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  1. #1
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    One Bike to Rule Them All <$2K

    First of all, many purists will argue this is impossible, and therefore it justifies the existence of at least the following multiple bikes:

    Road
    Randonneur/Touring
    Cyclocross
    Mountain
    City/Hybrid
    Track
    Cruiser

    But let's say, hypothetically, you have a wife who knows full well your family's financial and spatial (we live in a small house - no garage) constraints and refuses to let you go into debt in pursuit of the ownership of a collection of bikes to scratch each of these itches. Instead, she insists that you are only allotted "one bike" until our family fortunes improve.

    Is there one bike that could scratch many of these itches? I'm essentially trying to find a bike I can use to commute in a fairly flat environment, take on weekend road rides, hit an occasional trail or singletrack on a weekend, or just roll on the beach bike path with the kids.

    Looking for brand/model suggestions. I love my trek district, but it's kind of one dimensional. Plus, it's a single speed, so hills are knee-busters for me, and forget towing the kids in the trailer.

    As for the price constraint, yes, I've considered buying each of these bikes at $300 a piece, but I refuse to own a huffy on principle. And for you snarks out there, no, "get a new wife" isn't an option, either.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>EDIT/ADDENDUM:<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
    The prevailing sentiment seems to be "cross," with an extra wheelset for the weekend trail rides. Does anyone have a bike they've set up to be an around town speed/comfort/commute machine with extra wheelset for weekends?

    What do you recommend?
    Last edited by LBCGoat; 06-03-2013 at 09:10 AM.
    ============COMMUTER SETUP============
    2010 54cm Trek District (Vintage Grey/Orange)
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  2. #2
    More cowbell!
    Reputation: Cyclo-phile's Avatar
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    A cyclocross bike will scratch most of those itches. There are many good options in that price range, so see what your favorite LBS carries.
    DFL > DNF > DNS

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclo-phile View Post
    A cyclocross bike will scratch most of those itches. There are many good options in that price range, so see what your favorite LBS carries.
    That plus a collection of different tires and possible stems with different angles to be swapped out accordingly with which type of bike you want it to be.

  4. #4
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    Which of those pursuits do you find most satisfying?

    For my riding pleasure, I would go with a 'race' geometry road bike with a second set of wheels. I look at commuting as training for the weekend and enjoy riding this kind of bike so my commuter is a regular road bike. A compromise will be a cross bike which will be less aggressive on weekend rides and may not be as much fun depending on what you are after.
    Embrace the fact that everyone on these forums has their own unique desires, needs, experiences and environment so what works for you may not work for others.

  5. #5
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    I'd be curious what other forum members recommend in the cyclocross category. My LBSes around here have left me unimpressed. More than likely I'll purchase an after-market bike to save on MSRP/MAP markups. (again in an attempt to be financially responsible)

    I guess this would be also good time to start running some forum searches.

  6. #6
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    ditto to the above...

    get a cross bike with good tire clearance, rack mounts, in steel with 2 wheelsets and you'll be set for life.

    (but what is the fun in that!)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus_XXIV View Post
    Which of those pursuits do you find most satisfying?
    Before I had my district I was riding a Bianchi Race bike that I lurrrrved dearly, but the geometry and frame design were not suited to a bike rack that could support my commute gear and I got tired of arriving to work with back sweat/strap stains from all the different slings/packs/messengers I tried. My wife of course invoked the "one bike" rule, so I had to offload it before I could get a new one.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LBCGoat View Post
    Before I had my district I was riding a Bianchi Race bike that I lurrrrved dearly, but the geometry and frame design were not suited to a bike rack that could support my commute gear and I got tired of arriving to work with back sweat/strap stains from all the different slings/packs/messengers I tried. My wife of course invoked the "one bike" rule, so I had to offload it before I could get a new one.
    Then I agree with the cross bike recommendation with a second set of wheels. Extra wheels are really nice to have around. I own a Lynskey cross bike with disc brakes for bad weather and it is nice to have all the mounts on it. I also set it up with a dynamo light for commuting, which I really like.
    Embrace the fact that everyone on these forums has their own unique desires, needs, experiences and environment so what works for you may not work for others.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus_XXIV View Post
    I also set it up with a dynamo light for commuting, which I really like.
    How did you set up a dynamo hub with multiple wheelsets? (This could probably be a thread unto itself...)

