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Commuting by bicycle . . .

Other photos to go with last post

.....stupid user problem ! Here are the rest of the photos to accompany my explanation !:)
 
Do you ever use a front mudguard? I find the fountain which comes up from the front wheel when it's wet incredibly irritating, even though cosmeticly unattractive I reckon one is indispensible for commuting.
 
Hi Charles . . .

It's not fair :( You have all the best toys!!! Thanks, you have obviously thought through how to set the bike up. As Aphex highlighted, how about the front mudguard?

Cheers,

Philip

PS - the set back on the seat is large. Is that just for fit?
 
Do you ever use a front mudguard? I find the fountain which comes up from the front wheel when it's wet incredibly irritating, even though cosmeticly unattractive I reckon one is indispensible for commuting.

How went your bike ride (delayed till Tuesday)?
 
Actually, the Giant Escape (R1) is the bike that is top of my wish list. Having owned it for a year, would you recommend it?

Sure, definitely. I got the R-Disc last year (basically an R-2 with disc brakes) and it's served me very well. It's too small for me, because the shops here just don't stock my size and I wanted a bike *today*, but apart from that it's great. I switched out the suspension seatpost fairly quickly for a cheapo alumium post and added fenders front and back. (Actually, I seem to remember seeing an SE version set up for utility bike purposes, with fenders, lights, pannier, etc. Might be a good option...)

I've had to fiddle with the disc brakes a couple of times, but other than that it's been bombproof (3000km+ so far). Low MTB gearing so it's very sprightly off the line at stop lights, the tires seem like a great compromise size for city streets, and it is reasonably light.

That said, a lot of manufacturers seem to be competing in this category here in Japan at the moment (the whole front area of Y's Road in Funabashi is given over to hybrids) so there are probably lots of other good choices too.
 
Front Mudguard !

Style council is still out on that one but so far I have not felt the need for one - I seem to be able to avoid the spray as most of it hits the down tube !

As for the setback - this is borrowed from the Colnago - I have a short torso but long legs and arms (think neo-neanderthal) and have been measured and fitted accordingly ! So I have kept the same crank to seat height as advised for the Colnago and then I tried the same seat position and found it to be very comfortable so I have stuck with it. Before I found that I was slipping forward a lot and consciously forcing myself backward into position. Now I stay where I am and it feels a lot more natural.

Quick plug - Aoyama-san, who set my bike up for me at Y`s Bike in Akasaka, has left and will shortly open a new shop. He is a real expert in bike fitting so I am hoping he continues to do that in his new venture. I will post more when I know. Very nice man and speaks English very well once persuaded - if you need it !!

Charles
 
Thanks Phil . . .

Like you, I have seen a number of similar bikes from different brands in this category. However, the Escape frame is almost identical to Giant's OCR frame which (I believe) is cutting edge among aluminum frames. The geometry is also set-up for a flat bar rather than retro fitting a drop bar bike. Further, I already own a Giant and have been very happy with it.

Now, Aphex and you have me considering disc brakes. The Dura Ace caliper brakes on my road bike provide ample braking power - I can lock-up both the front and back wheels. They also provide excellent modulation (feel). I guess the real benefit of discs is immediate response in wet weather. Anything else?

Cheers,

Philip
 
Disc brakes

For road riding the main advantage of disc brakes would be wet weather deceleration as you mention. Even though I had no prior problems with rim brakes on-road, I certainly noticed the difference in stopping distance, in all weather conditions, when I started using discs. They will also need the pads changing less frequently and, in my opinion, less adjustment.

The downside is, if they do need adjusting you may have to take them to your LBS unless it is simply a case of resetting the pads by prising them outwards with a flat screwdriver. Alternatively you could learn how to build/service/maintain disc brakes (I haven't bothered). The hydraulic system can get air pockets and sometimes needs bleeding. You must never apply the brakes without the rotor between the pads.

Also you will need a special rear rack, which will be suspended from the saddlepost only (max weight 10kg is the norm.) and will not attach to the frame as the bulky brake system near the rear wheel hub will prevent this.

One reason disc brakes are so beloved of the mtb set is, as I understand it, that on long downhill sections they are less prone to overheating and thereby losing stopping power. Personally I think they are a must for off-road, and very useful for urban riding. Wouldn't need them for the open road though.

Have I already said this? I've been told mechanical discs are of little use, if you are going to get disc brakes it is imperitive to get the hydraulic ones.
 
How went your bike ride (delayed till Tuesday)?

:eek: Er some things got in the way: job interviews - three for one company and the bastards didn't even offer me the job! :mad:My debut as a food-writer - very edited article appeared in last Friday's Japan Times. The result is, you guessed it, I haven't been. Wife and kiddies back in Japan now after escaping to Europe for the summer.

I have detailed the route down to every road and am hoping that if I get a job offer I can find three spare days and do it as last holiday before succumbing to Japanese corporate culture.

What you reckon Phil, would the argument "I have a job now, so I deserve to go on this last one" work with your esteeemed Chama? ;)
 
:eek: Er some things got in the way: job interviews - three for one company and the bastards didn't even offer me the job! :mad:My debut as a food-writer - very edited article appeared in last Friday's Japan Times. The result is, you guessed it, I haven't been. Wife and kiddies back in Japan now after escaping to Europe for the summer.
I have detailed the route down to every road and am hoping that if I get a job offer I can find three spare days and do it as last holiday before succumbing to Japanese corporate culture.

Last year I interviewed for a job and was notified three weeks later I didn`t get the position. What better way to celebrate than by hitting the road? That`s when I did the Izu Trek. Didn`t get the job:( - got over it on the road:bike3:.

What you reckon Phil, would the argument "I have a job now, so I deserve to go on this last one" work with your esteeemed Chama? ;)

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me!
 
Disc brakes continued...

Can't really add much to what Aphex said about disc brakes. I actually found that once I learned how, _adjusting_ them was not much more difficult than caliper brakes - but full maintenance/repairs probably would be an LBS job. Fenders and racks are doable if you're willing to fiddle with a pair of pliers and spacers, but they do make things more awkward. One other plus is that they save on rim wear, so your wheels will last a little longer perhaps.

Personally, if I were to do it again I probably would have just got the standard R2 and saved the 1 or 2 man difference. But then I don't commute and generally don't ride in the rain except by accident...
 
Mudguards!

Philip,
SKS do good mudguards. I've got a set of their clip-ons on my old Cannondale (which is my commuter bike) as it's not possible to fit 'proper' mudguards. Keeps the spray off up to a point.

I am a dedicated disc-brake user off road. My rims used to last about 3-4 months in the days of v-brakes due to the need for heavy sustained braking combined with effective "grinding paste" made from sand/mud/water, plus the braking performance was fairly rubbish in the wet anyway. Hydraulic discs (good ones) are almost maintenance-free, work much better when covered in mud, and less likely to get muddy in the first place. Plus if you ding a rim (which will happen) the brakes are unaffected and you can bash the rim straight with a hammer at home. Loads of advantages really.
I don't see so much of an advantage for on-road. If you plan to load up your commuter bike and do some touring, then consider discs - they are more powerful and effective in the wet. But otherwise rim brakes (V-s or dual pivot calipers) will do the job and save some weight. You just need to allow for more braking distance when it's wet.
 
Thanks Alan, Phil & Aphex . . .

I draw the conclusion that for my needs V-brakes are the way to go.

Cheers,

Philip
 
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