Spending, say, a grand, on a bike to ride, in order to have less bikes.

Captain Stupido

Senior Retro Guru
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Apologies for the rambling post. Happens every now and then, basically I need the good people of RB land to talk me out of buying a new bike.

I'm probably always going to have one or two projects on the go, but overall I could do with having fewer bikes, and riding more. The ultimate quest for me is increasingly becoming finding the least compromised "do it all" bike that I can, and I'm wondering about how throwing a bit more money at the problem might help solve it. Most of my builds seem to cost about £300 when all's said and done. What about a grand on something old or new?

Comfort is more important than speed, but I want something efficient enough that I can cover distance. It needs to be rugged (and capable) enough for both carrying luggage and riding on trails.

Recently I attempted to crack this by building up an Orange C16R, with rigid forks, in drop bar flavour. It was quite a fun bike, but ultimately a bit sluggish on the road, and twitchy on the trails - I got bored of it.

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Having had lots of road bikes with flat bars, and lots of MTBs with drops, I'm coming round to the conclusion that while I like drops for covering distance on roads, flat bars work so much better for me over anything remotely technical that they're probably the best option for a do it all bike.

Also, I've never owned a 29er, but it seems to me that bigger wheels do roll better on tarmac. This seems to be the main compromise when it comes to using a retro MTB for "everything". It seems weird to me that modern thinking is that these big wheels are better off road too... but it makes me wonder whether a modern rigid MTB or a gravel bike (with straight bars) would do the job better.

Based on the theory that bigger wheels are better I've got a Dawes Synthesis 700c hybrid build in the queue as well as a 27" Claud Butler Majestic which are both different answers to the question, but realistically unlikely to be the "ultimate" answer, if only because I'd really like something with disc brakes. It's bloody hilly here and brakes are important!

The best compromise in my stable today is a Giant Cadex. It's pretty fast over any surface, handles brilliantly, is lightweight and reasonably comfortable and will go pretty much anywhere. It's my first carbon bike and while I prefer the ride quality and feel of a steel frame I appreciate the virtues of carbon fibre. Being critical it's perhaps a bit too racy in feel, not exactly a comfy cruiser, and a bit of a boneshaker on the trails. I'm not sure I'd want to use it for loaded touring off road, either.

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Here and now, my (hard tail) Clockwork is pretty much all the fun I need at the local trail centre, and I have a slightly dull Trek road bike which is as good a bike as i'm likely to need for the limited amount of pure summer road riding I do. It's the compromise bike that's just a bit too...compromised.

So what about a more modern (or just more expensive) do it all bike. I mean, it's hard to believe that something like the bike below wouldn't be "better" overall than the Giant... disc brakes, big wheels (and tyres), a titanium frame and carbon forks... sounds good, right? If I cleared some of the chaff out of the cellar I'd have a grand in no time... if I could stop myself spending it on more projects!


Or what about something a bit more retro? What would you buy? What have you bought already? :)
 

widowmaker

Gold Trader
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I feel your pain, I was in a similar place a while back, almost pulled the trigger on qite a few new bikes but couldn't do it.

Don't do it 😀
 

gtturbo

Retro Guru
My Slate is pretty much the ultimate do it all bike in my opinion. Club runs, 180 mile road rides, offroad epics, singletrack, it's done them all. If I could only keep 1 bike it would probably be this. Personally I would go with the Ultegra rather than Sram force in hindsight and save a few quid. Only downside really is it will only take a 42mm tyre.

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KermitGKona88

Gold Trader
Overbury's Fan
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I have others but this is my go to at the moment.


Fat tyres for comfort, Motocross handlebars width, Slack angles control, soon going to have a make over with some on-one Geoff bars, single biopace 42T on a 600 crankset, RX100 rear mech modded with an XT short cage, and either Suntour XC underbar shifter or Deore Thumbie, also needs some better brake blocks as tonight in the rain they stopped me about as well a GB do in Eurovision...
 

Gtpulse

Dyna-Tech Fan
I had similar thoughts a few years back. I ended up buying via the cycle to work scheme a Cube Attain for £1k with 105 hydraulic discs, knobbly tyres etc. My original plan had been to buy a different model Cube with Gates belt drive and Alfine gears but they were out of stock. It does everything it should do and is very good at it. My plan had been to have this and get rid of most of the rest of the stable.

That hasn’t happened.

If I’m honest it’s a great bike in many ways but just isn’t great to look at, it looks like hundreds of others if that ilk and doesn’t excite! While it’s comfy to ride and does that job arguably better than most of my other bikes it doesn’t have much character. I ended up scratching the itch going back to buying more old stuff to restore just because it’s more interesting!
 

KermitGKona88

Gold Trader
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May I also make an observation, all of the builds you have pictured seem to be very much arse up head down builds. Maybe a slightly bigger frame with a shorter post and higher front end might help...
 
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