International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

iamschrodinger10
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International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby iamschrodinger10 » Wed May 03, 2017 7:39 pm

G’day, mates!

I’m an international student, I’ll be coming to Australia for postgrad studies this July at Monash Uni (Caulfield). I’ve researched about the transportation system in Melbourne and apparently, travelling there isn’t cheap. Also, I’m a postgrad student so I’m not eligible for any concessions, so the price of a Myki Pass (Zone 1 & 2) for the whole year would cost me A$ 1,599. Since I’m going to study there for 2 years, I’m already looking at a total of A$ 3,198, and because of that, I’ve already decided to commute by bike. (I know I still need to have at least a Myki Money just in case.) I understand that there will be some maintenance cost but even with that, it would still save me money in the long run.

I’ve been lurking different forum sites regarding reliable commuter bikes, I’m a newbie and it’s my first time to buy a bike for myself, but there are so many varying opinions about what to look for (type, brand, budget, groupset, features, etc.) and it’s quite confusing. To tell you more about myself: I’m turning 30 on May 15, 165cm (5’5”), 74kg (163 lbs.), I’m not very fit at the moment but I used to work out a few years ago (HIIT: Insanity, basketball, gym) so I know what it takes to be in a really good shape. I don’t have any idea about the road conditions and elevation gain in Melbourne but I’m looking to find an accommodation within 5-15km radius of Monash Caulfield campus. I’m expecting that I’ll be travelling with quite a load like groceries, change clothes, backpack with laptop, books. Lastly, I don’t intend to do any racing or heavy off-road riding, just a long distance and reliable work horse.

My budget for the bike and accessories (helmet, lights, locks, pannier and rack, mudguards, roadside maintenance kit, etc.) is maxed at A$1500. I’ve done a little bit of research but I would like to get your opinion about my bike choices in no particular order:

1. Reid Urban X2 (A$550) - https://www.reidcycles.com.au/urban-x2. ... oduct-tabs
2. Reid Granite 1.0 (A$650) - https://www.reidcycles.com.au/granite-1-0.html
3. Reid CX (A$700) - https://www.reidcycles.com.au/reid-cx.html
4. Giant Cross City 2 Equipped (A$700) - https://www.giant-bicycles.com/au/cross-city-2-equipped

Questions:
1. I’m quite familiar about the infamous “4 seasons in one day” climate in Melbourne, so do I always expect that it will rain at least once a day? Is a mechanical disc brake system necessary for my needs?

2. In terms of durability and riding experience, would I be better off with a cyclocross? or a hybrid/urban bike is good enough?

3. I’ve read that “Reid” is a relatively new brand in the market, are their bike frames reliable? How about their service?

4. Excluding the bike fit (I’m going to the LBS store, I’m not buying online) and in relation to the info I provided, which of these bikes do you think would be perfect for me if for example I’d be averaging around 15-30 kms total every day (105-210kms per week)?

5. I’m not very familiar about what’s considered a good/durable groupset, given my needs, could you tell me which among these would need minimal maintenance?

6. Do I need to change the stock tyres of these models to a better set, or the ones included are sufficient and good enough to resist punctures? Would you recommend converting the tyres to tubeless upon purchase of the bike?

I hope you could help me choosing a bike.

Cheers!
Last edited by iamschrodinger10 on Thu May 04, 2017 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DavidS
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby DavidS » Wed May 03, 2017 9:17 pm

I've always had the impression Reid bikes have fairly low level equipment but that's just an impression.

Personally I would choose the bike based on a test ride and what feels most comfortable.

As for Melbourne, I commute to the Uni I work at every day. The weather can be changeable but I don't get wet very often. Around Caulfield should be fairly flat - however, if you are coming from Burke Rd it can be hilly. I have 2 bikes with V brakes and haven't had any problems. See how you go with the provided tyres, if you get punctures replace them, otherwise, they should be fine.

Good luck with your studies.

DS
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Tim
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby Tim » Wed May 03, 2017 10:47 pm

