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Old 09-27-2012, 10:00 AM
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AxleIke AxleIke is offline
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Default Commuter Bike

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
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:50 AM
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Veloswap Oct 20th at the National Western complex:

http://veloswap.competitor.com/
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:41 AM
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Roll your own. 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.
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:37 PM
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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.
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RicardoJM View Post
Roll your own. 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.
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 60wag View Post
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.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AxleIke View Post
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.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveInDenver View Post
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.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:05 PM
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AxleIke AxleIke is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveInDenver View Post
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!
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:09 PM
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Is this interesting?

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