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  1. #1
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    Cheapest way to build a bike

    I want a fully customized Jamis Coda Femme with an 18" frame. By "fully customized" I mean I want to change the handlebar, shifters (thumb to twist grip), gears (mountain front and back), derailleurs (SRAM X-5 to fit the new gears), tires, crank, probably the rims (to 36-hole Schraeder), and seat.

    I think that means that all I want to keep are the frame, fork, stem, seat post, pedals, and brakes.

    What's the cheapest way to do this? MY ideas:

    1) Buy the stock bike and ask the shop to swap the parts.

    2) Buy a frame, obtain the parts, and hire a mechanic to build the bike.

    I had a very similar bike built last year using option #1. The end result was successful but the process was complicated.

    SECOND QUESTION: Is it possible to obtain just the frame for an 18" Jamis Coda Femme?

    Got any ideas for me to think about?

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    Buy the right bike in the first place! Nothing wrong with that Jamis, but at the end of the day, it's just a fairly basic hybrid, Going custom is really for high end bikes, if you are looking at the lower end of the market, just chose a bike which has everything you want on to start with, there are plenty of options out there.

    For the options you have suggested, 1 = expensive, and 2 not may bike manufactures sell frame only unless very high end, or end of year closeout

  3. #3
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    1) There is nothing special about that frameset. Any $500MSRP hybrid from any of the millions of hybrid manufacturers will offer the same aluminum road frame.
    2) It is not cost effective to upgrade a $500 MSRP bike in the manner you are describing.
    3) Grip shift is normally stock on entry level hybrids - really? Grip shift?
    4) If you are going to build a 'fully custom' bike, why not start with something that makes sense upgrading? How about a semi-custom AL/Steel Marinoni?
    5) Mountain gearing on a hybrid frame what?

    It sounds like you want a mountain bike instead of 'upgrading' a hybrid commuter.
    Last edited by operator; 04-25-11 at 05:22 PM.
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    There is no existing bike sold in the U.S. that meets my specs. I want to create (for a friend) a hybrid/touring bike with a Nitto North Road handlebar, mountain gears, twist-grip shifters, and 700 x 32 tires. I had this same bike (in the men's version) built last year by a shop and love the bike. The reason I had the bike built was that exhaustive research of every U.S. manufacturer showed that this bike does not exist in the U.S.

    My friend wants a step-through frame. Jamis only offers this in the basic Coda, not the Coda Sport or higher.

    If you have other ideas for how to obtain the bike I'm describing, feel free to suggest them. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    1) There is nothing special about that frameset. Any $500MSRP hybrid from any of the millions of hybrid manufacturers will offer the same aluminum road frame.
    2) It is not cost effective to upgrade a $500 MSRP bike in the manner you are describing.
    3) Grip shift is normally stock on entry level hybrids - really? Grip shift?
    4) If you are going to build a 'fully custom' bike, why not start with something that makes sense upgrading? How about a semi-custom AL/Steel Marinoni?
    5) Mountain gearing on a hybrid frame what?

    It sounds like you want a mountain bike instead of 'upgrading' a hybrid commuter.
    Trigger shifters don't fit very well on a Nitto North Road bar. There isn't really enough room for your fingers. SRAM X-5 twist grips work perfectly.

    Why wouldn't you put mountain gearing on a hybrid? We live in an area of steep hills and mountains. Mountain gears work like a dream here. Definitely do not want a mountain bike as we ride only on pavement.

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    The problem is, you have asked for the cheapest way to build this, and you don't seem to like the answers you have got.

    What you seem to want to do, will be expensive, have you looked at a custom (nahbs type) frame, and buying components, this wouldn't be cheap, but probably not much more than buying the Jamis, then swapping out almost all the parts.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
    The problem is, you have asked for the cheapest way to build this, and you don't seem to like the answers you have got.
    +1. Cheap and fully custom don't go together, particularly if you can't source the correct parts on your own and can't do the assembly yourself.