  10. #10
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    I agree with the other posters that cyclocross would be ideal for what your asking for. The only caveat is that there is always compromises to trying to find one bike that fits them all. You will always be sacrificing gearing, weight, suspension etc. As long as your ok with that, a cyclocross would be perfect. You don't want to be caught buying a good cyclocross bike, but end up wanting more because it perform as well as a dedicated road bike or mountain bike.

  11. #11
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    How about something like this Grand Fondo bike? It has the rack mounts, wider tires but a little racier geometry than cross.

    https://www.lynskeyperformance.com/store/sportive.html
    Embrace the fact that everyone on these forums has their own unique desires, needs, experiences and environment so what works for you may not work for others.

  12. #12
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    Yup. A nice Cross bike. One set of wheels/tires for off road and another set up for road riding.

  13. #13
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    I agree with cross bike, the Cannondale Caadx is very nice. If you want to save money, you just need another set of tires instead of wheels depending on how often you switch. It will only take 15 mins or so max to swap tires. If you get a second set of wheels with a cross bike, the rim width should be exactly the same to avoid canti brake adjustments.

  14. #14
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    This is the Holy Grail I found. It rescued me from the almost insatiable urge to buy one of those $5k+ titanium sweethearts.Specialized Tricross s Works Carbon Fiber Complete Bike 16lbs Tubeless | eBay

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deliberate1 View Post
    This is the Holy Grail I found. It rescued me from the almost insatiable urge to buy one of those $5k+ titanium sweethearts.Specialized Tricross s Works Carbon Fiber Complete Bike 16lbs Tubeless | eBay
    That's a fine looking carbon beauty and a fair price too. It's a shame carbon frames are not conducive to mounting racks. I'd go the seatpost-mounted rack if they weren't so crappy and had such limited weight capacity.
    ============COMMUTER SETUP============
    2010 54cm Trek District (Vintage Grey/Orange)
    Speed: Mavic Ksyrium ES Wheels
    Comfort: Brooks B17 Mandarin Saddle, Brooks Skinny Leather Grips & Ergon PC2 Pedals
    Light: Cygolite Hotshot, PlanetBike Alias 3 HID
    Cargo: Topeak Explorer Rack & Ortlieb Backrollers
    Laptop Protection: Mach III Carbon Fiber Composite Case


    Commute supply advice here:
    http://tinyurl.com/ccapfla

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by LBCGoat View Post
    That's a fine looking carbon beauty and a fair price too. It's a shame carbon frames are not conducive to mounting racks. I'd go the seatpost-mounted rack if they weren't so crappy and had such limited weight capacity.
    Much obliged. Among the many reasons I like this bike and went for it is that it came complete with battle scars. Takes all the pressure off. I will not feel anywhere near as bad when I carve my own notches in that frame.

  17. #17
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    How rough are your "single track" ventures? Is it smooth hard pack dirt? or is it true single track trails with actual bumps and rocks that actually take some skill to ride over?

    If it's the latter, then I would consider getting a used titanium mtb hard tail 29er. You can find these frames on Ebay used at sometimes very good price.

    And btw, if your wife invokes the "one bike rule", then invoke the "one purse rule" on her. Women seem to have 10,000 purses, shoes, and clothes that go out of fashion every year and become virtually worthless, and they don't seem to mind it. But a guy wanting more than 2 bikes then suddenly it's "oh no you don't.."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    How rough are your "single track" ventures?

    And btw, if your wife invokes the "one bike rule", then invoke the "one purse rule" on her.
    The single track stuff nearby is fairly mild...easily navigable on narrower tires and honestly it's a lot of on-off road stuff so big fat knobby tires would be a hindrance at times. I think a cross bike could handle most of that stuff within riding distance of my house (urban jungle). If I wanted to go on a weekend trek on legitimate mountain trails I'd probably just borrow a friend's hardtail 29er. Still itching to try the Spot Brand Honey Badger.

