Author Topic: Advice on likely my last bike  (Read 3269 times)

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Offline ReneG

Advice on likely my last bike
« on: November 15, 2023, 04:00:06 am »
Hello.

At 58.5, I'm in a position to rearrange my bicycle situation and am in need of some advice as I've been riding mostly recreationally on my Jamis Coda with my wife and teen for a few years and am no longer "up" on that's current in the bike world. I'll be a brief as I can.

Selling: Jamis Aurora, `1973 or 4 Fuji S10S, 1978 Fuji S12S and MAYBE a Jamis Coda.
Me: Clydesdale, heart in good shape, back suffering from disc issues from an auto accident that also broke 3 vertebrae in my neck, knees that are going to have to be replaced in a few years.

Goal: Find a stiff bike, stiffness like a steel touring frame that is NOT a drop bar bike. The handle bars on the Coda with a tall stem really feel good. OR modify/upgrade the 2019 Coda into a better version of itself. The issue there is that I don't thing the Coda would ever make a good gravel path bike. Do NOT want a battery involved bike. Really need ride comfort but because the doc said I have two basic exercise choices, bike or swim, and I chose bike, I need a cycle that will give me quality exercise without "breaking" my back.

Considerations: Fat tires are more comfortable for my spine, but not so much so that they are a hard need, and the weight of that kind of bike makes the decision difficult. Honestly, I think that whole question (fat/heavy vs thinner/lighter) is about a wash for me.

I've looked at the Kona Sutra LTD, Surly Ogre and Surly Bridge Club but am not tied to any course of action. As this will hopefully be the bike that takes me to retirement and beyond, even Rivendell would even be a consideration. They aren't doing custom orders though, they're backed up 2 years at present and I can't wait that long.

Recommendations?

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« Last Edit: March 08, 2024, 08:53:10 am by ReneG »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Advice on likely my last bike
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2023, 09:41:56 am »
A few random thoughts (since I can't make your decision for you!):

Don't sell the Coda until you're sure the new bike is The One for you.  It's possible you'll spend the next few months reading all about bikes, and riding, and pick the absolute best bike on paper, and find you like the Coda better.

I wouldn't write off drop bars until you've tried some that have the bars about the same height as the saddle (like a touring bike).  If you like cycling and keep at it until you're doing some longer rides, it's possible you'll want the drops when you face a stiff headwind coming home.

Some people have found that the typical drop bar position is more comfortable than a straight/mountain bike bar.  If your torso is around 45 degrees, there's some flex at your hips you don't have if you're sitting upright.  Any bump that makes it past your tires and bike suspension (if your bike has it) goes straight into your lower back if you're upright.

Think of this as your next bike, not necessarily as your last bike.  That gives you some mental agility down the road.  If you need some exercise and perhaps a way to take off some weight, that's a lifetime goal.  Even if you find and buy that perfect bike this year, in 10 years things may change so you need something else to keep on riding.  A recumbent trike may be big, heavy, and unwieldy this year; but in 10 years your balance may decline, and that's just what you'll need then.

Final recommendation (for now): start planning ahead.  Touring bikes and frames are usually made in a small batch every year.  They'll likely hit the stores around March, and be gone by June.  So contact bike shops in your area, see if they're willing to order something in your size, and you can test ride them next spring.

Offline UncaBuddha

Re: Advice on likely my last bike
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2023, 12:36:42 pm »
for an upright riding position, look at the Stack/Reach ratio. Check out the geometry of the Salsa Fargo. I tried to mimic that when I bought my Lynskey Backroad and it is a nice upright ride.
Also, Redshift has a big sale going on right now. They make a highly regarded parallelogram seatpost that relieves some of the back issues. I just bought one for my hard tail mountain bike as, even with 2.4" tires, it seems to be hurting my low back. Haven't installed yet.


Offline mobilemail

Re: Advice on likely my last bike
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2023, 09:55:56 pm »
I'm your age, and I wouldn't be surprised if you find that there is one more bike after this one before you decide to throw in the towel.  I would further prognosticate that the last one will be an etrike because of all its advantages when we reach an age where strength and balance can't keep up. 

