Reliable Commuter

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

Reliable Commuter

Postby Sydguy » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:24 pm

Hi all,

Commuting home last night a spoke snapped, same as last time, rear wheel at hub. Can't afford this to keep happening.
As I need new bike, what should I aim for $ wise in flat bar roadies, to ensure the components will withstand 200 km weekly? I've realised that an entry level hybrid won't take the mileage. At any rate the frame is far too small.
New lbs is saying $1300 mark gets flat bar with decent parts. But he thinks my single pannier is too heavy and I should get a road bike use a backpack and fly to work.

Any advice?
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by BNA » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:53 pm

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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby jasonc » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:53 pm

End of Jan I bought a Giant Cross City 1. I commute (weather dependent) 4 days a week for a total just over 160km a week.

It has 105 rear cassette and derailleur. it rides on 700x28c tyres which have tread, so if you want super skinny road tyres they'll have to be replaced.

I was in the same situation (sans pannier situation) and didn't want a road bike. this was exactly what i was looking for at the right price.

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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby il padrone » Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:46 pm

Sydguy wrote:But he thinks my single pannier is too heavy and I should get a road bike use a backpack and fly to work.

Any advice?

Go to a better bike shop :?:

It's your choice about what you need to carry to work and how you carry it. It will have exactly 5/8 of SFA in the question of the cause of your brooken spokes.

For the best way to resolve this I'd consider looking at your spoke count and considering whether a set of wheels with 36 SS spokes, handbuilt by a reputable wheel builder might give you greater durability.

I have to carry two panniers of gear to work and have not broken a spoke in the past 18 years on my commuter bikes. Low-cost modern bikes usually have machine-built wheels, often with 32 spokes, or less. This is an area of greater weakness.
Last edited by il padrone on Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby kiso » Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:50 pm

How many km has the bike done? It could be that you just need new wheels. I've been told that as the rims wear down (assuming you don't have disc brakes) the wheels flex more, resulting in more broken spokes.

A new pair of wheels is a lot cheaper than a new bike!
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby il padrone » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:26 pm

kiso wrote:How many km has the bike done? It could be that you just need new wheels. I've been told that as the rims wear down (assuming you don't have disc brakes) the wheels flex more, resulting in more broken spokes.

Sounds like an old wives tale IMHO. My Giant Sedona touring MTB and commuter has gone through 4 pairs of hoops in 18 years:

Original Araya - 6 years
Mavic (?) - 5 years
Mavic X317 - 5 years
Velocity Synergy - 3 years*
Mavic XM517 - 1 year (still in action on wife's bike)

The first 4 rim sets all wore until the sidewalls either became 'orribly concave or actually split. Never broke a single spoke in that time.


* disappointed in the performance from the Velocity :(
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby Sydguy » Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:51 pm

Thanks for the replies - the bike is only a few months old and has not done more than 2,000kms or there abouts.

Have changed bike shops... the original LBS replaced the first spoke but did not cross it over... my new LBS thought that was pretty funny. I of course did not.

I will either get a very close to top of the range flat bar from a large company like Avanti/Giant or perhaps something with internal gear hub, heavy and tank like in durability. Happy to sacrifice speed for reliability.

The joke is on me though - I started cycle commuting to save money!


:D
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby Gravel_Rash » Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:45 pm

G,Day I have just brought a Trek 7.5 FX and so far it is a great bike rides good and it is fast.The wheels are taking my weight ok (98 kilo) maybe thats one to look at
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby westab » Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:03 pm

I ride a three year old Cell Blade road bike (Shimano Sora 8 speed) I carry up to 12kg in twin panniers including a laptop. The wheels have 32 spokes front and rear crossed three times. Higher spoke counts and the correct tension are the important factors.

I don't think the kind of bike is that important - you have to enjoy riding your machine; having panniers does place extra load on your rear wheel so it does require more care and attention.
Not fast, no style, but still get there.
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby nickobec » Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:39 pm

+1 for panniers over backpack

don't risk your back

personally I don't ride on Monday's. So I take enough clean clothes for week in and my dirty clothe out on Monday's by train. That way I avoid riding with panniers or backpack most days. Survive using a seat bag and/or handlebar bag.

