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If you were to build a commuter bike what would it be?

  • 25-09-2022 9:57pm
    Registered Users Posts: 832 ✭✭✭

    I'm half thinking about cycling to work the odd day just to keep some fitness.

    Commute would be rural on country roads down in Kerry. About 18km

    I have a TCR carbon road bike for summer and a Ti bike for winter (similar geometry to the TCR). I use Race blades on the Ti in winter when wet. Also have a Giant MTB hardtail for occasional off road stuff and a Ribble alu thing I build up as a fixed wheel bike (home made hub fixed set up)

    I was toying with building something for commuting and started thinking why not make it a more multipurpose bike? Maybe something that could do gravel and other such hipster stuff. 😁

    I'm not a fan of disc brakes on road bikes but for something like this I think it might be OK. It would need full mudguards. A rear rack too I think for carrying change of clothes and laptop.

    I have thought about straight bars vs drops but think I'd stick with drops for comfort with various hand positions.

    Price range would have to be in teh budget this would be another bike I don't really need 🙄

    Would you start with a gravel or CX type frame and build from that? Or would you start with a Hybrid or a mountain bike and do something with that?

    Any other advice from people who have experimented with various types of bikes for this purpose?


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 19,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭Weepsie

    My tour de fer and pinnacle arkose are kind of perfect commuters

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,190 ✭✭✭CantGetNoSleep

    For flat bars vs drop - I've had one or two commutes where I preferred flat bars due to a bit more upright position in traffic.

    For me I'd probably consider three choices -

    A slightly older 11-speed road bike with mechanical rim braked 105 as long as it has space for 28mm tires

    A gravel frame with 35mm+ slick tires, maybe steel

    Something like a Canyon Commuter - disc brakes, internal gear hub. Basically a hybrid but no more than 9kg

    In all cases I would want full mudguards and a rack

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,261 Mod ✭✭✭✭CramCycle

    Any bike you are comfy on for the distance is a perfect commuter. By the sounds of it though, you want a CX/gravel bike with the excuse it's a commuter. I ride a Cube Cross Team as my commuter with SKS raceblades but no rack so won't suit you. If it's only a change of clothes and a laptop, are there any seat post bags that would do you? I just carry mine in a backpack, same distance as you but I know not everyone likes the weight/heat on your back. 18km is not a short commute so definitely drops, maybe something flared if your not racing. Thinking more about it, basically any decent tourer will do the job. If money is no object, then stainless steel, full ultegra. If it is, keep an eye here or adverts for an old touring bike in good condition.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,962 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    Belt drive and hub gear. Cleaning and maintaining a commuter gets old real fast. As much internal cabling as possible for the same reason. Which is why a cx works as a commuter. Rack full & mudguards. Make sure there's good mountings for lights front and rear that aren't blocked by panniers etc.

    Toolkit for punctures and practice only using the tools on the bike.

    I had puncture proof tires with some tread. But I used to find the tread picked up glass and sharp stones which then would get punched through the tire if you hit that spot with a pot hole or such. So I'd get slicks. Also fatter for some comfort.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 47,868 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    a friend commutes on a belt drive with internal gears, and is very happy with it. mainly urban riding though.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,208 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    I'd definitely go drop bar for that distance.

    My current commuter is a Kona Rove AL, which was my Gravel bike originally. I replaced it for Gravel with a AL Topstone, which also has rack mounts (and is a much nicer, and lighter, bike). I've been using it off road with the rack on, after using it on holiday on gravel roads of France, and it's coped with Irish fire roads.

    I personally find a rack far better than a backpack. The other thing I really wouldn't be without now is a dynamo hub set up, with decent light. My B&M one is great even on unlit roads.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,261 Mod ✭✭✭✭CramCycle

    Dynamos are awesome and I miss my Audax bike solely for this reason. A Schmidt deluxe and a Shimano Dh3N80 are my recommendations although they may well have been surpassed since I had one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 832 ✭✭✭gn3dr

    "By the sounds of it though, you want a CX/gravel bike with the excuse it's a commuter."

    We all use man maths at some point 😁

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 19,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭Weepsie

    Oh yes, this is a must. Some of the cube gravel bikes come with a dynamo as standard now. Rebadged shutter precision on the higher end ones and basic Shimano one that will still last an age on the lower end ones. Not having to worry about charging a light is kind of priceless to me.

    I still have a set of rim brake dynamo wheels just in case I ever get a suitable bike again

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,135 ✭✭✭Alanbt

    I have a Condor Fratello and it's perfect for commuting (even though I haven't commuted in 2.5 years).

    28mm tyres, mudguards, rack, but not a tank in terms of weight. Can definitely get up to speed on it. Not necessarily a budget friendly option, but I picked up second had rim brake frameset few years ago and delighted with it

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  • Registered Users Posts: 832 ✭✭✭gn3dr

    So after starting out with one idea, I ended up swaying back to simplicity and no fanciness. Just picked up this Genesis Flyer today. Single speed with flip flop hub. I'll run it as a fixed. Got a luggage rack with it also. Just need to take off the woman's saddle, maybe a 10 mm shorter stem, switch the brakes around to front = left and some Look pedals and should be good to go.

