Commuter with off-road tendencies...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Commuter with off-road tendencies...

    Greetings,

    I'm getting up there in years and about to retire my steel Mercier Kilo WT (wide tire) 1-speed road commuter for something with gears. Intended use is commuting back and forth to work, fetching lattes with the wife, and the occasional joy ride on forest service roads. I have no plans to tour on this rig.

    I'm considering the following options:

    Surly Crosscheck $1250
    Cross-Check | Bikes | Surly Bikes

    Novara Mazama $1100
    Novara Mazama Bike - 2015 - REI.com

    Bianchi Lupo $1050
    Lupo | Bianchi USA

    Specialized AWOL $1350
    Specialized Bicycle Components

    Cost and durability are considerations. I want to be able to ride it out of the box with little to no upgrades.

    Some things I'm looking for: Steel frame, 700 cm wheels, drop bars, ability to take up to 35 cm tires with fenders. I'd prefer: TWO chain rings, canti brakes, and index shifters on the levers (although I think I could get used to bar end shifters).

    I've always wanted to own a Surly, REALLY like the aesthetic of the Mazama, the AWOL is DEFINITELY the pick of the litter though, but leaning towards the Lupo because of the price and it seems to have what I want.

    Thoughts on the above bikes and my criteria?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
    Reputation: Shayne's Avatar
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    You can't go wrong with the Cross Check.

    But the Lupo would be my choice of those. It ticks all of your boxes and as the "little brother" of the Volpe it's got a long proven design. I had a Volpe and it's "big brother" a Reparto Corse 'cross frame and they were both outstanding steel bikes.
    *** --- *** --- ***

  3. #3
    mtbr member
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    The Straggler with disc brakes?

  4. #4
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    All-city has some nice options that would fit the bill for you I believe. The space horse might be about right. All-city Macho man is pretty close to the horse but more CX oriented whereas the space horse is more road/commuter oriented.

    Norco's new search in the steel models is pretty neat but hard to find. I tried getting the s1 which has a tapered steerer to use for racing and general shinanagening when not racing but it was sold out.

    I think if you wanted a bike to last forever, the surly would be a good buy. They just seem overbuilt with the intention to last a while and to be completely functional. I've never cared for surly looks but some people really like the simple design.

  5. #5
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    My only thoughts as far as the Lupo are that it comes with cantilever brakes. Almost everyone that I talk to switches to mini-v's. If that's all, doesn't seem like it would bother you. I'm not nuts that they don't list tire clearance--I have run 42mm (touring) tires on the Cross Check with fenders, and room to spare. I like fenders and large tires, so...

    The REI bike looks fine, other than the headset with a limiter on it. I'd rather not have a hard stop built into a bike that may go onto tight trails (or over loose surfaces). I've never used/seen that headset, but it worries me, none-the-less.

    No qualms about the Spec bike...though the first thing I would do is tear out the gel pads under the bar tape. That stuff is useless for a good, firm grip on the bar.

  6. #6
    Bedwards Of The West
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    I have a Surly Ogre set up with drop bars... clearance for big rubber for your fire road adventures. But if you don't want to make any changes out of the box, I vote Cross Check
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

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