25 November 2011

The jury is still out.

DRAFT (come back later)

What bike should I commute on, touring bike or mtn bike?

This post is for my benefit, but the ten readers might find this post interesting or useful. ( This blog originally started as more of a journal of my trips, it has changed, but not sure what it is right now.)

Above is 1970's Raleigh Grand Prix touring bike.
-skinnier tyres, so faster , easier on smooth roads
-fewer gears, yep you read right and I will explain below.
-light (see below)
-Many hand positions

-No racks yet, harder to mount the front rack, will need brazing
-high off ground
-skinny tyres not good on rough roads, sand , mud
-mud sometimes cakes inside fenders
-No granny gear for the really step roads

Above Trek 6500 ~year 2000 Mtn bike
-Racks front and back
-Fat tyres for rough road
-low gearing
-shock in front for rough roads
-tyres thicker, less flats

-No fenders yet, harder to mount the front one.
-No light yet
-fat tyres slower on paved roads
-fewer hand positions

A bike is a bike right? Well, sometimes but I am a bit complicated, I could get by with one bike (i have 3 now). But I could see owning more also . The bike setup for overnight bush bashing is different from the bike for a 4 hour mtn bike ride. Road riding with club is specializied.

I have points to make about a commuting bike:
-Is weight important? Not all that much as I carry loads anyway.
-Was the theft of my old bike a good thing? NO but I have had a wider experience with bike setup and types, and it is pointing me to a better bike. Like something is different about the raleigh. My hands dont go to sleep! With my expensive road bike they do. Why? Curved fork, narrow handlebars? different fit?
-gearing. It is way overrated having lots of gears, wide range and properly spaced is what i need . On the Raleigh if i could have smaller front chainring it would be great.
-Weight should be in front. I have read that proper touring bikes are more stable when there is load in front. So far i find it better than just the rear.
-can I get by with one bike? Yes but I will have several.
-Fenders!!!! yeah. They are important, but there is the issue of caking mud. But fenders going to work are required now.

The Trek mountain bike cost me $200 from the Goodie's used bike and spare shop in town. (His operation is a blog post in itself). Then I spent a few more dollars for front and rear racks. I dug around for bar ends and new cables. It needs some partial fenders and shifter and rear cassette are not quite compatible.

After riding it a few days I looked at the bike more. It is a Trek 6500. I am not a weight weinie. I add on so much stuff to a bike that it is senseless to buy a bike for lightness, when i am going to permanently add:
-front and rear racks
-frame triangle pack
-light mtns

However I noticed two days ago the frame says "ultralight frame" . I have been wondering why this bike seems faster than my old bike.

It also slows down faster and smoother. The brakes are really smooth.

So I had pretty much decided that my commuting bike would be the 1970's Raleigh, a heavy large framed road bike with full fenders. I haven't managed to get racks, and am tired of a backpack hung over the handlebars, so i have ridden the mtn bike as a commutter and now i dont know what to do.

I do know now that the commuting bike should :
Full fenders. Even the standard fenders are not long enough, especially the front, it should extend way far below the bottom bracket. This stops spray on the shoes and keeps bottom bracket drier. The mountain bike, i could figure out full fenders, but what happens off road? fenders get clogged up with mud.
Simple. few gears, less maintainence.
Lots of cargo capacity.
Front Rack. I finally have a front rack on a bicycle of mine. Yes it is better. Jan Heine publishes the only magazine i subscribe to, and he says start putting weight there.

Simple is better. with the raleigh i could get by with the 5 rear gears. I never use the large chain ring commuting to work.

wheels. The road bike might be slightly faster on the paved roads, but i have 1 km of trail and rough dirt road, where the mtn bike excels.

I found this dynamo and light at the used bike store. It is setup to be one unit but i split it.

Tonight I try it out on the ride home.

1 comment:

  1. Jeff K6:48 pm

    Does the Raleigh fit you? The top tube looks like it might be an inch too high, and maybe shorter than your other road bike - putting your weight more on the seat and less on your hands. I love the way you strapped on the pump, totally righteous bushman innovation! I think the commuter bike decision rests on the road quality and the required payload. Lots of mud - buy some fenders for the mtn bike, lots of pavement - braze on front rack mounts on the Raleigh. Which bike would be harder to lose to theft?