    I wish I could call my wife's bluff, but she's actually more frugal than me. She was raised in a manner that placed little value on material things. She prefers to spend on pampering and travel, but does so very seldom since I'm the sole income provider and she feels a sense of guilt whenever she spends on herself. I could be belligerent and just callously disregard her "one bike" rule, but honestly, the marital discord is just not worth it.

  19. #19
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    How about what is now being referred to as a "Monstercross" bike? Drop bars and room for relatively fat tires.

  20. #20
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    I agree with the others - CX bike that accepts larger tires (38-42mm knobbies). Unless the trails are super rocky, a larger 38+ mm CX tire works fine for trail riding. Narrower tire 28-32mm are fine for dirt and racing, but wider tires will smooth out rough trails.

    An extra wheelset would be nice so that you don't have to change tires between road and dirt, but it's not necessary. I have a set of Open Pro rims build to Chris King hubs that have been on my CX bike for 10(?) years. They've held up fine and would work just as well on a road bike.

    If you do opt for a 2nd set of wheels, my recommendation is buy very similar wheel sets (identical is best). Hubs vary a bit, and wheel swamps can involve adjusting the rear derailler (unless the hubs are identical). And rims vary in width and braking surface height - so wheel swaps can involve brake shoe adjustment - particularly if one set of rims is much wider or narrower than "average."

  21. #21
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    One Bike to Rule Them All <$2K

    I'm going to go in a different direction. Marin makes a bike called the muirwoods 29'r. I think it's a great choice. Here is why

    If mtn biking is the roughest thing you will do you really need a mtn bike. The Marin bike is a steel, rigid mtn bike frame. So it can handle all 29r tires.

    You can race cross, commute, and road ride with flat handlebars. No problem. I do and it's perfectly fine. But I do like barends.

    This bike being steel can handle racks.

    All you would need to change is tire rubber, get good at that and you will have no problems doing this.

    Jamis makes a similar bike. A bit nicer but also a bit pricier.

    Just my opinion. I have a cross bike with conti 700x 45 knobbies, rides great but it is definetly not a mtn bike.

    Bill

  22. #22
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    If most of your cycling is under a distance of 25 miles, I'd recommend either the Surly Ogre or the Marin Muirwoods 29er. If your likely to do a few centuries, some touring, or perhaps even a little Randonneuring, I'd recommend the Surly Cross Check.
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  23. #23
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    Another vote for CAADX, although it's the wrong bike for me (54cm is too big, 51cm is too small, there's nothing in between). I really like the Focus AX 2, frame quality seems equal to the Cdale and the geometry is really close to their road bikes (54 is perfect fit and the bottom bracket drop is normal roadbike height). Jenson had last year's models on sale for a ridiculous price and I'm still kicking myself for not buying one at the time.

    I currently ride (primarily) a Trek 520 with 28mm tires, and it handles surprisingly well on single-track, gravel, and muddy conditions. It's not nearly as fun to ride as a cross bike though.

  24. #24
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    She's a smart woman and you should respect that. Fact is, most people buy way too much crap (look at national debt levels). Far too many people are caught in the consumerist mentality. I love bikes, but let's face it, you can do everything you need to with one. Get super fit and pass MTB's on your cross bike, that would be fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by LBCGoat View Post
    The single track stuff nearby is fairly mild...easily navigable on narrower tires and honestly it's a lot of on-off road stuff so big fat knobby tires would be a hindrance at times. I think a cross bike could handle most of that stuff within riding distance of my house (urban jungle). If I wanted to go on a weekend trek on legitimate mountain trails I'd probably just borrow a friend's hardtail 29er. Still itching to try the Spot Brand Honey Badger.

    I wish I could call my wife's bluff, but she's actually more frugal than me. She was raised in a manner that placed little value on material things. She prefers to spend on pampering and travel, but does so very seldom since I'm the sole income provider and she feels a sense of guilt whenever she spends on herself. I could be belligerent and just callously disregard her "one bike" rule, but honestly, the marital discord is just not worth it.

  25. #25
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    Re: One Bike to Rule Them All &lt;$2K

    You're right that marital discord isn't worth it.

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