To the nay sayers and the impatient who insist nothing worthwhile comes up on craigslist for next to nothing I present you my newest ride "Name Pending":
"Name Pending" is a 2004 Specialized Hardrock XC. A fairly basic hardtail from back before the hardrock got all curvy with the down and top tubes. Still a handsome gray color if you ask me. Anyways, "Name Pending" was in a listing on craigslist titled simply "Two mountain bikes, 125 dollars". Two mountain bikes were a 17'' (my size) and a 15'' (Mrs. Bautieri's size) 04 Hardrock's who looked like they had been sitting in a barn for the last 4 years or so. According to the seller that is exactly what they had been doing. Covered in grit, goo, and what looked to be yard lime, wobbly wheels, and derailuers that wouldn't hit their gears. A night or two of tinkering and the gears all hit. Another night of truing the wheels and cleaning the frames and I was the proud owner of a pair of showroom quality Hardrocks for $62.50 each.
Now to see what the fuss was about with these bikes. I must say, they rode very nicly. The maiden voyage was a 25 mile loop around the Harrisburg Greenbelt which included a few good climbs. Let me tell you, those knobbies were a chore to push that distance compared to my road bike. However you couldn't have wiped the smile off my face with formula 409. A little more tinkering with the front derailure (had to take some slack out of the cable) and the front derailure was no longer rubbing a bit in the top crank gear.
So what to do, what to do? Ah, Commuterize it so I no longer have to commute on my road bike! A stop out to my favorite LBS was in order. A few stops actually...my bad for ripping the rim tape then buying two different sized tires. Hey, they were right next to each other. Got the new tires, mounted a rear rack, set up a bag that conveniently unzips into a painnier. It's pretty cool, the side pockets of the trunk can unzip then you can use it like a tiny pannier. Real panniers wouldn't work as the chain stays were too short to keep my heel from smacking the bags. One of these days I'll get a proper touring bike but until then, I present you with CommuterRock!
And a closeup of the chosen rubber,
Rides much better without the 26 x 2.0 knobs. Weight distribution feels really different when there is any kind of load on it, but all in all I like her!