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Drop bar commuter bikes

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Drop bar commuter bikes

Old 02-09-11, 07:30 PM
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Ember
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Drop bar commuter bikes

So I've been thinking of buying my next bike soon, maybe in early summer as a present for commuting all through winter. ;3 Right now I have a Trek Allant, and it's a very nice commuter bike for $500, but I want something different.

I want some drop bars, but I'm having trouble finding bikes with drops that also have eyelets for fenders and a rack (I need these). So far I have found the Kona Sutra and Trek 520 which are touring bikes, and I'm not sure if I want a touring bike for a commuter (plus according to some reviews I've found they're quite heavy). The other bikes I've found are the Civia Prospect, Kingfield, and Bryant. But I'm hesitant about these bikes because I'm having trouble finding reviews of them online.

Does anyone have any Civia bike? They seem like a small company that makes primarily commuter bikes. Plus I would like to know more about the carbon belt driven IGHs, which the Kingfield and the Bryant have. From what I read about IGHs they're heavy and lose a lot of power to friction, but I'm pretty sure they were talking about chain-driven ones and I don't know if the belt drives would be different.

Salsa cycles also have two drop bar commuters, the Vaya and the Casseroll, but they don't list the MSRP of their bikes on their site, so I have no idea how they compare in price to the others.

There is of course the beloved Surly Crosscheck and LHT. I know a lot about these ones, but I would like to know how they stack up against the other bikes I have listed.

Are there any commuter orientated drop bar bikes I've missed? I also have access to shops that sell Specialized and Giant brand bikes.

The bike that I'm liking the most despite never actually been on a bike with drops is the Civia Prospect. It's not that expensive compared to the others, and I quite like its aesthetics. ;D I'm also wary of the IGH ones because I honestly don't know much about them, especially because of the belt drive.

Also, what's the biggest different between bar-end shifters and brifters? Is it being able to leave your hands on the handlebars and shift at the same time? Because my current bike has finger triggers and like those. I know the brifters are more expensive, but I'd rather pay up and be more comfortable.

This bike will be for spring/summer/fall all weather commuting (I have another bike for the winter) and would basically be in place of a car. I don't have a car and I would like to keep it that way. Which is why I'm not afraid to put in the $$$ for a nice bike.
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Old 02-09-11, 08:02 PM
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Once you have a bike or two, it seems really hard to keep up with the new offerings.

I have a Bianchi Volpe which probably compare to a Surley Cross Check. But that Civia Prospect looks pretty nice too.

I don't see how you can go wrong with any of these offerings. A touring bike would undoubtedly work too.

Biggest thing is to narrow down the selection -- mainly based on what fits and what feels right. Take the top choice out for a lengthy ride just to be sure.
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Old 02-09-11, 08:10 PM
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Does anyone have any Civia bike? They seem like a small company that makes primarily commuter bikes.
actually Civia , as a QBP brand they are a very large company , the contracts are filled in large factorys on Taiwan, but the designs created by the Civia Division of QBP, Like their Surly and Salsa Brands , are good.

Gates Carbon belt drive is the latest widget, a roller chain has worked fine for over a hundred years.
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Old 02-09-11, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Once you have a bike or two, it seems really hard to keep up with the new offerings.

I have a Bianchi Volpe which probably compare to a Surley Cross Check. But that Civia Prospect looks pretty nice too.

I don't see how you can go wrong with any of these offerings. A touring bike would undoubtedly work too.

Biggest thing is to narrow down the selection -- mainly based on what fits and what feels right. Take the top choice out for a lengthy ride just to be sure.
Thanks for bringing that Bianchi up, I didn't even think to look for a Bianchi dealer. I found one and now I have another bike on my list :3 And I will most definitely be testing these bikes, but that prolly won't happen until it gets much warmer D:

Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
actually Civia , as a QBP brand they are a very large company , the contracts are filled in large factorys on Taiwan, but the designs created by the Civia Division of QBP, Like their Surly and Salsa Brands , are good.

Gates Carbon belt drive is the latest widget, a roller chain has worked fine for over a hundred years.
Ah, I didn't know that. I guess it just seems that way since I don't think I've seen any Civia bikes even on this forum, let alone out on the street.
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Old 02-09-11, 08:51 PM
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It reminds me a lot of the Soma Saga or the Rawland rSogn, both of which are only available as a frame & fork. I've been obsessing over the rSogn lately for some reason...

