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Yay or Nay: Bike Commuters

Old 10-02-13, 04:13 PM
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Yay or Nay: Bike Commuters

I'm continuing my search for a bike commuter. I'm looking for bikes near Amherst, MA in Western Mass Craigslist; anything $250 or below is feasible. So far, my finds include:

1. https://westernmass.craigslist.org/bik/3984070352.html

2. https://westernmass.craigslist.org/bik/4101140151.html

3. https://westernmass.craigslist.org/bik/4012380542.html

I like number 3 the best.

I'm going to go try out said bike in a few hours; if it fits, would it be possible to change the tires to ones capable of both paved road and dirt/slightly rocky paths? I'd also like to put some integrated shifters on it.

Last edited by Distinguished; 10-02-13 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 10-02-13, 04:19 PM
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While the Cannondale is the best bike of the three, it will likely lack clearance for a tire much bigger than say a 700x28. Some of the Cannondale fans may know better.
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Old 10-02-13, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
While the Cannondale is the best bike of the three, it will likely lack clearance for a tire much bigger than say a 700x28. Some of the Cannondale fans may know better.
Hm, I don't know much about bike tires greater than 23 mm, but 28 mm sounds like enough to go through some semi-rocky paths?

The bike would also have to be ride-able during winter, snow and ice and all. Maybe a sturdy pair of all terrain tires would do?
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Old 10-02-13, 06:37 PM
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Yay or Nay: Bike Commuters

The easiest and cheapest option is not to try to do it all with one bike. You would compromise on both ends. I would take something like the c'dale for most of the year and configure a mtb with drop bars for winter conditions.
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Old 10-02-13, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Distinguished View Post
The bike would also have to be ride-able during winter, snow and ice and all. Maybe a sturdy pair of all terrain tires would do?
I commute year round in WI and there are many days in the winter that I simply cannot get around without ~2" knobby tires. So far, that has meant a 26" MTB for my snow bike, but I plan to change that this year with a frankenstein road bike with a fork that'll fit a 700c tire about 1.9" wide...

As far as value the Cannondale is the best of the bunch but there's no way you'll fit fenders on it with any reasonably sized tire.

The Peugeot is probably the best commuter but overpriced. I suggest you keep looking.
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Old 10-03-13, 05:45 AM
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I believe the Cannondale has a replacement fork, so check carefully for crash damage in the front end.

The Peugeot is overpriced, but they are nice riders and that is one of the better conversion jobs I've seen posted here of late (granted, the others have ranged from awful to disaster, but this one looks pretty good.
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Old 10-03-13, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Poguemahone View Post
I believe the Cannondale has a replacement fork, so check carefully for crash damage in the front end.

The Peugeot is overpriced, but they are nice riders and that is one of the better conversion jobs I've seen posted here of late (granted, the others have ranged from awful to disaster, but this one looks pretty good.
+1 on C-dale frame inspection. Check the WHOLE frame and welds for cracks. Aluminum is brittle.

+1 to finding a $100 MTB for the winter.

Distinguished is a student at the fine college there in Amherst. He can ride on skinny 25c tires with no problema.
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Old 10-03-13, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
+10 Asking too much from one bike.

+10 The Cannondale is the only one worth a look. And be prepared to put a lot of time and effort into rehabbing it. Do the work yourself, and its a great deal. Pay someone to do it, and you probably be upside down on it. I have sold quite a few fully refurbished and ready to ride Cannondales, $300 is about as cheap as they go. But for that price, you are getting new tires, bearings, grease, cables, housings, bar tape, chain, cassette, etc.

Excellent condition? That's pretty hilarious. But a Cannondale with 600 bits for $150 in a strong market is a deal to the right person (handy one).
I have a bunch of tools from my other Trek 1000 fix-it job; and I love fixing stuff--it should be fun.

P.S. The black/'ugly' road bike with cage pedals and brifters was unfortunately too small (short lengthwise) for me; when I looked down holding the hoods, I could see the whole front tire/hub. l:

Hopefully this one fits!

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Old 10-03-13, 07:55 AM
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[QUOTE=oddjob2;16127435
+1 to finding a $100 MTB for the winter.

