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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

I recently started riding my bike, well my friends surly crosscheck to work and would like to purchase a commuter bike. The commute to work is around 40 miles round trip with some decent hills in the beginning of the ride with the rest being flat. The bike would only be used for commutting or possibly touring in the future.

I would like the bike to have the following:
-Drop handlebars
-Rear rack
-fit a wheel with 700x28c tires plus fender
-~$550

I have been looking at the Surly Crosscheck, Surly longhaul trucker and the salsa casseroll. Saldy I haven't found anything in my price range.

Any recommendations?

Thanks for the help in advance

-Lovestocycle
 

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Well, you can put a rack on almost anything, so your requirements really boil down to a road bike with adequate tire clearance. There are quite a few of those, but it might be pretty hard to find something new in that price range. I don't know where you live, but maybe Craig's List is the place to start. And check all the local bike shops for used or clearance bikes.

That's an impressively long commute. Good for you.
 

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for that range, you're probably looking at something used in the touring or cyclo-cross category. Of course, PJ will probably choke me for suggesting this, but your other option is to take a fitness bike with a triple crank and changing out the flat bars and shifters. A good LBS should be able to work with you on that. I'd probably go with a used bike before making all those changes though. From the bikes you suggested, it seems that you already appreciate the benefits of steel over aluminum, but I'd think that with 28mm tires aluminum would be OK.

I wouldn't fret over the rack as they're pretty cheap and even if the frame doesn't have the mounting holes on drop-outs, there are clamps you can put on. The big thing here is having the room for fenders and 28mm tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. There is something nice about beginning and ending your day with a ride.

I'm definitely looking in the used arena for a bike (preferably steel but beggars can't be choosers). I've been looking at E-bay and Craigslist but outside the Surlys and Salsa bikes I'm not sure what to look for. Any other specific brands/models I should be searching for?

Thanks for the insight about the racks. I didn't realize they would clip to any frame.

-Lovestocycle
 

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josephr said:
for that range, you're probably looking at something used in the touring or cyclo-cross category. Of course, PJ will probably choke me for suggesting this, but your other option is to take a fitness bike with a triple crank and changing out the flat bars and shifters. A good LBS should be able to work with you on that. I'd probably go with a used bike before making all those changes though. From the bikes you suggested, it seems that you already appreciate the benefits of steel over aluminum, but I'd think that with 28mm tires aluminum would be OK.

I wouldn't fret over the rack as they're pretty cheap and even if the frame doesn't have the mounting holes on drop-outs, there are clamps you can put on. The big thing here is having the room for fenders and 28mm tires.
There is one potential problem and another almost certain problem with this initiative. The first is that the geo of the fitness bike has to be close enough to road bikes to make the end result a decent handling bike. Second, is the cost of the conversion. Unless you fall into some good deals, there's a good chance 20% +/- of your budget will go towards the conversion alone, so all things considered, proceed slowly and cautiously before commiting to this.

OP: How well does your friends bike fit (objectively speaking)?
 

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lovestocycle1981 said:
Thanks for the replies. There is something nice about beginning and ending your day with a ride.

I'm definitely looking in the used arena for a bike (preferably steel but beggars can't be choosers). I've been looking at E-bay and Craigslist but outside the Surlys and Salsa bikes I'm not sure what to look for. Any other specific brands/models I should be searching for?

-Lovestocycle
You're right about what that does for the day.

Don't worry about brands too much if you're looking at used bikes. Look for something that fits you first, then see if it meets your other needs. You may have to be a little flexible. Keep in mind that there are a number of fender designs, and various ways to attach them, so it doesn't necessarily require huge clearance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@PJ352 My friends bike fits very well. We are the same build and same height so it was an easy transition. My only issue was the seat, which i replaced with the seat off my mnt bike.
 

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lovestocycle1981 said:
@PJ352 My friends bike fits very well. We are the same build and same height so it was an easy transition. My only issue was the seat, which i replaced with the seat off my mnt bike.
In that case you may have some other options available to you. Given your price range, IMO the best route (buying from an LBS) isn't an option unless they sell used. So alternately, note the make/ model and frame size of your friends bike along with the stem length/ angle and seat post model (setback), then hunt down the geometry chart for the bike.

