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Advice on likely my last bike

Old 09-23-23, 09:21 PM
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Advice on likely my last bike

Also posted in the 50+ forum

At 58.5, I'm in a position to rearrange my bicycle situation and am in need of some advice as I've been riding mostly recreationally on my Jamis Coda with my wife and teen for a few years and am no longer "up" on that's current in the bike world. I'll be a brief as I can.

Selling: Jamis Aurora, `1973 or 4 Fuji S10S, 1978 Fuji S12S and MAYBE a Jamis Coda.
Me: Clydesdale, heart in good shape, back suffering from disc issues from an auto accident that also broke 3 vertebrae in my neck, knees that are going to have to be replaced in a few years.

Goal: Find a stiff bike, stiffness like a steel touring frame that is NOT a drop bar bike. The handle bars on the Coda with a tall stem really feel good. OR modify/upgrade the 2019 Coda into a better version of itself. The issue there is that I don't thing the Coda would ever make a good gravel path bike. Do NOT want a battery involved bike. Really need ride comfort but because the doc said I have two basic exercise choices, bike or swim, and I chose bike, I need a cycle that will give me quality exercise without "breaking" my back.

Considerations: Fat tires are more comfortable for my spine, but not so much so that they are a hard need, and the weight of that kind of bike makes the decision difficult. Honestly, I think that whole question (fat/heavy vs thinner/lighter) is about a wash for me.

I've looked at the Kona Sutra LTD, Surly Ogre and Surly Bridge Club but am not tied to any course of action. As this will hopefully be the bike that takes me to retirement and beyond, even Rivendell would even be a consideration. They aren't doing custom orders though, they're backed up 2 years at present and I can't wait that long.

Recommendations?
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Old 09-23-23, 09:54 PM
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Custom frame builder. A good one will work with you to make sure you get a bike that will take you to the finish line. My only regret was waiting until I turned 50 before doing that.

The other thing a good frame builder will do is examine assumptions like the need for a "stiff" steel frame.
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Old 09-24-23, 12:46 AM
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At your age an issues I would pay for a fitter that knows what they are doing to address your issues. You would be surprised at how well one of your bikes may fit you if you alter it based on their advice.

Handlebars are easy; you don't want drop bars, don't use a drop bar. Just about any bike will take any sort of bar configuration you can think of.
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Old 09-24-23, 05:40 AM
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If you wanted to buy your last bike 15 years ago, it would have rim brakes.

If you wanted to buy your last bike 10 years ago, it would not have through axle hubs.

If you wanted to buy your last bike 5 years ago, it would probably have some other issue that makes it old by standards today.

Steel is becoming quite rare for bike frames.

You might be able to find a 20 to 30 year old steel framed mountain bike that lacks suspension that can take 2 inch wide tires. Watch for one of those, or even if it is an aluminum frame model, if the tires are 2 inches wide, that would still give you good cushioning. You might find a bike that needs some rehabilitation, but that can be done easy enough.

Then if you are still riding in 2 or 3 years, invest in the bike of your dreams at that time. By then, the biking that you will have done for a few years will help you know exactly what you want in a bike.

I think the bike I use as an errand bike that I bought at a garage sale a decade ago for $5 is exactly what you desire. It is a 1994 mountain bike. It needed about $50 in parts and supplies to make it a great bike. But otherwise it fits the description of what you want perfectly. Sorry, it is not for sale.

Is there a bike coop or bike charity in your community where people donate old bikes that get fixed up and re-sold? If so, see what they have in stock.
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Old 09-24-23, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
Custom frame builder. A good one will work with you to make sure you get a bike that will take you to the finish line. My only regret was waiting until I turned 50 before doing that.

The other thing a good frame builder will do is examine assumptions like the need for a "stiff" steel frame.
+1. The local guy who built my ti road frame met with me at least twice to measure and ask questions. He normally prefers 3 meetings, but we were already familiar with each other, so he had a decent idea of my riding “style.”
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Old 09-24-23, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
If you wanted to buy your last bike 15 years ago, it would have rim brakes.

