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I am absolutely lost in the world of bicycles! I have long ridden a MTB, but now I am a good 16kms(10+ miles) away from work.(where I wish to commute too) and i just need more speed.

I'm confused by bike talk around "geometries", I want a bike that will handle pretty rough roads/bike paths but one that is a lot quicker than a mountain bike.

It would be great if I could use my bike in amatuer level triathlons or cyclocross style racing, but it needs to be comfy enough for day to day riding.

Any ideas where I should start? I want to spend less than US$2000. I'm a 6ft guy with average reach

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    There are several questions in here, essentially making the question unanswerable. There are many questions with great answers already on this site that will answer most of your questions. – mattnz Sep 12 '14 at 1:43
  • thanks...essentially then what would 'make' a better commuting bike. A Triathlon or a Cyclocross bike? I don't have the budget or space for 3-4 bikes! – Tom Sep 12 '14 at 2:33
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    @Tom please edit your question if that's what you are asking. – Móż Sep 12 '14 at 6:18
  • As @Tom mentions, you're really asking a lot of different questions here. My suggestion would be to start at your local bike shop. You'll pick up a lot more in face-to-face interactions than you will on any online forum. And poke around the site some. We have a lot of questions about geometry, commuter bikes, and cyclocross. I think you'll find that many of your questions have already been answered. – jimchristie Sep 12 '14 at 14:18
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You are asking a lot from one bike - commuting on rough roads, triathlon and cyclocross (CX)!

I would choose a hybrid bike (like a Cannondale Bad Boy, though there are many to choose from) based on the following characteristics:

  • Larger 700c wheels that make them more efficient/faster than a Mountain bike.
  • Wider rims and tyre choices that make them stronger than Road/Racers.
  • Flat handlebars similar to a Mountain bike for a more upright position.
  • Good range of gears to handle varied terrain.
  • Often have suspension forks for comfort (though if too cheap, can be more hindrance than help).
  • When fitted with disc brakes, have good stopping power.

A hybrid bike would be a good fit if the majority of your riding is going to be commuting and comfort is a key driver in your decision. It will be quicker than a mountain bike (assuming 26" wheels and knobbly tyres), though not as fast as a road bike.

A road bike would be faster still, but a more aggressive aero riding position to get used to and you'd probably wreck the wheels riding CX. A CX bike could give you a position similar to the road bike, but is also designed more with racing than comfort in mind. I think CX is a bit more specialised and therefore I speculate you are likely to find less choice and possibly higher prices compared to other bikes of a comparable specification.

You can choose the best tyre width/tread/compound and pressure for the job at hand:

For roads and cycle paths, a smoother rolling tyre inflated to a higher pressure. Possibly some puncture protection if the roads are on the rough side.

For triathlon, you could select narrower slick tyres pumped even harder for less rolling resistance. Perhaps consider some clip-on aero bars. I've seen a right mix of equipment out there - people on very cheap full-suspension bikes with knobbly tyres doing triathlons, but I think they like the challenge and make things hard for themselves!

For CX, you could pick a slightly wider tyre with a more knobbly tread and perhaps run at a slightly lower PSI if you need more grip.

Hope this helps!

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  • thanks Adey. What would cover 15-20kms more easily a tri or a cx bike? I assume the CX would handle the potholes, riding through parks etc that comes with a commute through varied terrain. – Tom Sep 12 '14 at 2:35
  • by 'tri', do you mean a Time Trial bike with aero handlebars etc (these are pretty full-on for a 15-20km commute!) or a traditional road bike? I haven't ridden a CX, but they share some of aero benefits of road bikes whilst taking wider tires and are sometimes fitted with disc brakes and mounts for racks, making them suitable for lighter (than MTB) off-road and touring use. – adey_888 Sep 12 '14 at 2:55
  • @Tom: the tri bike will be faster until you break it. That day it will be very slow, assuming you are still mobile. As likely it will just degrade faster and more expensively than the cross bike. But it will be lighter and faster... that's the tradeoff. – Móż Sep 12 '14 at 6:19
  • On imperfect surfaces, max pressure doesn't always give the lowest rolling resistance. – Emyr Sep 12 '14 at 11:50

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