Once you have that info, check its geo against some bikes of interest. The closer the numbers, the better fit will be. Using this method, you can try LBS's for used bikes, browse CL, ebay and some online retailers for bikes in your price range. The biggest disadvantages going this route are that (other than CL and buying used from an LBS) you can't test ride the bikes and you'll be responsible for final assembly and fit, but for a nominal charge a LBS can provide those services, so keep that in mind.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any bikes of interest, update this thread and we can offer some guidance.
 

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PJ352 said:
In that case you may have some other options available to you. Given your price range, IMO the best route (buying from an LBS) isn't an option unless they sell used. So alternately, note the make/ model and frame size of your friends bike along with the stem length/ angle and seat post model (setback), then hunt down the geometry chart for the bike.

Once you have that info, check its geo against some bikes of interest. The closer the numbers, the better fit will be. Using this method, you can try LBS's for used bikes, browse CL, ebay and some online retailers for bikes in your price range. The biggest disadvantages going this route are that (other than CL and buying used from an LBS) you can't test ride the bikes and you'll be responsible for final assembly and fit, but for a nominal charge a LBS can provide those services, so keep that in mind.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any bikes of interest, update this thread and we can offer some guidance.
While you're at it with all the risks involved, might as well mention getting a bike from Bikes Direct. They have el cheapo Cyclocross bikes that would meet his needs
 

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The budget is a limitation, unless you find a used bike that is similar or very close to your friend's bike. I think the Crosscheck is common enough. And there are others (cyclocross/touring bikes) that are somewhat similar.

The distance is long enough that you want an efficient bike that fits. Is it too long to be done every day?
 

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tednugent said:
While you're at it with all the risks involved, might as well mention getting a bike from Bikes Direct. They have el cheapo Cyclocross bikes that would meet his needs
In my second paragraph I stated:
Using this method, you can try LBS's for used bikes, browse CL, ebay and some online retailers for bikes in your price range.

I'm pretty sure BD qualifies. :)
 

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PJ352 said:
There is one potential problem and another almost certain problem with this initiative. The first is that the geo of the fitness bike has to be close enough to road bikes to make the end result a decent handling bike. Second, is the cost of the conversion. Unless you fall into some good deals, there's a good chance 20% +/- of your budget will go towards the conversion alone, so all things considered, proceed slowly and cautiously before commiting to this.

OP: How well does your friends bike fit (objectively speaking)?

Thats why i think that some "fitness/urban" style bikes as its very close to the geometry of a compact road bike with flat bars and thumb shifters, eg: Specialized Sirrus. If you had to buy the parts outright and convert yourself and if the LBS didn't wanna work with you on it, then its probably more trouble than its worth.

Back to OP: Not sure where you're located, but if you're in a medium or larger city, there maay be some bike "flippers" in your area who might have something in your realm. These are guys that go to garage sales and pick up on cheap deals by buying bikes that their owners don't understand what they have. Some flippers ask for outrageous above- market prices, but others can be reasonable. If you're going to go the used route and buying on-line without physically seeing the bike, I'd probably stay away from aluminum.

you keep asking for "brands" but why you're not getting many suggestions is in that since the 80s, many companies have gone through phases where they've sold crappy bikes through department stores with their name on them...just to name a few: Schwinn, Mongoose, Nishiki, Peugeot.... unless we actually saw the bike, sometimes its hard to tell. Of course, you can always post a pic of a bike you're considering! No one will be afraid to tell you if its a junker...
Joe
 

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josephr said:
Thats why i think that some "fitness/urban" style bikes as its very close to the geometry of a compact road bike with flat bars and thumb shifters, eg: Specialized Sirrus. If you had to buy the parts outright and convert yourself and if the LBS didn't wanna work with you on it, then its probably more trouble than its worth.
Actually, the example you use proves my point. I spot checked the geo of the Sirrus from '08 to the current model and within those model years the geo's changed - going from being reasonably acceptable for a conversion to not very (and that's actually an understatement).