If you wanted to buy your last bike 10 years ago, it would not have through axle hubs.

If you wanted to buy your last bike 5 years ago, it would probably have some other issue that makes it old by standards today.

Steel is becoming quite rare for bike frames.
That's a generalization. I'm still buying and using touring bikes, all of them are still steel, have rim brakes, with old school axles. I'm still hunting for a Miyata 1000 to build up, or a Univega Alpina Ultima.

None of the features you mentioned affect fitting which is what the OP is after.
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Old 09-24-23, 11:51 AM
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Is this for 'riding around', light touring like you'd do for a long weekend with a tent, or extended touring?

if it's one of the first two, you might want to look at a Jones bike. The LWB comes in steel or titanium, has a far more upright position than most bikes, is built around 29+ tires, and is engineered to have compliance in the frame.

There's a 'diamond' frame that has a lot of room for water bottles or a frame bag, and a 'spaceframe' that's more compliant at the expense of gear space.

It'll handle rear panniers, but not front + back, so it's not made for fully loaded touring unless you do something extra like use a trailer.
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Old 09-24-23, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
I think the bike I use as an errand bike that I bought at a garage sale a decade ago for $5 is exactly what you desire. It is a 1994 mountain bike. It needed about $50 in parts and supplies to make it a great bike. But otherwise it fits the description of what you want perfectly. Sorry, it is not for sale.

Is there a bike coop or bike charity in your community where people donate old bikes that get fixed up and re-sold? If so, see what they have in stock.
What is the make and model of that errand bike? There have to be others in the world. I did find a co-op in a nearby city. I think I'll pay them a visit. Thanks.
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Old 09-24-23, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Bearonabike
What is the make and model of that errand bike? There have to be others in the world. I did find a co-op in a nearby city. I think I'll pay them a visit. Thanks.
I got lucky on my errand bike. The homeowner was selling his house. When his kids moved out over a decade earlier, he told them he would not pick up after them anymore. And they left their bikes in the backyard. And he left them there for a decade outside. It took me three days to remove all the parts, re-grease all the components, check over the frame for excess rust, apply a rustproofing inside the frame for the future, replace a lot of stuff that was shot, etc. But I had worked as a bike mechanic, and was retired, so I did not mind that at all. I had the time and the knowledge to take something that looked like crap into a fully useable bike. This is the bike specifications.
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/bridges...4/pages/36.htm

Good luck finding a good bike. My main point here is that you can get a fully serviceable bike for not much money if the purpose of the bike is to get some exercise riding around near home for errands, etc. Does not need to cost a lot. And if you are going back to biking after a many year hiatus, you really do not know yet if you will stick with it or not.

If you see an older mountain bike with an aluminum frame, do not rule that out either, they are quite common.

I rode my errand bike 35 miles a couple weeks ago. I did a backpacking trap and when I got to my destination, I had left my bike there a week and a half earlier, so all I needed to do was ride my bike to my vehicle at the end of my trip.

I am planning a canoe trip at this time, I might do the same thing again.
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Old 09-24-23, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Bearonabike
What is the make and model of that errand bike? There have to be others in the world. I did find a co-op in a nearby city. I think I'll pay them a visit. Thanks.
Do some reading on the evolution of the mountain bike. It came into force towards the end of the 70's and a number of the pioneers are forum participants, you can get a lot of info from the proverbial horse's mouth.

The short version from a buyer's perspective; after realizing that mountain biking was not a fad but a multi million new market a lot of the manufacturers jumped in. I think the first mass produced mountain bike was the Univega Alpina but that same year many others followed. Early bikes were pretty much 26" versions of what you would recognize as a touring bike; slightly oversize tubing (for a road bike) with long geometries (for stability downhill), with a straight top tube rigid diamond frame. The thing about the early ones is that manufacturers were not pulling punches on quality, they attempted to gain market share by building top of the line models with double and triple butted steel and top of the line components. As the decade progressed then the pressure was on to 'cheapen' the builds in order to be more competitive with all the me-too[s that sprouted like mushrooms after a spring shower.

