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underachiever
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257 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently, I switched jobs and went from telecommuting pretty much 100% to now having to go to the office. I can still telecommute, but I actually like human interaction so I've decided to go to the office every day. Coincidentally, my new company is only a couple of blocks from my old one, so I'm in familiar territory which I like. Anyway, I have been taking the bus and subway (I live in Boston) and really haven't been enjoying the commute. I read along the way but I'm growing weary of the infrequent buses and sardine-like environment during rush hour. I work about 8 miles from home, and the route can vary depending on how I get there. After much deliberation, I decided to buy a commuter bike.

I knew I wanted a single speed as the commute is mostly flat (I live on a killer hill, though). I did a fair amount of research and decided to get a 54cm Scattante Americano One. There are 4 versions of this bike, but I liked the color of this particular model and also liked the fact that it came with riser bars and fenders (even though I'm not going to use them at the moment). There was a one day 15% off earlier this week, so I took the plunge and purchased it for a whopping $255.

The bike arrived this morning via Fed Ex:

View attachment 206399

Everything seemed to packed quite well from Taiwan:

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The bike was also well protected:

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It didn't take long to assemble the bike. It came with all the necessary instructions, of which I didn't even look at. The only things that needed to be attached were the handlebars, front brake/wheel/fender, saddle/seat post and pedals. As I mentioned, I'm not going to use the fenders at the moment, so I removed the rear one. Also included is a chain guard, and I'm not going to use that either. Here's what it looked like after the initial quick assembly:

View attachment 206402

I knew I didn't want to use the skinny 28c tires they provided, so I went into my parts bin and slapped on some fairly new 33c Jack Brown tires. It looks much better and my commute will be far more pleasurable. The roads in the Boston area aren't so great, though there has been a lot of work recently so things are looking up.

Here's what it looks like with the new tires:

View attachment 206403

I took it for a quick spin and it rides nicely. The only negative thing I can say about the bike is that the wheels need to be trued. They're not terrible and I can honestly ride it as is, but they definitely need some attention. For the price, I think it's a nice city commuter that I don't have to worry about locking outside my office. :thumbsup: More later after my first commute into Bawston.....
 

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awesome for 255

the jack browns really class it up

it doesn't look like those fenders are going to be too useful if you ever need them for rain riding, pretty narrow, I guess they would help though
 

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underachiever
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257 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
JimT said:
Pretty Sweet for cheap, let us know more about it when you break it in
bignose said:
For 255 that is a really solid looking setup. Very nice.
bane said:
awesome for 255

the jack browns really class it up

it doesn't look like those fenders are going to be too useful if you ever need them for rain riding, pretty narrow, I guess they would help though
Thanks! I don't know exactly how sweet it is, but for $255 it'll be just fine for what I want it for. And yeah, the Jack Brown tires really make it look much nicer. I'm not much into fenders, so removing them wasn't an issue. You're right that they're narrow, so it's probably best I took them off as they wouldn't be all that useful. I didn't get a chance to ride today as we had some heavy rain, but I plan to go on a nice ride on Sunday with my wife.

Anyway, I removed the Scattante head badge (it came off with ease) and replaced it with a Krusty Brand Seal of Approval. It's not just good, it's good enough! I also wrapped the headset spacers with some electrical tape because you never know when you're going to need some in an emergency! :thumbsup:



 

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underachiever
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257 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So, I took the bike out for a pre-commute ride this afternoon and went about 20 miles. I quickly trued the wheels (took less than 5 minutes and kept them on the bike) and was on my way. I really like this bike and had a lot of fun! It takes a little getting used to not having gears, but I'm sure it'll be second nature soon enough. Anyway, it rolls along nicely and it's a quick little bike. The 33c tires are perfect for the terrible conditions in the pavement and provide a nice cushion. The saddle was unexpectedly comfortable. I didn't wear my liners and really don't need to for such a commute. The riding position is really comfortable also.

I also added some reflective decals, for safety and also to cover up the silly looking graphics, and a bell so I don't have to say "on your left" all the time. I also removed the decals from the rims.

Tomorrow is my first commute and I'm looking forward to it. I bought a nice Mission Workshop Rambler backpack and that should make the ride more pleasurable.

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misterdangerpants said:
Tomorrow is my first commute and I'm looking forward to it. I bought a nice Mission Workshop Rambler backpack and that should make the ride more pleasurable.
Dang, dude. The back pack costs almost as much as the bike. Nice commuter... looks great!
 

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What the what???
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12,922 Posts
Nice looking bike, and I dig the Krusty seal of approval. Happy commuting!
 

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underachiever
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257 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
My Commute, Part 1

Thanks for the compliments! :)

So, I've commuted every day this week and I've been fortunate to experience spectacular weather. So, first things first, here's my commute:

http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3917002

It's the same route in both directions. It's primarily flat, except for the hill that I live on. It's a blast riding down the 1.3 miles, but it's a real bear riding up in the 46/16 gearing. It's only about 325 feet of elevation gain, and it's slow going, but it really takes the wind out of my sails. I'm planning on changing the chainring from 46T to 38T so that should make the incline a little easier to manage.

