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Old 01-21-11, 02:28 PM   #1
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The N+1 Search Starts

My little "I bit the slush" accident a few days ago has resulted in the top tube of my Cannondale 800T getting a pretty good sized dent. Hence, I'm in the market for a frame to replace it. I've used the bike as my primary commuter. I doubt that I'll be doing any heavy touring in the near future. So, I don't want to limit myself to just a touring bike.

Primarily I need something that is stable, has eyelets for racks and mud guards, enough room to get tires up to 32 wide, and preferably with cantilever brake bosses. My plan is to switch over all the gear from the Cannondale to the new frame. All of that stuff is still in really good shape.

I've thought about the Salsa Casseroll, like the one Blues Dawg got recently, but am not yet sure. I don't think I want to go wiath an aluminum frame again, but could be talked out of that. I would consider steel and titanium in a heart beat, if the price is right. Oh, yeah, that's the other complication. Since I dropped a whole lot of money into my custom Indy Fab Ti Crown Jewel with full Dura Ace this fall, I've got to keep the frame price as low as possible (under $600 if possible). So, what are your thoughts and suggestions? I'm all ears.
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Old 01-21-11, 02:52 PM   #2
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Can understand that you don't want to drop a load of money on a new frame but Don't limit the material. I ride Aluminium and have never found a problem with it. Not even the Gas tubing found on the cheaper bikes. That may be down to having ridden MTB's aggressively for too many years but there is plenty you can do to soften a harsh frame. In fact I have ridden Steel frames that are harsher than my OCR so plenty of choices for you.

Over here my LBS does a range of Lightweight "Taiwanese" frames that start at a sensible price. I know these are available in the US as I have seen pics of them posted on the forum. Over here they are marketed as "Fuji" steel and I had a Mountain bike version.

As much as I don't like buying unseen on the internet- Providing the selling company is known - I would look there. Can't give you any company names but I should think someone here can recommend a company for a cheap frame.
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Old 01-21-11, 02:57 PM   #3
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Like Pepperman says, "if it ain't moto, it's worthless".

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Old 01-21-11, 07:17 PM   #4
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Soma Double Cross Steel, $456.67, vendor is even in PA.
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Old 01-21-11, 09:04 PM   #5
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Stapfam: I agree with your assessment that aluminum doesn't have to be a harsh ride. I'm just concerned with how easily the top tube caved in.... it must have been a very thing tube.

BD: Sweet looking ride. I'm going to investigate more carefully.

TSL: Thanks, I checked the link and they are back ordered in my size. I'm going to check out some other possible vendors.

On a side note, I jsut did a quick eBay search and there aren't many frames out there that would seem to meet my needs. I was hoping for a quick choice and purchase so I could get back to safe commuting asap. I guess it might take a bit longer.
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Old 01-21-11, 10:09 PM   #6
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Your LBS should be able to get you either the Salsa or the Soma within your budget.
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Old 01-22-11, 12:46 AM   #7
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How about the Surly Cross Check? It's been around for a while, is pretty bombproof, and fits many of your criteria.
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Old 01-22-11, 01:33 AM   #8
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I think your requirements are almost a perfect description of the new version of the Salsa Casseroll, which BluesDawg has posted a picture of above.
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Old 01-22-11, 07:07 AM   #9
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Your description: "I've used the bike as my primary commuter....Primarily I need something that is stable, has eyelets for racks and mud guards, enough room to get tires up to 32 wide, and preferably with cantilever brake bosses."

You've just described a rigid frame MTB. They make great commuters, are available used cheap. If you want steel, there are some great ones out there. Another alternative is a used touring bike. I picked up a 2000 Trek 520 last year, all nine speed, indexed barcons, pretty nice bike, for around $300.

Here are a couple in my keeper fleet right now.

1992 Trek 950 with slicks:




1989 Univega Alpina Pro (ignore seat post height, I just took it off my bike stand):

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Old 01-22-11, 07:56 AM   #10
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Soma Double Cross Steel, $456.67, vendor is even in PA.
I have this bike and have been very happy with it. It's seen more than 7,500 miles in the last two years. It's ultra smooth & comfortable and handles very well;


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Old 01-22-11, 08:51 AM   #11
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Point of order! Mere replacement doesn't qualify as N+1 does it?.

Be that as it may, a good used LeMond Poprad would be a nice replacement frame in my book.

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Old 01-22-11, 10:03 AM   #12
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Point of order! Mere replacement doesn't qualify as N+1 does it?.
Of course it does. Anytime you add a bike, it's N+1.
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Old 01-22-11, 01:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Your description: "I've used the bike as my primary commuter....Primarily I need something that is stable, has eyelets for racks and mud guards, enough room to get tires up to 32 wide, and preferably with cantilever brake bosses."

You've just described a rigid frame MTB. They make great commuters, are available used cheap. If you want steel, there are some great ones out there. Another alternative is a used touring bike. I picked up a 2000 Trek 520 last year, all nine speed, indexed barcons, pretty nice bike, for around $300.

Here are a couple in my keeper fleet right now.