For example, on the '08 effective TT for a 'S' is 530 (acceptable), but in the '10 and '11 model years they stretched it to 545. Not so good, because the rider that would fit (roughly) a 52cm would end up running a short stem, and the CS lengths have also been stretched, so front-center and the riders f/r weight distribution changes. And at best, trail on the '08 is 63, not ideal for a road bike.

All things considered, this type of conversion really doesn't pay off. If you want a road bike, get a road bike. If you want a hybrid, get a hybrid.
 

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PJ352 said:
Actually, the example you use proves my point. I spot checked the geo of the Sirrus from '08 to the current model and within those model years the geo's changed - going from being reasonably acceptable for a conversion to not very (and that's actually an understatement).

For example, on the '08 effective TT for a 'S' is 530 (acceptable), but in the '10 and '11 model years they stretched it to 545. Not so good, because the rider that would fit (roughly) a 52cm would end up running a short stem, and the CS lengths have also been stretched, so front-center and the riders f/r weight distribution changes. And at best, trail on the '08 is 63, not ideal for a road bike.

All things considered, this type of conversion really doesn't pay off. If you want a road bike, get a road bike. If you want a hybrid, get a hybrid.

I'm not really sure you're being relevant in quoting the design changes over a period of time rather than comparing a road bike to converting a hybrid. Asssuming the '08 Sirrus bike was a perfect fit in the first place and that he was considering '10 Sirrus, I don't think I'd say 15mm is a mountain of difference. Additionally, you're not considering that the drop bars actually extend the reach over flat bars.

Lets compare the Sirrus to a '10 Secteur Triple -- clearly a road bike with long-distance intentions --- the TT length of the 52cm is 537mm. A big whopping distance of 8mm in TT length over that of the Small Sirrus. The Trail spec on both is 65mm. Sure, the CS dimension is certainly longer by 35mm, but if you're adding a rack and fenders, the extra space is appreciated along with the extra comfort and stability after a hard days' work.

The Secteur Triple is about $900 and the entry level Sirrus is $460, and the Sirrus has 32mm tires off the showroom floor vs 25mm on the Secteur. Still, I think he oughta buy used steel.
 

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josephr said:
I'm not really sure you're being relevant in quoting the design changes over a period of time rather than comparing a road bike to converting a hybrid. Asssuming the '08 Sirrus bike was a perfect fit in the first place and that he was considering '10 Sirrus, I don't think I'd say 15mm is a mountain of difference. Additionally, you're not considering that the drop bars actually extend the reach over flat bars.

Lets compare the Sirrus to a '10 Secteur Triple -- clearly a road bike with long-distance intentions --- the TT length of the 52cm is 537mm. A big whopping distance of 8mm in TT length over that of the Small Sirrus. The Trail spec on both is 65mm. Sure, the CS dimension is certainly longer by 35mm, but if you're adding a rack and fenders, the extra space is appreciated along with the extra comfort and stability after a hard days' work.

The Secteur Triple is about $900 and the entry level Sirrus is $460, and the Sirrus has 32mm tires off the showroom floor vs 25mm on the Secteur. Still, I think he oughta buy used steel.
My pointing out the geo changes of a bike that you used as an example of one that meets your criteria for conversion to a road bike is very relevant. It (hopefully) won't mislead someone into thinking a Sirrus (no matter the year) will make a good candidate for such a conversion. It won't.

The '10 Sirrus is the model that has an ETT of 545, which (as you mentioned) coupled with the extended reach a drop bar requires, would dictate a very short stem. Remember too, the saddle position is relatively constant, so while you're moving the bars back, the saddle position stays (and CS length is what it is), so f/r weight distribution changes, which will affect fit, and may affect handling.

Yes, the trail on the Secteur is relatively high, but it's designed to work in conjunction with the rest of the bikes geo - not even close to the same scenario we're talking about with the converted bike.

Lastly, just a note about your comment that 15mm's isn't a "mountain of difference" between the '08 and '10 Sirrus. In this instance I'd agree, but remember that reach is the only parameter that would change for the rider during the fit process (not the bars). And as you pointed out, other facets of the bikes geo change as well and are designed to work together, so rider weight and bike handling aren't adversely affected.

We do agree on one thing, though. Steel bikes are very nice, indeed.
 
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