For your next bike, I would encourage you to at least consider a long wheelbase recumbent like the Bacchetta Bella, Phoenix Bike Works bike or Carver Ti.  If you give it an honest try and don't like it, no problem.  If you don't want to invest a lot to try it out, the Rans Stratus and TourEasy bikes can be found used nowadays for $400-600 or so.  A recumbent may not meet your needs and sensibilities...and then again it may!

Offline canalligators

Re: Advice on likely my last bike
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2023, 05:56:20 pm »
I recently purchased a new light touring bike.  Like OP, I don’t want (actually can’t tolerate) drop bars, but wanted a light bike with limited off road capability.  I bought a Trek FX Sport 5. It is much like a road bike but has flat bars.  I changed to north roads bars and a shorter stem with rise.  Buying a flat bar bike let me use the same controls on north roads bars.

The frame is stiff, but it is carbon, don’t know if you are ok with that. I chose the 5 over the 6 as it has alloy wheels and more spokes (32 v 28); I’m not comfortable with the carbon rims on the 6.

The bike comes with 40mm tires, good for some offroad use.

It is hard to find flat bar bikes.

I would also second reconsidering your current bike, if it meets your needs.  Maybe a refurb is all you need.  My new Trek replaces a 50 year old Raleigh, which I had refurbished and is still a capable bike for supported or credit card touring.  Well, except the Record crank needs replacing…. And my daughter just refurbished her 1990’s Cannondale road bike - turned touring bike.

And - have you considered a two wheeled recumbent? I use one for loaded epic tours.

Offline ray b

Re: Advice on likely my last bike
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2023, 09:05:00 pm »
Hello.

At 58.5....

Considerations: Fat tires are more comfortable for my spine, but not so much so that they are a hard need, and the weight of that kind of bike makes the decision difficult. Honestly, I think that whole question (fat/heavy vs thinner/lighter) is about a wash for me.

Recommendations?
At 59.5, if inclined, you can grab some money from your retirement account, without penalty, to support you new purchase.

I have my share of old injuries including a 15 mm lumbar disk protrusion and a fractured neck (actually occipital condyle fracture). (How did I get those injuries? I was having a good time on my bike.)

So sympathetic to your cause.

I run one bike for everything with fair comfort. I have an old Surly Karate Monkey mountain bike with 3 sets of wheels and three forks including suspension, tall, and original.

You might like the tall fork option, which allows a more upright position and mounting some "aero bars" a little higher in the air on a Fred Bar (yes, that's a thing).  Here's a link to the handlebar thread with a photo of the cockpit.
https://forums.adventurecycling.org/index.php?topic=17334.msg92737#msg92737
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline froze

Re: Advice on likely my last bike
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2023, 06:34:22 pm »
I think the bike choices you are looking at are very good choices, the Rivendell is a bit on the pricey side for what you get, yes it has beautiful lugs, but they're not made for loaded touring, light touring yes, heavy-loaded no.

So that leaves the Kona, and in fact, when I bought my touring bike I had it whittled down to the Kona Sutra and the Masi Giramondo 700c Speciale.  I had eliminated the Surly because the components you get on it are a level down from the Kona and the Masi, but you pay a bit more for the Surly, so that one didn't make sense, also I found out later Surly has a horrible warranty department should that ever be needed, so I'm glad I didn't select that bike.  The Masi ticked all my wants boxes, the others ticked most of them, but not all of them.

What I finally decided on was the 2019 Masi, it would have been a good bike but something happened.  When loaded with 60 pounds of camping gear the frame was shimming, or flexing, at first it flexed just a little, but as time went on it started to flex really bad, where it was swaying about 2 inches on both sides.  I contacted Haro about the problem they told me to take the bike to their dealer near me, which I did, he test rode it and said it was dangerous, he weighs about 50 pounds more than me and with the bike loaded he claimed, though I doubt it, that rear stays were swinging a full foot in each direction, whatever.  But even with just an inch or two that would over time weaken a weld someplace and the frame would break.

Haro was extremely fast at getting me a replacement frame and fork, man was I stoked, I had a problem with Ridley bike that cracked after 8 months and 8,000 miles they said it due to fatigue and not covered?!  I got screwed on that one.  But Haro sent me a new bike within a week after the bike shop guy told them what it was doing. 

