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View Full Version : Flat-bar commuter or drop-bar tourer?



KelOnWheels
08-28-2012, 11:03 AM
Bored at work, shopping bikes online with my imaginary moneys, like you do.

Flat-bar commuter (Jamis Coda type) or drop-bar CX/tourer type (Surly CrossCheck / Salsa Casseroll type)? Discuss. ;)

Dirt
08-28-2012, 11:10 AM
Drop bars for me. Lots more choice for how to position yourself on the bike. :D

KelOnWheels
08-28-2012, 11:27 AM
Drop bars for me. Lots more choice for how to position yourself on the bike. :D

That makes sense. I think I'm going to get Ergon grips with bar ends for the MTB soon (and maybe a narrower bar & longer stem). It would be nice to have a different hand position.

TwoWheelsDC
08-28-2012, 11:38 AM
I'll just say this, and I freely admit that my personal experiences have biased me against flat bar bikes when it comes to my preference, so that is what I'm relaying here, my personal preference, not my judgment about flat bars in general...my first real bike was a Jamis Coda Sport. After not quite a year, I upgraded to a CX bike because I wanted something sportier. Apart from commuting, I was starting to do lots of longer/faster rides and using the bike for fitness as well as utility...so I wanted a bike that was still useful for commuting, but with just a little bit more zip and potential for things like touring. Anyway, the Jamis sat unused for a while after I got the new bike, and when I finally went to ride the Jamis to the shop for the pre-sale tuneup, I was amazed at how much I disliked riding it, even for a short distance. I have the same experience with my wife's flat-bar...it's probably lighter than my CX bike, but it just feels like a pig in comparison and I really dislike the upright seating position.

The seating position of a drop bar bike, even if it's a relatively relaxed tourer like an LHT, will generally be more conducive to faster/longer rides than even the sportiest of flat-bars...this isn't to say that one is better than the other, it just depends on your riding style. I think flat-bars work really well for most people that ride them, but a flat-bar bike could leave you wanting if you think you might do more than commuting, such as tours or century rides, or group rides or whatever.

Let me just double check what I wrote and make sure I caveated every single statement in there......

vvill
08-28-2012, 11:41 AM
^ that.

Drop bar CX. I think I'm getting closer to convincing my wife I need one for wet mornings like we had today.

TwoWheelsDC
08-28-2012, 12:06 PM
^ that.

Drop bar CX. I think I'm getting closer to convincing my wife I need one for wet mornings like we had today.

I once read you are 87% less likely to get hit by a car if you ride a CX bike....I uh, can't find the source right now or get into the details as to how that stat could in any way be realistic, but I'm pretty much totally positive it's accurate. So really, if your wife loves you at all, she'll encourage you to get that CX bike.

KelOnWheels
08-28-2012, 12:10 PM
I once read you are 87% less likely to get hit by a car if you ride a CX bike....I uh, can't find the source right now or get into the details as to how that stat could in any way be realistic, but I'm pretty much totally positive it's accurate. So really, if your wife loves you at all, she'll encourage you to get that CX bike.

Lemme know when you make that article up, maybe I can convince the in-laws I need an early Christmas present! Don't forget to include the stats about how you're 93% less likely to crash into sidewalks on a CX bike too.

KelOnWheels
08-28-2012, 12:42 PM
Alright, then here is my imaginary shopping list to go with my imaginary moneys:

Surly Cross-Check (which I shall spell a different way every time I write it)
Surly LHT
Salsa Casseroll
All-City Space Horse
Jamis Bosanova
Jamis Aurora

what else? :D

Dirt
08-28-2012, 01:00 PM
Surly's disc trucker is pretty dang nice.
SomaFab's Double Cross DC is another good one to consider: http://www.somafab.com/archives/product/double-cross-dc
Raleigh Port Townsend? http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/steel-road/commutertouring/port-townsend-13/

Certifried
08-28-2012, 01:32 PM
Jamis Bosanova


After about 3 "real rides" on this, I'm getting worried I might like it more than my Trek. Tomorrow will be my first full commute on it, so I'll report back later! (assuming I don't invent some BS reasons why I'm not riding to work in the morning, like I did today. OK, the rain wasn't totally a BS excuse.)

krazygl00
08-28-2012, 01:36 PM
Kona (nothing to do with Karl) Rove (http://konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=rove) This is what I would have bought had it been available when I bought my 2004 Jake The Snake (http://www.klassickona.com/oldgold/2004/jts.jpg) CX ride. The Rove looks to be basically a tour-ed up Jake The Snake.

You could also go closer to the CX end of the spectrum with a Kona Jake (http://konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=jake). It is the only CX they offer with discs.

Is it obvious I like Konas?

Bilsko
08-28-2012, 01:46 PM
My money - very much not imaginary - went to the Surly Disc Trucker (which you can see on Friday at Coffee Club).
With the Surly, I find myself riding in the drops more than ever (in part b/c on my road bike the frame is too small and riding in the drops is just not comfortable). I even swapped out the bullhorns on my FG for drops.

KelOnWheels
08-28-2012, 01:47 PM
That Soma does look nice. I like the Port Townsend in that pewter color - I think it was brown before.