    You must realize this project is going to be relatively expensive or you must compromise on what you will accept for the finished product.

  8. #8
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    I don't think the OP's request is that strange, if you do not have tools/mechanic knowledge I would indeed find a dealer and ask them how much it would cost to buy the bike with the parts you want.

    True there really are no hybrid type bikes that come with the north road type bars, generally hybrids have standard mountain bike riser bars. One thing i'd consider is that just because you love those bars, she may not. Buy the bike and start changing things once the rider wants them to be changed.
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    You're going to have to keep on looking. The 2010 and 2011 models of the Coda Femme both have regular top tube frames. No step through style from them unless it's with an older model. They seem to have moved the step through low top tube frames down or across to the Commuter and Hudson model lineups. You'll need to figure out if this bike would do you or if you want to go with another model altogether.

    Looking further at the Commuter2 model I see that it already comes with 700x32 tires and that it has twist grip shifters. So much of what you want is already there. A switch of the crankset if needed and maybe a swap of the rear cassete to an MTB stack plus the handlebar and likely stem swap and you're done. All in all not much is needed for this conversion from what I can see. And frankly I'd start with the bars and only do the rest if the new owner finds that they need any changes because they just can't seem to find the right gearing combo. And at just 26.5 lbs WITH FENDERS this is hardly a lower end bike. It really is very close to what you've said that you're after.

    Looking at the bike a bit closer before closing the Jamis window I see that there's no front derailleur. Even so I suspect that for what this bike is and how you'll be "enhancing" the boulevard and flat road aspect with the North Road bars I suspect the lack of additional forward gearing should not be a big issue. If the prospective owner has to climb hills then this sort of bike with that style of handlebars is likely best walked up the steeper hills in any event since the rather tight and upright cockpit that will result would make it near impossible to pedal up more than a short and shallow hill effectively.
    Last edited by BCRider; 04-25-11 at 07:45 PM.
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    My question is not, "What do you think of the bike I want to build?" It's "What's the best and cheapest way to get the bike my friend wants?"

    The MSRP on my Coda Sport was $675. I contributed $120 in parts. The shop charged me $650 including modifications. That added up to $770, or about $100 over MSRP for a significantly more comfortable and versatile bike. Maybe I've answered my own question, since that seems like a good deal. I was just wondering about the wisdom of ordering a stock bike and then changing almost everything on it. I was wondering how option #2 would compare in price.

  11. #11
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    But my point is that if you shop for a slightly different bike you may not have to change all that much other than the bars. Besides there's that little issue of Jamis not making a low top tube or step through frame in the Coda lineup anymore.

    The deal you got on the first semi custom build sounds like it was a good one. Find the bike with the sort of frame you're after and then pick the package level that gives you the most of what you want in stock form and then do the swaps in much the same way as you did already. Frankly that sounds like the shop really gave you a great deal. Even if they kept the other parts to resell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GetUpnGo View Post
    My question is not, "What do you think of the bike I want to build?" It's "What's the best and cheapest way to get the bike my friend wants?"
    No, it was 'Cheapest way to build a bike' you got answers for that, I can't see anything in the first post asked about the best way. you need to ask the right question, to get the answers you want

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    is the step through frame a deal breaker? if it's not you could buy all these parts from nashbar and build the bike from scratch for about $500 if you have mechanical skills. if you have to take it to a shop to do assembly it could run you a couple hundred more. Plain nashbar frames are $100 and a carbon fork is also $100. Cheap set of wheels from them is also about $100, cheap mtb crank can be had there as well. I agree that if your going to buy a whole bike, your probably gonna want to find something that has as much of what you want to begin with. there are tons of hybrids on the market that come with a MTB crank to begin with so that shouldn't be too hard but often times they have suspension forks. Part of the problem with costs is typically these kind of bikes have low end parts so you won't recoup much in trying to sell of the stuff your remove.

    I don't think your idea is totally crazy, I spent close to $1000 for my custom build from nashbar because I really wanted a few specific features like a carbon fork AND disc brake. I paid a little more but i have exactly what I want. Cost is what you pay, value is what you get!

