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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-11-13, 07:36 AM   #1
jrickards
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Soma ES as a commuter/century/light-touring bike

My mother passed away this past August, 83 of pancreatic cancer. Her wish to my Dad was to take her savings and bequeath them to her children for the purpose of enjoying the money, not putting it against bills. The first thing my wife said to me was, "Go, get yourself another bike". I LOVE HER!!! but I would rather have my mum for a while longer than the money or another bike. I'm going to be returning my KHS Tempe 29er back to its natural MTB state and getting a road-style commuter. I'm leaning towards the Soma ES frame with Shimano 105 components (not sure if I want to go with triple or compact cranks).

As Soma states in its description of the bike, I'd like a bike for commuting, centuries and supported/credit-card touring.

The frame is about $430, steel fork is $160 and I'd like to keep the complete bike to $1200 or less (taxes, rack, panniers on top of that). I don't know how much it costs to build a bike from components so if a set of reasonable wheels costs $250 and the 105 groupset is about $600, yup, more than $1200 already. Either way, I'd like to know what a bike build should cost.

Any suggestions?
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Old 10-11-13, 09:35 AM   #2
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All depends on what you use, but yeah with that frame $1500 is a good rough idea, you may be able to squeeze it down a bit, but it's definitely in the ballpark for 105 and a decent set of wheels and tires. Unless you have a parts bin or "free" donor bike, it gets expensive building up from a frame paying retail.

You could likely save a good few hundred on built factory bikes if they come in your size.
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Old 10-11-13, 10:03 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear about your loss. I think she'd be very proud to hear your take on it.

I can't speak to the cost, but if you think you might want the range of a triple, now would be the time to get it -- you can always use a tighter cassette with it.
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Old 10-11-13, 10:10 AM   #4
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I was thinking that perhaps 105 is more than I need, I've looked at a couple of factory bikes in this price range and many are aluminum with Tiagra or Sora or Deore components. I can save a couple of dollars by using the tires I have on my KHS that I'll be replacing with fatter tires, I could even not bother with a new rack or panniers, just use the ones I currently have but I must admit, I'd like to replace them so if the bike price can be whittled down, I can get them and keep within my budget.

So, are Tiagra and Sora (I'd rather not but...) acceptable groupsets for my needs?
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Old 10-11-13, 10:34 AM   #5
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10 speed Tiagra is totally decent. It's a big step up from the 9sp version. I was eyeing the Smoothie ES hard when building up a new commuter bike because it the geometry fits me well but I ended up getting a hot deal on an aluminum Raleigh CX frame.
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Old 10-11-13, 11:56 AM   #6
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Microshift makes good stuff...don't be afraid.

Check out Toba for racks. Good value IMO. Their fender mountings are crap, so stay away from their fenders.

Ritchey makes good parts for the value minded buyer.

There are many ebay wheel builders with good reputations who make inexpensive 105 based wheelsets.

I built up a Soma DoubleCross Disc last winter. Kind of the same deal you are doing, but I had a Force groupset from another bike and got a used X9 long cage RD to use a giant cassette and avoid a triple.

I think you will be close to the $1200 budget without accessories.
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Old 10-11-13, 12:42 PM   #7
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I've just spotted a Kona Sutra for $1150 (reduced from $1499). I'm not sure about the bar end shifters but perhaps I should try them out and, if I want to, switch them. Everything else looks good, especially since it comes with front and rear racks and full fenders.
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Old 10-11-13, 01:49 PM   #8
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I test rode a 2013 Specialized Secteur last weekend - it had Tiagra and shifted very nicely. Regarding the groupset etc - one option could be - get the frame you want, buy a bike from Bikesdirect and swap parts over. You might even be able to sell the BD frame. Some of the BD bikes have good specs at a reasonable price - see the Fantom XX (SRAM Apex) and Motobecane Gran Turismo (Shimano) or even the Windsor Fens or Motobecane Vent Noir.

Edited to add: the Secteur I rode was $999 since it was last years model.
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Old 10-11-13, 03:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
I've just spotted a Kona Sutra for $1150 (reduced from $1499). I'm not sure about the bar end shifters but perhaps I should try them out and, if I want to, switch them. Everything else looks good, especially since it comes with front and rear racks and full fenders.
As nice as the Sutra is, it is too much of a touring bike and not enough of a sport tourer.

Next weekend here in Toronto is the annual fall bike show http://www.bicycleshowtoronto.com/ . There is always good deals to be found here. Come early stand in line and you will find something. Yes it is a drive to Toronto but make a day of it.

Also look at Jamis bikes that they are selling at the distributors office. Go to Kijiji and type in Jamis and a bunch will popup. Some great cyclocross bikes that may work better than the Kona and are in your price range.
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Old 10-11-13, 07:32 PM   #10
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How awful to have lost your mother that way. I'm so sorry to read about that.

But now you have to remember her wishes. Everyone understands you'd rather have her than a new bike, but her time had to come one of these days, and it came. Now she wants you to enjoy the money, so get the nicest bike or bike stuff the money will buy, and smile while using it.
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Old 10-12-13, 09:15 AM   #11
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How awful to have lost your mother that way. I'm so sorry to read about that.

But now you have to remember her wishes. Everyone understands you'd rather have her than a new bike, but her time had to come one of these days, and it came. Now she wants you to enjoy the money, so get the nicest bike or bike stuff the money will buy, and smile while using it.
I agree with Tom. I'm in a similar situation. Get a bike you'll keep for a long while. Get fitted for it. Make it perfect. Even if you have to save up a little while to get it complete, you'll keep it longer and enjoy it more.
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Old 10-12-13, 08:57 PM   #12
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A Soma ES is my dirt road and winter commuting bike, have done a couple supported tours with it. It rides and handles well. Built up with an unmatched mix of components - wheelset is velocity chuckers, a double crankset with 26 and 40 t chain rings, an 11-34 cassette. FD is 105, RD is slx with bar end shifters, brakes are cane creek with kook stop salmon pads, tires are 32 mm marathons - the whole set up works well and has been totally reliable. If something bad happened to the bike, would replace it with a duplicate. Probably invested $12-1300 on the build.
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Old 10-12-13, 09:22 PM   #13
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Sorry to hear of your loss. Get the bike you always wanted and put a little sticker on it with her name on it or a heart. Thats what I'd do.
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Old 10-15-13, 06:36 AM   #14
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Sorry to hear of your loss. Get the bike you always wanted and put a little sticker on it with her name on it or a heart. Thats what I'd do.
Nice idea! Thanks
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