I have converted early mountain bikes into 650b rigs, they ride like a dream. On stock configurations they are just as great for trail bikes. Nowadays everybody seem to think that without suspension it is not really a mountain bike. They need to watch a cyclocross race to see what people do on rigid skinny tire bikes.

This is my 1984 Mount Fuji bike, typical of the mass produced quality bikes with double butted tubing and nicer hardware. It is completely stock so I'm keeping it as is



The one I converted to a 650b tourer was a Panasonic P7500, Tange Prestige tubing. I would love to find me a Univega Alpina Ultima.

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Old 09-25-23, 06:18 AM
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If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. Of all the bikes I own or have owned, including the custom frame I have, there is one bike I would keep if everything else had to go. It is a 1984 Miyata Ridge Runner. I have it configured as a cruiser and run errands of 10 miles or less, and ride the neighborhood each night with the Mrs. The bike can do anything with the correct change in parts.
Going with a custom frame is always a great idea as nothing fits like a custom. Mine is 22 years old and has served as a road burner, long distance commuter, loaded tourer, and general all-round bike, but not quite as configurable as that old Miyata. One thing I recommend is looking at old touring images from the 50-70's, specifically european images. You will find "tourist" handlebars commonplace. Simply put, a standard touring bike with tourist bars so that the rider can sit upright.
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Old 09-25-23, 06:16 PM
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This is a 1993 Trek 820 that I found on Ebay for about $200. It was new and still in the box!

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Old 09-26-23, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero
Going with a custom frame is always a great idea as nothing fits like a custom.
You can finish fitting an off the shelf frame pretty darn close to that with the components. For example; the biggest obstacle to fit most bikes for my 5' 2" daughter is not the frames but sourcing 165cm cranks. Stems, handlebars, saddle adjustment, they can close the deal if the frame size and geometry are close enough.
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Old 09-26-23, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
This is a 1993 Trek 820 that I found on Ebay for about $200. It was new and still in the box!

That looks really nice.

I mentioned my errand bike in earlier posts in this thread that I got for $5 at a garage sale, this is what it looked like after I added about $50 in parts and supplies, and about three days of labor. Most of that time was spent getting the bottom bracket out of the frame.



But, I was looking for a theft resistant bike, so I do not mind the rust colored stem and handlebar. The above photo is 11 years old. It has not changed much, but it needed new pedals and a different front shifter after the above photo.
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Old 09-27-23, 07:08 AM
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Given the direction this thread is going..it would probably be good for the OP to take a look at the following thread:

Show me your hybrid-ized vintage mountain bikes!

I'd second, third, fourth the suggestions above about getting a older, rigid-fork mountain bike and fitting it out with street tires. I have several such bikes('92 Trek 8900 rigid fork, '93 Trek 970 rigid fork, & '01 Bianchi Grizzly hardtail) and enjoy them all. I favor Schwalbe Big Ben tires for a fast, comfy ride. While older mountain bikes can be very inexpensive, an additional aspect I like is that you can buy higher-end (lightweight) older mountain bikes for 20-30 cents on the (original) dollar ($200-$400) and end up with a very nice, ride by any standard.

..and as long as we're going this direction..how about a higher-end hybrid? I ran across one last night..I'm tempted, but I have too many bikes as it is..this is a Trek 7700. Mostly Shimano XT component group. 9 speed, lightweight, good geometry. I believe it's (in some years) the same frame as the Trek XO CX bike after the XO was discontinued. The 7700 was around $1100 new ($1800 in today's dollars). This particular bike would need a new saddle..and I'd dump the steering tube extender..but with some fast tires on it..it would be a nice ride, looks like new, for $200. (The search I did turned up a several 7700s priced at $190-$300)

https://sheboygan.craigslist.org/bik...667386361.html

https://bikepedia.azurewebsites.net/...spx?item=31540
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Old 09-27-23, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by fishboat
Given the direction this thread is going..it would probably be good for the OP to take a look at the following thread:

Show me your hybrid-ized vintage mountain bikes!

