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Old 11-21-08, 01:46 AM   #1
europa
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Frodo's Ring - one bike to do it all

I'm dickering around with a lot of ideas at the moment, hence my questions about various handlebars, too much time spent in the commuting and SS forums, daft discussions about pedals and the like.

The basic concept that's gelling in my tiny little mind, is that of one bike to do everything ... that I want to do. Fortunately, the compromises forced on such a beast tend to affect areas that aren't overly important to me.

The task:
- commuting, night and day, a winter that can get very wet but usually isn't and no snow or ice, stinking hot summers. My panniers for uni have been known to top 10kg incidentally.

- stable on dirt tracks - seriously, my commute into the city has a section that is loose gravel ... and it's near the city centre

- ride on rough surfaces - many councils here have rather bizarre interpretations of the word 'road' and 'paved' and the concept of making the base flat before sealing it has been forgotten in some areas

- local running - shopping, errands, library, visiting, etc, the stuff you do with the family car

- towing a trailer - heavy load would be the shopping (though I still haven't done this), normal load my wee doggie

- towing my daughter on her tag-along (will she ever learn to ride on her own?)

- gentle family riding ie, bike path, slow, comfortable

- day trips - probably no worse than metric centuries because of kid committments, I just don't have the time to disappear on the really long rides

- I'd love to do a light tour one day and if I ever get the chance, this'll be the bike

- sports/fitness rides ie, go like blazes, have fun, terrify my teenage son

- climb like a cat

- bars WILL be at saddle height (or above) and considering I'm not a great fan of the highly angled, very long neck currently fitted to the commuter, this will affect frame choice and sizing

- be very reliable - I'm not a fan of having to fiddle with things all the time to keep them working right, once set they can flamin' well stay that way, nor will I be spending my weekends lovingly grooming and fettling this beast

What it won't be doing:
- going on group or club rides - I'm not into that sort of thing, too much of a loner I guess

- fast is good and I'll ride as hard as I can but ultimate speed is largely irrelevant, it just has to feel fast and reward spirited riding

- carrying more than I can jam into two panniers - front panniers are a nice option but can be overlooked

- riding fire trails - it's a road bike, not a mountain bike

- doing extended, fully laden tours

Maybe another term might be 'urban all rounder'

I have my own thoughts of course:
- steel

- Brooks B17

- a wheel at either end of the bike but width undetermined

- handlebars are undeterimined (despite the threads about them, I'm trying to keep an open mind) but the 'flat' had position WILL be angled such as with the Nitto Noodle ie, not dead straight or flat, my hands don't like dead straight bars

- geared or fixed but probably geared but maybe not but a frame that will do both anyway

Recumbents are a non-starter I'm afraid - my current bent has taught me that you need to get the type of bent right and I don't have the luxury of effectively test riding lots of different types. Bents remain something I'll look at in later years when I've got some money. Incidentally, if I build this bike, my bent, my sportster and my commuter will all be sold to finance the project, reducing me to the new bike and my Europa (which is almost a starter as the base frame anyway).

Anyone care to chime in with thoughts and ideas? Components are a part of this too because they can affect other decisions. For example, mudguards are important so my current Jamis frame is a non-starter because they won't fit. Are dyno hubs worth the expense?

Forumites, here is your opportunity to spend my money - go for it

Richard
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Old 11-21-08, 01:47 AM   #2
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And just to show what this bike will be replacing:





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Old 11-21-08, 01:55 AM   #3
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Frodo would be a good name for my Trek 7500... which has been heavily modified.

The only stock parts are the frame and fork.









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Old 11-21-08, 02:00 AM   #4
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It doesn't matter what you want to do, someone's already done it. Good one mate. You've encapsulated most of the things I was thinging of.

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Old 11-21-08, 03:36 AM   #5
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Dyno hubs are great. You don't have to go the expensive Schmidt route... Shimano makes good ones, from the extensive reading I have done... and they are much cheaper.

The great positive for me with my Schmidt has been that it's there, ready to ride, any time (24/7/365) without having to worry about batteries. Throw in an LED headlight by B&M or whomever, and you have a lighting system that will last for literally years without having to make any replacements with globes or batteries.

However, I do have a Cateye rear light powered by batteries -- the battery life is so good, that I don't figure the wiring is worth the effort to have a rear light connected to the dyno.

I think that among the most critical elements will be wheels. Robust without being overly heavy. And tyres. I commute with an old MTB and have 1.5-inch tyres on it, and if it wasn't for the 2km of rough gravel into the property (out of 8km one-wy trip), I would use 700C x 28.

