Commuter type bikes are my favorites. Race bikes are boring because they all have to conform to a norm in order to work well. A commuter bike is where someones personality, or lack thereof, shows. It's also where you see all sorts of interesting home solutions and odd-cobble jobs.
The last few winters I've spent a lot of time on my bike riding Rochester area gravel roads, bike paths and commuting. I've gone through quite a few frames and parts while I've searched for what worked best for me. I also use this bike for almost all my summer commuting and for non-offroad touring. Here is what I'm riding (or at least the important parts) and a bit about why...
Frame- 1999 Trek 720 Multitrack. Stable, durable, cx type frame that fits 700x42s with fenders or 29x1.9 without.
Fork- Nashbar carbon 1" cyclocross disc fork. I debated about spending the $40 for this, but it dropped a lot of weight off the frame and improved the geometry for my use... PLUS it allowed me to switch to a disc brake.
Headset- aheadset 1" headset, had to swap to this to run the fork as I went from threaded to threadless.
stem/bars/post/saddle- 130mm 3T stem (slammed!), truvativ stylo mtb bars in 580mm, Thomson 0 setback post, Ti railed WTB saddle. Tried to skimp on post, but the infinite adjustability that cheap posts lack keeps my taint from hurting! This stuff is relatively light, but also likely to last forever.
Wheels- front- no name front 32 spoke 29er wheel with 160mm lock-on disc. rear- coda rear hub (dt swiss internals) laced with 40 spokes to a sun tandem rim. Needed something beefy that wouldn't need much work to keep going, rear hub is the place to spend the money! Front hub is simple and bearings could be replaced if needed.
brakes- BB7 road front, Shimano lx canti rear, old school avid flat bar levers (SD7?)
tires- 700x42c nokian 240s in winter or Bontrager XR 29x1.9/1.8 in summer.
fenders- planet bike, modified to mount with the disc brake up front
crankset- Ultegra 6500 triple with only a 39t middle ring, bashguard. Internal bottom bracket for durability in crud, bashguard keeps my pants out of chainring.
cassette- Ultegra 6500 12-27. Good, higher end cassette that gives me final gearing similar to what I ride in summer. No taking a nap and totally spinning up hills.
chain- kmc x9. I've had a lot of issues with chains over the years. These are my favorite cheap 9sp chains, prefer DA 7700 for "race" bikes.
derailleurs- no front derailleur, XTR M952 rear. Awesome quality sealed bearings that worked until I wore out the teeth and had to replace them!
shifters- sram attack gripshift- simple and durable. Not different in feel than the X0 on my race mountain bike. I run a full-length cable housing.
pedals- crankbrothers quattro sl. I use them or the Ti ones on everything. They are holding up great.
All in all this is a bike I feel comfortable with. I can take a quick-link, multi-tool and a couple tubes and be confident in making it home in any conditions. I am also comfortable on it for long rides and find that it handles quite well. Building up a winter bike/commuter with this level of compenentry has greatly increased it's functionality such that I now use it a ton, easily enough to justify the cost. I find it appealing visually as well, but I think it flies under the radar too... I'm not having to constantly worried that it will be stolen from a gas station or bike rack.
I've since gone back to dropbars as shown here.
Here is a link to a similar post by my friend Will...
What are you riding?
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