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    [QUOTE=BCRider;12556757]But my point is that if you shop for a slightly different bike you may not have to change all that much other than the bars. Besides there's that little issue of Jamis not making a low top tube or step through frame in the Coda lineup anymore./QUOTE]

    For my own bike I carefully calculated all the parts to correspond exactly to my needs---age, fitness level, anatomical problems, terrain, etc. This is the most comfortable bike I've ever owned. I put 750 pain-free miles on it last year, after years of pain on other bikes. It gets me up the steepest hills with ease. It's a do-all bike that can be used for touring.

    My friend feels her needs are exactly the same---same age, fitness level, skeletal problems, terrain. She has ridden my bike and wants the same bike. I shouldn't have said "step through." I should have said "women's." The top tube of the Coda Femme slopes more than the men's.

    Not sure why folks are surprised that someone would want this type of bike. It is very common in Europe and around the world. The U.S. is one of the few places where you can't obtain this type of bike. People stop me in the street to ask me where I got my bike and are disappointed when I say they can't buy one off the rack.

    I've been using the equivalent of mountain gears on my bikes since the 1970s. One of the most common complaints about stock touring bikes is that the gears are not low enough for steep terrain.

    Thousands of people are now setting up their touring bikes with something other than a dropped bar or a straight bar. Having had carpal tunnel surgery necessitated by long-distance biking, I am now very careful about my handlebar. I've ridden up to 2000 miles a year on a hybrid with a backswept bar. My mileage fell drastically when I went briefly to a road bike.

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    [QUOTE=GetUpnGo;12557128]
    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    But my point is that if you shop for a slightly different bike you may not have to change all that much other than the bars. Besides there's that little issue of Jamis not making a low top tube or step through frame in the Coda lineup anymore./QUOTE]

    For my own bike I carefully calculated all the parts to correspond exactly to my needs---age, fitness level, anatomical problems, terrain, etc. This is the most comfortable bike I've ever owned. I put 750 pain-free miles on it last year, after years of pain on other bikes. It gets me up the steepest hills with ease. It's a do-all bike that can be used for touring.

    My friend feels her needs are exactly the same---same age, fitness level, skeletal problems, terrain. She has ridden my bike and wants the same bike. I shouldn't have said "step through." I should have said "women's." The top tube of the Coda Femme slopes more than the men's.

    Not sure why folks are surprised that someone would want this type of bike. It is very common in Europe and around the world. The U.S. is one of the few places where you can't obtain this type of bike. People stop me in the street to ask me where I got my bike and are disappointed when I say they can't buy one off the rack.

    I've been using the equivalent of mountain gears on my bikes since the 1970s. One of the most common complaints about stock touring bikes is that the gears are not low enough for steep terrain.

    Thousands of people are now setting up their touring bikes with something other than a dropped bar or a straight bar. Having had carpal tunnel surgery necessitated by long-distance biking, I am now very careful about my handlebar. I've ridden up to 2000 miles a year on a hybrid with a backswept bar. My mileage fell drastically when I went briefly to a road bike.
    FWIW, I agree with you here, I get the same comments all the time on my bike.

    So i just looked at the coda femme and i have a couple of questions for you

    1. You want 36 hole schrader rims. How much does your friend weigh? will you be loading up this bike? A female would have to be extrememly overweight to necessitate 36 hole rims. Regarding schrader vs presta I can see how presta valves would annoy or confuse someone new to cycling however for $1 you can simply leave your presta valve screwed open and screw on a schrader adaptor. In my experience, finding 36 hole wheelsets stock is somewhat tough most people get them custom built which adds significant cost. Nashbar.com has a set of vuelta corsa HD wheels that are 36 holes and get great reviews from clydes. they are pretty darn heavy but if you want durable it's a cheap option. I am 6'3 and a strong and athletic 250lbs who rides aggressively. I did have cracking at the spoke holes on my stock "doublewall rims" on my entry level giant rapid after 8 months of use. it was replaced under warranty and the consensus was it was as much the torque that i put on pedaling as much as my weight that caused the problem. Other than that, I never broke a spoke and the wheels were always true. Your best bet is to keep the stock wheels and replace at the first sign of issues.

