Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

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Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby nezumi » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:21 pm

So, as my subtle heading would suggest - I am looking to commute to work in Melbourne by bike.

The journey would be from Heidelberg to the CBD - still not sure on the route (Yarra trail vs roads).

As this would be my primary commuting method I would like to ride in all weather, and to that end I have seen suggestions of Disc brakes and an internally geared hub being beneficial.

I am looking for effeciency primarily, I have commuted on a bike before and I know that I can't do "sedate" riding. Most of my riding experience has been on a mountain bike, either on streets or firetrails/singletrack.

I have been looking amongst the cyclocross vs tourer vs flat bar threads and have gleaned the following:

  • I want mudguards.
  • I want a luggage rack/panniers - I tend to sweat when I ride hard, and this would not be helped by a backpack.
  • I want good lights as I don't plan on taking a break in winter.
I'm not sure where else to go from here. I have looked at a couple of bikes so far and text ridden one, but the problem is, having never ridden a road style bike before, I'm not sure what to look for.

One of the shops I went to ruled out drop bars for me based on me mentioning I have minor back trouble - this is primarily occupationally exacerbated lower back pain, and nothing major.

So, drop bars vs flat bars?
Slick wheeled tourer or cyclocross machine?
Clip-ins or sneakers?

Thanks!
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by BNA » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:55 pm

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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby Tim » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:55 pm

Designed for touring but perfect for commuting;

http://www.viventebikes.com/

I tour on one of these.
Excellent value for money. Handles the wet, tough and durable. Not a lightweight but a couple of extra kilos won't make the slightest difference for commuting.
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby Tim » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:02 pm

nezumi wrote:One of the shops I went to ruled out drop bars for me based on me mentioning I have minor back trouble - this is primarily occupationally exacerbated lower back pain, and nothing major.


BS.
I have had a dodgy back for over twenty years. I only ride drop bar bikes.
Handlebars can be raised with an upturned stem.
There is a trecking bar model in the Vivente range if you really need to sit more upright.
I find drop bars better on my lower back as my hands and arms take weight off my rear end. I was far more uncomfortable sitting upright on a flat bar bike where all my upper body weight sat on my bum (lower back).
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby Mulger bill » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:12 pm

G'Day Nezumi, welcome outside :)
I like the way you're thinking, just about perfect for an all year, all weather ride IMO.

I'd be getting one of THESE now if I could justify the N+1 with my current commuter still doing well. A set of 25-28mm slicks would set her up nicely and you still have the option to go chunkier if the dirt calls.

It's hard to go past the numbers for the linked Vivente tho'...
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby KenGS » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:26 pm

No reason why you shouldn't go with drop bars. I also have lower back problems and it doesn't stop me. It just means I can't have a super aggressive position. Drop bars are narrower so in addition to better aerodynamics it's easier to filter through narrow gaps.
For an all up package you couldn't go far wrong with the Vivente World Randonneur. Disclaimer: Don't have one myself as I have a customer built tourer but it was one I seriously looked at and the main features are the same: mudguards, dynohub lights, racks which you've mentioned. If you look at pictures of the bike you'll see the bars are about level with the saddle which gives a riding position that is no less relaxed than an flat bar.
Another thing to consider is gearing. I come from Rosanna so I deal with the same hills. 8% uphill with loaded panniers at the end of a long day isn't something you want to tackle without a nice low gear.
Clip-ins or sneakers? You'll want *something* to connect your foot to the pedals. Normally I use SPD cleats but lately I've been trialling "Restraps" for use around town. For touring I stick with SPDs but toeclips/straps are convenient for just jumping on/off the bike. If you've not used cleats before, I'd suggest to start with flat pedals and maybe toeclips while you decide as there is a vast array of different shoes to choose from.

My suggestion: Look at the VWR and compare with a cyclocross (or flatbar) bike of your choice. See what it would cost to trick up the CX bike to get the same features or what you would be foregoing. Then come back and ask about the specifics like "is a dynohub worth having" or "do I need a triple"
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby jasonc » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:46 pm

cyclocross with disc or road bike with disc. if you're in melbourne and are going to ride all year round rubber pads on rims just shred away in the wet.
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby rangersac » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:17 pm

Test ride one of each and see which you prefer, they all have their pros and cons. One thing to consider is how heavy you are, how big a frame you will require and how much weight in panniers you'll be carrying. I would suggest if your body + pannier weight is 90kg +, then I'd seriously consider a touring frame for durability purposes, particularly if you are going to require a large frame. Large frames flex more, adding more stress to wheels and components.
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby warthog1 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:42 pm

Mulger bill wrote:G'Day Nezumi, welcome outside :)
I like the way you're thinking, just about perfect for an all year, all weather ride IMO.

