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Touring bike as commuter?

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Touring bike as commuter?

Old 07-06-21, 08:28 PM
  #1  
donoharm
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Touring bike as commuter?

Hello everyone,

I threw this poll up because I'm curious to see how many of you use your touring bike as your commuter. I currently tour and commute with a Fuji Cross Pro cyclocross bike, but I've come to the conclusion that I never really liked the geometry of my bike for commuting or touring as the short chain stay and steep tube angle make it twitchy and a little too aggressive. I'm getting a new bike primarily to commute 7km each way to my work along a gravel path and bike lanes. I'm considering going with the priority 600 (checks boxes for a commuter bike) vs the Koga world traveler (my dream bike that also costs three times as much).

All bikes are a compromise in design choices and I'm concerned that the Koga will have features that are heavy, overbuilt, and overkill for a commute - maybe even not so good to have as the bike will get beat up while riding all the time. On the other hand, It's going to be amazing to look at as I get on it every morning and go touring on bike vacations... Anyways, What do you think, should I go for the Koga or the Priority?
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Old 07-06-21, 09:17 PM
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I've thought about that too but have never tried it. Some say a touring frame is too heavy and stiff for their commute. A guy I know got rid of his MEC National for that reason.
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Old 07-06-21, 10:23 PM
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I know plenty of people who use their "touring" bikes for everything.

For a 7km commute, you could ride practically anything. Welcome to BikeForums.
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Old 07-06-21, 10:27 PM
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Depends on the type of commuting. Bike paths and such, you can use almost any bike, if you are more like the movie 'Quicksilver', then a light nimble bike is your steed.
It is rare that a touring bike is too stiff, one of the redeeming features in a touring frame is more flex.
If the bike is strictly for commuting, then Priority may be the best choice, even for some short tours. If you plan to do some long distance touring, then the Koga is the dream bike. (yes, it is overbuilt for going back and forth)
"Beating up" the bike is a normal thing when it gets high usage. The biggest concern I would have for either bike is theft.
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Old 07-06-21, 10:39 PM
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I have neither a dedicated touring bike, nor a dedicated commuter.

Lately I've been putting a few miles on my Pocket Rocket which is a touring bike of sorts. I need to get my Coda back on the road which I built up as a Touring/Tow Bike/Commuter.

I do tend towards a "road bike" for many of my activities including commuting, as well as touring.

I will eventually build up an off-road bike for off-road touring, which likely will get minimal commuting use.
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Old 07-07-21, 03:35 AM
  #6  
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I am retired so I don't commute any more, but when I did commute I did it on my race bike the years that I had one. Before that I just had a general purpose do everything bike. I always considered the "twitchy" handling a plus. The drawback was that I used tires that were a bit more flat prone than what would have been on most touring bikes so I had to allow enough time to fix a flat just in case.

I rode the full on touring bike on several tours and gradually feel out of love with it. Then I started touring on sportier bikes and eventually stopped riding it altogether. I haven't seen it in a few years let alone ridden it. It is still with a family member as far as i know, but I don't expect it will ever come back home to me.
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Old 07-07-21, 04:00 AM
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I ride my LHT to work, to run errands and to generally get around.
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Old 07-07-21, 04:33 AM
  #8  
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I think for commuting, you should decide what works best, and you should decide which you prefer, flat bars or drop bars. I did not commute by bike before I retired, but had friends that did. One friend almost qualified for olympic road racing a couple decades ago, he commuted on an old Bridgestone mountain bike that had more rust than paint and flat bars. Another bought a LHT specifically for commuting. Another friend that is not mechanically inclined went into a bike shop and said he wanted a maintenance free commuting bike, or as close as possible to maintenance free. They sold him a bike with a Shimano internally geared hub. I was a little surprised that it did not come with a belt, he occasionally has to add chain lube. Last time I rode somewhere with him, I reminded him that he should lube the chain on occasion, as it was pretty noisy.

If your commute is hilly, you want low gears but minimal weight. If your commute is flatter, weight does not matter much.

