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Stable, Secure, Safe, Sexy--Geriatric

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Stable, Secure, Safe, Sexy--Geriatric

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Old 12-25-17, 06:57 AM
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bashley
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Stable, Secure, Safe, Sexy--Geriatric

I'm 66. 5'8", 185lbs, 31" inseam. I'm healthy. I've got a few bikes, all of them best suited to younger, fitter, more flexible riders. E.g. Mariposa touring (custom made for me in 1988), Specialized Roubaix, and 84 Miyata Terrarunner, a Shogun and a Terra Trike. Although the Roubaix is carbon, I favor steel. An old schooler giveaway is that I prefer friction shifting over indexed, just like I prefer cars with standard transmissions versus automatic.

I want a bike that fits the bill of an older rider. I still work and commute by bike in professional business attire (fenders a must!). Recreational light gravel roads/trail, urban pavement. 4-seasons rider. Now, thinking 'bout stuff that never concerned me in the past much--a stable ride, a secure cockpit, a safe ride. My drop bikes, I rarely use the drops anymore. Low speed stability would be more important so I'd compromise on high speed stability.

I gravitate to touring/adventure geometry, but almost all bikes designed for dropbars. Suspension doesn't do it for me. High stack, short reach probably a good thing, but nice to stretch when confronting a stiff headwind. (Lots of that in Prince Edward Island) where I live. No long distance touring in the cards, but yes to an occasional overnighter. I want to be able to haul stuff (change of clothes, groceries, tennis bag) so frame fittings a must.

The Jones Plus intrigues me, super long chainstays, the Jones H-Bar. The Salsa Fargo, too, with what I assume is very upright riding position, but the reach may be too, too, short for a Jones Bar or a trekking bar. Hybrids are kinda boring to me, the Dodge Aspens of the bike world?

Smaller, but wider wheels/tires for the safety bit? 26inch or 650B? A Thorn, maybe? My winter bike choice right now is my Miyata with Marathon studded winter tires (26"). Sitting low and centered, I feel more secure on snow or icy roads than any other bike.

Maybe I'm asking too much. I love the American frontier spirit bubbling in adventure bikes, but secretly admire the simple, utilitarian culture of urban, European bike riding. Going out on a limb, I'd venture North American emphasis on play versus European emphasis on work.

My burning questions related to senior citizen riding would be, "What type of all-round setup is best suited to riding safely and securely (but still with fun!) into my 70s, and beyond?"

I'm going to sell all of my bikes. Which new bike would you go for given my situation (predicament?). hehe

I'd peg my budget at between $2.5K to $4K tops. And I'll probably do a combo of vacation/bike buying trip to...well...anywhere.

Thanks!

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Old 12-25-17, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bashley View Post
Maybe I'm asking too much. I love the American frontier spirit bubbling in adventure bikes, but secretly admire the simple, utilitarian culture of European bike riding.
It's never too much to ask for because it's what you want - it's what you are looking for. It may be hard to find. To me that's part of the fun.

I'm an experiment of one. I'm always looking for products that exactly match the vision that exists only in my mind. Right now I'm chuckling over how much time I spent yesterday looking for a clock - A CLOCK fir crying out loud! You can imagine if I'd been looking for something as complicated as a bicycle.

The good news is that you appear to have a good idea of what you are looking for. Maybe you will be able to find something that comes close enough to be modified to fit your vision. You might be able to cobble together some POS frame into a test prototype. In an ideal world you might even be able to follow that with a custom frame creation.

Keep your mind open and enjoy the hunt.
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Old 12-25-17, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
It's never too much to ask for because it's what you want - it's what you are looking for. It may be hard to find. To me that's part of the fun.

I'm an experiment of one. I'm always looking for products that exactly match the vision that exists only in my mind. Right now I'm chuckling over how much time I spent yesterday looking for a clock - A CLOCK fir crying out loud! You can imagine if I'd been looking for something as complicated as a bicycle.

