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AxleIke
09-27-2012, 11:00 AM
I am trying to find a decent used commuter bike, but am not finding what I'd like.

If anyone has leads, or knows a good bike shop, etc...I'd appreciate any leads.

To give an idea of what I'm looking for:

-Frame size needs to be around 56cm. A little more or less is okay. Very picky on this. I really don't enjoy riding a bike that is too small/large.
-AL frame would be a plus, with no suspension. Obviously I'm not that weight conscious but the less the frame weighs, the better, without getting exorbitantly expensive.
-Multi Speed. I don't understand why people make good bikes into single speed bikes, but it seems to be simply a fashion statement, and has zero real world purpose unless you ride track. Either way, I'm not interested.
-The better the components, the more I'm interested. Obviously, I'm not trying to spend a bunch, but I REALLY like my stuff to work without needing constant maintenance. I'm willing to spend more to get a solid set of derailleurs in particular. But brakes are important too.
-I need a rear rack and fenders, so if the bike has them, bonus.


Ideally, I'd find a pretty beat up bike with good components and accessories. Also, more of a road style than a MTB style. but not that picky there. The commute length is 22 miles one way, so short by road bike standards, but kinda far by "commute" standards.

I am out of shape and flabby, so I will be starting a one way commute, with a bus/bike combo on the way back. Hence the reason for wanting a beater, I don't want to worry about stuff getting banged up on the bus.

Any tips/hints/ads would be appreciated. My craigslist hunting has yielded very few results in the size I want.

TIA!

Isaac

60wag
09-27-2012, 11:50 AM
Veloswap Oct 20th at the National Western complex:

http://veloswap.competitor.com/

RicardoJM
09-27-2012, 12:41 PM
Roll your own:D. Grab a craigslist/garage sale bike with mounting bosses for the rack and fenders. Slap a rack on it and start riding. 22 miles is a distance and after doing it a few times, you will end up with a much better idea of what you want the commuter bike to be. Then swap out/add over time. For me, thumbshifters, fenders, rack, bullet proof tires and big granny gear are important mods that I've made just for commuting. Working on bikes is way easier than the work we do on the rigs.

There are quality differences in components, but even the low level setups will provide thousands of mile of use. Most issues with brakes, shifting are due to lack of cleaning and adjusting. Earlier this year one of the neighborhood kids asked me to look at his shifting - rear cable was loose. I also adjusted his brakes, lubed the chain for him. He was really excited and before the evening was done three other kids brought their stuff in for tuning. Ooops - off topic - but the point is - it doesn't take much to have a fine running bicycle.

DaveInDenver
09-27-2012, 01:37 PM
Veloswap is good, but Craigslist is cheaper IME. It's funny because I ride a 58cm or 59cm frame and all I can find when I look are 54cm and 56cm for short people. :-)

FWIW singlespeeds are not track bikes, which are fixed gear. Track bikes don't free wheel. The reason people run fixies and singlespeeds is simplicity. You'll find commuting is tough on gear and the less stuff to maintain or break the better. It's a trade-off. I agree, fixies are done to prove how cool you are, but bike messengers run them because they really do break a lot of stuff and freehubs are notoriously prone to explosion. But mostly it's hip.

I run a cyclocross bike as my commuter. From Sept to Dec it's stripped since I race it on weekeneds, but the rest of the year it has fenders, lights, bottles and all of it. I use a backpack, I am not a fan of racks and panniers. Some people (my wife, Ricardo) love them. Panniers are a pain on buses, leave them on and your stuff gets wet, taking them off is time consuming and if someone takes your bike all your stuff goes with it.

Oh, regarding level of quality. You're commuting into Boulder, I would use the lowest level that gets the job done because bling and expensive stuff attracts theft and the bike thieves up there do know what is good and what is junk.

I'd find a few year old MTB, so look for a medium, 17" or maybe 18" for you. Run skinny slicks, 26x1.5 or 26x1.9 and call it good. You can run drop bars if you want them on a MTB and they are more suited to the daily grind.

