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  1. #1
    The Road Warrior
    Reputation: LandSpeed's Avatar
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    Now that I've got some coin tied up in my MTB, need to get a commuter. Ideas?

    So I finally have a bike that I consider a "theft hazard," having upgraded a rigid redline 29er w/ a shock, wheelset, and new drivetrain. It's sitting at about 2k, now. So, I need to get a commuter, now, that I don't have to worry about. Do you guys have any suggestions as far as brands, parts, DIY's, whatever? I'd like to keep the cost down, but at the same time, have something that isn't a total boat. I live in an area without snow, and have about 5 miles to commute, at present. Thanks

  2. #2
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    Any bike will do. Scour craigslist and garage sales for a decent mid 90s rigid MTB. Invest in quality lights and other commuter-esque goodies, and go riding.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, a full-rigid mid-range mountain bike would work, like an old Specialized Rockhopper, Giant Iguana, Trek 830, etc. Check to be sure it's your size, and that it has rack/fender eyelets, and that the frame and fork aren't bent.

  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    I prefer road bikes. There's a vast inventory of them out there. Anything from the late-80s or newer will have relatively plentiful maintenance parts.

    Did you look through the photo thread? People have some beautiful bikes. (And I posted my two ugly commuters. )
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    I paid $65 for an 80s steel frame road bike and converted it to singlespeed for a commuter. only cost me a chain and freewheel. And I can probably leave it outside a store unlocked and be confident no one will jack it.

  6. #6
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    IMO...The ultimate commuter bike has 700c wheels, SS and fenders. Disc brakes would be nice for no rim wear but not necessary.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  7. #7
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    I'll second the road bike vote, although I'm biased because it's what I ride for commuting. Craigslist frequently has good deals on early aluminum frame bikes and of course older steel frame bikes in the $150-300 range.. Steel is great if you can find a well preserved bike with no rust, and can of course keep the rust off of it. Buy some full coverage fenders and you're ready to go.

    Like these:
    http://sacramento.craigslist.org/bik/2119520425.html
    http://sacramento.craigslist.org/bik/2124976634.html
    http://sacramento.craigslist.org/bik/2124958833.html


    Great commuter ideas in this thread (may want to start on page 304 and work your way back to the posts from 2004 ):
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...r-Bicycle-Pics
    Last edited by TwoHeadsBrewing; 12-22-2010 at 02:15 PM.
    "Got everything you need?"

  8. #8
    Moderator Moderator
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    While you're at it, make sure the MTB is safe at home. It would be a dark day to come home on a beater and find your baby gone. Or uninsured.

  9. #9
    The Road Warrior
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    Thanks for the replies, guys. I think that I've settled on getting a CX frame and building it up. Not too sure about which one to get, yet, that still needs a lot more research. I wrote up this reply to another guy, but kept it....

    "It's funny that this thread comes up... I've decided to get a commuter, myself, and will more than likely get a CX frame and build it up. Here are some of the frame choices I've been onsidering, with pros and cons for each.

    Surly Cross Check:
    pros- steel frame, cheap, rack and fender mounts, great tire clearance
    cons- no disk brake mounts, cheap
    http://surlybikes.com/bikes/cross_check_complete/

    Santa Cruz Stigmata:
    pros- aluminum frame (not ride quality, weight)
    cons- more of a race frame. Have to buy as frame only
    http://www.santacruzmtb.com/stigmata/

    Ventana El Martillo CX:
    pros- al frame, lots of good reviews, good clearance, name
    cons- al frame
    http://www.ventanausa.com/frame_elmartillocx.html

    Salsa Vaya:
    http://salsacycles.com/bikes/vaya/

    I didn't write up pros and cons, and have more bikes to add to the list, but you get the idea. Do some google searches and see what comes up for CX bikes that have things like fender and rack mounts, etc.

    Personally, I think that I'm sold on a cross bike, whether Al or steel, I don't know."

    So, I'm not too sure about which CX frame to get, but will be doing more research.

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I'm not a fan of 'cross bikes as commuters. But it really depends on the specific bike - "commuter" is an unsexy way to describe a frame or complete bicycle. "Touring" hasn't been fashionable for a while. The Stigmata, as you noted, is a dedicated race frame - you're lucky it even has water bottle mounts. The Cross Check and Vaya are both targeted as more multi-purpose bikes.

    What it really comes down to is what you want from your commuter. Do you want to ride home from work, stop at the grocery store and load some stuff into a pannier, ride in the rain if that's what the weather holds, etc., or are you looking for something fun and fast? Any fun rides, or just to and from work?

    From the pros and cons you cared about, it sounds like you want something fashionable (steel and discs, called it a 'cross bike) but also practical (rack and fender mounts.) I'd look at the Soma Double Cross, Kona Honky Inc. and Sutra, Traitor Ruben, Jamis Aurora Elite and Bosanova, maybe the Trek Portland and of course the Nashbar 'cross frame. Most of those are steel, but the Nashbar one and the Portland aren't. Prices are all over the map - it really depends what you're comfortable spending. Frameset availability varies, and of course there are other options out there.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LandSpeed
    Thanks for the replies, guys. I think that I've settled on getting a CX frame and building it up.
    I had this dilemma nearly 2 years ago....and for what it's worth, I love my Cross Check and don't regret getting it one bit. It's been such a solid bike, on road, off road, off curbs, century rides, commuting, etc. I might even make it fixed gear and ride it in the snow, we'll see. Fat tires? Skinny tires? It's a bike that's nearly impossible to get bored with, since it can do damn near everything.

  12. #12
    The Road Warrior
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    This sport can really hit your wallet. And it's addicting. I'm going to relegate my MTB to being the commuter, I think, and have a cross bike built up for riding the way I like to ride (roads, dirt, everything in between). Here's a link to the thread where I'm starting a Q and A about the build, if anyone is interested. Comments there are welcome. Thanks for all the replies in here, too. Maybe it will help someone else out. http://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho...d.php?t=236020

  13. #13
    ride the moment
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    Quote Originally Posted by LandSpeed
    This sport can really hit your wallet. And it's addicting. I'm going to relegate my MTB to being the commuter, I think, and have a cross bike built up for riding the way I like to ride (roads, dirt, everything in between). Here's a link to the thread where I'm starting a Q and A about the build, if anyone is interested. Comments there are welcome. Thanks for all the replies in here, too. Maybe it will help someone else out. http://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho...d.php?t=236020
    I would advise you to leave the MTB just as it is, build up a cross bike to ride how you want, and then build up a cheap commuter. At some point you'll want the MTB for trails, and you just bought all those upgrades that don't really fit the commuter gig. You can find an older MTB or steel frame 700c on craigslist for $200, then drop another $100 on tires, pedals, grips, chain, etc, and have a really solid bike to get around on without having to worry about it.
    Just because you read a book it don't make you conscious. - MC Lush

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