Commute bike recommendation

Hi guys,

I’m looking to buy a new bike for my commutes - ~14km one way with a mix of road / bike lanes (Paris) and I’m a bit stuck about what to buy. I will be usually carrying my food and swimming stuff so I need a place to put it.

I don’t really have a budget limit although I don’t like to buy shiny expensive things neither. I was thinking something like this Genesis Day One LTD for 1499 euros, or maybe just go with the much cheaper Decathlon Hoprider.

Is it worth paying more (gut feeling is yes) ? Any good suggestions ?

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Pinnacle arkose. It will do everything you need to and they’re very good value, if you can get one in your country

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I think either should be fine. I use a 20y old 17kg steel bike with upgraded dynamo lights and ortlieb commuter panniers to carry my laptop and clothes to and from work. works perfectly for what it should do

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Doesn’t seem to be available in France, but looks pretty good indeed

My only advice is don’t commute with a bike you couldn’t afford to have someone steal.

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I’m not really concerned about this as I will be putting it in a subterranean parking under the building I work in - with entry gates and a guard. There is still a possibility of course, but I think it will be as secure as it gets.

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I was going to get a Ribble CGR Al but ended up with a sale Arkose frameset. Either would make good commuters. Perhaps you can get Ribble in France.

I have a genesis day one, but it didn’t cost half as much! Is the one you’re looking at single speed? I quite like commuting on the single speed, but it needs to be reasonably flat. Other than that, the bike is heavy and feels small and the geometry is pretty relaxed (not really what I like), but its fine for commuting.

I’d look at local brands and go for a gravel or endurance bike - bigger tyres are nice, you can take it offroad a bit, slightly relaxed geometry helps with bike control in traffic. You’ll want mudguard mounts and potentially rack mounts as well. I’d also go for something fairly easy to fix/service, because commuting beats the hell out of bikes.

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Giant Cross City with v-brakes.

Cheap, simple and reliable.

The product manager in me think that the Genesis is way overpriced for its components
Cromoly - heavyish, might rust. No, it’s not more “compliant” the tubing wall thickness for mass produced bikes is so thick that you don’t get that “steel is real” feel.

Nexus 8 (should be Alfine).
Microshift (For the price it should be Shimano)
Base KMC chain
CST makes OK basic tires.
Jalco rims are OK. I’d prefer Alex
Prestine headset is pretty good
Samox cranksets have had production problems in 2019.

What you’re paying for is the MFG and assembly in Taiwan – about 1.5x more than China — and maybe anti-dumping tariffs (do they extend to Taiwanese MFG or is it only China, I’ve forgotten).

You are getting a Tubus rack and a Busch/Mueller dynamo. They’re nice but kind’ve overkill IMO.

Your other option is merde. I doubt it will last 1.5 years as a daily rider. You’ll invest more into keeping it running.

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I’d second the suggestion of a single speed if your commute is reasonably flat. Less to maintain, less to go wrong and less to wear out. Saves you money and time basically, which is exactly what you want on an every day bike in Northern Europe. Also found it made me a stronger cyclist as you get used to riding at a broad cadence range rather than just relying on gears.

I used to commute and 4-6000km/year in London for over a decade and it’s pretty brutal on bike wear and tear. So the less to go wrong and maintain the better. My setup was a Condor pista steel frame, Mavic Open Pro rims with lots of spokes (forget what the hubs were now), Schwalbe Marathon tires which are slow but bulletproof, 105 brakes. Replaced the tires, bar tape, cables and single cog about once a year, brake pads a bit more often, in terms of regular maintenance costs that was about it. Rim braking surface wore out every 3-4 years, as did the front chain ring.

Lots of good options available both secondhand and new. One thing I wish I’d done differently was to get a frame with pannier mounts, if you’re carrying a significant amount of stuff it’s nice to have it on the frame not your back. Especially in warmer months.

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That is interesting, the Genesis feels incredibly harsh, dropping off kerbs is painful. Despite that, there is visible sideways flex in the cranks/BB area. I didn’t really want to slag it off more, but I wouldn’t buy it again, hah.

If your commute isn’t overly hilly ild be tempted to look at some of the single speed bikes that Carrefour has for relatively small money (300-400) and then add whatever I felt I needed in the way of racks and lights. But that’s very much a personal view.

Thanks all for recommendations - much appreciated. Please keep posting good bike links - I’m indeed more inclined now toward spending some money to get a solid one.

As for hilly / flat - I have ~150m D+ on my ride and it’s one hill - going down on the way to work and up on the way back, but it’s pretty steep - it’s 120m on 2.5km. Besides, I don’t like single speeds :slight_smile:

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Pay less for commute bikes. Damage and theft is much more likely than race/training bikes.