AxleIke
09-27-2012, 01:54 PM
Roll your own:D. Grab a craigslist/garage sale bike with mounting bosses for the rack and fenders. Slap a rack on it and start riding. 22 miles is a distance and after doing it a few times, you will end up with a much better idea of what you want the commuter bike to be. Then swap out/add over time. For me, thumbshifters, fenders, rack, bullet proof tires and big granny gear are important mods that I've made just for commuting. Working on bikes is way easier than the work we do on the rigs.

There are quality differences in components, but even the low level setups will provide thousands of mile of use. Most issues with brakes, shifting are due to lack of cleaning and adjusting. Earlier this year one of the neighborhood kids asked me to look at his shifting - rear cable was loose. I also adjusted his brakes, lubed the chain for him. He was really excited and before the evening was done three other kids brought their stuff in for tuning. Ooops - off topic - but the point is - it doesn't take much to have a fine running bicycle.

Hmm...Perhaps my perception of components has been colored by my MTB background. On the MTBs, I had brand new, fresh from the shop, but low end components jump gears, etc...So, on my latest bike, I bought one step below top of the line and couldn't be happier.

I don't know how to tune a bike, I've always just taken it to a shop. Guess I better get a book and figure out how to do it. I disagree that working on bikes is easier than cars. But, thats a matter of perspective.

I was going to ask about building a bike. I've always felt that you can't build a bike for less than you can buy it, simply because the components always seem to be marked up (forks, brakes, cables, etc...).

Good advice, and if you see one, let me know.

AxleIke
09-27-2012, 01:56 PM
Veloswap Oct 20th at the National Western complex:

http://veloswap.competitor.com/

I've thought about that. Is it actually a "swap" or something, where your average joe is selling bikes, or is it just a vendor thing? I've found that these vendor type events are great if you are looking to buy a brand new, one model year out, top of the line bike for a good price, but if you are actually on a budget, not so much.

DaveInDenver
09-27-2012, 02:01 PM
I was going to ask about building a bike. I've always felt that you can't build a bike for less than you can buy it, simply because the components always seem to be marked up (forks, brakes, cables, etc...).
If you build it yourself you can usually do OK looking for deals, like close-outs and stuff. But straight across a complete new bike is going to be cheaper than the sum of regular retail parts. There isn't as much mark-up in complete bikes as you'd think.

Veloswap is both shops selling excess stock and regular people selling their old stuff. It's huge, you can be in there for a couple of hours no problem. I always find something I need even if I didn't know i needed it. Get your tickets ahead at REI or Performance, it's cheaper and a lot easier.

AxleIke
09-27-2012, 02:04 PM
Veloswap is good, but Craigslist is cheaper IME. It's funny because I ride a 58cm or 59cm frame and all I can find when I look are 54cm and 56cm for short people. :-)

FWIW singlespeeds are not track bikes, which are fixed gear. Track bikes don't free wheel. The reason people run fixies and singlespeeds is simplicity. You'll find commuting is tough on gear and the less stuff to maintain or break the better. It's a trade-off. I agree, fixies are done to prove how cool you are, but bike messengers run them because they really do break a lot of stuff and freehubs are notoriously prone to explosion. But mostly it's hip.

I run a cyclocross bike as my commuter. From Sept to Dec it's stripped since I race it on weekeneds, but the rest of the year it has fenders, lights, bottles and all of it. I use a backpack, I am not a fan of racks and panniers. Some people (my wife, Ricardo) love them. Panniers are a pain on buses, leave them on and your stuff gets wet, taking them off is time consuming and if someone takes your bike all your stuff goes with it.

Oh, regarding level of quality. You're commuting into Boulder, I would use the lowest level that gets the job done because bling and expensive stuff attracts theft and the bike thieves up there do know what is good and what is junk.

I'd find a few year old MTB, so look for a medium, 17" or maybe 18" for you. Run skinny slicks, 26x1.5 or 26x1.9 and call it good. You can run drop bars if you want them on a MTB and they are more suited to the daily grind.

My bike stays indoors mostly, so not too worried about thieves, but that is a good point for sure!

Hmmm, perhaps I am confused on bike sizes. Are they measuring different things metric to standard? I need a 56 cm. That would directly correlate to a 22", no? I thought a 17 was a womens size? Like 5'1-5'4 height.

I'm right at 6'. The online range plus my own 'testing' puts me at the 56cm size. What does that translate to in standard?