Anyway I could easily shorten the 12.3 mile commute down to about 9.5, but the route I take is void of traffic for most of the commute. I ride on the Fresh Pond bike path and the Storrow Drive bike path for a majority of the ride. I get on a sidewalk here and there, but they're mostly empty so I don't have to deal with pedestrians.

So, here's what I see on my commute:

Here's my trusty steed at the start:
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Looking down to Boston:
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A little conservation land just outside Alewife in Cambridge:
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More green space at Fresh Pond:
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Traffic! Glad I don't have to deal with this!
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The Charles River out near Harvard.
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The Esplanade.
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More of the Charles looking at the Longfellow Bridge (a.k.a. the salt and pepper shaker bridge) and back at MIT (you can see the dome).
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underachiever
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257 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
My Commute, Part 2

More of the commute:

The really cool Zakim bridge.
View attachment 206866

The Custom House (my favorite building in Boston) and Quincy Market.
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The Rose Kennedy Greenway. This is where the elevated highway used to be. The Big Dig put the highway in a nice little tunnel underneath this wonderful parkway.
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The bike rack at South Station. This is just one block from my office. Very convenient! I could lock it in front of my office at a staple there, but I just like the security of this location better.
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The bike is great so far. The only things I want to change are:
  • As I mentioned, I want to change the chainring from 46T to 38T.
  • The grips could use a little more cushion. I have a few sets of NOS Pedros Blackwalls so I'll probably throw some of those on.
  • I'm going to put my Planet Bike Spok lights on it.

Aside from these, everything is really nice so far. The bigger tires really make the time in the saddle far more pleasurable. It's a nice bike for the price, I must admit!
 

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underachiever
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257 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
rmsmith said:
Do you get good stopping power with those long-reach Tektro calipers?
I find they work great. I get going pretty fast down the hill I live on, and have no complaints whatsoever. :thumbsup:
 

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underachiever
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257 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So, it's been an interesting few weeks since I started commuting by bicycle. For the most part, it's been pleasant an uneventful. Well, except for:

1. During my second week while I was riding home the very edge of my handlebar caught the side view mirror of a car. I've never, ever been in a road accident before so was really stunned this happened. I thought I had enough room, and there was plenty. I was thrown off the bike and got some serious rash on most of the back side of my elbow (to my wrist). My knee and hip also received some, but not as bad. No damage to the car, and the bike was okay except for the barrel adjuster for the front brake which snapped in two. People in the car (elderly women) were very nice and asked if I wanted them to call 911, and I declined. Felt more embarrassed than anything as this was in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

2. On Tuesday of this week I was enjoying a very beautiful ride home on the Charles River walkway/bikeway when I came upon a runner. He was running in the wrong lane (same direction as me) and I rang my bell many, many times to alert him. This was to no avail because like so many runners, he was cranking his iPod. I came upon him and passed on the right exactly when he decided to run in the right lane (without looking back). I locked up the brakes and bounced off him into a very solid steel fence head first. Next thing I know, I'm flat on my back with him looking down at me. He was very nice and helped me up, though scolded me for passing on the right. I shot back that he was running in the wrong lane and I repeatedly rang my bell to warn him. This shut him up. Anyway, I got home and was in some serious pain. My helmet actually cracked in 3 places and the shell was peeled away in two places. My head is throbbing and my back is super sore. Needless to say, I haven't been on the bike since. I don't think I have anything serious, though of this headache persists throughout tomorrow, I'll see my doctor. That being said, I'm never commuting on the walkway/bikeway again. I've been using the main streets through Arlington, Somerville, Cambridge and Boston and feel safer there. Each and every day on the walkway/bikeway, I have few near misses with people wearing iPods or talking on cell phones. I thought I'd be safer on the walkway/bikeway, but apparently not. Go figure.

I decided to update the bike as I didn't like the feel of the fixie-type handlebars. I had some nice FSA bars and a cheap-o Easton stem, which is 10mm shorter, in my parts bin so I slapped them on. I put yellow tape on as maybe that will make me more visible. I can't wait to get back in the saddle, but that won't be until next week. I need to buy a new helmet first. And possibly a really loud air horn....

View attachment 208879
 

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rider of odd bikes...
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Great story... and my only advice to you is to assume that EVERY pedestrian and other bike rider is out to cause you to crash... 'cause if you don't assume that... they WILL cause you to crash.

I hope your headache subsides!
 

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abominable slowman
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Bike looks nice with the new drop bars and tape.

Not to be alarmist, but go to the hospital, or at least call your doctor. Do not screw around with head injuries (I can tell you horror stories if you want to hear them).
 

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misterdangerpants said:
I decided to update the bike as I didn't like the feel of the fixie-type handlebars. I had some nice FSA bars and a cheap-o Easton stem, which is 10mm shorter, in my parts bin so I slapped them on. I put yellow tape on as maybe that will make me more visible. I can't wait to get back in the saddle, but that won't be until next week. I need to buy a new helmet first. And possibly a really loud air horn....

View attachment 208879
I'm liking the new look. A very simple bike, but entirely built to task.
Shame about that crash with the runner. No one needs to have music that loud beating their eardrums.
My local dollar tree (Burlington) has mini air horns for $1, FWIW. Good luck and hope you're back on the bike soon!
 
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