Dirt
08-28-2012, 02:00 PM
I like a lot of the stuff that Raleigh is doing. Their Single Speed, disc cross bike is really nice. Not everyone's cup of tea, but a VERY nicely done bike in my eye.

http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/steel-road/cyclocross/furley-13/

KelOnWheels
08-28-2012, 02:10 PM
The Kona Rove looks good. :)
Disc Truckers are awesome.
That Raleigh Furley is really nice looking!

If I want to get into major imaginary moneys I could add a Vamoots LT to the list; or a Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen, or something custom from SixEleven... anything steel & lugged really :D

jopamora
08-28-2012, 02:23 PM
Um, don't forget about the Roper (http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/steel-road/cyclocross/roper-13/) too! I found out about it two weeks after buying my bike. Maybe someday.

KelOnWheels
08-28-2012, 02:27 PM
Um, don't forget about the Roper (http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/steel-road/cyclocross/roper-13/) too! I found out about it two weeks after buying my bike. Maybe someday.

Oh that's nice too! Except for the whole brown thing. Not feeling the brown. ;)

Hmm, I wonder what gearing I want on my imaginary bike? Dubbel? Trippel? Oh wait, that's beering not gearing...

Certifried
08-28-2012, 02:38 PM
I like a lot of the stuff that Raleigh is doing. Their Single Speed, disc cross bike is really nice. Not everyone's cup of tea, but a VERY nicely done bike in my eye.

http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/steel-road/cyclocross/furley-13/

ok, going completely off topic here, sorry! As long as we're starting to dream and posting such pretty bikes, I have to add the Foundry. Unfortunately, I think they might be way overpriced, but damn they're pretty bikes.

1603

TwoWheelsDC
08-28-2012, 02:49 PM
Oh that's nice too! Except for the whole brown thing. Not feeling the brown. ;)

Hmm, I wonder what gearing I want on my imaginary bike? Dubbel? Trippel? Oh wait, that's beering not gearing...

I have triples on my road bike and my CX bike. I really like the flexibility they give me and don't really care what the haters say...the only real drawback is they tend to be more susceptible to cross-chaining, but that's easy to mitigate. Road triples, in particular (as opposed to the mountain triples on a lot of CX bikes), are nice, since you get a 52 tooth big ring, which gives you a little more top end speed than the 50t ring on a compact double...you also get the 30t granny gear, which is sweet for climbing.

KelOnWheels
08-28-2012, 02:58 PM
ok, going completely off topic here, sorry! As long as we're starting to dream and posting such pretty bikes, I have to add the Foundry. Unfortunately, I think they might be way overpriced, but damn they're pretty bikes.


Crabon?! But don't those explode if sunlight touches them? ;) (Or sidewalks?)

Certifried
08-28-2012, 03:05 PM
Crabon?! But don't those explode if sunlight touches them? ;) (Or sidewalks?)
no! of course not! Why do people believe EVERYthing they hear on the internet? Carbon bikes only explode if you hit a bump during freezing weather (and that's more of a shattering type of thing, not really exploding so much)

americancyclo
08-28-2012, 03:11 PM
Dirt got me interested in the Tout Terrain bikes, which are now on my most wanted list:

disc, drops, fenders, racks, integrated lighting and even belt drives!

http://www.en.tout-terrain.de/bicycles/the-city/
http://www.en.tout-terrain.de/bicycles/grande-route/

KelOnWheels
08-28-2012, 03:24 PM
Dirt got me interested in the Tout Terrain bikes, which are now on my most wanted list:

disc, drops, fenders, racks, integrated lighting and even belt drives!

http://www.en.tout-terrain.de/bicycles/the-city/
http://www.en.tout-terrain.de/bicycles/grande-route/

Those look way cool! Oh, they are sensible German bikes. No wonder.

krazygl00
08-28-2012, 03:25 PM
I have triples on my road bike and my CX bike. I really like the flexibility they give me and don't really care what the haters say...the only real drawback is they tend to be more susceptible to cross-chaining, but that's easy to mitigate. Road triples, in particular (as opposed to the mountain triples on a lot of CX bikes), are nice, since you get a 52 tooth big ring, which gives you a little more top end speed than the 50t ring on a compact double...you also get the 30t granny gear, which is sweet for climbing.

If you want to stay with a double in front you can grab an XT or XTR 9sp rear derailleur (I bought some for cheeeeeeap a few months ago so I have a few extra stashed away) and use it in conjunction with a 10sp system (yes, this does work but you'll need to size your chain properly) and use mountain cassettes for some pretty good granny gears. When I made the leap from 9 to 10sp on my Jake The Snake I set it up so that now I have a 34/50 in front and an 11/34 in the rear, which lets me get a nice 34-to-34 (1:1) gearing for climbing! Top-end is still OK...50-to-11 is actually higher gearing than 53-to-12.

Greenbelt
08-28-2012, 03:31 PM
Kona (nothing to do with Karl) Rove (http://konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=rove) This is what I would have bought had it been available when I bought my 2004 Jake The Snake (http://www.klassickona.com/oldgold/2004/jts.jpg) CX ride. The Rove looks to be basically a tour-ed up Jake The Snake.