I assumed single speed and fixed gear were the same. The bikes I saw were called "fixie's" in the ads, which an online search said was a single speed bike. They also seem to have no brakes.

I am not a fan of backpacks for longer rides. They cause major neck and back ache for me (I carry a laptop, plus text books, plus other BS), and I'd need a huge pack to carry all that plus clothes, towel, and toilet kit for showering. I agree that the Paniers seem to be a PITA for the bike side, but they seem to come with shoulder straps now, so hopefully it won't be horribly cumbersome. My boss has them, and they seem pretty quick, just snap on and off of the rack.

Anyway, if you see anything enticing, post it up.

AxleIke
09-27-2012, 02:05 PM
If you build it yourself you can usually do OK looking for deals, like close-outs and stuff. But straight across a complete new bike is going to be cheaper than the sum of regular retail parts. There isn't as much mark-up in complete bikes as you'd think.

Veloswap is both shops selling excess stock and regular people selling their old stuff. It's huge, you can be in there for a couple of hours no problem. I always find something I need even if I didn't know i needed it. Get your tickets ahead at REI or Performance, it's cheaper and a lot easier.

Ah, good thoughts!

DaveInDenver
09-27-2012, 02:09 PM
Is this interesting?

http://denver.craigslist.org/bik/3280860490.html

DaveInDenver
09-27-2012, 02:19 PM
Bike sizing is a bit of art and bit of black magic. You need to know basically your height and real inseam, this is your inseam barefoot from the ground to your junk and is usually a couple of inches longer than your pants inseam. It sounds odd (and what about cycling doesn't really), but you stand with your back to the wall, feet a few inches apart and bring a paperback book just until it touches your crouch. The distance from the top of the book to the ground is your real inseam. Your torso length and arm length will also factor into the right size. There is actually a pseudo-medical term for it, pubic bone height and you'll sometimes see people refer to the PBH, which is carry-over from the Fit Kit (the tool bike shops use to fit you) terms.

I am 6'0", 35.5" inseam (I wear 34" pants usually), pretty typical reach. I ride a 58cm road bike and usually large MTB, which tends to be 19"~20". I like a bike with a around a 24.5" top tube length and look for no less than 32~33" stand over for a MTB or CX (it's often more than that, standover more like 31" or 32"). I tend to have around a 90mm stem with 5 degree of rise, 20mm of spacers.

But the magic part is that almost all bikes now have sloping top tubes, so their actual measurement is not their sizing measurement. Going way, way back the center of the bottom bracket to the top tube was typically how a bike was measured since they had flat top tubes. Some times the measurement was to the middle of the TT and sometimes to the top of the TT. Occasionally it was to the top of the seat collar. Now when the TT slopes, the BB to TT might measure something like 55cm on a 58cm size frame.

Confused?

The effective seat tube length is the term they use now, since the BB to TT length is virtual. It is measured using a level held at the top tube and head tube junction to find a point on the seatpost that translates to the old 'flat' to tube point. Then measure from that point to the BB to find the sizing seat tube length.

http://gunnarbikes.com/images/gunnarsizingillustration20091227.gif

A 22" frame would be much too tall for you. I think a 56cm might be on the small side of fitting you, but it might be uncomfortably short. You tweak the fit with stem length, stem height and saddle position mostly, but if a frame is too small or large it's hard to fit. From your description I'd think 56, 57 and maybe 58 should be on your radar or 17, 18 or 19". They use metric for road bikes and cyclocross, imperial for MTBs. Just tradition. In any case they might also be marked medium or large depending on the manufacturer. I ride large frames and sometimes XL, but I don't like being cranked at all.

AxleIke
09-27-2012, 02:33 PM
Ah! Okay. Well, that makes a ton more sense, and makes things a lot easier online! LOL. Here I thought I must need some freakishly weird frame size by just doing the conversion.

Good to know!

One further question: What are the ups and downs of an internal hub type gear set in the back? Usually these are like 7 speeds. In terms of getting beat on while under/infront of the bus, it seems like a sealed unit could be good.

Are they prone to es-plode-ing?

DaveInDenver
09-27-2012, 02:43 PM
Nope, you are right smack dab in the average height, average size. It's personal preference if you want something a little larger or smaller than average, but 75% of bike out there are made to fit you.