The good news is that you appear to have a good idea of what you are looking for. Maybe you will be able to find something that comes close enough to be modified to fit your vision. You might be able to cobble together some POS frame into a test prototype. In an ideal world you might even be able to follow that with a custom frame creation.

Keep your mind open and enjoy the hunt.
I can totally identify with your story, Retro Grouch, of protracted clock hunting! I have the same tendency, spending hours pouring over product details, but eventually learning that that's actually a relaxing, healthy thing, like some people doing crosswords, studying Spanish, or building model ships. Painstaking pleasure!

Another couple of bikes on my watch list. Kona Rove (steel) and Bombtrack Beyond (with 650B's)

Another thought is a good chance of moving up a frame size from my younger days, even though I'm a little shorter now! This, to get me upright and sunk deeper into the cockpit.
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Old 12-25-17, 07:47 AM
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Rivendell.
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Old 12-25-17, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by bashley View Post
Another thought is a good chance of moving up a frame size from my younger days, even though I'm a little shorter now! This, to get me upright and sunk deeper into the cockpit.
There is a problem with moving up a frame size to gain the taller head tube. When they make a frame bigger, they tend to make it bigger all over. That means a longer top tube. When you rotate your torso to match the new, higher handlebar position, you'd like the handlebars to come closer to the seat rather than farther away.

I generally avoid add-on gizmos but I'd be more inclined to experiment with one of those stem riser things before committing myself to a larger frame size.
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Old 12-25-17, 08:28 AM
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I converted a couple of 80s road bikes to 650B and love them. The wider, 38mm or 42mm , are comfortable, and feel more stable. You're a little taller and heavier than me. I guess you ride a 54cm frame, and at least to my eyes, 650B wheels look right on that size frame.

There are a couple of threads on the Classic and Vintage forum discussing 650B conversions, and there is a Google group.

Grant Petersen of Rivendell, and then Jan Heine of Bicycle Quarterly are responsible for the revival of this size, However, they like different style bikes. Rivendell bikes are high trail, and Heine favors the French style low trail bike..

Cycles Tousaint in Canada, and SOMA both import tig welded Taiwanese frames.

A few years ago the argument against 650 was: "But there isn't a choice of tires." Well there is a nice choice now. The tires from Compass, are really nice, but expensive.

I'm 76, and I think that 650B tires have helped keep me cycling.
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Old 12-25-17, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
There is a problem with moving up a frame size to gain the taller head tube. When they make a frame bigger, they tend to make it bigger all over. That means a longer top tube. When you rotate your torso to match the new, higher handlebar position, you'd like the handlebars to come closer to the seat rather than farther away.

I generally avoid add-on gizmos but I'd be more inclined to experiment with one of those stem riser things before committing myself to a larger frame size.
.

Thanks Retro, yes, the risk of moving up a size is certainly a consideration. Folks seem to be evenly split on the merits/demerits of doing that. I'd mention that reach doesn't seem to increase as much as stack in moving up a size, but this a broad generalization and takes nothing else into account. I'd be interested to know if there's a rule of thumb which says that as frame sizes move up, stack increases proportionately more than reach. But that's just a stab in the dark.
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Old 12-25-17, 08:41 AM
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An older road frame with touring or sports-touring geometry will provide you with clearance for wider tires, as well as a stable, non-twitchy, non-jarring ride. This is one reason I really like my 1959 Capo Modell Campagnolo, which can even take 27 x 1-3/8" knobbies for multitrack or dirt/gravel roads.

I have lost all fascination with super-narrow tires and super-high pressures, and today I tend to give each bike the widest tires its frame geometry and rim width will accommodate. It turns out that the slight increase in rotating weight is about the only penalty you pay, because rolling friction minimizes at about a 15% deflection. The narrowest I go today is the 26mm (700Cx28 callout size) Contis. on the Bianchi, with 90 PSI front and 95 rear.
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Old 12-25-17, 09:40 AM
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A few other comments. You can get the bars higher with a taller stem. Nitto makes some, and Velo Orange and Soma also sell slightly taller stems.

