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Old 09-18-06, 05:45 AM   #1
chicbicyclist
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Settled with the Kona Smoke, Threadless Stem Question!

ETA: I settled with the Kona smoke and I have question number 2 regarding the stem here.

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Well, after a crash and opinions from several bike mechanics, I now have to retire my dear old cheapo bike(the one in my sig). I do not want to, but I have to.

Anyway, any recomendations on an upright steel bike? I stronly prefer chromoly steel. The bike will be used for an electric conversion so no lightweights for me. This is the primary reason why I don't want exotic frame materials. Budget is about $300-$500. It also has to use 26 inch wheels and it should preferably have no front suspension. God, I hate front suspensions, but I figured I can easilly swap them out.

And paint, I know, i know, I shouldnt consider the color, but its a pretty big thing for me. It has to be monochromatic and not look "sporty"(I'm looking at you, Specialized, Giant, and newer Raligh USA bikes. Ugh, talk about tacky paint jobs). I'll compromise and spend money on the paint if I really have too, though.

I am looking at the Kona Smoke, looks perfect and it's black. Only qualm is that I dont know if it is upright enough. Will transfer my North road bars, maybe that would help? Will different stems help? The one on the Smoke looks painful.

Who knew it would be hard to find the perfect steel bike that meets my needs. It seems that steel(specifically chromoly) is a dying breed. Most manufacturer's cheaper comfort models now come in Aluminum, what gives? It's a screwed up world if the cheaper bikes are now made of aluminum and steel is now considered high end.

Thanks for reading, much appreciated if you can help me!

Last edited by chicbicyclist; 09-19-06 at 08:26 PM. Reason: another question
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Old 09-18-06, 05:50 AM   #2
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The Smoke is a fairly upright bike. If it's not upright enough for you a stem with a higher rise is a low cost solution.
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Old 09-18-06, 06:00 AM   #3
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Your budget is pretty small, even for a simple hardtail frame mountain bike. You need a hardtail MTB, ideally one with a non-suspension fork (I'm thinking early 90s Trek 930, here). That is lower-end on price for a new bike, but you should be able to get a monochrome Surly frame and transfer your usable parts. Cheap wheels won't break you, ditto a cheap crank and cassette. The Surly at least gives you modern dropout spacing and you have no paint costs.
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Old 09-18-06, 06:15 AM   #4
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I've looked into the Surlys. I'm considering it, and considering upping my buget if all else fails. Ugh, why do manufacturers have to accesorize thier bikes with almost useless stuff when simple things such as non-suspension forks are cheaper and dont really contribute much. It's just more moving parts that can break.

Oh yeah, what kind of surly exactly?
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Old 09-18-06, 08:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicbicyclist
I've looked into the Surlys. I'm considering it, and considering upping my buget if all else fails. Ugh, why do manufacturers have to accesorize thier bikes with almost useless stuff when simple things such as non-suspension forks are cheaper and dont really contribute much. It's just more moving parts that can break.

Oh yeah, what kind of surly exactly?
I don't think a Surly is going to meet your cost and design goals. The Insitagtor can be pretty uprightm is designed for a derailer and is very beefy but is designed around a 4"-5" travel suspension fork (the frame does not com with a fork). The 1X1 comes with a rigid fork and while lighter is still plenty beefy but does not have a derailer hanger so is limited to single speed or hub gears.
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Old 09-18-06, 09:40 AM   #6
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Manufacturers are using Al on low end because it is cheap and easy to weld a reasonably light weight bike. They could use mild steel (and do on really cheap bikes) but would get a tank. Better quality steels are much thinner than Al, so require better control during welding. This results in a higher cost.
So, very cheap frames are mild steel, inexpensive frames are Al, mid priced frames are good steel or Al and all types of materials are used for expensive frames.
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Old 09-18-06, 10:14 AM   #7
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If you can use a compact geometry frame, look at the Giant Sedona ST. Hi Ten Steel, no suspension fork, and is pretty upright. Retail price $230
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Old 09-18-06, 03:57 PM   #8
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Whats the difference between hi tensile and chromoly steel? I take it that chromoly is an alloy, and supposed to be stronger?

Oh yeah, thanks for the reponses, everyone!

Last edited by chicbicyclist; 09-18-06 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 09-19-06, 06:35 AM   #9
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Hi-ten I believe is also called mild steel. Its the soft cheap junk they make to worst bikes out of. Chromoly is the common name for a range of steels that are additionaly alloyed (steel is an alloy itself in all forms). Chromolys range from decent to very good steels for bicycle frames. So a chromoly frame should be lighter and perhaps stronger than the hi-ten frame. Ofcourse bike design plays a part, but I doubt much expense was put into designing a bike built in hi-ten. I would avoid it unless cheap was a primary requirement.
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Old 09-19-06, 07:37 PM   #10
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The Terry Susan B. is an upright steel bike. It lists for $550, but Harris Cycles had it for $500 this summer.
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Old 09-19-06, 08:22 PM   #11
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Thanks CBbaron.

