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Looking for Bike to Commute and Weekend Rides

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Looking for Bike to Commute and Weekend Rides

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Old 02-21-09, 12:51 AM
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natoquick
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Looking for Bike to Commute and Weekend Rides

Greetings all. First post here.

I'm looking for a good commuter bike that can also double as a weekend rider, maybe 40-50 miles, with some longer ones mixed in, preferably costing less than $800, but I can be convinced for something a little more than that. I don't necessarily need a rack, since I'm used to riding with a backpack currently. My commute is about 25 miles round trip and my current bike is a cheap dual suspension Mongoose MTB. I'm not too concerned about the handlebar style, but I'm accustomed to the straight bar.

I'm looking for something fairly durable that can handle some potholes (my office is in a fairly industrial area), but can also climb (I live in Seattle and commute over a couple big hills), and be used as something for longer recreational rides. I like to ride fast and hard, so I'd like something somewhat sporty. I'm not tied to a particular brand, but I am thinking of using my upcoming REI 20% off coupon on a new bike.

I'm probably going to visit a couple LBSs soon and see what they have to say, and maybe feel out a few different bikes. I've also looked around online and found a wide mix of road/hybrid/touring/cyclocross bikes that all seem to have some pluses and minuses associated with them (as one would expect).

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-21-09, 02:17 AM
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Cyclocross bike (with slick tires).
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Old 02-21-09, 06:58 AM
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I like these and there's a current REI model in there too.

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=368115
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Old 02-21-09, 11:56 AM
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Touring bike or Cyclocross bike.

Touring:

Jamis Aurora, Surly LHT, Rocky Mountain Sherpa 30, Fuji Touring, Trek 520, Novara Randonee

Cyclocross:

Surly Cross-check, Specialized Tricross, Bianchi Volpe

There are several other touring and cyclocross models - these are ones that come to mind. I think most of these might be a little more than you were thinking, but most of them come in at $900-$1500.
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Old 02-21-09, 01:27 PM
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If I was in your situation, I'd want something with a compact crank or triple crank, for climbing, plus ability to take fatter tires, and fenders.

Just looking quickly at REI.com, I'd suggest looking into:
Novara Randonee (may be a little sluggish and/or heavy for what you need/want)
Cannondale Touring (ditto)
Raleigh Clubman (I think this is a really well thought out bike)
Kona Jake the Snake- may not take fenders, tho it looks like it does. I have the next model down (Jake) which has the same frame and I've changed out the stock fork to a carbon one like the JTS's, and I love this thing. I have had zero problems with the triple crank and the 8-speed drivetrain but if I was to go back in time 3 years, I'd have stretched for the extra cash and got the JTS.
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Old 02-21-09, 02:59 PM
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Just about any road bike will work for you. Maybe a Trek 1200 since it's in your price range and is fairly quick. I think it comes with a triple also. Rack mounts as well. I had one and hated it, but that's because I have a bad wrist, it will probably be fine for you.
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Old 02-21-09, 04:21 PM
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Spend more. I'd recommend a cross check or a long haul trucker from Surly.

I'm quite impressed that you do a 12 mile commute on a wal-mart bike. You must really love biking. Good for you.
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Old 02-21-09, 05:46 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions!

I will admit I'm more of a fairweather commuter, usually only during the summer months when the sun is up longer and it's drier. But if I get a good bike, I'll probably do it more months of the year.

I was thinking of visiting an LBS today, but I'm laid up with a bit of a cold.
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Old 02-24-09, 12:13 AM
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I like the looks of the Specialized Sirrus Elite. Seems like the fastest and most comfortable you can get in an upright handlebar bike ($880 retail):
http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkM...=39273&eid=121

If you're doing 40 to 50 mile rides, though, you might prefer a curly handlebar bike. While the bent over posture requires a better fitting and somewhat more flexibility, the curly bars give you several different hand positions to switch between over the course of the ride, rather than forcing your hands to be in the same position and pressing at the same points the whole ride.
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Old 02-24-09, 07:45 AM
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For those distances I'd also want a roadie if possible.
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Old 02-24-09, 08:20 AM
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Go to REI and ride anything that catches your eye.
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Old 02-24-09, 01:15 PM
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I was in a nearly identical situation as you, and interestingly enough, I was really into getting a Novara too. My commute is only 12 mi round trip though. But, I really wanted a road/touring bike that would be good for commuting as well as weekend rides around 20-30 miles (hopefully more as I got in better shape).

The Novaras I liked were the Randonee and Divano. The Divano seemed like an excellent option, since it is basically a road bike with some minor touring bits (braze-ons for a rear rack). Plus, it has a really nice solid red color with black lettering in 2009 too - looks nice. I went to REI and was really disappointed that the Divano sizing goes from 55 straight to 59. I am 6'1" tall. I tried out both and the 59 was way too big and the 55 seemed too small. UGH!!! Back to the drawing board.