Velo Orange , www.velo-orange.com has been testing a prototype of their new version of the Polyvalent all arounder 650B. But it has disc brakes, which you may not like.

If you want to combine a trip with a bike delivery, I'd order a bike from Grand Bois or Toei in Japan, tour Japan, and come home.

If you want a classic lugged 650B frame, send your deposit in to your builder, ASAP, and get on the list.
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Old 12-25-17, 09:43 AM
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You can get a Gunnar steel frame with custom geometry for less than many other customs.
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Old 12-25-17, 09:44 AM
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At 66 you might consider retirement. You wouldn't have to worry about commuting in professional business attire so your bike search would be simpler. Not to mention there are probably plenty of younger folks waiting for your job!
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Old 12-25-17, 12:01 PM
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Litespeed Titanium Gravel bike.

Wider tires (700cc or 650b, your choice), rack and fenders can be added.
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Old 12-25-17, 12:12 PM
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Breezer Bikes - BELTWAY 11+ - Bike Overview
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Old 12-25-17, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
I converted a couple of 80s road bikes to 650B and love them. The wider, 38mm or 42mm , are comfortable, and feel more stable. You're a little taller and heavier than me. I guess you ride a 54cm frame, and at least to my eyes, 650B wheels look right on that size frame.

There are a couple of threads on the Classic and Vintage forum discussing 650B conversions, and there is a Google group.

Grant Petersen of Rivendell, and then Jan Heine of Bicycle Quarterly are responsible for the revival of this size, However, they like different style bikes. Rivendell bikes are high trail, and Heine favors the French style low trail bike..

Cycles Tousaint in Canada, and SOMA both import tig welded Taiwanese frames.

A few years ago the argument against 650 was: "But there isn't a choice of tires." Well there is a nice choice now. The tires from Compass, are really nice, but expensive.


I'm 76, and I think that 650B tires have helped keep me cycling.
Useful suggestions Ironwood, thanks. I guess at 66 I'm still a punk-ass kid to you at 76! It's an impressive testimonial for 650B tires as a contributing factor to your longevity in cycling. But it's believable, too, even if still an untested hunch for me. For you, is your sense of security or safety the bigger deal or is it comfort and gentleness on your old bones? Or both? Or something else.

I realize some folks will discount or dismiss wheel size as relevant to safety, understandably citing riding skills as much more critical. No doubt.

Right on your guess at my default frame size! Yes, 54cm is my sweet spot with bikes one size smaller and one size larger in the stable.

A 650B conversion would be an interesting project, for sure. I have an old Holdsworth touring frame (27" wheels) and a Peugeot Touraine (700c). That said, I'm pining for a frame based on contemporary design.

The Jones Plus is an intriguing example of avant garde thinking. On the one hand, Jones has an almost cult-like following of cyclists who praise his frames to the Heavens. On the other, critics have questioned the theoretical validity of his eccentric fork design (looks like suspension bridge!) and other design parameters.
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Old 12-25-17, 01:41 PM
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Second the retirement suggestion.
Then get more bikes.
And more active hobbies.
Summer is coming.
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Old 12-25-17, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
At 66 you might consider retirement. You wouldn't have to worry about commuting in professional business attire so your bike search would be simpler. Not to mention there are probably plenty of younger folks waiting for your job!
Haha! I might be in that weird minority who actually likes to work, hold responsibility, and be confronted with challenging problems daily. I'm a city manager, so as you might imagine, there's no shortage of problems. Cycling to work, four seasons, in business attire, is just one of those fun challenges!
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Old 12-25-17, 01:47 PM
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Responsibility is mostly a state of mind.
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Old 12-25-17, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
Rivendell.
Fine bikes. A well-deserved reputation, no doubt. I confess I haven't studied their frames yet, mainly because the frames I've seen appear to be well-rooted to traditional, tried and true values and designs. But, I'd put my own Mariposa in the same class, a gorgeous example of craftsmanship and respect for the history of cycling. I'm just not sure I fit their market demographic anymore. For example, well done lug work and jewel-like head badges are nice and appreciated, but over the years, those sorts thing don't thrill me anymore.