You could also go closer to the CX end of the spectrum with a Kona Jake (http://konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=jake). It is the only CX they offer with discs.

Is it obvious I like Konas?

We rode the Rove out in Washington last week. Awesome bike.

1604

KelOnWheels
08-28-2012, 05:55 PM
Krazygl00 is using his evil mind powers to make me buy a 1970s Scandinavian road bike with downtube shifters and no rear wheel. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Dirt
08-28-2012, 06:58 PM
Dirt got me interested in the Tout Terrain bikes, which are now on my most wanted list:

disc, drops, fenders, racks, integrated lighting and even belt drives!
These are definitely in my Covet thread. Tout Terrain Amber is my bike of choice. My guess is that it is third or 4th on my list of bikes to build. Looking at my watch, that puts the estimated start of that build in mid march, 2013.

ShawnoftheDread
08-28-2012, 07:06 PM
As a flat bar rider I concur with everyone's opinion on getting something with drops for the next bike. My imaginary next bike will be a cx.

Bilsko
08-28-2012, 07:31 PM
I like a lot of the stuff that Raleigh is doing. Their Single Speed, disc cross bike is really nice. Not everyone's cup of tea, but a VERY nicely done bike in my eye.

http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/steel-road/cyclocross/furley-13/

There's a version of the Furley that they do in orange (think Merckx or Motobecane orange) which looks really nice - especially with the dark deep-Vs and the little orange strip on the rim.

Certifried
08-28-2012, 07:35 PM
We rode the Rove out in Washington last week. Awesome bike.

1604
holy crap! You're a lucky dude, make the wife do all the work and just go on trips to ride bikes with her LOL

I'm gonna have to try some Konas one day. I've got a roadie, a commuter, a project touring bike, I'm thinking I need a CX bike in the stable LOLOL

KelOnWheels
08-28-2012, 07:43 PM
Shopping for imaginary bikes is much less stressful than shopping for real ones :D

rcannon100
08-28-2012, 08:51 PM
Flat bar. Good for urban commuting. Solid handlebar with brakes, gears, bell whatever right there with no change in hand position. Good for hopping curbs or dodging taxis. If you look at "urban" bikes, they will usually have flat bars.

I then put extensions on them that allow me to reach forward - extend. When I get on an open trail with little risk of crazy ivans or psycho taxis, I can extend, lowering by back, getting slightly more aerodynamic, and enjoying the ride.

5555624
08-29-2012, 06:03 AM
Both? That just means two bikes and we all know one is never enough.

My preference is flat. My commute, errands, etc. has me stopping for Stop signs, traffic lights, pedestrians, and what have you, so a "comfortale" posisiton for riding 50 miles doesn't matter too much. I also prefer being a bit more upright in traffic. (The Cross-Check is a nice bike, though; I have one, I just don't use it for commuting.)

vtben
08-29-2012, 08:55 AM
I got a Jamis Bosanova to replace a flat-bar Trek. I switched because I wanted something that I could comfortably ride longer distances, but I only have enough space to reasonably store one bike. I don't think the drop bars make much of a difference for my relatively short commute (5mi one way, Pentagon City to L'Enfant), but I do like them for longer weekend rides.

I will say I'm not thrilled with the stock fenders, though. They seem barely as wide as the tires and I still get some spray off the front wheel at least. Overall it's a great bike and a huge upgrade from my Trek.

culimerc
08-29-2012, 09:33 AM
My wife rides a Jamis Coda comp as her commuter, its probably 8 or 9 years old at this point and has been absolutely reliable. She like the flat bar for the downtown part of her commute.

I've been loving my Salsa Vaya (http://salsacycles.com/bikes/vaya/) for commuting and light touring. Plus it comes in "please dont hit me orange". And the Ortllieb orange panniers match perfectly, and thats what really matters isnt it??

consularrider
08-29-2012, 09:42 AM
For me there are two basic questions.

1. Can I afford more than one bike (and not just from the money standpoint ;)).

2. Do I have room to store more than one bike?

If I can answer yes to both questions, then I want to have at least a drop bar road bike and a flat bar hybrid. Beyond those two wants, it gets a little more squishy. If I answer no to either question, then I want a drop bar bike that can take fenders, a rack, and studded tires.

KelOnWheels
08-29-2012, 11:33 AM
Dirt got me interested in the Tout Terrain bikes, which are now on my most wanted list:

disc, drops, fenders, racks, integrated lighting and even belt drives!

http://www.en.tout-terrain.de/bicycles/the-city/
http://www.en.tout-terrain.de/bicycles/grande-route/

Interesting to see how many of these have 26" wheels.

Dirt
08-29-2012, 12:30 PM
Interesting to see how many of these have 26" wheels.
A lot of these kinds of bikes are done on 26" wheeled platform to get a little extra wheel strength, as well as be more accommodating to smaller riders. The Amber model is based upon 700c wheels, though they intend it for flat bars. Mine will have drops.