For commuters internally gear hubs are cool. Downsides is mostly cost and weight. Here in Colorado it's not really necessary but commuters in Seattle, Pittsburgh and what-not like them because they are much better in slop. With fenders here you are covered for the occasional splash.

My experience is that what wears down components and bikes is winter commuters with mag-chloride, that stuff destroys your bike. So the cool setup is internal geared hub and belt drives, virtually nothing to hurt and you can wash it down with very little ill effect.

But unless you really need the weather resistance (and we don't), the fairly limited gear range, specificity of the frame (it needs slightly different mounts) I think don't make them necessary. One up side is being planetary gears they shift with you sitting still. This is actually pretty handy in traffic, so you don't have to downshift until after you've stopped.

RicardoJM
09-27-2012, 02:54 PM
Hmm...Perhaps my perception of components has been colored by my MTB background. On the MTBs, I had brand new, fresh from the shop, but low end components jump gears, etc...So, on my latest bike, I bought one step below top of the line and couldn't be happier. /QUOTE]

Well you are correct for a "purpose specific" bike:D, exception being the "commuter purpose specific" bike. It's the same as trucks, you can buy a 4 wheel drive truck off the lot and hit the hills - but if you really want to wheel then components begin to matter. For a commuter bike, sure it will be nicer with high end components - but there is a butload of Civics and Corollas out there that have hundreds of thousands of miles with the stereo being the only upgraded component. The key is keeping things clean and maintained.


[QUOTE=AxleIke;219246]I don't know how to tune a bike, I've always just taken it to a shop. Guess I better get a book and figure out how to do it. I disagree that working on bikes is easier than cars. But, thats a matter of perspective.

If you start to get into it, you'll soon find out it is much easier than working on cars. :thumb:


... I am not a fan of backpacks for longer rides. They cause major neck and back ache for me (I carry a laptop, plus text books, plus other BS), and I'd need a huge pack to carry all that plus clothes, towel, and toilet kit for showering. I agree that the Paniers seem to be a PITA for the bike side, but they seem to come with shoulder straps now, so hopefully it won't be horribly cumbersome. My boss has them, and they seem pretty quick, just snap on and off of the rack. ...

I currently use panniers, but early on I threw everything in a wet dry bag, a couple of bungies to secure it to the rack worked just fine.

Hulk
09-27-2012, 07:14 PM
I have a Nishiki that I posted up here a few months ago. I haven't done anything with it. You can have it for a six pack of something hoppy.

wesintl
09-27-2012, 08:13 PM
$500 and get a specialized work 2 or something similar

Hulk
09-27-2012, 11:01 PM
Here's my ultracheap bike (http://risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/showthread.php?t=17485) if you want it.

AxleIke
09-27-2012, 11:54 PM
Matt, I'd be very interested if its the right size. I currently have my dads old Easton KHS full suspension straight out of the 90s. It gets be to the bus and back, but is too small, and uncomfortable to ride. I need to get something bigger if I'm going to make the longer ride work.

Beater
09-28-2012, 02:33 PM
kiss dude, kiss
KEEP IT SIMPLE STU..

you get the idea. ANY road frame will do. Really. A cross frame, even better. Your looking at 2-3 bills in components to build a commuter, all in. I have built 3 in the last 2 years.

If you can find a cross bike, that's what you want. 700c wheels for speed, triple crank, v or canti brakes, and braze ons for everything (racks - etc) By a set of ritchey commuters, (the ones with the reflective stripe) and go

do get stuck on frame size either. Try every bike. I am almost 6'3", but I only have a 34" inseam, yet I ride a 60cm with an oversized top tube on the road. I have fit some 58's, and even many 63's.

Kiss dude, kiss

farnhamstj
09-30-2012, 03:17 PM
^ that looks like a good deal. Install rack and fenders, smooth tires and you're all set.

