So I am considering my first roadie. I spent all of last year on a $40 Nishiki Colorado I bought off of CL and through some 1.5" Armadillos on. I ride around the city of Chicago and commute to work about 5 miles round trip each day.
There are some gnarly potholes and other nasty road conditions around here. I currently take a lot of routes where the roads are gnawed up to the point that I might as well be hopping through rock gardens. I have biffed it a couple of times going through these passages. And I almost caught an edge in traffic once which was pretty scary but luckily managed to recover without getting my head smashed by traffic.
Anyways I'm getting tired of working my ass off to keep up with friends on their little road bikes and figured it is time to get one myself. I figure if I'm on the roadie it is easy enough to avoid most of the more busted streets. But there is a catch: I don't have a lot to spend (< $900) and I am 6'6'' 240lbs.
A custom frame is about $5000 past my price range so that is out. Building up a large frame with second hand components would be possible but I need the frame first. So I've been poking around here and there and I've found some different options. I am hoping that you all can share any expereinces with these bikes or comment on my findings...
After scouring up and down and high and low I found a few different options.
Trek 7200 has a 25" frame but the top tube is only 23.3in about the same as my Nishiki. It has 700x35c wheels on it stock and I can ride it out the door without a build up. I know a lot of people switch to a thinner wheel which would help bring it up to speed. Ive heard some complaints as well about the gearing but 48x11 doesn't seem like a granny crank to me. My question on this one would be how much slower is it than an average roadie with the same tires? Of the bikes I'm listing this is the easiest to check because I can go to the store and ride it. Based on the spec alone im thinking it is going to be a little too small though.
So after a bit more poking around I found a bunch of threads mentioning the cannondale caad3 or caad5 frames were made up to 66cm. After more poking around I found that they stopped making this size in 2007 or 2008. From Cannondale's website I've found that this frame has got a 61cm top tube. Not bad! But I cant find a bike with the 66cm frame or the 66 cm frame itself anywhere on the web. Does anyone know where to find this bike/frame? I also don't know how I feel about an aluminum frame. I'm thinking that with my size and leg strength I will flex the frame to death never to be welded back again.
So after a fruitless search for the CAAD5 I started poking around for other larger frame sets. That brought me to bikesdirect.com/bikeisland.com. I've found a number of cheap 64cm frames here that have pretty good numbers. Particularly I am looking at the Mercier Corvus and 7005DB as well as the motobecane Messenger Track. They are all 64cm ctr/top seat tubes just like the CAAD5. But the Corvus and the Messenger have 610mm top tubes and the 7005DB 622mm top. Plus they are selling for half of the few old prices I could find on used CAAD5 frames.
So I was really thinking about grabbing one of these Motobecane frames. That was until I heard some of the stories posted on this board and other places. The facts as I see them are as follows. These frames are the same 4130 cromoly used in numerous other frames from the major brands. They are manufactured by Kinesis who seem to make frames from around $100 retail up into the thousands. They are as big as the CAAD5 but much easier to find.
Basically as long as this thing doesn't have a greatly increased chance of snapping in two and sending me head first into traffic I feel like it is worth the $150 or so spent on the frame. Does anyone have any experience with these frames? Are they clyde-worthy?