The quick intro: I cycle-commute to work in downtown Seattle; own 3 bikes: A low-end Bianchi road bike, which is constantly in the upgrade process (working on getting everything up to Shimano 105 or Ultrega); it was cheap, but it was in my size (64cm), which is hard enough to find, and I like the lugged steel frame. A '91 Diamondback mountain bike, with numerous upgrades (shocks, v-brakes, wheels), but still has the original Deore DX shifters/brake levers and derailleurs; it's another steel frame that has never let me down. It was my communter for a while, but has returned to pure MTB service. The commuter role will soon be taken over by my latest project, a dedicated commuter bike: a $40 Schwinn steel MTB frame (in 24" size!), cheimcal stripped and carnauba waxed for water protection, with Nitto moustache bars, a 7-speed back end and single chain ring, bar end shifter on the right, bar end mirror on the left, rear rack with folding wire "grocery baskets", Wellgo clipless pedals, Apex fenders, and a lot of other second hand, leftover, and sale odds and ends. Style is nothing - function is everything! (at least on the commuter bike). I believe that as an amateur mechanic, it is your duty to install headsets with wood blocks, a cordless drill, and a splitting maul.