AKcruiser
09-30-2012, 04:44 PM
Its a little out of your price range (ok a lot out of your range), but my next do all bike is going to be a Salsa Fargo. It not a touring bike, its not a commuter, it not a mountain bike, its not a rode bike. They call it an adventure bike. I rode one at ubike the other day and it was amazingly agile and responsive. And stupid simple which I like. Im saving my pennies now, but I think by next weekend Ill be commuting one this cycle.

http://www.salsacycles.com/bikes/fargo/

DaveInDenver
09-30-2012, 08:10 PM
The Salsa Fargo is what has been called monster 'cross for a while now. Some people build 26" MTB frames others use 'cross frame with big clearance. They are popular on the gravel grinders and for a lot of other things. Pretty cool concept.

farnhamstj
10-01-2012, 08:48 AM
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/via/11502/55837/

Beater
10-01-2012, 10:51 AM
The Salsa Fargo is what has been called monster 'cross for a while now. Some people build 26" MTB frames others use 'cross frame with big clearance. They are popular on the gravel grinders and for a lot of other things. Pretty cool concept.

my cross is an old 'dale with a head shock. 1.5" of travel and lockable. (also rebuildable) I will take this bike to my grave.

With an extra set of wheels, you're pretty well set with this type of set up.

long wheelbase for comfort, high bottom bracket for clearance, and relaxed geometry for carrying a load.

My only soap box item for commuters - remember there are only two types of lights out there. those that help YOU see, and those that are for being "seen". PLEASE go with the first. These systems are pricy, but they will save your life.

nite rider, vistalight and others make true headlight systems with on board batteries

RicardoJM
10-01-2012, 10:58 AM
...My only soap box item for commuters - remember there are only two types of lights out there. those that help YOU see, and those that are for being "seen". PLEASE go with the first. These systems are pricy, but they will save your life.

nite rider, vistalight and others make true headlight systems with on board batteries

This is good advice. About seven years ago, I made a homebrew light system that worked pretty good - with the advancements made in battery and lumen output I would recommend buying versus building.

rover67
10-01-2012, 12:05 PM
I think if I were to build a commuter It'd be something comfortable, cheap, with fenders and gears.

Maybe a generator hub on the front and an internally geared hub in the back.

Lights would be pretty permanent to keep it easy.

Any frame that is comfortable would be a good start but I kind of like the big wheels as commuter road wheels since they seem to roll nice so an ex cross bike as mentioned above would be neat.


If I were on a budget, I'd pick up Matt's bike or another craigslist bike like was shown before, throw some planet bike panniers and fenders on it, and some slick city tires and be done. If the drive train takes a crap, then go SS, otherwise keep the gears. Run a light you can charge at work, or one that will make it both ways on your commute and have a nice tail light.

I have one of these and like it. I can MTB with it in the woods alright too (somewhat of a guessing game at speed) but it really is awesome for riding street at night. yo ucan turn it down so it is not as blinding and the rubber strap makes it easy to aim up and down to keep it out of on coming drivers/bikers eyes.

http://www.jensonusa.com/!A2D636H8CbpnS3JQXlpVxQ!/Light-and-Motion-Stella-300-Light?utm_source=FRGL&utm_medium=organic&gclid=CJf--t6k4LICFao7Mgodx3sAkg

fenders:

http://www.jensonusa.com/Planet-Bike-Full-Fenders

rack:

http://www.jensonusa.com/Racks/Planet-Bike-Rear-Ecorack-WHardware

and scrounge up some bags to use as panniers and strap a milk crate to the top of the rack.

Hell, weld up your own kick ass rear rack that does it like you want it.

AxleIke
10-02-2012, 09:55 AM
Its a little out of your price range (ok a lot out of your range), but my next do all bike is going to be a Salsa Fargo. It not a touring bike, its not a commuter, it not a mountain bike, its not a rode bike. They call it an adventure bike. I rode one at ubike the other day and it was amazingly agile and responsive. And stupid simple which I like. Im saving my pennies now, but I think by next weekend Ill be commuting one this cycle.

http://www.salsacycles.com/bikes/fargo/

Ya, that looks cool, but like you say, very pricey.

I'm trying to keep this cheap. I have an expensive truck hobby, and a very expensive mountain bike. I'm not a big fan of road riding, but need the exercise and like the idea of killing two birds with one stone.

I'm thinking I'll try to go check out Matt's bike.

rover67
10-02-2012, 10:01 AM
I'm thinking I'll try to go check out Matt's bike.

you could make that a very functional commuter. FWIW, it's what i'd do to.