I also will not use the Rohloff internally geared hub. As awesome as they are, I really don't like the feel and form of their drop bar shifters. I always end up wailing my knee on them at some time or another. I prefer the STI-style shifter that you can get for the Alfine 8 or 11. I chose the 11 because it is better sealed against the elements and generally more robust. I really, really, really want Shimano to release the Di2 Alfine11 hub/shifter (electronic shifting). I've seen it on a Raleigh prototype and it looked soooo creamy.

mstone
08-29-2012, 04:35 PM
Drops. If I had a short commute I might be interested in an extra flat bar bike for a dedicated short commuter.

vvill
08-30-2012, 07:20 AM
I really, really, really want Shimano to release the Di2 Alfine11 hub/shifter (electronic shifting).

Y E S S. Dreamy and creamy.

http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/shimano-alfine-di2-first-pictures-33229/

Certifried
08-30-2012, 08:37 AM
I will say I'm not thrilled with the stock fenders, though. They seem barely as wide as the tires and I still get some spray off the front wheel at least. Overall it's a great bike and a huge upgrade from my Trek.

Those were the first things I replaced on my Bosanova. I put on a pair of planet bike plastic cheapies for now. For the front wheel, keep in mind that there is a disc brake up there and the hangars that come with most fenders are straight, they won't fit. Greenbelt used the front rack mounts to mount his fender, which works unless you want a front rack. I recycled the front mount from the stock fenders to mount my planet bike fenders. It worked well enough.

Dickie
08-30-2012, 08:45 AM
I like a lot of the stuff that Raleigh is doing. Their Single Speed, disc cross bike is really nice. Not everyone's cup of tea, but a VERY nicely done bike in my eye.

http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/steel-road/cyclocross/furley-13/

Love that bike, considered it a few times, but being the wimpy gear man that I am I might consider the Roper instead

http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/steel-road/cyclocross/roper-13/

Dirt
08-30-2012, 08:49 AM
Y E S S. Dreamy and creamy.

http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/shimano-alfine-di2-first-pictures-33229/
I love that they put it on a Felt road bike to show it off.

Not much news on its release yet. It showed up on a few bikes at Eurobike. Still no real release date that I can see. GRRrrrrrr.

KelOnWheels
08-30-2012, 09:16 PM
Oh I need to add one of these to my list, while I'm spending my imaginary loot: http://vanillabicycles.com/frames/touring/

acc
08-30-2012, 09:37 PM
True Confession: I love trying out other people's bikes. Sometimes I'm really surprised. Whatever bike you choose, try an assortment. In heavy traffic I like flat bars and sitting up. I have the imaginary feeling that I'm seeing more. Otherwise, drop bars are much easier on my knees, hips and ankles. I learned this renting bikes on vacation.

Test ride an assortment. Get on them and try out a variety so you can honestly say you chose a specific bike because it suited you and not anybody else.

Congratulations, have a great time picking one out.

ann

TwoWheelsDC
08-30-2012, 09:41 PM
Oh I need to add one of these to my list, while I'm spending my imaginary loot: http://vanillabicycles.com/frames/touring/

The more time you spend spending imaginary loot, the more likely it is that it will become real loot...

KelOnWheels
08-30-2012, 10:43 PM
The more time you spend spending imaginary loot, the more likely it is that it will become real loot...

Or since there's a five year wait list for Vanilla, it could be real loot and an imaginary bike...

Steve
11-19-2012, 05:38 PM
We rode the Rove out in Washington last week. Awesome bike.

1604

I was at Bikenetic yesterday and bored, so I took the Rove out for a short spin. I didn't really love the handling (though it wasn't the right size, so that's probably at least part of the reason), but thought it was a fun bike to ride. I never ride fat tire bikes, so getting to fool around a little put me in a good mood.

One odd point that I wanted to make for those looking at it: because of where they put the rear disc brake mounts and the cabling, my heel would make contact with the barrel adjuster. This would have been a big problem for me, and will likely cross it off my list. I wear a 10.5-11, so for some people this might not pose a problem, but for a lot of people is will. Previous to this, the Rove was starting to challenge the Cross Check in my covet space.

vvill
11-19-2012, 07:29 PM
The chainstays would be longer on a larger size but I don't know if you rode a size that was too small or too large. In any case, it still might not be long enough, and maybe you'd need a less compact frame.

Steve
11-20-2012, 05:45 AM
The chainstays would be longer on a larger size but I don't know if you rode a size that was too small or too large. In any case, it still might not be long enough, and maybe you'd need a less compact frame.

This was my initial though, but when I got home I looked up the geometry and saw that the chainstays are actually the same length for each size. Again, this might not affect most, and there might be a way to do the cabling slightly better to not have this problem, but I thought I'd call it to everyone's attention in case you take it out for a test ride. I know sometimes you don't notice everything in a test ride that you wish you did down the line...

Dirt
11-20-2012, 06:49 AM
Some people ride with their heels in, some ride with their heels out. Some are more neutral. Cleat adjustment for some pedals can help with this, but may not be enough. Size of the bike would likely impact heel clearance because of crank length. I haven't looked at the specs on this bike, but many bikes go to longer cranks for larger sizes to keep them proportionally sized to their riders.