I'd be getting one of THESE now if I could justify the N+1 with my current commuter still doing well. A set of 25-28mm slicks would set her up nicely and you still have the option to go chunkier if the dirt calls.

It's hard to go past the numbers for the linked Vivente tho'...


That is nice :8
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby nezumi » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:46 pm

Thanks for the information/insight all!

rangersac, I weigh around 85-88Kg at present, however I am hoping to drop that to 75Kg with daily cycling. At 5'10" I am around a Medium to Large frame I believe, depending on the manufacturer.

Fitness wise, I am generally healthy and well, but I have a belly paunch and could have better aerobic fitness - I am a baseball player, so more accustomed to burst activity.

So far I have test ridden the Trek FX4, and been suggested the Focus TR2 or Cannondale Quick SL
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby queequeg » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:55 pm

nezumi wrote:Thanks for the information/insight all!

rangersac, I weigh around 85-88Kg at present, however I am hoping to drop that to 75Kg with daily cycling. At 5'10" I am around a Medium to Large frame I believe, depending on the manufacturer.

Fitness wise, I am generally healthy and well, but I have a belly paunch and could have better aerobic fitness - I am a baseball player, so more accustomed to burst activity.

So far I have test ridden the Trek FX4, and been suggested the Focus TR2 or Cannondale Quick SL


Image

My Lynskey Cooper CX, which I think they have a 20% off summer sale at the moment.

https://www.lynskeyperformance.com/store/cooper-cx.html

They also do a commuter version, the Cooper CMT:

https://www.lynskeyperformance.com/stor ... r-cmt.html
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:19 am

queequeg wrote:My Lynskey Cooper CX...

Can't help drooling when I see this...
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby WestcoastPete » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:35 am

VWR and that Kona look hot and would be great options. Especially the light setup on the VWR and the front disk.

You could go cheaper though second hand. If you can pickup something like a Shogun Metro and get some wheels built up with a Shimano or SP dynohub with B&M IQ Cyo up front and whatever B&M up the back, you'd have a good setup that could cost considerably less.

My wife commutes to Heidelberg from Coburg on this:

Image

It's an 8sp Alfine with the lighting setup I described. It's got a few bits like Honjo fenders and VO racks that make it an expensive bike, but you could do a similar thing with cheaper parts.

I ride this into the city:

Image

It's an early eighties mid-range roadie that originally had 27" wheels. Fitting 700c wheels allowed me to use 32mm tyres (35mm will fit) and SKS Longboard fenders. These fenders are excellent at keeping the water off and are great value I reckon. I had to fit longer reach brakes; I used Tektro dual pivot calipers and they're excellent. Much better than the original Dia Compes, but certainly not as good as disks in the wet.

This bike has become my favourite bike, and has just turned 30y/o. It's comfortable, reliabe, commutes in the city well, carries a load well and isn't special enough for me to be too precious about it, although it would break my heart to lose it. Perhaps it would be better for commuting with brifters, although they do add complexity. I'm actually planning this now, switching most of this bike's gear to a Shogun Alpine GT frame to use for touring and going back to a compact double on this bike.
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby queequeg » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:27 am

Mulger bill wrote:
queequeg wrote:My Lynskey Cooper CX...

Can't help drooling when I see this...


As my commuting workhorse it is a very nice ride. Before this I was on a Trek FX 7.5 Hybrid (I broke two of those in 2 years!). When I moved house to a hilly area, the Hybrid just didn't cut it anymore.
I nearly got a Kona Honky Inc instead, but decided to get the Ti frame because it doesn't rust and has no paint to worry about. I even made sure the rack is Ti!
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby rjk » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:10 pm

Hi,

I have a CX bike, go have a look at one as a commuter, mine is a boardman CX pro i bought from wiggle.

Goldcross are importing these now, it has lugs and is disc braked, with the ability to run wider tyres at any time you want to.

