I just found this forum it seems most appropriate I previously posted this in the "Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling" forum.
I want to build a commuter porteur bike and would appreciate some help selecting a frame. I don't know much about frames etc but have read that a low trail Randonneur frame would be ideal.
I typically commute 9-15 miles per day but as a series of 3 mile trips.
Here are my requirements:
* horizontal drops for an internal hub (sram automatix). How effective are the adjustment screws on the drops that frames such as the polyvalent have ? Worth it or are they a gimmick?
* able to accommodate coaster brake - needs a strong rear triangle ?
* geometry conducive to heavy front load - is low trail the only requirement here? I typically carry 2-3 kg but sometimes up to 15kg
* Possibly front disk brake it rains a lot where I am but I know this adds weight and complexity. Might be able to get away with rear coaster brake and front cantilever
* Cantilever/disk brakes to allow for fenders
* Fender room and attachment points
* Wheels...not sure if 650B gives me better options for commuting tires
* Doesn't need to be especially light
* As cheap as possible given the above requirements - I want as little money as possible chained up on the street
It seems like a VO polyvalent is an ideal candidate except for the cost...
What exactly am I looking for here ? Could I buy a hybrid or mountain bike frame 2nd hand and then get a raked fork separately to get low trail ?
As far as braking torque, the coaster brake and Disc/Drum brakes would have similar torque so any frame that is designed for an internal gearing hub with disc or drum brakes should also work with the coaster brakes.
I wouldn't worry too much about wheel size if you get everything else you've specified.
26" has been mainstream MTB for many years.
700c has been mainstream road, and is now the rims for the 28" and 29" MTBs.
650c is halfway in between.
Any of those will work, although I probably wouldn't do full MTB for commuting, unless you are very rough on the bike.
As far as bikes, 26 lbs is pretty small, you wouldn't need a "cargo" bike for it, although more bikes will have a rear rack than a front rack.
This Republic Socretes has many of the features you're looking for. They could probably build an 8 speed version too... you could ask.
Yeah two threads I didn't know which was more appropriate. Not sure about how merging/crosslinking works I'm new to this forum.
More interested in commuting between 9 and 15 miles a day, all in the city and suburbs. I have had a few commuting bikes over the last five years they have all been great in their own way:
* cheap old mountain/hybrid bike - worked OK except the cantilevers sucked in the wet and changing gears in traffic and maintaining derailers were too much work
* Cruiser with internal nexus 8 speed hub, rear roller brake and front disc - great except too heavy (~33 pounds), tires too fat, possibly riding position too relaxed. It was just too sluggish.
* hybrid with SRAM two speed automatix hub and hydraulic discs - Awesome ! Love riding it in traffic due to the automatic gear change and they hydraulic disks rock ! However the eccentric bottom bracket sucked it always came loose. Also worth more money than I want in a commuting bike. Didn't enjoy hauling stuff on very long commutes (don't do these anymore as per next bike)
* cyclocross bike with brifters and mechanical disc - Pretty darn good. Changing gears in traffic and maintaining derailers is still kind of annoying. Also way too expensive to chain on the street. Bought it to do longer commutes (~25 miles a day) but in doing it realized I don't enjoy long commutes
On all of these bikes I hauled stuff in rear panniers. This has been OK overall but not great for hauling large or odd size things or for doing quick trips from work to food trucks and the like. Also the cyclocross bike I'm riding now kinda sways when it's got any kind of load. I figure a porteur rack might be more appropriate.
I don't absolutely need anything I just liked riding the hybrid with the automatix and figure some sort of coaster/roller brake would be good for the wet and low maintenance. Coaster brake in particular would be easy for a conversion if the frame can handle it. I've seen older road bike or fixie frames with horizontal drops outs just not sure if they could handle the torque.
All of my previous bikes have been 700c except the first one. Thanks for the advice on the wheels.
Haha that Republic Socrates is pretty cool ! It's similar to the cruiser I had in a lot of ways so it might have the same drawbacks.
Last edited by nica; 05-01-15 at 01:56 AM.
I built up a Soma Smoothie as a 650b with a front porteur rack and front disc brake. The 650b conversion helps to reduce the trail but also increases your room for wider tires (I run 38mm wide with fenders). Using an uncut steerer tube also is great for creating a work upright feel. I also run a front dynamo hub which is great for a commuter. I find that it handles pretty well with a front load - get a front wheel stabilizer from velo orange, that will help too.
I consider using an old steel Trek or equivalent which has short horizontal dropouts to allow an internal gear hub for a 650b conversion. Here's a nice example of a conversion: Trek 412 650b Town Bike - BRAZEN BICYCLES
In the end I opted for the Soma because it was available and I also preferred a front disc brake. Soma make some nice forks for both disc brakes and also low trail forks.