sub $500 road bike or slick tires??- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    sub $500 road bike or slick tires??

    Hey all,
    I'm riding a trek liquid right now and I'm wanting to commute some now. I am thinking of trying either a inexpensive road bike (sub $500) new or used or some slick tires.

    Any thoughts on roadbikes that fit the bill. I see a huge thread on slicks below already.

    thanks.

  2. #2
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    Would definitely recommend a dedicated commuter rather than wearing out your duallie riding it everywhere. Probably look around at second hand mountain bikes, can fit bigger tires, racks, fenders ... all the things that make commuting fun rather than painful :-)

  3. #3
    Ride Responsibly
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    pick up a used road bike, or at least a hardtail, even a cruiser.

  4. #4

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    my 350 dollar (new) sora windsor from ebay was a great bike. i wouldnt have sold it if it was a size smaller.. i cringe thinking about riding a mountain bike on concrete after owning roadbikes.

    i use my OCR1, stem flipped down with no spacers and 23/25c's for commuting.

  5. #5
    all about the ride down
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomsmoto
    i cringe thinking about riding a mountain bike on concrete after owning roadbikes.
    +1

    I did the mountain bike commute thing for years. A used road bike or a hardtail frame dedicated commuter is for sure the ticket. I built my GF a commuter from a Hard Rock frame I got for $50.00 . She loves it.
    The More People I Meet the More I Prefer Dogs!

  6. #6
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by split.therapy
    A used road bike or a hardtail frame dedicated commuter is for sure the ticket. I built my GF a commuter from a Hard Rock frame I got for $50.00
    Another good option.

  7. #7
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    Both.

  8. #8
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    I recommend a Schwinn Cutter, $300

  9. #9
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    thanks all! Like a ton of those ideas. I schwinn cutter is cool but I think I'll want gears for going uphill. Its about a 12mile commute that i'll do 3x a week I believe. I'm gonna measure it tomorrow. I think I want a dedicated but I don't have the cash right now. Maybe I'll sell some stuff but for now I bought some 26x1.5 slicks I'll try for the $40. If I get into it I'll splurg down the road for a roadie. thanks

  10. #10
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    check out jenson, they've got some road bikes in their clearence section...otherwise, hit up craigslist, ebay, local garage sales. i'm having a ton of fun buying old bikes and restoring them, and actually my latest build only cost $5 for the bike...taiwanese-made frame, some nice mid 80's suntour components, it's a very nice bike.
    I ride a 26'er with tubes and rim brakes.
    Yeah, I'm basically living in the stone age.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bucksaw87
    ......hit up craigslist, ebay, local garage sales. .
    Garage sales ftw !!!! We have so many in my area, you can find anything from antiques to killer deals on great equipment (bikes included) for next to nothing ...... my opinion is that garage sellers aren't as greedy (nor as ridiculous) as eBay sellers....CL is sorta in-between, imy experience.

  12. #12
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    If my old Stumpjumper wasn't too small for me, I'd make that a commuter. I suppose I still can. Just put a 110mm stem and a riser bar.

    But I have a 5y/o road bike that I use to commute with. My coworker is interested in it for his wife. It's a perfect bike for 2hr rides.

    My only problem is the way fenders fit on it. There's very little clearance so I'm always rubbing on the tire.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by traffic002
    If my old Stumpjumper wasn't too small for me, I'd make that a commuter. I suppose I still can. Just put a 110mm stem and a riser bar.
    That's a good way to go. I'm 6 feet tall but I have short legs, so I have to buy a small bike. Then the cockpit is kinda cramped so I end up having to longer/taller stems, etc...

    My only problem is the way fenders fit on it. There's very little clearance so I'm always rubbing on the tire.
    Do they have adjustable stays? Where exactly on the tire is it rubbing?
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary the No-Trash Cougar
    Do they have adjustable stays? Where exactly on the tire is it rubbing?
    The fenders wrap around the tires very closely. I have very little clearance near the brakes.

    So I zipped tied the fender to the brake pivot. Then zip tied the supports to the fork. Same goes for the rear but there is an extra zip tie for the front of the fender to the seat tube. The fender is just thin plastic so very flimsy. The supports are thin aluminum. You have to work to bend the supports just right to allow enough clearance. Sometimes if you load up your bike in the back of a van or you lift the front wheel off the ground the back will hit the ground or what have you and bend the setup. Besides, it'll vibrate around as you ride down the road...

