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Recommendations for a sporty steel commuter

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Recommendations for a sporty steel commuter

Old 06-01-19, 12:09 PM
  #1  
antmaster5000
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Recommendations for a sporty steel commuter

Hey fellow bike commuters. I recently started a new job with a 16 mile commute each way. For years I've been commuting on my trusty Centurion ProTour, but I've come to the realization that I like to go fast and while I can go fast on that bike, it's more due to the engine rather than the bike (if I can toot my own horn a little ). I used to ride my carbon Trek 5200 on sunny days, and absolutely loved it, but that frame was recently totaled after a car accident. I ended up using the money from insurance and too much of my own funds to buy a BMC Team Machine SLR02, but I'm realizing that I don't feel comfortable commuting on the bike because of how much its worth. There is a locked bike room in the parking garage of my new office, and while I feel fine leaving my Centurion locked up all day, I have more reservations leaving a $4000 carbon bike locked up in a room that's enclosed in chain link fence. Also, I don't like the idea of my carbon bike getting dinged up by the bike rack and my u-lock (which happened a lot on my old 5200). There isn't really a space in my office for it (tragically), and I'm realizing that I could replace the pro tour with a racier steel frame that takes fenders.

So basically, my qualifications are race-oriented geometry, fender mounts, at least 32mm tires (would be cool to use it for light gravel as well), with disc brakes being a plus but not a requirement.
Bikes like the Surly Pacer (RIP), Soma Smoothie, Gunnar Roadie, or All City Mr. Pink seem like good options.

Any other recommendations? I'm not looking to buy anything ASAP- more trying to get a good list of options so if I see something pop up on Facebook or Craigslist I will feel comfortable biting the bullet.
This thread was largely inspired by me missing out on a Soma Smoothie frame in my size for $50 due to my own hesitation.

Thanks!
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Old 06-01-19, 12:59 PM
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Folks I know that have them really like the Soma Smoothie. All City Mr. Pink or Macho Man are nice frames.
Since you mentioned mounts, makes me think of the Surly Midnight Special. Road geometry w/ 650B wheels and WTB Byways.
I am very happy with my Bianchi Volpe for commuting but if buying new now, might very well end up on the Midnight Special.

Surly Midnight Special

Midnight Special is a road plus bike designed to provide comfort and speed on those all-day rides that extend well beyond fresh pavement.
Midnight Special shines on pot-holed, deteriorating pavement and the occasional long stretch of gravel. Its 650b road plus tires eat up road chatter and absorb all the bumps in the road like the champion it was designed to be.

When it comes to road bikes, we just want to toss a few bananas into our pockets and see where the road takes us. We seek out varied surfaces on our rides and frequently go from pavement to gravel to ****tier pavement. Midnight Special allows us to accomplish all of that quite comfortably.

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Old 06-03-19, 07:55 AM
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^^^ so far as I understand the Midnight Special is a disk Pacer with some larger clearance.

Soma ES and Fog Cutter are on my list when I'm idly shopping for this kind of thing. You could also look for a sportier old bike than yours... a bike made for 1.25" x 27" tires can usually take some decent sized 700c. Check out the "sport touring" thread in C&V.

But I also want a custom... hopefully by the time my ship comes in Steve Rex hasn't retired.
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Old 06-03-19, 11:51 AM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by antmaster5000 View Post
Hey fellow bike commuters. I recently started a new job with a 16 mile commute each way. For years I've been commuting on my trusty Centurion ProTour, but I've come to the realization that I like to go fast and while I can go fast on that bike, it's more due to the engine rather than the bike (if I can toot my own horn a little ). I used to ride my carbon Trek 5200 on sunny days, and absolutely loved it, but that frame was recently totaled after a car accident. I ended up using the money from insurance and too much of my own funds to buy a BMC Team Machine SLR02, but I'm realizing that I don't feel comfortable commuting on the bike because of how much its worth. There is a locked bike room in the parking garage of my new office, and while I feel fine leaving my Centurion locked up all day, I have more reservations leaving a $4000 carbon bike locked up in a room that's enclosed in chain link fence. Also, I don't like the idea of my carbon bike getting dinged up by the bike rack and my u-lock (which happened a lot on my old 5200). There isn't really a space in my office for it (tragically), and I'm realizing that I could replace the pro tour with a racier steel frame that takes fenders.