I've had a few bikes with similarly placed rear brakes and not had a problem. It is a very good reason to test ride a bike... and make sure that you test ride it in the correct size.

Rock on, folks

Pete

Rod Smith
11-20-2012, 07:06 AM
I would advise against setting cleat angle to accommodate the bike's design rather than to accommodate the rider's anatomy. Forcing the foot into an unnatural position can lead to knee problems.

Pete, I assume your feet are big. Do you ride with heels out? If so, is this your feets natural position? For instance, if you sat on a table with your feet hanging free, do your toes point in a little bit?

Is there any reason to run the brake line along the chainstay/downtube other than aesthetics?

mstone
11-20-2012, 07:46 AM
Is there any reason to run the brake line along the chainstay/downtube other than aesthetics?

Mounting the disc brake that way can make it easier to mount fenders & rack.

Dirt
11-20-2012, 07:53 AM
Mounting the disc brake that way can make it easier to mount fenders & rack.
Yup. What he said.

Surly designed their own proprietary adapter to put 160mm rotors on the back of the Troll and Ogre frames in order to make the dropouts more friendly for racks, fenders and trailer hitches. They also radically curve the chain and seat stays in order to maximize tire and heel clearance. Also lets them put the Fatties Fit Fine sticker down there.

Rod Smith
11-20-2012, 05:27 PM
After I asked that, I looked at my bike and it seems the rotor is very far inboard from the dropouts and the brakes do not stick out as far as the frame does. So it seems to me that the brake mechanism shouldn't be in the way of a rider's heel even if aligned with the chainstay, unless it protrudes to the side more than mine (or the stays are radically curved).

My bike has curved chainstays. Straight ones work better with my trailer hitch, but these work ok. My rack is not a disc specific model but it works fine with the seat stay routed brake lines on my bike. The rack is very close to the brake, but not touching.

KelOnWheels
11-30-2012, 10:06 AM
PANIC! AT THE DISCO!

So it looks as if I shall have the funds to purchase a fine new velocipede here shortly, and I have NO FREAKING IDEA of how to actually do this.

How do I pick?

Where do I go?

What if I buy the WRONG ONE?

AAAAAAAH! :eek:

vvill
11-30-2012, 10:20 AM
Best problem to have in the world!

It is also a problem with no solution, or perhaps more accurately infinite solutions (n+1).

TwoWheelsDC
11-30-2012, 10:22 AM
PANIC! AT THE DISCO!

So it looks as if I shall have the funds to purchase a fine new velocipede here shortly, and I have NO FREAKING IDEA of how to actually do this.

How do I pick?

Where do I go?

What if I buy the WRONG ONE?

AAAAAAAH! :eek:

Time to go shopping! Did you decide on flat or drop bars?

KelOnWheels
11-30-2012, 10:26 AM
Did you decide on flat or drop bars?

Erm... yes. :confused:

TwoWheelsDC
11-30-2012, 12:14 PM
Erm... yes. :confused:

I tell you what, if I had a chance to go back and buy my commuter again, I'd get something with discs. So maybe a Disc Trucker, Raleigh Sojourn, the new (I think?) Specialized TriCross elite, or maybe Kona Sutra or Jake. I think those would be easier to find and test ride than something like a Soma or Salsa, but others may know better than me on that. I think the Jake seems like the best value, but it's aluminum and therefore only a figment of your imagination, since only steel is real.

vvill
11-30-2012, 01:19 PM
The Kona Rove is Kona's steel disc brake dropbar bike, and I believe it's in stock at Bikenetic. Heavier and pricier than the Jake (which I own) for sure, but also better tire clearance and probably more versatile. And Reel.

Greenbelt
11-30-2012, 01:25 PM
Bike shops are quiet in the winter, especially on weekdays but on weekends too. It's a perfect time to shop.

Take your time and test a lot of bikes. Bring your water bottle and some food and really settle in. It takes several hours to properly test a variety of bike types. I never cease to be amazed at how people like the first 4 bikes they test just fine, but then they test the fifth and it's as though they've found "the one". The wand selects the wizard, sometimes, like in the Harry Potter books.

And get a good fitting, even after the magic bike has selected you -- it'll still need to be tweaked a little. New bike for the holidays = joy!

KelOnWheels
11-30-2012, 01:34 PM
I tell you what, if I had a chance to go back and buy my commuter again, I'd get something with discs. So maybe a Disc Trucker, Raleigh Sojourn, the new (I think?) Specialized TriCross elite, or maybe Kona Sutra or Jake. I think those would be easier to find and test ride than something like a Soma or Salsa, but others may know better than me on that. I think the Jake seems like the best value, but it's aluminum and therefore only a figment of your imagination, since only steel is real.

I was just looking at the Sojourn on line today :)

I wish I liked Kona's graphics better :P

Greenbelt
11-30-2012, 01:39 PM
Heresy I know, but If I had to do my commuter over again, I'd probably go back from steel to aluminum to save the weight over steel. With CX width tires and lower pressures, like 700x35 or so at maybe 60-80psi, the tires take a lot of the road shock and vibration anyways. I do like the carbon fork, though...

