Cheapish commuting/touring/adventure bicycle?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by fastrnb, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. fastrnb

    fastrnb New Member

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    I'm looking for a bicycle for what I call "lifestyle cycling"-- commuting, shopping, recreation-- and a little bit of light touring (overnight camping, not Patagonia). I'm also pretty doggone poor, so my budget is in the $800 range.

    My features are pretty basic--
    --Steel Frame
    --Drop Handlebars-- I have many pinched nerves in my wrists, flats are really uncomfortable
    --Clearance for at least a 27 tire with fenders, the bigger the better.
    --I prefer bar-end/friction shifters to brifters, but I'll make do.

    I've been looking at the Raleigh Port Townsend and the Masi Speciale CX Uno. A worker at a local bike shop has crossed the country a few times and rides a Speciale CX regular everywhere.
    A shop up north of here has a two year-old Surley LHT for $900, and is famous for not negotiating. Worth eating Ramen for?

    Questions, concerns, advice, help? I'm a 53-55mm if you know of an old Bridgestone or some-such that needs to move.
     
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  2. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Masi and Raliegh both make good bikes, but between the two bikes that you are looking at, the Raliegh has a better mix of components, plus they have the bar end shifters that you like. I don't think that they are friction shifters by the way. You might have to go to eBay to find friction bar ends, but you could retro fit it with them if that is what you want.

    A Surly Long Haul Trucker frame is a very good frame, but I would have to know what components it is built up with to make a call. And if it is a 2 year old bike, I can't see any bike shop knocking off another $100 just to move the thing. At 2 years old, it very well could be built up with 105 components which would make it worth eating Ramen for a month.
     
  3. lemarmot

    lemarmot New Member

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    I know you want steel, but the rest of your post rang such a bell with me that I thought I'd chime in anyway. Your riding requirements are identical to mine -- commuting, errand running, grocery getting, small adventures -- and your $800 budget is exactly what I set aside, and exactly what I spent. I went looking for a steel touring bike but soon discovered I was many hundreds of dollars out of my league. I ended up buying a Kona Dew Drop, a very sturdy, aluminum framed commuter/light tourer. It has drops, disc brakes, 700x37 tires, 36-spoke wheels and easy provision for fenders and racks. I added fenders, racks front and back and cross levers for the brakes, and still stayed inside my $800 limit. The bike has a good, wide range of gears, is very straight and stable at speed, and it's pretty nimble for a workhorse. The arrival of winter kept me from trying a tour, but a few grocery runs left me impressed with its load-bearing ability. I know aluminum is supposed to be rougher riding than steel, but I don't see much of a difference. The bike is built like a tank, so it's not much lighter than a comparable steel bike would be. Suits me though.
    Kona isn't doing this Dew for 2011, but there should be quite a few 2010s still available at close-out prices. Take one for a ride.
     
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