.[/QUOTE]

$75 just bought this very good condition 1993 Raleigh MTB with 4130 CroMo tubes. I've installed rack and fenders ($60) and am now as ready for winter as anyone ever is.
Keep looking and good luck.
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Old 10-04-13, 07:49 PM
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If everything checks out, get the Cannondale. Of course, the fit has to be right. The cassettes appear un-worn as well. It looks to me like it has 25s on it right now and won't go much/any bigger. So, just get a junkie for winters. Keep checking CL periodically, it shouldn't be too hard to find one. Or, if you're lucky, some type of cyclocross tires could fit and you wouldn't have to do even that.
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Old 10-05-13, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Distinguished View Post
Hm, I don't know much about bike tires greater than 23 mm, but 28 mm sounds like enough to go through some semi-rocky paths?

The bike would also have to be ride-able during winter, snow and ice and all. Maybe a sturdy pair of all terrain tires would do?

Go right ahead you should be fine with the 700x28s. I don't know what I was thinking I am sure you w2ill have miles and miles of trouble free riding.

Originally Posted by b dub View Post
The easiest and cheapest option is not to try to do it all with one bike. You would compromise on both ends. I would take something like the c'dale for most of the year and configure a mtb with drop bars for winter conditions.
Actually a good cyclocross would fit bill maybe evena Volpe depending how aggressive the OP wants to get off road.
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Old 10-06-13, 10:16 AM
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The Cannondale is the best bike. Unless the roads are in very bad shape 700 x 25c tires should be fine.

I'd buy the Cannondale if it were close. I would swap out the pedals and saddle, replace cables (possibly tires), and perform routine maintenance on the bike. It' sell for $275 - $300 in my area and I'd have a few take off parts for my bikes.
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Old 10-06-13, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by robtown View Post
The Cannondale is the best bike. Unless the roads are in very bad shape 700 x 25c tires should be fine.

I'd buy the Cannondale if it were close. I would swap out the pedals and saddle, replace cables (possibly tires), and perform routine maintenance on the bike. It' sell for $275 - $300 in my area and I'd have a few take off parts for my bikes.
You were ahead at your first paragraph. The OP wants a commuter, not a flip candidate, and as a CAAD9 owner, he probably knows about C-Dale desirability too.
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Old 10-06-13, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
You were ahead at your first paragraph. The OP wants a commuter, not a flip candidate, and as a CAAD9 owner, he probably knows about C-Dale desirability too.
Yes, my intent was to show how the Cannondale was a good value, and worth double (at least in my area) with just a bit of work. Of course my extra statements were more like bragging.
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Old 10-06-13, 01:04 PM
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It seems to me that the OP needs to determine size before going out and checking out any bike! The three bikes mentioned are completely different sizes and it could be that none of them fit at all.

OP: How tall are you? Do you know what size bike fits you best? I think we should start at the beginning of the process, where we can be most helpful...
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Old 10-06-13, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
. . .
As far as value the Cannondale is the best of the bunch but there's no way you'll fit fenders on it with any reasonably sized tire.

The Peugeot is probably the best commuter but overpriced. I suggest you keep looking.
No. 1. It's too bad that the Peugeot is overpriced because it has the most potential as a commuter since it will fit a very fat tire. I've put tires as fat as 700 by 42c on that generation Peugeot before.
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Old 10-06-13, 02:50 PM
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I ended up buying the Cannondale Yesterday (it fit fine; the top tube/stem are long, so I'm riding very aggressively, usually in the drops; seat height allows full leg extension, and I have around 1.5 inch clearance space in stand over. I'm 5' 8" with a 33.85 inch inseam).

Since the purchase I've:

1. Cleaned the bike somewhat
2. raised the seat
3. tried to adjust the stem (it's seized; need to figure out how to un-seize)
4. oiled up the chain
5. put some lights on it
6. Put a bike pump on it
7. discovered an Avocet 15 Cycling Computer w/ a dead battery
8. bought $6 used toe clip pedals at the nearest bike shop (I don't like them that much in retrospect...hard to get into on the fly)

I still need to check & grease all the wheel/stem/bottom bracket/rear-derailleur-jockey-wheel bearings, put some oil on the cables, and a few other things.

