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Have money, need help. (Bike Purchase Advice)

Old 12-28-09, 12:08 PM
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Have money, need help. (Bike Purchase Advice)

I feel lame for starting this thread as I know it is a constant occurrence, but I've been reading and pricing things out, and nothing is clicking.. Please forgive me...

So, I have some Christmas money in my pocket, and riding to work in the dead of winter has finally convinced the wife that my desire to commute by bicycle is real and sincere. Thus I have been given permission to buy me a new bicycle (can you guess who wears the pants in my family?).

Right now I have a GT Chucker 1.0 (https://www.comparestoreprices.co.uk/...-jump-bike.jpg) that a friend's little brother bought and never used so he gave it to me. This was about the exact opposite of the bike I wanted, but the price was right and I have actually grown to love the thing. It is big and bulky, but is great to have for this time of year, and there are some great mountain bike courses near-by that I fully intend on introducing it to.

What I *think* I want is a road bicycle.. What I'm looking for is something super versatile that can be used as my commuter when the weather warms up and also be used for some bicycle tours/events in the 100 to 200 mile range... Not intending on racing, but am planning on doing things like the Scioto River Valley tour (www.tosrv.org) and such. So basically a road bike that I can put fenders and racks on and has a good amount of gears and such. Pretty sure I want drop bars for the different riding positions. And would very much like to avoid disc breaks (only thing I hate about my GT.. Separate thread for that flame war

I have a budget of approx $600. If I go new then I'd love to support the LBS which carries Cannondale, Giant, Trek, and Gary Fisher. I'm not opposed at all to going used, and have been watching Craigslist, but am honestly a bit hesitant to buy from there for fear of grabbing a clunker.

Right now the Cannondale Quick 5 seems like a good choice after adding the handlebars I want.

Any thoughts / recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 12-28-09, 03:24 PM
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in your price range, used is your best option. for your wants, a cyclocross (or commuter specific) bike is your best option. i can't say i'm super familiar with offerings, that would fit your needs, from the brands offered at your LBS.

kona makes a few different models that might fit what you want, the jake is a fairly straight-foward cyclocross bike. they also make the smoke which is hybrid-esque, but more aggressive than a bike typically branded as a "hybrid" it also comes with fenders, which would save you a little bit of money. kona also makes the dew, which is a little more fancy than the smoke, but it's the same principle.

you should convince her to let you spend a little more money, then you can look into a surly long-haul trucker or cross check. both are very versatile bikes that can take a lot of abuse.

specialized makes a few different cyclocross models that are highly regarded. they also make a more aggressive hybrid bikes called the sirius.

there are tons of makes/models out there.
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Old 12-28-09, 05:10 PM
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For the desires you described I'm leaning towards a cyclocross or touring type bike. However for that price range I don't think you will find many LBS that will have something along those lines. You might find some deals however as LBS are looking to stock 2010 models. As far as Craigslist goes I think you will find more offerings around April to June and then August to September. Hold on to the money for now and see what happens around spring. I assume you've done things to commuterize your current ride (i.e. change tires, saddle, grips, rack, lights, fenders, etc.).
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Old 12-28-09, 06:11 PM
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Before you go the used route, make sure you know what size bike you need for a given model. A badly sized bike can be uncomfortable at least and dangerous at worst. Ride it before you buy it.
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Old 12-28-09, 06:46 PM
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Three bikes that I think would be perfect for you are the Salsa Casseroll Triple, Masi Speciale Randonneur, or Surly Pacer. However, all of these are around $1100 new. (Cyclocross/touring bikes like the Bianchi Volpe or Surly Crosscheck are also good choices but I think road brakes are easier to deal with than cantilevers).

I think you are going to have to go used at that price range. That's going to make things tricky since bikes like the ones I listed are hard to find - most people buy racing style road bikes which don't make good commuters. Good all-around road bikes are not very popular. It would be a big mistake to buy a new flat bar bike and switch the handlebars - the costs involved would be fairly high and you would be better off buying a bike that already had drop bars. Keep in mind that not only would you have to swap out the bars, but you'd need new brake levers and shifters and likely a new stem as well.
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Old 12-28-09, 07:08 PM
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you can always take the bike off craigslist for a ride, to the bike shop and ask them how good of shape it is in.
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Old 12-28-09, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Schnayke
you can always take the bike off craigslist for a ride, to the bike shop and ask them how good of shape it is in.
Sneaky! I like it.
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Old 12-28-09, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by exile
You might find some deals however as LBS are looking to stock 2010 models. As far as Craigslist goes I think you will find more offerings around April to June and then August to September.
Yeah, I was hoping that I might be able to score some deals at the LBS with the year end. Was also hoping that Craigslist might have a bunch of people unloading their old bikes after opening some Christmas goodies. So far Craigslist in my area has been full of absolute junk or super-nice stuff way outside of my price range, but nothing in the middle.