But I gotta keep an open mind. I'll spend some time researching Rivendell further.
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Old 12-25-17, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Planemaker View Post
Litespeed Titanium Gravel bike.

Wider tires (700cc or 650b, your choice), rack and fenders can be added.
Thanks for the suggestion, Planemaker. Titanium is tempting, but I think I'd be stretching my budget.
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Old 12-25-17, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
You can get a Gunnar steel frame with custom geometry for less than many other customs.
Thanks big john. I'll try to find out more about Gunnar. I admit I'd be nervous about risks on specifying custom geometry. My knowledge is rudimentary and I could imagine going off in some crazy ass tangent and lo! making a big, big mistake. I'd like to first ride what I'm going to ride later. I might well end up with something completely different that what I might have imagined in the abstract. That's one of the reasons I may need to travel--to test ride. Where I live, in the Canadian maritimes, choices can be few and far between. I was thinking of a trip to Boston or NYC or the US west coast.
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Old 12-25-17, 02:30 PM
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Yeah, thanks late. You're getting where my head is at. I visited the Breezer site. The Beltway 11+ checks quite a few of my boxes, except a couple--aluminum frame and IGH. Maybe I'm a just a grumpy old aluminum bigot. Internal Gear Hubs are great, but these wouldn't satisfy the tinkerer in me the same way externals do. I enjoy bike maintenance, but I'm no engineer! The Alfine would be well above my pay grade. I've torn apart and rebuilt a couple of Sturmey Archer 3-speeds hubs, very satisfying experiences, to be sure, but very time and study intensive.

Thanks for weighing in!
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Old 12-25-17, 02:32 PM
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Check out some of the Salsa gravel bikes
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Old 12-25-17, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Responsibility is mostly a state of mind.
The operative word is "mostly" let's say 80%. As with most things using the 80/20 rule, 20% of responsibility's active, daily exercise of duty in disciplined service to others is what accomplishes that 80% mindset.

That said, point taken. I'm working because I need to work. I need the money. Over my career, I haven't been responsible enough, nor disciplined enough, nor have I sustained the right state of mind. I'm mortal. I'm flawed. hehe
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Old 12-25-17, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by no rules View Post
Check out some of the Salsa gravel bikes
Thanks no rules. Good suggestion in line with my thinking. Yeah, the Salsa Fargo and Marrakesh are on my shorter list, for sure. High stack and short reach and very long wheelbases for both. Steel. Wide tires. Where I get mixed up is trying to figure out best fit if swapping out the drop bars for trekking or Jones bars. I notice the Marrakesh has a flat bar option geometry. Much longer reach, but is that what I want? Dunno till I try, I guess.

I'll probably have to travel upwards of 1,000 miles to find a well-stocked dealer to do the test ride. A quest!
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Old 12-25-17, 03:00 PM
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As far as safety is concerned, I feel very stable on my Trek conversion with 38mm tires; I don't feel as if some irregularity in the road surface would throw me as it might on 23mm tires. Gyroscopic forces also play a part in stability. Smaller wheels need to be wider to be stable.

I don't claim any expertise, so what I'm saying here is what I remember from Bicycle Quarterly articles.

Modern or classic. There are knowledgeable builders who think that the French builders of the forties an fifties came close to the ideal design, and are building bikes inspired by René Herse and others of that time. But on the other hand, BQ favorably reviewed a Jones bike a few issues back.

I know an eighty five year old cyclist, You might have twenty years to look forward to.
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