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  • FIRST POST
    Weird Nev
    Beginners Guide to Cycle Commuting
    • #1
    • 23rd Jul 13, 10:44 AM
    Beginners Guide to Cycle Commuting 23rd Jul 13 at 10:44 AM
    Note from MoneySavingExpert

    Forumite Weird Nev wrote this fab MoneySaving commuting guide in 2013 but it's ever-relevant. If you're considering cycling to work on #CycleToWorkDay it's well worth a read.

    Also join in on our completely unscientific Are you cycling to work on #cycletoworkday poll?

    Back to the original post....

    -----------------

    Introduction
    With the success of the Bike to Work Scheme, Froome winning the Tour de France, and finally some summer weather, more and more people are asking the question: Should I cycle to work? With this comes a host of subsidiary questions: Is my old rusty bike up to it? what equipment do I need? Will it actually save me money? With these questions in mind, here is WeirdNevs Money Saving Expert Guide to cycling to work!

    Who am I?
    Just a cyclist. I've commuted by bike all my working life, as did my dad! I commuted around 30 miles a day year round to get to my first job, and for the last ten years I've been cycling about ten miles a day at each end of a train journey, with 6 miles a day through central London. I'm also a keen recreational cyclist, I currently own 4 1/2 bikes, I've ridden road bikes to distances up to 200km in a day, and fixed gear bikes on 60 mile rides. I also mountain bike, taking on tracks and off road routes in Wales and now in Western Australia: Believe me, 40km off road through the outback focuses the mind! I'm a qualified mountain bike trainer, and I ran 3 day training courses for colleagues in the safe use of bikes on and off road.

    Advantages of Bicycle Commuting
    The advantages of cycling to work include but are not limited to:
    • It saves money over a car, and even trains and buses in some cases.
    • It is the most environmentally friendly form of travel yet devised by man.
    • It can even be faster than car or public transport by virtue of it's door to door nature.
    • It combines an essential journey with keeping fit.
    • You feel happier and healthier.
    • I have found it provides a useful "book end" to a stressful working day. An opportunity to clear your head and focus on something other than work or home life.

    Disadvantages:
    There are some disadvantages to cycling to work:
    • If you are unfit, it will take time to build fitness and reap the rewards. This can be a dispiriting time.
    • Whilst not a dangerous past time, you have to accept the dangers of cycling in traffic.(roughly comparable with the risks of being a pedestrian per km traveled, four times safer than riding a motorbike).
    • If you are attracted to shiny new things, like any hobby it can get expensive!
    • The risk of theft of your mode of transport is high, and bikes are very expensive to insure. Your best policy is a strong lock and a secure place to leave the bicycle whilst at work AND at home.
    • You may have to be organised and sort out the logistics of getting work clothes to work, having a shower at work, and splitting journeys between modes of transport. I've found that the bed-to-desk time of cycling can equal that of traveling by bus, train or car, for commutes up to 15 miles. When you're starting out though, you may find it takes longer than expected.
    • You should accept that in the UK, there's the possibility that you might get wet. That said, for a person cycling every day, it is estimated that you will actually get rained on around 12 times a year.
    Is it feasible for me to cycle to work?
    Can you even consider cycling to work? As I see it, you can break down cycle commuting distances in to three groups by one-way distance:
    1-5 miles: You should definitely consider either walking or cycling to work! This kind of distance is horrible for cars. They don't even get up to temperature so fuel efficiency and wear and tear are sky high. Buses are frequently late or delayed, and season tickets cost the earth! An unfit cyclist on a basic cheap bike will be more than capable of covering 5 miles in around 30 minutes. In urban areas you will often beat rush hour traffic point to point. If this is your commute, you should definitely be looking at cycling. You can simply hop on the bike and go! I would expect the start up costs for a cycle commute to be around £100 or less if you have a bike already, and £300 or less if you do not.

    5-10 miles: This is a perfect distance for a capable cyclist on a mid range bike. You should be targeting this length of commute door to door in perhaps 30-45 mins depending on terrain, fitness and traffic. you will need some additional considerations in terms of comfort though. Things like a comfortable saddle, cycling gloves, a method of carrying work clothes and equipment and some spare parts and tools become important, as do general cycling technique and fitness. The bicycle will also need to be robust and with quality components if it is to withstand the mileage. Shower and changing facilities at work are a distinct advantage at this distance, but not essential. I would anticipate spending in the region of £300-£500 if you don't already have a bike and equipment.

