Bicycle feedback needed.....

Discussion in 'Sports' started by rhys, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. rhys

    rhys Long timer

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    Whoa, Centralia, PA.... that's kinda sad, not a thriving community huh?

    Stockton, CA:

    http://www.forbes.com/2011/02/02/stockton-miami-cleveland-business-washington-miserable-cities.html

    Located in the state's Central Valley, Stockton has been ravaged by the housing bust. Median home prices in the city tripled between 1998 and 2005, when they peaked at $431,000. Now they are back to where they started, as the median price is forecast to be $142,000 this year, according to research firm Economy.com, a decline of 67% from 2005. Foreclosure filings affected 6.9% of homes last year in the Stockton area, the seventh-highest rate in the nation, according to online foreclosure marketplace RealtyTrac.

    Stockton's violent crime and unemployment rates also rank among the 10 worst in the country, although violent crime was down 10% in the latest figures from the FBI. Jobless rates are expected to decline or stay flat in most U.S. metro areas in 2011, but in Stockton, unemployment is projected to rise to 18.1% in 2011 after averaging 17.2% in 2010, according to Economy.com.
    #61
  2. davidji

    davidji bike curious

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    If you're out for exercise, how important is that to you?

    I'd expect that a small-framed mountain bike with full-sized wheels would fit you fine.

    On pretty much any bike you buy, you might end up breaking spokes. Even if the components used in the wheels are good, the wheel build may not be especially sophisticated. Do a search for "stress relief" regarding bicycle wheels. I seem to remember from the bike newsgroups that people would stress-relief new bike wheels--or have a wheel builder do it.

    If you're on a budget, used bikes can be an option too. Used racks too. FWIW I got my hitch-mounted Yakima rack on craigslist.

    One more thing: if you're in this for exercise, would you consider a unicycle? You might enjoy it in a addition to a bicycle, and they can be had cheap on craigslist or free on freecycle. I got my first free and later gave it away.
    #62
  3. Gummee!

    Gummee! That's MR. Toothless

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    Dood. Its easy: yer short. Look for 12-13" frames or 48-49cm road bikes. Of the two, a mtn bike with slicks is more durable.

    Buy one. Ride it.

    It don't take a rocket scientist to figger out one $400-500 mtn bike is basically the same as the next $400-500 mtn bike.

    M
    #63
  4. Bimble

    Bimble In giro in moto

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    :ear
    #64
  5. rhys

    rhys Long timer

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    Well, it ain't the beginning of the new month yet..... so I'm still shopping, still asking questions, still reading the 'Net. Please, allow me to bore you to tears (again/still) with the following. If you're shopping and want another man's opinion/conclusion, you can start with this:

    I could buy with my own credit a bike at REI and earn a 10% dividend of my purchase, use the new (just applied for) REI VISA card onto which I transfer the bike debt and earn another 5% dividend.... given a $50 gift certificate (with the new VISA) and buy farkles for the new bike.

    I've decided that I should get a Double-butted Reynolds 520 steel frame with a chromoly fork for strength, easy repair, and better absorption of road vibration (comfort). There are two bikes very similar to one another costing me about $900.... they're both "touring" bikes....; one of 'em has drop-down handlebars, the other has butterfly bars. One has twist-grip shifters, the other fancy shifters at the brake levers. The 2011 Novara Safari or a 2010 Novara Randonee (the Randonee is an $1,100 bike for 2011).

    Other options would include the new Novara Buzz, about $300 less expensive and in a more upright relaxed in-town/"urban" riding position..... or the cheaper single speed Buzz, a more expensive/upgraded E.T.A., or a Transfer with it's lights & fenders.

    My choice for "most bang for the buck" could be between a couple last year's models:
    The 2010 Safari differs from the 2011 in that it was based on an aluminum frame and has disc brakes, I could get into that for $718. But the absolute MOST FARKLES for the money is a 2010 "unisex" Novara Fusion..... aluminum frame, disc brakes, internal hub transmission, internal hub dyno that powers the LED head lamp, motion sensitive battery operated tail-lamp, fenders, and rear rack for a mere $449.......