I'd second, third, fourth the suggestions above about getting a older, rigid-fork mountain bike and fitting it out with street tires. I have several such bikes('92 Trek 8900 rigid fork, '93 Trek 970 rigid fork, & '01 Bianchi Grizzly hardtail) and enjoy them all. I favor Schwalbe Big Ben tires for a fast, comfy ride. While older mountain bikes can be very inexpensive, an additional aspect I like is that you can buy higher-end (lightweight) older mountain bikes for 20-30 cents on the (original) dollar ($200-$400) and end up with a very nice, ride by any standard.

..and as long as we're going this direction..how about a higher-end hybrid? I ran across one last night..I'm tempted, but I have too many bikes as it is..this is a Trek 7700. Mostly Shimano XT component group. 9 speed, lightweight, good geometry. I believe it's (in some years) the same frame as the Trek XO CX bike after the XO was discontinued. The 7700 was around $1100 new ($1800 in today's dollars). This particular bike would need a new saddle..and I'd dump the steering tube extender..but with some fast tires on it..it would be a nice ride, looks like new, for $200. (The search I did turned up a several 7700s priced at $190-$300)

https://sheboygan.craigslist.org/bik...667386361.html

https://bikepedia.azurewebsites.net/...spx?item=31540
That is a nice looking bike. But the OP indicated he is a clydesdale, and I would want a lot more spokes unless I was a lightweight rider.

A side note: There was an old Huffy Scout on the curb a couple days ago. It has a lot of rust on the rear chromed steel rim, 5 speed freewheel, friction shifters, would need a new chain and rear derailleur to make it functional. I think it was intended to look like a mountain bike when it was produced. I picked it up, sent an e-mail to a friend that volunteers time for a bike charity and asked if the charity would be interested (sent three photos). I learned that the bike is too low end for even a charity to have much interest in, so not even worth the value of the gas to drive it over to them.

There have been times when I was considering a camping trip where I would start at one point and end at a different point, would have to leave a bike locked up somewhere where it might get stolen. I think this Huffy will get a different rear derailleur, a worn out chain that I have not discarded yet, and be my throw away bike that if it was stolen I would mourn the loss of the cheap lock that I had put on it.
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Old 09-27-23, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
That is a nice looking bike. But the OP indicated he is a clydesdale, and I would want a lot more spokes unless I was a lightweight rider.
..that's right.. Though I am surprised when heavier folks ride wheels like this and never have any issues..I see it quite often. Not something I'd do, but it seems to be fairly common.


A side note: There was an old Huffy Scout on the curb a couple days ago. It has a lot of rust on the rear chromed steel rim, 5 speed freewheel, friction shifters, would need a new chain and rear derailleur to make it functional. I think it was intended to look like a mountain bike when it was produced. I picked it up, sent an e-mail to a friend that volunteers time for a bike charity and asked if the charity would be interested (sent three photos). I learned that the bike is too low end for even a charity to have much interest in, so not even worth the value of the gas to drive it over to them.

There have been times when I was considering a camping trip where I would start at one point and end at a different point, would have to leave a bike locked up somewhere where it might get stolen. I think this Huffy will get a different rear derailleur, a worn out chain that I have not discarded yet, and be my throw away bike that if it was stolen I would mourn the loss of the cheap lock that I had put on it.
Lot to be said for a throw-away bike like that as a shuttle bike. It'll be perfectly fine for a hiking, backpacking, or kayaking shuttle bike to get you back to your vehicle. (pay for itself with one use) My GF is nearing the halfway point with section hiking the IceAge Trail. She has an old Cannondale that she uses for shuttling herself back to her starting point. While a 10-12 mile hike can take a good while..it's a pretty short hop on a bike back to her car.
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Old 09-27-23, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by fishboat
...
Lot to be said for a throw-away bike like that as a shuttle bike. It'll be perfectly fine for a hiking, backpacking, or kayaking shuttle bike to get you back to your vehicle. (pay for itself with one use) My GF is nearing the halfway point with section hiking the IceAge Trail. She has an old Cannondale that she uses for shuttling herself back to her starting point. While a 10-12 mile hike can take a good while..it's a pretty short hop on a bike back to her car.
I finished backpacking another piece of the Superior Hiking Trail in Northern Minnesota a couple weeks ago. When I was done, had to go get my vehicle that was 35 miles away, my old Bridgestone errand bike (photo is a few posts up in this thread) was perfect for the job. I had left it (and helmet, spare tube, mini-pump, bike gloves, small multi tool) at a campground that was well staffed, they offered to store in a shed which I gladly accepted. I started the trip with a 35 mile shuttle that cost $110. A year ago, paid $127 for a similar shuttle. Also used the bike a year ago for one of my shuttles too.