    2. The jamis you mentioned already has "mountain" gearing at 48/38/28. How low are you trying to go? 42/32/22? Something to consider is keeping the stock crank and when you upgrade the gripshifts go from 8 speed to 9 speed and get a casette with a 34 tooth cog. thats a pretty darn low gear. I suppose you can probably get an 8 speed with a 34 tooth cog but it will probably be a megarange that will jump from 24-34 which isn't too desireable in my opinion.

    3. Why do you think you need to change the deraileurs? That rear dearaileur spec is for a 34 tooth rear cog and 42 tooth chainwrap capacity and shimano is always conservative with those ratings. You shouldn't need a deraileur change at all. IF you do go from a 48/38/28 crank to a 42/32/22 you probably won't need to change the FD either but you will need it repositioned lower. this can be done quite cheap and easy.

    4. Saddle. Saddles are interesting. If your friend hasn't ridden a bike in a long time, chances are the first couple weeks her butt is gonna hurt no matter what so you may want to wait a bit. otherwise, changing a saddle is really something you should be able to change out yourself but if not, I imagine a bike shop would take 5 minutes and do it for you for free.

    5. Tires Tires are easy enough, my recommendation to you would be to change them yourself for a couple of reasons. If you do enough riding it's only a matter of time before you have a flat on the road and need to do a tire change. changing the tires yourself will give you the opportunity to learn and teach your friend how to do it. regarding tires, I have some nice nashbar streetwise 700x35 road tires that are very light for their size and handle all the bumps great, I love them on my commuter.

    It would be more cost effective for you to buy the whole jamis and just change out a few parts. building a bike from scratch takes more time because of all the little details you have to take care of like running all the cables, greasing everything up, etc. Also the sum of all the parts will probably add up to at least as much as the jamis if not more and then you are still paying labor to complete the build.

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    If it doesn't have to be a Jamis frame, look here: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ail/skye/skye/ . Swap the handlebars or add barends, tires to a touring tire and functionally it's pretty darn close. My sister recently bought one when she retired her Lambert and even with the OEM tires (knobs are very closely arranged) it works well on the street.

    Brad

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    [QUOTE=motobecane69;12557245]
    Quote Originally Posted by GetUpnGo View Post
    FWIW, I agree with you here, I get the same comments all the time on my bike.

    So i just looked at the coda femme and i have a couple of questions for you

    1. You want 36 hole schrader rims. How much does your friend weigh? will you be loading up this bike? A female would have to be extrememly overweight to necessitate 36 hole rims. Regarding schrader vs presta I can see how presta valves would annoy or confuse someone new to cycling however for $1 you can simply leave your presta valve screwed open and screw on a schrader adaptor. In my experience, finding 36 hole wheelsets stock is somewhat tough most people get them custom built which adds significant cost. Nashbar.com has a set of vuelta corsa HD wheels that are 36 holes and get great reviews from clydes. they are pretty darn heavy but if you want durable it's a cheap option. I am 6'3 and a strong and athletic 250lbs who rides aggressively. I did have cracking at the spoke holes on my stock "doublewall rims" on my entry level giant rapid after 8 months of use. it was replaced under warranty and the consensus was it was as much the torque that i put on pedaling as much as my weight that caused the problem. Other than that, I never broke a spoke and the wheels were always true. Your best bet is to keep the stock wheels and replace at the first sign of issues.

    2. The jamis you mentioned already has "mountain" gearing at 48/38/28. How low are you trying to go? 42/32/22? Something to consider is keeping the stock crank and when you upgrade the gripshifts go from 8 speed to 9 speed and get a casette with a 34 tooth cog. thats a pretty darn low gear. I suppose you can probably get an 8 speed with a 34 tooth cog but it will probably be a megarange that will jump from 24-34 which isn't too desireable in my opinion.