    Fitting (for me) is a problem. REI has some cool measuring devices, the data from which can be used with charts & calculations to determine (among other things) correct frame size, effective top tube distance, and height of the seat in relationship to the pedals. One of the tools used, could not go low enough for accurately measuring my inseam.... I'm about a 24"/25" inseam, but the device only goes as low as 27 1/2". In essence, it was assumed that I belong on a size 47cm/48cm bike frame (XS/S).

    I am now curious whether the small Safari may be a better (best?) fit for me, as it (unlike the larger Safaris) comes with 26" wheels:
    Interesting to read that the 26"/650 series wheels are your best bet when touring on your bike in different parts of the world, as the larger wheels seem to be unique to only this part of the world....

    A lot of opinions regarding disc brakes too. They work better in both dry & wet conditions, but make it a more complicated chore to remove the wheels from the bike. Shifting mechanisms are a personal thing too, it has been mentioned often that the twist-grip shifters are frequently shifted inadvertently when one didn't mean to. Seats are subjective, but the traditional (and expensive) leather saddle from England is still a favorite.

    Sooo.... I may not be out riding this month on a cheap mountain bike with smoothies, but I'm having fun shopping and learning 'bout this stuff. And it hasn't been limited to REI's Novara line, I've been looking at others as well.....
    #65
  6. Bimble

    Bimble In giro in moto

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    I've put a couple thousand of miles on this bike. Through an odd turn, I've ended up with two of them so maybe I can settle some of your questions about it:

    I've never had a problem with inadvertent shifting with the twist grips and they've worked flawlessly.

    Removing the wheel with disks is as simple as releasing the quick-releases. Not tricks. No tips. No fuss at all.

    The suspension seat-post on that model takes some of the bumps and jolts out of rough roads. It works well enough.

    There are loads of tires for its 26" wheels. Everything from big fat mountain bike tires to skinny high-pressure road tires.

    The trekking bars offer many different hand positions plus I can stretch out on the and go sort of pseudo-aerobar.

    It has good component that'll last quite awhile. I've yet to replace anything other than a chain I let rust up (not enough loob after a salty winter ride)

    I do have one up-coming replacement for it. It is time to replace the foam handle bar wrap. I've worn that out, but it took two, almost three years to do it.

    As a matter of fact, as soon as I am done pretending to do homework, I'm taking it out for a ride.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    Yeah, I like this bike a lot.
    #66
  7. TheNedster

    TheNedster Lurkapotamus

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    Of the bikes you mentioned, I would lean towards the Safari or Randonee. It's good that you can build in some accessory $ through REI, as you should get a helmet and small tool kit for repairs on the road. Not to throw a spanner into the works, but have you looked at/priced Surly's Long Haul Trucker? It's very similar to the Safari and Randonee.
    #67
  8. rhys

    rhys Long timer

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    WooHOO!
    Thanks guys, I was hoping to hear from real people 'bout these bikes. I love the Safari's quirky looks and the bars are REALLY COOL (in my opinion)!

    When I was reading about these "touring"/multi-purpose bikes with their stronger wheels, better frames, and versitility..... THAT'S when I stumbled onto the Long Haul Trucker frame, and found that Surly makes a complete bike with it. I'll hafta go look at REI's site, but I think it may be one of the bikes they also offer.

    As I was reading, I discovered that the Safari and the Randonee have actually been around long enough to have been upgraded as per prior owner's desires. They're pretty popular bikes, even a small family touring around on each of them, writing their own blog about the trip and the two bikes. I even watched a video of some Australian guy giving his opinion about the Safari, suggesting that the factory tires are crap and the rack is not heavy duty enough.... but he liked the bike!

    Regarding the Long Haul Trucker frames, it seems that the guys in-the-know like this product, and I might assume that a complete bike (Surly) may actually be a new addition to the frame's reputation.

    I would like to ask your opinions regarding an aluminum frame -vs- the newer steel frame that the 2011 Safari is based on. I can get a 2010 Safari for $718 with it's disc brakes and aluminum frame..... but is it worth another $150 for a steel frame version sans disc brakes???