And commuting, you want something that is less desirable to a potential bike thief. I live in a community with a large university campus. If I have a reason to go to campus, I use my errand bike that is an early 90s Bridgestone mountain bike I bought at a garage sale for $5 USD. (It needed another $50 in parts to make it rideable.) The formerly painted steel handlebars have a nice brown rust colored patina.
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Old 07-07-21, 05:23 AM
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Since this poll is in the "Touring" forum, you're likely to get more people who say they commute on their touring bike than if you ask in the "Commuting" forum, what type of bike people use for their commute.
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Old 07-07-21, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by donoharm View Post
Hello everyone,

I threw this poll up because I'm curious to see how many of you....

I'm getting a new bike primarily to commute 7km each way to my work along a gravel path and bike lanes. ....

don't worry so much about what everyone else is doing.
do what works for you.

primarily a commuter? then get the commuter bike. it'll work for touring.
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Old 07-07-21, 05:49 AM
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I built a new cross check so I could pull my touring bike from that duty.
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Old 07-07-21, 05:55 AM
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Emphatically yes. We retired early, in our 40s, primarily because we cycled to work. We live a thrifty life that only allows budget and space for one bike each. Inexpensive vacations by bike fit that lifestyle. Shopping trips and errands around town sometimes require carrying a 40+ pound load, and our favorite vegetable market is nearly 10 miles away (and it's a beautiful bike route/MUP along a creek). Several times a year we had to carry lighter loads to and from work. Touring bikes have always been ideal.
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Old 07-07-21, 06:13 AM
  #13  
mbusky
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My touring bike is THE BIKE for any occasion.
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Old 07-07-21, 06:14 AM
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As long as you can leave your bike inside, then a top end touring bike will make a fine commuter. If you have to lock it up outside, then you may or may not have theft issues depending on where you live.

Personally I like rebuilding old "ten" speeds as commuters. They take a decent volume tire (700 x 32c or 27 x 1 and 1/4) and make fine lock up bikes since they are inexpensive.
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Old 07-07-21, 07:46 AM
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Pretty much all my bikes have been used for touring and for commuting. The one I commute on most often is a Trek 4500 mountain bike that went from British Columbia to tip of South America as well as other places. The aluminum frame cracked near the right chainstay. I had it welded in Bariloche and it held up for the last part of that trip. However, given the repaired frame, it has now been retired from active touring and so only used for commuting now.

My other bikes I still use for both commuting and touring. I haven't owned a car since 2001, so fun to switch between different bikes to get groceries, go to work or go on a tour...
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Old 07-07-21, 08:28 AM
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Wow, thanks Mev! You're who I aspire to be some day!
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Old 07-07-21, 11:14 AM
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The off the peg cdale is the daily ride, two bag touring rig and grocery getter. 24x28 low gear.
My custom gravel and travel bike is way to expensive to replace to risk as a daily rider in the hood. Also, the 32 middle front ring is awkward as hell unloaded on street roads. 22x34 low gear.
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Old 07-07-21, 01:28 PM
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When you mention having this an eventually tour on it, what kind of touring? If you want to do overnight lightweight credit card touring without any camping gear, you will not need a super strong touring specific bike. If you see yourself doing expidition touring, then a tank bike might be better suited for your needs. Second of all, I do not have enough time to look up and compare the Priority vs Koga geometry, I do not know how tall you are/ what size bike you are currently riding, or outside of the short chainstays and presumably steep head angle your Fuji has, what improvements in geometry will be an upgrade for you. Since I am a frame builder, I can say that I dislike a bike that has less than a 70 degree head tube angle. The bike tends to start to have the unfortunate characteristic trait of what is referred to as wheel flop.
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Old 07-08-21, 07:56 AM
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A 4mi commute? Ride whatever is comfortable. Rack and bag works great, or use a backpack if needed...its maybe 20min on the bike. 20min on the bike though, I would guess most setups can be comfortable for that long.

