17 km commute - Melbourne Bayside

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

17 km commute - Melbourne Bayside

Postby Cam G » Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:00 pm

I have just had the phone call from the bike shop - to repair my mountain bike is approaching the cost of the bike (circa $500) so time for an upgrade. I have been using my bike for commuting 3-4 days a week 17 clicks each way and pretty flat but always windy and plenty of bike path with some bumps and a bit of sand & grit. My current bike has "lasted" about 15 months during which time I have covered plenty miles and being honest i have only focused on making sure the chain is well oiled and tyres are at a decent pressure.

I guess the question is do I pick up something for similar money and treat it as a consumable and reside to replacing every 18 months or so or is there something out there I can spend a bit more cash on that will last longer with basic maintainence. Also looking for something more towards the road bike end of mountain bikes / hybrids because I like to commute rapidly!

Thoughts appreciated
Cam G
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by BNA » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:14 pm

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Re: 17 km commute - Melbourne Bayside

Postby DavidS » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:14 pm

I ride very similar distances on the same route. I ride from Elsternwick to just the other side of town and go down Beach Rd - cycle path on the way in and a combination of road and cycle path home.

I have a flat bar roadie (Giant CRX3 from 2009) and have done 13,000KMs on it and it is almost like new. The chain and rear cassette have been replaced a couple of times but the frame and the like show no signs of wear. I am thinking of giving it a big service over the break but nothing has gone wrong. I am expecting a lot more KMs before I need to replace it. The bike cost about $750 and I have spent at least $250 on mudguards, rack, basket etc. It suits me and I reckon for less than $1k you can get a bike which will last years.

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Re: 17 km commute - Melbourne Bayside

Postby jasonc » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:31 am

Hi Cam

I've got a giant cross city 1 (2011). I did have a hybrid (it's current in the member to member sale section). i commute just over 22kms each way.
going from the hybrid to the flat bar was a massive difference. I spend more time on the bike now. Spend the most you are comfortable with. Otherwise upgraditis may cost you sooner!
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Re: 17 km commute - Melbourne Bayside

Postby simonn » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:03 pm

Must be the labour cost (I guess). Sounds a bit over the top though. For a $500 bike you could probably replace the entire drive train for ~$100-150. The wheels would be another $200 or so though so... hmmm... I dunno.

simonn's rule #1 for commuting: (Learn to) Do your own bike maintenance.

Chains and cassettes wear out reasonably quickly. If you do not change the chain before it does so it can also wear out the chainrings. I have successfully got ~12,000km out of a cassette by rotating 3 chains every 1000km or so (probably ended up more like ~1500-2000km). This did not wear the chainrings. 3 chains and a cassette (~bottom of the range) are going to be around $80-100 from wiggle and the like. That's about how much it costs for an LBS to wipe down your bike and tune your brakes and gears. YMMV though.

If you are looking for an excellent all round bike (well as far as is possible for a bike to be a jack of all trades)... Boardman Comp CX. I love mine and it came in at ~$1050 landed (not including mudguards and lights though). I commute on it every day, makes an ok-ish roadie (with slicks) and you can do this too....

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Re: 17 km commute - Melbourne Bayside

Postby Cam G » Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:45 pm

Thanks all for the responses so I think in summary spend a bit more on the bike a learn how to do bike maintainence. On the bike front what are people's views on a second hand newish commuter? Also how do you actually go about learning basic maintainence? Is this trial and error tinkering or is there useful guides our there that can help?

Thoughts appreciated

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Re: 17 km commute - Melbourne Bayside

Postby DavidS » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:29 pm

Heaps of YouTube clips on bike maintenance. I learned as a kid so I only need to learn the new stuff (like threadless headsets). Also sites like SheldonBrown are very useful. You will also need some specialised tools but they can be built up over time. A chain whip, cassette remover, chain link tool and special pliers for the connecting link are enough to allow you to remove the chain and cassette and replace them.

Remember a bike is mechanical (ok, electric gears excepted but not really relevant here ;) ). Being mechanical you can see what is going on so you can generally work out what to do to pull it apart and fix it. Most fixing involves removing the broken or worn part and replacing it. Just make sure you get the correct tool where relevant as using the wrong tool is a pain and can damage parts.

Also, ask advice here, plenty of very knowledgable people around.

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