I've never seen a Civia in the wild either, but they seem to have a good reputation.
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Old 02-09-11, 09:07 PM
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Almost any bike can be pressed into commuting duty, some just take to it more readily. Cross bikes and touring ones will be the easiest, but there are the relaxed geometry/endurance/sport touring models as well.

Also, before this thread gets outta control with specific models, what is your budget? You claim to be willing to spend the $$$, but what's the ball park?
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Old 02-09-11, 09:08 PM
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I hate to say it, but I can't complain about my Nashbar touring build. I know you've been listing complete bikes, but I've seen a couple of these frames built up with pretty decent parts on eBay for dirt cheap. Even with a lbs tune-up, under $300.

That being said, if I ever were going to buy a "new" bicycle, it would be an Electra Ticino. Room enough for fenders, canti brakes, and love-it-once-you-try-it flat foot positioning.
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Old 02-09-11, 09:08 PM
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And I wouldn't bother looking for a new Bianchi Volpe, as they have been discontinued ...
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Old 02-09-11, 09:24 PM
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+1 for the Bianchi Volpe... and I thought they came out with a 2011 model? I got a 2010 for $850 back in December, but I thought they were just clearing out older models.

FWIW, here's mine:

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Old 02-09-11, 09:56 PM
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Oops, look like I was incorrect in the demise of the Volpe...
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Old 02-09-11, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Also, before this thread gets outta control with specific models, what is your budget? You claim to be willing to spend the $$$, but what's the ball park?
Whatever it takes, although I would like to keep it under 2k. I'd be willing to shell out the $1900+ for the Civia Bryant if I liked that one the best.
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Old 02-09-11, 10:35 PM
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The Scott Speedster (though, be careful with the model you chose, not all have eyelets....), Fuji Newest, Specialized Secteur. Jamis has a carbon model with rack mounts - Xenith Enduro. Those are the ones on my list, there are others out there like the Trek 1 series, Orbea had some at one time, but I think they stopped...I'm not sure, I don't have an Orbea dealer near me. If you have an REI near you, the Novara line have several with rack mounts.

Those range in price from about 500 for the Fujis to 3200 for the Jamis. Like others have said, just about any bike can be pushed into commuting duty. There is lots of bike porn to be found, you just have to find it.
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Old 02-09-11, 10:48 PM
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A local bike shop is carrying Civias and they are selling very well. Good bikes for the money. I know a few folks that ride Surly Long Haul Truckers to work and they really, really like them.

I just switched to drop bars for commuting myself. I haven't actually ridden it to work yet.



It's the same old hybrid I've been riding for several years; I just converted it to drop bars, aero brake levers and bar-end shifters.
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Old 02-09-11, 11:02 PM
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speaking of REI, i bought a Novara Road Buzz for commuting, i love that thing. it replaced a rigid mtn bike as my commuter rig. i thought the alloy fork would be a problem, but it hasn't been an issue. now i'm thinking of getting a second set of wheels to mount studded tires for winter commutes.

to get prices on the Salsas, just google the models and see what pops up. probably cambria has them online.
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Old 02-09-11, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Ember View Post
Thanks for bringing that Bianchi up, I didn't even think to look for a Bianchi dealer. I found one and now I have another bike on my list .
Recommendations: Ditch the stock pedals, upgrade the wheels (the stock wheels seem to have broken spoke problems after 1,000 or so miles), and have the shop remount the front brake cable housing stop to the FORK instead of the stem. The canti brakes are great, but the front can chatter a bit unless you move the housing stop to the fork.

Things to love about the Volpe as a commuter:NICE geometry for the job, mounts and clearance for up to 38c tires, LIGHT, if you DO have to carry the bike, the flat spot on the underside of the top tube ROCKS for comfort on the shoulder, Brifters if that's your thing (it is for me). I got about 8,000 miles on my Volpe and still am in love with it.
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Old 02-09-11, 11:07 PM
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A friend recently bought the derailleur version of the civia bryant. He seems pretty happy. You can always swap parts on your current bike. I have a 1986 Stumpjumper that I put drop bars with bar-end shifters. I'm liking that bike a lot right now.
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Old 02-09-11, 11:10 PM
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Haha, I think I've fallen in love with that Bianchi Volpe. I looove that cream color. That one is definitely on my list. Thanks for all the suggestions guys, I really appreciate it. :3
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Old 02-10-11, 12:56 AM
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CX bikesssss

thats what im doing. just swapping tires for a slightly smaller and throwing fenders and rack/panniers
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Old 02-10-11, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Ember View Post
Also, what's the biggest different between bar-end shifters and brifters? Is it being able to leave your hands on the handlebars and shift at the same time? Because my current bike has finger triggers and like those. I know the brifters are more expensive, but I'd rather pay up and be more comfortable.
I think it's more a question of which matches your cycling style more closely, rather than which is "better" or "more comfortable".

