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Best option for fast city bike

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Best option for fast city bike

Old 06-01-12, 07:12 PM
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Best option for city bike <30lb

My wife wants me to build her a new bike. Her current bike is a cheap Diamondback with a stem riser and city bars (my mods). She likes this setup.

She would like a better bike, with the possibility of doing longer rides, possibly even a century. She knows that a bolt upright position is not ideal for this, so she wants something that she can get more aggressive on, but out of the gate it will get Nitto Albatross bars with Ergon grips.

I am looking for something with a long, high head tube that I can get the bars high without a stem riser, and something that, in time, I can get the bar height closer to the seat. At or below the seat is not an option at all. I prefer steel, and I'm planning on building up from the frame. My current contenders are:

Surly LHT (A bit on the heavy side)
Soma Double Cross
Rivendell Betty Foy (a huge budget stretch)

Bikes I have eliminated:
Cross Check: head tube too short
Soma Buena Vista: Not enough clearance for fat tires and fenders

What else am I missing that would be a good possibility? She also wants a girly color, but I'm in Portland, so painting is less than a $200 option. I would also like a kickstand plate, but that is negotiable as well.

Last edited by aggiegrads; 06-02-12 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 06-02-12, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads
My wife wants me to build her a new bike. Her current bike is a cheap Diamondback with a stem riser and city bars (my mods). She likes this setup.

She would like a better bike, with the possibility of doing longer rides, possibly even a century. She knows that a bolt upright position is not ideal for this, so she wants something that she can get more aggressive on, but out of the gate it will get Nitto Albatross bars with Ergon grips.

I am looking for something with a long, high head tube that I can get the bars high without a stem riser, and something that, in time, I can get the bar height closer to the seat. At or below the seat is not an option at all. I prefer steel, and I'm planning on building up from the frame. My current contenders are:

Surly LHT (A bit on the heavy side)
Soma Double Cross
Rivendell Betty Foy (a huge budget stretch)

Bikes I have eliminated:
Cross Check: head tube too short
Soma Buena Vista: Not enough clearance for fat tires and fenders

What else am I missing that would be a good possibility? She also wants a girly color, but I'm in Portland, so painting is less than a $200 option. I would also like a kickstand plate, but that is negotiable as well.

Specialized Vita??
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Old 06-02-12, 04:02 AM
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Just to point out that the buena vista has clearance for 42s and fenders if you use 650b wheels. You might look at handsome cycles, the she devil looks nice. Another option is the salsa vaya, slightly more expensive with discs, though it's based off of a touring bike. If you're in Portland, you can drop by clever cycles and see their thoughts.
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Old 06-02-12, 04:11 AM
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comment on the Surly CrossCheck since I've got one...
If you're building from the frame up, short headtube isnt that big an issue, since the uncut fork has about 30cm of steerer; 20cm protruding above headtube on the 14" frame.

Also, Surly Troll with skinny slick tires; easilly my favorite bike. Currently my most functional city/commuter bike. Sure, it looks like a mtb, but its comfortable, and 26" wheels actually seem to accelerate easier than the 700c on my CrossCheck.
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Old 06-02-12, 04:56 AM
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What about the Kona Roundabout mixte? Nice looking bike, steel frame, not a girly colour though but still attractive. Single ring up front maybe a problem in those longer rides but that can be switched out.
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Old 06-02-12, 06:32 AM
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How about a Handsome "She devil" Its similar in the steel mixte spirit to the Rivendell "Betty Foy, which is an astonishingly beautiful frame but, far more budget friendly. You could start with albatross bars (which I love) then later easily switch to a drop bars. The head tube itself isn't super tall but the steerer tube is long at 400mm and the overall geometry more upright. Looks like it's sold as a frame and fork only, and I take it you might be OK with that, a custom build is more fun anyway. You get far more buy in from the customer that way!

https://handsomecycles.com/bicycles/she_devil.php
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Old 06-02-12, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads
My wife wants me to build her a new bike. Her current bike is a cheap Diamondback with a stem riser and city bars (my mods). She likes this setup.

