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  1. #1
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    What commuter bike frames are out there?

    I have good mind to build up a dedicated commuter bike from scratch as my next bike. I love tinkering and working on my bikes so I think I would really love the build.

    So what's out there as far as commuter frames? Aluminum or steel, I'm guessing it will most likely be steel. Must have all the eyelets and braze-ons for racks and fenders. Tabs for disc brakes would be nice, as well. I would most likely be building it up with drop bars like my road bike.

    I know of Surly, and a I know of Soma. But man those Soma frames seem to be REALLY expensive! I was thinking something in the $200-$300 range for a frame. What'chall think?
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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  2. #2
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    Not sure exactly what you are looking for in a commuter (ie drop bar monstercross or more cx bike), but I would take a look at On-One's offerings. They make decent frames. I have the swap-out dropout inbred, currently set up as a rigid SS with drops, but shortly it will have riser bars, a suspension fork, and gears for mountain biking this summer. Not as lively a ride as my Salsa Fargo, but it isn't bad, and the frame is usually sells for $2-300. They also have CX frames and more urban commuter-focused frames.

    If you don't need discs and want more of a CX bike, the Pake C'mute comes to mind.

  3. #3
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    If you are building your own bike, it's not going to be cheap. Saving a couple hundred on a frame may seem like a good idea, but it's not that much in terms of the overall spend. The frame is one thing you cannot easily swap out if you don't get it right the first time.

  4. #4
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Wondering the same thing last year. A lot of folks recommend a MTB with slicks for a commuter. But MTB components? I got to thinking (problem #1 ).

    I ended up with a MTB frame and brakes, with a street gear train. Since it was a basterd, why not a set of Tri base bars with Barcons? Two rear baskets, and one up front for counterweight groceries rounded out the functionality.

    It works for me.....but, you know how that goes.

    Commuter all the way.
    Disclaimer: It's just an opinion that I have. It works for me. I am not the forum "Police (Of Anything)". Others may disagree. And....YMMV.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    If you are building your own bike, it's not going to be cheap.
    A universal truth.
    Disclaimer: It's just an opinion that I have. It works for me. I am not the forum "Police (Of Anything)". Others may disagree. And....YMMV.
    Don't use up any brain cells thinking that I care, you don't like anything anyway.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    I know it won't be cheap, but that's not really the point. I have a bike that I bought used (the KHS) which I have modded fairly extensively, and I have a bike that I bought brand new which I have swapped out a few parts here and there (the Felt). Now I'd like to try my hand at building a bike from scratch, with all the exact parts that I might need or want. I could even buy parts slowly over time so it's not such a huge expense all at once.

    Since both my bikes have been modified to try to be something they're really not (KHS MTB into a road-going bike, and the Felt road bike into a commuter bike with racks and fenders), I'd like to build up something dedicated where I don't have to use shortcuts or cut corners or jury-rig stuff, that sort of thing.

    Really I'm just looking for names of brands and/or frames. I'll check out the On-One stuff. And I forgot about Salsa, will check those also.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    sit up and see where you are going or down in the drops , hammering to hit the green light speed synchronization,

    Skinny tires or fat ones? IGH or the latest derailleur kit?

    chain or belt drive (see IGH)

  8. #8
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    I could even buy parts slowly over time so it's not such a huge expense all at once.
    That's what I do. Like the Johnny Cash car, one piece at a time.

    I have a brand new 2013 105 RD I got off eBarf for $30. It was never installed. The seller "upgraded" his new bike to a Tiagra unit......I didn't ask.

    You should get the group set while it's on sale.
    Disclaimer: It's just an opinion that I have. It works for me. I am not the forum "Police (Of Anything)". Others may disagree. And....YMMV.
    Don't use up any brain cells thinking that I care, you don't like anything anyway.

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  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Tout Terrain from Peter White Cycles

    Boulevard frame, Cream (as shown above for internal hub) and fork, including Handlebar Stop and seat post collar: Was $980.00, now $600.00

  10. #10
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    Go to www.somafab.com for some of the very best in frames

  11. #11
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    How wide of a tire are you planning? All-City Macho Man Disc (comes as frameset or complete) will take up to 35's with fenders.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member megalowmatt's Avatar
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    I built a commuter up a couple years ago using the Nashbar touring frame, some parts I had and some I bought new. Yes, it's probably more expensive overall than buying a complete bike but the fun I had and what I learned along the way was more valuable than what I spent on the build.

  13. #13
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    All city frames? Surly straggler comes to mind.

  14. #14
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by megalowmatt View Post
    I built a commuter up a couple years ago using the Nashbar touring frame, some parts I had and some I bought new. Yes, it's probably more expensive overall than buying a complete bike but the fun I had and what I learned along the way was more valuable than what I spent on the build.
    I just looked at the Nashbar CX frame, which looks like a good deal at first. But then there are reviews saying it's kind of mish-mash with 130mm rear clearance, but disc mounts, chain stays won't clear road cranks, etc. I dunno.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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  15. #15
    tsl
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    A friend of mine just sent pics of his new Surly Straggler build. It's not even dirty yet, but based on the few miles he has on it, he likes it a lot. He built it up with a Sora triple, BB7 brakes, Shimano Alfine dyno hub in front, B&M lights, Topeak Super Tourist disc rack, and SKS fenders. He's running 40mm tires on it now, planning on 28s for summer.

