Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

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Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby Puma » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:01 pm

Hey all just happened to stumble across this forum while trying to research bikes.

I have just started to commute to work about 3-4 times a week it's about 15km each way depending on the route that I take. I am commuting from Evatt to Civic only using bike paths. I will not ride on the road I just have a thing about it, even if it's quicker I still prefer the paths. 90% of my ride is on pretty good bike paths there are tree roots and pot holes every now and then. With the remainder of my ride in on concrete foot paths. I have jumped a gutter once or twice due to laziness however it isn't something that I need to do.

I have done a little bit of reading as to what bike I should get, but at the end of the day no one is going to know the correct answer other than Canberra riders.

Now at the moment I am riding a 1996 Diamondback SOLD and ridiculously HEAVY mountain bike.. This thing is a dinosaur I have cleaned it up and put some slicks on it, but that hasn't helped much at all, plus the crank sounds like it has seen better days. I need something lighter and better suited to commuting to work.

My budget is about 1K I have most accessories like pumps and tool kits and puncture stuff so really all I need to do is get a bike. I will look into lights later on when the days get shorter.

I have been looking at things like the giant seek as a sort of road/hybrid type of thing however then I though if I am going to go with something like that then why not go all the way and get a proper road bike. I'm not scared by drop bars and what not. I'm just worried that the road bikes might be a bit harsh on my body for the bumps and might suffer more punctures because of the tiny tyres and also the rims would suffer too being so skinny and all.

Any advice would be fantastic. Also feel free to tell me I have missed the plot with what I am saying as I have no idea about any of this stuff. I'm hear to learn so I don't run out to my LBS and get told a bunch of rubbish and end up riding out with something they wanted to sell rather than some that would suit what I am trying to do.

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by BNA » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:31 pm

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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby Jean » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:31 pm

I suspect everyone will argue against a hybrid. They're not totally useless, but most people around here think them monstrosities. I'd suggest a flat bar road bike myself as these are really designed for commuting/fitness riding and $1k will buy you a decent one. They typically have mounts for panniers/racks, have generous gearing, good brakes and you can put on wider tyres without difficulty.

Still there are plenty of people who will say that anyone who enjoys their riding will soon tire of a flat bar roadie and want one with drop bars, so skip the in between step and go straight for a drop bar jobbie. Personally I'm unconvinced when it comes to commuting, but it's a personal thing.

Plenty of people also buy MTBs and with the substitution of slick tyres use them as commuting work horses.
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby m@ » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:39 pm

G'day Puma, welcome to the site :) I've moved your post to the Buying a bike/parts section as you'll probably get more replies there - it's still linked from the ACT section though.

I used to commute from Ainslie to Belconnen, so have a pretty good idea of the kind of paths you're on... FWIW my recommendation would be a relaxed geometry road or touring bike, preferably with steel frame and forks. This will allow you to fit wider tyres to dampen the shocks from hitting tree-root bumps, potholes, joins between concrete sections etc and provide a more comfortable riding position than a road racing bike with a more aggressive geometry. You should be able to find something decent second-hand if you know what you're looking for - even the tip shops are worth checking out. Alternatively, there are some touring bikes around that sell for ~$1k new, though you might have to wait for a sale.

OT, but my normal route was via the path around Lake Ginninderra, then Ginninderra Drive - from memory there is a path most of the way, then I used the sealed shoulder - then alongside Mouat St and onto the shared path along Sullivans Creek (parallel to Northbourne) - this looks like it would then take you all the way into the CBD. There are also the paths through the uni, AIS and around Black Mountain reserve, but IME there was too much broken glass near the uni for them to be usable. If Gungahlin Drive has a separate pathway between Gininderra Drive and Belconnen Way that might be another option...
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby twizzle » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:45 pm

I have a hybrid which used to be my commuter and is now the rain bike. But if I had my money again, I'd buy a flat bar road. The hybrid, with MTB gearing, was just too slow in the end, and the money spent on replacement bits to speed it up (the only original parts on the bike are frame, brakes, bar and shifters!) would have paid for an extremely decent flat bar roadie or a touring bike.

