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  1. #1
    Should have sent a poet
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    Classic-style roadster for ~$650-750?

    Hello!

    First, I apologize for a "which bike?" thread, and for not knowing if there is a better sub-forum for such a thread.

    I currently live in Georgetown (Washington DC, somewhat hilly) and was thinking of getting a bike for casual enjoyment, commuting, groceries, etc. For me this would be a fair-weather personal toy, I do have a car; and I want a bike as much for the beauty and function of the object/engineering as anything else. I'd wear it with normal clothes, both casual and work. It would be mostly for streets, with one or two dirt shortcuts. I doubt I'd ever go more than 2 miles on it while in DC, although once I bring the bike back to CT I may stretch that to 5 miles. I am a 6' 2.5" (189 cm) tall guy, age 29, so the bike should ideally have a suitable frame size.

    My budget is limited; I was hoping to find something around $650, max $750. What exactly do I like? Well, I'm going more for a fashionable, Euro-style classic roadster. Here are some of the key features I like:

    • Somewhat upright seating position (prefer "normal" handlebars to drop bars).
    • Internal hub gearing (5 or 7 speeds being a good sweet spot). This is a big point for me, I like hub gears better than derailleurs.
    • Fenders (& mudflaps, ideally)
    • Rear rack
    • Full chain cases (love this), or at least decent chain guards. No bare chain.


    In addition, there are elements that I like, but which I realize I cannot be too picky about:

    • CroMoly Steel > Hi-Ten Steel
    • Braking system is not a dealmaker/breaker, but ideally: coaster brakes on rear wheel, roller/disc brakes on front wheel. Honestly though rim brakes are OK, just stating a preference.
    • Brooks leather saddle (with springs)
    • Lugged frame
    • Dynamo light
    • Bell
    • Rear wheel dress guard
    • Light-colored tire walls (e.g. whitewall or cream tires).
    • Matching fender colors
    • Kickstand


    What would an ideal example be? Well, maybe something like these (not saying these are my dream bikes, but they're very nice):



    item-26596.JPG

    What have I found closer to my price?

    • Papillionaire Classic - ~$640 for a lugged CroMoly steel 3-speed with leather saddle / grips, rear rack, and a good choice of colors. There's an 8-speed, but it's not in the USA yet. Unfortunately, the larger frame option is not available in the US yet either, otherwise this would be pretty dang close to what I want.
    • Opus Lugano - $890 - nice looking albeit in a much more modern way, but with a lot of neat features. However, too expensive as quoted to me by a local shop.
    • Breezer Downtown 8 - $700 - within budget, and a decent mix of the most important features. But lacking any aesthetic soul IMHO; it's very "plain modern US."
    • Bobbin Daytripper 5-speed - $650 - Nice looking, not the highest-end bike here but fits the bill, albeit in Hi-Ten steel.
    • Public bikes - most are too expensive.
    • Linus bikes - the CroMoly 8-speeds are too expensive, and the ones in my budget are Hi-Ten 3-speeds.


    classicp.jpg
    daybro11-904x400.jpg

    My primary question is... can you guys give any other recommendations to look at in this style, for my size, at this price point? Many thanks in advance for any help or advice.

    .:.:.:.:.

    Addendum: I really love the appearance and theory behind a mixte bike, even though I'm a guy (I'm french though, and "mixte" literally refers to a bike being unisex, so why on earth have people associated it with girls' bikes in the USA?). If there is a good mixte option out there, I'd love to hear it. So far most of the mixtes seem to come in small frame sizes and girly colors, or cost too much. I'll include some here though to continue giving you a sense of what I'm looking for:

    • URL Linus Mixte 3 $650 - no chain case, hi-ten steel, but does come in a 56 cm frame; unfortunately, the CroMoly 8-speed ($850) only comes in 49 cm.
    • Heritage Daisy Mixte - $875 for 3-speed - too expensive, and comes with a front rack instead of rear (looks good in brown frame with white fenders though).
    • Rivendell Yves Gomez, and Soma Buena Vista frame & fork - too expensive, and biting off more than I can chew to build a bike at this point.


    daisy-straight-on-large_grande.jpg

    Thanks for checking out my thread. I look forward to any responses!
    Last edited by Gabedamien; 01-21-13 at 06:07 AM. Reason: Added pics

  2. #2
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  5. #5
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    Thanks LarDasse. The Globe Daily 3 looks like a very strong contender if I can find it in my size / color for the right price.

    That Raleigh Sport DLX is way more modern than my tastes run, although it does look like a nice bike (perhaps you meant to link me to the Classic Roadster model? I will look more closely at both models in any case).

