Building a Commuter Bike

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Mick
Participant
#

@ALMKLM So riddle me this: my bike is 48-39 front, 12-26 rear.

Where would that rate on the Mick Scale?

I wouldn’t like that. It sounds like it would good for racing on mainly flat land. I plod on hills.

I would want a minumum of 3 gears lower than your lowest gear. In what I have, 8 of my 24 gears are lower than that.

If you start replacing parts, I would want a wider range cog AND a smaller small chain ring.

I haven’t ridden a lot with you, but I’m guessing that any change you make would be a big comfort to you. Maybe next time you’re on a ride, someone will let try a triple chain ring on a hill.

I have a bike you could try for a week or two.


salty
Participant
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Ah, that Torker makes me think of the Trek Soho DLX with the belt drive and 8 speed hub – now *that* would be pretty bulletproof… way more expensive though ($1259).


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Thanks Mick. I have a commuter – its a Trek Soho, but without the crazy belt drive thing. It is for certain easier on hills, but otherwise the gearing is kind of a drag.

Its awesome of you to offer a loaner though. thanks again


msprout
Participant
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Last question – do you guys think a Torker Collegiate (the one that Edmonds mentioned) would be able to hit speeds of, like, 18 – 20 on flats? I don’t want to get slammed on streets.

That’s really the best part about my road bike. I get to really haul ass on it and keep ahead of traffic. I can’t stand using my hybrid just because it’s so insanely slow. There’s barely any torque in the cranks.


reddan
Keymaster
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Per Sheldon’s gear calculator, with a 700×32 tire, 38 tooth chain ring and a 19 tooth sprocket:

120 RPM will get you 19.3 mph

100 RPM will get you to 16.1.

[edited to add:] My bad. I didn’t see it was a 5-speed IGH, sorry about that.

Without looking up the specifics of that hub, I’d guess that 100 rpm will put you in the low 20s for MPH.


msprout
Participant
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That’s not so bad. I hope I won’t get pushed around in traffic. Thanks, guys. You’re the best.


salty
Participant
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Per Sheldon’s calculator (5 gears in the hub)

MPH @60rpm 6.0 7.2 9.6 12.8 15.4

MPH @90rpm 9.0 10.8 14.5 19.3 23.1

MPH @120rpm 12.0 14.5 19.3 25.7 30.8


Mick
Participant
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@msprout. Last question – do you guys think a Torker Collegiate (the one that Edmonds mentioned)

You wouldn’t have a problem with the gears getting to that speed. It would be athletic to maintain that speed, though.

The highest gear on that bike looks fine to me.

The lowest, though? Not nearly low enough. I’d like a gear ratio half of that for my lowest.

Please try it on a hill before buying it.

Maybe switch out the chainring for one much smaller than the 42T it comes with. Like 34 or even 25. Not sure if that can be done cheaply, though.


edmonds59
Participant
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If you go with the Torker, have Thick flip the bars like on this Pashley Guvnor. You’ll go faster. mmmmmmmmmmm. mmmmmmmmmmm. bikepoorn.


dmtroyer
Participant
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I shed a tear every time I see wideish city bars like this flipped.


msprout
Participant
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i love the color scheme on that bike!


Nick D
Participant
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When thinking about gearing, keep your personal abilities in mind. I used to exclusively ride a fixed gear bike with 49×16 gearing for commuting and errands.

I don’t commute anymore, but I ride around the city for errands and meetings, and I rarely use 30t chain ring on my Lightning Cross. (I think the only time I’ve used it is riding the mtb trail in North Park and Bavington)

That being said, the Torker Graduate looks like a great commuter bike for under $500.


Mick
Participant
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@nick When thinking about gearing, keep your personal abilities in mind.

Nick’s right. The things that I’m saying are true for me, they really are. But they are not true for Nick, nor for many of the others here.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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abilities are one thing, but weight is another. i’m over 200 pounds, and for me, hills are no joke no matter how in shape i am. i imagine mick faces a similar burden. nick, though, is, or at least appears to be, quite a bit smaller than us, and probably doesn’t feel the same strain on hills, no matter the gearing. having carried groceries up plenty of the nastiest hills around, even 20 pounds makes a big difference.

incidentally, weight aside, even i think mick is crazy with his gear choices. i’ve never run a ratio lower than 1:1 on 700c tires, and i rarely use my granny gear. but then again, mick is crazy in a lot of ways!


salty
Participant
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Yeah, I’m pretty sure Nick weighs like 98 pounds – and as he graciously pointed out at the BP meeting, I don’t (as you can see in my photo on the blog where I’m sticking my gut out EXTRA far for effect). It definitely makes a huge difference.

It’s also what you’re used to. Until last summer I rode my MTB everywhere and I never stood up to climb, ever. It was a completely foreign concept to me. Once you’re used to doing that, and get those (slightly different) muscles into shape, you can get away with somewhat higher gearing because you can maintain a lower cadence. I still think it’s more comfortable and probably more efficient to sit and spin a decent cadence, especially on longer moderate hills. I passed a lot of people at the MS150 last year that had to stand and climb where I didn’t due to my lower gearing.

There is a “macho” factor involved with not having low gears too… but screw that.


edmonds59
Participant
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weight – The realization came to me not too long ago that I now weigh, just me and the bike, more than I weighed when I was younger and toured a lot with me, bike, panniers and all my gear. Sad AND funny. So I just pretend I am touring all the time.


Lyle
Participant
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There’s no macho in arthritis and blown ligaments. I’ve got so I hardly use anything BUT my 30t :(


Nick D
Participant
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I think weight falls into ability (not fitness, but ability).

Also, for the record, I’m not as light (or short) as most people think I am. (I hide my weight in my quads…)

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