Or maybe, as they are now becoming popular, a cyclocross bike - a lot more robust than a road bike.
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby Puma » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:52 pm

Hey thanks for the help you are right the ACT section might be a little dead.. :lol:

I'm not sure if I got the hybrid bike correct..

These two bikes are some of the bikes that I am talking about when I say hybrid. Am I correct when saying they are hybrids? Or are they more along the lines of a flat handle bar road bike?

http://www2.giant-bicycles.com/en-AU/bikes/model/seek.2/5332/39066/
http://www.avantibikes.com/fitness/blade4.aspx?bid=266

Also forgot to say that I won't need to strap any bags to my bike I ride with a backpack quite happily.

Basically this is my trek to work
Along Ginninderra drive (cycle path)
Behind AIS (cycle path)
Under the GDE and though the bush that brings me out on Dryandra Street (near O'Connor) (cycle path)
Along Dryandra street (only strip of road I take it's a back street)
Cross Barry drive and head along Clunes Ross Street (cycle path)
Around a part of the lake ending up at regatta point (cycle path)
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby twizzle » Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:13 pm

Those are both hybrids, although the avanti is a lot closer to a flat bar roadie than the ginat in that it's using Tiagra road parts instead of MTB equipment. But a flat bar road bike would have road bike calipers rather than disc or V-Brake, and 130mm rear wheel spacing (road) instead of 135mm (MTB).
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby ifixbikes » Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:10 pm

Flat bar road bikes run v-brakes not road calipers.
The blade is a flatbar roadie and that giant this is a cross between a flatbar roadie and a hybrid. I work for a giant dealer suggest that you check out the crx range.
I also suggest that you also check out the shogun mach range. Absolute best value for money bikes on the market, and have been for several years. Don't be put off by the brand as they are produced by merida who produce merida of course and lots of other big brands such as specialized.
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby steambao » Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:21 pm

Get a norco bike from their VFR range. Designed solely for fast commuting built for a variety of terrains ^_^
http://www.norco.com/bikes/urban/vfr/vfr-two/

Great bikes and not bad pricing either. A good bike shop should be able to give you a hundred off.

09 VFR1 is also good, although stock and sizes are running out.
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby twizzle » Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:33 am

ifixbikes wrote:Flat bar road bikes run v-brakes not road calipers.


Maybe with YOUR brands, but go and look at the Shimano tech site, and you will find that the flat bar road components are compatible with road, canti, and mini-V brake... but not V-brake.

However, you are correct in that a flat-bar road may not have road calipers - but I'd be questioning if it were actually a flat-bar road bike at that point.
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby ifixbikes » Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:11 am

The other way to look at it, is have you ever seen a flat bar road bike with road bike calipers? (apart for conversions)
I've been a mechanic for 24years and have never seen a flat bar road bike off the production line with road bike calipers, in either MY brands or any other.

Sure shimano do a brake lever to suit, but the simple fact is they all run v brakes.

Which brings us to the next question, what actually defines a flat bar road bike?
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby m@ » Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:36 am

ifixbikes wrote:...that giant this is a cross between a flatbar roadie and a hybrid...


A hybrid hybrid! Hybrid^2... or just a mongrel of a bike?! :lol:
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:50 am

5-speed Pashley Roadster Sovereign. Solid, dependable ride. Weight is less of an issue, since Canberra is basically flat.
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Pashely Roadster Sovereign

Or perhaps a Moulton? I would recommend one of the TSR models, as they use standard 20" wheels and rims (easier to get spares).
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http://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk/models/TSR27.html
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby matth » Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:02 am

If you are looking at the Giant Seek style of bike, perhaps the Norco Indie range may also interest you. I have been looking for a flat bar bike myself and came across these while looking at a VFR at the LBS and managed to totally confuse myself as I was all but convinced I wanted a flat bar... My budget is more in the range of the Indie 3 but both look nice... I'm just not sure on the "low" spec disk brakes on the 3 (future upgrade ?)

http://www.norco.com/bikes/urban/indie/indie-two/
http://www.norco.com/bikes/urban/indie/indie-three/

I also like the look of this Orbea Eibar I saw at another LBS...

http://www.orbea.com.au/fly.aspx?layout=bikes&taxid=74&pid=456

Anyone have any thoughts on these models that may help anyone looking at these hybrid / urban bikes
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby m@ » Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:12 am

hartleymartin wrote:5-speed Pashley Roadster Sovereign. Solid, dependable ride. Weight is less of an issue, since Canberra is basically flat.

