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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    19

    USA-made road bike for under $2K?

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    I have a flat-bar road bike and am looking to buy a "real" road bike.

    I'd like to support the US economy by buying from a company that still employs US laborers. So far, I've looked into semi-custom Terrys, Gunnar/Waterford, Crumpton, some Trek, and Calfee. All have lovely bikes made in the USA, but they seem to be significantly over my budget. Is it possible to buy a USA-made road bike and spend less than $2,000?

    I'm flexible when it comes to frame materials. Initially, I swooned over the idea of carbon, but in reality, do I really need it? Probably not. I ride 2-3x per week for fun and I do about 6-8 organized fun rides for charity each year. In other words, I'm not planning on entering the Tour de France anytime soon. Aluminum or other metals will probably suit my needs.

    If it's not possible to purchase a new bike under $2,000, I'm also open to used bikes, but my first preference is to buy new.

    Has anyone bought a USA-made bike and how do you like it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    Bradley frames from Franklin start at $1020. You ought to be able to build one up for $1000 with inexpensive components, if that's what you really want to do. Of course, if you want as many as possible of your components USA-made as well, you'll be spending quite a bit more. You could do wheels, hubs and seatpost from American Classic - I don't know about anything else.

    I honestly don't know anyone who rides a Franklin frame, but they've been in business quite a long time and have a good reputation. American Classic is good stuff, though the only components of theirs I have are from the 1980s.


    ETA: Here's a list someone made up: https://joecruz.wordpress.com/usa-made-cycling-gear/
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 02-19-2013 at 03:48 PM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    perpetual traveler
    Posts
    1,267
    Rodriguez bikes are made in the US and they have a model that is about $2000. http://www.rodbikes.com/
    Trek Madone 4.7 WSD
    Cannondale Quick4
    1969 Schwinn Collegiate, original owner
    Terry Classic


    Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    19
    Any thoughts on steel vs. aluminum vs. carbon?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    For your budget, I'd go steel. You're more likely to be able to get that than carbon, and the ride on steel is more comfy.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,889
    Steel, hands down

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    9,066
    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    Rodriguez bikes are made in the US and they have a model that is about $2000. http://www.rodbikes.com/
    Rodriguez are great, Davidson too. Here's another far from exhaustive list i blugged on my blog: http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com...-bicycles.html

    Thank you TE for helping me keep it semi current.
    Fancy Schmancy Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on side of the road bike ~ Motobecane Mixte
    Gravel bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Favorite bike ~ Soma Buena Vista mixte
    N+1 bike ~ Brompton
    https://www.instagram.com/pugsley_adventuredog/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    19
    Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions.

    Thanks for the list Trek420--that will be a good starting point for me.

    So, what's the deal with steel? Does it absorb shock better? I have been riding for over 3 years now, but I'm not a bike expert. I just get on my bike and ride. Steel is heavier than aluminum, so, does that affect performance at all? There seems to be so much emphasis on bikes being lightweight.

    Muirenn- I'm on the Left Coast, in So Cal. But if you know anyone in my area that is looking to sell a used or past-model USA-made bike, I'm interested. I'm 5'7. I haven't measured my leg length in a while, so I forgot what it is. My hybrid is a 17" and the last time I tried to get fitted for a Trek road bike I *think* I was a 50 or 51 cm.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    My steel CX bike (stock) is about 22.75 pounds without water bottle cages or pedals (but with wheels, disc brakes, etc). That's pretty light for a stock steel frame. Custom gets lighter. I think Catrin's custom steel bike is about the same as my aluminum road bike. Yes, my cross bike is a little slower than my road bike, but I think that's down to the bigger, lower-pressure tires and the gearing (it's geared quite low), not the frame material.

    Aluminum is light, inexpensive and stiff. It doesn't flex, so if you go over a bump or a rough road surface (chip seal, for example), it transfers all those vibrations to you. Steel flexes a little, and that flex helps absorb vibration.

    If you want used, you might have some luck finding an old Cannondale. I think up until 2009 they were making their aluminum bikes in the United States. More aggressive aluminum frames don't seem to have the vibration issues that the relaxed ones do. The boyfriend has an R2000 from 2004 (it says "Handmade in the USA" in HUGE letters on the chainstay), and doesn't have any problems with road buzz.
    Last edited by Owlie; 02-20-2013 at 09:48 AM.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    To the OP, is your $2k budget for the frameset (frame plus fork) or for a complete bike?
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    Steel is much smoother than aluminum or carbon. Or can be at its best. Not all steel is equal.
    Nor is all carbon. An endurance-oriented carbon bike is probably going to be a smoother ride than a speed-oriented one. Add to that the fact there are differences in carbon lay-up between different grades of frame within the same line...
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by indysteel View Post
    To the OP, is your $2k budget for the frameset (frame plus fork) or for a complete bike?
    Well, I was hoping to stick to under $2,000 for the entire bike. But, I can talk myself into spending more if I feel like I have to. I rationalize it like this: if my husband can buy a TV for $3,000 because he loves watching sports on a giant screen, then I think I think there is a dollar-for-dollar justification on my bike, out of which I'll get similar use and enjoyment. Now, if you add in the cost of the speakers and subwoofer, then I'm looking at an amazing bike. This seems like a rational argument to me. Am I wrong?
    Last edited by LanterneRouge; 02-20-2013 at 01:11 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,763
    And obviously if you're willing to go with a used bike, you can buy a lotta bike for $2K. I recently got a Trek Pilot 5.0 full carbon w/Ultegra for $700 on ebay, but it is a 2006 model. I agree, steel is preferable to aluminum unless you're looking to race. It's much more comfy for endurance/fitness type riding.

    Good luck!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    Quote Originally Posted by LanterneRouge View Post
    Well, I was hoping to stick to under $2,000 for the entire bike. But, I can talk myself into spending more if I feel like I have to. I rationalize it like this: if my husband can buy a TV for $3,000 because he loves watching sports on a giant screen, then I think I think there is a dollar-for-dollar justification on my bike, out of which I'll get similar use and enjoyment. Now, if you add in the cost of the speakers and subwoofer, then I'm looking at an amazing bike. This seems like a rational argument to me. Am I wrong?
    My husband and I each have five or me bikes. So, no, I don't think you're wrong. But don't spend $3k or more unless it really buys you want you want. I, personally, would go with custom steel from any number of builders, but I'd want to build it up with decent components and good wheels--and that really adds up.

    Somebody mentioned Davidson. A woman on another forum just had one made and really enjoyed the process. It's a gorgeous bike.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    western Colorado
    Posts
    442
    Quote Originally Posted by Catrin View Post
    Steel, hands down
    I did a road ride today on my custom (someone else's custom, I got it second hand) steel Gunnar Sport and omg it's a dreamy smooth riding bike. (I hadn't been on that bike since last fall.)
    Specialized Ruby
    Gunnar Sport
    Salsa Vaya Ti
    Novara Randonee x2
    Motobecane Fantom CXX (Surly Crosscheck)
    Jamis Dragon

 

 

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