    10+ miles. This is what I would term a "long" cycle commute. It is still no barrier to successful cycle commuting. I have known (insane) colleagues routinely commute distances up to 30 miles each way. If you're new to cycle commuting and your route is over 10 miles, then it will take careful planning and some training before you're able to regularly commute that distance. You will also have much higher start up costs, and sadly a higher chance of getting dispirited and giving up! That's no reason not to try though. Even cycling twice a week will have enormous benefits in your commuting costs and your fitness. Amongst other considerations, you will need the most appropriate type of bike for the route, good clothing, cycling specific shoes and in time "cleat" or "clip" style pedals to maximise pedaling efficiency. You'll need to be strong willed, and some mechanical ability is necessary as there's no option to "walk" out of the middle of a 10 mile bike ride if you have a puncture or other mechanical problem. Logistics also get interesting as you will need to change clothes and may need to juggle car journeys with cycling as your needs and errands change. Cycling a commute of this distance is a commitment. It may be wise to drive half way, or mix cycling with a bus or train journey until you have built your fitness and proven your equipment in the field. I would expect to spend at least £500 to set up commuting 10 miles or more daily, and for it to be a gradual build up to full time cycle commuting.

    Choosing a Route
    Route is of paramount importance to the cycle commute. You should consider your likely route, and variations, before you attempt your commute or even start buying equipment. In particular your choice of bicycle will be heavily influenced by the route you intend to use. In almost all cases, the route you would drive will NOT be the best route to cycle. Google maps is an excellent resource for checking routes and alternatives. Avoid A-roads if at all possible, and dual carriageways at all costs. It is illegal to cycle on motorways. Try and avoid roads with speed limits higher than 50Mph because the speed differential with motorised traffic streaming by can be unnerving. By all means use cycle paths, but do not feel you are obliged to. If the cycle path is potholed, badly maintained and strewn with debris, feel free to use the road in preference.
    Do not allow a painted cycle path to fool you into complacency. You are still on the road, the same level of attention is required.
    If you are lucky enough to use cycle tracks or off road trails, again by all means do so, but be aware that a bicycle capable of true off road routes will be necessarily compromised for on road use. If a shortcut in a long commute is seriously off road, it may be worth avoiding it for the sake of the bike.

    Canal tow paths can be convenient, but are in my experience not particularly pleasant to cycle on: Muddy, litter strewn, tricky pinch points, the occasional weirdo and the constant risk of falling into a canal are all off putting. Try them out, but don't be a slave to them. There might be a perfectly pleasant alternative route alongside.

    Hills: Terrain affects you on a bike like no other form of transport. It takes a masochist to enjoy cycling up hills. Consider alternatives - the circuitous route up a hill, or even around it, may be preferable to the direct route over it. If it's the choice between two miles on B-roads around the back of a hill Vs half a mile on an A-road up it, I'll take the
    B road route every time.
    So, consider your route, consider all options, and build a route that suits your bike, your fitness and your confidence level. Don't be fooled into thinking either the shortest or quickest route is the best. As you get to know your route you will be able to consider options to make the ride shorter, longer, more or less challenging and more fun.

    Training - Both fitness and Cycle Skills
    If you are considering getting on the bike for the first time in a long time, I can't recommend some form of practical training enough. Even as a refresher to build confidence and remind you of the rules of the road, and safe way to tackle junctions, roundabouts and more. I could write a book on the subject, but reading is no substitute for tuition.
    Check with a local authority, Bike user group, or local cycling club. Even accompanying some experienced riders out on a ride should be a major confidence boost and yield a wealth of information. "Richards Bicycle book" is also an excellent book on the art of road riding through it's many revisions.