Pashely Roadster Sovereign

Or perhaps a Moulton? I would recommend one of the TSR models, as they use standard 20" wheels and rims (easier to get spares).

http://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk/models/TSR27.html


Not necessarily quite as flat as you may think - the OP's route skirts Black Mountain and there is a fair drop in altitude between Belconnen and the Canberra CBD (I hit my fastest recorded speed down a hill between the two). In fact, looking at Bikely - the elevation profile has some reasonably steep bits...

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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby twizzle » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:31 pm

ifixbikes wrote:The other way to look at it, is have you ever seen a flat bar road bike with road bike calipers? (apart for conversions)


Actually, compared to the last time I looked, F-all. Looks like today's 'flat bar road bike' is yesterdays Hybrid using a road cassette, cranks, flat bar shifters and mini-V's or V brakes. :evil:

But - still available :
Cannondale Synapse
Specialized Sirrus
Giant Rapid.

At the end of the day - if it's got wide rims and something other than 23 - 25mm tyres... I'd call it a hybrid.
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby richiec » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:32 pm

I am a Sydneysider, but travel to Canberra a lot for work. The bike paths in the ACT are brilliant and I only wish Sydney was as well catered for. The other thing that impresses me about the ACT - always - are the quality, range and experience of the staff in just about ALL the bike shops in that town.

I happen think Lonsdale St Cyclery is one of the best bike shops anywhere. I have bought a few bits and peices in there, never a complete bike - but the range of flat bar road bikes is impressive. I'd check out the Scott SUB range in there, the SUB10 is the top gun in that range but a SUB20 or SUB30 are well worth a look). They also hve the Avanti range in there, worth a look. You'll find Cannondale Bad Boys in there, but likely a bit out of your $$ range - unless they are running out 2009 models to make way for 2010. You might also like the look of the Masi Cafe flat bar in there - if they have one in stock.

The other place worth a look is Mal Adjusted bikes in Dixon. They'll likely have a couple of Kona Dew series bikes in their to look at (even test ride). They may also have Norco's.

I own a Norco VFR1 which is superb. If you can track down a VFR anywhere in Canberra - take it for a spin. See what you think.

Others who lurk around here like the Trek and Giant flat bars. Neither do it for me. Other shops in Lonsdale Street sell Treks and Giants so have a look. Good luck with it. A flat bar road bike is the way to go.
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby Jean » Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:17 pm

twizzle wrote:
ifixbikes wrote:The other way to look at it, is have you ever seen a flat bar road bike with road bike calipers? (apart for conversions)


Actually, compared to the last time I looked, F-all. Looks like today's 'flat bar road bike' is yesterdays Hybrid using a road cassette, cranks, flat bar shifters and mini-V's or V brakes. :evil:

But - still available :
Cannondale Synapse
Specialized Sirrus
Giant Rapid.

At the end of the day - if it's got wide rims and something other than 23 - 25mm tyres... I'd call it a hybrid.


Nicely off track for the OP now. :wink: To me a hybrid (as exemplified by my wife's bike) is a combo that includes: heavy frame with laid back geometry (weight on the seat), MTB drive train and, mostly lamentably, a useless suspension fork. To me a flat bar has a relatively light frame (with balanced rider weighting), generous gearing (of either MTB or roadie origins) and fixed fork. I agree there are certainly 'flat bar road bikes' with hybrid like characteristics though.
Last edited by Jean on Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby m@ » Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:41 pm

Geometry is an important point - would something with a rigid fork and road geometry but mtb group & mini-v/v-brakes be termed a 'city bike' as opposed to a hybrid?
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby PHL » Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:47 pm

twizzle wrote:Specialized Sirrus
At the end of the day - if it's got wide rims and something other than 23 - 25mm tyres... I'd call it a hybrid.


