Metal Bike Commuter

In Anticipation of My Thirties

Posted in Uncategorized by metaljaybird on January 7, 2009
Tags: , ,

I’m making no secret about the fact that the end of next month takes me out of my 20s forever. So, my wife, (who remains in her 20s until the next decade) has been asking what I want for this momentous occasion.

Really, money is tight right now. So I don’t have the cash to spend thousands on a customized bicycle perfectly fitted for my frame.

I think I want a touring bike. I really like what I see with the Surly Long Haul Trucker, but I’m just not sure we can plunk down over a thousand dollars on it. That being said, I’ve checked out what Bikesdirect has to offer, and there are a few in my range that I think look nice, but I’m not sure about the quality.

For all of you experienced with touring cycles, what say you?


15 Responses to 'In Anticipation of My Thirties'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'In Anticipation of My Thirties'.

  1. Dean said,

    AH, 30. I’m quite enjoying being 30.
    New: The Trek 520 might be a good fit for you and I’d expect it’d be a bit cheaper than the LHT.

    If your handy, and into the thrill of the hunt I’d go used (ebay, craigslist):

    Centurion – Pro Tour, Elite GT

    Fuji – America, Touring I. II, III, IV

    Miyata – 610, 615, 618, 1000, 1000LT, Grand Touring

    Schwin – Passage

    Specialized – Sequoia, Expedition

    Univega – Specialissima, Gran Turismo
    1. Raleigh Gran Sport, 1970-1976
    2. Fuji America
    3. Sekai Grantour 2500, 1976-1980(?)
    4. Schwinn Paramount P-15, 1960-1980(?)
    5. Centurion Pro-Tour
    6. Trek 520, 620, 720

  2. Dean said,


    My buddys got a new volpe, loves it. Only problem is some toe clip overlap with fenders attached. Not a big deal. Fully rackable, fati tires & fenders would fit easy.

  3. dave said,

    I’m totally with Dean on the Craigslist thing, especially if you can score a Centurion — those are some criminally underappreciated bikes. That said, if there’s any way you can swing it, I’d suggest the Long Haul Trucker. It’s not just the frame build quality (which is remarkable). The component mix on it is stunning for the price. Where on a lower-end or older bike, you might end up upgrading the brakes, the cabling, perhaps the wheels and bars, and maybe the rear derailleur, with the LHT you’ve got a bike that’s set up with darn near the best kit you can find in its range. The bike’s a bargain, and 20 years down the road, it’ll be what Centurions are today.

    I know I sound like a paid Surly shill, but they make them some incredible bikes.

  4. […] reception and lecture, which is coming up on January 14 at the library. Metal Bike Commuter is thinking about getting a new bike. Other people are showing off their […]

  5. Michael S said,

    I bought the touring bike… the windsor tourist. I also have another one of their bikes I bought off someone on Craigslist.

    Concerning the touring bike, I’ve had it over a year. It has it positives, as well as its negatives.

    The bike is okay out of the box, but you’ll probably want to buy a set of good wheels because the one’s on the bike aren’t that great. Also, some parts like the bottom bracket, headset, etc are off brand, and the bottom bracket was installed dry with no grease, and currently its seized. The bottom bracket is functioning now, but its something I need to take care of since I’ve read these particular ones fail.

    But, I’ve replaced the wheels with a much better ones, run good tires, changed the bar tape, added fenders, and think its a great bike now. I ride 4 miles round trip every single day, rain or shine, and haven’t had a problem since the wheel started going.

    If you want to buy new, you’ll have to spend more than the cost of a bike from to have a reliable, decent bike cause some of the parts sucks, but the ones that don’t are great. I’d say, if money is tight, look for a used Surly LHT with a good wheelset on ebay, but make sure you get the right size.

  6. Dean said,

    The LHT comes with that great gearing for around here, big hill gears! Lotsa braze ons, you could tour the world on it just by adding luggage & gear. The smaller sizes use 26″ wheels. You could run huge offroad tires. Or nice skinnies and go out light on a fastish road ride.