I have broken two spokes on a very cheap ($80) wheelset after 4000km, my other wheelsets no problems, even with far more mileage on them.

I commute on variety of bikes including a modern 10 speed steel road bike, retro 7 speed Repco Superlite and a steel singlevspped. Not a flatbar in sight.

Note my commute is 40km, and 32km is on PSP without cars.
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby goneriding » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:06 am

You probably need to look at buying a better set of wheels rather than a new bike. Entry level is entry level.

I've got the same set of commuting wheels as westab and have just recently had the rear one rebuilt due to multiple spoke breakages. They have done about 25,000 km's on Sydney roads which impressed me!
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby DavidS » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:12 pm

I have 36 spoke rear wheels and went through a stage of breaking a spoke a week. Firstly, learn to fix spokes yourself, it is way too expensive otherwise. I haven't broken a spoke in a couple of months so I am hoping that it is ok now. The key, as far as I can tell, is getting the tension even. If you are getting the spokes replaced by a bike shop they should be able to do this. It does take some practice but it is also possible to get this right yourself. I ride to work every day and I have all my gear in a bag in a basket on the rear of the bike so there is some weight there. I also get some milk or the like on the way home sometimes. It really does pay to get the tension right. Even with a high spoke count you will break spokes with uneven tension.

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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby Sydguy » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:03 pm

I hear you - When the spoke was replaced the guy did 'true' the wheel I think as he spent a fair bit of time fiddling with the spoke tension so when the wheel was spinning and he held some kind of instrument to the wheel it was not wobbling back and forth like previously.
I need to get a new bicycle frame, as the current one is far too small and likely to cause me other dramas (back etc...). It is basically starting again, but this time I know that I am commuting 4 days per week, and 5 days when uni is out - regardless of weather etc...

The Giant Seek 2 and Scott Sub 45 would do the trick from what two separate LBS's have told me and they seem genuine and very understanding of what I need. Thank Allah/God (insert what ever make believe fairy you pray to) for this forum, I will never have much mechanical understanding but the amount of info and advice on here is awesome.

My only call now is do I roll with an 8speed internal hub job or just get the usual gearing. The Seek comes in single speed, not keen on and an 8 gear internal hub. Some good topics on the internal hubs, I'm leaning towards the Giant Seek City for that reason. Now the hard part is to track down a large (55 or 56cm) one that I can test ride. A new batch of Giant's are due to hit stores in the next 2 - 3 weeks and for that reason the big bike shop in Burwood could not get in a Seek 2, in large until the news ones hit the store.
It would be great if I can find a Seek City in Sydney that is a 2010 run out... and am planning to hit numerous bike shops next weekend. The strong AUD is a blessing as Giant are holding their prices for the new versions, or so I am told!

Thanks for the tips people!
JM
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby CommuRider » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:13 pm

Sydguy, since switching from a rear derailleur to an internal hub with my existing roadie - it cost me a fortune but the integrity of the frame is intact and quite solid - it is noticeable that I am slower. With my panniers, the bike is noticeably heavier so you will give up speed for convenience and ease of maintenance.

The other positives are that my bike looks more streamlined and well, I am sure others here would say it is 'weight training' with the added weight at the back.

Looks like you are becoming a serious commuter! Good luck with the decision and make sure the LBS you buy it from knows their stuff well and will not pull wool over your eyes or try to bulldoze you with what is good for them rather than good for you. I had to insist on some stuff with my conversion thanks to the knowledge available on this forum as I have more confidence to talk to bike shop owners now. Specifically, when they told me to get a new bike when I knew the quality of my bike could withstand the conversion. Had to wait a bit but got what I wanted in the end. So be assertive with your specs and know what you want.

Remember, you are the buyer and will be the owner of the bike so you will have to live with the purchase and use it!
Amateur oenologist and green-friendly commuter.
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby gdt » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:07 pm

I seriously commute on a entry-level roadie. Upgrading the entry level wheels to the high end of the "training" or "touring" models is a good idea (and buying the "training" or "touring" models of equipment rather than the "racing" model is a good rule for road bike commuting).

