Hard to believe that this little blog has been going on this long but about a year ago I made a post about what types of features to look for in a used bicycle when searching for a commuter bike. My conclution, based on our city and the terrain between Westover Hills and downtown which is my commuter route, is that an old MTB may be the best option available for entering the commuter bike game. In other posts you may have seen homemade panniers and modifications to a Mongoose (the guze’ as its know around here) 22″ all Tange Cro-Mo steel beauty that I acquired through trade. I had finished my first real “tour” about two years ago and had been reading the case for steel and I had what was an awesome MTB but one that was made to be extreme with all kinds of fancyness on it and a frame that was 19″ which was too small for me. I had posted an ad for sale/trade for the raliegh I had and wound up with the Guze’. Some components were obviously older and less desirable than what had been on the Raliegh but overall I didn’t care because the size was just right and although the Mongoose was older it was nice Cro-mo and had all Deore components from the early 1990’s (the bike ended up being a 1994 if I remember correctly).
Fast forward to today. I spent a season riding her hard and putting her away wet and the thing kept damaging pavement like it was going out of style. I made a few adjustments here and there (for some reason it came with brake levers that were incompatible with cantilever brakes, they worked but hardly) but for the most part simply dogged her till she was tired. Other bike frames came into my life and the Mongoose wasn’t getting ridden. Just this weekend I took stock and I still have three complete and about to be a fourth bike in the stable. I literally had to build a stable in my backyard for them as my wife wanted our office (my workshop!!! He he!!) back from the bikes. Ok…I get a barn, it’s all good. So I contemplated selling this bike and I contemplated dumping money in it but neither really seemed a good idea as I wouldn’t get more than $50 for it probably and I would need a couple hundred to get it set up proper. Well instead of those options I simply gave this bike to a friend of mine with the caveat that if I decide to find time for a bicycle tour to South America and need a expedition tourer I could have it back.
Well he went with plan B to go ahead and drop some cash on this beast with some new Nitto drop bars, bar end shifters, Brooks saddle, Velo Orange fenders, and a stem riser. In the interim he added all the other necessary bits to “curate” this build (cables, new tape, etc) as well as one of those homemade panniers we have been discussing whenever we get together. Considering he had been riding a Wal-Mart special this build has seriously elevated his street cred to legit territory. This is exactly how I would have built this frame up if I had a need to, and he even has a dyno hub already purchased and a wheel build on the way….I wish I could have done the same but it probably wouldn’t have happened anytime soon plus riding with friends is more fun than solo and with this bike there should be plenty more rides this summer.