------------------------------------------------------------

Would it be incredibly expensive to change the gear/brakes into an sti set-up? I imagine I'd need to overhaul the whole drive-train, and buy levers. If so, maybe I can just fix this bike up, re-sell at $300+, and go from there. Or just keep it and hush my face.
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Old 10-06-13, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Distinguished View Post
3. tried to adjust the stem (it's seized; need to figure out how to un-seize)

Would it be incredibly expensive to change the gear/brakes into an sti set-up? I imagine I'd need to overhaul the whole drive-train, and buy levers. If so, maybe I can just fix this bike up, re-sell at $300+, and go from there. Or just keep it and hush my face.
Uhh... Don't stick ANY more money into it until you get the stem unstuck. I hope you got a big discount for that. I won't even buy a bike with a stuck stem/post unless I'm only interested in the parts, and can get it at a huge discount.
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Old 10-06-13, 06:30 PM
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Pb blaster for 24 hours
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Old 10-06-13, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
First rule of buying a used bike: "Make sure stem and seat post are not stuck." When they are stuck, I offer to allow seller to free them up, otherwise, I adjust my offer WAY down to just a few of the usable parts.

Make sure to do the obvious, like making sure wedge is released on stem. Worst comes to worst, you can cut it out (PITA).
I loosened the hex on the top of the stem, which loosens the wedge, and then I pulled up and sideways as hard as I could... in vain.

Am I doing something wrong, or?
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Old 10-06-13, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Distinguished View Post
I loosened the hex on the top of the stem, which loosens the wedge, and then I pulled up and sideways as hard as I could... in vain.

Am I doing something wrong, or?
Whack the top of the stem where the fixing bolt is with a rubber mallet. Any results? If not, proceed with hammer. Now any results? You can repeat these two steps after applying penetrating oil and letting it sit.
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Old 10-07-13, 12:06 AM
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I just dissolved a stuck stem with drain-out (some drano clone that sells for $3 in walmart).

It may work on this bike because the fork looks steel. Basically I cut off the stem with the hacksaw, sanded the inside to increase the surface area of the aluminium, and stuck the steerer tube with the remains of the stem into a gallon milk container with water. Then I proceeded to dump the whole can of drain-out into the gallon container and set it outside overnight. After a crazy reaction the stem was completely dissolved in about 6 hours. This method is probably dangerous (sodium hydroxide is very toxic and caustic), but in my hands it worked great. This is probably a last resort method.

As for cannondale - for commuters I prefer bikes with fender/rack mounts on the dropouts, which road bike cannondales rarely have.
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Old 10-07-13, 04:01 AM
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As oddjob says, PB blaster for 24 hours. Just let it soak; at about twelve hours, turn the bike upside down and spray it into the fork from the bottom.

Once it moves, stop. Spray again and let soak, for an hour or so. Repeat a couple of times.

Big thing on this process is patience. I've eventually managed to unstick nearly every stuck stem I've run across, but I do not hurry.

You can cut and collapse the stem with a drop hacksaw, but this is a time eater of a job and done as a last resort.
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Old 10-07-13, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by avzay66 View Post
I just dissolved a stuck stem with drain-out (some drano clone that sells for $3 in walmart).

It may work on this bike because the fork looks steel. Basically I cut off the stem with the hacksaw, sanded the inside to increase the surface area of the aluminium, and stuck the steerer tube with the remains of the stem into a gallon milk container with water. Then I proceeded to dump the whole can of drain-out into the gallon container and set it outside overnight. After a crazy reaction the stem was completely dissolved in about 6 hours. This method is probably dangerous (sodium hydroxide is very toxic and caustic), but in my hands it worked great. This is probably a last resort method.

As for cannondale - for commuters I prefer bikes with fender/rack mounts on the dropouts, which road bike cannondales rarely have.
Using this process, the OP could see his headtube dissolve with draino or any ammonia based product.
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Old 10-07-13, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
Using this process, the OP could see his headtube dissolve with draino or any ammonia based product.
Did you mean steerer tube? The fork will be separated from the frame to do this.

I tried ammonia like this once. Didn't do much, leaving it overnight. Eventually used a torch to break the stem free and remove it.
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