Compare low maintenance commuter bikes

BCBiker

New Member
City Bike with some whistles and bells

Hello, I am looking for a very low maintenance daily commuter bike. I do 15km/day & 90m (one way) elevation. I ride all year long except for when there's snow (\~7 days/year). And, I live in Vancouver, so rain and all that that brings. Therefore, I've settled on a carbon belt and internal hub gearing and of course disc breaks. Everything I've looked at indicates I'd most likely be looking at either the Shimano Alfine 8 or 11 hub-wise. I also will need full fenders (thanks Vancouver), a rear rack, and a bottle holder. I have lights and a bell, so, that's less of a worry. My current ride is a 2017 Norco VFR5.

I'd also like to be able to do some bike camping in summer so, that 's another reason to have more gears, something hopefully not too heavy, and strong (but not too wide) tyres. Again, because these bikes don't exist here, I'm going to eventually have to just purchase one and hope for the best, so I'm really hoping some people can give some real knowledgable opinions. I want to hear all the dirt and the praises.

I'm open to suggestions of other options, but I've looked a lot and most other ones are missing the Alfine 11, no carbon belt, too expensive, etc. But, there could be something I've missed or not even considered. I've only listed ones with the Alfine 11 but each brand also offers pretty much the same bike (frame-wise) for cheaper and less features in the "8". Unfortunately, there are literally no Alfine 11 hubs in this city, or even Province. I admit I haven't even tried the 8 yet but, I have some options and am going to take a test ride as soon as I can. So, if after my test ride of an "8", I think it's enough, I may consider them.

Now, on to the bikes. I have narrowed it down to 3 contenders and I have listed them in order of my preference below. I'd really like some feedback from users that have actually *ridden* one or more preferable two or all three of them. But, I'll accept knowledge from knowledgable people.

1. Cube Editor: https://www.cube.eu/en/2020/bikes/urban/editor/cube-editor-blacknpurple-2020/
1. Probably the cheapest; I think the tyres are strong; better looking than the Presidio, but I'd need to add some accessories; I've heard Cubes are good value for money
2. BMC Alpenchallenge 01 ONE: https://www.bmc-switzerland.com/models/city-active/alpenchallenge.html
1. Probably most attractive (minus the colour) but, I think also probably the most expensive (which is why it's below the Editor), but might be the best choice though; I hear BMC are good quality
3. Marin Presidio 4 DLX: https://www.marinbikes.com/gb/bikes/family/20-presidio
1. Least attractive, but comes with everything

If you've read this far, thank you!! I'm really stuck here and need to bite the bullet on this. And, to top it off, I don't honestly know that much about bikes so any insights are well appreciated.
 

Crankarm

Legendary Member
Location
Nr Cambridge
What is your budget? You don't actually say, just "too expensive". Maybe your expectations might be unrealistic given how much or how little you want to spend?
 
OP
B

BCBiker

New Member
Hi, you’re right, I didn’t put a budget. I reckon that these bikes run ~$2400 on average. I really don’t want to go over $2600, but I have some room if the reasoning is compelling.

I want to own this for years and this is my “car” so I don’t mind spending a bit for quality. But, I don’t want to overspend just to have the best of the best.So, maybe something considered quality-reasonable??
Really, like I mentioned before, it’d be nice to hear from users of said bikes?
 

Moodyman

Guru
Alfine 8 is more than adequate for most people most of the time. It's shortcomings only become evident at the extremes: very hilly terrain where you might wish for a lower gear and possibly, a higher gear for downhills. Of course, you can also coast downhills.

Alfine 8 is a pretty robust unit as it is a culmination of gradual improvements from the various Nexus models. Alfine 11 was a re-design and there have been reports about it being temperamental to poor set up and possibly, less durable.
 

Crankarm

Legendary Member
Location
Nr Cambridge
Hi, you’re right, I didn’t put a budget. I reckon that these bikes run ~$2400 on average. I really don’t want to go over $2600, but I have some room if the reasoning is compelling.

I want to own this for years and this is my “car” so I don’t mind spending a bit for quality. But, I don’t want to overspend just to have the best of the best.So, maybe something considered quality-reasonable??
Really, like I mentioned before, it’d be nice to hear from users of said bikes?
I have PM'd you.
 

kingrollo

Veteran
Seems a strange thing to focus on. 105 groupset , alloy frame, calliper brakes - there really isn't much maintenance involved IME.
 
OP
B

BCBiker

New Member
Except for oiling and cleaning the chain all the time and getting it tuned or adjusting it often as the gears get out of wack. Remember, I’m not a weekend-fair weather rider. I ride in all weather, daily, and on hilly terrain. There is, in fact a lot of regular maintenance for a well used bicycle.
Maybe, try thinking of a car as a comparison. Would you prefer to have to intricately clean and oil it weekly—yes, exactly—I don’t either.

