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Thread: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

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    Thumbs up Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    I recently moved about 40 miles from work, and I've found that I'm really enjoying riding my bike to work one or two days a week. Since it's a reasonable distance, I don't need to carry anything, and I have shower facilities at work, I've been riding my Pegoretti to date. I'd like to keep riding through the winter... but I don't really want subject my Peg or Merckx to the realities of a fall/winter/spring commute, and fenders will be a requirement. It will also be used for winter training.

    So here's the question - what used/cheap bikes/frames meet the following criteria:

    - Proper road bike geometry (no 44cm chainstays!)
    - Lightweight, fun to ride, sporty
    - Eyelets on the fork and rear dropouts
    - 126mm or 130mm spacing
    - 47-57mm reach brakes

    I had a 1983 Sequoia but gave it to a friend's son. It would have been nearly perfect. I also had a Rambouillet, but didn't like it much - felt heavy and ponderous. Surly Pacer would be fine, but it has 39-49 brakes and is generally uninspired...

    Surely there must be "winter training bikes" or older road bikes that meet this criteria. I know about the Rivendell Roadeo, but for that price, I could buy a Love #3!

    Thoughts appreciated.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    Soma Smoothie ES. Slightly nicer tubing than the Pacer, and with 47-57 brakes. Mine clears 32mm tires with fenders.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    "So here's the question - what used/cheap bikes/frames meet the following criteria:

    - Proper road bike geometry (no 44cm chainstays!)
    - Lightweight, fun to ride, sporty
    - Eyelets on the fork and rear dropouts
    - 126mm or 130mm spacing
    - 47-57mm reach brakes...""

    You describe any number of Japanese 10-speeds from the late 80's thru the mid-90's. Annoyingly, the fixed-gear drones have driven up prices on these to a somewhat silly level. How could a Surly Pacer be "fine" given some of your above criteria? To even contemplate using a Riv Roadeo...I'd just use the Merckx, fer' chrissakes and zip-tie my mudguards. What about a used Cannondale of some ilk? Or one of the best "shite bikes" around; a used Bianchi Volpe'? Doesn't quite hit the "lightweight, fun to ride, and sporty" criteria of yours, but it's good enough and a lot better then a Pacer.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    I use a Pacer for what you describe. Pacer can use either 47-57 brakes nearly at the top of the slots or 39-49 all the way at the bottom. I use the former to improve fender clearance. Generally uninspired? Yes, but it has grown on me, and I think the geometry is pretty dialed.

    An alloy Cannondale Synapse might fit the bill, although I think fender clearance on those would be really snug in the front in spite of the presence of eyelets.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    An older Trek steel road frame would work well. I have an '83 Trek that exactly fit your criteria and served me well as a winter commuter for several years.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    Quote Originally Posted by chancerider View Post
    You describe any number of Japanese 10-speeds from the late 80's thru the mid-90's.
    Well, sort of. Except some use 39-49mm brakes and some don't have eyelets. And some likely suck. The ur-Sequoia and the 1987 Schwinn Prelude would be great. What are other great options in the "80s/90s Japanese 10-speeds" universe. That's my precise question. In other words, what is my Craigslist key word search...

    Quote Originally Posted by chancerider View Post
    To even contemplate using a Riv Roadeo
    What's wrong with the Roadeo (other than the name). If I'm riding 160 miles per week on it, I want it to be a nice bike to ride. Perfect bike for this would really be a Waterford-built Riv Road Standard (late nineties).

    Quote Originally Posted by chancerider View Post
    What about a used Cannondale of some ilk? Or one of the best "shite bikes" around; a used Bianchi Volpe'? Doesn't quite hit the "lightweight, fun to ride, and sporty" criteria of yours, but it's good enough and a lot better then a Pacer.
    A used Cannondale would be fine, but I don't think there is one with 47-57mm brakes ever made. A Crack-n-fail cyclocross bike might be an option; I'll look at the geometry of those. Do they have eyelets? Volpe feels a bit like a Pacer - meets all the criteria but for the one about wanting to ride it 84 miles roundtrip in a day. I appreciate the thoughts. Any further idea on what 80s/90s ten-speeds I should look at. Miyata 714? Any of those have eyelets?

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    Quote Originally Posted by John M View Post
    An older Trek steel road frame would work well. I have an '83 Trek that exactly fit your criteria and served me well as a winter commuter for several years.
    Yup, my wife has an '83 Trek 620. It is perfect for this. Alas, it's a 48cm, and I need a 57cm. And those Treks are getting up there in price; I'm already looking for one of those, but I'd like a few more options.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    Salsa has a few options but recently switch to cantis from long calipers for the casseroll, gunnar has the sport with calipers and a disk cross with similar geometry. I bucked up for a custom to meet this description as the nice stock bikes have sloping TTs.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    1) I don't have precise Jap 10-speed makes/models...you'd have to do what I'd do; troll thru the interweb for info and then hunt and kill for a specific model.

    2) My beef with the Roadeo is it's price given that it'd be relegated to a bad weather commuter. My point there was why not save the $ and use your Merckx? IMHO, the build quality is similar to the Riv..and you already know it works. S'all.

