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My commuter is getting old & tired...what should i relpace it with?

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My commuter is getting old & tired...what should i relpace it with?

Old 09-24-08, 08:40 AM
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Mad Matt
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My commuter is getting old & tired...what should i relpace it with?

Hello everyone,
I have been reading this section for a while, but this is my first post!

Here's the deal, I'm a stout guy, 5'11" and 280lbs. I am 2 months into my new commute of 30+ miles a day, 5 days a week. I'm riding my 1996 Specialized Stumpjumper that I bought when I was 19! The bike was converted to a commuter long ago, solid front fork, 1.5" tires, saddle bags, etc but its been 3 years since my last bike commute, hence my current weight and now that I am riding again I have blown out a half dozen spokes on my rear wheel and more importantly I am tired of going so much slower then all of the people on road bikes, so its time for a new bike!

I need help figuring out what kind of style/type/brand of bike I should go for considering my weight; I am hoping to get back to the low 200's, but I need something that can support me now; I want something fast, burly and comfortable...is that asking to much? I wonít be taking it off road and it will get used for my commute, centuries and the odd charity ride, my goal is around 9,000 miles a year. Would a cyclocross bike be a good option? I'm hoping to spend less then $1,500 on the bike. What are your thoughts?

Cheers,
Matt
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Old 09-24-08, 08:44 AM
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LHT

It's a beefy bike that other large people have said good things about. I'm not large but I love mine. I'll caveat that by saying it's new, and everyone loves a new bike, but seriously it's a good ride and I don't htink you'll be blowing out any spokes. The wheels/tires are beefcake
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Old 09-24-08, 08:48 AM
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Trek 520 or a Novara Randonee.
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Old 09-24-08, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by timmy! View Post
LHT

It's a beefy bike that other large people have said good things about. I'm not large but I love mine. I'll caveat that by saying it's new, and everyone loves a new bike, but seriously it's a good ride and I don't htink you'll be blowing out any spokes. The wheels/tires are beefcake
+1 Surly Long haul trucker would be perfect.

A cross check would work to, they are hardly feathery racing bikes. I'm 6'2 and 245 and ride one daily, it is a custom build not a CC complete. But the LHT complete is beefier in most ways.
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Old 09-24-08, 09:27 AM
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The bikes mentioned are good or any non-superlight weight steel touring or cyclocross bike will do. The most important thing though for your weight is the wheels. Make sure you get some sturdy 32 spoke wheels. A lot of road bikes sold these days have lower spoke count wheels which look sexy and are fine for 150 lb Cat 2er but would constantly go out of true or fail on you at your weight.
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Old 09-24-08, 09:36 AM
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i bought a GT Legato from a friend a few days ago and i am loving it! 7.2-mile commute each way. the Legato is an aluminum-frame, flat bar road bike with 700c wheels and v-brakes. several other companies have similar bikes, so check those out.

a flat-bar road bike has the streamlined advanrages of a road bike but with flat bars so you sit more comfortably upright on the bike. so in some ways, it's like a mountian bike with road wheels, or you can look at it as a road bike with mountain bike handlebars.
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Old 09-24-08, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Mad Matt View Post
I'm a stout guy, 5'11" and 280lbs.
You're probably in that size range that would put you between the current 54cm/26"wheel versus 56cm/700cwheel frame sizes of the LHT. There are currently about 3,000 threads about which way to go and if the 26" wheel size is slower than a 700c or if the extra beefiness of the 26" wheel is worth the speed cost.

But, yeah, my second thought was a LHT or a Salsa Casserole or something along those lines.

My first thought was to just upgrade your current bike with a better rear wheel and some different handlebars. Throw on a set of tires along the lines of the Serfas Barrista 100psi 26"x1.25 tires and speed won't really be an issue. Ride it out until you're down to 240Lbs or so, then go shopping. Your tag line shows you in Sacramento so you can probably ride year-round. I used to live up the hill just east of Auburn and could ride almost year round except for the few days where the roads iced over with freezing rain.
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Old 09-24-08, 09:55 AM
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+1 on the Surly LHT. It has 36 spoke wheels and is made to carry a load. One of the similar class of bikes mentioned here would work too: Trek 529, Novara Randonee, Jamis Aurora, Fuji Touring, etc.

