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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 04-08-14, 10:24 PM   #1
Antiacus
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Think i've got my next bike down to two:

Never could get quite comfy on Surly Cross check 60cm - the top tube length was just too long, i'm 6'5" and pretty long legged/average torso and was always too stretched out on it. Come to find out, they're kinda known for an excessive top tube, who knew?

So now i'm on the search again, have ridden a few bikes, ruled out some styles etc and am going to go with another CX type frame (with shorter top tube). I want to keep my budget under a grand.

Use will be 14 mile round trip commute to work rain or shine over bike trails, a few smooth roads and a couple miles of crappy roads. No real hills to speak of, but a couple steep bits getting onto bike bridges, going over a couple steep but short hills.

Here are the two i'm thinking of:



Novaro Zealo

Novara Zealo Bike - 2014 at REI.com

Pro's: avid bb7 discs - light aluminum frame - schwalbe marathon 700x28 (favorite commuting tire) -20% off coupon from REI
cons: harsh aluminum frame - no bar brakes -
effective top tube 57cm (surly was 60)
price: $799 with REI 20% off coupon.



Nashbar steel cyclocross

Nashbar Steel Cyclocross Bike - Overweight Code F Restricted

Pro's: 105 components - compliant chomoly frame - bar brakes -
cons: heavy steel frame - no disc brakes
effective top tube: 58cm
price: 767 with pedals and fenders due to nashbars 20% off total order if you buy 3 items deal
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Old 04-08-14, 10:36 PM   #2
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I'm a noob...but I thought chromoly was harsh and Reynolds was smooth?
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Old 04-08-14, 10:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
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light aluminum frame
It must be. REI lists the weight as 24.1 grams!

Seriously though, the biggest advantage of this one is that you can go ride it. I'd do that. If you like the ride then buy it, if not then get the Nashbar (and hope it rides better).

Aluminum isn't necessarily harsh, especially if you put wide enough tires under it. That one looks like it would take at least 32's with fenders.
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Old 04-09-14, 12:10 AM   #4
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I wish Andy. The Eugene rei doesn't have any in stock.

Any other bikes I'm missing? These seem pretty well equipped for the price.
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Old 04-09-14, 07:10 AM   #5
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I like the title of this post: it sounds as if the OP has skipped right past N+1 to N+2.
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Old 04-09-14, 07:31 AM   #6
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I wish Andy. The Eugene rei doesn't have any in stock.

Any other bikes I'm missing? These seem pretty well equipped for the price.
Can't they bring one in for you?
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Old 04-09-14, 08:07 AM   #7
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I'm a noob...but I thought chromoly was harsh and Reynolds was smooth?
Reynolds sorta is chromoly.

Chromoly is the type of steel. Reynolds, Columbus, Tange, True Temper, and others, all are versions chromoly.

I've never heard anyone describe a steel frame as harsh, precisely because they are the opposite. You may have it confused with the 80's/90's/00's aluminum frames, which began pretty harsh, but manufacturers, for the most part, listened, or already knew of the complaints and engineered harshness out (Klein and Fuji were never very harsh, and Cannondale's aluminum evolution created some very smooth rides). Some of the early ones will rattle your teeth out, but hey, they were good enough for the pros back in the day.

Some aluminum frames, you just wanted as stiff and light as possible:


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Old 04-09-14, 08:26 AM   #8
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Reynolds makes tubes of various alloys, the most famous being 531, pronounced "five three one" not "five thirty-one." It refers to a 5:3:1 ratio of carbon, manganese, molybdenum added to the iron. 531 is known as manganese molybdenum, which is different from chrome molybdenum. The properties are similar in some ways and different in others. So saying Reynolds is chrome-moly isn't really accurate, though they do make 520, which is. Or is it another number?
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Old 04-09-14, 05:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antiacus View Post
Use will be 14 mile round trip commute to work rain or shine over bike trails, a few smooth roads and a couple miles of crappy roads.
For all-weather riding I prefer discs,but for crappy roads that fork on the Zealo is going to suck. I owned its predecessor,the Road Buzz(perfect name) for a short time before I returned it. I was running 42mm tires and still couldn't deal with the harsh ride. The Zealo has less clearance;you won't be able to run tires that wide on it.

If you're ok with mail order,you might want to check out some of the offerings from BikesDirect(look halfway down the page). They have some decent cross bikes with discs. I loved my BD Ti cross bike w/discs,until it was stolen.
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Old 04-09-14, 06:07 PM   #10
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Thanks for the replies.

