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Need help choosing a commuting bicycle

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Need help choosing a commuting bicycle

Old 11-18-16, 02:00 PM
  #1  
emilleejoyce
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Need help choosing a commuting bicycle

Currently I have a 1980s Schwinn sprint. I've gotten tired of constantly fixing it though (because it's honestly a piece of junk) and I've decided to buy a new bike, but I'm really overwhelmed with the number of options out there.

I commute about 12 miles a day, and ride about 60-70 miles a week. I need to be able to carry loads: lights loads (>20 lbs) 5-6 days/week + a heavy load (~50 lbs) of groceries 1 day/week. The bike MUST have drop handlebars and preferably be able to stand up to numerous potholes and bad paving jobs. The biggest problem is my budget. I would like to stay around $500 but I'm willing to spend up to $700 if it means getting a bike that will last longer. I thought I wanted a road (racing) bike, but after thinking about what I want to use my bike for, I was thinking a touring bike may be better. A cyclocross bike would be ideal I think but I haven't been able to find any that are in my price range and also have a rear rack mount.

The bikes I was looking at are the Fuji touring road bike (this is currently my top choice), fuji sportif 2.1, specialized allez e5 (not sure if it has a rack mount), or the KHS Flite 150. I know the specialized bike would be a good investment but I'm not sure if it has a rack mount or can handle load carrying, which is why I was leaning towards the fuji touring (I'm also fond of steel frames). But, if you have suggestions for other brands, please let me know what they are!
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Old 11-18-16, 02:26 PM
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check out the trek cross rip should meet all of you're criteria. Lots of similar stuff on the market too if the trek isn't exactly what you want.
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Old 11-18-16, 02:44 PM
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I'd say used is your best bet. $500 goes pretty darn far on the used market if you can bear to wait a few weeks until you see something that works.
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Old 11-18-16, 03:18 PM
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If it is a 1986 or later with 3 piece alloy cranks, I would refurb your Sprint with:

* new rear wheel.
* new Tektro R559 or R539 brakes, depending on the reach required.
* new bottom bracket.
* new chain.
* new RD if required.
* new FD if required - doubt it.
* new cables and housings.
* new balls in the headset and front wheel; with marine grease.
* fenders.
* lights.
* brifters.
* cross levers.
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Old 11-18-16, 03:31 PM
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If he's not doing the work himself, that would be more than his budget for a new bike, or close enough.
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Old 11-18-16, 04:45 PM
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I'd also go shop used at first, and see what's available in your market. But this kind of bike is fewer in number than the other categories, so it might not be that easy to find. @emilleejoyce if you post your city, some of us just enjoy poking around Craigslist for deals.

I'd normally say "REI" but their bike stock seems to be depleted. They blew out their Novara brand bikes a few months ago because they're going to launch a new Co-Op store brand in the spring. And, it's out of season and their floor space is covered in skis right now.
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Old 11-18-16, 04:59 PM
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size or height would be helpful too.
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Old 11-18-16, 05:22 PM
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I'm a 5' 6.5" female who weighs 130 lbs. I commute in Pittsburgh, PA - the roads are horrible here. My commute is mostly on the road but partly on paved trail too.

I think my sprint is from 1988 or 1989. I'd originally planned to refurb my sprint because I honestly do really like the bike, but from the little research I did, the general consensus seemed to be that sprint's are the bottom of the bottom and not worth the money.

I've been checking Craigslist but haven't found much that meets my criteria. I don't have a car so I'm limited in my searchable range.
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Old 11-18-16, 05:27 PM
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https://www.performancebike.com/weba...400317__400317 maybe?
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Old 11-18-16, 05:29 PM
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It looks to me like the Specialized Allez has a rear hole for a rack mount -
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/bi...llez-e5/106308

Lately it seems that Specialized has been putting in the rack mount hole near the dropout so you can mount a rack, but then doesn't put the upper mounts on the bike so that it looks "clean" for the people who want to look like a racer. There's a simple solution though, you buy a seatpost clamp that has a rack mounting point built into it like this one:
https://www.amazon.com/XLC-Alloy-Sea...seatpost+mount

This is what I did to put a rack onto a full carbon specialized sirrus, it looks to me like they went with the same approach there. However, I'm guessing, best to verify in person before buying it.

My experience has been that steel is nicer for comfort on the button, but worse for comfort on the hands, and it doesn't eliminate road buzz. I can't offer an opinion on the specific model you're looking at because "Fuji touring road bike" is a bit vague. :-)

If you want to buy a bike new, your prices are to low. Good entry level road bikes are more in the $800-$1,000 range.
If you want to carry 50lbs worth of groceries you're going to need a sturdier rear wheel than the bike usually comes with. Likely something with 36 spokes. If you live in Minneapolis I'd have one I'd be happy to sell you for half what I paid for it (so $50). But otherwise it's probably about $100.
The drawback of the Allez is that it won't take wider tires if you find that potholes and poor rides require it, whereas a touring or cyclocross bike usually can take wider tires.
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Old 11-18-16, 05:33 PM
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If you are in pittsburg, this might work: https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/bik/5881062257.html

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Old 11-18-16, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
It looks to me like the Specialized Allez has a rear hole for a rack mount -
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/bi...llez-e5/106308