    What kind of bike do I need?
    Now we come to the fun bit: Spending money. But should you? and how much?
    • Converting and commuterising your existing bike
    The first option to consider is 'commuterising' your existing bike. Yes, that rusting hulk left out in the shed. Bikes are very robust, and often don't take much to renovate into a safe and reliable commuter bike. Many people have an old neglected mountain bike or tourer, and before consigning it to scrap, the money saving way is to consider if it can be renovated and put to use. You could even ask around and see if family or friends have a bike they're not using.
    The following are good start points to overhaul a bicycle:
    • A pair of fresh tyres. Tyres perish over time, and knobbly off road tyres sell bikes through the dream of mountain biking, but are uncomfortable and inefficient on the road. Buy a cheap pair of slick or semi-slick tyres and inner tubes. Keep them narrower than full mountain bike width, for lower rolling resistance. Avoid cheap tyres touting "puncture resistance": by and large they're heavy and have high rolling resistance. (Specialized armadillos and Continental gaitorskins are a notable but pricey exception). You can pay as little as £12 for good tyres, £15 with inner tubes. Look out for deals on www.wiggle.co.uk and similar sites.
    • A new chain: so long as your old chain isn't too far gone, it shouldn't have damaged your sprockets and chain rings. After tyres, a new chain is the second biggest improvement you can make to the bikes efficiency if the old one is old and rusty. Keep it greased or oiled to maintain it's life! Don't leave bikes out in the wet.
    • Grease and inspect the brake cables and gear shifter cables. Nine times out of ten, if a bike has problems shifting gears, it's because of neglected cables. You can pull them out of their sleeves and grease them, and that may well be all they need. If you want to really boost their performance on a bike a few years old, cheap replacement cables are available and make all the difference.
    • A bit of attention to fit will also yield results. Get a knowledgeable friend or a bike shop to help you check seat and handle bar position.
    • Quick Money Saving tip! Don't waste money on expensive mud guards! See below in 'essential equipment' for a cheap mudguard solution!

    Be cautious, however, of throwing good money after bad. I would say that a refresh on a neglected cheap bike should cost a maximum of £50 and a couple of hours work. If it's looking like you need to replace sprockets, gears shifters or other parts, then in all likelihood you're better off buying a well looked after second hand bike. Likewise, if the bike was only ever a very cheap bike, it will be heavy and may be hard to keep reliable and efficient. You may be better off giving it up and getting something better. The classic "bad bike" is a cheap (under £200 new) full suspension mountain bike: The front shocks are terrible, the rear shocks bounce and waste all your energy, and the whole thing is incredibly heavy. I would not spend good money trying to turn one into a slightly less bad bike. Better off starting afresh with something that will be rewarding to ride.
    As an example: Here is my fathers old bike frame, which he commuted on as standard for ten years. I then took it on and used a few parts I had lying about to build up "Frankenbike". It's now my all purpose daily hack and commuting bike. With new slick tyres, cables, a new chain (and some other bits like wheels and gear shifters) it's turned
    into a very serviceable bike. Nowadays it even has a rear rack and child seat for carrying my young son about with me! The perfect creche run machine!



    The options when considering a buying a new bike:


    Mountain bikes


    Having shot to fame in the 90's, virtually every home has a collection of mountain bikes. Their upright riding position, stability and comfort makes them an ideal recreational bike. Unless your commute is wholly off road, they are not ideal for commuting. In particular, the tyres compromise rolling resistance for grip and comfort. The upright riding position
    is inefficient at speed where aerodynamics are the single biggest drag factor on a cyclist, the gears offer a wide range of ratios, but they are widely spaced for steep hills and long fast descents, meaning that it can be hard to be in the correct ratio at road speeds. Suspension is essential on a true mountain bike, but cheap versions of it are a horrendous
    weight penalty to bear with no real benefit to a commuter. If you already have one, or if your commute is less than 10 miles each way, then consider "hybridising" your mountain bike to eliminate the biggest compromises. Slick tyres, bar ends to give a variety of handlebar positions, and a comfortable saddle could turn an unloved mountain bike into the ideal mid-range commuter. Mountain bikes of acceptable quality are available for £200 and up.

    A Commuter or "hybrid" bike


    Since the onset of the bike to work scheme, there has been a drive towards commuter ready "hybrid" bikes. These range from mountain bikes with slick tyres, to thin wheeled road bikes with flat handlebars, and everything in between! They can offer a great combination of efficiency, comfort and cost, whilst allowing you to tackle light off road tracks on your every day bike. For longer commutes towards ten miles, I'd recommend a hybrid with an increasing bias towards a road style bike as the distance increases. Spend £300 and up to get a reliable bike. The more you spend, the less it will weigh!
    Consider hub gears - Shimano and Rolhoff both make excellent contained gearing systems. They may lack the gear count, but each gear is selected to be useful. Many mountain bikes have less than 14 useful distinct gears, Rolhoff fit that into a single hub - at a price. They are easy to maintain and don't lose indexing like deraileur gears: One of the prime reasons bikes end up unloved and unused!