Another possibility would be the Trek Soho. It has belt drive, internal gear hub, chaingaurd, and fenders, etc. It is set up for commuting.
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Old 09-24-08, 09:57 AM
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I know you want a new bike cuz new bikes are faster, but have you considered overhauling your old bike? Clean and repack the hubs and bottom bracket, clean and re-grease the chain or better yet, replace the cassette and chain w/ new bits. Higher pressure, thinner slicks if you can find some and you'll probably find your bike runs as good as new.

As for the wheels, get them re-built or replace them w/ a lighter set of high spoke, well built wheels.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:03 AM
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Thanks for all of the input; this is exactly what I'm looking for. I have been wavering on whether or not to continue customizing my current bike or going all new. I have been keeping my current bike in great shape, and a new 32 or 36 spoke wheel set will be ordered today/tomorrow as a stop gap measure, but my big issue is that when I am not commuting it can get to be a pain to keep up with my friends on the road bikes. I can easily cruise at 17mph, but they seem to easily hold 20mph or more. Would I see a noticeable speed increase with a tourer / cyclocross on 700c wheels over my current 26" wheeled ride? I.e. is it the larger diameter wheels that make the biggest difference in terms of speed?

As to the flat bar vs. road bars, I definitely want a bike with road bars, they seem to be much more comfortable on my hands on longer rides.

Everyone seems to speak so highly of the Surly rides, so they are now on the top of my list to check out. It also sounds like a set of Velocity Deep-V’s would be an excellent upgrade to which ever new road bike I go for. Keep the suggestions coming, you all seem to be recommending bikes/brands I have never heard of before which is very cool!

Cheers,
M~
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Old 09-24-08, 12:02 PM
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Okay, with what you've added it now sounds to me like you want two bikes so my recommendation will change:

Keep updating your current bike to better fit your needs and use as a commuter bike, try different handlebars (a note will follow on this), add or keep the racks on it, try different tires to suit your commute routes and local road/trail/MUT conditions.

Then, since your road bike desire centers around speed and efficiency and keeping up with friends on road bikes I suggest you look into dedicated road bikes. Brifters (shifters integrated into the brake levers), clipless pedals (I like the Crank Bros. egg beaters and Speedplays, have used Looks, others have other opinions), a road bike with the skinny tires (for your current weight I'd stay with 25-32, probably 28's), and a seat made for riding (not one for cruising). I think you'll be happier in the end with this setup. And when you do hop onto the road bike after riding the commuter the road bike will feel like a feather under you. Your $1,500 should get you a very decent road bike, a very decent one. I like steel bikes (currently I'm around 240Lbs), others are happy with other frame materials, buy what fits and what feels good to you. If it comes with 18-24 spoked wheels see if the shop will credit or exchange them for something beefier for you. I've got a set of Mavic Open Pro CD wheels with 32 spokes set up on a MasterLight that work very well for me and have held up well as well (too many wells in there, oh well).

(The note following)
One way to save on costs when sorting stuff out, at least for me, is to keep your eyes open for rummage sale and thrift store bikes with usable components on them. I've salvaged several bikes this summer specifically to scavange parts and various handlebars for my commuter bike project. Had flat MTB bars on it with bar ends that I didn't like very much for road use. Currently running some swept back hybrid style bars with some scavanged stem-mount shifters that seems to work well. I'll probably try a set of drop bars and thumb shifters later this fall or early spring just to see how those work out (also scavanged parts). Total cost for the various parts and shifters and handlebars is less than $30 total, most of the bikes were either free or $5 or less than $15 each. Just a thought on ways to save a few bucks while you sort out what works and what doesn't.
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Old 09-24-08, 12:17 PM
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Here's a couple of bikes to consider, just an opinion, shop around and find what you like.