You are fortunate that Adelaide is a relatively dry city, so issues of tranmission are somewhat less critical.
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Old 11-21-08, 04:46 AM   #6
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You may want to look back at some of my posts about "Dormouse" the do it all Hybred based on an MTB frame.

1. MTB sloped top tube frame for strength and standover clearance.
2 Rigid fork, steel for strength or aluminium/carbon for weight. Axle to crown dimension to suit your handling desires. Steering tube cut on the longish side to move the bars up without "'funny angled stems"
3. Carbon riser bars to take the sting out of the rigid fork.
4. Large volumn tires (26 x 2.1) because that's all the suspension your going to get.
5. Your choice of running gear. I use a 26/36/48 crankset (midway between road and mountain) and change back and forth between an 12/26 and an 11/32 cassette depending on my choice of riding that season.

The bike is fast and comfortable on relatively hard dirt roads, trails and asphault. It is ok with very rough terrain but you will get a lot more tired than on a suspended bike. It is not used to jump anything (I have the aluminium fork on right now.) With the rim brakes/not discs and with very light Kenda Kosmac Light II tires, it weighs 23 lbs which is not to bad for an MTB so it climbes ok. The large volumn tires make it much more dirt capable than the average road based hybrid bike.

Let us know what you build.
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Old 11-21-08, 04:54 AM   #7
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Sixty Fiver.....I am impressed with the fully loaded trailer! wow!
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Old 11-21-08, 05:21 AM   #8
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Don't want a bike to do half the stuff you want a bike to do- but if I did- I would be looking at a Steel Road bike with straight bars. Front Suspension- I would not be worried about as unless you spend money - A suspension fork would just be a POGO STICK for all but the smoothest road use.
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Old 11-21-08, 07:37 AM   #9
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My Trek Portland is an excellent all 'rounder. It's as happy hauling loads of groceries home as it is on group rides. It goes slow well too--was once trapped in bike path hell for four hours at less than 7MPH. Swap the road tires for cyclocross tires, and it's happy to spend all day on dirt and gravel roads.


Ready for the daily commute



Doesn't necessarily climb like a cat. More like a mountain goat. Check that elevation: 14,130 feet, or 4,306 meters



A brief stop in a dirt-road half-century.
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Old 11-21-08, 07:55 AM   #10
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"The cycling enthusiast will quickly find the need for three distinct machines." Reginal Shaw, Teach Yourself Cycling, 1952

The typical realized all-rounder tends to coloration from the cyclocross/touring palette.

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Old 11-21-08, 08:00 AM   #11
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You already have the bike you need. Just keep two (or three) sets of wheels and tires for your 520 and go on down the road.
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Old 11-21-08, 08:36 AM   #12
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If I remember correctly, your problem with the Trek 520 is that it doesn't fit you correctly, am I right. Otherwise, I would think it would be just the thing for your list of requirements.

But if you really want to color outside the lines, how about a Fargo?
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Old 11-21-08, 10:32 AM   #13
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I have two wheel sets for my Trek set up with Schwalbe CX Compe cross tyres and Schwalbe Marathons... I am almost due to put the cross tyres on since winter is upon us.

I have towed a lot of stuff with that bike this year and the little load above wasn't that heavy... this was about 300 pounds of bikes that were donated to our shop that I towed across town.



I think that what I did was build a Portland before Trek built a Portland sans the disc brakes and with a somewhat lower gearing for things like towing big trailers.
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Old 11-21-08, 10:43 AM   #14
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So now we are just going to ignore the N+1 rule. I don't think so.

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Old 11-21-08, 11:45 AM   #15
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If I were limited to one bicycle, it would be a traditional steel-framed road touring machine with a somewaht relaxed geometry, ample mudguard and tire clearance, eyelets for racks, and at least 12 gears. Capo #1 and even my humble Peugeot UO-8 fit this description pretty well.
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Old 11-21-08, 05:20 PM   #16
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If I were limited to one bicycle, it would be a traditional steel-framed road touring machine with a somewaht relaxed geometry, ample mudguard and tire clearance, eyelets for racks, and at least 12 gears.
+1

This is what Rivendell says the Atlantis is. My vintage Univega is the same idea, only less $ ($175 for the bike from Craigslist, before mods).

Or something *slightly* sportier, like a Salsa Casserroll, or Surly Crosscheck (or other cross bike).