    Touring bike

    Die hard cyclists - the sort who wear canvas 3/4 length trousers, a thick knit sweater and can cycle 200 miles before breakfast - swear by a good touring bike. And with good reason. A combination of strong steel frames, relaxed comfortable geometry, "mustache" or drop handlebars offering a range of grip positions, flexible gearing, Brookes saddles and racks all over offer an unbeatable way to cover ground on a bike. Frames can be custom made to requirement, and fittings carried out by experts. However, it's unlikely a full touring bike will be the first you buy. In all probability you will know very precisely your requirements by the time you come to purchase one. That said, be wary of the wizened cyclist on an ancient looking Dawes Galaxy: He likely started pedaling before you had breakfast, and will no doubt still be pedaling when your head hits the pillow!
    Especially as hand-me-downs, these bikes can make excellent commuter bikes - but you do have to pay for them. £500-£1000 and upwards for a touring bike with a good level of specification.


    Road racing bike

    The rise of British cycling has seen a renewed interest in road bikes. £300 and up can buy you an entry level bike. £1000 sees you choosing between exotic frame materials and technologies.
    For a commuter considering a 10 mile or more route, there is little to touch a proper road bike. They are fast, light, efficient and aerodynamic. The compromises are uncomfortable ride and positioning for a novice cyclist (in particular the crick in the neck and shoulders as yo hold your head to look forwards), fragile components like thin tyres and light weight wheels, and an inability to go off road. Twitchy handling, thin saddles and drop handlebars are more about going fast than being comfortable, and often frames do not have provision for a rack or panniers. If commuting on a road bike, expect to wear a back pack or sort out lunch and clothing logistics some other way.
    There is no doubt though: If you need to cover a substantial distance on a road quickly, the dedicated road bike will take some beating.


    Folding bikes

    I will admit a slightly anti-folding bike bias here, but a special mention is owed to our compact friends. Bikes from the likes of Dahon, Brompton and Moulton amongst others offer a range of methods of packing a bike down to convenient size. Their advantages are unparalleled convenience in mixed travel. You can cycle to a tube or train station, even a bus stop, fold the bike, hop on, hop off and continue your bike ride. They are also ideal for storing at home or under the desk if there are no other facilities. The cost of this versatility: They are expensive, small wheels are less efficient and soak up bumps less well. The overall bike frame is compromised in efficiency of power transfer and rider position. It's hard to get seating height spot on when you're raising and dropping the saddle the whole time. Consumable parts can be unique and expensive.
    Whilst they are undoubtedly the best solution for many, I have never found a folding bike I would choose to ride any appreciable distance. As an example, with a commute of 2 miles one end of a train ride, and 3+ at the other, I chose to use two bikes, one at each end of the journey, rather than a single folding bike. Consider folding bikes to speed up mixed transport modes, but as a stand alone commuter you can get far more bike for your money with a conventional solution.

    Electric bikes

    A quick word on electric bikes, which are gaining popularity.
    I'll freely admit I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to cycling, but the advantages of an electric bike are hard to ignore: assistance up hills, a higher speed for a novice cyclist, and 'free' recharges. The disadvantages? You have to charge it which takes time, they're more expensive, they've still very heavy compared to a conventional bike, and you'd better hope you don't have to climb any big hills after the juice has run out! If you do use it regularly the battery will wear out over time. You should investigate it's durability and cost of replacement before buying the bike.
    Those issues taken into account, there's no denying that for people with shorter commutes or those less able, they offer a compelling solution.
    Spend as much as you can afford, ask probing questions about battery life, and ensure that you get an extended test ride to check that the bike actually performs as you need it to before you part with money.
    Last edited by Former MSE Andrea; 02-09-2014 at 11:16 AM.
Page 4
    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 12th Feb 14, 5:46 PM
    • 2,595 Posts
    • 1,729 Thanks
    Johnmcl7
    You don't have to wear clipless pedals to cover that distance or far more, it's a hotly debated topic but it generally comes down to how you like the feel of the clipless pedals. Some people prefer the feel of being connected to the bike, others do not so you just need to see for yourself. If you're wanting to change to them for large improvements in speed and performance you may be disappointed.

    I'm not keen on clipless pedals myself mainly because I don't find the feel any better than flats and I find them worse for longer cycles as I find they hurt my knee/foot. I've covered longer cycles on my bikes with flat pedals so planning on changing my road bike back to flats so I can adjust my foot position as I want while cycling. I feel the performance benefits are overrated as I wasn't seeing any improvement in speed or endurance, the latter was actually worse.