So basically, my qualifications are race-oriented geometry, fender mounts, at least 32mm tires (would be cool to use it for light gravel as well), with disc brakes being a plus but not a requirement.
Bikes like the Surly Pacer (RIP), Soma Smoothie, Gunnar Roadie, or All City Mr. Pink seem like good options.

Any other recommendations? I'm not looking to buy anything ASAP- more trying to get a good list of options so if I see something pop up on Facebook or Craigslist I will feel comfortable biting the bullet.
This thread was largely inspired by me missing out on a Soma Smoothie frame in my size for $50 due to my own hesitation.

Thanks!
I am in the same boat, especially since my Trek Soho DLX was stolen last week. I've been spending WAY too much time on Craigslist and the C&V forum trying to get something on the cheap. But, since you seem to be asking about a more modern bike, I would suggest you keep an eye out for the Jamis Quest (https://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/questsport.html). It seems to check all the boxes, and plus they have three different price brackets (all of which would seem to provide a solid commuter). Please follow up when you finally pull the trigger on a deal!

--Jonathan
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Old 06-03-19, 01:23 PM
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My favorite steel commuters were a BD track bike (Kilo TT), an old mint specialized Allez. Newer I would go for a Genesis (probably gotta be in Brittan for that), Jamis Quest (seems to be fairly large clearance for a road bike) or a newer Gravel bike (Raleigh Tamland). Any Tom Ritchy bike would be great, but probably not cheap (swiss cross)
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Old 06-07-19, 10:45 AM
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If you like your current Centurion and want something sportier, get a sportier Centurion. I can put 28s on my 87 Ironman Expert and there is a mm or two under the rear brake. I had a 86 Ironman that had even more room for the 28s and might have fit 32s but I never tried. I also have a 84 Centurion Turbo that seems to have a bunch of room to fit more than the 25 mm tubulars that are on it now.
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Old 06-15-19, 03:01 PM
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Just built a Soma Double Cross Disc and highly recommend it. Sporty and with fender mounts for all your commuting carrying needs as well.
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Old 06-15-19, 04:00 PM
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UJB made in the 80s.. 90s or so..
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Old 06-17-19, 07:32 AM
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I built a New Albion Privateer last fall as a commuter. I wanted a steel frame to replace my old Schwinn Voyageur that broke. I considered a Soma Pescadero but it was more expensive. The Privateer is a surprisingly nice bike. It is made from Tange Infinity tubing which is not butted but is very good quality. The frame and fork have bosses for cantilever brakes and there is ample clearance for 35mm tires with fenders.

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Old 06-17-19, 09:27 AM
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I realize the Mr. Pink is already on your list, but I will point out that the latest version of the All-City Mr. Pink is dubbed the "classic" (they returned to the steel fork on this version), and it is on sale for $999 MSRP, I believe. Not a high end build (10sp Tiagra, I believe), but it's the same frame tubing (Columbus Zona), frame geometry, etc as all other Mr. Pinks. Will accept tires as large as 700 x 32, and other than the slightly longer wheelbase to accomodate the 32mm tire width, it is a racy bike. Would make a nice backpack commuter, IMO.
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Old 06-17-19, 12:46 PM
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Aw man, you're already a step up from my LeMans. But it's nice to know that there are others who ride Centurions everyday! I just bought me an Ironman Master but I don't think that makes a good commuter with its thin tires and lack of eyelets.
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Old 06-17-19, 10:06 PM
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Pacer

I have a Surly Pacer among other bikes. My commute is about the same distance. The Pacer is a nice bike for this purpose. I had a Surly Nice Rack mounted on the back with some Chrome Industries bags. Fast commute and packed all that I needed, plus.

I picked up a Surly Crosscheck thinking it would be a better commuter bike but the frame felt really sluggish compared to the Pacer. Sold the Crosscheck. I am with you on a steel frame road geometry bike, able to accept a rack, being an ideal commuter for that distance - 30 miles per day.

That Midnight Special 650b looks really sweet.

Lots of great choices out there.
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