The bike I have set up for weekend camping, commuting to work, and general family riding feels fine whether or not it has bags weighing it down.
Someone that weighs 215# will flex a bike overall more than someone who is 160# and carrying 15# in a pannier. The whole claim that touring bikes are too stiff when unloaded seems totally arbitrary to me since it needs to account for who is riding the bike.
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Old 07-10-21, 07:00 AM
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This brings up an interesting point, pretty much all of the bikes I'm interested in don't have a dealer in the large city that I live in. How do you recommend people go about deciding the ideal size? Are there any services that can reliably given someone exactly the perfect touring geometry for one's build?
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Old 07-10-21, 10:00 AM
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My technique is to buy a bike with the generic frame size (seat tube length) that fits me per my inseam, then I tweak it with stem and saddle adjustments. If there's a bike co-op near you, that's a good source of inexpensive stems of various lengths and angles. Some bikes have extra steerer tube length and a stack of spacers to play with.
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Old 07-10-21, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by donoharm View Post
This brings up an interesting point, pretty much all of the bikes I'm interested in don't have a dealer in the large city that I live in. How do you recommend people go about deciding the ideal size? Are there any services that can reliably given someone exactly the perfect touring geometry for one's build?
There are no good services that can predict the size you want. There is too much variation from one person to another in leg length to torso length, variation in riding style, more forward lean which may include lower handlebars, and that some touring bikes are oriented towards flat bars instead of drop bars.

What I do is once I have a fit on a bike that I am very comfortable with, I know what the dimensions need to be. If you do not have that key step, I can't suggest much for you.

I mostly focus on top tube length, I want to be able to get the right reach from my saddle to my handlebars and hoods (brake hoods on drop bar levers). I can make small adjustments in this with differing stem lengths, but this is what I think the most important measurement is.

I also verify adequate standover height but with my build I always seem to have plenty of standover height. This was more important to check in the days of horizontal top tubes, but now that most top tubes slope downwards, standover height is rarely a problem.

And then I make sure that my seat tube is short enough that the frame height is not too big, but that has never been a problem for me either. I can always raise the seatpost if my frame is a bit small but I can't lower the seatpost if the frame is too tall.

One last point that is rarely a problem on a touring bike, it is more of an issue with road bikes, is how high the steerer tube is. Road bikes are often sold with absurdly low handlebar positions because that is what professional racers (or a few former racers on this forum) prefer. I had to buy a stem that had a 35 degree angle to get my handlebars up where I wanted them on my road bike, but touring bikes usually have the bars up pretty high already.

Some people like to sit further back and might need to buy a seatpost that mounts the seat further back, but I think that is the minority of people.
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Old 07-10-21, 01:47 PM
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There is obviously a lot of crossover in the marketing and equipment. The difference is that on the touring bike you are using all of it, not just the part of it you need.

Most brands give you a pretty good idea what size you need on their website. If you are close to the borderline between two sizes you can probably make either of them work with a stem change. I’m often on the border of medium and small sizes, and I like medium mountain bikes and small road bikes.
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Old 07-10-21, 10:42 PM
  #24  
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Like Tourist in MSN, I believe top tube length is the most important measurement. The saddle should not be used to adjust reach, so fitting the correct stem is the only option. The saddle fore and aft position is important in setting up the rider's knee position to the saddle. Many riders like their touring bikes set up with the saddle height about even with their handlebars.



The nice thing about the about the LHT is their steering tubes come uncut. I have not cut the steering tube on this one yet; and when I do, I'll leave about 1 cm above the stem.

There are a lot of bike fitting videos.

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Old 07-11-21, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
...
The nice thing about the about the LHT is their steering tubes come uncut. I have not cut the steering tube on this one yet; and when I do, I'll leave about 1 cm above the stem.
....
On one of my bikes I flipped the stem so that it was angled down, not up. That way the long steerer did not look so long. And if I sell the bike later, that keeps the option open for a taller rider to unflip it.



Old photo, have not used that handlebar bag in years.
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