    However plenty of people much prefer clipless and don't like flats at all which is fair enough, you need to see for yourself.

    John
  • dotdash79
    I'm just using running shoes to peddle at the moment, I've done 30 miles in a day on them and have a little pain on the outside of knee, but that was pushing on some big hills.

    This route won't be as harsh (or at least I hope)
    • Marco Panettone
    • By Marco Panettone 13th Feb 14, 12:32 PM
    • 641 Posts
    • 733 Thanks
    Marco Panettone
    Foot/knee pain won't be caused by the type of pedal - it's to do with the overall set up of the bike. Saddle height and fore/aft position will change the angles in the hip, knee and ankle. Cleat position and the amount of float will also have an effect.
    It's only numbers.
    • Kido
    • By Kido 14th Feb 14, 2:26 PM
    • 470 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    Kido
    I'm thinking about getting back on a bike after a break of about 15 years. Reading through this thread I found it most helpful, especially the bit about councils doing training. I'm going to try and book in for one to give me some confidence.

    Unfortuantely I no longer have a bike, I sold mine when I started driving as I wasn't using it and it was just taking up space. It was an old "racer" type bike with dropped handle bars. I doubt I'll be using it for commuting purposes (I have a motorbike for that) but I want to use it for recreational purposes as I've a couple of friends that ride and I thought it might be fun to join them. I'm thinking I'll be doing a mixture of road and off road trails round the local reservoir etc.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction of what bike (or type of bike) to think about to get started on again? I'm a female about 5'4". I'm thinking of a 2nd hand one to get me going and then if I like it invest in a new one over the summer. I live in the Bolton area so I'm lucky to have a couple of bike shops in the area. Would these independant retailers be likely to have 2nd hand bikes or would they just have new ones?

    Sorry I know this isn't about commuting but I thought someone might be able to give me some advice or point me in the right direction. Right now I don't know where to start.
    • Marco Panettone
    • By Marco Panettone 14th Feb 14, 4:08 PM
    • 641 Posts
    • 733 Thanks
    Marco Panettone
    I'm thinking about getting back on a bike after a break of about 15 years. Reading through this thread I found it most helpful, especially the bit about councils doing training. I'm going to try and book in for one to give me some confidence.

    Unfortuantely I no longer have a bike, I sold mine when I started driving as I wasn't using it and it was just taking up space. It was an old "racer" type bike with dropped handle bars. I doubt I'll be using it for commuting purposes (I have a motorbike for that) but I want to use it for recreational purposes as I've a couple of friends that ride and I thought it might be fun to join them. I'm thinking I'll be doing a mixture of road and off road trails round the local reservoir etc.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction of what bike (or type of bike) to think about to get started on again? I'm a female about 5'4". I'm thinking of a 2nd hand one to get me going and then if I like it invest in a new one over the summer. I live in the Bolton area so I'm lucky to have a couple of bike shops in the area. Would these independant retailers be likely to have 2nd hand bikes or would they just have new ones?

    Sorry I know this isn't about commuting but I thought someone might be able to give me some advice or point me in the right direction. Right now I don't know where to start.
    Originally posted by Kido

    What type of bike do your friends use on the rides you'd like to join them on? Something similar will probably do the job, and is likely to be suitable for the same type of terrain.


    2nd hand will be fine, but it might be worth putting it into a decent bike shop for a check-up if it comes from a private seller (eBay can be great). Personally I'd aim at a utility/town bike if you're looking for a 'jack of all trades' pottering-about sort of bike. With a decent rack it opens the door to shopping trips too.


    If you're looking for something more sporty (depending on the riding your friends do) then aim for a more sports-specific bike - a 'hybrid' generally gives you the worst of both worlds without the benefits you really want so is unsuited for fast road riding or anything off-road other than towpaths (this might be fine for your needs though).


    Enjoy!
    It's only numbers.
    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 15th Feb 14, 3:46 PM
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    Johnmcl7
    Foot/knee pain won't be caused by the type of pedal - it's to do with the overall set up of the bike. Saddle height and fore/aft position will change the angles in the hip, knee and ankle. Cleat position and the amount of float will also have an effect.
    Originally posted by Marco Panettone
    I had no foot or knee pain with the bike on its previous standard pedals despite regularly finishing longer cycles at higher speeds than the ones I've done with the clipless pedals so it's clearly the pedals that are the cause. I've gone through the full range of cleat positions and while they're better at the back, I still can't manage longer cycles without the knee hurting nor sprinting. I did ask here to find if another clipless system with more float would be more comfortable but there didn't appear to be anything worth considering. Some people prefer the feeling of being attached to the bike but the lack of being able to adjust my foot position mid-cycle is a problem for me.

