Commuting - Townie-style commuter - Pake? Electra? Kogswell?
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06-26-07, 06:46 PM
I run a singlespeed in summer for errands and everything else. I'm looking to buy a classy townie style bike for a short commute when school/work begins in September and I need suggestions. Here's some background:
I have a few 40 year old British 3speeds in various stages of disrepair. I'm becoming frustrated with my restoration processes and I'm not sure I want to invest too much money in these old bikes for reliable commuting.
I'm a college professor and have about a 3 mile commute and about a 10 mile radius for most errands. Pretty hilly here in San Diego. My commute during the school year is too short to warrant a change of clothes, so I'm considering a new, rather inexpensive bike I can ride in my professor attire (slacks and blazer for now, shorts/levi's and t-shirt if I get tenure!). I've read about the Electra Amsterdam Sport (overpriced?) and Pake Urban 6speed (cheaper, but too cheap?). I've also considered building a Kogswell Porteur, which I think I can keep under 1K (?). Any thoughts or other ideas? I'd pick up a Rivendell or Velo Orange Gentleman's/City bike but too expensive for now.
06-26-07, 06:58 PM
Go to REI and test ride a Transfer-- a quality 7 speed (Nexis hub) city bike for $600.
I'd recommend two other options for your list, which looks pretty good so far.
The Breezer is a nice bike, and you can get it with a 7 or 8 speed for reasonable money. Particularly the 7 speed Villager (which I have). It is very well equipped and rides great. I got the Breezer grocery and trunk pannier and bag, and go everywhere with the bike. Similar to it, and at a lower price (although the frame and some components are not quite the same), is an REI Novaro Transfer and Novaro Fusion.
With such an investment, you will find yourself cutting the use on your automobile way down. It's addictive to ride and I end up doing all the time. My commute is 6.5 miles one way, with one particularly steep incline. The 7 speeds is fine.
Good luck, and enjoy your research!:)
06-26-07, 09:34 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I admire Breezer and have checked out the Novara commuter - I'll give those a second consideration.
I guess I'd prefer something a little more old-world in form (if not function). I commuted on a 71 Raleigh sports until it was wrecked - so I'm attracted to the look of a vintage townie (british or Dutch) but want something new.
Any thoughts on the bikes discussed so far or additional suggestions?
06-26-07, 09:45 PM
How about a Jamis Commuter 3.0 (http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/07_bikes/commuter3.html)?
the amsterdam is perfect!!
06-27-07, 02:30 AM
The Kogswell PR is a pretty cool frame. I just think you're going to hit your limit pretty quickly building it up.
I your situation I would probably build up a craigslist special older frame (maybe something with shot paint that needs to be redone anyway) with some more modern silver components and call it good.
Older rigid mountain bikes often go for dirt cheap and have horizontal dropouts (perfect for internal hubs) and rack/fender eyelets. Give it a neutral paint/powdercoat job, throw a high rise stem and some attractive fenders on there and you've got yourself a pretty nice city bike for very little money.
06-27-07, 02:36 AM
What's the state of the 3 speeds?
06-27-07, 02:41 AM
There are some very cool bikes in this (http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=286515) thread. Granted they are fixed gear/singlespeed but it might give you some ideas. This is my favorite so far.
I just got my wife the Pake Nu Nu (name for the Urban 6 speed). If you're looking for a classic looking bike matched with modern technology this is it. It's simple and inexpensive. Of course it uses low end parts to get to that pricepoint, but it's worth the price. The parts may not be the lightest, but they look like they're made to last. If you spend a couple hundred more, you'd end up with a mid range bike and still only have paid out $500. I'm keeping my wife's Pake stock for now. One thing I'll probably do is take out the bottom bracket and check if the threads were greased to prevent them seizing up down the line.
06-27-07, 04:40 PM
Thanks for the feedback on the Pake. The 3 speeds are in various states of disrepair: the pre-war phillips is fragile, heavy, and in need of rod brakes and a good cleaning; the two 65 sports have their own issues right now, the 71 Raleigh garnered a bent fork & crank, and wrecked SA hub in a crash, the LTD-3 is absolutely pristine and set up for my wife. I've kind of had it with old bikes for reliability. Maybe this feeling will pass.
If I can rationalize the expense, the Kogswell looks like a dream and i'd love to build one in the French style. Don't know if I could keep it under a grand with the parts I have in mind.
06-27-07, 04:46 PM
Or, if you like building bikes....get a used bike (road or MTB...my preference is road)....add fenders, switch to flat bar, add a rack, and switch out to 1/x. can be done pretty cheaply (or not)...here is what mine looks like http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=293760 I did it twice...once just Stem/bars/brake levers/fenders ($100) red version and then a total rebuild (green version) $more than a pake
06-27-07, 04:52 PM
I'm looking to buy a classy townie style bike for a short commute when school/work begins in September and I need suggestions. ......... and I'm not sure I want to invest too much money in these old bikes for reliable commuting.
Okay Pancho, check this out:
Okay, I agree that it is a little over your price point, but with your experience dumping money into lost causes perhaps something like this would be more appropriate. I mean, check it out, this thing is finished and you can't get much more classy with a new frame. I live in NC and do not know the seller, but it appears that he's done a good job.
06-27-07, 07:27 PM
Wow - that's nice. If I am going to spend a grand, I'd like to choose all the parts myself. I also don't like buying from Ebay - personal preference. Thanks for the suggestion, though.
06-27-07, 09:12 PM
I ride a Surly Karate Monkey with Schwalbe Big Apple tires and it's the perfect commuter---not slow, can go over anything, steel frameset, not terribly expensive. Mine is a single speed, I use cheapo flat bars and v-brakes which bring down the cost (and complexity) of the build. I think my total, brand new build came in around $1100. I love the bike--endless possibilities, fun to ride, etc.
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