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  1. #1
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    Recommendations for Workhorse Bike

    Hi There,

    I'm looking for a cross or touring bike (probably) - about 59 or 60 cm frame, Roubaix-ish (relaxed) geometry, upright or drop bars, good clearance on the stays, disc or cantilevers are fine and something I could use for all day rides. Recommendations, info appreciated (whether you sell / carry the line or not) - haven't bought a new bike in 10 or 15 years so not up to speed on new toys.

    For reference, my former go-to bike was a basic steel GT Karakoram (broke 4 frame sets and GT kept replacing them but I loved that bike).

    Also rode a Cannondale Bad Boy (felt every bump, the cross-trainer of bikes in that it didn't really do anything well - couldn't sell that thing fast enough); a Litespeed classic (smooth ride but no clearance on stays for anything but road slicks and didn't care for geometry - full weight on groin - hence desire for a Roubaix geometry); a Litespeed Tsali (good bike but integrated rear shock bombed out after awhile, handled like an elephant on stilts, granny gears useless on roads, and the Karakoram was a far better mover in every way for 1/4 the price - was glad to sell); and a Cannondale road bike (boneshaker convinced me steel is real, Ti is ok, and carbon is a good shock mitigator)

    I used to be a very consistent runner (endorphin junkie who never missed a day of running in 14 or 15 years), triathlete, and gym rat. But some leg injuries in the military and botched reconstructive surgery by a military doc took running off table.

    So I need a workhorse bike that I can ride every morning to get back in shape - fat enough rubber that a patch of leaves / water won't kill me, fast enough to do some distance and keep up on club rides, maneuverable enough to slip and slide through traffic, and relaxed (Roubaix) geometry so my nads aren't numb from an all day ride. Was thinking touring or cross, lean & simple design, reasonable price so I don't worry about theft, open to suggestions.

    Again, pretend I'm a buddy to whom your giving advice - I honestly won't care about the latest shiny POS from China on sale - looking for a workhorse - not a show pony.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    This one:

    Out of your size right now.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm
    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 12-12-13 at 11:18 PM.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  3. #3
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    CX bike sounds like the ticket. Biggest factor other then material is do you WANT fender mounts or don't care? If you don't care then more things open up. I looked at disc brakes only options and 135mm rear spacing and this was the list that had the N. American Cross Geo, aka lower bottom bracket like a roadie for better high speed handling vs say that of a Ridley or Redline.

    Kona Jake the Snake - nice budget bike at 1600 with 105's or frameset for $600 from Bikeman

    Specialized Crux - Mid range, hard to find in stock, alum is $2k and carbon is $3k

    Fuji Altamira - I ended up w/ this, full SRAM Force, BB7s and tapered fork and complete carbon for $2100 (new model is $2800) Geo is close to my super6 on paper and under me

    Felt FX5/65 - FX5 is $2400 w/ rival, full carbon and just came into stock couple weeks ago, FX65 is alum frame same front carbon fork and Apex group

    Ibis Hakkalugi - Would blow the budget here, $1800 for frameset but comes with a $550 Enve fork. Wanted this one BAD!!! But couldn't justify the build up cost.

    Kona Rove Steel - complete steel w/ APEX for $1600 or frameset from bikeman.com for $550 (i'd ditch the steel fork cuz it's ugly as hell)

    Kona Rove Ti Frame - another budget blower, Ti frame is $2k + headset and fork. Looks awesome and can hold fat tires. Drooled over this frameset and looks but outta budget

    Salsa Warbird Alum - Complete at $1700-2200 w/ Tiagra. Frameset are $900-1200 w/ that $550 enve fork. Hear good things about this, more for a gravel racer not really a CX racer. So in between a road bike and CX bike.

    Salsa Warbird Ti - Complete is about $4k or frameset w/ enve fork for $2500

    Focus Mares AX1 - 2014 models will be here in Jan/Feb where they are moving to disc brakes. Alum frame, tapered carbon fork will be new for them, comes w/ Hyrdro rival for $2200 in rapha colors looks awesome

    NINER RLT- Alum w/ carbon fork, best transformer of them all. Fender mounts, PF30 bb can be run in singlespeed mode, niner carbon forks are strong and hell and RLT is built to those standards. Frameset @ $1100, Complete 105 bike with crap wheel and bb5 brakes cost $2000, Hydro Rival version w/ Ironcross wheels will set you back $3k, wheels are $650 of that price. The bad, rumors from my buddy that is buyer for a bike shop says ALL the prepaid/preordered sales are larger then the shipment coming in Feb. Second orders might be in March or wait for fall outs. Falls into the same class in my mind as the warbird. Not a CX racer, more gravel racer but not road bike fast.

