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  1. #1
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    Looking for finished commuter bike or a frame I can build on. . . Help?

    I'm looking for a commuter bike to ride to work and back. I ride entirely over asphalt for about 8 miles, up and down some mild hills. I rode an old broke down stumpjumper for a year, but then this fall I came into a bit of money so I thought I'd treat myself to something nice. I've already had two bikes that just didn't work out. The first one I returned to the shop and the other I'm trying to sell.

    The first one was a 51CM Soho by Trek. It felt like riding a tank it was so heavy and stodgy. It also felt like my knees keep riding up and hitting me in the chest. The bike fitter at the shop said I had extra long femurs which might have contributed to my knee pain. She suggested I try instead a bike that has "slacker geometry."

    The second one is a 54CM Cannondale six13 that someone converted to a single speed. It's incredible light and feels like riding on air. However, it apparently is just a bit big for me. I also didn't realize until after I bought it that it didn't have the holes necessary for fenders and a rear rack. Oops!

    I don't feel the need for many gears (the stumpjumper only had three that really worked) and a single speed or 3 speed hub would work fine. Below is what I'm looking for. I've found a lot of bikes that have some of the below qualities, but I've yet to find one that has all of them.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    - Frame appropriate for a 5' 7" man (about 52 CM in a road bike I think, or about 17 inches in a mountain bike)
    - Has disc brakes or can support disc brakes, at least in the front
    - Has or can support a rear rack
    - Has or can support fenders
    - Has horizontal dropouts or something similar so I could make it into a singlespeed
    - Has a slacker than normal seat tube angle (The Soho DLX was 73.5 and too steep)
    - Plain Black frame would be preferred

    Hope someone can help. I'll send you a beverage of your choice through email.

    - Dave

  2. #2
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    What kind of budget do you have for this? I recently purchased an IRO Phoenix frame and it meets a bunch of your requirements, except the disc brakes. You could swap the front fork out for a disc fork (nashbar has a 50$ disc/v-brake fork, or the surly karate monkey fork). The blue version of the IRO frame was only 170$. It has track-ends so you can go single-speed. Otherwise, if you want a single speed and discs you have to use a tensioner or get some fancy-pants sliding dropouts or something. I wouldn't recommend the phoenix is you want to run wider tires and fenders, I hope to squeeze some 35mm tires into it along with fenders, but I might have to settle for 32s.

    Speaking of nashbar, you could also snag the touring frame and the disc/v fork. That would give you everything on your list except horizontal droupouts, but you could run SS with a tensioner if you wanted, while still having the possibility to run gears. This frame is a dark green colour. There are many posts about it and it seems to be a good value.

    The other option instead of discs is to consider a front drum brake, but that would likely mean a custom wheel build.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Take a look at the GT Traffic line. The site is a little wonky as far as pics go, but (hopefully) the specs are correct. It looks like the frames throughout the series line has horizontal dropouts, rack/fender ready, and has a disc tab on the chain stay. Switch out the front fork to add a disc brake up there. The 5.0 is black and SS, the 3.0 is black and has gears.

    However, your best option will be to just go and visit as many bike shops as you can. You could look at bikes online all day long, fall in love with a particular make/model (in my case the Norco Ceres) and then discover that no one can get it. Ask to see their catalogs. If they still try to push what they already have on the floor, consider walking out.
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  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-19-10 at 12:16 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member exile's Avatar
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    I was going to suggest the Nashbar Hounder, but the website states it won't be available for a few months in your size. Perhaps you can call to confirm or ask if they have an older model. You can also buy a fork from them that can fit disk brakes.
    lil brown bat wrote:
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  6. #6
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Jamis Aurora Elite?

    One thing about your size is that many seat tubes don't always get too slack, but a setback seatpost will make up the difference.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JAG410's Avatar
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    Surly Karate Monkey, but swap out the knobby tires for some Schwalbe Big Apples. Disc or v-brakes, fenders/rack, singlespeed or geared, black and a whole lot of fun.

    Edit: No rack and Disc brakes at the same time, per Surly. Doh! You could still run a disc up front and a v-brake in the rear though.
    Last edited by JAG410; 12-19-10 at 05:11 PM.

  8. #8
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    Wow, so many replies so fast! I had no idea so many people would try to help out! I've driven my girlfriend batty as I've searched the net and test ridden bikes for months, and already you folks have suggested a few good ideas. (I live in Portland Oregon and my budget total is about $900).

    Clasher: I hadn't heard of IRO before, but I will definitely check them out. Nashbar also seems to offer a pretty good deal.

