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Buying Advice: Trek Portland?

Old 03-29-16, 06:34 PM
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Khromeo
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Buying Advice: Trek Portland?

I stupidly purchased a 63cm Maruishi RX-7 which is far too large for me 2 years ago, and since I'm about 5'10" (177cm) I adjusted everything to attempt to make the bike "work," however it's just really to uncomfortable to bear anymore. Luckily I only spent about $150 on it in the first place, so lesson learned. I've been trolling the Seattle Craigslist and found this Trek Portland which appears to be a 2008. My budget is small (below $500) and I want a bike that can comfortably handle my 15-20 mile somewhat hilly commute (and maybe some short stints on somewhat packed gravel). I also like to do 30-50 mile rides on the weekends with friends/family who ride bikes that I would immediately consider to be more "setup" for speed (skinnier tires, compact crank, etc.) and I want to be able to keep up.

Here's a couple photos:



For maybe a little context into my physical abilities, I feel able to keep up that pace on my current bike, but I feel terrible on the tail-end of a long ride. After about 30-40 miles, every time I need to reach down to my downtube to shift I start to get a bit . The bike I ride has Shimano 105, and I've changed the rear cassette to give me an extra gear for hard climbs. I feel like maybe the things I'm worried could make the Trek Portland slower, would be offset at the very least by the improvements over my current bike (weight, size, etc.), but I would love to hear the thoughts of those who have more experience.

Any help is very appreciated.
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Old 03-29-16, 06:51 PM
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I have a Trek 1.2 (25m tires, compact crank) and a Crossrip (the spiritual successor to the Portland). The Crossrip is 7lbs heavier before I add the trunk bag/panniers, and I find my average speeds over the same roads are very similar. The bike will not slow you down appreciably. Test ride it, if you like it, grab it up, it looks like it's in great shape
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Old 03-29-16, 09:42 PM
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I was actually really hoping to find a Crossrip Elite or LTD, but in my price range it seemed almost impossible. Thanks for the input, I'm really hoping to give it a test.
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Old 03-29-16, 09:42 PM
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Do you know the size? Just from looking at the steering tube, it might actually be too small, so don't go too far "the other way"!

I'm 5'11" and my Trek 520 is 22.5", or about 58 cm.

Last edited by cooker; 03-29-16 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 03-29-16, 10:26 PM
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It's a 56cm, and I was mainly looking at 56cm to 58cm
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Old 03-29-16, 10:34 PM
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Okay, that sounds better than I thought.
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Old 03-30-16, 03:31 AM
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If I could own only one bike, I'd sell the other two and keep my 2006 Portland.

I'm also 5'-10" and own the 56 cm.

Kitted out with full fenders, rack and dynamo hub, my Portland is a minute or two slower on a 17-mile commute as compared to my Litespeed. It comes in at 1:00 to 1:01 as compared to 58 or 59 minutes. Mainly it's down to acceleration due to the heavier wheels. Well, and it's less aero.



The rack on yours appears to set further back than mine which will change things, but I've found that the more I carry, the better the bike rides and handles, up to about 60 or 65 pounds on the back, when it begins to lighten the front too much. Any more than that, and I'd recommend a trailer.



When the Portland was my only bike, it never felt out of place on a club ride and if there's a chance of rain in the forecast, it still gets the nod. If it actually does rain, we end up pulling the group and there's competition for who gets to ride my wheel.

Now that I own the Litespeed I'd choose differently, but the Portland is the bike I took to Colorado on vacation. While not a stellar climber, it's adequate enough that it got me to the top of the highest paved road in North America only 45 minutes behind the locals, and that was mainly because I'm a lifelong lowlander and flatlander, not the bike.



Going in the other direction, the long wheelbase and borderline high-trail front end makes it the best descender I've ever owned or ridden. Tremendously confidence-inspiring. My fastest descent ever was 48.6 MPH just two weeks after I bought the thing. (We don't have many hills around here.) That geometry also makes it rock-steady in the snow and ice when running my studded snow tires.

There are only two caveats. First I think it was the 2008 model that resolved this issue--the routing of the rear brake cable. If yours has a little chunk of housing in the curve under the BB, it's okay. Otherwise plan to reroute that cable fully housed in compressionless housing. Second, I had trouble with the stock wheels. Others haven't, so it may just have been me.

HTH!

Last edited by tsl; 03-30-16 at 03:53 AM.
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Old 03-30-16, 03:13 PM
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TSL - When you rode up to Mt. Evans did you have problems with the altitude or were you acclimated. I was there last year. I drove it. Beautiful road. My hats off to you. I took my mountain bike with me and rode some trails. The altitude kicked my butt. But I was in Denver only four days. Coloradans are one tough bunch.

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Old 03-30-16, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by scoatw View Post
TSL - When you rode up to Mt. Evans did you have problems with the altitude or were you acclimated.
I arrived in Denver on a Monday night. Rode around town on Tuesday--a metric century of JRA. Then we did Evans first thing Wednesday morning.

Th only issue I really had with the altitude--besides panting--is that on the ascent from about 12,500 ft or so to that sign in the parking lot, I don't remember much. I don't know whether it was altitude or effort, but I have clear memories then fragments, then I was at the top--crying for joy. Took a good ten minutes for the waterworks to quiet down so we could take that pic.

