New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby Kieran263 » Sat May 19, 2012 2:50 am

Hey guys, and gals.
Long time reader, first time poster.
Now as the title states, I am new to the world of the commuter. After moving to Melbourne a couple of years ago for uni I've finally come to my senses
and realised that my commodore really isn't the most efficient way of getting around.
Now moving to Melbourne and paying my way through uni has made my budget very tight to say the least.
I've been looking around at various sites for bikes, I've seen a few I like the look of but most have been out of my budget of $400ish.
After reading through this forum I realise that if I skimp out now I'll be paying for it later.
The one I'm thinking about at the moment, very hard, is a Malvern Star OPPY A2(2011 model)
Are there any pitfalls with Malvern Star? Anything else I should be looking out for?
Any advice would be fantastic.
Thanks guys.
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by BNA » Sun May 20, 2012 8:17 pm

BNA
 

Re: New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby Kieran263 » Sun May 20, 2012 8:17 pm

After a bit more re/searching I've come to the conclusion that most road bikes wouldn't be suited to my
cough cough, heft. I've changed my thoughts as I don't want to have to replace wheels/forks every time I
don't see a pot hole. The only other option I could see as being appropriate would be grabbing a mountain
bike and giving it a set of slicks. As I'll only be commuting a few kilometers a day (4.3) I'm not too worried
about losing a few minutes here or there. Will there be any major problems with this approach? Aside from
the obvious increase in bike weight?
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Re: New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby Oxford » Sun May 20, 2012 8:45 pm

if its only a short commute, go single speed. check out the thread from ldrcycles about the Big W SS bike. only $100 so you'll have plenty of coin for other incidentals like locks and lights. plus keeping the spend down also means that you will not feel ill at ease locking it up places like uni'.
Life is not about waiting for the rain to pass.....it's about learning to dance (or ride) in the rain.
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Re: New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby find_bruce » Mon May 21, 2012 1:47 pm

Welcome Kieran,

If you are struggling to come up with more cash fora bike, it will be a real tragedy if som elow life nicks it - seems to be a bit of a problem around uni's.

You either end up going overboard on locks etc or getting what is sometimes referred to as a pub bike - ie cheap bike, looks rough & there is always a better looking bike to take. A single speed like Oxford suggested (url=http://www.bicycles.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=51119]So how bad is a Big W bike, really?[/url] is a good place to start - the biggest problem with cheap bikes IMO is the horrible gear shift.

If you really must have gears, I would consider second hand - and set it up as a 1 x 8. A decent rear deraileur & cluster wont draw attention to an otherwise old looking frame.

When you have enough spare cash for a decent bike to ride for fun, you still have a pub bike for, well you know riding to the pub.
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Re: New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby Kieran263 » Mon May 21, 2012 6:43 pm

That big w single speed looks pretty good. And you're right about bike's going missing at uni's.
At least once a week a bike goes missing here at LaTrobe. Might have to take a little trip to Big W.
As I said it's only a few kays a day and I'll get the money back from not paying for fuel or tram tickets
in a month or two if I go for that bike. It seems to be a bit of a heavyweight, and reliability is what I'm after.
Thanks guys.
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Re: New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Mon May 21, 2012 9:07 pm

Kieran263 - regardless of the bike you choose and various accoutrements, one of the things that, if you do not get it right, may drive you away from riding is however you set yourself up with whatever works for you in respect of clothing (layers), bags/backpacks/panniers, lighitng and, most important of all, end-of-trip stuff like showers, security, etc. Mostly borinf and not sexy. But way more important than the latest in campagnolo bits and bobs if yo intend to make this a lifetime thing.

Fortunately this is something that you can work out over, say, a full year. You will waste some time and money on things that prove to not be suitable for you. If you can manage the first year and day one of the second year you are set up as you wish then commuting may then become a lifetime habit.

Shop smart, ask advice on the boring non-sexy stuff like what to do to keep your tootsies warm in winter.