Spokes are the bane of my life, mainly because throwing a spoke puts the wheel out of action for a few days (either into the LBS or into the shed until the weekend). So if you do upgrade, keep the old set as reserves.
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby mekore » Thu Apr 21, 2011 3:59 am

Sydguy wrote:Hi all,

Commuting home last night a spoke snapped, same as last time, rear wheel at hub. Can't afford this to keep happening.
As I need new bike, what should I aim for $ wise in flat bar roadies, to ensure the components will withstand 200 km weekly? I've realised that an entry level hybrid won't take the mileage. At any rate the frame is far too small.
New lbs is saying $1300 mark gets flat bar with decent parts. But he thinks my single pannier is too heavy and I should get a road bike use a backpack and fly to work.

Any advice?


brrrr..... what an lbs....... i think you just need a pair of strong wheels... look for those with at least 32 spokes, and it should be hand built, it will last a looot longer and is cheaper for long shots. or, you can buy that is factry made, and have your lbs to true and tension it. i recommend that you have your lbs(better not that one) to build custom wheelsets for you. even with 500-600$, you can get a good set of strong wheels that will last for years, and it may outlive your bike. Mate your wheels with wide tires, i think 32c is minimal if you use heavy panniers, wide tires will help to strengthen your wheels too :P my tips to look for a good lbs is to look for one with at least one old and wise lookin, partially bald guy reading newspaper or component catalog on the corner of the shop :lol: usually they are honest and open for consultation...

Good luck!
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby cachexian » Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:36 am

I commute on a Scott sub 40. One electrified, one not. Both carry heavy loads on pannier racks.
Electric one: battery and work pannier bag 8kgish
Human powered: my son 20kgish

I've not had any probs with broken spokes. I did snap a mounting bolt on the pannier rack on the ebike. I don't slow down for bumps etc on that bike as much as I do with my son on the back (for obvious reasons).

I don't do the Ks that you do on a weekly basis but have now done 1000ks on the ebike and about 2500k on the other one.

I definitely recommend Scott Sub for commuting. I was advised against hub gears because of difficulty getting the wheel off for tube changes.
Scott Sub 40 with 200W, 36v Ezee geared front hub motor
and...
Trek Madonne 3.1 driven by left leg and right leg
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby MattyK » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:32 pm

cachexian wrote:I definitely recommend Scott Sub for commuting. I was advised against hub gears because of difficulty getting the wheel off for tube changes.

The problem there is your choice of tyres, not the hub.

The rear wheel can be removed with a 15mm spanner and a 2mm allen key (or an old spoke). Brakes would loosen like any others.

rear facing track style "dropouts" you would need to drop the chain before removing the wheel, but most have forward dropouts, and/or a master link on the chain.

matt
2 years with no punctures - schwalbe marathon *jinx*
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby cachexian » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:31 pm

Hey MattyK,

I had an horrible puncture yesterday - but I guarantee that your marathons would not have protected you. 2 inch nail straight through the kevlar protection belt on my Schwalbe Duranos and out through the sidewall.

I did actually patch the tube though without taking off the wheel. Love the Park Tools Super Patch!

I've got Mr Tuffys under Continental Contact Sports on my commuter and love them - six months no punctures.
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby MattyK » Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:38 pm

cachexian wrote:Hey MattyK,

I had an horrible puncture yesterday - but I guarantee that your marathons would not have protected you. 2 inch nail straight through the kevlar protection belt on my Schwalbe Duranos and out through the sidewall.

I did actually patch the tube though without taking off the wheel. Love the Park Tools Super Patch!

I've got Mr Tuffys under Continental Contact Sports on my commuter and love them - six months no punctures.

So what you're saying is the presence of a hub gear would have made no difference to the ease of repair?
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby cachexian » Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:19 pm

Yes. It wouldn't have made any difference in that case because it was very easy to locate the source of the leak - in that there was a huge nail sticking through the tyre.

Glass punctures / snake bites are harder to locate and I suspect that it might have been harder to repair one of those with the wheel on the bike.
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby MattyK » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:09 am

Either way, a hub gear wheel is very easy to remove. Harder than a quick release in that you need a spanner, but not exactly complex.
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Re: Reliable Commuter

Postby cachexian » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:28 pm

Fair enough. I stand corrected.
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