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Commuter/Light touring Bike.(24 posts)

Commuter/Light touring Bike.Len J
Oct 18, 2001 3:46 AM
I've decided to begin commuting by riding to work. I've also decided to sell my second bike, a 2000 Lemond B/A w 105 triple. So now I need to decide what kind of frame to build up/buy for commuting & light (charity event) touring.

Ride to work is 17 miles one way, relativly flat, and winter weather can get wet & windy here on the Eastern Shore. Charity events are usually very hilly. Also thinking of using this bike for backup for any very hilly centuries I do, (remember, no hills where I live).

Allright fellow cyclist, what should I be looking for in:


Budget is under $2,000.

Thanks in advance for your oponions.

re: Commuter/Light touring Bike.MJ
Oct 18, 2001 5:44 AM

you should think cyclocross with a triple

other people have sung the prases of the Gunnar on the site - it does have pannier eyelets - also teh BB is low enough so as not to be offputting for serious road miles

I think a complete bike is well within your price range...

Oct 18, 2001 5:51 AM
Frame - need lugs and durability.

Components - "very hilly centuries" = triple, unless you are mega fit/strong. Stout wheels

Cantis good for poor weather/with loads stopping

Extras - rack, bottles, lights, spares bag.

So looks like:

A) CX (see above): or
B) Nice tourer (tour a few web sites)
#1 Option-Keep the Lemond.MB1
Oct 18, 2001 7:16 AM
#2 Get a Cyclocrosser built up with a triple, sturdy wheels, a wide gear range with racks and fenders.

I can recommend from personal experience Bianchi Cromo-Lite and Gunnar. If you want more details, e-mail me.
DittoCliff Oates
Oct 18, 2001 8:36 AM
Although Richard Schwinn of Waterford/Gunnar is going to get a piece of my mind pretty soon. Wonderful bikes when they get it right. God help you if they don't.
re: cheap onecyclopathic
Oct 18, 2001 7:29 AM
think about all that road salt, robberies, cars crashing into you ;-)

seriously you don't wanna ride $2,000 bike to work
400-500$ would buy you Sora level steel bike extra $100-200 will get you better tires, fenders and lights, replace parts as they wear

Your LeMond Buenos Aires is about what you'd need.
not a cheap onMJ
Oct 18, 2001 8:17 AM
if you're doing 34 miles a day - (170 miles per week just on the commute!) - query whether you want to make sure you've got some quality underneath you and that you enjoy it - as PsyDoc says there are a lot of cheaper bikes that will be up to the commuting task - but I say you may not want to sacrifice if you don't have to - I say you do want to ride a $2000 bike to work - BTW welcome to green transport

now what's wrong with the Lemond again? :-)
Nothing wrong with the Lemond but........Len J
Oct 18, 2001 5:42 PM
I don't need two racing bikes, I can't put fenders on it and the chainstays are too short for Panniers.

I also agree with the Decent bike if I'm going to put this many miles on it theory. But I do want something that can take some abuse.


do you really need full size panniers?cyclopathic
Oct 19, 2001 9:26 AM
Perfomance sells Transit Pro panniers which're small enough to fit 16" chainstays (you lemond has 16.3")

But unless you're going to do multi day self-supported tour for anything from 5mi commute to 1200km randonee you would be just fine with Rack Trunk
Rack trunk, combine with smaller panniers provides as much cargo space as bigger panniers

With respect to full fenders Zefal makes a set which fits dual cam brakes, check it out at Nashbar Zefal Road Full Fender Set

Cyclocross frame does have advantage as it allows to fit 35mm tires for dirt road riding, for commute/century/brevet you'd be fine with your leMond good luck
Thanks, Good info. nmLen J
Oct 20, 2001 3:19 PM
DisagreeRich Clark
Oct 18, 2001 1:36 PM
I want the bike I ride 4000 miles a year on to be the nicest bike I can afford. Why punish myself? What seems silly is to ride 130 miles a week on a beater and then, if I'm lucky, get in another 50 on the "nice" bike on the weekend.

Obviously, people with no secure bike parking or only one bike will have to adjust their needs accordingly.

re: Commuter/Light touring Bike.Bart S.
Oct 18, 2001 7:34 AM
Take a look at the Bianchi Volpe.

Strong, comfortable, with triple crank.

It is also less than half your budget.
Ditto on the Volpe....Greg Taylor
Oct 18, 2001 8:50 AM
...the only big drawback is that is it HEAVY. I use mine to commute (and occasional 'cross race) and it is one tough, versatile old bird.
Bar type?MikeC
Oct 18, 2001 8:50 AM
Have you committed to drop bars, or are you considering an alternative riding position?
I'd go with a touring/cyclocross hybridChris Zeller
Oct 18, 2001 10:36 AM
I Love my Airborne Carpe Diem. It's a cyclocross/touring hybrid that is as light as a racebke with braze-ons for racks and relaxed angles of a tourer. If you configure it as a touring bike or a racebike you can easily acomplish your desires as a commuter which will be comfortable due to geometry and a compliant Ti frame.

The price is just around your budget.

