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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
O.K. here we go, (flame suit on) I am currently in the market for my next ten year bike. I am planning to start commuting to work again which is a nice 70mi round trip. I raced as a teen and mountain bikes for a few years recently in sport class so am by no means Lance nor am I a pure recreational cyclist.

Starting with a budget of up to $8,000 I have some great options and would like some input please. (We had a good year!)

I really like the Merlin Cielo & Serotta Ottrott from the concept and look but I keep going back to my primal desire to get a nice steel frame. I have a large budget but would rather not spend it if I can get away with a great steel/carbon combo similar to the two bikes mentioned. I really need a fairly sturdy frame that can take the mileage and my weight (6'-175lbs) over the long haul so I really don't want the ultra light race set up or pure carbon as I have been told the life span is not as good.

Serotta has the Coeur d' Acier but I am not really feeling it.

Yes I know I don't need to get a top end bike to accomplish the functional aspect of commuting with some light racing but I have the means at this point in my life and really want a high end bike.

Also I should mention I have never been a fan of anything mainstream, no matter good it is so I really don't want the Trek, specialized, Lemond C'dale etc...

Thanks in advance.
 

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The last thing I'd do...

is buy a top end bike for commuting. Unless you only commute in nice weather and have an indoor storage location, this just doesn't seem wise.

The primary thing that a high end frame has over a much cheaper one is ONE pound less weight, perhaps less. The high end bike may also be far less durable.

If you want a bike that's not mainstream, a durable steel frame from a custom builder like Strong might work. The problem with steel can be rust and/or damage to the painted or powdercoated finish. Ti can be left bare and won't rust. Seems like a more practical commuter.

With your budget up to $8K, you could get TWO nice bikes. A basic Ti for commuting and something more exotic for the remainder of your riding. The commuter could be Centaur or Ultegra and the other bike Chorus/Record or DA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As for weather I live in San Diego, Ca and currently ride my Triumph 340 days a year. I can store my bike in my office or our secure R&D room so weather is not an issue.

Just wondering about the durability of lesser components? I commuted for two years on my mountain bike w/skinny tires with an average of 300mi per week 70% road and 30% dirt. In that season I spent over $3000 per year in replacement parts because of wear issues. I used to be a power lifter so I tend to be a real masher by nature. My old mechanic used to joke that I kept them in business with my normal maintenance.

I have been told not to compromise on components or I will just pay later replacing them because of simple mileage. Is this not the case?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ultimobici said:
Independent Fabrications 953. 1100g Stainless Steel Light as Alloy, Strong as 6v4AL Ti and the ride of steel.
I like! Will be on the list to review for sure.

Thanks
 

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If I had an $8,000 budget, the last thing I'd do is blow it on one single bike.
You can get two excellent bikes.

Loook, for about 5 grand you can get a Cervelo Soloist Carbon. Or, you can get yourself a Litespeed Vortex on sale, equip it with Dura-Ace and some fancy carbon parts, nice Ksyrium ES wheels for close to 5 grand.

With the other 3 grand, you can get a VERY nice frame, Ultegra parts, nice wheels, and PRESTO, you have 2 great bikes and you can still ride when one bike is in the shop.
 

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If I had an $8,000 budget, the last thing I'd do is blow it on one single bike.
You can get two excellent bikes.

Loook, for about 5 grand you can get a Cervelo Soloist Carbon. Or, you can get yourself a Litespeed Vortex on sale, equip it with Dura-Ace and some fancy carbon parts, nice Ksyrium ES wheels for close to 5 grand.

With the other 3 grand, you can get a VERY nice frame, Ultegra parts, nice wheels, and PRESTO, you have 2 great bikes and you can still ride when one bike is in the shop.
 

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eminence grease
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So many possibilities.

At that price level, I agree with a couple of the others - get two.

One specifically for commuting and one for going fast as hell.

I have a strong prediliction for steel, and there are some fantastic possibilities. The 953 is an interesting option, but it is not nearly ready for prime time. If I was shopping one or two, it wouldn't be that, at least not until it's had some time on the road. I'm heading that way too, but not for a bit.

Check out http://www.strongframes.com for some great road rocket possibilities. Carl is wonderful to work with.

Also, http://www.vanillabicycles.com for some beautiful, traditional commuting type bikes.

Another excellent builder is Dave Kirk http://www.kirkframeworks.com

I own bikes by the three of them and they are wonderful.

At $4000 per, you can easily have a frame, a decent set of wheels, Chorus, Record or Dura Ace componentry and good parts to flesh it out.