My choice for an all weather reliable commuting bike would include;
- Ability to fit mudguards (As well as a rack. Consider how you attach both rack and mudguards?) You'll stay much drier on wet roads and they keep more road crud away from the bottom bracket and driveline areas reducing wear. Stop water flicking up onto the seat post and seeping into the bottom bracket (bearings).
- A well sealed bottom bracket both inside and out. Water gets inside the frame. Good bottom brackets have a fitted internal sleeve protecting the bearings inside the frame and good external seals. Older style square tapered BB"s were the best and most durable though not commonly available any more. Threaded (screw on) bottom brackets are reasonably durable, cheap and fairly well sealed though less common nowadays. Most bikes are now fitted with press fit BB bearings. From my experience Shimano press-fit are well sealed inside and out, durable and quite cheap to replace. Steer clear of any bike fitted with BB30. They have no internal sleeve protection, poor external sealing and prone to creaking noises.
- A Tiagra groupset. Very good value for money, spare parts are cheap and readily available, good quality and performance at a fair price.
- Shimano Wheels eg. WH-R501. Once again Shimano bearings are well sealed against water and grit. In the (unlikely) event of premature wear the cup and cone ball bearings are easily replaced. I don't like the cartridge type press-fit wheel bearings many of which are poorly sealed.
- I wouldn't be fussed about the type of brakes but discs do work better in the wet. I'd sooner have quality rim brakes (Tiagra) than cheapo discs.
-28mm or wider tyres.
- Something like this; https://www.bicyclesonline.com.au/2016-polygon-helios-f5.0-flat-bar-road-bike. Pity there is only a medium size left in stock.

Good luck with the hunt.

iamschrodinger10
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby iamschrodinger10 » Wed May 03, 2017 11:29 pm

@Tim

Thanks for that info, I have so much to learn! The model you sent is a bit out of my price range given that I have to buy accessories and they only have medium, it might be a little bit too tall for me (?) short guy problems lol!

@DavidS

Now I know that Burke Rd is hilly, I'll avoid looking for flats around that area, thanks man! Anyway, have you seen the specs of the Giant Cross City 2? Do you think it's good for its price? Would you consider it reliable as it is? I'm quite keen about the Reid CX, but I just need more assurance about the quality of their frames since all of the components included have a decent reputation, so i'll take your impression into consideration. You mentioned equipment though, were you pertaining about the groupset? Is a Shimano Claris set not good for daily and moderately long distance commute?

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Thoglette
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby Thoglette » Thu May 04, 2017 11:40 am

Tim wrote:My choice for an all weather reliable commuting bike would include;
- Ability to fit mudguards (As well as a rack. Consider how you attach both rack and mudguards?)
-28mm or wider tyres.

Nothing else matters. Other than lights. A helmet will prevent fines.
Stop handing them the stick! - Dave Moulton
"People are worthy of respect, ideas are not." Peter Ellerton, UQ

iamschrodinger10
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby iamschrodinger10 » Thu May 04, 2017 11:53 am

Thoglette wrote:Nothing else matters. Other than lights. A helmet will prevent fines.


How about brakes for all-weather? Do you think a good rim brake set would suffice? Or are disc brakes a necessity?

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find_bruce
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby find_bruce » Thu May 04, 2017 12:10 pm

My personal view is that discs are nice to have on a commuter but hardly necessary. YMMV

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Thoglette
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby Thoglette » Thu May 04, 2017 2:59 pm

iamschrodinger10 wrote:How about brakes for all-weather? Do you think a good rim brake set would suffice? Or are disc brakes a necessity?


Rim brakes, properly set up (and there are crap calipers and pads out there), are fine.

Yes, if you are riding through cold, mucky puddles it may take 1/2 a rotation to bite the first time (if you've not used them for a few minutes). But cyclists have been dealing with this for more than a century and the sky has not yet fallen in, despite what the marketeers would have you believe.
Stop handing them the stick! - Dave Moulton
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RobertL
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby RobertL » Thu May 04, 2017 3:16 pm

That Giant looks pretty good. $699 including rear rack and fenders (mudguards). It has a triple chainring crankset, and - more importantly - an 8 speed cassette and freehub rear end. That gives you an extremely low lowest gear ratio of 28/32. A lightweight guy like you could climb anything on that : )

32mm tyres are sensible, and the mini-V brakes will be more than adequate, as well as cheap and easy to maintain.

The Reid Urban has a lower gear range still - real mountain bike stuff - and disc brakes. It is cheaper, but has no rack or fenders and appears to only have mounting point for one of them but not both. That's not necessarily a hassle, though, there's always a way to fit them. It has 35mm tyres, so similar to the Giant.

If you're worried about hills then the Reid CX won't be easy to get up them in the lower gears, and has no easy way to mount a rack or fenders.

The Reid Granite would be a much better choice out of the drop bar bikes, and it appears to have one rack/fender mounting point.

I'd choose the Giant or the Reid Urban.

iamschrodinger10
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby iamschrodinger10 » Thu May 04, 2017 3:46 pm

Thoglette wrote: despite what the marketeers would have you believe.


See, this is the reason why it's always better to ask because it's hard to trust marketing. Thanks man!

@RobertL

Unfortunately, in relation to my height -I'm not actually lightweight. My target ideal weight would be around 130-135 lbs. (2-year target!) Although, if we're talking purely about the capacity of the bike, and yes, I'm light, haha!