I called my local Performance Bike shop after getting a flyer with the leftover 2008 Fuji Roubaix on sale. This bike is offered in the more regular sizes, 56, 58, 61... They had a 58 (good fit for me) and offered it for $700. It is more of a pure road bike though, since it has carbon seatstays, which cannot take a rack. But, I have commuted my short 6 mi ride each way with a backpack before, and will continue to do so. Plus, at my work they allow bike commuters to reserve lockers full-time so I can store a lot of stuff and not carry it every day (soap, shampoo, shoes, towel).

So, now I own a Fuji Roubaix that I plan to commute on once the weather gets a little warmer. It's more of a road bike than a commuter, but for a short commute, it should do great. And on the weekends will be a lot of fun for those longer routes.

Bottom line: Look at the Novara Divano and Fuji Roubaix. Hopefully one will fit you well and they will both come in under your budget when on sale.

Good luck!
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Old 02-24-09, 01:31 PM
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Surly Cross Check. It's a good road bike for MTBer's.
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Old 02-24-09, 08:49 PM
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Consider the Trek Soho or Soho S, however I think the Trek Valencia would be better off if you plan on riding longer distances because it is not a singlespeed.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:19 PM
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Cyclocross, ride a bunch of them.
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Old 02-25-09, 02:38 PM
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What do you guys think about the Novara Buzz Road bike? http://www.rei.com/product/779985

Price looks pretty good, especially when you factor in 20% off whenever I get that coupon. The compact crank appeals to me. And it can take fenders and a rack.
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Old 02-25-09, 04:01 PM
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A poster named weatherall123 just bought one of those like a week or two ago... search for his thread. The price is good.
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Old 02-25-09, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
Touring bike or Cyclocross bike.

Touring:

Jamis Aurora, Surly LHT, Rocky Mountain Sherpa 30, Fuji Touring, Trek 520, Novara Randonee
Same bikes I would be interested in as well if I was hopping for a new bike. The big gain is the seat to bar hight is about the same on all those bikes. Going from a MTB to a road bike those bikes offer a easy transisiton with the higher bars.

I put about 1200 miles on a Hybrid style bike and then moved into a Touring bike as my commuter. Never look back now and I do 30-45 mile rides most weekend. Love the drops when fighting the wind. On the other hand I still can't handle any real distance on a race style bike without a lot of back complaints. It is bad enough I'm selling my Crit bike.

I know somebody that took an off the shelf Randonee and rode it from Key West FL to Anchorage AK. Had a back wheel problem but he said he felt it was his fault for not putting some miles on it and then having the wheel trued before taking off on the trip. No other complaints he said.

Only other thing I would recommend is invest in a good seat. I'm thrilled with my Brooks. Worth every penny. I hear good things about the mid line and up Terry's as well.
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Old 02-25-09, 05:16 PM
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Surly Cross Check, i love mine to pieces, and can do just about anything and everything with it. It truly is a swiss army knife of a bike.
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Old 02-25-09, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by natoquick View Post
What do you guys think about the Novara Buzz Road bike? http://www.rei.com/product/779985

Price looks pretty good, especially when you factor in 20% off whenever I get that coupon. The compact crank appeals to me. And it can take fenders and a rack.
I think that looks pretty sweet, especially for $800. The Avid BB7 brakes will be great in the rain, and the Gossamer crank is really solid. The Tiagra components are pretty decent too.
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Old 02-25-09, 06:05 PM
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I have to say though, the handlebar on that Buzz looks terrible. I would see if you could get 'em to swap that out before purchase.
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Old 02-25-09, 07:19 PM
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That bar is the venerable WTB Dirt Drop - I've always thought it looks a bit like the Nitto Randonneur. I've never tried either but I like the idea of some flare. The bar on my road bike (Ritchey BioMax Pro) has a few degrees of flare and I love it.

Maybe I should test ride a Buzz Road to see...
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Old 02-25-09, 07:29 PM
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That is a sweet looking ride... for the parts it is specked with it's a pretty good deal and with 20% off you will come in at around your $800.00.
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Old 02-25-09, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I have to say though, the handlebar on that Buzz looks terrible. I would see if you could get 'em to swap that out before purchase.
I have a pair ordered, just waiting to be put on my touring bike. Take that back!

Edit: I suppose I should be helpful, that does look like a cool bike, I'd get it, it should be great for your commute
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Old 02-25-09, 11:55 PM
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I say this bike or this one. Do a search. There are some forum member owners who are quite pleased with them.
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