  15. #15
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Maybe you could take a dremel (not sure if that would be good on plastic?) and cut out some slots on the sides of the fenders near the brakes so you could mount them a bit higher for clearance?
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  16. #16

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    Option One:
    A cheap (100-250 usd) used road bike. You'll get something from the late 70's-early 80's in need of cables and a chain, maybe tires. Figure 300 all said and done for a viable commuter that you don't have to worry about. You'll go way faster but the ancient cogs and brakes will make you appreciate the last 3 decades of tech advances in these areas. You'll learn a whole lot about where cycling has been- trends and such. You'll get somewhat frustrated by the lack of parts standardization. You'll have fun feeling your pedal power actually translated into forward motion. Most importantly, you'll get a feel for what you might want in a more modern road bike or commuter in the future. That is, in terms of sizing, features- figuring out what works FOR YOU, what YOU want.

    Option Two: The Super Cool Option: Front suspension is fine for the road. You're not racing and the nerves and soft tissue of your hands, wrist and arms will appreciate the damping offered by a sus fork. Forget about the inefficiency and enjoy the smoothnes. As for the rear, I've seen many a dude and the occasional gal bopping along- at quite a slow pace I might add, down the paved commuter trail. They're probably just out for fun, etc, but if you want to commute, you will grow tired of the bopping- of all that wasted power. So, that brings me to the super cool part. What you need is a solid peice of aluminum to replace you shock. It will have the same upper and lower mounting provisions (holes) that your shock has. A machine shop can help you. It is important that the mounting holes of your new "shock" be exactly the same diameter and width as that of the real shock and that the length is the same as the shock is when set at your prefered sag.
    You'll be able to swap out the solid shock easily and quickly if you want to hit the trails, and you'll be able to commute/ride on the road efficiently. People will say: "What the f is that?!" They will also say "that's f'ing retarded." But, that's the price you pay for taking the Super Cool Option.
    Dealing with a machine shop is obviously the most intimidating/inconvenient part of this whole Option. I would bring the bike down there and tell them exactly what you want. If they laugh, don't worry. They won't turn down work. Machine shop guys are smart blue collar dudes, but they are used to dealing with different types of folks. You might have to take some crap. Just be real and get down with their scene and you'll get what you need.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary the No-Trash Cougar
    Maybe you could take a dremel (not sure if that would be good on plastic?) and cut out some slots on the sides of the fenders near the brakes so you could mount them a bit higher for clearance?
    I do have a dremel and am not afraid to use it. Actually, that's how I got the zip ties on the brake caliper pivots. I also dremeled the excess aluminum support rods off.

    It's more art than science to fit these fenders to road bikes. I think a cross bike would be a lot easier with all that extra clearance from tire to frame/brakes.

  18. #18
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    I ride a Specialized Allez roadbike ($400 used) and a Trek 3800 MTB (~$350) with Specialized Fat Boy 1.25 tires ($50). I can honestly say that the 3800 can't even come close to touching the Allez. I could see where the suspension and positioning would make it more comfortable, but it just can't keep up with hte roadbike. Maybe if you geared it diferently it would be faster, but I'd go with a road bike.

    -Connor

  19. #19
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    With a budget of $500, a little mechanical knowledge and Craig's List, you can get a lot of road bike. Probably not one with STI shifters that don't suck, but something very nice with downtube shifters.

    Is it 12 miles round trip, or one way? For me, over ten miles is when I start wanting something more "road" than "utility" to go to work. How much stuff do you have to take with you? A 12 mile ride on a road bike is a lot more pleasant than a 12 mile ride on a mountain bike, unless you can find a few places to mess around on singletrack on the way to or from work.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  20. #20
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    If the bike's more for the urban commute I think mountain bikes converted with slicks and a rack works really well. If you've got more of a long haul ride drop bars would be more comfortable.

    Either way, take your time to look around. Online classifieds, bike co-ops and garage sales can be gold mines if you're willing to roll up your sleeves and do some fixing up. I got my hands on a older 853 steel frame with decent bits on it for 150$ from the local bike co-op. About 150$ of love and 6-8 hours of care later I had a commuter bike that i enjoy riding around the city and it even holds up well on the trails for a friend with a swap of tires.

  21. #21

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    Is you commute stop and go, real urban commuting with cars, through lights? If so, a converted hardtail might be fine for you.

    If it's a longer commute, no lights, then a road bike will undoubtedly be faster and more comfortable. I know a lot of people say a hardtail with slicks is just as fast, but it just isn't possible to maintain 20-25 mph on a hardtail for 10 miles or more.

    If you've been riding a MTB for a while and haven't ridden a road bike, you will be amazed at how easy it is to go fast. The more powerful, aero riding position, lighter bike and taller gearing make commuting exhilarating (if you're into that kind of thing).

  22. #22

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    I'm going with a Trek Navigator 1.0 and a pair of Continental Ultra Gatorskins, I'm only doing 8 miles each way on flat road. Bike was $325.00, tires were $40.00 so its a sub $400.00 setup.

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