Originally Posted by scoatw View Post
My hats off to you.
Keep your hat on. You'll catch your death of cold.
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Old 03-31-16, 07:11 AM
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that is a good looking bike I like the disc brakes on it as well. I wish my commuter had disk.
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Old 03-31-16, 08:57 AM
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I would avoid that bike unless the wheels were already swapped out. Notoriously bad design. And then replacing the rear wheel with the funky hub spacing is a problem. Modern road disc spacing has adopted the MTB standard. Nice attempt by Trek, but sort of stranded at this point.
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Old 03-31-16, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
When the Portland was my only bike, it never felt out of place on a club ride and if there's a chance of rain in the forecast, it still gets the nod. If it actually does rain, we end up pulling the group and there's competition for who gets to ride my wheel.
Haha, probably because it's the only wheel not spraying water in the face!

As soon as I saw "Trek Portland" I thought of you and your Mr Portland, I'm glad you already gave your comprehensive recommendation.

I add my vote to the pile, OP, if the Portland fits, buy it and enjoy it. If you need easier gearing for hills, get a wider cassette.
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Old 03-31-16, 02:13 PM
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I have a trek portland. Same model as TSL. I like it although I had to replace the rear wheel as the rim was cracking at the spoke nipples. I replaced the hub as well which I had to mail order from Taiwan because of the weird rear hub spacing. The wheel is now more like a normal wheel and I haven't had to true it or anything for a couple of years. The replacement hub clicks loudly while coasting though which helps prevent coasting and helps others on MUPs hear you. That was my only problem with it. so, if the craigslist one has original wheels that can be your basis for negotiating a lower price.
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Old 03-31-16, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
And then replacing the rear wheel with the funky hub spacing is a problem. Modern road disc spacing has adopted the MTB standard. Nice attempt by Trek, but sort of stranded at this point.
Originally Posted by Nucks View Post
I replaced the hub as well which I had to mail order from Taiwan because of the weird rear hub spacing. <snip > if the craigslist one has original wheels that can be your basis for negotiating a lower price.
Like Nucks, I've had no more trouble with wheels since I ditched the Bontragers. But instead of rim cracks, I was perpetually breaking spokes.

The rear hub I used has just been updated for 11-speed. (And the price went up by $8.00!) The Velocity Road Disc hub can be ordered at any bike shop with a QBP account, or you can order one yourself direct from Velocity. Rare, yes, but certainly not unobtainable, and completely available in North America. For the record, this hub has been completely trouble-free since autumn 2009 at about 13,000 miles now. It gets ridden in all four seasons too.

Velocity also makes several rear disc hubs that are convertible between 130 and 135. The only difference between 130 and 135 hubs is the spacers on the ends. The actual axle length is identical, and a non-issue anyway since the axle fits through the dropout.

Finally, I've not actually tried this but have heard others have had success. My Portland's rear spacing measures 132.5mm--same as a Surly Cross-Check. Like the Surly, it should allow a 135mm hub without trouble. Chainline shouldn't be a problem either due to the Portland's longer chainstays. With my Velocity 130mm hub, I can run the cassette end-to-end in the middle ring without trimming. I would expect that in the worst case with a 135, you may have to trim when you're in the 9th or 10th cog, just like every 410mm chainstay racing bike on the planet, including my Dura-Ace equipped Litespeed. (Oh the horror!)

EDIT: When I replaced the rear wheel, I went whole hog and replaced the front too, and while I was at it, I went with a dynamo hub. The front hub is a Shimano Alfine DH-S501. Also completely trouble-free and highly recommended.

Last edited by tsl; 03-31-16 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 04-01-16, 08:17 AM
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Just an FYI, the 130mm Road Disc hub is no more, and we're not planning on getting them again anytime soon. The market quickly went to 135, it seems.

Our old 135 Convertible hub (or now Mountain Disc Velocity Wheels - Hand Made in USA) are not configurable to 130. They'll do 135/142, though. Our ATB Disc hub cannot be re-spaced either, unfortunately.
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Old 04-01-16, 09:32 AM
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Yeah I was going to say, the only thing I don't like about the bike in the OP is those fugly wheels. And if the bike uses 130mm rear spacing with disc brakes you're going to be SOL finding something that works.
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Old 04-01-16, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Nucks View Post
...The replacement hub clicks loudly while coasting though which helps prevent coasting and helps others on MUPs hear you. That was my only problem with it. so, if the craigslist one has original wheels that can be your basis for negotiating a lower price.

Could be that your replacement hub is a sealed cartridge unit. If so, may be hollow dry space inside cassette body and the pawls are clicking loudly and are amplified by hollow body. I have quieted them down before on a loud wheel set by packing the pawls and hollow cassette body with grease. Silent wheels for quite some time. No problems associated, in my experience...
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Old 04-01-16, 04:31 PM
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unrelated topic, we received a wall clock as a wedding present, always thought it looked nice enough but TICKED to wake the dead, annoying to have it in the same room as the TV.

Did a little online research, turns out basically any clock from any department store is just a fancy face on a trivially simple body, and if you open it up and drop in a few drops of oil, it quiets right up! Interesting to know a freehub is the same way, if it's loud just lube it more!

Here's a good instructable.

Also, you can order standard clock mechanisms on eBay for dirt cheap. I ordered 3 since they were only 74c each.
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Old 06-13-16, 11:22 AM
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Would the 56 cm be too big for a 5'8 inch person with slightly shorter legs than the average person?
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