    3. Why do you think you need to change the deraileurs? That rear dearaileur spec is for a 34 tooth rear cog and 42 tooth chainwrap capacity and shimano is always conservative with those ratings. You shouldn't need a deraileur change at all. IF you do go from a 48/38/28 crank to a 42/32/22 you probably won't need to change the FD either but you will need it repositioned lower. this can be done quite cheap and easy.

    4. Saddle. Saddles are interesting. If your friend hasn't ridden a bike in a long time, chances are the first couple weeks her butt is gonna hurt no matter what so you may want to wait a bit. otherwise, changing a saddle is really something you should be able to change out yourself but if not, I imagine a bike shop would take 5 minutes and do it for you for free.

    5. Tires Tires are easy enough, my recommendation to you would be to change them yourself for a couple of reasons. If you do enough riding it's only a matter of time before you have a flat on the road and need to do a tire change. changing the tires yourself will give you the opportunity to learn and teach your friend how to do it. regarding tires, I have some nice nashbar streetwise 700x35 road tires that are very light for their size and handle all the bumps great, I love them on my commuter.

    It would be more cost effective for you to buy the whole jamis and just change out a few parts. building a bike from scratch takes more time because of all the little details you have to take care of like running all the cables, greasing everything up, etc. Also the sum of all the parts will probably add up to at least as much as the jamis if not more and then you are still paying labor to complete the build.
    Thanks very much for your input. Much appreciated. Replies to your questions and comments:

    1) 36 holes is not a deal breaker. I have the stock 32 and was told in this forum that I will be able to tour with that. I find the Schraeder adapters pretty irritating myself. They take about 9 steps to inflate the tire, versus 3 steps for a Schraeder valve. Itís not that hard to break a presta valve.

    2) In my mind 48/38/28 is closer to hybrid gearing. I have 22-32-44 x 11-34. That combination is heaven on steep hills.

    3) Building my bike required a derailleur change. I canít remember the specific reason, but it involved the compatibility of the twist grip shifters, crank, and derailleurs. May have been because the shop didnít have Shimano twist grip shifters? My setup is Sram X-5.

    4) Yes, we will do the saddle ourselves.

    5) Tires: Iím looking at Schwalbe Marathon Supremes 700 x 35 (said to actually be 32-33mm). I have 32 mm Vittoria Randonneur Pros on my bike and like them a lot but the reviews say they are very difficult to change. The Supremes seem to have enthusiastic reviews. I do change my own tires.

    So youíre more in favor of option #1, getting a shop to modify the stock bike. Thanks very much for that advice. I agree with you that there might be too many small details for me to handle.

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    i'm not sure how you've used your schrader adpators but they are annoying if you put them on every time. I leave my presta valves open and then screw the schrader adaptor on and leave it on. it essentially gives you a schrader valve. regarding your gearing. the lowest gear i've ever used is a 30/34 which is crazy low but I could see wanting lower if you are loaded up. I would think that a 22/34 gear ratio would probably produce about 4 or 5mph tops at a cadence of 90rpm. I think a person could honestly walk an unloaded road bike up that hill easier than trying to pedal that fast and stay balanced but to each their own.

    Since you said 36 holes isn't a deal breaker go with the stock wheels and make sure that they are tensioned properly and chances are they will be fine. if you start having problems down the road, then you should go ahead and get a 36 hole wheel handbuilt.

    While most sram stuff is shimano compatible not all of it is so you may have needed to change your deraileurs but I suspect that your friend won't need to.

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    I didn't know you could leave presta valves open. I was taught to close them, which means removing the Schrader adapter each time. No loss of air if I leave the prestas open? That's good news.

    Yes, 22/34 is "crazy low" and a blessing after a certain age. You're right, it's about 4 or 5 mph. No problem staying balanced.

  20. #20
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    Cheap?
    Pick up a used bike with a frame in your size, and another bike for it's parts,

    Get both at a Police Auction and the cost would be really low.