KelOnWheels
11-30-2012, 01:41 PM
Bike shops are quiet in the winter, especially on weekdays but on weekends too. It's a perfect time to shop.

Take your time and test a lot of bikes. Bring your water bottle and some food and really settle in. It takes several hours to properly test a variety of bike types. I never cease to be amazed at how people like the first 4 bikes they test just fine, but then they test the fifth and it's as though they've found "the one". The wand selects the wizard, sometimes, like in the Harry Potter books.

And get a good fitting, even after the magic bike has selected you -- it'll still need to be tweaked a little. New bike for the holidays = joy!

This is wise. I feel somewhat less panicked now. ;)

TwoWheelsDC
11-30-2012, 02:01 PM
This is wise. I feel somewhat less panicked now. ;)

Although they don't sell many commuter-oriented bikes, FreshBikes will pretty much let you do as long of a test ride as you please on as many bikes as you have the energy to ride, with no pressure or snobbery. When I did my test rides, I told them I wasn't going to buy that day, but even then they basically just said "let use know if you want to adjust the seat or something, otherwise, we'll see you whenever you feel like coming back." They also include a custom fit with bike purchases, which makes a huuuuuuge difference. So yeah, if you go to a good shop, buying won't be stressful.

KelOnWheels
11-30-2012, 06:04 PM
What do y'all think of this?

http://www.redlinebicycles.com/bikes/commute/2013-metro-classic

I do not know these Redline bikes, but I see Bikenetic likes them.

thecyclingeconomist
11-30-2012, 06:10 PM
Decent bikes... were originally BMX manufacturer from what I recall... I was always envious of my buddies who had GT performers, Dynos and Redlines in the age of RAD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rad_(film)).

Good sturdy chromo-framed bike in my view. I don't like Tiagra, and wouldn't build a bike with less than 105.

KelOnWheels
11-30-2012, 06:38 PM
don't like Tiagra, and wouldn't build a bike with less than 105.

There seems to be a lot of Tiagra on my Hypothetical List :)

dcv
11-30-2012, 06:59 PM
There seems to be a lot of Tiagra on my Hypothetical List :)

What about bikes with big French words?

KelOnWheels
11-30-2012, 07:03 PM
What about bikes with big French words?

Oh, there shall be Big French Words. :D

TwoWheelsDC
11-30-2012, 07:19 PM
There seems to be a lot of Tiagra on my Hypothetical List :)

You'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between Tiagra and 105. The only reason I'd put 105 on a dedicated commuter is the internally routed cables don't block handlebar-mounted lights, but that's a pretty minor thing.

dcv
11-30-2012, 07:21 PM
It comes with gears too. They should make a WSD version - Vive la Reine
http://www.mellowjohnnys.com/uploads/le-roi-profile.jpg

I'm not a shill

vvill
11-30-2012, 07:31 PM
I did like the spec for the Vive Le Roi when it first came out. Sliding dropouts, 1x10 shifting, disc brakes.


What do y'all think of this?

http://www.redlinebicycles.com/bikes/commute/2013-metro-classic

I do not know these Redline bikes, but I see Bikenetic likes them.

Bikenetic doesn't carry them in stock though so you have to know you want it before seeing one. I actually wanted one of these originally and was convinced to go the Kona route. I saw a 2012 one on ebay in my size for $700 a week ago and was still tempted to bid :( I still like the aesthetic of the Metro Classic better than the Konas.


You'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between Tiagra and 105. The only reason I'd put 105 on a dedicated commuter is the internally routed cables don't block handlebar-mounted lights, but that's a pretty minor thing.

I agree. Even 9 speed Tiagra can be set up to shift super nice (I have it on my 1x9 folding bike). That said, I did spec 105 shifters on my CX bike for the internally routed cables.

KelOnWheels
11-30-2012, 07:41 PM
It comes with gears too. They should make a WSD version - Vive la Reine
http://www.mellowjohnnys.com/uploads/le-roi-profile.jpg

I'm not a shill

BIG FRENCH WORDS! woo!

KelOnWheels
11-30-2012, 07:53 PM
I rather like the Vive Le Roi in the crazy limey green color :)

DaveK
12-03-2012, 01:03 PM
There seems to be a lot of Tiagra on my Hypothetical List :)

Don't worry about it - current Tiagra is great. It's basically Shimano 105 5600 (the last generation), so it's 10-speed and fully cross-compatible with all the other 10-speed Shimano groups. You'll be able to find parts for it for a long time and the shift action is great. It doesn't have the style points of hidden cables, but that's about it.

KelOnWheels
12-03-2012, 01:46 PM
Don't worry about it - current Tiagra is great. It's basically Shimano 105 5600 (the last generation), so it's 10-speed and fully cross-compatible with all the other 10-speed Shimano groups. You'll be able to find parts for it for a long time and the shift action is great. It doesn't have the style points of hidden cables, but that's about it.