Then again, your bike is pretty good. I was thinking of buying this bike when I bought the CD. You can use racks on this with seat stay brackets and the steel frame is comfortable and strong enough for light touring.
Ti Touring/Cyclocross FrameRich Clark
Oct 18, 2001 1:57 PM
In your situation I'd buy exactly what I bought in my situation (26mi RT in Philadelphia, plus long weekend country rides): an Airborne Carpe Diem. Even if that particular bike doesn't appeal to you for whatever reason, my reasons for choosing is as a commuter/light tourer might illuminate your decision-making.

*It has seatstay/fork clearance for wide tires and fenders, up to at least 700x37c (brake bosses for cantilever brakes).

*It has eyelets and braze-ons for racks and fenders.

*It has long enough chainstays (42.5cm) to give heel clearance with small panniers. (Touring bikes usually have 44-45cm stays for clearance with large panniers.)

*Its compact geometry yields a relatively tall head tube, contributing to a higher handlebar position without excessive use of unsightly spacers. (My other bike uses a tall Nitto Technomic quill stem to get the bars up.)

*It was available with well-built touring wheels, good touring tires, and MTB gearing in the rear, exactly what I wanted.

*It's pretty much as weatherproof as a bike can get, with a ti frame, gore-tex cables, sealed bb, and very little steel anywhere. (And someday I'll actually feel good about riding it in the muck, but that's another story.)

It came out at just under $2000 when I bought it in June. It's got 1600 miles on it currently and has been simply perfect so far.

Thanks Guys, one more question?Len J
Oct 18, 2001 5:50 PM
It sounds like the best solution is a cross bike. I think I want to maybe buy a frame & build it up.

The two recommendations above for gunner & Bianci are a start, what else should I look at? Any custom options?

Thanks again.

Oct 18, 2001 7:30 PM
My Cannondale 'cross is an exceptional commuter. Set up with a triple and stripped of the CODA crapola it serves me quite well. Tough tires are a must. Try Grant's Ruffy Tuffy tire over on the Rivendell site. Very good stuff.


The Mt. Zefal Hybrid clip ons. Easy to take 'em off for the better weather touring. 'Nuff said.

Thanks Guys, one more question?Len J
Oct 18, 2001 5:51 PM
It sounds like the best solution is a cross bike. I think I want to maybe buy a frame & build it up.

The three recommendations above for Airborne gunner & Bianci are a start, what else should I look at? Any custom options?

Thanks again.

Thanks Guys, one more question?MJ
Oct 19, 2001 12:41 AM

rugged, fenders, racks, touring capability, a triple/gearing, wider tyre clearance - plus the ability to do offroad miles... sounds like you're on the path to conversion

two custom frame suggestions in your price range - both steel frames - keep in mind that you don't have to have 853 - I ride 631 and it's plush - it's supposed to be a softer ride and have a longer life span to boot

1. Steelman - which regularly receives praise here and on the cross board

2. Donohue - my custom built ride of choice (you get a Euro Vat discount)

recently posted a picture and 'review' on the cross board

keep in mind that if you go cross (and not the low BB Gunnar) - you need to make sure you're gonna be ok with the BB height for serious road miles - I'd argue that you will get used to whatever you end up with - the added bonus of feeling like you're on a rocket when you go back to your roadie bike - I have no problem holding a pace line with the cycling club - but feel I have to work a bit harder on turns and descents whereas they have the feeling of being on rails - it makes me a better rider i nthe end I keep telling myself

good luck - let us know where you end up
Bob Trailmuncher
Oct 19, 2001 12:45 AM
Gor for a Jake the Snake frame and fork (Project 2)and build up your self
Bob TrailMJ
Oct 19, 2001 1:36 AM
Jake the Snake = bone jarring?

what about rack and fender mounts?
It's okmuncher
Oct 19, 2001 4:45 AM
on the road with touring/commuting tyres. There are rack holes on the rear bottom, and the front where there are no mounts on the forks I just use 4 hose clips and rubber padding, which works just fine. Good thing 'bout Jakes is the frames are cheap to buy and fairy light, if you are thinking of building your own. There was a second hand one here "as new" for £200, inc fork, headset, and bb.
Couple more answersCliff Oates
Oct 19, 2001 2:13 AM
Strong has a sale on cyclo-cross frames going until December at $800. You would need to add $250 for one of his forks and the additional charges for rack attachments and fork and dropout eyelets (and maybe a pump peg), but it seems like a very good deal for a full custom frame to me.

FWIW, my experience with Gunnar is probably somewhat unusual. Normally, I believe the bike shop would eat the frame problems I had, but I receved a 25% discount off the retail price and I consider the LBS owner a friend, so that limited my options with respect to the transaction.

Finally, you may want to ask about brakes over in the cross forum. I personally have had poor experiences with the ubiquitous Avid cantis and replaced them with Paul touring cantis, which are fairly expensive but worth it, in my opinion. Spooky's from the Netherlands are another choice, but I think I read they're difficult to adjust. SRP Mr. Grumpys are very light, but they're expensive. Redline makes an inexpensive set of cantis that Excel has for sale but I have no specific knowledge of them. Excel also has some Shimano cantis on sale right now. Forget v-brakes if you want to stick with STI or ergo shifters.