Seems a strange thing to not focus on something that requires a lot of one’s time and attention.
 
OP
B

BCBiker

New Member
I have PM'd you.
Hi Crankarm. Thanks for your PM. I’m having difficulty replying directly to it in my messages.
Your thoughtful and replete response was exactly what I was looking for. I will take your points under advisement.
I hope I can get a bit more help from other people who’ve had a chance to ride an Alfine 8/11 and/or have familiarity with the brands in my initial post. I think the bikes I mentioned had geared varieties as well, so if anyone has info on similar frames but geared versions, I’d love to hear from you as well—the hub is the same regardless of which bike it’s attached to. So, hearing about framesets and gearing separately can be helpful too!
 

classic33

Legendary Member
Except for oiling and cleaning the chain all the time and getting it tuned or adjusting it often as the gears get out of wack. Remember, I’m not a weekend-fair weather rider. I ride in all weather, daily, and on hilly terrain. There is, in fact a lot of regular maintenance for a well used bicycle.
Maybe, try thinking of a car as a comparison. Would you prefer to have to intricately clean and oil it weekly—yes, exactly—I don’t either.

Seems a strange thing to not focus on something that requires a lot of one’s time and attention.
I don't drive either, so any cycle(uni/bike/trike/quad) was my transport, all year round(unicycle aside). Covering 250 miles a weekend on the commute. Can't say I recall ever having to check over every bit of the bike before riding it. I was doing more checks than the average car driver I found out, brakes, gears, tyres(pressure and foreign bodies).

Bikes are not as high maintenance as some may think. And a higher price doesn't guarantee less maintenance being needed.

The majority of the maintenance was done midweek, when there was more time to do it, unless something went wrong in between the checks, that would affect the use or my safety.
 

Crankarm

Legendary Member
Location
Nr Cambridge
Hi Crankarm. Thanks for your PM. I’m having difficulty replying directly to it in my messages.
Your thoughtful and replete response was exactly what I was looking for. I will take your points under advisement.
I hope I can get a bit more help from other people who’ve had a chance to ride an Alfine 8/11 and/or have familiarity with the brands in my initial post. I think the bikes I mentioned had geared varieties as well, so if anyone has info on similar frames but geared versions, I’d love to hear from you as well—the hub is the same regardless of which bike it’s attached to. So, hearing about framesets and gearing separately can be helpful too!
It's in your messages folder, the envelope icon next to the bell, top right of page next where you login/out. Just type your reply in the box below my message and hit send reply then I'll see it. As I say any advice you need don't hesitate to PM me.

As I said it's already started ;@)
 
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SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
If you want the ultimate low maintenance commuter, get one of these things:-
520991


The chains don't wear out, the gears don't get covered in crap off the road and the things just work and keep working. Year after year, decade after decade.
Anyone would think low-maintenance bikes are something new, the way the marketers try to sell them. Years ago, low-maintenance bikes were the normal, everyday bikes. It's the derailleur geared stuff that was the exception to the rule.
 
I used to run an On-One Inbred with a Sturmey SRC3 3-speed plus coaster on the rear and a V-brake with ceramic rim at the front. I did frighteningly little maintenance. New chain every couple of years and new brake cable at the same time. Oiled the chain 4 times a year with Finish Line wet. Retensioned the chain when it looked droopy. The dirt reaches an equilibrium after a while.

Tyres were Marathon Plus and lasted for years. Swissstop sky blue brake pads were also everlasting.
 

the snail

Veteran
Location
Chippenham
I like the look of the Marin, it's got everything you want, looks very practical, nice relaxed riding position and good quality kit. Alternatively, I'd keep the Notrco going a bit longer and save up for something with a rohloff.
 

John_S

Über Member
Hi BCBiker,

Hope that you're keeping safe & well at this time.

My apologies because I've not ridden either of the three bikes that you're looking at but I am a year round all weathers commuter (well under more normal circumstances anyway) and so I can definitely appreciate where you're coming from in wanting a low maintenance bike.

With the bikes that you're looking at coming with Gates belt drives I just thought that the detail from the following blog might be interesting with some feedback from somebody who has been using a belt drive. Reading it they say that it is best to have CDX version of the Gates belt drive system rather than the lower level CDN belt drive and it might be just worth checking to see if the three bikes that you're looking at come with the Gates CDX drivetrain components.

https://willem.com/blog/2018-02-24_creating-the-ultimate-commuter-bike/#continue

Re: the bikes that you're looking at I thought that some of the accessories such as the mudguards/fenders on the BMC looked almost bespoke and I wondered how easy it would be to change or replace certain components/accessories on the BMC compared to some other bikes.

Good luck finding the right bike for you!

John
 
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