    3) The medium-reach brake thing might be a hassle since that config was so out of vogue until recently. You'd have to go back at least a dozen years ago to find old/used bikes made to accept those..or look to the current crop of stuff like the Pacer, Soma, etc... and then you're back to square one given your desires for a decent ride.

    4) Upon reflection, if you'd go 400 bucks for a Pacer, etc..maybe cough up a few hundred more and get a Gunnar Sport for around 700 bucks. Well made and seems to fit all your needs.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    Quote Originally Posted by Look585 View Post
    Soma Smoothie ES. Slightly nicer tubing than the Pacer, and with 47-57 brakes. Mine clears 32mm tires with fenders.
    That is what I was thinking.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    Lemond Propad.

    I can run 35mm Nokians and have clearance for fenders.
    life is too short to drink bad wine....

    Stuart Levy

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    Quote Originally Posted by chancerider View Post
    You describe any number of Japanese 10-speeds from the late 80's thru the mid-90's.
    Several years ago I picked up a 1986 Bridgestone 600 for $285 off eBay. It has proven to be the perfect foul-weather commuter/winter training bike, as well as a surprisingly fun & sporty backup bike. (Although it doesn't quite meet OP's "lightweight" criteria!) I've got full coverage SKS fenders and 23c Armadillo Elite tires on it. I can still hang with the fast kids on (most) training rides, but I can also ride through the slush & debris-clogged gutters of NYC in February. Best $300 I ever spent

    ...although admittedly with all the upgrades it's required in the past 3 or 4 years that number's probably closer to $1,300.


    Quote Originally Posted by nahtnoj View Post
    An alloy Cannondale Synapse might fit the bill, although I think fender clearance on those would be really snug in the front in spite of the presence of eyelets.
    Nope, tried that when my wife was looking for a winter bike. Full fenders will not fit on a Synapse. Those eyelets are just there to tease us!

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    Well, I'm pleased to see this was nearly as much of a challenge for everyone else as it was for me. Given the price of a Soma ES, I think my current thoughts are, "F*ck it. I'll ride the MXL. I'll put some sort of crud catchers on it. And then I'll keep an eye out for a Spooky Lumberjack with a 575 top tube." Life's too short to ride bikes that aren't fun and it'll be more fun to be wet than bored. Heck, for what I'll save not buying a new frame, I'llprobably rig up some SKS franken-fenders and dress in all-Rapha weatherproof tweed and vinyl.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    I have an older Redline Conquest set up as a single-speed. Could also be set up with gears though.

    It's surprisingly good in this application. I have fenders on it. It uses cantilever brakes but also has mounts for discs.

    The ride/handling thing is shockingly not bad at all. I did a 147 mile ride on it on Saturday and it left me no worse for wear than had I been riding on one of my road bikes. The contact points are virtually identical to my road bikes.

    I've got 28mm Ruffy Tuffys on it.

    There are builders here who would love to build you this kind of bike. Big fan of what I've seen from Hampsten for bigger tires, fenders, possible racks, light mounts, etc. Any or all of those options would be possible I think.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    I gotta say the Volpe is a fun bike, I commuted for years on a Bianchi Castro Valley, which is a Volpe with different stickers. Great bike.

    However, any bike you commute on in the snow and cold rain you will eventually hate. I did, not because of the bike, but because I had to ride it every morning....

    -Joe

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    Quote Originally Posted by christian View Post
    Well, I'm pleased to see this was nearly as much of a challenge for everyone else as it was for me. Given the price of a Soma ES, I think my current thoughts are, "F*ck it. I'll ride the MXL. I'll put some sort of crud catchers on it. And then I'll keep an eye out for a Spooky Lumberjack with a 575 top tube." Life's too short to ride bikes that aren't fun and it'll be more fun to be wet than bored. Heck, for what I'll save not buying a new frame, I'llprobably rig up some SKS franken-fenders and dress in all-Rapha weatherproof tweed and vinyl.
    Fenders get to be kind of critical in the shoulder season up North. Reconsider the plan to go with less than full fenders. 45 miles is a haul when you are cold/wet/skunk striped...Just a thought from a VT commuter.
    Start slow, then taper off.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    I recently got a Milwaukee Road from Ben's. I considered the Pacer and the Soma but then splurged and got the Milwaukee with some custom braze-ons. It comes stock with fender eyelets, long reach brakes go around 35 CX tires and its made in america by Waterford with True Temper tubing and nice paint.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    When did you score an MXL?
    Let's swap. You can ride the Riv this winter.
    I'll take the Merckx.

    By the way, the Sequioa broke (downtube/bottom bracket)
    May it rest in peace.

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    Merckx is a 57cm so too small for you. And your Riv is one cm too big for me. But I'll call you regardless.

    Sad news about the Sequoia! Rust?

    PS: What happened to a) that aluminum Bridgestone thing (though I recall tight clearances) or b) that Guerciotti cx bike?

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    Default Re: Which old bikes - a winter trainer/commuter question

    do you commute into the city?
    if so, what's your route?
    david corr

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