    Then mix and match., some issues if 1 is French , the other Italian

    But most bikes are out of Asia these days , Brand is just paint.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-27-11 at 08:43 AM.

  21. #21
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    On the valves instead of using the Schreader adapters just commit to the Presta and ditch the adapters. Get a floor pump for at home for filling the tires and a good long travel frame pump to fit the bike for emergencies. That way you don't need the adapter. Filling tires at a service station? Often that is a wast of time since few service station pumps go high enough in pressure for bicycles.

    As a fellow old guy that needs all the mechanical help he can get I totally support your using a 42 or 44 big ring with the 22/34 or 22/32 rings. I've got the "usual" 22/32/44 stock MTB setup on the front and 11-28 on the rear on a couple of my 700c bikes and find that there's no way for me to spin out on the 44-11 combo unless flying downhill. And frankly I enjoy the free ride for such times. On the flat I can go as fast as my lungs let me with about the 44-13 combo. So this works out well and allows a reasonably nice chain line.

    In terms of tires your Vittoria Ranndoneurs are likely a nicer tire to ride than the Marathons. As for changing the tires to repair flats if you're not having an issue then why change? And if you are having an issue then 99% of the time it's technique and not the tire. The trick is to repeatedly and frequently sweep the bead that is on the rim to the center of the rim's bead channel. That gives you the slack needed to work the bead on or off easily. It's one of those "practice makes perfect" deals.

    Frankly I've tried some heavier tread and sidewall tires in the past. Not the actual Schawlbes but similar. They were Continental Town&Country on a friend's bike. Horrible tires that suck up a rider's energy like some sort of black hole. GIve me light tires with thin and supple sidewalls that allow the air inside to support the rider instead of the rubber. He'd heard that they were more flat resistant and thought that the heavy tread gave them more resistance to pinching from rocks. But in reality they were just really bad to ride. It was like going uphill all the time. Now all this will mean nothing to the Schwalbe owners out there but I urge you to compare the weights of the Schwalbe to the Vittoria.

    And if you do go ahead and get a set of the Schwalbes then do a back to back comparison with the Vittorias you have now. Check out how easily each coasts down a very shallow slope. The sort of slope you can't even see. And compare how easy each is for accelerating away from a stop. Something tells me that you'll be looking at those Vittorias with a whole new appreciation. As for any tire removal and mounting difficulty? Just do some practicing in the comfort of your yard until you learn the trick for making it easy. Pretty soon you'll have it down to where the longest time user in a tube swap is the actual pumping up and replacing in the frame.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  22. #22
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    +1 on keeping the Presta valves. As BCRider noted use a good floor pump at home. Get a Topeak Road Morph for on-bike use. The Morph has a separate short hose and a T-handle so you won't break off the Presta valve stem.

    4-5 mph is perfectly stable and secure even with a loaded touring bike. Trust me on this, I've done it and even slower. And, no, you can't walk up a hill that fast even pushing an unloaded bike.

  23. #23
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    regarding presta valves, yes, normally you do want to close them up after filling a tire especially since you can easily wack it and let more air out. but if your putting a shrader apaptor over it, nothing is going to be able to hit the valve unless you are intentionally pushing something in like an air hose. no additional pressure loss by leaving the valve open vs. closed in my experience. REgarding pressure, it is true that gas station compressors don't get up to super high road tire pressure, however if your running a 35c tire and only need 80psi, there is a good chance your std gas station pump will get you all the pressure you need, however, I would still recommend just getting used to the presta valve. one reason why a lot of people don't like presta is because if you get one with a threaded valve sometimes its hard to get the pump head on and off. if you can, buy the tubes where the valve stem is smooth metal, much easier.

    regarding tires, I'm a big fan of the lightest weighing flat protected road tires you can get. I had some vredstein dynamic tour tires that were heavy as hell and slow. they weighed about 900 grams I think. switched to the nashbar streetwise tires that are closer to 500 grams and they roll so much smoother!

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