    (Oh yeah, that's right.... every time I clicked onto any of the Surlys, they didn't seem to be available in the super small sizes ((through REI)). Maybe that's why I wrote them off....)
    #68
  9. Chisenhallw

    Chisenhallw Avowed Pussbag

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    I've narrowed it down to 'earth'. Or 'Baltimore'.
    That Novara is super-sweet. I think the only criticism I have is that it needs to be a 29er.
    #69
  10. Bimble

    Bimble In giro in moto

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    *chuckle*


    Highly subjective. For me, if they had kept the disk brakes on the steel frame, it'd be a no-brainer. I'll take disk brakes any day. I did a ride with Askel that led us into some mucky crap. His calipers packed up. Mine did not. But the fit and ride is going to be more important in the long run.

    Some people really, really prefer steel over aluminum. I've not ridden a lot of steel bike so I cannot comment too much other than I've not found the alu-framed Safari to be offensive at all. If your really, really, really want to nit-pick, steel is easier to weld than alu if your are off on some remote tour to the hinterland and your frame breaks. I've not lost sleep over this matter.

    My two-cents: I'd save the $150 and go for the one with disk brakes if the ride quality is equal. If REI has one of each on the floor, go ride them. They ought to do that with no probs. My local REI does. Maybe one just feels better to you. I would not let the brakes sway you over the bike that feels better. While Askel's brakes loaded up with mud, he did have them cleared out in about three seconds.

    There. If nothing else, you now know that you are not the only one that wrestles over minutia!

    :lol3
    #70
  11. rhys

    rhys Long timer

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    Chisenhallw,

    I fell in love with a GT 'Niner, and available at a reasonable price too.....
    but I gotta face the facts, at 5' 1" and 24" inseam I gotta stay away from 29" wheeled bikes.

    Bimble,

    Unfortunately I can't ride the different Safaris back to back; the aluminum Safari is an hour away, and the steel version is here locally.... I've ridden only a GT Tachyon with front air suspension & lock-out, an aluminum Fusion, aluminum Marin Fairfax, and the steel framed swoopy doopy Randonee. The Randonee felt best, the seat on the Fairfax the most comfortable.

    Hell.... I can't afford to be buying a bike anyway (new OR used!), so "saving" money by buying last year's Safari is a mute issue. But when I keep reading how folks LOVED the Safari in years past, all the while wishing that it came in a steel frame version, they must know what they're wish'n fer.
    Oh by the way,
    the Safari's frame & front fork have the nubs for disc brakes if a guy wants to add them at a later date......
    #71
  12. Bimble

    Bimble In giro in moto

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    Don't think for a second that I haven't lusted over a Fargo.

    :lol3


    Rhys, about the only solace I can offer is that there isn't such a thing as a perfect bike. At least not that you or I can afford. At some point, you gotta get what you can get. I don't think that you will go seriously wrong with either Safari if that is what you choose to go with.

    Its 58 and sunny. Time to hop out and go for a ride.

    :D
    #72
  13. rhys

    rhys Long timer

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    The only other question that remains (given as how I've admitted that I don't have the money to do this.... but will be doing it anyway....), will I someday - in the immediate future - be sorry that I didn't get the more aggressive seating position with it's drop-down bars such as that on the sexy Randonee? In other words, I plan to take the bike out on some flat & straight roads lined with central valley grapevines and get my heart rate up to about 130bpm and hold it there for a couple hours.... peddling, doing my thang, maybe listening to Miles Davis & Bestie Boys, complaining that my butt hurts, think'n I should git me some dem ghey looking cycler one-peice suits, and a reflective hi viz 'Hello Kitty' sticker on my butt.....
    Will I eventually wish that I had purchased the more expensive Randonee over the Butterfly handlebared Safari?

    Yeah.... I gotta drive an hour to mom & dad's house where we plan on maybe In & Out burgers or Panda Express for easter lunch.....

    Thanks for everything.... you're making this MUCH easier for me!
    #73
  14. Bimble

    Bimble In giro in moto

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    You'll always have regrets over the one you let get away. :lol3

    The Safaris and the Randonee are more alike than they are different. I was just looking at the specs for the 2011 Randonnee. I'm glad they changed the gearing to something more suitable for pulling a loaded bike. The 2010 and older models were gear like a road bike. The 2011 is geared much lower, but you will still be able to clip along without spinning your legs off. Plenty of range!