    Heres what I sorta slowly did to the Grand Prix I got early this summer. Not as diesel as a LHT but good enough for me right now.
    Ebay (local pickup) 70’s Raleigh Grand Prix – 120
    Used brake pads – free
    New Two Fish velcro bottle cage – 18
    New tires, continental sport contact 32c (2) – 30
    New chain – 13
    New Fenders – 30
    New brass bell – 9
    Used rear Blackburn rack – free
    Ebay WTB downhill seat – 6
    Nashbar shopping pannier – 12
    New brake cables – 10
    New bar tape – 15
    Shift cable – 3
    New Cane Creek brake levers – 30
    Mudflap – free
    Ebay used Suntour Downtube shifters – 8
    Ebay used Suntour rear derailleur – 8

    I was determined to go cheap and get a not flashy bike, one I could leave most places with minimal locking. Its sort of an ongoing project, cheap but a good amount of time invested. I love riding it, It came with an upgraded triple crank, its low is a 34 x 28 which is just enough to get me up anything. 5 speed freewheel in the back. I upgraded the parts slowly. I’ve ridden it alot, so far maybe 3k miles moslty on road but some nasty offroads too. Its broke one spoke and one shift cable, a few flats of course. It was fairly rideable when I got it. Its steel, it feels nice on long rides. Stiffer ride than my steel Bianchi but a nice ride. I’ve ridden it maybe 60 miles at a time comfortably. My aluminum giant road bike feels much harsher over bumps than the Raleigh. I have’nt loaded it with all that much yet, I went camping with it but got my water & food at camp. Its got eyelets in the front and rear dropout for rack & fender mounting. I had to use some little p brackets to mount the rack to the seatstays. Strangely it has no braze ons for shift parts, no bottle cage bosses. Oh, my feet knock the front fender a bit when turning slow, but I got used to it and avoid it. I’m thinking newer wheels soon.

    You ever see an old Specialized Rock Combo? Some had neon graphics, nothing some black spray paint cant fix.

    Test ride for sure if you can.


    • Glen Nison said,

      Just curious, I have a 1970ish? Raleigh gran sports (white and light blue) and am trying to find the proper size headset to replace mine. Not sure if you did any searching and could tell me what headset would work. I’m assuming it’s probably something I could still get new or NOS. Thanks for any advice. It’s a great bike and i’m getting some new stuff put on.


  7. mjb's wife said,

    You guys really aren’t helping with the “just get the Long Haul Trucker!” suggestions! =) As I’m sure hubby could tell you, I love surprising him with cool stuff for Christmas/birthdays, but the LHT is really out of range this year…

    Any opinions on getting the LHT frame built with cheaper components, with the idea of upgrading later on when we have a bit more money?

    Lori (the wife)

  8. kendra said,

    Well, I’m not that experienced, but this is what I would do, probably. First of all, I did get a lht, but it was hard to find one to try out. You have to go into the city or philly, and I think you should try it out first. One of my first bikes was a mountain bike and I think it is a good bike, but it was too much money and not really one of my favorite bikes to ride; I should have spent more time trying things out and thinking about it.

    While you are looking for a place to try one out, ask them for suggestions. I’m sure Marty’s could help you, but check out other bike stores too. Maybe they have something used? If you find one you like, start looking on craigslist or whatever for it. Seriously, I think part of the fun of getting a bike is obsessing over what you should do. It’s still pretty cold and salty out, and maybe when people start looking for things to sell this spring, you can find your perfect bike? Or something that will hold you over until then?

  9. Dean said,

    I think if you got a LHT frame only, you could probably move a lot of the parts from the old mt. bike to the new frame. You could probably use both derailleurs, the cranks and pedals. You could use the 26″ wheels too if you got one of the smaller sized LHT’s. Then you could sell off whats left of the mt. bike.

    Probably a good idea to ask around at local shops.

    How tall is Mr. Metal Biker?
    I have a friend who is selling a not too old Schwinn Super Sport in great condition fully rideable. Its not a touring bike but a basic road bike, nice STI shifters. No room for huge tires or fenders but you could put a rack on the back. He wants $350. It’s a 52cm

  10. metaljaybird said,


    Yes it looks nice. BTW, I’m 5’10” (embellishing those last few centimeters).

    I might go the route you seem to suggest and check out older steel frame bicycles. I’m sure anything will be faster than my Specialized Hardrock with knobby tires.

  11. Dean said,

    Just emailed you some info about a Fuji Touring my buddys selling.

  12. metaljaybird said,

    Doc, your bike is beautiful. I like your blog, too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: