Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby Red Sunset » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:03 pm

Hi All,
First post and relatively new to cycling, so please be nice.
I've been commuting to work recently, 15kms from the where I live to the city, and have been really enjoying it.
I'm using my brother's quite old Shogun Metro AT hybrid. It's in pretty bad shape.
It looks like I'm about to get a new job, where the commute would be 16k each way. I'm thinking about commuting exclusively by bike, so that my wife can have the car.
This means a new bike, and quite frankly I'm baffled by the options, despite a LOT of reading.
I'll be riding mainly on a bike path, but I did a test ride and the path is a bit rough in patches. I also want sturdy, low maintenance, reduced puncture risk. Comfort is the priority over speed.
My budget is $1400 max. I've already got most of the necessary accessories. I spent $100 on a good, waterproof backpack, so I don't need panniers.
So far I'm liking the look of the Trek 8.5 DS. I'd have to attach mud guards.
But I'm aware there are other options, like Tourers. Also, should I be going for "internal hubs"? I'm not really even sure what that entails but I know they're lower maintenance. My current bike has 21 speeds, but to be honest I really only use 3!
Any recommendations will be taken seriously.
Thanks in advance to any who reply! :o
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by BNA » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:41 am

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Re: Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby jaffaman » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:41 am

Internal hubs are little gearboxes that sit in the wheel hub and replace the multiple front and rear cog setups of "standard" geared bikes. 3 speed hubs are used a lot for bike hire schemes because they are robust and lack moving external parts which means they are less likely to get messed up by hirers, and because people hiring these bikes don't generally need many gear options, and a single control with 3 positions is easy to understand.

Are they less maintenance? Matter of opinion really. Once setup a standard derailleur setup like you have been riding doesn't normally need much maintenance.

Internal hubs can have some advantages like shifting when stopped and perhaps better shifting under load, but they tend to loose a little in efficiency, can often be quite heavy, can be noisy, and the best ones are quite expensive. Because they are built into the wheel replacing the wheels with new ones isn't so much of an option, and finding someone who knows how they work and can fix them if that is needed could be difficult.

IMHO unless you know why you want an IGH I wouldn't bother - stick with the standard dérailleurs for simplicity / best choice of bikes, mechanics, wheels and upgrades. Doesn't matter if you only use 3 gears of the 27 on offer.
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Re: Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby Red Sunset » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:14 am

Thanks heaps Jaffa! I'll stick to the standard stuff then.

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Re: Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby oxonabike » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:18 am

I commute daily at least 16 km each way (ie same distance as you're proposing) on a Trek 8.4 DS, and find nothing too much wrong with my choice of transport. Once the original tyres wore out, I changed them out to a 700 x 35 C for easier rolling and a quieter trip. Have fitted guards and a rack for the occasional use of panniers. Sure, it's a bit heavier than a roadie, but is really comfortable to ride, and still manage an average inbound speed of 30 kph although a few kms less for homeward, as this is uphill and into prevailing headwind. I've also used this bike for credit card touring so it's very versatile.
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Re: Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby Nobody » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:09 am

jaffaman wrote:IMHO unless you know why you want an IGH I wouldn't bother - stick with the standard dérailleurs for simplicity / best choice of bikes, mechanics, wheels and upgrades. Doesn't matter if you only use 3 gears of the 27 on offer.
You forgot one, ease of fixing flat tyres. Replacing a tube on a IGH wheel can be a pain.
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Re: Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby limbot » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:39 pm

Like Oxonabike I've got the 8.4DS (I was set on a 8.3 but when the LBS didn't have my size I got "upsold" on the 8.4 that was in stock based on the hydraulic brakes and the colour :) ) I'm commuting between 4 - 10 kms each way here in Tassie, so lots of hills and rises. I'm really enjoying it, especially as this is my first new bike in 20 years or so. I've got a holiday home where there's lots of poorly kept gravel roads and there's bushland out my backyard with lots of (hard packed) animal trails that I use for shortcuts, so for me the front suspension did make sense. That being said most of my commuting is done with the suspension locked out. The "sit up and beg" position is nice for my (close to 50) aging body and yes comfort is more important to me than speed (at least at the moment). 27 speeds, think I'm probably lucky if I've used 7 of them and I've never had it on the smallest front cog :)