Anyway, thanks for your insight man! I'm going to test drive the Giant and Reid Urban model, seems they're both sensible choices for what I'm going to use it for, but do you think the drivetrain and other components are low maintenance and durable enough to withstand the daily 15-30km commute?

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DavidS
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby DavidS » Thu May 04, 2017 9:57 pm

Looks like you would be fine on either the Reid or the Giant. If you're aiming for 130-135lb (which in our language would be 65 or so Kg from memory) and you're under 90Kg you should be fine.

I have broken a couple of frames but I am hard on bikes and used to weigh about 110Kg (about 200lb I would think) and I know Giant has a lifetime guarantee on frames.

Mudguards are essential for commuting, just so much better on wet roads.

DS
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ironhanglider
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby ironhanglider » Thu May 04, 2017 10:02 pm

Caulfield is not desperately hilly, so gear range is not an issue. A fit rider could manage on a single speed.

The drivetrain will require the same level of maintenance regardless of level. I'm using Claris derailleurs for a 50km/day all weather commute and they've chalked up 7906km since I bought the bike last year. I am led to believe that more expensive chains in particular are good value, but I haven't tested that fully yet. I know that for me 3000km is about it for cheaper chains. I have a better one on at the moment which has done 2,500km and has a way to go yet. I have also gone through a set of brake pads and the rims have started to go concave.

I think guards and a rack are important for an all-weather commuter bike. Both bikes look good to me so pick your favourite.

Cheers,

Cameron
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iamschrodinger10
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby iamschrodinger10 » Fri May 05, 2017 10:57 am

ironhanglider wrote:I'm using Claris derailleurs for a 50km/day all weather commute and they've chalked up 7906km since I bought the bike last year.


Among my listed bike choices, only the Reid CX has a Claris groupset, would you say that it's the minimum level I should aim for?

I'm actually starting to lean towards Reid Urban X2 and Giant Cross City 2, would you say that the groupset included on both won't do as well in comparison with the Claris?

I'd consider stretching my budget for a Reid Urban X3 because of the Deore groupset if I could justify it, so is it worth the extra? I've been chatting with a Reid sales rep on FB, and they said that their frames are exported from China and not Taiwan, that's why it's keeping me away from spending over A$700 for the bike alone, I don't want to fall in-love with just the groupset, sure it's nice to have a good set, but I'm factoring in all other aspects most especially the durability of the frame per dollar. What do you guys think?

Cheers!

ironhanglider
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby ironhanglider » Mon May 08, 2017 10:48 pm

I'm saying that Claris are good workmanlike derailleurs and do the job on my commuter, which does more than most. I'm not sure what level is the equivalent to Claris in the MTB group sets, but I suspect that Deore is a relative step up.

I am seriously confused about your references to durability of a frame. Frames do not wear out. They may fail, but the correlation between price and failure rate probably moves in the opposite direction to what you are thinking. Exotic ultra-light race frames are much more prone to failure than regular affordable bikes. Frame failure in any bike is so rare that it is not a consideration.

Where affordable frames do get unfavourably compared to 'better' frames is usually around weight, and handling. A few hundred grams here or there is hardly significant on a commuting bike which tends to get laden with stuff in actual use. Handling is a personal thing, which is why you need to test ride the bikes. Generally, commuting bikes tend to be more stable, rather then aiming for the sharper 'sportier' handling of performance bikes.

There are a couple of Urban X2s in the bike cage at my work (80-90 bikes on a good day), they look ok to me.

Cheers,

Cameron.
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iamschrodinger10
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby iamschrodinger10 » Thu May 11, 2017 5:32 pm

@ironhanglider

Yeah, you're right, it's hard and confusing to quantify bike frame per dollar, like what you've said, it doesn't wear out. I didn't express my thoughts very clearly, I just want something that's reliable, I just have reservations towards Reid since when you google "Reid Cycles", one of the top searches is "Why shouldn't I get Reid?" and reading that thread gives me the impression that they only compensate with a good groupset, but the workmanship and their frames are a bit questionable, although it's really hard to dismiss them since their prices are very attractive. I just want to get it right the first time or at least 80% of it.

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DavidS
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby DavidS » Thu May 11, 2017 9:31 pm

If you have concerns about the Reid, get the Giant. Plenty of Giants around, and you do see some old ones still going. They are reliable and the frames are guaranteed. But I would still recommend a test ride to find the one most comfortable for you.

DS
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Re: International student commute - Help me choose a bike? 2017

Postby Mozziediver » Sat May 20, 2017 9:07 pm

Moz
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