    No1mad: I've been to five or six shops in Portland. What I want is fairly unique, and it's rare that a shop will have something that offers it. I found the Swobo Otis online a couple weeks ago and fell in love (although the seat post angle isn't as slack as I'd want, everything else is almost perfect. Then I found out that no shop in town carries it, and sometimes I wonder if Swobo isn't phasing it out. Oh well.) I'll check out the GT Traffic line. You are right that there are no photos, but the specs seem very close.

    Fietsbob: I'll look over the Civia. I don't think I can get that here in Portland though. But I'll look it over definitely.

    Exile: Another Nashbar suggestion. The Hounder does look really interesting. My son has been keeping me busy this winter, so I wouldn't mind too much waiting until the spring. I'll keep the Hounder in mind, especially since it's so cheap!

    BarracksSi: The Jamis Aurora Elite might be out of my budget, so I might have to pass. I didn't know there was such a thing as a setback seatpost. That could solve a lot of my geometry problems. I'll check that out definitely.

    JAG410: I really liked the Karate Monkey, and Surly has come up many many times on the forum as a great brand. I can buy their bikes here in town too! However, I read their website a lot, and they usually go out of their way to state if a frame has the holes for fenders, racks etc. Their site says nothing about fenders for the monkey and specifically pooh poohs a rear rack. So I assumed that they didn't support them, but maybe I was wrong. After your suggestion I've done some more forum searching and some people say that the frame will support fenders, and you can get a "compatible" rack. Besides, as you say I can always use a disc brake up front and a v-brake in the rear. That was the Otis, more or less, which seemed to have everything I wanted, although a slacker seat would have been nice. I'll look over the monkey again definitely, it just might work out.

    Thanks everyone for all your help!!

    Happy Holidays!

  9. #9
    Senior Member JAG410's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave999dave View Post
    I really liked the Karate Monkey, and Surly has come up many many times on the forum as a great brand. I can buy their bikes here in town too! However, I read their website a lot, and they usually go out of their way to state if a frame has the holes for fenders, racks etc. Their site says nothing about fenders for the monkey and specifically pooh poohs a rear rack. So I assumed that they didn't support them, but maybe I was wrong. After your suggestion I've done some more forum searching and some people say that the frame will support fenders, and you can get a "compatible" rack. Besides, as you say I can always use a disc brake up front and a v-brake in the rear. That was the Otis, more or less, which seemed to have everything I wanted, although a slacker seat would have been nice. I'll look over the monkey again definitely, it just might work out.

    Thanks everyone for all your help!!

    Happy Holidays!
    The Monkey will do fenders, no problem. The Planet Bike Cascadia 29er ones fit nicely, as seen here: http://twentynineinches.com/2007/02/...dia-for-29ers/

    I used to own a KM, only sold it because it wasn't quite the right "fit" for me, I didn't like the high standover. Now that they've revised the frame to lower the standover I'm almost tempted to get another one someday. I already have 2 Surlys (Cross Check and Pugsley) though, and my wife might kill me. I'd do some serious research on the KM if I were you. You could always do a seatpost rack as well and have all your needs met.

  10. #10
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    If anyone is curious, I eventually went with a 2010 Norco Ceres. I didn't consider it earlier, as it usually retails for about $1400, but I found it on a year-end clearance for half off. The LBS even threw in a free fit, free installs for life, 20% off anything else I bought with the bike, and a free stripping so I can have the frame and cranks powdercoated black. Essentially I'm getting exactly the bike I wanted, for exactly what I had budgeted for.

    Yahoo!

    I hope your 2011 goes well!

  11. #11
    Senior Member jdswitters's Avatar
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    let us know how the belt drive works for you.
    Torker Graduate, 288 rods a day without pub detours.

  12. #12
    This bike is cat approved monsterpile's Avatar
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    I am very happy for you. Its always nice to get what you wanted for your budgeted amount. I hope this bike works out great. Keep us updated.
    My SUV is a bicycle

  13. #13
    Papaya King waynesworld's Avatar
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    That's great to hear, but we really need pics
    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    walk right in and punch the first guy you meet in the head
    2011 BMC SR02, 2010 Kona Jake, 2009 Felt X City D, 1984 (?) Trek 400, 1995 Trek 850

  14. #14
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    Here it is.



    It's almost finished. I just have to swap out the pedals and it's done!

    Total cost $999.40 for a black 2010 Norco Ceres.
    Last edited by dave999dave; 02-08-11 at 01:16 AM.

  15. #15
    Papaya King waynesworld's Avatar
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    Looks great!
    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    walk right in and punch the first guy you meet in the head
    2011 BMC SR02, 2010 Kona Jake, 2009 Felt X City D, 1984 (?) Trek 400, 1995 Trek 850

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