She would like a better bike, with the possibility of doing longer rides, possibly even a century. She knows that a bolt upright position is not ideal for this, so she wants something that she can get more aggressive on, but out of the gate it will get Nitto Albatross bars with Ergon grips.

I am looking for something with a long, high head tube that I can get the bars high without a stem riser, and something that, in time, I can get the bar height closer to the seat. At or below the seat is not an option at all. I prefer steel, and I'm planning on building up from the frame. My current contenders are:

Surly LHT (A bit on the heavy side)
Soma Double Cross
Rivendell Betty Foy (a huge budget stretch)

Bikes I have eliminated:
Cross Check: head tube too short
Soma Buena Vista: Not enough clearance for fat tires and fenders

What else am I missing that would be a good possibility? She also wants a girly color, but I'm in Portland, so painting is less than a $200 option. I would also like a kickstand plate, but that is negotiable as well.
I really like my soma doublecross; I use it mainly to commute in but it works great as a road bike as well.
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Old 06-02-12, 07:05 AM
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You already have the bike, so work on the engine for the fast part.
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Old 06-02-12, 08:19 AM
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Depending upon your wife's height, I'd say, grab either a Surly Troll or an Ogre frameset. Have it custom painted. Install Avid BB 7 disc brakes, your Nitto Albatross bars with Ergon grips, a couple of Schwalbe slicks, and go from there!

PS.

OTOH there's the SOMA Smoothie! Hmmm......

Last edited by SlimRider; 06-02-12 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 06-02-12, 08:26 AM
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Bike shop saturation 1 bike shop per Block in PDX , just go test ride bikes ..


You even have a dozen custom builders in town.
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Old 06-02-12, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Bike shop saturation 1 bike shop per Block in PDX , just go test ride bikes ..


You even have a dozen custom builders in town.
Yeah, no kidding!
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Old 06-02-12, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by blakcloud
What about the Kona Roundabout mixte? Nice looking bike, steel frame, not a girly colour though but still attractive. Single ring up front maybe a problem in those longer rides but that can be switched out.
I didn't know about the Kona! I'll look into that one and see if it is available as a frame only. I would definitely need to swap the crankset and get a front RD on the stock build.
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Old 06-02-12, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by modernjess
How about a Handsome "She devil" Its similar in the steel mixte spirit to the Rivendell "Betty Foy, which is an astonishingly beautiful frame but, far more budget friendly. You could start with albatross bars (which I love) then later easily switch to a drop bars. The head tube itself isn't super tall but the steerer tube is long at 400mm and the overall geometry more upright. Looks like it's sold as a frame and fork only, and I take it you might be OK with that, a custom build is more fun anyway. You get far more buy in from the customer that way!

https://handsomecycles.com/bicycles/she_devil.php
This one looks really sweet too. I'm making my list of shops to hit.
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Old 06-02-12, 09:29 AM
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Fast city bike starts with fast city legs.
I keep trying to explain this to my buddy. He still think the bike is whats holding him back.

Sounds like you just want a certain aesthetic based on headtube?
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Old 06-02-12, 10:10 AM
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Though I've seen a few mountain bikers on hardtails drop roadies on high end road bikes. You just can't dismiss the fact that some bikes were primarily built for speed. Given the average physically fit adult male on a race-ready, high end road bike. Usually, he will quickly drop a similar contender on a hybrid or MTB.

Granted the engine gets more credit. However, when push comes to shove, in neck and neck competitions, geometry, design, and construction begin to play greater roles.

Last edited by SlimRider; 06-02-12 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 06-02-12, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by thenomad
Fast city bike starts with fast city legs.
I keep trying to explain this to my buddy. He still think the bike is whats holding him back.

Sounds like you just want a certain aesthetic based on headtube?
OK, I've spent enough time to bikes to understand this. Let me rephrase. I want a city bike less than 30 pounds with fenders and rack that I can convert to a century bike when the engine gets stronger.

What my wife is on right now is essentially a comfort bike. If I had a buddy on this and he said that he wanted something faster, I wouldn't go tell him to hit the gym. I would rather my wife have more than what she needs than less.
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Old 06-02-12, 10:44 AM
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A salsa casseroll might work; it is pretty well designed for what you are describing and goes for $1200 built up.
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