    Opinion of all these bikes:
    It's bad enough that CX bikes are between road bikes and hard tail 29er XC bike but to be in between of between this range is too much for me to swing the warbird or RLT though I'm sure they would be nice. Touring bike falls into the between of between. Unless you plan to tour, I'd hate to pedal that geo everyday.

  4. #4
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    Sounds like you wrote a good product description of the Surly Long Haul Trucker to me. Can be had with 26" or 700 wheels with clearance for wide tires, and rim or disk brakes.

    http://surlybikes.com/bikes/long_haul_trucker

  5. #5
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    The Raleigh Roper or the Salsa Vaya

    * Something tells me that if you liked the ride of GT Karakoram and the style of the Bad Boy 9, you'd just love the Surly Ogre!

    OTOH, just thinking outside the box...

    Take a look at the Santa Cruz Highball:

    www.santacruzbicycles.com/en/highball-alloy

    Check the black circle to see it in black!
    Last edited by WestPablo; 12-13-13 at 06:43 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    I had a bike like that for years -- still do, though it's in storage right now.

    About five years ago a number of folks started building old-school steel again and I picked up a Kona Kapu. Rode it about 15,000 miles before storing it when I went full custom road. Lots of clearance and slack head angle for easier handling.

    Honestly, for what you describe I'd go with a nice steel frame. I'm not personally crazy about Surly products (they use lower grade steel and it doesn't have the same "spring" to it). Have a look at Jamis and Soma, and Kona steel bikes (if you can find any)
    "how do you know you can't swim until you have drowned?"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat2k3 View Post
    Sounds like you wrote a good product description of the Surly Long Haul Trucker to me.
    "fast enough to do some distance and keep up on club rides,"

    Uh...Unless he means slowish club rides. My 60cm LHT tips the scales at probably close to 35 lbs.

    "maneuverable enough to slip and slide through traffic"

    While I commute on my LHT, I wouldn't say it "slips and slides" through traffic. The wheelbase is too long.

    OP: Maybe the new Suirly Straggler is more your speed.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

  8. #8
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    Well, I've been wrong before.

  9. #9
    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    This one:

    Out of your size right now.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm
    I have the Windsor Tourist and it's a good bike for riding on rails-to-trails such as the crushed limestone KATY Trail. I also use it for riding when the roads might be slick and it's also my night bike. I've used it on a couple of 5-day rides the last couple of years. Good value for $600.

    I'm 6'1" and usually take a 60 cm frame. The closest the Tourist comes is 58 cm so I had to add a taller stem. Of course the stock seat isn't all that great, but I had a Brooks B-17 sitting around.

    The wheels have 36 spokes which came in handy when a large stick jumped into my rear wheel and broke a spoke on last year's tour. I was able to ride about 130 miles before I could replace the spoke. BTW: The Tourist has a spoke holder; however, it was a spoke behind the cassette and I didn't have to tools to remove the cassette.

    I must say that the bike is heavy and certainly no speed demon. I have a Giant Defy Advanced which is much faster on the road.

    Like the OP, I have bum knee from my military days, but I had an excellent surgeon. I'm getting 10% disability from it though.

  10. #10
    Senior Member DoubleTap's Avatar
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    I just went throught this same search and while not exhaustive, I did do a lot of research. I had settled on building a steel Salsa Vaya, because they don't spec the complete bike the way I wanted. In doing the research for the build, I discovered the stock 2014 Kona Rove and bought one (steel). I've had it about a month and I've probably ridden it about 200 miles. I love it, and I think it meets most, if not all, of your criteria. It's a little heavy, but I change wheels when I want to do club rides or climbing rides, and that helps a lot. Otherwise, I keep the heavy wheels and run the 35's. I've added fenders to mine, otherwise, it's stock. I highly recommend it.
    Last edited by DoubleTap; 12-13-13 at 12:22 PM.

  11. #11
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    I'm in the middle of the same search, and I'm firmly in the CX bike camp for it. Bigger tyres for shock absorbing, road geo.

    I've been following jsigone's thread with interest. I was (maybe am) fairly interested in a Ridley, but the new Cannondale SuperX bikes look very attractive as well. North American cross-geo (BB is .5cm lower than the Ridley), with both 105 and Force components as options depending on your budget.

    (Now if only I didn't really love the yellow and black Ridley.)

  12. #12
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    +1 Surly LHT

  13. #13
    Senior Member exile's Avatar
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    While I like the Surly LHT, I think the Cross Check would probably do what you want it to. I also think that the Jamis Aurora or Bossanova are other options.
    lil brown bat wrote:
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  14. #14
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    A Surly LHT is designed to carry heavy loads. And it weighs a metric ****-ton. I don't wanna upset the fanboys, but it is not the right answer for everyone who is looking for a bike that isn't a CAAD or a Pinarello. To the OP, the CX suggestions sound like they might be the solution to your problem.

  15. #15
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Trek 520
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