    I considered adding rack and mudguards to my own fixie but it doesn't have mounts and I didn't want to be dealing with clip ones or wrap around clamps. I could have welded something on but that was just messing I don't have time for right now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,720 ✭✭✭✭AndrewJRenko

    Dynamo lights are great on a commuter, making sure you have lights at all times, even if other lights run out of battery.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,351 ✭✭✭Ryath

    Had meant to reply earlier to this thread but never got around to it. Being able to take mudguards, rack and dynamo light would be my main criteria. I have a Canondale Synapse built up for several years now, SON dynamo and light, full mudguards and Tubus fly rack as a winter bike/light tourer and occasional commuter. Have wanted something simpler for a long time as a low maintenance bike/general hack. Was going to get a cheap hybrid but I'm too used to drops and it would be no use commuting with the distance I have. Money no object option would be a Van Nichols with a Rohloff hub and gates drive. I considered going with an Alfine 11 gates drive option but there really are only Hybrids like the Cube Editor which I could convert to drops but the geometry is always going to compromised.

    I want to try and commute more regularly and need something low maintenance if I do it. Probably better sticking with a single speed. For what I'll be using it for day to day I don't need gears and my commute is nearly flat with 70m of climbing in 27km. While the hub gear is low maintenance day to day it does need servicing and is draggier. Plenty of single speeds options out there but most can't take mudguards and racks. Surley Straggler was on the shortlist but the frameset was hard find in stock in my size. Considered the Dolan FXE too but had settled on discs and I'm not mad about it's looks.

    Genesis Flyer was on my shortlist too and ended up seeing one in stock in my size in store and getting it as a bit of a impulse buy at the weekend. It cost about the same as the Surley Framset so hopefully a better buy though I may end up upgrading a good chunk of it. I think it matches the Surley in most ways but it's rear facing dropouts vs the forward facing on the Surley are the main draw back I can see with mudguards fitted. Hopefully I don't regret someday it stuck on the side of the road in the pissing rain!

    First upgrades are more road biased tyres, probably 32mm GP 4 seasons but possibly should go for something more bombproof but I do want decent rolling resistance and grip. Mudguards are next considering ones with integrated racks. Hebie Alumee Wingee or Herkelman Wingee, Herkelman look quite good options for making routing the cables for dynamo lighting easier. Which is the next decision, tempted to spend the money on SON again but think I'll make do with a prebuilt Shutter Precision or Shimano wheel from one of the German sites with a B&M light.

    I'll upgrade the brakes at some point too, was going to going to make TRP Hylex one of my first upgrades and sell the ones that came on it but I can only find flatmount versions and it has post mounts. Could use adaptors but adds to the cost and from some reading TRP SPYRES are nearly as good and a lot cheaper.

    Post edited by Ryath on

  • Registered Users Posts: 520 ✭✭✭ARX

    If you are using panniers then I would say that a kickstand is - if not essential- very useful. It's much easier to put stuff into and take it out of panniers if the bike is standing up, rather than having to lean it against a wall. If there isn't a chainstay bridge for a kickstand you can get one that mounts to the chainstay and seatstay on one side.

  • Registered Users Posts: 869 ✭✭✭alentejo

    I have the Genesis CDA with a Sora gearing and levers. Great for commuting however cable brakes aren't the best. Do some homework on mudguards and ensure you have sufficient clearance.

    Its a great bike to ride and very comfortable!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,351 ✭✭✭Ryath

    Yea the Promax callipers aren't great but TRP Spyres are meant to be a big upgrade.

    Trying to figure out mudguards at the minute. Do you have full ones on yours? Clearance looks very similar. I do want a rack so the integrated one the Wingees looks good. It's not that much more than buying a pair of SKS chromoplastics and a rack and should be a nice bit lighter. Leaning towards the ones direct from Herkelmann, the dynamo options do make for handy cable routing though it does mean an extra wiring connection around bottom bracket if I go with a mudguard mounted rear light.

    I'd say clearance will be fine it can take 42mm tyres so should be fine with 40mm guards and 32mm tyres. I'd say even the 37mm that are on it would fit at a squeeze. I've printed of their template and I'll check later.

    Post edited by Ryath on

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 19,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭Weepsie

    Juin Techs or Trp Hy/Rd will be great on that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,830 ✭✭✭shootermacg

    Drop bars are the better option if you encounter wind. They also default to being a little narrower, which is good for occasional gaps. Something like a Giant Defy disk would be a good option, relaxed stance and it will take bigger tyres 32s, but defaults to 25s, which I find much nicer than 23s.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,261 Mod ✭✭✭✭CramCycle

    Let us know what you think after a few days, I am sorely tempted to get one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 869 ✭✭✭alentejo

    I am running 40' Schwalbe plus tour tyres. I think the bike came with Riddler 37' tyres. Using BBB mudguards sourced from LBS which are OK but very limited clearance with the 40' tyres.

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