Another possibility is titanium. Lots of good top shelf builders from custom to off the rack. Easy to put together a Moots Vamoots with a decent component set for $4000. Or any of the various Merlin products.

The Cielo is a nice bike but it's old and I don't think Merlin has had much success with it. The Ottrot is one screamingly expensive frame and you'd be dropping so much on the frame that you'd be painting yourself into a corner. I own a lot of bikes and I build a couple a year and while money is no object to me, I'd never consider dropping that kind of change on a frame alone. The Serotta Legend would be a better bet.

The world is your oyster with that kind of bankroll, take your time, do lots of research and buy the one that grabs you.
 

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expensive parts last longer??

I can't imagine spending $3000 a year in replacement parts. That's way more than the cost of a whole drivetrain. If you can't get a year's worth of use from most components, then you need some maintenance lessons. A mashing pedaling style should not cause extreme wear, but you might want to consider spinning a bit more. Cycling isn't weight lifting and cadence is just as important as torque in the power = torque x cadence equation.

Obviously, road tires won't last that long, so you could spend quite a bit on tires. That's another reason to have a dedicated commuter with wider, cheaper, heavier tread tires that will last longer and be less prone to puncture.

A chain should last no less than 2,000 miles and 10,000 is possible. Generally a top quality chain is worth the money. With Campy, all their chains are top quality. Until 2006, all levels got a Record chain. Now they offer lower level chains, but it appears like the difference is just weight, with the expensive chains having hollow pins and lightened plates.

As with the frame, the very best parts are mainly lighter, not more durable. With Campy Record for example, there is nothing more durable, just lighter. Chorus parts, particularly the all steel cassette cog will last longer than the much more expensive steel/Ti cassette.

As long as you buy one of the top three component levels in either brand, you won't see much difference in longevity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sorry I didn't elaborate enough. My commute and most weekend rides included dirt and technical terrain, some of the cost in those two years was due to broken gear but I did see excessive wear due to an unusual San Diego heavy rain season. (dirt + water + chain and gears = excessive wear)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
terry b said:
So many possibilities.

At that price level, I agree with a couple of the others - get two.
I appreciate the advice guys. I will take it and buy two bikes over the next year.
I am going to get the Steel commuter first and get my legs back before I buy the race bike.

Some really good options have been listed but are there any more steel frame manufactures I should look at?

Thanks
 

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Eternal said:
I appreciate the advice guys. I will take it and buy two bikes over the next year.
I am going to get the Steel commuter first and get my legs back before I buy the race bike.

Some really good options have been listed but are there any more steel frame manufactures I should look at?

Thanks
Eternal,

Your situation is not that uncommon, and Iam sure you we see yourself through it. For some time now my own bike situation called for the need for two bikes and if you have the opportunity to do it, take advantage of it. It is nice to have a bike for the daily grind and wear and tear associated with it, and another in the stable for event purposes or group rides.

I have a great steel bike(Orbea spirit/carbon), this is one to consider. Great quality.This bike have built up as an all rounder for me. I have two sets of rims, and different cassettes depending on the use. I can ride this bike anytime and vitually without concearn, anywhere.

As well, I have a awesome Cinelli XLR8R 2 Carbon tubed bike, very rare, unique, a show stopper.A bike I would put on par with many manufactures top offerings.

Regardless of brand and all that, go for two! With some research and shopping you can buy two exceptional bikes to suit your needs.
 

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steel commuter...

Riding a steel bike frequently in the rain doesn't seem like the best choice. You can get basic Ti for about $850 or less depending on the brand. The ride should be as good and there won't be any corrosion or finish worries.

http://www.excelsports.com/new.asp?...+Road+Frame&vendorCode=MACALU&major=1&minor=1

A real commuter should have fenders for the rain. Seems like an aluminum cross frame for $500 might be an option.

http://www.excelsports.com/new.asp?...rameset+06&vendorCode=REDLINE&major=8&minor=1
 

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consider this

C-40 said:
Riding a steel bike frequently in the rain doesn't seem like the best choice. You can get basic Ti for about $850 or less depending on the brand. The ride should be as good and there won't be any corrosion or finish worries.

http://www.excelsports.com/new.asp?...+Road+Frame&vendorCode=MACALU&major=1&minor=1

A real commuter should have fenders for the rain. Seem like an aluminum cross frame fro $500 might even be a better option.

http://www.excelsports.com/new.asp?...rameset+06&vendorCode=REDLINE&major=8&minor=1
Everyone has had valid input. However, it will hopefully not be a "material" argument. If you maintain a steel frame well, sure, you will get rust, yes, it will corrode, but then again, all materials have their plus or minus in regards to maintenence. HOWEVER, that being said, get the ride you fit, and the one you enjoy taking into consideration your choices, fenders, and a cross frame might be the ticket. My commuter is an old mtb hard trail with slicks. Good luck and above all, enjoy the ride.
 