    If it turns out aluminum with rim brakes is in the cards for you, I'm very pleased with the Ribble Winter/Audax I built up last spring. I bought it because it was cheap, intending to replace it when I could afford better. It's so nice, I changed my plans. It's a keeper. The bare frame is $143, I also bought the $121 Deda Black Rain carbon fork with fender eyelets. Plan on $80 for trans-Atlantic air freight.

    It requires 57mm "long-reach" brake calipers, like Shimano BR-651. It fits 25mm Conti 4-Seasons under SKS P-35 fenders right out of the box. When I went up to 28mm 4-Seasons, I needed Reacharound Fender Brackets for the back.

    Ribble also has a very similar frame in Reynolds 525 for $242.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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  16. #16
    tsl
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    My friend has just posted pics and details of his Surly Straggler build.

    New build - Straggler | Bicycling Magazine Forums
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  17. #17
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    My friend has just posted pics and details of his Surly Straggler build.

    New build - Straggler | Bicycling Magazine Forums
    Nice build, but the color's not working for me. Maybe they'll change it for next year, because it could make for a nice commuter. Can't see ever liking it. I know Surly tries to be a little offbeat, but that is fugly.

  18. #18
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    Long Tom found a deal on an REI Novara Strada with the 20% member coupon (annual membership is a jackson).

    Your Most Recent Cycling-related Purchase

    Carbon fork and 105/FSA parts to start with, would probably be cheaper than starting to build up a frameset from the ground up.
    Quote Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
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  19. #19
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    I really like, or want to like All City's line up. But there is always something that kind of irks me. The Mr pink would probably be perfect for me with rack mounts. Being a Cali boy, rack mounts are more important than fender actually, but if I'm going to drop coin on a new bike I better like all of it.

    I've been looking at my cost building up frame sets. I get wholesale cost on parts, and even still I will probably end up paying double just trying to outfit a frame exactly the same way it comes as a complete... Building a bike never even comes remotely close to being as cost effective as buying a complete. Of course, if you are the kind of guy who NEEDS to upgrade most components, then this comes less into play. But even still I bet you'd come out ahead by buying a complete and selling what you don't want to fund what you do want, compared to just sourcing the parts yourself.

    If you really want the experience of building your own bike just buy a complete, strip it down to the frame, scour the internet looking for parts to add to your cart without purchasing, then take a sledgehammer to your pinky toe, then put your bike back together. That's pretty much the experience.

    Edit: I also love the Velo Orange Pass Hunter frameset on paper. Great classic looks with modern sensibilities. But only single eyelet in the rear, and only capable of a top mount front rack for handlebar bags... I generally like the rando thoughts behind bikes.. Sorry yet stable, thicker tires but not monster, and the ability to take mid sized loads.
    Last edited by AlTheKiller; 03-31-14 at 01:13 AM.

  20. #20
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    Nice build, but the color's not working for me. Maybe they'll change it for next year, because it could make for a nice commuter. Can't see ever liking it. I know Surly tries to be a little offbeat, but that is fugly.
    Also comes in black.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  21. #21
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
    Rohloffs seen on the commute: 3

  22. #22
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Pake C'mute is pretty reasonably priced for a steel frame and will make a good commuter. It's available from somafab.

    Best choice, I think, is to find a good vintage bike and mod as needed. Good platforms to work from include a rigid mtb or an old touring bike. You can mod those to your heart's (and wallet's) content.

  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Tout Terrain catalog PDF Posted before

    Looks like the Metropolitan chain drive as an export to Peter White Etc.
    was closed out, and remnant stock discounted as a result.. down to 600$ frame and fork

    New Metropolitan Xplore looks like they improved the interface of the Pinion Mid drive gearbox
    to make a belt tensioner (as if still an Eccentric BB), by making the whole gear box move
    in adjustment by sliding the whole thing forward in the frame ..

    Germany Vs Asia TW/ROC .. low wages win if the cost is all you want.

  24. #24
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Tout Terrain catalog PDF Posted before

    Looks like the Metropolitan chain drive as an export to Peter White Etc.
    was closed out, and remnant stock discounted as a result.. down to 600$ frame and fork

    New Metropolitan Xplore looks like they improved the interface of the Pinion Mid drive gearbox
    to make a belt tensioner (as if still an Eccentric BB), by making the whole gear box move
    in adjustment by sliding the whole thing forward in the frame ..

    Germany Vs Asia TW/ROC .. low wages win if the cost is all you want.
    Money stays in the EU as the TT frames are built here. US customer wins because they don't have to pay the 19% VAT included in the price.

    3 US dealers now.

    I do regret no buying a bike made in the EU ... must at least it was hand-assembled and test ridden by peeps in the UK before they shipped it out to me
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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  25. #25
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    You sure nobody invests in the NYSE in Europe?


    You are half my age, many shopping days before your 30 more Christmas remain ..





    One item TT when thinking ring lock mounts , i see they used the wrong , Back side ,IMO.

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