But, there are times for a canoe trip or something like that you you might want to lock up a bike at a parking lot in the middle of nowhere and hope that it is there in a week or week and a half. The throw away bike will be perfect for that. In some places I would be more concerned that somebody decides the bike would be good for target practice.
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Old 09-27-23, 04:58 PM
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I did some more thinking about this - I already have my 'forever' bikes, so I've seen a bunch of awesome bikes that I'm ultimately passing on... that kinda make me wish I was in the market.

Tumbleweed Prospector:
https://tumbleweed.cc/collections/bi...42454074228917
This one's gorgeous, and to me is the closest you can come to a custom bike as an 'off the shelf'. Optimized for a Rohloff, but doesn't require one.

Brother Cycles Big Bro
https://www.brothercycles.com/shop/frames/big-bro/
This is basically a step up from a Surly - lighter stronger tubing, adjustable dropouts, and braze-ons to configure it any way you want it.

These are both on the pricey side, but it may be worth it.
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Old 09-27-23, 10:17 PM
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Well my forever bike is my Trek 720 but that doesn't mean I won't be owning and riding other bikes. I'm into vintage and for next year I have a Raleigh Alyeska and a Univega Gran Turismo to take out. Eventually I'll end up selling those. I would like to hunt down a Miyata 1000 (to see what the fuss is all about), 610, Panasonic PT-3500, Centurion Pro Tour, and Fuji Touring Series V.
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Old 09-30-23, 10:54 AM
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The more I look, the more it's narrowing down to a few choices, Surly Ogre or Bridge Club or Jamis Sequel. I still need to get to my local coop to see if they have any vintage mountain bikes that can be modified to do the job.
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Old 10-01-23, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Bearonabike
The more I look, the more it's narrowing down to a few choices, Surly Ogre or Bridge Club or Jamis Sequel. I still need to get to my local coop to see if they have any vintage mountain bikes that can be modified to do the job.
Stock on any desirable bikes can frequently change since they are relying on donations, etc.
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Old 10-01-23, 05:25 AM
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I've thought about an ogre, but haven't ridden one. The biggest question for you seems like fit, and I'm not an expert about that except maybe for my own personal shape.

I do think an older rigid mountain bike is a good idea: I've picked up several here and there for reasonable prices and they've been great. Converting one to 750b is an interesting idea--I may give it a try myself.

Somebody may have already mentioned this, but if you don't want drops, you might consider a trekking style handlebar like this: https://external-content.duckduckgo....9e0&ipo=images

(I set mine up the other way round, with the ends closer to me, but it probably doesn't make much difference.)
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Old 10-01-23, 07:20 PM
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Since most older mountain bikes are rim brakes with canti brake mounts, converting to a different wheel size can result in having your brake pads in the wrong place.
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Old 10-01-23, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by storckm
Somebody may have already mentioned this, but if you don't want drops, you might consider a trekking style handlebar like this: https://external-content.duckduckgo....9e0&ipo=images
This is called a trekking handlebar? LIKE LIKE LIKE, many different hand positions and brakes are easily accessible. Nashbar has these from $30 - $45. Definite option, thanks..
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