I did run into another problem, they were supposed to cover the cost of the labor to swap the parts, but the guy at the bike shop when he called them he was told they would give him store credit, which I guess is standard in the industry, but the bike shop guy told them that he wanted a check because his landlord won't take store credit, Haro said no, so the bike shop called me and told me to come get my bikes he wasn't going to do the swap.  I offered to pay him myself but he refused, so I took it to another bike shop in town that is not a dealer.  I told Haro what I did and they decided to send me a check for the labor which is something they never do but due to the dealer going ape nuts and there was no one else in town that handled Haro, and I had already paid the bike shop, they sent me the check.  There was a bit of delay because no one was returning my calls at Haro, turned out that Haro office all came down with Covid, so they weren't up to full staff.

I think overall Haro did a fantastic job of taking care of a customer, I doubt any bike company could have done the same.  Even Rivendell they don't even offer a warranty whatsoever, they only say that if something goes bad send it back in and they will determine if an adjustment will be made at Rivendell cost...not a very comforting warranty.

I'm not sure how good the Kona warranty is.

I have not ridden the new bike at all, it's still in the shop, so can't comment on if they got the frame flex taken care of.  I do know that the frame has the exact same measurements as the old one, but the fork is completely different, it looks beefier.  The old bike the brass-colored paint on the top tube was a tad of a shade lighter than the rest of the tubes which sort of bugged me but it wasn't something worth crying about.  The new bike paint, a medium metal flake blue, is much better quality than the old one.  My only question is, will it still flex, I hope not. 

I think Haro might have known they had a problem because they never even questioned my load placement or anything, which I tried all sorts of combinations of load placement and nothing worked, so I think they were just going to take it as someone who calls noting an issue, they'll replace it no questions asked, but most bought those bikes and will never load the bike up, those will never know there was a flex problem.

Would I buy that bike again knowing what I went through?  That's a tough question, if I had bought the Kona and had the same problem what sort of warranty trouble would I be experiencing with them?  That's a huge unknown answer. 

So if what I said about the Haro scares you, then get the Kona, that bike is the best of the ones you mentioned.

Another bike you didn't mention is the Salsa Marrakesh, or some such name, that was my number 3 pick.

I would also call or e-mail each company, tell them how much you weigh and how much gear weight you will be carrying, so they can tell you if the bike is up to the task, and write the person's name down whom you talked to, or save the e-mail response.  I did that with Haro, and they assured me it was up to the task.

DJ#503

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Re: Advice on likely my last bike
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2023, 09:34:02 pm »
You could consider the Kona Sutra LTD, Surly Ogre, Surly Bridge Club, or even checking out Rivendell. These bikes are durable and versatile.  Fat tires versus thinner tires doesn't seem to make a big difference for you, so focus on other features that matter to you. Good luck finding the right bike! 🚲

Offline David W Pratt

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Re: Advice on likely my last bike
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2024, 04:10:36 pm »
I would hope that at less than 60 yo, this will not be your last bike.  I have two, a Bruce Gordon Rock and Road Tour, and a Tout Terrain Silk Road with a Pinion gearbox hub.  Either is a long distance worthy tourer and will last me, or likely, outlast me.  But, they offer two different riding experiences, depending on what I feel like.

Offline horses60

Re: Advice on likely my last bike
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2024, 06:08:44 pm »
Hello,
I 63, my wife 55 and we have been using Bridge Club for 2.5 years. We have done 15,000 km and are happy.

Wheels 700x40 with Schwalbe Marathon Plus for asphalt routes (Pacific Coast, San Lorenzo River, Milan-Rome, Alps) 12,000 km never a puncture.
Wheels 27.5x2.3 with Teravail for mixed routes and mostly dirt (Carretera Austral and Tierra del Fuego). 2,500 km one puncture. :-X >:(

Defect of the Bridge Club is that if you want 700c wheels you can't put on "wide" tires.

Butterfly handlebars

Today, if I will chage, I would buy Surly Ogre with Rohloff or Tumbleweed Prospector with Rohloff
The bicycle is my drugs