    John
    Last edited by Johnmcl7; 15-02-2014 at 3:52 PM.
    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 15th Feb 14, 3:54 PM
    • 2,595 Posts
    • 1,729 Thanks
    Johnmcl7
    Kido - It's possibly worth looking into local bike hire if you're not sure about what bike to go for and to get a good feel for a bike. I think one of the most important aspects of choosing a bike is to find one you like riding and will want to ride it, too many people seem to get pushed towards a bike they end up not riding as they don't like it.

    When looking at a new bike at various times I've spent a long time reading advice then after a decent test ride or hire I've made my mind up pretty much straight away.

    I'd also recommend starting off with smaller, regular cycles - I felt a bit frustrated initially when I first got a bike as it felt harder work than I thought it should be but then I was surprised the effect of daily short cycles as they eased my muscles in and found it much easier when it came to longer cycles.

    John
    Last edited by Johnmcl7; 15-02-2014 at 4:03 PM.
    • Nebulous2
    • By Nebulous2 16th Feb 14, 11:43 AM
    • 2,495 Posts
    • 1,650 Thanks
    Nebulous2
    I had no foot or knee pain with the bike on its previous standard pedals despite regularly finishing longer cycles at higher speeds than the ones I've done with the clipless pedals so it's clearly the pedals that are the cause. I've gone through the full range of cleat positions and while they're better at the back, I still can't manage longer cycles without the knee hurting nor sprinting. I did ask here to find if another clipless system with more float would be more comfortable but there didn't appear to be anything worth considering. Some people prefer the feeling of being attached to the bike but the lack of being able to adjust my foot position mid-cycle is a problem for me.

    John
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    I don't know what you mean by range of positions but here's a guide to setting up clipless pedals.

    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/beginner-technique-dont-be-scared-of-clipless-pedals-28408/

    You shouldn't really be moving them forward and back, the pedal axle should be under the ball of the foot and the trick is to have your feet at a natural angle which doesn't put pressure on the knee.
    • armyknife
    • By armyknife 16th Feb 14, 3:19 PM
    • 592 Posts
    • 2,502 Thanks
    armyknife
    I guess it's a case of horses for courses, some people won't get on or like the feel of clipless.
    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 16th Feb 14, 5:43 PM
    • 2,595 Posts
    • 1,729 Thanks
    Johnmcl7
    I don't know what you mean by range of positions but here's a guide to setting up clipless pedals.

    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/beginner-technique-dont-be-scared-of-clipless-pedals-28408/

    You shouldn't really be moving them forward and back, the pedal axle should be under the ball of the foot and the trick is to have your feet at a natural angle which doesn't put pressure on the knee.
    Originally posted by Nebulous2
    The cleats are recessed SPD's, the shoes have two columns that the cleats can slide back and forth on to adjust the position. So for each ride I was moving the cleat position slightly so that bit by bit I could find the ideal position as I was recommended to do when I changed over to them.

    I think the problem is that I can't adjust them on the fly, I've been watching where I position my foot on the pedal when on flats and I frequently adjust my positioning to whatever is comfortable.

    John
    • loobs40
    • By loobs40 21st Apr 14, 9:11 AM
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    loobs40
    Bounce. Great thread

    • Former MSE Andrea
    • By Former MSE Andrea 2nd Sep 14, 11:02 AM
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    Former MSE Andrea
    As Thursday (4 Sept) is #cycletoworkday this is definitely worth another shameless bump
    Could you do with a Money Makeover?


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    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 6th Aug 15, 11:44 PM
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    Richard53
    you are probably stuck with high maintenance quick wear derailleur gears.
    Originally posted by nigglenoo
    I have just performed the first bit of maintenance ever on my MTB's derailleur - dismantle, clean, grease, re-assemble. Some wear evident, but not enough to cause concern.