    The BikesDirect model I was previously aware of and it certainly fits into my criteria; ironically, at that price it raised some alarm bells. Is there anything I should know about that company and how they can price so low? I realized that I can always upgrade some of the components after the fact, e.g. the seat to a leather saddle.

    Good recommendations. I will investigate further. Thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabedamien View Post
    The BikesDirect model I was previously aware of and it certainly fits into my criteria; ironically, at that price it raised some alarm bells. Is there anything I should know about that company and how they can price so low?
    When you buy an Opus, Specialized (or Globe), Cannondale, Trek... any brand that sells mass-produced bikes... the bikes are manufactured and mostly assembled overseas (esp. Taiwan or China) then the bikes are sent to a warehouse in North America. They are then sent to a Brick and Mortar LBS where the assembly is completed, most defects or problems are found, and an LBS emplyee (usually familiar with the bikes) help customers chose the model and size of bike that suits each customer, often making minor modifications to get it as close to perfect as possible. After you ride the bike for a few weeks or months you take it back to the LBS so they can deal with issues arising from the 'break-in' period of the bike.

    When you buy from Bikes Direct, the bikes are manufactured in exactly the same way as the larger brands, and are even made in the same factories as the larger brands, but the bike does not go to an LBS before you receive it. So you do the final assembly, you are the one who finds any defects, and you are the one responsible for making sure it fits and for doing all maintenance and adjustments. If you are not comfortable doing these things yourself you can find a friendly LBS to do them for you, but they will charge you for this and you have to factor that into the cost before you decide what and where to buy.

    I have never bought a bikesdirect bike, but my brither bought one for his son, and it is perfectly decent in terms of quality (similar to similarly priced bikes from larger manufacturers), but he paid a LBS to assemble and adjust it.

  7. #7
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    If you're looking at 3spds,I'd suggest getting a Capital Bikeshare membership and try riding around on one of those. Navigating NW DC on a 3spd can be done,but it's not always pleasant(esp in July).

    Bike Pro Shop on M(block up from Key Bridge) used to sell the style bikes you're looking for(haven't looked through their bikes in awhile). There's also Bicycle Space on 7th in Chinatown;they carry Linus and others of that style. You can also check Craigslist,but be advised that the local used bike scene is very robust in terms of holding value;lots of folks who have cash but don't live here very long.

    BD bikes are fine if you know how to do a proper assembly. Most shops will do it for you,but you'd want to check their prices ahead of time.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

  8. #8
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    Dynaryder: I'd really rather get 5 speeds minimum, ideally 7-8 speeds, precisely for that reason.

    Thanks for the tips, here and in your PM! (I cannot reply to PMs until I have 50 posts, it seems).

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    we be rollin' hybridbkrdr's Avatar
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    I don't know if this is relevant... http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-getting-bored
    Feeling Good by David Burns

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
    I don't know if this is relevant... http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-getting-bored
    Building a bike sounds fun and would let me choose exactly what I want. However, it seems like the minimum to build a decent bike is outside of my price range (buying a whole bike benefits from economies of scale), and I have no experience in the field (is it as simple as step-by-step assembly, like with a computer? Or does it require any practical skills that you should really practice before attempting on a whole bike?).

    Good idea, but seems like it's not for me – at least, not at this time.

  11. #11
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    Papillionaire is supposed to be coming out with the 57 cm frames and the 8-speeds by the end of Feb. Given that you get a lugged chromoly frame with sprung leather saddle, leather grips, rack, and good choice of colors for a very competitive price, I think that's what I'll be going with. Just trying to make up my mind between a 3-speed spec'd out to $630 or an 8-speed spec'd out to ~$770 (estimated).

    Last edited by Gabedamien; 01-23-13 at 11:58 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    I think other than steel every manufacturer makes such a bike. http://www.myjamis.com/SSP%20Applica...cat_grp=strt_1

    If you want steel and a three speed: http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...specifications
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
    I think other than steel every manufacturer makes such a bike. http://www.myjamis.com/SSP%20Applica...cat_grp=strt_1

    If you want steel and a three speed: http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...specifications
    The Jamis is yet another nice bike that isn't quite what I'm looking for: the chain guard is barely there, the styling and geometry are both more modern than retro, the frame is aluminum, the tubes are welded instead of lugged, etc. Don't get me wrong, if someone gave me one I would be thrilled and no doubt enjoy it greatly, but for my money there are other bikes that channel the old-school vibe a little more elegantly. I might not have emphasized enough in my original post how high a priority that is for me.

    The Giant Via is another decent call, and one I hadn't noticed before. If I hadn't found such a close candidate in the Papillionaire Classic, it would be contending with my other picks. Thanks.

