Sunday, September 6, 2009
Bike Search/ Meet the Contestants
Novara Randonee: I really wanted to like this bike. A test ride reavealed a long list of short comings. The cockpit felt too big on a 55cm frame, the STI shifters felt cheap and sloppy and the frame lacked big tire clearance. 35mm tires with fenders would max out the available space between the chain stays. I found the ride harsh.
Trek 520: Slightly above my price point and still lacks STI sifters and disc brakes. Two bike shop guys independently said that the sloping top tube affects ride quality. I haven't ridden a 520 yet, but should.
Jamis Aurora: Good price, but came with only 32mm tires causing me to question big tire capabilities. It has the same Tiagra Dual Control STI shifters I didn't like on the Randonee.
Fuji Touring: I've concluded that at my price point, I need bar-end shifters. The Tiagra just don't feel well built enough. I don't like the way this bike looks. It also lacks pedigree. I plan to ride the bike that I buy for the next 20 years. An old Fuji will always be just an old Fuji.
This bike was a couple of hundred dollars more than most. I like the disk brakes and the included racks and fenders. Comes with 32mm tires, so I question room for larger tires and fenders. It has the same compacted frame style as the 520 so I question ride. I'm going to try to find a dealer and ride this.
Raleigh Sojourn: I rode this bike in Fargo. The 55cm frame felt good. I like the disk brakes and the price is right especially considering that it includes a rear rack and fenders and a Brooks B17. Comes with 35mm tires. Fairly good fender clearance. My only real complaint about this bike is aesthetic; it looks like some Dutch Chic should be riding it in a skirt. It's like it tried too hard to look good. Jared sent me a link of the same bike with black bar tape. It would be easy to dress it down a bit.
So far, the winner is a Surly Long Haul Trucker. I rode a 58cm frame at the Hub on Cedar. It felt comfortable, smooth, strong and stable. Great tire clearance and it comes with big tires. Both the top of the bars and the drops felt natural with factory set-up. Albeit Cliche, I wanted to throw my load and my gear on this bike and ride all day.
Posted by Heath at 9/06/2009 11:44:00 PM