My situation is this. I'm 6'4" and weigh about 170-180 Approximately a year ago I was given a year old (2008 I believe, not 100% tho) Trek 1.5 from my father.
This bike is wonderful, I ride it nearly every day to work, school, and when time allows the long haul of up to about a 50 mile ride through town and country. I live in Iowa City, IA and I never run out of places to ride to.
With my normal every day commute (come rain or shine!) I ride this thing, I'm just always worried I'm riding it too hard. Or that possibly the rain or other adverse conditions may take an extra toll on this bike. I'm also worried it may not fit me quite like a bike should, my father being about an inch shorter than me and slightly shorter legs.
So I'm look to put together a new one, with a more rigid build, a little better fit, and hopefully no worries come rain, snow, gravel, mud, curb, commute or just general work like groceries or carrying me to a friends. I'm thinking a flip flop SS/Fixed would be perfect. Decently low maintenance and straight forward.
I've been looking into Surly because of their versatility when it comes to accepting larger wheels (I plan on riding clear into winter) and their support from all LBS. The steamroller has peaked my interest mostly because of it's cost and simpleness. I'm looking to make an investment, I want this to be something I keep with me for years to come. Is that going to come from Surly? From the steamroller? Are there others more suiting?
Also, is it within my interest to skip the LBS and purchase parts individually online? Is purchasing the tools and learning the craft worth it? Or is the stock(stock being bought/assembled through LBS) good enough? Should I purchase stock and replace what I find to be inadequate?
My budget upfront is about $900. Going much higher than that is pushing it right now but I'm able to drop money into it over the course of a couple of paychecks if needed. I'm also willing to wait for a larger upfront but the season is upon us, so strike while the iron is hot I figure.
I'll be checking this thread frequently and posing many questions along the way I'm sure. Any tips or pointers would be greatly appreciated!