Commuting - New commuter looking for some bike advice
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11-14-07, 03:15 PM
Hey all, just stumbled onto the thread yesterday and joined right up. I have been testing the commuting waters for several months and have finally really started to get into it. I am riding an old 18" Trek 820 that a coworker gave me and I have really started to enjoy biking.
The only problem, besides being in a Florida town which is by no means bike friendly, is my bike is too small. I am right at 6' tall and its an 18in frame and I always feel a little cramped. I did find a craigslist trek 800 19.5 in which I got for 40 bucks to scavenge the frame and fork. I figure the larger frame with a new stem and perhaps an upgraded drive train could make a decent commuter, but I dont know. I need something that will hold up taking on bad roads, sidewalks, hop curbs, and avoid the occasional near blind retiree.
I basically need some advice as to building this bike up, from parts from both bikes and stuff I buy online, or going ahead an buying a new bike. I am a poor theatre professional about to head back to grad school, so I am looking at a $500 limit max. So what do you think? Build or buy.
11-14-07, 05:23 PM
Hey, I have a Trek 800 that is kinda old, too. Just replace the stuff that needs replacing, get some commuter kit for it (rack, tires, LIGHTS, fenders) and ride it. I have this one as the old standby, but there's not a thing wrong with it, and besides, lots of times old bikes make really great commuters. Don't worry about buying a new one if you need to save money, an old bike can become a very roadworthy steed with very little dough and a little TLC.
View it as a restoration project, that will make it interesting as well...
Good luck and have fun with it!
11-15-07, 01:35 AM
500 dollars might get a nice ride but nothing left over for fenders and racks, If the equipment is still good swap out the frames, if not, check out the pawn shops. Large frame bikes don't seem to sell well for them so you might get a nice one for a hundred, hundred fifty bucks. Good luck and don't get to hung up on how to dress or what shoes to wear. Just run what you got.
18" or 19.5" is too small for you (6'). I'm 6' and a 21" fits much better.
For ~$500 why not look at something in the Jamis Coda (http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/index.html) line (NEW).
According to the Jamis website there are several dealers in the SW Florida area.
11-15-07, 07:29 AM
I need something that will hold up taking on bad roads, sidewalks, hop curbs, and avoid the occasional near blind retiree.
For starters stick to the bad roads and keep off the sidewalks. I don't care about pedestrians but YOU will be safer for it and have a happier cycling experience. Good luck with getting a bike that fits and makes you happy.
11-15-07, 09:01 AM
Thats for all the replies. As to frame size, I have really short legs and can not comfortably stand over bikes with 21-22 in frames. And I am not planning on getting caught up with clothes and accessories just yet (I typically bike in jeans and work boots). Living in SW Florida it has stopped raining for the year so I wont need fenders again until march or april. I just wanted to get a feel for buy vs slowing making a frankenbike. I will look into Jamis and the local pawn shops. Thanks again
11-15-07, 09:49 AM
I too am a 6 footer with short legs, 19.5 mb frames fit me ok. so for $500 get a rack, new slicker tires, bag for rack,fenders, emergency bag for seatpost with extra tube and pump or co2 and patch kit, good helmet....if you are going to be in the dark you will want to drop $200 on lighting and safety stuff. If you are going a long distance new pedals and road shoes will make you ride faster. Is this what you meant by "build Up"? Tires, pedals and shoes will have the largest impact on your ride time, INMO. I guess you might try for new wheels but that might blow your budget....a new handlebar for moving your hands and brakepads(koolstop orange) are other cheap improvements that make a big improvement.
I think once you rig up this Trek with these extras it would be impoosible to go new with the same setup for $500. Lighting is a wildcard, good lighting takes some cash and is worth every penny.
This is the Trek 930 in my sig. I'm 5-11 with a 31" inseam, depending on how you measure. It's 22.5" and fits me well for street use. By that I mean the top tub just brushes the nards. That's the way I fit my road bikes, too. Street use negates the need for MTB top tube clearances, even if you hop the occasional curb, etc. Get a taller bike for street/road riding. You'll feel better on it.
As to cost:
I got this on my local C-List for $125. If that seems too much, consider that the 900 series Trek MTB's from the early 90's were hand made from quality steel tubes. It came with Alivio stuff which I stripped off and replaced with my older, better Deore hardware from an '88 I broke. The Alivio was perfectly functional, but I wanted to keep the Deore. For general commuting, just keep the wheels the same. They're probably as bombproof as you will ever need. Stems and bars are a personal thing - like a saddle, so spend what you're comfortable with. Or, spend what you need to get comfortable, that is.
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