    I appreciate the continuing suggestions and feedback even though for the time being I think I've found my match. Who knows, I can always change my mind in the next month.
    Last edited by Gabedamien; 01-23-13 at 11:56 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabedamien View Post
    Hello!


    It would be mostly for streets, with one or two dirt shortcuts. I doubt I'd ever go more than 2 miles on it while in DC, although once I bring the bike back to CT I may stretch that to 5 miles. I am a 6' 2.5" (189 cm) tall guy, age 29, so the bike should ideally have a suitable frame size.

    My budget is limited; I was hoping to find something around $650, max $750. What exactly do I like? Well, I'm going more for a fashionable, Euro-style classic roadster. Here are some of the key features I like:

    • Somewhat upright seating position (prefer "normal" handlebars to drop bars).
    • Internal hub gearing (5 or 7 speeds being a good sweet spot). This is a big point for me, I like hub gears better than derailleurs.
    • Fenders (& mudflaps, ideally)
    • Rear rack
    • Full chain cases (love this), or at least decent chain guards. No bare chain.


    In addition, there are elements that I like, but which I realize I cannot be too picky about:

    • CroMoly Steel > Hi-Ten Steel
    • Braking system is not a dealmaker/breaker, but ideally: coaster brakes on rear wheel, roller/disc brakes on front wheel. Honestly though rim brakes are OK, just stating a preference.
    • Brooks leather saddle (with springs)
    • Lugged frame
    • Dynamo light
    • Bell
    • Rear wheel dress guard
    • Light-colored tire walls (e.g. whitewall or cream tires).
    • Matching fender colors
    • Kickstand

    Thanks for checking out my thread. I look forward to any responses!
    You are welcome. However the problem is in a way you tie our hands by asking for some specific needs and we can only guess what to reject as a compromise. You can get any one of many builders to build you exactly what you have listed. But there is the rub. Most of the bigger manufacturers have moved away from what you consider classic. Customer demand in the US was low enough that most of the big guys moved to derailleurs and other materials. Not all for sure but many. The ones that do still make such bikes, maybe Rivendale and some other do not have the economy of sales to offset the extra effort of making a Steel, Lugged frame for the price pint you are looking for. I suggest to be hones you consider a custom build to get exactly what you have listed rather than settle for something close. Those of us that have searched for a bike to meet specific needs as you have perfectly listed realize that if what we want isn't in the LBS or on line we had to build or assemble if from the frame up ourselves. The cost is higher at times and often you have to put off gratification till you have saved up to get just what you want. But over the long run the satisfaction of a bike the fits not only your body but your ideals is worth the wait. Just sayin..
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
    You are welcome. However the problem is in a way you tie our hands by asking for some specific needs and we can only guess what to reject as a compromise.
    Bingo. I recognize that my wants are capricious and unpredictable, and that I am asking for suggestions without giving a lot in return. But it does help, since it both broadens my "menu" and gives me a better sense of the market, so I do appreciate the input! :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
    You can get any one of many builders to build you exactly what you have listed. But there is the rub. Most of the bigger manufacturers have moved away from what you consider classic. Customer demand in the US was low enough that most of the big guys moved to derailleurs and other materials. Not all for sure but many. The ones that do still make such bikes, maybe Rivendale and some other do not have the economy of sales to offset the extra effort of making a Steel, Lugged frame for the price pint you are looking for. I suggest to be hones you consider a custom build to get exactly what you have listed rather than settle for something close. Those of us that have searched for a bike to meet specific needs as you have perfectly listed realize that if what we want isn't in the LBS or on line we had to build or assemble if from the frame up ourselves. The cost is higher at times and often you have to put off gratification till you have saved up to get just what you want. But over the long run the satisfaction of a bike the fits not only your body but your ideals is worth the wait. Just sayin..
    I totally hear you on these points. I think my rationale at this point is that it would be especially helpful to have a bike for the next half year, yet my immediate budget is limited; it makes sense to get a decent (but not super-expensive) bike now, and if in the future I am still as excited about bikes as I am today, then I can spend a lot more time and money building from the ground up as a hobby project. Or expensive commission.