For single speed I’ve wanted a Genesis Day One 10 for a while but it’s too hilly where I live:

Instead I finally got my winter commuter a few months ago, delivered free from Italy:

https://cinelli.it/it/prodotti/gazzetta-della-strada/

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I’m afraid I went overboard on my commuting bike. I wanted something that could handle the rain, so I got one with a Pinion bottom-bracket gearbox and a Gates-Carbon belt, hand-built by Mi-Tech in Germany - http://www.mi-tech.de/bike/trekking-t1-pinion/. It’s heavy, especially with panniers, but it’s low maintenance and I like that a lot. It’s different enough to be distinctive if stolen. Not exactly what you’re looking for, but something for thought. Perhaps a single-speed with a belt would be good for you.

I would go for a MTB-based cross bike, something like this Cube Editor: it has a solid aluminum frame, it has a carbon belt drive, so you never ever have to lube your chain, it is reasonably light at under 12 kg, it has a Shimano Alfine 11-speed shifter, has flat bars and is fully rigid. I personally don’t like how hub gears shift, so I would go with a 1x setup. But in terms of maintenance, this combo is hard to beat. Plus, the Schwalbe Marathon tires are indestructible, and because they are 42 mm wide, you will be reasonably comfortable. I would definitely put on fenders. In case you don’t like cycling backpacks, you’d also need a rack. I haven’t checked prices, but I would expect that the Cube costs about 1,200-1,500 €. (Edit: I was spot on with the price, I found it for 1,260 € online.)

If you go for a bike with a traditional rear derailleur, go for Deore SLX or 105: you get 95-99 % of the performance of the more expensive groupsets, and the only real penalty is weight — which in those quantities doesn’t matter enough for commutes.

There is a discussion of flat bars vs. drop bars, which to some degree is a matter of personal choice. I strongly lean in favor of flat bars: you have better bike control and given the speeds you will be traveling at in Paris, aerodynamics will be completely meaningless, unless you ride like a total hooligan. (If you are on a longer commute between cities where aerodynamics does end up mattering, this is a different story.)

I would shy away from a proper trekking or touring bike for two reasons: (1) It is way too expensive. If something happens to the bike, perhaps it gets stolen or someone kisses your bike while parking (I’ve been to Paris often enough to know that the locals park by ear), you will be really sad. (2) It is too heavy and has lots of features you don’t actually need. A Pinion gear box is neat, but you will never need the 600+ % gear range for your commute. (3) Forget about steel, carbon and the like. Aluminum is where it is at: it is the mass market material and aluminum frames are great and inexpensive. Steel frames cost more and you get no benefit while commuting (except for the feel of steel). Ditto for the even higher-priced titanium frames.

I know you mentioned not liking single speed, but it is where my vote is. I commute on a single speed for the following:

  1. riding different bikes is fun
  2. cleaning it is quick and simple
  3. maintenance is cheap and simple
  4. forces high and low cadence training
  5. it is nice to disconnect from changing gears, power, speed, and cadence.
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Yes, the Cube Editor looks like a good bike. I definitely recommend the fenders/mud guards. Disk brakes are also better in wet conditions. I have the indestructible Schwalbe Marathon tires, too, but my bike is currently wearing some (noisy) Suomi studded tires.

I bought my rear rack and panniers after another one of my crashes and I couldn’t carry a backpack for a while. :slight_smile: Now it seems like I carry everything with me including tools and some shoes to change into.

In case you are considering putting a power meter on this bike, the Alfine hub rules out a hub-based power meter. And it looks like the Editor has a special bottom bracket for adjusting belt tension, so a crank-based power meter probably won’t fit. I had a PowerPod power meter for a while until it stopped charging. (I hate USB micro connectors.) So I am using some Vector 3 pedals at the moment, thus the spare shoes that I carry.

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Sideways flex at the bottom bracket doesn’t mean that much IMO. Unless you’re pedaling with horrible technique (or have MEGA WIDE hips) you shouldn’t be pushing laterally on the cranks… If you’re judging BB flex by getting off the bike and pushing on the cranks . . . well, no one rides a bike like that.

Another way to look at it is that the BB is around 600mm away from the front wheel/road contact point and 400mm away from the rear wheel/road contact point and your legs are really strong. And that point is not reenforced on the Z-axis so of course it will flex.

The whole marketing of the late 90s and early 2000s (laterally stiff/vertically compliant) sounded great but, as far as I understand (and can find), there’s no real data saying that laterally stiff actually contributes to a faster ride (though it might feel faster). So many companies beefed up the BB junction and tried to make stiff AF cranks only to cause other problems (brake rub or tires hitting the CS/SS when sprinting).

I could go on . . .
Hmm maybe I should start a thread about bike assembly in Asia.