I have fitted at various times racks and guards and they fit easily, i use the topeak super tourist rx disc rack for clearance on the rear.

It also has interruptor brakes, sometimes called B Brakes that sit on the flat part on the drop bars, this gives you the ability to sit more upright when you are commuting thru traffic, the surprising thing with these brakes is that they are actually more powerful than the STI levers and you have more control.

have a look at the CX's from merida and specialised as well

http://www.wiggle.com.au/boardman-cx-pro/

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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby CXCommuter » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:29 pm

I am another with back problems and find riding drop bars not an issue and flat bars actually worse. I have just passed 1 year commuting on a Giant TCX and love it, solid reliable and fast. Just seeing the 2014 Giant Cross bikes being all disc is even better but you may have to wait for them a month or two. If undertaking regular commuting in all conditions I think 105/Rival is the best for reliability and cost/benefit but if you can afford higher groupsets go for it. I find 25/28mm tyres the best compromise.

There are plenty of options for racks and guards out there also for any bike.

BTW until my most recent N+1 purchase I used the TCX for group rides and did it comfortably.
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby Crawf » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:40 pm

WestcoastPete wrote:I described. It's got a few bits like Honjo fenders and VO racks that make it an expensive bike, but you could do a similar thing with cheaper parts.

I ride this into the city:

Image

It's an early eighties mid-range roadie that originally had 27" wheels. Fitting 700c wheels allowed me to use 32mm tyres (35mm will fit) and SKS Longboard fenders. These fenders are excellent at keeping the water off and are great value I reckon. I had to fit longer reach brakes; I used Tektro dual pivot calipers and they're excellent. Much better than the original Dia Compes, but certainly not as good as disks in the wet.

This bike has become my favourite bike, and has just turned 30y/o. It's comfortable, reliabe, commutes in the city well, carries a load well and isn't special enough for me to be too precious about it, although it would break my heart to lose it. Perhaps it would be better for commuting with brifters, although they do add complexity. I'm actually planning this now, switching most of this bike's gear to a Shogun Alpine GT frame to use for touring and going back to a compact double on this bike.


Hi Pete, how have you found that B&M taillight?
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby ShogunHy » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:31 pm

Shogun Metro SE with Topeak MTX rack and MTX DXP pannier bags - planet blaze lighting - could ride around Australia on this thing now with new rims and a top service from the good people at the Mordy LBS
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby WestcoastPete » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:49 am

Crawf wrote:
WestcoastPete wrote: <SNIP>



Hi Pete, how have you found that B&M taillight?


It's great! Bright, standlight is good. Well visable from side on. Way prettier than the one on my wife's bike. I have one for hers, but I've never gotten around to fitting it.
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby Crawf » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:19 am

WestcoastPete wrote:
Crawf wrote:
WestcoastPete wrote: <SNIP>



Hi Pete, how have you found that B&M taillight?


It's great! Bright, standlight is good. Well visable from side on. Way prettier than the one on my wife's bike. I have one for hers, but I've never gotten around to fitting it.


Great, expecting my Seculite Plus any day now.
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby skull » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:23 am

Hills in Melbourne? 8-)

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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby jasonc » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:17 am

skull wrote:Hills in Melbourne? 8-)


I was being nice and ignoring that.
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby michaelkn » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:32 am

skull wrote:Hills in Melbourne? 8-)

Sent from my HTC Desire using Tapatalk 2


YahRLY, try this stretch:

https://maps.google.com.au/maps?saddr=B ... 6&lci=bike

Or anywhere around Templestone! 'em hills!
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby jasonc » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:57 pm

michaelkn wrote:
skull wrote:Hills in Melbourne? 8-)

Sent from my HTC Desire using Tapatalk 2


YahRLY, try this stretch:

https://maps.google.com.au/maps?saddr=B ... 6&lci=bike

Or anywhere around Templestone! 'em hills!


the 18kms excludes Templestowe. And that bell street stretch is good fun.
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby KenGS » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:00 pm

Not as much fun as the adjacent Col de Burgundy
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Re: Commuting in Melbourne 18km with hills

Postby nezumi » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:38 pm

skull wrote:Hills in Melbourne? 8-)

Sent from my HTC Desire using Tapatalk 2


The route I would take is close to this - for me this is some decent elevation for a commute:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/176665726
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