[biking] the commuting edition

I actually feel guilty looking at bikes, when I’ve just spent more on a bike than my last three bikes (and admittedly, those last three were over 14 years) combined. But, I actually kind of have to. Because the Opus Stern cost what it did, I’m not comfortable riding it to the store or work and locking it up, even less so, downtown for a beer. The Opus will remain a lockless “organized ride” bike for the moment.

The plan was to keep riding my Devinci Stockholm for a while as a commuter. That plan is going out the window. Slowly, but it is going. I’m hoping against hope that I’ll get this summer and fall out of it, but I’m not convinced.

What I’ve got is a severe wobble in the back wheel. At speed, the entire frame vibrates, and there’s a noticeable shimmy from the handlebars back.

From the reading I’ve done (and despite what I know about bikes, I don’t know crap about the internals of a hub/wheel, but I’ve a feeling I’m about to learn) it’s either a wheel out of true or bent, burnt bearings, or a stripped hub. I also appear to have a hairline crack in one of the welds on the frame. I say “appear” because I need to degrease the SOB to figure that out properly. All of these are possible: The bike is ten years old, with an average of 4000km/year on it. In that time and mileage (kilometerage?) I’ve put tires, tubes, chains, and brake pads into it. Nothing else. I mean, oil and/or lubricant, occasionally, but nothing else. So, a] it doesn’t owe me anything and b] that there’s major internal damage wouldn’t surprise me at all, at this point. Its earned that kind of damage, to be honest.

With that said, I’ve also looked at what a hub/wheel replacement will cost me. And, it’s just not going to be worth it for this bike. I wouldn’t mind converting it to a 3-speed internal hub, but the work and cost involved is, well, the cost of a new bike with a 3-speed internal hub.

Now, keep in mind, I’m gonna ride this fucker until it truly dies, or I truly don’t feel safe on it. I don’t think either of those will be long in coming, but if I can get this season (say, until end of October) out of it, then I can get something new for commuting, in the $400 range, next spring.

If it does die a timely (untimely?) death, though, I need to be ready. Which means I need some OPTIONS.

I’ve just been reading (because I’m a bike nerd) about utility and cargo bikes. I’d looked a the Kona last year, because I thought it might be cool for @dogandgarden. Now, I’m wondering if it’d be for me, or not. I mean, I’d have to commute on it, which is something she likely wouldn’t do.

Oh, here it is:

Or, I stick with what I know I’m doing. Commuting and banging around. In which case, a single speed, three speed, or a 1×8 derailleur set-up would be perfect. It’d be nice to drop the derailleur completely, as it lowers maintenance needs, but I may end up wanting the gears. That leads me to the urban bikes, like:

Norco Heart, single or Fixed, $399 @ Joe Mamma.

I wonder if anyone knows anything about Regal Bicycles out of Toronto? I think I kinda dig “The Count” and that may be what I order up over the winter, in a 56cm frame:


Both the Heart and The Count have the advantage of a flip-flop hub, so I can have it fixie (unlikely) or single speed (very likely, I need to freewheel on the downhill!).

The other option is a 3-speed style. I do like the Felt Bikes brougham for this kind of thing, but I think it’s too expensive:

There’s also then stuff like the Linus Roadster, Trek Earl, or Trek Cruiser if I want to get a little different, and more upright. I’d love to go with something like the Trek Bellville.

The good news is, while I’ definitely limiting my budget to $300-$500, I’ve got a lot of good, solid, tough options for that ballpark. If I can hold off until spring, bonus. If I have to get something quickly, because my Devinci gives up? Well, I think I’m pretty much ready for that too. One way or the other though, whever I get will spend a lot of time locked up in questionable places (some would argue I should have been, in my youth) and affordable means I can afford to lose it if the worst happens, and someone goes through my lock.


One Response to [biking] the commuting edition

  1. Ray says:

    Hey Mark,

    I was doing a search on Regal Bicycles and came across your post about “The Count.” I am the owner of Regal Bicycles, feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Also, take a look at our new fall line up: http://www.regalbicycles.com/blogs/news

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