Lately it seems that Specialized has been putting in the rack mount hole near the dropout so you can mount a rack, but then doesn't put the upper mounts on the bike so that it looks "clean" for the people who want to look like a racer. There's a simple solution though, you buy a seatpost clamp that has a rack mounting point built into it like this one:
https://www.amazon.com/XLC-Alloy-Sea...seatpost+mount
My wife had a dolche and it had rack mounts but the top ones are buried behind the brakes and it would take some creativity with bending of the rack braces but it would work.
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/bi...d/dolce/115186

You may want to call around to a local performance bike and see if they have a fuji touring in your size and even better a year or two old and it will be comfortably in your price range.
Fuji Touring Road Bike -- 2017
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Old 11-18-16, 09:32 PM
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Yes, I'm currently using seat post clamps for my sprint for that very reason.

And thanks for that craigslist link! I'm not sure how I missed that. I was scouring the website earlier today. It looks like what I need and I'll see if I can go check it out.
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Old 11-18-16, 10:09 PM
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+1 on Fuji Touring if that Cannondale doesn't fit.
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Old 11-19-16, 02:09 AM
  #15  
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For that budget, I'd look for used, as suggested. Bianchi Volpe, Specialized Tricross Sport, Jamis Aurora, and some Surly models come to mind if you care for running tires wider than 28mm.
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Old 11-19-16, 06:56 AM
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I bet they would probably take $350 for it..leave you with plenty in the budget left over to either gave a nice once over done at a bike shop, or get bags and saddle upgrade.
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Old 11-19-16, 09:36 AM
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I contacted the craigslist ad poster but I have to wait because someone else is coming to look at it. I get a chance is the potential customer "low balls" the seller.

I also found this on Craigslist: https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/bik/5862097456.html
Not sure if it's a good buy but it would leave room in my budget to fix the bike up some.
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Old 11-19-16, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by emilleejoyce View Post
I'm a 5' 6.5" female who weighs 130 lbs. I commute in Pittsburgh, PA - the roads are horrible here. My commute is mostly on the road but partly on paved trail too.

I think my sprint is from 1988 or 1989. I'd originally planned to refurb my sprint because I honestly do really like the bike, but from the little research I did, the general consensus seemed to be that sprint's are the bottom of the bottom and not worth the money.

I've been checking Craigslist but haven't found much that meets my criteria. I don't have a car so I'm limited in my searchable range.
There's currently a fairly durable 15in Specialized Stumpjumper commuter listed on eBay that might well suit you: click, listed as $599/OBO, and it's with free shipping (from Wisconsin). The Stumpjumpers of the 1990's are well-known for being stoutly built. Steel frames. Fairly light, for how strong they are, for the era. Shimano XT components. This one's decked out with drop bars, full-length fenders. Something of that sort ought to handle rougher roads well.
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Old 11-19-16, 11:47 AM
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# 1 , have a favorite Bike shop? what brands do they sell?

with just a couple factories making multiple brands .. for Importers

all things, ie"$" , being equal , dealer service after the sale makes a bigger difference..




...
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Old 11-19-16, 12:34 PM
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I don't have a preferred bike shop here yet. The one I've been to the most (because it's close to where I live) gives me some doubts because the work they do always seems to come undone pretty quickly.
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Old 11-19-16, 12:35 PM
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I found this bike on craigslist: https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/bik/5862097456.html.
Not sure if it's a good buy but I emailed the seller anyways.

The seller for the first craigslist ad has someone ahead of me looking at the bike and I'll get a chance only if the first potential customer "low balls" the seller.
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Old 11-19-16, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by emilleejoyce View Post
I don't have a preferred bike shop here yet. The one I've been to the most (because it's close to where I live) gives me some doubts because the work they do always seems to come undone pretty quickly.
If you're on a budget, I would look seriously into doing some of your own maintenance work (if you aren't already). You can do most of the work on a bike you will need to do to keep it running for multiple seasons with a screwdriver, adjustable wrench, $15 multitool, and a bottle of chain lube.
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Old 11-19-16, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by emilleejoyce View Post
The biggest problem is my budget. I would like to stay around $500 but I'm willing to spend up to $700 if it means getting a bike that will last longer. I thought I wanted a road (racing) bike, but after thinking about what I want to use my bike for, I was thinking a touring bike may be better. A cyclocross bike would be ideal I think but I haven't been able to find any that are in my price range and also have a rear rack mount.

!
For a CX bike that has rear rack mounts, look at the Nashbar Steel CX bike. Right now it's $850 minus 25% off. I use this for a daily 15 mile RT commute. Have racks, fenders, and 33mm tires mounted. The not greatest part of this bike is the brakes, which are better if you swap in some aftermarket brakes (eg. Kool Stop Cross). And you'll probably want to put some urban tires of some sort on it since it comes with cx tires.

Nashbar Steel Cyclocross Bike

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Old 11-19-16, 05:03 PM
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Yeah, if that fits the budget I would jump on that. Looks like a pretty darn nice bike for the money.

edit: though yes, I would budget at least $50 for a nice set of tires.
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Old 11-19-16, 07:42 PM
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The Fugi touring bike is a great value. I commute on a Trek 520 touring bike and I love it. I don't have any Fugi dealers near me, so I never looked closely at one. But their reputation is great.
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