Originally Posted by exile
I assume you've done things to commuterize your current ride (i.e. change tires, saddle, grips, rack, lights, fenders, etc.).
Haven't done too much, actually. Changed the saddle, stem, seatpost and added some lights. The LBS had to order 2 different seat posts to find one that was tall enough. The bike is meant to be a dirt jumper and the seat is very low down in relation to the pedals and handlebars. Had to find a really long post to actually get myself high enough up to pedal efficiently. The bike has absolutely nowhere on it to mount fenders or racks. I just deal with getting dirty and carry a messenger bag. It really is the exact opposite of the bike I was hoping to get, but it is still a whole lot of fun to ride.
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Old 12-28-09, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ollyisk
you should convince her to let you spend a little more money
Spot on!! Approving more money will save you from "upgrade-itis" and Mrs. from headache. Think about it - you will shrug at most threads because you have got it already!!!! Packaged componentry is cheaper than open stock, etc. etc.

Originally Posted by ollyisk
Specialized makes a few different cyclocross models that are highly regarded. they also make a more aggressive hybrid bikes called the Cirrus.
I am biased towards Tricross, I am in love with mine. Nearly 3K since Feb 2009 and trouble-free. After stock tires wore out I put a pair of Conti 4-seasons in 28 mm size and somewhat stodgy machine really came alive.

Cirrus has been called on more than one occasion a flat bar roadie. Both are bad-@55 commuters. What I like about both lines is that there are several option packages at various price levels.

Have fun and good luck convincing Mrs.

SF
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Old 12-28-09, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Schnayke
you can always take the bike off craigslist for a ride, to the bike shop and ask them how good of shape it is in.
Cute. In all seriousness, any thoughts on key things to look for when trying to buy a used bike? One of my problems is I live in a small town that is a good distance away from any major Craigslist cities, so I don't wanna make a whole lot of wasted trips to check out bikes. People on Craigslist seem by and large completely incapable of taking anything approaching a decent picture.
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Old 12-28-09, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Thor29
Salsa Casseroll Triple, Masi Speciale Randonneur
Just looked both of those up and fell in love... Especially with the Masi. Dammit. *drool*
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Old 12-28-09, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Thor29
(Cyclocross/touring bikes like the Bianchi Volpe or Surly Crosscheck are also good choices but I think road brakes are easier to deal with than cantilevers).
There's actually a nice looking Volpe on eBay right now for what looks like a decent price, but I'm not keen on buying something without riding it first. Also not sure the best way of determining the right size for me without actually sitting on it and pedaling for a while.

https://cgi.ebay.com/Bianchi-Volpe-Cy...#ht_9579wt_772
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Old 12-28-09, 08:23 PM
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I'm a cross check fan myself and also appreciate the other brands mentioned.

Don't cringe, but at that price point you may want to look real close at Schwinn's commuters - Globe and World Tour. They have a couple of nice tricked out commuters that seem they'd be OK to stretch for the occasional long tour.

Do NOT overlook the cost and comfort-value of all the extra little things on a commuter - fenders, lights, bell, maybe a kickstand, rack. You'll also want some clothing & accessories. If you've already got it, or that's OK to add on top of your $600, then great. But if you're talking $600 bike only and CINCFAM is talking $600 all in, then you'll either be doing a lot of without, or you're in for a magical matrimonial moment when she tallies up all the extras. The Schwinns come pretty well equipped.

Going used or talking her into $1200 are also viable plans.
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Old 12-28-09, 08:30 PM
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it's not what you get; it's what you do with it. buy what you can afford, well, actually a few hundred under what you can afford, then put that couple hundred into your conversions. or you can just keep looking for an old Schwinn 10-speed your size on craigslist and put some money into it fixing it up. don't over spend and then spend even more customsizing it.
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Old 12-28-09, 08:45 PM
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Check your local thrift shops. I picked up a 1980 Japanese built schwinn traveler for $15 with all original components. I just recently sold my Cross Check and I will be getting a Bike Friday soon. Consider a folder too. Dahon makes a few complete bikes under your price range.
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Old 12-28-09, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by sci_femme
Spot on!! Approving more money will save you from "upgrade-itis" and Mrs. from headache. Think about it - you will shrug at most threads because you have got it already!!!! Packaged componentry is cheaper than open stock, etc. etc.


I am biased towards Tricross, I am in love with mine. Nearly 3K since Feb 2009 and trouble-free. After stock tires wore out I put a pair of Conti 4-seasons in 28 mm size and somewhat stodgy machine really came alive.

Cirrus has been called on more than one occasion a flat bar roadie. Both are bad-@55 commuters. What I like about both lines is that there are several option packages at various price levels.

Have fun and good luck convincing Mrs.

SF
I also love the Tricross. I have owned many bikes and this is the best so far.
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Old 12-28-09, 10:35 PM
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If you have a KHS dealer near you, I'd say this with some of Nashbar's trekking bars. Keeps you under your budget.
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Old 12-29-09, 12:53 AM
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Here is another suggestion, FWIW: There is a great deal on this bike until Dec. 31st. It seems to fit your criteria; it has eyelets for fenders and racks, decent components, drop bars, rim brakes, and should hold up well for commuting/light touring. The sale price leaves money left over for the aforementioned fenders and racks, plus enough for lights, locks, and a few more accessories. You could still support your LBS by getting all of your accessories there and letting them perform any maintenance that you can't handle yourself. Also, you could get them to give you a professional sizing so you know what size frame to order.

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Old 12-29-09, 02:23 AM
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If you can catch a good midwinter sale, you might be able to get something decent from an LBS (mine has a two day sale next weekend that I'm looking forward to...last year I picked up a Jamis Aurora for $700 CAD), otherwise $600 is better spent on a used bike. "Road bike" is a pretty broad category encompassing pretty much everything with drop bars and tires of 30mm or less. For your purposes, I'd agree with those above suggesting cyclocross or touring style bikes. Try both on and decide what feels best to you. I've never ridden a cross bike, but I love my touring bike and I ride it everywhere. It's not as fast as a racing bike, but it carries a load and is a joy to ride. No lack of eyelets here.

The main disadvantage is that tourers are typically a bit heavier, so the starting off at every light is a bit slower than you'd get on a lighter bike.
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Old 12-29-09, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by snorkel

What I *think* I want is a road bicycle.. What I'm looking for is something super versatile that can be used as my commuter when the weather warms up and also be used for some bicycle tours/events in the 100 to 200 mile range... Not intending on racing, but am planning on doing things like the Scioto River Valley tour (www.tosrv.org) and such. So basically a road bike that I can put fenders and racks on and has a good amount of gears and such. Pretty sure I want drop bars for the different riding positions. And would very much like to avoid disc breaks (only thing I hate about my GT.. Separate thread for that flame war

I have a budget of approx $600. If I go new then I'd love to support the LBS which carries Cannondale, Giant, Trek, and Gary Fisher. I'm not opposed at all to going used, and have been watching Craigslist, but am honestly a bit hesitant to buy from there for fear of grabbing a clunker.

Thanks!
Snorkel, based on your riding requirements and budget of around $600, I would suggest a purchasing a bike on the web to get the best value. Take a look at the commuter bikes at this site ...

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm

27 Speed Touring 2009 Windsor Tourist $599.95
Shimano Tiagra/Deore, CrMo Fork + Free Rear Rack, Touring Tires


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Old 12-29-09, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by FlatSix911
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm

27 Speed Touring 2009 Windsor Tourist $599.95
Shimano Tiagra/Deore, CrMo Fork + Free Rear Rack, Touring Tires
I was looking at a few bikes at this website... So what's the deal with BikesDirect? Are they an okay place to deal with?
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Old 12-29-09, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by slcbob
Don't cringe, but at that price point you may want to look real close at Schwinn's commuters - Globe and World Tour. They have a couple of nice tricked out commuters that seem they'd be OK to stretch for the occasional long tour.
I checked out Schwinn earlier, and was pretty surprised. The World Tour DLX looks like exactly the type of bike that I'm wanting, but it is just shy of a $1,000.
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Old 12-29-09, 06:56 AM
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Any thoughts on this?

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cross_cx3.htm
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Old 12-29-09, 07:02 AM
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I have seen some killer deals on line lately for Salsa Casserolls. It would be ideal for your purposes, a real do-it-all bike. More than your current budget though.
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Old 12-29-09, 08:47 AM
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Bikes Direct is thoroughly legit, has been around for a while. I've bought 3 bikes from them. White label frames from huge reputable manufacturers with old recycled brand name stickers slapped on them with components bought in BULK cheap rates. You will get EXACTLY what you purchase and they will stand behind that. Otherwise, no service, hence low overhead and the great price.
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