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  1. #1
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    Suggestions for Commuting Bike...

    Hi, I need suggestions for a commuting bike. A couple of things that will influence the final decision. 1. I'm not worried about a particular brand. I'm looking for something that is the best bang for the buck. 2. A single speed and/or fixie is preferred for simplicity. 3. My commute from home to work is 30 miles one way on a paved bike path. Between a couple of my offices there is some sweet single track. This single track can be ridden on cross tires or even road tires. I also live on a gravel road. My point is, the bike needs to be relatively fast but also able to handle some light single track and gravel. 4. I want a bike that allows me to add fenders and panniers.

    I've biked for 30 years and I'm in good shape. I do the same commute now on both my road bike and mountain bike but I want to be able to set up a commuting specific bike. As of now I'm thinking a cross bike with flat bars, skinny tires, and a rear hub that allows single speed and fixie. I'm open to all suggestions though. Maybe a 29'er mt bike with skinny wheels?

    Money is an issue. I don't have unlimited funds so I'm looking to get something that is function over fashion.

    Thanks for the suggestions in advance.

  2. #2
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    I think some of your requirements run contrary to each other. I have done my 22mi one way commute on a SS a number of times this year. It's work. Hard work. And I live in Indianapolis, where there are few hills, and that 22mi commute avoided the bigger ones. Because it is such a hard commute, I've only done it a few times since I started the job. Not to mention, there is no dirt on that commute, let alone singletrack. That's probably going to necessitate somewhat lower gearing than I ran, which will slow your 30mi commute.

    Because of it, I've decided to convert to a 1x10 drivetrain for my commute bike. I haven't finished the process yet, but I think it'll work out better for me in the long run and add versatility to the bike. I'd suggest the same for you. I have gone with a Salsa Vaya frameset, and building it mostly with parts I had from my previous bike. I did have to add some new drivetrain parts for the shifty bits. It is a little more on the spendy side, though. I was lucky and got a deal. The Surly Straggler looks nice, fits fatter tires with fenders, and has funky dropouts that can go SS/fixie or geared.

    Lower budget than those? As much as I hate their marketing, take a look at Bikes Direct and other online retailers. A rigid 29er with skinny tires could fit the bill.

  3. #3
    jrm
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    The on one kaffenback has replacement drops so you can run SS or geared. Planet X Kaffenback ST Evo Frame

  4. #4
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    Suggestions for Commuting Bike...

    I would love either the Salsa or Surly. These would be perfect for where I live because we have a hundred + miles of gravel. I do have some high end bikes but they are road and mountain bikes. Maybe someday a nice touring/gravel bike. For commuting I want something a little less flashy so I'm not a nervous wreck to leave it locked to a bike rack during the day. Thanks for the suggestions and keep them coming.

  5. #5
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    Suggestions for Commuting Bike...

    The kaffenback looks exactly like what I'm looking for. Seems like a decent price too. I'm going to research a possible build. Thanks!

  6. #6
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    I went with a Surly Cross Check because I wasn't sure if I wanted SS or geared, I'm happy with it. I ended up geared. They make a black one which isn't all that flashy. There's also the option of the Straggler if you want disc brakes.

  7. #7
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    If I was building today I would probably go with the Kaffenback. If you don't have to have disk brakes you should also check out the Pake C'mute. I believe they're made by the people that make Soma. Horizontal dropouts with a derailleur hanger will give you the same type of versatility.
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  8. #8
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    'Cross bike. Look for one with a fair amount of clearance and eyelets so you have the option of racks and fenders if you want them.

    If you want to spend less, buy it used. Now's probably not a great time to find a used 'cross bike. But, you could get lucky.

    I wouldn't want to do 30 miles of mostly road on flat bars. Since you've done the route on both road and mountain bikes, you can make your own decision.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    that Kaffenback looks good. I see it addresses a couple of the issues I had with my pompetamine. For one, the dropouts. Didn't like the dropouts and disc tabs on the pompetamine. This one is more standard. This one also has similar geometry (which I mostly liked) except for a steeper ST angle, which should help the back of the saddle avoid interference with rack cargo (which I occasionally had). Still, the overall geometry is a little bit more on the aggressive side, so keep that in mind.

    Part of my decision to go with the Vaya was because I wanted more relaxed geometry of a touring bike.

  10. #10
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    I've done a ton of research to make the same decision and i ended up with a second hand 2011 Jamis Coda Elite ($549), and I was willing to pay up to 1k. I think something in the Jamis lineup will fit what you are looking for.

  11. #11
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    Suggestions for Commuting Bike...

    Thanks everyone for the good information.

  12. #12
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    Now, it seems that you'll mostly be running skinnier tires....but being that you're in a MTB forum...

    Keep in mind the Kaffenback max clearance is for 32c tires, though I've heard a 35 slick will fit. For me, that's just not enough, hence why I have a straggler on order. Touring/commuting has taken me over so many varied surfaces, plus a tendency to just decide to hit some singletrack, that I like running the fattest tires I can fit in a frame. Especially when it comes to running fenders - don't want clearance to be an issue.

    And unless you're racing, they're fast enough.
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

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