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Cross bike for commuting.

Then get a nice roadbike.

With the $2,000 you'd have left over, you could sponsor a junior team with coaching services. ;)
 

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I Lived in San D and 8k=4-6 super bikes on ebay in february

You can afford custom but if you don't need it there are so many options.
I lived in Sun Diego for 4 years--great weather and no worries for steel: I have 3 recommendations for steel:
1) a ride you won't see anyone on:
check http://www.cwo.com/~lunarlab/
moon cycles has some nice looking lugged bikes
2) I own a kelly luscious: s-3 tubing and super light and I COMMUTE on it 1hr each way unless it rains/snows (then my spicer SS cyclocross does the duty )
3) almost got a waterford r33 it is also superlight (s-3) if you want to spend on that--I once had a waterford 1200 and LOVED it--sold it during a cash crunch

That said I also like carbon: I owned and sold a calfee tetra pro and now ride a crumpton--great bike--best overall i have ridden

I have tried Ti (colnago titanio, litespeed liege, and currently have a bianchi ti megatube)--I am not into TI per se except for the weather-proof aspect--although my bianchi ti is a great ride, but so is my boron steel bianchi--so much so i kept it and sold a pinarello opera during another cash crunch

anyway, go chorus on it--good weight to performance to reliability--but if you are really going to mash and break things then go with ultegra for cost reasons.

wish i had 8k, but then i have incredible bikes--new to me and i think i got all of my current bikes all chorus or record equipped --crumpton, bianchi ti, bianchi boron steel, kelly, spicer SS, and an unbuilt basso frame for under 8k

anyway--you have your pic--get what you like--for me I'd get something you are unlikely to pass along mission bay, 52, PCH or whatever route you travel.

jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
With the $2,000 you'd have left over, you could sponsor a junior team with coaching services. ;)[/QUOTE]

Not a bad idea. I didn't even think about the local team's. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
anyway--you have your pic--get what you like--for me I'd get something you are unlikely to pass along mission bay, 52, PCH or whatever route you travel.

jim[/QUOTE]

Wow, Crumpton builds nice frames!

My commute is Escondido to LaJolla so depending on the route I will hit a variation of all locations you listed.

Steel has a special place with me as it was what I was introduced to the sport on. Steel is the route I will go for the commuter. For long rides I have always loved the ride characteristics of steel so I think it is a good choice. I am leaning toward a Carbon frame for my light spirited bike but I am going to wait a bit and enjoy one bike for a while.

Just to clarify, I set a budget of $8000 as a not to exceed but I surely would not spend it if I can do better things with it (two bikes and a donation). I really appreciate the advice from everyone on this I have been out of the sport for the past two years and am finally at a point with my company too make the time to train again.
 

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yes nick builds a grrreat bike and also

is great with email and quick to reply. i am the 2nd owner of the crumpton--and as with every used bike i've bought (11-all high end) they were in pristine shape--often see more dings on a showroom floor from it being racked in the store.

I agree you can't beat steel--still my favorite ride although i am faster on my crumpton. and with the newer ultra foco, eom 16.5, s-3 etc the weight "penalty" is nill.

I forgot my olympus zeus scandium bike but am selling it in the spring along with 3 others (have to decide) as i will be moving to the seattle area this summer and don't need to move 6 bikes.

anyway--you can afford the best but even when i buy used i like the idea of a smaller individual builder. you might look at cherry cycles in indiana or kelly as i mentioned. for "mass produced" steel my favorite is moser--silver solder filet brazed, the bottle braces go all the way through the tubes so there is no water entry there, the whole frame is dipped, etc.
so many options

at my folks i have my serotta coors light--older 8 speed record and i feel the weight on hills in southern indiana, but a smooth ride.

anyway, out here near DC on a week's worth of commuting I see dozens of the big names like trek/cannondale, several Seven, several serotta, many orbea, colnago, even a few dean.
never see a crumpton, never see a kelly--so that is a nice conversation starter with other bikers.
chatted with a guy with a lemond ti/carbon--forget the model but it really looked good on the road.
anyway, get what you like--if you've been riding long enough to know your size you will enjoy it--if you don't someone like me (maybe even me if it is a 56-58) will buy it on ebay.

enjoy SD and do a ride up Soledad mtn for me if you have a chance--was my favorite lunch hour hill ride from sub base pt loma.

jim
 
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