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Non-cargo-specific general bike question

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  • Tone
    As the subject expresses, this is not a cargo-specific thread. I am however a long-time long-tail rider and long-standing member of this list. I consider this
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 13, 2012
      As the subject expresses, this is not a cargo-specific thread. I am
      however a long-time long-tail rider and long-standing member of this
      list. I consider this list my primary on-line biking community, whose
      members I value the opinion of above most others. With that stated, allow
      me to continue this casual discussion, otherwise please just ignore it if
      not interested.

      I went to the Westminster, Maryland swap meet yesterday and scored some
      great deals, including a yellow waterproof Ortlieb duffle bag for $40
      with extras (rain protection on the back of the Big Dummy!), as well as
      three 44-tooth chain-rings for $1, another 22-tooth chain-ring for $1,
      and three full fenders for $3, etc. I mainly went there though to see if
      I could find a decent mountain bike as cheap as possible. At the moment I
      do not drive and the only bike I have is a built up Big Dummy, which I
      dislike riding in winter conditions on salted roads. I guess I am
      paranoid about rust developing on my pricey Big Dummy, so I wanted a
      secondary aluminum bike as a lighter “beater” alternative.
      Anyway, I ended up with two bikes! Well, sort of because one is a
      stripped down touring/cross/hybrid bike without wheels, brakes,
      derailleurs, shifters, or cabling. It came with a solid Blackburn rear
      rack, which was what initially drew my attention because the $20 price
      tag was tied to the rack. Obviously, I wanted the rear rack for the
      secondary bike to provide some degree of cargo capacity. When the dealer
      said it was $20 for the whole thing because he simply wanted to get rid
      of it, I could not pass up the bargain. There was another seller at the
      swap meet with a lower quality Blackburn rack on its own, who was selling
      his for $30. If you check on-line prices for Blackburn rear racks they
      seem to be in the $30+ range, so I could not pass it up.
      The second bike I managed to get for only $140. It is a complete mountain
      bike with big knobby Kenda tires, grip-shifters, and V-brakes, though the
      frame and suspension fork do have disc brake tabs. I intend to swap
      components to either rapid-fire or tension shifters and set up new wheels
      with slick Kevlar tires and Avid mechanical BB7 brakes. The two 160mm
      Avid disc rotors, which I got from yet another vendor at the swap meet
      for $10, should come in handy for that. Anyway, the complete mountain
      bike I got was a used Fuji Nevada 4.0 in barely-ridden condition. I tried
      to do a quick Google search for the bike I got, but could not find the
      exact year model, so I am not going to bother with links.
      The frame seems pretty solid to me with diamond-shaped tubing, which
      appears wider than some other bike frame tubing. Admittedly, the bike
      does seem rather on the heavy side, especially considering it is only a
      13” aluminum frame. I normally would ride something in the 15-17” size,
      but I prefer my bikes on the smaller size to reduce weight and improve
      control/handling. Also, a smaller framed bike might actually be more
      compact and more portable when loaded on the back of my Big Dummy. Of
      course I intend to ride the seat-tube high and extend the bar-to-seat
      distance as much as possible to compensate for the smaller size. My Big
      Dummy is around 50 pounds and I have been riding long-tails exclusively
      for about ten years, so my judgment of normal bike weights might be
      skewed too. Before going long-tail my prior Univega was around 20-25
      pounds, and I have a feeling the mountain bike I got weighs over 30
      pounds. I am quite sure the higher weight feel on the Fuji is most likely
      a result of cheap components though. As I said, I plan on swapping out a
      lot of stuff from the start and upgrade as other components wear down, so
      hopefully that should bring the weight down.
      With all of this in mind, does anyone have any opinions about Fuji bikes,
      or at least their frames? I have read some reviews and it sounds like the
      frame is sturdier than it should be for its price range, but the stock
      components are somewhat crappy as I kind of expected. It would be nice to
      have some first or second-hand opinions though. Oddly enough, I only
      realized after getting home that the stripped-down bike, which I bought
      mainly for the Blackburn rack, also happens to be a Fuji, an Absolute 3.0
      to be specific. Therefore, I am doubly curious as to the quality of Fuji
      bikes. I might swap some lighter components from the stripped down bike
      to the mountain bike, but other than that I might end up giving away the
      non-mountain Fuji along with various components in my personal inventory
      to a local bike mechanic, who would like to build a bike co-op.

