Hello all. I'm looking to get a relatively inexpensive custom bike. I will have the work done, after bike repair & sales slow down (I'm in New England, so that should be sometime in November.) I'll ask the owners of three bicycle shops in the area to submit a proposal, itemizing the parts and cost of each; then I'll decide which shop will build the bike. In the meantime, I'd like to get some ideas and advice from people on this forum. Firstly, I need to make a choice for a frame. The LBS in the area offer Surly and Soma. Btw, I want to keep the price around $800.
I'm looking for:
1. 'bang for buck' in a smooth riding functional bike, w/ 700c wheels, that can carry my size and weight (6'2" 250 lbs) plus, occassionally, up to 30 lbs of additional weight. By "utility", I mean that it will be used to commute, to carry groceries, and to travel distances of up to 37 miles. I ride on paved roads (only!) much of which is level, but, there are some hills... nothing real steep. (Well, one of them is, but I avoid it ) The tires could be as wide as 700x 35, so the frame should be able to accommodate that.
2. I want "upright riding." I've don't like road bikes w/ drop handlebars; I've never been able to ride them comfortably. So, "No thanks"! -- bar ends (and the like) are fine, as my hands do get plenty numb on longer rides. I average 7 -17 miles per day. Occasionally, I do longer rides (up to 40 miles), but rarely.
4. I do not want an aluminum frame, as I don't like "the ride" on longer distances. I own a aluminum framed Fuji and just sold my Specialized Expedition (also an aluminum frame), so I speak from personal experience when I say "no" to aluminum.
5. I don't want any suspension, preferring to keep the bike as light as possible.
6. I'd like to NOT have Sora components, but I don't know if that will be possible given my dollar limit.
My first choice is to decide on a frame.. Soma and Surly is what is available at the LBS's around here... I'll look around though, maybe there are some other possibilities. I'm definitely looking for a modicum of comfort for the longer rides, so perhaps a roadbike frame would be better than a cross-check frame... I'm don't know, at this point in time.
I'll probably use a Brooks B-67 saddle (with the springs at the back.) Handlebars should be at least as high as the seat (but I don't like the big heavy "adjustables" as seen on the so called "comfort bikes". Another thing I'd like to know more about is the differences in steel (4130 cro-molly vs. 853 Reynolds vs. 520 Reynolds chromoly vs. 631 air hardened steel etc. I haven't been successful at learning the distinctions by doing a Google search. The sites mention them but don't explaining what's better and why. If you prefer to point me to a URL, that would be fine. Right now all I really need to focus on is the frame and fork, but feel free to comment on any part of what I have written here. I hope to see some feedback.
Last edited by bluemando; 09-03-04 at 06:05 AM.
You need a new bike
"Inexpensive" and "Custom" are generally not used together to describe a single item. If you are buying parts individually for an entire bike, you are likely to pay a hefty sum. Perhaps it would be better to choose a bike that comes real close to what you want and arrange with a bike shop to swap out those components you don't want. You are likely to get far more bike for you money.
I say check out the Prarie Breaker in the "Greatest bike name EVER " thread !
Humvee of bikes =Worksman
Not to rain on your parade but I'm 110% sure that you'll get
more bang for the buck "customizing" a quality USED bike that
has a LUGGED steel frame.
I followed this path with my Bridgestone RB-1 bought used.
I changed the bars and stem to get my hands MUCH higher,I
changed the tires , added fenders,mirrors,a rear rack and
front & rear bags& trunk. I changed the rear derailleur and
replaced brakes and chains.
How much did all this cost??? The bike cost $75 on e-bay and
all the other stuff (except the derailleur and chain) I did
myself for total cost of $250. Could I have bought a new bike
for $325? Sure I could BUT it wouldn't have been anywhere
near the quality of the old Bridgestone nor ride anywhere
close to a quality lugged steel framed bike.
And it wouldn't have cost anywhere near $800 either!!!!
I've considered doing that, but it's not as easy as it may seem. The bike I like is the Jamis Coda Comp, but I don't like the slanted top bar. I don't want a bike w/ a slanted top bar (unless it is very slight), because it accentuates the highness of the seat-post above the frame. I have fairly long legs, and so my seat is adjusted high, causing it to look "up in the clouds" (so to speak). Another bike I've considered is the Motobecane Café Late (bikesdirect.com) It DOES employ standard geometry, but only comes in the color "white"... which I don't fancy, for a couple of reasons. Also, I would have to have my LBS put it together (I'd screw it up for sure!), which would cost me extra. Anyway, I'm certainly open to suggestions of any bike that you (or anyone else) think would fit the criteria I've outlined.
Originally Posted by supcom
Hello Tighwad. I have considered customizing a quality USED bike. In fact there is a used bike shop just a few blocks away from where I live and I've been looking at those bikes for nearly two years. The owners are careful to buy pretty decent bikes... (translation: no Wal Mart junk allowed). The problem is they I haven't been able to find anything in a 23" frame (58.4 cm) or the frame paint job is nicked up pretty well, or it's isn't a standard geometry frame or the tubing is plain gauge "high tensile" ( I want, at least, double butted tubes of a good quality steel alloy.)
Btw, I have a '92 Bridgestone Trailblazer. I didn't know "jack" about bikes when I bought it, but did so anyway, because the shop was selling everything cheap (they were going out of business.) Turns out, the frame is too small, which makes for a seat post that extends way-high over the top tube. Also the handlebars have a short stem, so I replaced it w/ one of those heavy adjustable stems as well as w/ a handlebar that has a unsightly steep rise. Looks like a circus bike (darn it!)
Another reason that buying used, (assuming that I found a bike/frame that would "work" for me) is not all that good an idea for me, is that I'm not all that handy w/ tools. So I wouldn't be able to save cash by doing the work myself. Of course, I can change the bars, stem, tires, add fenders, mirror, and a rear rack.... but I'd surly screw-up installing cables, derailleurs and doing the more "technical" stuff. Furthermore, I would probably screw up ordering the parts (not realizing that an item wouldn't work w/ what I've got.) I'd probably save money by paying someone else to do the work. I do appreciate your feedback though. Thanks very much.