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Missed a birthday… 3250miles / 12mths.

It was two years ago, May 2011, that I purchased my Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc 2011.


Here’s an update on the bike’s needs so far…

  • If you are commuting you really need to carry ‘stuff’, hence a multi-purpose the rack on the back for my two panniers.
  • You also need decent mudguards if you want to stay relatively dry and clean. Not an easy fit on this bike but my workaround has worked well to-date.
  • Even in the day, I use a Serfas ‘True 250′ USB front light. A nights charge last me a week. I consider it invaluable. Both to be seen coming in the daylight and to light your way in the dark.
  • And my rear light is a strong CatEye TL-LD1100. Rechargeable batteries last a good while.
  • Another essential, and I can’t recommend it enough, is a decent bell. I now have a Widek Chrome Ding dong Bell 80mm and In my opinion anyone cycling among pedestrians or city streets should have one fitted as standard.
  • Another good idea are reflective spoke thingies, they stand out when any light shines on them.
  • For a birthday, I was gifted a Brooks Flyer Special. A little extravagant but nice!
  • Of course there’s the daily banana for fuel!

Over these 2 years, the bike’s needed various replacement parts;

  • After 7 months it needed a new chain and cassette.
  • After 14 months I replaced Specialized Borough Xc Sport Tyre 700×45 with 700x32mm Schwalbe Durano Plus. These tyres have been fantastic over the last 10mths.
  • After 15 months the considerably worn SunTour/SRAM chain set (ring, chain and cassette) was replaced with a Shimano megarange CS HG41.
  • After 1 year 7 mths the stock back wheel rim cracked and freewheel was worn. The replacement tough new Mavic rim has been good to date.
  • After 1 year 11mths, the bike had a April 2013 full spring chemical clean, and full service.

It get’s quite a pelting from 15 miles around daily commute through all weathers, and very poor road surface. It picks up a lot of crud off the road, especially in winter. Despite this, last August’s chainset etc is still up for another 6 months+ hopefully.

Since the service, the bike is riding really well…

Here’s the stats

I started recording my rides on my old bike back in Feb. 2011.

  • I totalled 3051 miles recorded over first 12 months riding. (Feb ’11 – Feb ’12)
  • Over the last year, June ’12 through May ’13, I have ridden about 3250 miles.


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The Bike needed Tender Loving £s

guard You may have noticed my tweet last week that “the bike” needed some TLC (and some TL£).

Alas the wheels (rims and hubs) that came with the  specialized crosstrail sport disc 2011 were ‘average’ quality and arguably not up to the job.

It’s been 2 years since I bought the bike. It’s done its best to combat the conditions experienced but the rear wheel – the one that takes the most pounding – gave up last week. The front forks are sprung so that takes a bit of impact out for the front wheel.

The rear wheel’s rim was cracked in 3 places where the spokes enter it and the freehub’s splines were considerably worn – an ex-wheel!
This week’s tally: an ex wheel, the car’s rear ex-tyre and an ex-washingmachine! Arggh!  All this week!

In Oct 2011 my initial foray to the suggested “cycle-route” was shocking!
In August 2012, I moved off the death ride route (normal roads) to the shared “cycle facilities”.
The bike now has to deal with a lot more grit, debris, crap, tree roots, curbs, potholes, etc. I’m learning to accept it. I now concede the new route is arguably the wiser option.
The winter obviously sees a lot more debris and wet crud. So although I survived last winter I’ve now opted for the full guard on the rear, I just had a splash guard before. This might protect the mech and chain set a tad. More dedication to cleaning is needed too! Hufff!

I am no bike expert, so I rely on people’s advice and the LBS – City Cycles Thurmo
After two years it’s now got:
A new back wheel: Mavic A119 rim and Shimano FH-M525A hub.
In the summer we had to replace the considerably worn SunTour/SRAM chain set (ring, chain and cassette); with a Shimano megarange CS HG41.

So yes, annually the £ has to be spilt somewhere, but just remember there’s no Tax, MOT and insurance and the previous ~£54 a month fuel costs are now zero.

I bought off the shelf, but on retrospect- if you’re buying a new bike, spend more than you can afford (invest) for a bike that will be used daily – in the long term, the bike is the sum of it’s parts!


As mentioned, I concede that the cycle facility route is the wiser option – I guess I’ll report again on that in due course.

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best cycle tyre for daily commuting use?

OK cycling fans… Nominations for the best tyre for daily commuting use?
I’m used to and very pleased with the stock Specialized Borough Xc Sport Tyre 700×45 that came with the bike. And to be honest they’ve been good but will need changing soon.
The tyres are for a hybrid styled specialised crosstrail sport disc 2011

So types for daily commuting use: ?
SUBURBAN ROADS; as commuters are aware too often suburban roads are fraught with off-road style obstacles, grit, debris, thorns and potholes.GOOD GRIP:

for the wet, oil and grit.
DURABLE: as used twice daily.
SPEED: good reasonable speed, not too much drag.
PUNCTURE RESISTANCE: The SBXc above only had one puncture in 14mths. But, do I have the tube to thank for that? The tyres are peppered with cuts after a year of suburban roads.

I’m told a wider tyre (a larger contact area) offers more comfort, are less prone to punctures(?), and will provide more grip. I do like the ‘idea’ of the semi slick(?) smooth in the centre with knobbed on the sides.

Nominations for the best tyre for daily commuting use?
What have you got?
What do you recommend?