    I've had the bike for 23 years and have ridden it round a lot of Wales, Brittany and the Dordogne, and the gears have never even needed adjusting. I call that low-maintenance and durable. Shimano kit, even from the bottom of their range, is very, very good.
    If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 7th Aug 15, 11:03 PM
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    Richard53
    7x3 Shimano 100GS with Biopace chainset. I don't count miles on that bike, but over the 23 years it will be substantial. It's been dropped, crashed, ridden by people with no idea how to use a derailleur, left outside (not often) and generally neglected. I'm sure your hub gear is superior in some respects, and I think it's horses for courses. I just wanted to counter your remark about derailleurs being quick wear and high maintenance. A top-flight racing groupset, perhaps, but the bread and butter stuff is remarkably durable and reliable.


    I'm not disagreeing that your hub gear is a fine bit of kit, and perfect for your use (I was considering a Rohloff 14-speed as an upgrade for the MTB until I saw the price), but I think you have to admit that, with the mileages you are quoting, your usage is far in excess of probably 99% of cyclists today and therefore not typical.
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    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 8th Aug 15, 4:57 PM
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    Johnmcl7
    The bike you recommended has a cheap Shimano Nexus 7 hub - they have a poor reputation for reliability and durability particularly use in poor weather conditions. A decent Alfine hub is a lot more expensive and Rohloffs are pricier still although both still carry hefty weight penalties.

    I have four derailleur bikes and one hub gear bike, I think they both have their advantages and disadvantages - I'd say the posts above overstate the hub advantages (particularly on the price range it was originally recommended for) and also hugely overstate the derailleur gear disadvantages. My derailleur gear bikes have a much tougher time as they're either used for big miles or hammered off road but they've never needed a huge amount of maintenance and they don't wear that fast.

    John
  • dandelionclock30
    Have you ever fixed a puncture involving getting an alfine hub off in the middle of nowhere?
    • armyknife
    • By armyknife 10th Aug 15, 5:39 PM
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    armyknife
    Have you ever fixed a puncture involving getting an alfine hub off in the middle of nowhere?
    Originally posted by dandelionclock30
    For the price they charge, I'd expect a mechanic to arrive, day or night, in a chauffeur driven limbo to fix it.
  • dandelionclock30
    I cant imagine anyone wanting a bike with an alfine hub,if you got a puncture in the middle of nowhere it would be a right faff to fix.Theres reasons why derailleur gears are popular, they are easy to get on with and you can fix them easily as well as getting the wheel off without major trauma.
    Alfine hubs are nowhere near as popular, plus shifts are supposed to be slower.
    Last edited by dandelionclock30; 10-08-2015 at 7:00 PM.
    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 10th Aug 15, 8:14 PM
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    Johnmcl7
    They have 'got better', particularly in terms of sealing, mine is a Nexus 8 speed and I have used it for several years commuting and even off roading in the wet and mud in Cornwall, which should be an indication of durability in every day commuting use. Even an Alfine 8 hub is not really not that expensive compared to a derailleur groupset, though I would advise against the Alfine 11 until they bring out an update as that definitely does have some reported issues and does cost a fair amount.
    Originally posted by nigglenoo
    There are two versions of the Nexus 8 hub, the standard one and the red band version - the red band version is supposedly considerably better but the standard version is the more common one sold with bikes (as in the one you linked to) and the sealing still isn't very good on them. I've commuted day to day with the standard version of the Nexus hub through winter and went through two in the first year which isn't unusual for that type of hub. I wouldn't say an Alfine 8 setup is that cheap, still over £130 for the hub alone.

    Hubs certainly have their place but like all bike parts, there's advantages and disadvantages to them so I disagree with the blanket recommendation for them and overstating derailleur weaknesses.

    John
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 11th Aug 15, 9:11 PM
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    Richard53
    My main point was that for use in all weathers, whatever the mileage, derailleur drive trains need more attention ànd wear more quickly than hub gears in my experience, your experience is different but seems exceptional to me compared to what both I and the majority of other cyclists report.
    Originally posted by nigglenoo
    It was (I think) the first time I had given the drivetrain a proper clean in the whole time I have owned it - a proper dismantle and clean, rather then a quick toothbrush on the obvious bits - and I was amazed at how good it was underneath the crud. Sprockets were worn, but not terminally so, and the chain was within wear limits. The mech went back together with fresh grease and is spinning merrily. I was expecting to have to replace the lot, and I was pleasantly surprised.


    Perhaps that is exceptional. However, I don't know how the 'majority of cyclists' think, as I don't know anyone who uses hub gears.
    If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.
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