      On a more cargo-oriented topic, I did see pretty new looking Trek
      long-tail bike with a stock “saddle-bag” on one side being sold at the
      swap meet for $800 (if I remember correctly). I had never seen one up
      close, so it was rather interesting to me. The only long tails I have
      ever seen in person are my Big Dummy, various Xtracycle conversions, and
      a Kona Ute on the floor of a local bike shop, which as far as I know
      never sold until the store closed shop. I do not know if the guy at the
      swap meet ever sold his Trek long tail, but it would be interesting to
      know whether someone in my area did get a long tail. As far as I know, I
      am probably the only long-tail rider in South Central PA.

      Ride safe everyone,
      _TONE_
    • David Backeberg
      ... I do the same thing. My beater was a former rental bike on Block Island, and had lots of dings and dents, but it had a solid Schwinn steel frame. I touched
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 13, 2012
        On Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 11:33 AM, Tone <tone@...> wrote:
        > do not drive and the only bike I have is a built up Big Dummy, which I
        > dislike riding in winter conditions on salted roads. I guess I am
        > paranoid about rust developing on my pricey Big Dummy, so I wanted a
        > secondary aluminum bike as a lighter “beater” alternative.

        I do the same thing. My beater was a former rental bike on Block
        Island, and had lots of dings and dents, but it had a solid Schwinn
        steel frame. I touched up all the missing paint, and at this point
        I've changed most of the components and put a few thousand miles on
        it. I love that the frame looks crap but the wheels are solid
        Mavic/Shimano, and the entire drivetrain has been upgraded. The beater
        bike has fenders and snow studs and an airzound horn for my winter
        commuter fun.

        > pounds. I am quite sure the higher weight feel on the Fuji is most likely
        > a result of cheap components though. As I said, I plan on swapping out a
        > lot of stuff from the start and upgrade as other components wear down, so
        > hopefully that should bring the weight down.
        > With all of this in mind, does anyone have any opinions about Fuji bikes,
        > or at least their frames? I have read some reviews and it sounds like the

        The big LBS here sells primarily Fujis, so I've seen many around town
        in various states of use / abuse. They seem to hold up well, and I
        consider them on the same level as a quality bike like a Trek or
        similar badge.
      • David Dannenberg
        FWIW, I entered Fuji Nevada 4.0 into Google and got pages of information. For value guesstimate, the current model sells for $450-$550. Good luck with your
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 14, 2012
          FWIW, I entered "Fuji Nevada 4.0" into Google and got pages of information. For value guesstimate, the current model sells for $450-$550. 

          Good luck with your new bike.

          If you want to simply add cargo capability, check out the Wike Speedy Cart. http://www.wicycle.com/cargo_speedy_shopper.php $100 plus $35 for the hitch. Holds a mere 50 lbs, but folds and is light and simple. When decoupled works like a hand truck which is very cool; even stands upright. Got one for my wife, but haven't tried it yet except around the driveway, and if felt great, even when overload with a huge rock. I did have to make a custom hitch post on the bike in order to clear her Tubus rack, but if you have shorter rack or different bike geometry that won't be a problem for you. Besides making the hitch was a fun project. 

          David Danneberg
        • Bruce Alan Wilson
          Our local police department s bike patrol uses Fujis. Bruce Alan Wilson http://www.wvdemolay.org/ http://nationalmssociety.org/gotobruce_alan_wilson The
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 14, 2012
            Our local police department's bike patrol uses Fujis.
             
            The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.  Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.  Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.  ~Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green
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