Missed out on the Nashbar deal, i thought it was going for one more day

Really wish i could find an aluminum CX frame with carbon fork, decent drivetrain (and discs) for under a grand. Asking for too much ?
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Old 04-09-14, 10:01 PM   #11
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If fit is a problem on your current bike, I wouldn't buy blind off the internet...numbers can't tell you how it'll feel. If it's comfortable, go with the Novaro. I've never owned an alumninum bike, but I have borrowed them before, and haven't noticed anything significantly different from steel in terms of shock absorption. The tires will make far more difference in this department than the frame material will, and it looks like you have some clearance available for wider tires if you find it necessary.

As far as the bar brakes go, just ask for them to be added. I don't know what REI is like, but any shop I've ever bought from will install all accessories for free with the bike purchase, and just charge you for the part. If they won't (or want to charge you), it's not really very difficult to add them yourself.
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Old 04-09-14, 10:17 PM   #12
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REI tech said i could get 30 minutes free labor with purchase but no discount on parts. Not great compared to a lot of smaller shops that will do all kinds of modifications for you, but at least it's something.
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Old 04-09-14, 10:58 PM   #13
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Not sure if it's a valid option or not, but have you thought of taking the short drive to Bend to pick up a bike there, either at their well-stocked REI or a reputable bike shop? Bike shopping in Bend beats shopping in the Eugene area by a country mile!
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Old 04-14-14, 02:02 AM   #14
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I just bought the Zealo, and I really like it--granted, I have like 5 miles on it.

Have you considered a Kona Jake? They are priced at over $1k, but you can probably get an older model for less. Right now a store by me has the 2013 for about $975. I had that model, and I think the Zealo is better. I fit 37s into the Jake and there was a little room to spare. I don't know if a fender would have fit. I think the Zealo could fit about the same, it actually has quite a bit of room, but I haven't measured.

I might be in the minority, but I thought the 2013 Jake was kind of bad compared to previous versions, and other bikes around the same price point, but that may have been personal preference and fit. I haven't looked at weights for either, but the Jake seemed light, and the Zealo seems fairly light. If you are considering a Cross Check this probably isn't a worry for you.
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Old 05-15-14, 03:11 PM   #15
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Update:

Ended up chancing across a Jamis Nova Sport at a lbs. Had pretty much everything i wanted. Test rode the 61cm and it seemed pretty comfortable. I got rid of the sadistic saddle, had them install fenders and mtb pedals, ditched the 32's for 700x28 and i've got about 100 miles on it commuting about half on bike trails and half on roads. When i bring it in for the "20 hour tuneup" they will install cross bar brakes.

The girl that sold me the bike (her first sale) told me it was a carbon fork. It was Sunday an hour prior to close and i didn't have time to spec the thing out. So yeah, it's an aluminum fork. It's more comfortable than my 62cm crosscheck i was all stretched out on, the top tube length is about 1.5cm shorter. I'm going to put a 1" spacer on the neck because i feel like a bit too much weight is on my hands.

So msrp was $850 - i got the bike (2013 model) for $750, with saddle, tires, fenders, brakes, and pedals i paid $860.

Overall i'm pretty happy, the ride is a bit more harsh on the rough parts than the crosscheck but i think it's going to work out better overall.

Cons: It's a small matter, but i hate the shushing sound the tektro lyra discs make, hoping when they break in it improves. The 175mm cranks feel a tad short. Aluminum fork; i think the stem spacer and getting some weight off my hands will help quite a bit, also i may go with a sprung brooks saddle which should dampen the bumps some. I'm hoping the crankset and bb hold up to my 250 lbs.

I'm liking the sti shifters. Wasn't sure if i would.

*edit* guess i should throw up a pic (stock photo)
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Last edited by Antiacus; 05-15-14 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 05-15-14, 04:03 PM   #16
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Hey, you did great!
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Old 05-15-14, 04:22 PM   #17
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Nice buy!!

I too am a fan of sprung & padded seats to soak up those small or not so small "road features". Helps a lot when your whole ride is basically a paved offroad course haha.

As for the cranks, see if you can't get something longer???? It may make all the difference in the long term.

Brakes make weird noises, as long as it isn't rhythmic, frame rattling grinding, or really high pitched squal, it is what it is.

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