For lots of wet-weather riding, tsl's Trek Portland looks fantastic; the disc brakes would cut down on winter-time brake pad maintenance.
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Old 11-21-08, 05:51 PM   #17
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I'm with Bluesdawg on the Salsa Fargo http://www.salsacycles.com/fargo09.html
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Old 11-21-08, 08:37 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
If I remember correctly, your problem with the Trek 520 is that it doesn't fit you correctly, am I right. Otherwise, I would think it would be just the thing for your list of requirements.
The Trek520 was bought to do this job. Unfortunately, I bought it too early and listened to the bloke in the bike shop too much and had the 'professional fit' and all that bs, but this was before I started discovering the problems with KOPS and traditional bike fitting systems, nor did I realise at that time that with my hand problems, bars below the saddle are just stupid. Anyway, I wound up with a frame that was a size too small and it took 2,000 km of riding and a lot of changes to finally work that out. She's well set up now but has a ridiculous neck on her (the current one is longer again than in the photo) to give a reach that's fine for a semi-upright position on flat bars. She was stripped to build the Jamis, then rebuilt out of a mix of second hand and new bits, which is why she is called the Frankenbike ... and is a bit of a monster as a result. Fitting drops (or bullhorns) to that neck won't work because the bars I'm using have a bit of rise in them and they are really only just high enough.

The Jamis is a good fit. I can tuck into the hooks quite nicely and blast away some really quick times. The hoods are a tad too far away for slack riding but are perfect for when I'm in a sporty mood. For slighly more relaxed riding, I slide my hands back a whisker which is possible on the Noodle bars (excellent drop bars the Noodle, best I've ever tried). The pull back and drop on the flat part of the Noodles means I can ride on the flats quite comfortably too which I can't on straight flats. Maybe I should just fit a carrier to her and she how she goes, though she won't take mudguards.

The frame I've got my eye on is the Salsa Casseroll


My thinking is that the sloping top tube will give me the high headstem without the high standover. She'll take a carrier but no front carrier which is disappointing but not disastorous. She'll take mudguards and 32mm tyres.

I won't buy a complete bike because you just wind up taking bits off and replacing them. I'd rather build up from a bare frame. That doesn't mean the suggested bikes don't help, they do because they help define what I'm after so thanks for those suggestions.

Wheels and tyre widths?
It's interesting that Rowan suggested 28mm ... and he knows the roads I travel on. The Jamis has Velocity DeepV rims mated to Ultegra hubs with 28mm sports tyres and I'm not sure I've found a need for going wider. On the other hand, she hasn't had to do the commuting I've done with the Trek this year. The Trek is wearing 32mm Randonneurs and they are very good - comfy and stable. I wonder how a set of 28mm Randonneurs would fare or is the smart choice the wider tyre?

Thanks for the feedback on the dyno hub. I like the idea of always having the light there. Up to now, riding at night hasn't been an issue but surely someone has to employ me sooner or later (don't they?) and I'm sure lighting will become an issue then. It's not hard to build a hub into a wheel though so it's something that can be left to when I find I need it.

As for the N+1.
I've got three bikes to choose from, plus the bent, and I'm not sure I like it. I tend to fall in love with one bike and want it to do everything then realise I've got another bike hanging on the wall and fall in love with it and then discover that the otheone's being ignored and ... The only bike I don't love is the Frankenbike yet that's the one that gets ridden the most because she's the workhorse.

And I can't escape this image of a fixed gear Casseroll but with the full workhorse kit - how daft is that considering I don't live on the Adelaide plains, I'm up in the hills.

Richard
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Old 11-21-08, 08:44 PM   #19
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I really like the Casseroll's I've seen.

There was a 50+'er from Texas who built one a few months ago - I think her screen name was "Prairie Dog" (?) or something like that - you might do a search.

I've seen them built as single speeds, fixies, and with rear internal hubs.

Re: tires -- personally I'd go for the wider ones given the riding you've mentioned.
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Old 11-23-08, 08:45 PM   #20
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Trek has something new that may well work for you. It uses a Shimano eight speed internal hub with a carbon belt, that's right no chain to lubricate. Check it out! http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/urban/soho/soho/ Hotwired in Milwaukee
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Old 11-23-08, 09:00 PM   #21
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I've got two recommendations for mixed paved/unpaved riding:

1. Schwalbe Big Apple tires, or the more fashionable Fat Freddies. They're basically updated balloon tires-- big fat slicks. They roll surprisingly well (schwalbe claimsthat they actually have less rolling resistance than skinny tires), and can get down to like 30psi for off-pavement riding. People love them.

2. On One Midge handlebars. They've got multiple hand positions like normal drops, but are flared and shallow so that the lower hand position is easier to use off-road. They're also wider than normal drops-- kind of like a mix between a mustache bar and a conventional drop, or an exaggerated randonneur bar.
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Old 11-23-08, 10:15 PM   #22
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The Casseroll looks like a great bike. Check out this thread over at MTBR forums to see and read about a lot of different ways people have built them up and the ways they ride them.
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