In evenings or weekends I'm doing longer rides (20+km , hey that's long for me since I couldn't even make it up the street when I first got the bike) at the moment while I get myself back into shape after 30+ years on the gaspers. I'm around three months in now and only getting faster and fitter. Like Oxonabike I'll most likely consider some thinner tyres when it comes time to upgrade to get that extra bit of speed and comfort :)

I can ride a grotty dirt trail or zap along the road, yes there are compromises but at the moment I'm really happy with the bike :) YMMV ! :p
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Re: Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby Red Sunset » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:21 pm

Thanks limbot! Glad the trek ds is working out for you. It's looking more and more appealing. Most of the reviews/experiences seem to be positive. Another problem I can foresee is that the bike path os not lit! I paid quite a lot for a very strong light, so it should do the trick, but if not, I'll be taking the bike path in the morning and the road home. Maybe another reason for a more road based hybrid? What's a good road based hybrid?

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Re: Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby limbot » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:49 pm

Unlit's half the fun :) I've done non-lit pot holed gravel roads with a 200 lumen torch attached to the bars. Not highly recommended but doable.

The "competition" for the Trek DS in the major brands (well the ones I can easily get down here in Tassie) is the Specialized Crosstrail and the Giant Roam.

The more road oriented hybrids were the other models I was looking at, fixed fork front with thinner tires. For the major brands, Trek FX, Specialized Sirrus and Giant Cross City. Hope this helps :)
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Re: Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby heuston » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:36 am

You might also want to consider a cyclocross option which will give you the drop bar option with the capacity for larger tyres than a try road bike - some also sport disc breaks which would be welcome for those wet days. I'm riding a 2013 Giant defy 1 for my commute which has been great but I am beginning to form the view that a cyclocross machine with discs is the commuters dream bike.
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Re: Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby Red Sunset » Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:22 pm

Thanks heuston. Do you have any examples of the bikes I can google? Sorry, bit of a newbie here. Disc brakes for the wet sounds good. Trek DS 8.5 has hydraulic disc brakes.

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Re: Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby rjk » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:55 am

heuston wrote:You might also want to consider a cyclocross option which will give you the drop bar option with the capacity for larger tyres than a try road bike - some also sport disc breaks which would be welcome for those wet days. I'm riding a 2013 Giant defy 1 for my commute which has been great but I am beginning to form the view that a cyclocross machine with discs is the commuters dream bike.

+1

i have a boardman CX pro from wiggle, also look at the merida it has mount points for racks and guards and so does the specialized tricross sport for around $1300

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/ ... isccompact
Boardman CX pro now the commuter, Salsa Casseroll, Trek Domane
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Re: Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby recurveron » Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:24 pm

I've been using a 2011 Merida cyclocross 4 for my 10- 13k commute and couldnt be happier with the choice, with disk brakes and mounting points for my rack and gaurds , i find it the perfect all weather commuter. My morning ride to work is on a buisy road , the afternoon ride home is on a bike path and on weekends it handles the off road trails just fine.
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Re: Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby Mugglechops » Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:21 pm

recurveron wrote:I've been using a 2011 Merida cyclocross 4 for my 10- 13k commute and couldnt be happier with the choice, with disk brakes and mounting points for my rack and gaurds , i find it the perfect all weather commuter. My morning ride to work is on a buisy road , the afternoon ride home is on a bike path and on weekends it handles the off road trails just fine.



Me too but I don't use the rack mounts. I also changed the brakes from BB5's to BB7's.
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Re: Trek 8.5 DS or Other for 32km Commute

Postby JBark » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:07 pm

recurveron wrote:I've been using a 2011 Merida cyclocross 4 for my 10- 13k commute and couldnt be happier with the choice, with disk brakes and mounting points for my rack and gaurds , i find it the perfect all weather commuter. My morning ride to work is on a buisy road , the afternoon ride home is on a bike path and on weekends it handles the off road trails just fine.


This is pretty much me as well, but a 2012 and doing 17-20k each way, 5 days/week. Great bike for this sort of work. Fenders, rack, marathon plus tyres, and she's a workhorse.

I another thread someone posted that the Avanti Circa 2 has discs now too, though a bit out of the OPs price range. Looks like a better bike than the Merida CX4 Disc for not much more money. Full 105 5700 instead of the odd mishmash on the CX4, plus a carbon fork/seatpost and rack/fender mount locations that don't interfere with the calipers.
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