I’ve been shopping for a good commuter to get me through the winters in Buffalo. My apartment is, according to Google Maps, 8.5 miles from UB’s center for the arts. About 2 miles of this can be covered on the train. The other 6.5? I guess that’s up to me to find out. I’d like to do most of my commuting by bike — if I work the round trip time into my daily schedule from the start, I think it’ll be easier to stick to. It’ll keep me active during the cruddy winters, especially when most of my work is going to require me to be relatively sedentary.

I have three contenders, and I’d definitely welcome input from readers. There are pros and cons to each of these rides, but I think I’m leaning toward the Kona at the moment.

Jack’s old stumpjumper: I can buy this lovely repainted stumpjumper frame off my friend Jack for cheap. However, she might want to make this into a bike for herself. It would be sweet because it’s black with pink pinstriping. Sweet. I’d have to build it up though, and I’m notoriously bad at finishing bikes in a reasonable amount of time. Aluminum. I think. Price: depends on what components I buy for it.

Surly Karate Monkey: sweet because you can stick huge giant tires on it. Surly makes some solid commuter cycles, and it would be nice to have a ride that I could switch wheels out on for summer riding. I’m tending toward buying a complete bike because I need this thing to be a serious workhorse. Unfortunately, they don’t come in exactly my size — but there’s also seatpost adjustments for that, I guess. Also you can get a complete Karate Monkey in black. Cro-moly. Price: $1175.

Kona Jake: a widely well-reviewed cyclocross bike. I like the idea of having something lighter (in weight and in handling) than a mountain bike, and honestly, I don’t think I’ve ridden a mountain bike since I was in middle school. I don’t anticipate doing any hardcore offroad riding, but then again, cyclocross bikes are built for pretty brutal rides. Johnny has one and loves it. Cheaper than the Karate Monkey. At first I didn’t think I’d be able to put snow tires on this thing, but I’ve been reading reviews around the internet that you can, in fact, put studded tires on it. Win. On the other hand, I think I’d probably have to settle for a seatpost mounted rear rack. Aluminum. Price: $899.

Are there any other bikes out there I should be considering?

Advertisements