Welcome aboard. Good luck.
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Re: New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby Kieran263 » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:19 pm

Alright, so after some careful consideration, I thought for sure I was going to wander to big W and grab one of those repco single speed jobs.
Then trawling around the interwebs I found a second hand Reid Condor for $100, the same price as the repco was to be. Now I've read all about
Reid and their components, but I wasn't going to pass it up at that price. So about 3 weeks ago now I went and picked it up. It wasn't exactly
smooth and not much was aligned properly but there was no major issues with the frame or anything essential. So after a day of adjusting, aligning
and tightening everything was running smoothly and quietly. After 100+km I really can't fault it, probably because my last bike being a 16kg mountain anchor.
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It's frame is a small, which actually suits my dimensions(short legs/arms, long torso), I'll be changing a few things along the way, like the headset\stem,
purely because I hate the look of it. The pedals, because they're flimsy as hell. And the rim tape/tyres as I've heard that the rim tape is an especially weak
point in the design for starters. So I figure another $60 or $70 and I'll have a relatively reliable, decent looking commuter for much less than $200.
I'll need to put a few hundred more kays on it before I give a full synopsis of how it's going, but so far, I'm very happy. And it's probably already saved me
$50 in transport costs in not even a month, so for the first time in a long while I could afford to buy a decent steak for dinner. Already paying for itself :mrgreen:
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Re: New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby RabeyDave » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:04 pm

Anyone being offered a Large Reid Condor Flat Bar Bike, black, White Saddle, possibly still with Bull horn handles, and a new back wheel with puncture proof tyre and steel pedals please give me a heads up?. Mine was stolen a few weeks ago from Stanmore Station here in Sydney. Like anyone who has been stolen from Id love to stem the flow of resold stolen property and possibly even identify the thieves.

Many thanks,

David
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Re: New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby RabeyDave » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:07 pm

Hi Kieran263

Were you offered to buy a Reid Condor Large FlatBar Bike recently?

Im just wondering as mine was stolen recently.

Thanks,

David
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Re: New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby Kieran263 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:27 am

Nah man. I bought this one as is, I'm sure it's not yours as it's a small frame, and no I haven't been offered one recently.
That really blows though mate, I'm in Melbourne but have a couple mates who ride that live in Rockdale so I'll shoot them
a text, let them know to be suspicious. Hope you find it mate.
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Re: New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby Kieran263 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:01 pm

1000+km down and there are a few things, the BB has started to make some noise and the cranks have started to warp.
Most likely due to 3 things, cheap no name cranks, me being a big guy and putting a fair bit of force through them.
Also the front sprocket is becoming quite worn(also cheap no name) so I'll shortly be converting to one speed up front.
The frame, forks and rims are still in perfect condition, Still very happy with my $100 second hand purchase, probably\
just going to replace all the crud with base shimano gear so should see a bit of change from $100(maybe hahaha)
Any suggestions are welcome.
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Re: New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby waramatt » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:30 pm

Hi Kieran

If your budget is $400, you might want to consider a brand new SE Draft Lite. It is single speed steel frame and solid as a rock. Also comes in flat bar and drop bar versions (mine is drop bar). Check bikeexchange - you should be able to pick one up for under $300. I use mine as a commuter on the days when rain looks likely and I have a 36km round trip. It's a very comfy ride. I'm about 88kg. What's heft? If you're a fair bit heavier than that, you could check with LBS and maybe consider a stronger rim for the rear wheel. The gearing is 42:16, which is suitable for anything but steep hilly terrain. It allows you to comfortably cruise along at 30-32 km/h if you want. I generally sit on about 26-28 on the flats. It also comes with a flip flop hub, allowing you to go fixxie if you want. I go freewheel only. It really is a very solid bike and a smooth ride. I acknowledge that single speed is not everyone's cup of tea, but I love it, and find that it improves my pedalling form for the days I ride the geared bikes.

Good luck.
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Re: New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:55 pm

Kieran263 wrote:1000+km down and there are a few things, the BB has started to make some noise and the cranks have started to warp.
Most likely due to 3 things, cheap no name cranks, me being a big guy and putting a fair bit of force through them.
Also the front sprocket is becoming quite worn(also cheap no name) so I'll shortly be converting to one speed up front.
The frame, forks and rims are still in perfect condition, Still very happy with my $100 second hand purchase, probably\
just going to replace all the crud with base shimano gear so should see a bit of change from $100(maybe hahaha)
Any suggestions are welcome.

People other than long-time riders tend to prefer to push hard when the going gets tough instead of upping the cadence. It might be time to consider that if you haven't already. As well as being better for you, in the long run it should also be better for various parts of the drive train - the cranks, pedals, rear sprocket, BB, etc.
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Re: New to the world of the commuter, hi!

Postby Kieran263 » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:42 pm

Yeah, coming to commuting from just riding for fun I never really up cadence unless I'm up a decent incline.
I am going to have to replace a couple things, but I am trying to get out of the habit of working harder not smarter.
Thanks for the advice man.
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