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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am about move to Chicago and I will be only about 7.5 miles from my work. I want to commute to work by bike, instead of the 45 mile commute by car that I have been doing for the past year.

I am at a loss as to which bike to buy though, so I was hoping for some advice.

I have been looking into bikes like the Trek Soho 4, the Specialized Globe City, Specialized Sirrus and Trek Portland.

I want a bike that will take the abuse of a commute and has fenders, lights and a rack on it. However, I think I want a drop down handlebar, as opposed to the flat one that comes with most hybrid bikes. Does anyone have any experiences with these bikes, or any recommendations on what other bikes I should look into?

Thanks!
 

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Well the only drop down bar you listed was the Portland, which I think is a great bike. My question is do you have somewhere safe to leave a seventeen hundred dollar bike?

As for other bikes you might want to look at, how about the Surly bikes like the Long Haul Trucker or the Cross Check if you decide you are going to ride in some winter snow. Less expensive.

On the more touring geometry side that could be used for a commuter the Jamis Aurora series would also be worth looking at. Plenty of room for fenders and have mounts for racks etc.

My third choice of bike to look at would be the Salsa Casserole Triple. It also has everything you need.

Start with these and see what others say. Good luck with your search and your choice of commuting by bicycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I already have a beater mountain bike that I got from Target years ago, and I was planning on using that the first couple of weeks.

I can leave the bike in my office at work, so getting it stolen isn't too much of an issue.

Thanks for those suggestions, I will look into those bikes.

I have a question about brands. Are brands I've heard of like Trek and Specialized significantly better than other brands, or should I be looking at the price or components the bikes are made of? There is a LBS around me that carries solely Specialized and also a Trek store. Would it be easier to get service on a bike if I got it through one of these stores?
 

· The web is a MUT
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You might look at the Soho S single speed and put some drop bars onto it. Depending upon where you'll live I don't think you'll have much issue with hills so a single speed would be much simpler to maintain as a commuter. Not sure if you plan to do longer rides on the weekends around there though, so maybe gears are wanted.

Even if you'll be keeping the bike in your office you should still probably carry a lock of some sort in case you have to make a pit stop on the way.

Components and build quality over-ride brand names and somewhat parallel price points.

As to service, you should be able to have almost any bike serviced at any competant shop regardless of who the manufacturer is. At the shop I part time wrench at they'll take in almost anything except for a few brands, and those exceptions are mainly because a few brands are basically unservicable without getting into major costs to replace worn out components. Not really worth it to spend $100 fixing up a $60 bike when you can replace it with a new $60 bike for less than repairing the old one.
 

· Jerkhard Sirdribbledick
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Are you planning on commuting in the winter? If so, then I would get either an MTB or a cross bike, something with the clearance for bad-ass tires.
 

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I have experience with both the Portland and the Sirrus. I currently ride a Portland as my commuter bike and really like it. One thing to keep in mind regarding the Portland is that the fenders are garbage for year round commuting. At least here in Seattle. If you will be riding in wet weather be sure to add on some full fenders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks everyone!

The Jamis Aurora looks really good for the price.

What are good fenders and a rack I can get for it?

Also, would it be expensive if I did get a Trek Soho and had drop bars put onto it, or would it just be a swap of one Trek part for another?
 

· Man, I'm Awesome
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I was in Chicago over the 4th and I loved it. Everywhere were bikes and bike racks. The most popular bike were old beater schwinns. You never saw anything "nice".

I want to move to Chicago now, since you can pretty much get everywhere by bike.
 

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I'd take another look at the Soho or something with internal gearing and possibly coaster brakes. Winter in the midwest is very hard on bikes. Unless you enjoy taking a toothbrush to the derailleurs and replacing brake pads every 3 months you may want to look at something a little more weather proof.

Just saying because I live a few hundred miles west of Chicago and commute all year round.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I went to my LBS and they heavily recommended the Surly Cross Check. I had a test ride on it and I really liked it, however, I didn't change gears as I just rode it around the block. Are the gear switches on the end of the drop bar convenient, when compared to the ones right next to the break switches?
 

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Ultraviolence said:
I have a question about brands. Are brands I've heard of like Trek and Specialized significantly better than other brands, or should I be looking at the price or components the bikes are made of? There is a LBS around me that carries solely Specialized and also a Trek store. Would it be easier to get service on a bike if I got it through one of these stores?
They spend the most on advertising. Other brands like Kona, Salsa, Surly, Soma, etc spend less on advertising and often represent a better value. Many LBS carry these brands and will offer service. The parts hanging on the frames only come from a few sources so any shop can service your bike. It's not like taking a Ford to a Chevy dealer. Look for road components in the Shimano 105 range or better, long reach or cantilever brakes to allow for 28mm or larger tires, quality wheels with lots of spokes, eyelets on the fork and rear dropouts for fenders, rack mounts, and maybe some cross brake levers on the bar tops. Kona sells bikes equipped this way.
 
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