That's using mini-V, and 28mm tyres (or at least the 2009 Elite model I bought my wife).
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby twizzle » Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:39 pm

PHL wrote:
twizzle wrote:Specialized Sirrus
At the end of the day - if it's got wide rims and something other than 23 - 25mm tyres... I'd call it a hybrid.


That's using mini-V, and 28mm tyres (or at least the 2009 Elite model I bought my wife).


O.K. - make that the Sirrus Pro only. And you certainly pay for it being road-bike oriented... Over $3k in the US.
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby Puma » Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:52 pm

haha

Thanks for all the recommendations guys and girls. I have made a decision and I'm just going to jump onto a road bike right away. I went into my LBS and looked at a hybrid a flat bar road bike and a proper road bike and I was really taken by the road bike plus they are quite a bit lighter than the other two.

At the moment I have my mind set on the Defy 2 http://www2.giant-bicycles.com/en-AU/bikes/model/defy.2.red.black.silver/5299/37466/

It comes with 25mm tyres and has 700x32c rims although speaking to the guy at the store he doesn't think I will be able to fit anything larger than a 28mm on there as it will hit on the frame and brakes. However it has a carbon seat post and a carbon fork so that should help and make it a little more comfortable for bumps.
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby thomas_cho » Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:38 pm

The guy at the shop is right. Its likely you misread the markings on the rims.

I used to have a Giant OCR, predecessor to the defy series. Takes 700x28C tyres no problems, but any larger and theres going to be clearance issues.

I have ridden the path that you intend to take, and its nothing serious in terms of climbs.

If you are fixed on riding with backpack then go the road bike. Dont get too fixated with the carbon bits on the bike. I am going to suggest that the main contributor to comfort is going to come from the tyres, and the pressure in which you run them. 28C tyres run at 85psi would be my recommendation. Dont let stock tyres on the bike dominate the decision making, new tyres are not going to be more than $100 a pair from the shops or cheaper from online shops.

Just make sure you are fitted properly.

Welcome to cycling in Canberra ...

Personally I now commute on my Surly running 26in/1.75 wide tyres, pumped to abt 60psi, comfy as ... and still able to keep to 35km/h on Northbourne ave.
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby Fletcher » Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:20 am

Getting back on track :wink:

Welcome to the forums, Puma.

I'm a Canberra local, commute about 30km a day from Latham to Civic, using both paths and roads, and 4 months ago I bought precisely one of the bikes (the Avanti) you provided a link to in an above post. I bought it from Lonsdale St, and their most experienced salespeople recommended it for Canberra paths, for a few reasons: the wheels are strong (good Tiagra hubs and 32 spokes) but you can still put skinny road tyres on them. They have road gearing (glad about that coz I would have outgrown a hybrid's gearing by now) and a triple chainring on front for the big hills(used like, twice).They have carbon forks & seat post to dampen the vibration. They have bar ends (highly recommended for hills, and just somewhere else to put your hands).

I've put 2,600km on it and am very pleased with the purchase. It puts a grin on my face every day :D
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby twizzle » Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:44 am

Puma wrote:At the moment I have my mind set on the Defy 2 http://www2.giant-bicycles.com/en-AU/bi ... 299/37466/


Are you sure this is what you want in a commuting bike? Are you physically suited for riding a road bike at this time, ie. is your lower back up to it? I'd be having a close look at a touring or cyclocross bike as a commuter before going for a road bike.
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Re: Recommend me a commuter for ACT paths...

Postby hartleymartin » Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:26 am

Puma,

Here's another spanner in the works - a bit more practical than the other two that I posted previously:

$1400 buys you a Fuji Tourer. It has the features of a road bicycle (drop handlebars, brifters, etc), but it has the advantage that the geometry is a bit more relaxed, and it can be kitted out with extra such as mudguards if you expect to ride in wet weather and has facilities for carry racks should you ever need to carry stuff on your commute. It has a huge gear range going all the way up to about 127 gear inches (50kph would not be too much of a challenge). It is a bit heavier than your average road bicycle (at 12.6kg), but it is going to be much more durable and flexible in the long term.

Touring bicycles and Road bicycles basically have the same origins of design, but Road bicycles have become more speed oriented machines, whilst tourers are a more practical proposition.
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