC the Giant Defy has rack mounts.

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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby Aushiker » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:41 pm

lunar_c wrote:What did the GatorSkins feel like rolling wise?


Gatorskins ... read here for the fan club :twisted:

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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby lunar_c » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:44 am

Aushiker .. your website is brilliant and I am reading it with interest!

I am about to move closer to the city (I'm out in the swan valley at the moment) and my long term goal is for myself and my partner to go to a single car, and commute mostly by bicycle.

Lot's of great info there for me .. thanks
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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby Aushiker » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:21 am

lunar_c wrote:Aushiker .. your website is brilliant and I am reading it with interest!

Thanks.

I am about to move closer to the city (I'm out in the swan valley at the moment) and my long term goal is for myself and my partner to go to a single car, and commute mostly by bicycle.

Great goal. All the best with it.

Andrew
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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby munga » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:45 pm

lots of opinions on rolling restance:width too, so if you can get your head around it all, you could look at vittora randonneurs in 25c or 28c. they are heavier, so make sure you buy something to offset the weight gain like oh... carbon cages and titanium headstem bolts, to feel better.
pitty43 wrote:Thanks all for your help. Better change my Gumtree add now.

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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby lunar_c » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:19 pm

Haha!
My commuter isn't really about to get the weight weenie treatment. It's a brick. As money is a bit tight at the moment, I stuck some Michelin Lithion 2's (what a prick they are to get on the rim..) I had hanging around for another project on the bike on the weekend with some new tubes. Hopefully they fare a bit better than the Speedium's puncture-wise but they're not really designed for that. I'll let you know how I go.
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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby thomashouseman » Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:34 pm

Aushiker wrote:My preference is for Continental Grand Prix 4000 or 4000s because of their wear and more importantly traction in the rain. Coming off in roundabouts hurts :oops:


You've done that too? Yeah.. ouch!
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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby lunar_c » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:32 pm

Came round a gradual corner at about 35km/h on a shared bitumen path the other day with hedges on either side .. so I couldn't see the 6-7cm high chunk of bitumen the council had left in a huge lip where the bitumen joined up to a concrete path .. speared me off into the soft sand .. I held it for a few seconds before the front dug in and spit me over on my side .. couldn't clip out fast enough. Worst of all this occurred next to an intersection with lots of traffic watching at a red light .. who curiously asked me if I was okay instead of just laughing.
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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby fatherofmany » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:34 pm

At least you went down in the sand not on the bitumen, ouch. Only your pride was injured hopefully.

Armadillos

I use the Roubaix Elite (top one) on one bike and can't fault them other than they are a bit big and only just clear my frame and forks (but that's probably a frame and fork problem not a tyre problem)

Also use the All Condition (4th one down) on another. They are a little heavier than 'racing' tyres but much more puncture resistant.

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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby lunar_c » Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:15 pm

Well the lithion 2's failed miserably. Punctures at 8:30am on the way to work suck!
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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby waramatt » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:39 pm

Hi lunar

I've tried many, many different tyres, including most listed in this post. Some I have found to clearly better than others (Conti GP4000s & Gatorskins and Bontrager Race Lite Hard Case for example are excellent, and I had nothing but grief with Michelin Speediums). Despite all this testing (and $$) I believe a lot of it comes down to luck, especially if you run 700x23s, even at the right tyre pressure.

The one thing I am certain of is that 700x32 tyres give awesome puncture protection compared with anything you'll get from 700x23s. I have an SE Draft Lite hi-ten steel frame single speed commuter with 700X32s that is my main commuting bike and it has a Panaracer RibMo on the rear and Vittoria Cross City Pro on the front. Please be kind to me puncture gods but I have not had even one puncture in thousands of km of highway cycling on one of the meanest stretches of road you could ever have the misfortune of riding on - glass, screws, bolts, metal shards, you name it. This highway is close to an aluminium smelter and used by mining trucks...nasty! :evil: :twisted:

Good luck on your journey of getting your commute issues under control. :)
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Re: Introducing me, and my commuter - some advice wanted als

Postby lunar_c » Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:59 pm

Thanks for the insight Waramatt.
I think I may go up a size or two on tyres in the future to try that angle out. At the moment I have been recommended the Kenda Kriterium by my LBS. I managed to get home today (15km either way .. glass everywhere on the paths) without a puncture so that's a small miracle .. so many choices of tyre ..
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