Considering I'll be coming from riding 20-year-old Altus, I think I'll like Tiagra JUST FINE. :D

TwoWheelsDC
12-03-2012, 02:58 PM
Considering I'll be coming from riding 20-year-old Altus, I think I'll like Tiagra JUST FINE. :D

I thought you'd have figured it out already...there's no such thing as "just fine" in cycling. It's "what'll keep me mostly happy until I can afford to upgrade, even though I don't need it." Sure 105 on my new road bike is a nice upgrade for me, but in the back of my mind I know I'll be itching to upgrade to Di2 or convert over to SRAM, or something....there's always something!

KelOnWheels
12-03-2012, 04:04 PM
I thought you'd have figured it out already...there's no such thing as "just fine" in cycling. It's "what'll keep me mostly happy until I can afford to upgrade, even though I don't need it." Sure 105 on my new road bike is a nice upgrade for me, but in the back of my mind I know I'll be itching to upgrade to Di2 or convert over to SRAM, or something....there's always something!

No worries. I've already researched upgrading the stock Avid BB5's on the Redline Metro Classic I've never seen in person, test ridden, ordered or purchased. :D

KelOnWheels
12-08-2012, 02:17 PM
Just made my first visit to Revolution Cycles (although I forgot to grab a BA jersey!). Nice people there and a huge selection of bikes :) I got to see the Raleigh Sojourn in person - definitely going to go back and test ride that one.

Bike shops are fun :)

dcv
12-08-2012, 04:56 PM
Just made my first visit to Revolution Cycles (although I forgot to grab a BA jersey!). Nice people there and a huge selection of bikes :) I got to see the Raleigh Sojourn in person - definitely going to go back and test ride that one.

Bike shops are fun :)

I was on my way there this afternoon to pick up a BA jersey but bailed at last minute, was riding with my son but we didn't dress warm enough so we hightailed it home.

TwoWheelsDC
12-08-2012, 05:00 PM
Just made my first visit to Revolution Cycles (although I forgot to grab a BA jersey!). Nice people there and a huge selection of bikes :) I got to see the Raleigh Sojourn in person - definitely going to go back and test ride that one.

Bike shops are fun :)

....aaaand maybe take a spin on a Felt F5. I mean, don't want to limit your options, right?

Greenbelt
12-08-2012, 07:37 PM
....aaaand maybe take a spin on a Felt F5. I mean, don't want to limit your options, right?

2134

KelOnWheels
12-08-2012, 08:17 PM
....aaaand maybe take a spin on a Felt F5. I mean, don't want to limit your options, right?

I got to wave a Madone around in the air :D The nice young man helping me said I should take it out sometime to see what the DI shifting is like.

KelOnWheels
12-08-2012, 08:22 PM
How do y'all feel about Shimano disc brakes, speaking of the Raleigh Sojourn?

KelOnWheels
01-11-2013, 04:19 PM
So here's a question for you experienced bike-having peoples...

How do you buy a bike if you can't see/ride it in person first?

The nice folks at Bikenetic said if I wanted to order something they usually carry I could put down a small deposit and they'd order it in and build it up and if I decide I don't want it, no harm no foul. But what if I decide I can't live without, say, an All-City Space Horse? (I frequently decide I can't live without one, so this could happen.)

Should I go get a fitting first and get an idea of what I'm going to need geometry-wise, then look for frames that will work with that?

ARGH NEW BIKES ARE HARD. SOMEONE JUST TELL ME WAT TO DO. :D

NO BUT REALLY.

Arlingtonrider
01-11-2013, 05:45 PM
I wince now when I think about how I bought my now-beloved bike back in 1998. I walked into the store, told them I had a budget of $X, wanted to ride bike trails and streets and get something easy to maintain, and I didn't want to spend more than an hour shopping for it. They asked some questions and made a recommendation. I went home and researched it. I called the next morning and brought it home that afternoon. Things seemed simpler back then. I knew virtually nothing. Now that I know next to nothing, even thinking about bike shopping seems infinitely more intimidating. (I totally understand what you're going through.)

KelOnWheels
01-11-2013, 06:17 PM
Yup, as a spunky co-ed back in 1993 (they totes called college students "spunky co-eds" in the era of grunge, you know) this whole bike buying thing was way simpler.

"Here, stand over this bike. Now go ride it around the parking lot. Sold!"

dcv
01-11-2013, 06:22 PM
So here's a question for you experienced bike-having peoples...

How do you buy a bike if you can't see/ride it in person first?

The nice folks at Bikenetic said if I wanted to order something they usually carry I could put down a small deposit and they'd order it in and build it up and if I decide I don't want it, no harm no foul. But what if I decide I can't live without, say, an All-City Space Horse? (I frequently decide I can't live without one, so this could happen.)

Should I go get a fitting first and get an idea of what I'm going to need geometry-wise, then look for frames that will work with that?

ARGH NEW BIKES ARE HARD. SOMEONE JUST TELL ME WAT TO DO. :D

NO BUT REALLY.