With Trek and Lemond parting ways you might be able to find a leftover still in stock like this Sarthe that might be discounted to fit your budget:
https://www.lemondbikes.com/bikes/roa...eel/sarthe.php

Trek 2.1
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/2_series/21/

Trek XO1 would have a little more tire clearance
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/xo/xo1/

The Salsa line are nice bikes, owners seem to like them a lot, I have no idea what the price is like
https://www.salsacycles.com/casserollComp08.html

The Salsa Pistola also looks very nice, again no idea on price
https://www.salsacycles.com/pistolaComp09.html

Here's the Surly Crosscheck Complete and within the $1,500 budget
https://www.surlybikes.com/crosscheck_comp.html

There are many other brands and models out there so I'd suggest heading down to a decent local bike shop and see what they carry, I know there's some good shops in your area. Your road biking friends can probably suggest a good shop to visit. I used to go to the shop up in Auburn, I forget the name of it though, they might have changed hands and staff by now as well so find someone more current in that area to guide you to a good shop.
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Old 09-24-08, 12:26 PM
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Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen.

I'm biased, but it's a strong and comfortable ride and very versatile and Rich Lesnik will build you up some strong wheels to support your weight. It can do light tours, commuting, weekend club rides, can fit really wide tires with fenders and racks, quill stem for almost unlimited adjustability... I love it. If Rivendell is out of your price range, many people use the Surly LHT to build something very Riv-like.
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Old 09-24-08, 12:49 PM
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If you wanna keep up w/ your roadie friends and commute on the same bike, you want to keep the weight low and still be adaptable and useful. Surly is a good start, but check out Soma and Salsa's offerings and the aforementioned Trek 520. Also check out the Raleigh Clubman and Sojourn and the Schwinn World Tour.
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Old 09-24-08, 01:05 PM
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Madness and money

Originally Posted by Mad Matt View Post
Hello everyone,
I have been reading this section for a while, but this is my first post!

Here's the deal, I'm a stout guy, 5'11" and 280lbs. I am 2 months into my new commute of 30+ miles a day, 5 days a week. I'm riding my 1996 Specialized Stumpjumper that I bought when I was 19! The bike was converted to a commuter long ago, solid front fork, 1.5" tires, saddle bags, etc but its been 3 years since my last bike commute, hence my current weight and now that I am riding again I have blown out a half dozen spokes on my rear wheel and more importantly I am tired of going so much slower then all of the people on road bikes, so its time for a new bike!

I need help figuring out what kind of style/type/brand of bike I should go for considering my weight; I am hoping to get back to the low 200's, but I need something that can support me now; I want something fast, burly and comfortable...is that asking to much? I wonít be taking it off road and it will get used for my commute, centuries and the odd charity ride, my goal is around 9,000 miles a year. Would a cyclocross bike be a good option? I'm hoping to spend less then $1,500 on the bike. What are your thoughts?

Cheers,
Matt
I am exactly the same height and I ride a 58 cm Long Haul Trucker. The LHT is perfect in stock configuration for riders in the 250-300 pound range for under $1000. I started out weighing 268 and now am 252. The 36 spoke 700c wheels are fine. You don't want a 54cm unless you have really short legs. A 56cm will be on the edge, size wise IMHO. See www.Rivbike.com for bike fit info. The ride of the 'Trucker' is nice and those stock 700x35mm wide tires are perfect for a heavy rider who wants to go faster than on a 26" MTB bike.

There is no bike that will help you stay up with lighter, fitter riders. You can't buy fitness.......otherwise, I'd be riding the TDF!!! I can really blast along on a flat, in a sprint but give me some hills and I run out of gas. Your power to weight ratio has to be in a certain range to really improve your riding. I would get a bike that will last, is comfortable and that will support your weight, then ride the beans out of it.
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