    Cheers,
    —G

  16. #16
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    I don't know how "classic" this bike might be, but have you considered REI's Novara brand? This model seems to hit most of the major elements you're looking for, from internal 7 speed hub, to cro-moly steel, to a chain guard.

    http://www.rei.com/product/837488/no...sfer-bike-2013

    The other alternative is to consider a used bike. I have a Rivendell, and even then, it doesn't have a chain guard, but it does have a classic look and feel to it. But I bought it brand new - pricey, but something I spoiled myself with after looking and lusting after a Bridgestone since I was in university 20 years ago. But you might be able to score a used Rivendell or higher end classic bike off of Craigslist, eBay, or other sellers. Also check out the reputable bike stores in your area. A used bike can be as much as 50% off its original price, and you can get a lot more for the bike for the same price. A LBS can see about upgrading or replacing any worn components, and hey! - you build a rapport with your local shop for support and service.
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  17. #17
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    Ozonation: the Novara Transfer is actually really tempting. It's not exactly what I wanted style-wise and stretching my budget a bit, but the feature list is spot-on as you pointed out and it is eye-catching in a modern way. Sort of like a mixte in geometry, too. Very interesting suggestion.

    I'll look at used bikes and see how I feel about that route.
    Last edited by Gabedamien; 01-25-13 at 01:41 AM.

  18. #18
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    If you not a seasoned cyclist I like the Bike Directs idea. You'll need a shop to assemble it for you but if you find you don't like cycling you won't take a big a loss selling a $400 bike at 200 as you would trying to sell $1200 for 6 or 800
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

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    Quote Originally Posted by THE ARS View Post
    Gabe, your CL is dirt cheap, that's where I'd be looking.

    What say you, Bianchigirl? $750 for a chinese turd or this:

    (Serotta)
    Sorry, I'm not reading between the lines very well here, can you clarify? ("CL?" Which ones are the "Chinese Turds?" Etc.). Also, I can't afford and don't really want a multi-thousand dollar road bike...
    Last edited by Gabedamien; 01-25-13 at 12:17 PM.

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    Oh, I didn't understand what "CL" meant, that's part of what I was asking.

    Are you suggesting I could build exactly what I want by buying a used bike (edit: or components) and mixing and matching components?

    I'm not being sarcastic, I'm just a bit too green to follow all your implications.
    Last edited by Gabedamien; 01-25-13 at 02:33 PM.

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    I assumed that you were only considering new bikes, but a converted old 10-speed could be better and cheaper and more unique, and fill ALL your requirements.

    An old 10 speed or road bike will often cost $100 or so (for a mid or entry level quality one). Then replace the handelbars with a 'North Road' style, or whatever you fancy, have a set of wheels laced up with a Sturmy Archer 3- or 5-speed hub. For extra style points, get drum brakes and a dynamo front hub. Take off one of the front chainrings. Add a chainguard, fenders and a rack.

    Most 10 speeds came with 27" wheels, which were last used on a cart to wheel dinosaurs' bodies to the tar pits... but switching to 700C wheels gives slightly more tire clearance and super wide choice of tires.
    Most higher-performance road bikes, at least those made since the early '80s, came with 700C wheels - a conversion to 650B wheels will allow slightly fatter tires to make it easier to carry loads and ride rough terrain.

    Anyhoo, kind of a lot of work, but it can work out to be cheaper and more satisfying than buying new. ALthough I think THE ARS is overstating the cheapness of the commercially available roadsters... any one of them will be absolutely fine to ride for many years.

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    Thanks LarDasse74, that was very helpful (and my apologies to you and THE ARS for being a bit dense... still learning the landscape, as it were).

    I was primarily interested in new bikes for all the reasons you might expect, not the least of which being I didn't feel confident that I could properly assess the condition or quality of a given used bike. I suppose to be proper about it though I should do some research into the used bike market and figure out a potential plan for going down that route.

    Thanks,
    —G

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    Quote Originally Posted by THE ARS View Post
    Check that website I linked, man. A lugged Trek with fenders and some bling is a nice ride, on time and under budget.

    Easy build and nicer than 99% of the bikes out there.
    My friend's brother found a mid 80s Trek 620 that someone was throwing out a few years ago. It had a 60 cm frame, whereas I need at least a 62... but damn I still tried and tried to convince him that he shoulc trade it for one of my bikes... he didn't bite, though.

    I often check epay and CL for Trek 750s and 930s, 950s, 970s, 990s in my size. Beautiful bikes.. but most of the ones I have seen have vertical dropouts and so are not ideal for roadster or IGH conversions.

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    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by THE ARS View Post
    Gabe, your CL is dirt cheap, that's where I'd be looking.

    What say you, Bianchigirl? $750 for a chinese turd or this:

    The serotta is a great but huge bike and does not meet the OP needs.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

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    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    That Serotta was prolly priced because of the size;how many people could actually ride it?

    Our CL is a zoo;the only reason I use it for selling bikes is because of the PITA of boxing/shipping a bike and the fees associated with eBay. As for buying,I've seen numerous CL specials come into my clinic where the cost of new chain/tires/tubes/brake pads/etc doubled the cost of the bike. Buying from DC CL is pretty much the same as BD;you have to know what you're doing or know someone who does.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

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