I think you should test ride a few bikes, try to go for as long of a ride as the LBS will allow. Maybe visit a few reputable shops to get their recommendations on fit. You should be able to get pretty close on size of frame, then you can dial in stem length / rise later on. IMO top tube length is most important, seat tube or stand over clearance not as important.

acc
01-11-2013, 06:31 PM
Please don't buy a bike you haven't ridden.
I've done this and it was a disaster.
A bike you can take out in the street and compare to the way other bikes feel when you ride makes an enormous difference.
A road bike needs to fit. Perfectly.
Other bikes, ones you ride for fun, the fit is important but not crucial.
The only thing that matters is how that bike feels to you when you pedal it. All the advice in the world doesn't change that dynamic.

OneEighth
01-11-2013, 06:36 PM
I think you should test ride a few bikes, try to go for as long of a ride as the LBS will allow. Maybe visit a few reputable shops to get their recommendations on fit. You should be able to get pretty close on size of frame, then you can dial in stem length / rise later on. IMO top tube length is most important, seat tube or stand over clearance not as important.
I'm chuckling inside over the seat tube bit...but then, you've seen my rides.
But, seriously, good advice. Top tube trumps for me.
Test, hem and haw, and then test some more before you drop more money than you originally budgeted for.

TwoWheelsDC
01-11-2013, 07:14 PM
I currently have two bikes that I bought new. The first one I bought without test riding because no shops had them in stock and wait time was 6 weeks. I knew that I generally need a 54ish cm frame, so I went with the 53 instead of the 55, knowing that it's better to ride on a slightly small bike than a slightly large bike. When the bike finally came in, it fit perfectly. So when I went to test ride my Cervelo, I knew to start with the 54 (nearest sizes were 51 and 56)...low and behold, it fit perfectly. So I think you can do without a test ride if circumstances dictate. Most fit issues can be fixed with saddle/stem/stack height adjustments. I think you'll find a test more useful in determining if the bike is too harsh/soft, how it handles, how you like the components, etc...

DismalScientist
01-11-2013, 08:23 PM
I've bought completely off the intranet without any problem. As long as you are close on frame size, you should be OK. Seat posts and stems are adjustable. What is most important is getting the appropriate type of bike and component level for your riding style. Minor fit adjustment can be done later, often without professional assistance.

vvill
01-11-2013, 08:26 PM
Agreed with TwoWheelsDC and dcv.

When I'm coveting I usually look for something around a 53-55cm top tube assuming a basic road geometry. After that, standover might be important if it's a longer seat tube but usually not a big deal, I'd probably look at wheelbase before that. Anything under 1m for me is usually going to have some toe overlap (but obviously faster handling). Between stem height/flip adjustments, seat post and saddle adjustments I haven't had to change any stock parts on my bikes I've bought so I guess my relative dimensions are ...relatively... normal.

Test riding is important for handling, feel, components, etc. I didn't like the stock brakes on the Kona Jake for example, and had them switched out before purchase (best time to upgrade!) - much better now.


I've bought completely off the intranet without any problem.

I want to work there.

rcannon100
01-11-2013, 09:53 PM
I am in the test ride group and agree with ACC - dont buy without a test ride unless you have lots of money to spare (or unless you really know what you are doing, which I suspect a few folk above are that type of folk).

When I bought my Cannondale Badboy urban bicycle, I knew strongly what I wanted. I had ridden an urban bike for 25 years until a car informed me it was time to buy a new bike. I wanted a new urban bike and I wanted a Cannondale (for some reason I have a preference for Cannondale). I read and read reviews. I did all my homework. I found it on Craigslist. And the owner let me take it for a LONG test ride. I have been THRILLED.

Then I believe GuyContinental tried to sell me a bike. I think the sizing was perfect. I forget which bike it was but it was a sweet road bike. Then I test rode it and HATED IT. I have ridden with flat handlebars for 25+ years. That bike had drops. I felt so uncomfortable. Took it back to him the next day.

Then my Cannondale crapped out and I had to ride the subway - dont ever ride the subway unless you have test ridden it before (har har har). I pledged that I would never ride the subway again - so finding myself at Phoenix, I found a Trek FX 7.3 that was 25" and fit me wonderfully. I took it for a short test ride. Operative is short here. I did one lap around the park. It was Phoenix, I didnt really care - I was thrilled to have a backup bike which fit me.

Well I HATE the Trek. The first time I commuted on it I could not believe it. I told Steve (see "Oneeight sightings") that it always feels like I am fighting with the bike. The brakes were not set right. The handlebar was miserable (see Butterfly Handlebar). The wheels are 35s. And it just has crappy components I think.

And the Top Tube is just plane too short. dvm talked about how important top tube length is. On the Cannondale that top tube is long - on the Trek the top tube is so short you sit upright like a beach rental bike.

I dont like the Trek, even as a backup bike, and will probably sell it in time.

Bottom line - you cant know a bike until you have ridden in. And every bike is different. Like a shoe that doesnt fit, the slightest thing - and its just not right for you.

I use to not think so much of the "get a proper bike fitting." I have to admit that I still dont think that much for it because my experience with store sales people is that they are going to sell you what *they* think you want or what *they* will get the most commission for or what their shop sells - not necessarily the right bike for you. That said, I have come to realize how important sizing and geometry is. A bike that isnt right for you ---- isnt right for you. And what that bike is, isnt going to be the same as the next person.