1992 Trek 950 with slicks:

Six months or more ago I gave my youngest son my Trek 950 with full mud guards and racks already installed (It was a white one, because well, white bikes just go faster.) Never thought I was going to need it since I had a commuter already. I wonder if he'd want to give it back? No, that just wouldn't be right.
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Old 01-22-11, 01:43 PM   #14
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I think your requirements are almost a perfect description of the new version of the Salsa Casseroll, which BluesDawg has posted a picture of above.
Yeah, I'm kind of leaning in that direction right now. Plus with the change to new canti brake bosses it would really be just a matter of a day to swap over the components.
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Old 01-22-11, 03:34 PM   #15
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I have a Surly Cross Check. It's the newest frame I own, by far. It's excellent. It's a very balanced ride, and it's made very versatile by its bosses and its design. I can highly recommend it. Surly also has a ton of satisfied customers.
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Old 01-22-11, 03:47 PM   #16
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Of course it does. Anytime you add a bike, it's N+1.
Guess I don't see damaged frame replacement as "adding a bike". In fact, NOT claiming N + 1 may be a clever way to avoid spousal disharmony. It's more like restoring original N isn't it?

NOS88: sorry... not meaning to delegitimize your post in any way.
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Old 01-22-11, 04:32 PM   #17
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Currently NOS88 is at N-1. Theoretically if he gets a new frame to rebuild the bike he would be at N

But is he at N-1 right now? No---He is at N as N equals the number of bikes you currently have.

And unless it comes up at the right price- don't get an upright bike- whether that be hybrid or MTB. I went road 4 years ago after 16 years on MTB's. Going back to the MTB now feels "Very" strange.
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Old 01-22-11, 10:07 PM   #18
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Currently NOS88 is at N-1. Theoretically if he gets a new frame to rebuild the bike he would be at N

But is he at N-1 right now? No---He is at N as N equals the number of bikes you currently have.

...snip....
But when he is done, he will still have N bikes (plus one faulty frame), the same N as he had to begin with, no? I.e. disassembly of the damaged bike will inevitably create a transitory N-1 condition.

Keep in mind that in some cases there will be a considerable utility to remaining at N when it comes to keeping harmony in the family. And, again, this is in no way intended to deny the great joy of getting new stuff.

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Old 01-23-11, 01:09 AM   #19
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There is no such thing as being at N+1 or N-1. N+1 is an action, not a status. You are always at N and the N+1 rule always demands that you add one. Once you add it you are again at N. If you get rid of a bike (N-1) you end up at N. N is the number of bikes you have. It doesn't matter how you got there. And you always need to add one more.

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Old 01-23-11, 07:57 AM   #20
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Oh, man, what have I done?! I've started an existential debate on the reality of N+1. I didn't mean to set a ripple through the fabric of the time/space continuum. The next thing you know we'll be debating the definition of what constitutes a "bike". For me, an unride-able and unfix-able frame with parts has ceased to be a bike. Rather, I now have bike parts stored on a structural hanger. A "bike" comes into existence when that last part needed to make it ride-able is in place (i.e., chain, crank, wheels, etc.) Up until this magical moment it is just a "project". Hence, I currently have X number of bikes and one project.

On another note, my wife suggested I take a trip to my favorite LBS this week to see if they might have any leads on used bikes or frames that I could pick up and use until I know what I really want. Not a bad idea, and it sure gives me a good excuse to spend an hour or two in an environment I truly like.
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Old 01-23-11, 09:14 AM   #21
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Oh, man, what have I done?! I've started an existential debate on the reality of N+1. I didn't mean to set a ripple through the fabric of the time/space continuum. The next thing you know we'll be debating the definition of what constitutes a "bike". For me, an unride-able and unfix-able frame with parts has ceased to be a bike. Rather, I now have bike parts stored on a structural hanger. A "bike" comes into existence when that last part needed to make it ride-able is in place (i.e., chain, crank, wheels, etc.) Up until this magical moment it is just a "project". Hence, I currently have X number of bikes and one project.

...snip....
Yes, we tred on shaky ground here my friend. This could rival Spinoza and Descartes' classic exchanges on free will. We had best not take this too far for fear of existential destabiliztion.

FWIW my problem in defining this apparent N+1 Paradox is that in this case the "True N" condition remains the same even after the alleged N+1 behavior.

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Old 01-23-11, 09:40 AM   #22
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That's the beauty of N+1, it always justifies one more bike.
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Old 01-23-11, 10:54 AM   #23
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Thread is not unlike the Science Channel's "Through the Wormhole". After about 15 minutes I don't understand what they are saying, since it's all beyond my comprehension, and just watch the show for the neat images. OK, bring on some images, please.
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Old 01-24-11, 12:25 PM   #24
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Currently NOS88 is at N-1. Theoretically if he gets a new frame to rebuild the bike he would be at N

But is he at N-1 right now? No---He is at N as N equals the number of bikes you currently have.

...snip....
That seems highly illogical, commander!
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Old 01-24-11, 04:53 PM   #25
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There is no such thing as being at N+1 or N-1. N+1 is an action, not a status. You are always at N and the N+1 rule always demands that you add one. Once you add it you are again at N. If you get rid of a bike (N-1) you end up at N. N is the number of bikes you have. It doesn't matter how you got there. And you always need to add one more.
+1 N+1 is a goal. You always end up at N. Just one more!! Repeat until all possible storage areas, attic, garage, and more are full.

I have tried to reach N+1, But each time I add a bike, I am still at N. Heck, even on days when I have bought five or six bikes, I am still at N. Something is wrong with this plan....
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