Replacement Commuter Bike

Well my commute bike looks to beyond salvaging. The LBS had already found over $200 worth of repairs and then decided that the frame was bent as well. I think they are uneasy about the structural integrity at this point, but at least it looks like it would be tricky to keep the drive train shifting properly.

So while I am waiting to here from the insurance company I am weighing my options. The $8600 custom Black Sheep I saw at the NAHBS is out of reach.In fact it is a bit of a catch 22. I can only afford to get it for commuting if I win the lottery, but if I win the lottery I won’t need it to commute.
I have been thinking about what I like and don’t like about the damaged bike. On the plus side I like the chromoly frame and the fat (around 2″) tires with full fenders. Also the agility is great for my commute route and it carries the 20lb load of my waterproof panniers. The worse thing is the braking. I want better braking especially in wet weather. A more minor complaint is the chain and gears. The path is paved but it is in a low area and has dust and mud. In the winter I tended to pick up some water and the derailer (usually the front) would freeze and not shift until I tapped it with my heel.
So my criteria are:
  1. Relatively upright position
  2. Carries 20lbs in rear panniers
  3. Fat tires
  4. Better brakes – disc or V-brakes – I had cantilevers
  5. Internal gears
  6. Steel (chromoly or similar) frame
  7. Price
So many bike made for commuting are better on more open roads than I use. Their idea of wide tires are 700×32. I use 700×28 on my road bike so that does not seem wide to me.
Here are some possible options in order of expense:
  • Pick up early to mid 90s mountain bike on Craig’s list, move some parts from the old bike ~$100-$200
  • Something like a Redline D440 that was most of what I want ~$450
  • Buy a frame, possibly Soma Fab 4ONE5, and parts (Shimano Alfine 8 speed, disc brakes, etc) to get most everything I want ~$1200
  • martintolton

    Take a look at a Kona Jake:

    Aluminum and tough. Reasonable weight and good specs. If you can afford it I recommend a Jake the Snake. Carbon fork, 105 and otherwise nicely outfitted. It’ll carry more weight than the rack and panniers will.