While everyone has their own unique style, in general, most of us fall into two categories--those who find a gear and stick with it, and those who find a cadence and stick with it.

If you find a gear and ride it--adjusting your cadence and pedal pressure with changes in traffic, terrain and wind--then bar end or downtube shifters will work just fine for you. (Or in the extreme, a fixie.)

I'm in the other category. I've found a fairly narrow band of cadence and pedal pressure that I prefer. Thus, I shift gears frequently in order to stay in that range. I'll run the cassette from one end to the other and back between stoplights. Integrated levers facilitate that. They let me shift so easily that I'm not even aware that I'm shifting. It's just that automatic. If I had to use bar ends or downtubes, my right hand would never be on the bars.
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Old 02-10-11, 06:47 AM
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im one of the first versions. tho ive never ahd a geared bike other than a DT shifter bike. this new bike is gonna take some getting used to
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Old 02-10-11, 07:20 AM
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Do a Google search for the Salsa Casseroll. The new 2011 models are just becoming available. You can buy the frame, fork and stem for about $600, or the complete bike for about $1,200. This is a very well designed bike for commuting, light touring.
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Old 02-10-11, 10:27 AM
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I also have a Bianchi Volpe, it is a 2008 model (pictures in my signature) and I have enjoyed it very much using it as a commuter and a road bike. I would be hesitant to suggest a new Volpe becuase it seems like some of their components are going down hill. Like I said, I have a 2008 model and I would say some of my components are questionable at best.

You mentioned a Specialized dealer being near by. When I was shopping around the Specialized Tricross was one of the bikes on my short list, the only reason I took it off of the list was because a former-Specialized-now-Giant dealer told me that the Tricross is designed to use only Specialized brand racks and fenders. I'm not sure how true that is but it could be something to consider. If it turns out to be not true then I would take a look at the Tricross.
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Old 02-10-11, 12:31 PM
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I bought my Bianchi Volpe in June 2009. I had a problem with breaking spokes on the rear wheel. I rode it with panniers fully loaded, including a laptop, and I weigh 190, and I ride HARD.

My LBS put heavier duty spokes on it and I haven't broken a spoke since - over a year ago. It's been a very good bike ever since. I have a slight problem with heel strike on the panniers - but it hasn't been bad enough for me to do anything about it - at least, not yet. But I did have to put a piece of duct tape on the corner of the pannier, where my heel strikes had frayed the canvas.
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Old 02-10-11, 01:11 PM
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What do you want your new bike to do that your Trek is not? Do you want to go faster, carry a lot of gear, join in a bike club and go for rides, be more comfortable on distances?

From your description it sounds like you want something along the lines of a sports-touring type bike or cyclocross. The Volpe, TriCross, CC, Aurora all seem like they should fit the bill.
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Old 02-10-11, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Ember View Post
So far I have found the Kona Sutra and Trek 520 which are touring bikes, and I'm not sure if I want a touring bike for a commuter (plus according to some reviews I've found they're quite heavy).

This bike will be for spring/summer/fall all weather commuting (I have another bike for the winter) and would basically be in place of a car. I don't have a car and I would like to keep it that way. Which is why I'm not afraid to put in the $$$ for a nice bike.
Two of my three bikes are touring bikes, so I'm perhaps biased. Ever so slightly.

I think a touring bike is the multi-purpose vehicle of the bike world. If you want to go fast, put on some light wheels and go ride. If you need to carry home a half bushel of apples (done that!), toss the panniers on and ride to the orchard. Commute, add a headlight when daylight time ends and keep going.

I get a bit of guff occasionally (especially when I'm in shape and can ride with the wanna-bes on their carbon bikes). But I ride 50 miles on the days everybody else is riding 26 miles, and the extra weight is reliability. Spokes are less like to break, tires are less likely to flat, and I barely notice the "GRAVEL!" everybody else is shouting about.

At least until I notice the tire is worn through...
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