Cuffydog, I checked the Terry Susan B, but they dont have taller sizes available now :-(. Thanks anyway.

I went to the Kona dealer today and I ended up pre-ordering the Kona Smoke. They're gonna call me tommorow and tell me if its in stock from Kona. Now, I have another question. I need something more upright and would prefer a higher stem/straighter similar to this. Is there any way I can increase the height and angle(to a more relaxed position) of the threadless stem on the Kona Smoke or do I need to change the whole fork as well?
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Old 09-20-06, 07:40 AM   #12
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You could get a threadless adjustable stem, and crank it up to nearly vertical. They are easy to come by and to swap out with the stem that comes with the bike. The LBS can do this for you before you pick up the bike.
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Old 09-20-06, 08:14 AM   #13
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You can use an adjustable stem or just a shorter high ride stem. Fairly inexpensive and easy upgrade.
Here are some examples, your if they don't have any can easily get them:
http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30...ils&sku=SM2375
http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30...ils&sku=SM2238

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Old 09-20-06, 08:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicbicyclist
I went to the Kona dealer today and I ended up pre-ordering the Kona Smoke. They're gonna call me tommorow and tell me if its in stock from Kona. Now, I have another question. I need something more upright and would prefer a higher stem/straighter similar to this. Is there any way I can increase the height and angle(to a more relaxed position) of the threadless stem on the Kona Smoke or do I need to change the whole fork as well?
Good choice on the Kona Smoke, I have owned one for the past 2 years - great value and a great commuting bike - I have even used it on a 400KM tour.

Re your question: I, too, prefer a more upright position. Tried various bars and stems and ended up with my current set up of adjustable stem cranked up to almost vertical (not sure of the brand), combined with North Road style bars (Humpert Trekking I believe). Combined with a Brooks B67, this gives a very comfortable upright position with and the curved bars seem to give more control on downhills and bumpy roads than the original set-up.

The only drawback is more wind-resistance but since you're converting to electric assist this shouldn't concern you too much.
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Old 09-20-06, 03:17 PM   #15
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Thanks for the responses again. I told them about what I wanted to do with my stem but they seemed really befuddled(they specialized mountain bike as a sport so a commuter's demand might seem really alien). I asked them about the adjustable threadless stem and they basically looked at me wierd.

How about those threadless stem risers? I found one that can raise a threadless stem about three inches, and doesnt have that portrusion that sets the handlebar a few inches forward. Unless the adjustable ones are better, that is. Thanks again everyone!
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Old 09-20-06, 03:57 PM   #16
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Marin Muirwoods? MSRP is $429

You could probably order an uncut rigid MTB fork like a Surly 1x1 fork for cheap if you can't find a stem tall enough to get the bars where you want them.

Last edited by marqueemoon; 09-20-06 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 09-20-06, 05:02 PM   #17
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The stem riser gives you height, but it doesn't change the angle of the bar, but if you're changing the angle to get height, then it would probably work. I put a $15 stem riser on a mountain bike that I use to ride on logging roads to exercise the dog, and which was otherwise too small, and the riser really works well. Once you get the bike you could bring it to another bike shop where they aren't befuddled and figure out the geometries there.
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Old 09-20-06, 05:07 PM   #18
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LBS called and the Smoke is on its way. Yay! The dealer gave it to me 20% off, for a grand total of about $280.

The marin looks awesome though, but it also looks more "highend" as a consequence, a theft magnet. I also checked the specifications and the top tube slopes a bit lower on the smoke than on the muirwood. It's also cheaper

(When did Marin stop using steel? I thought they were known for one of the bigger ones that stuck to steel?)
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Old 09-20-06, 05:18 PM   #19
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I have used one of these extenders before and they work well. They slide into the steerer tube like a quill stem so the inside diameter of the steerer tube is important. Should be ok with steel steerers but alu ones tend to use thicker tubing that leaves the inner diameter too small.

I wouldn't expect to find anything like that in most mtb shops. Mtbers will avoid that sort of stuff due to all the bashing their equipment gets.
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Old 09-20-06, 05:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicbicyclist
(When did Marin stop using steel? I thought they were known for one of the bigger ones that stuck to steel?)
The Muirwoods is steel. Not sure how many other models are.

Anyway, fit is the #1 issue, and it sounds like a pretty fair deal on the Smoke.
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Old 09-21-06, 09:33 AM   #21
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Here is an example of an adjustable stem.
http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30...ils&sku=SM2081
The links I have mentioned all come from aebike.com who's catalog is basically just the QBP catalog. QBP is a distributer of bicycle parts that nearly all bike shops order from. Your LBS should have a QBP catalog and be able to order any of these stems.
I perfer a high rise stem over a stem extension or an adjustable stem because it is simplier and should be stronger and have less flex.
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