    The Randonee is also a touring bike, so while it has drop bars, it isn't really that aggressive. The geometry is such to make long distance comfortable. So will you regret getting a bike with trekking bars over road bars? Who knows without trying? I have a road bike as well as the Safari. All I can really say is that the bar types are just different. The drop bars let me get down out of wind better than the trekking bars. Both are plenty comfortable.

    One practical matter, if you think you might do a lot of touring or just wandering around the countryside and something like a handle bar appeals to you, is that handlebar bags may not fit to the trekking bars without interfering with the brake levers. While at REI, I'd ask them to check the fit of a handle bar bag on the Safari, if even just for your future reference. I haven't tried it, but will be doing so soon. I hope it fits because having a map that is easily accessible would be nice. Right now, my maps take a beating getting folded into and back out of pouches and pockets.

    If you are willing to spend the money on the Randonee, again, you will not go wrong and it is a really nice looking bike. That price also puts you in the realm of the Surly Long Haul Trucker. REI may have one, so check that out, too. Who know, they may have one in your size.



    Service have been provided for free by one who has already gone through all these internal arguments. Your results may vary.
    #74
  15. rhys

    rhys Long timer

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    I've decided that I want last year's model Randonee for $799 + tax.
    (interesting what you had to say about gearing differences between the '10 & '11)
    I don't see any touring in my near future, but who knows.... maybe I'll learn to like this bike enough to take up long distance riding.

    The 2010 Randonee has already been reduced in price once, went up a little, then back to it's original reduced price. There is a possibility that it could be reduced one more time.... but not as likely to be reduced 3 times like the Fusion models.

    I think I'm gonna pimp off REI's VISA offer and apply for the card. My resulting Randonee purchase with the card will result in a 10% dividend and a 5% rebate. I will also get a $50 gift certificate outa the deal to buy bike farkles. I could pay the new card off before the 24th of the month at no interest ("10% - 22%"), or jus' go ahead and string it out for a little while to (possilby?) improve my already good credit rating.

    Some select car racks are scheduled to be reduced in price tomorrow morning at REI, one of which might be a good purchase for me. In the meantime, I'm gonna go on a motorcycle overnighter road trip and forget about all this stuff for a couple days.......
    #75
  16. Bimble

    Bimble In giro in moto

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    Sounds like a plan, man. Take pics and tell us about your rides over in the bike thread.

    :beer
    #76
  17. Zippydapanhead

    Zippydapanhead Damn kids, get away!

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    Roadies and cross bikes are fun.... But there is nothing like off road. The Surly is tempting but look at the Salsa Mukluk. They are a little cheaper than the Pugley, the rear tire is bigger than the Pug and there are smaller frame sizes than the Pug. There is a great YouTube of a guy riding on a homemade log trainer on a Pug, too. Those knobbies sound like a small block Chevy with a bad carb setup on glass packs.
    #77
  18. ducnut

    ducnut Long timer

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    If I read your OP correctly, you have a recumbent. Ride that. Doesn't matter where, just get out. At your weight, the 'bent will probably be the best option, for now, or maybe ever. A lot of people swear by them.

    The Novara Fusion is not a bad place to start. Just starting out, the seat/bar position will be better for your experience level then a drop bar road bike. When your physical attributes start getting more racy, then, a racier bike might be in order. Also, you can change out the stem to something adjustable. You can change the length (fore/aft) at that time, too.

    AFA seats go, at your weight and experience, something with width and padding is going to suit you better than narrower and less padding. The pros are 140-160lbs and ride huge miles every day. They can get away with lightweight seats. Their butts aren't supporting a lot of weight and their glutes are very dense; the exact opposite of where you're at. I'm not saying a tractor seat is the way to go, but, definitely look at something that resembles your body type/composition.

    There are racks made to handle recumbents. For a diamond-framed bike, hitchfinder.com offers an inexpensive option. I haven't used that model. The one I have is a Swagman that I bought from them. It was only $99. But, that's been 4 years ago.
    #78
  19. rhys

    rhys Long timer

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    OP here, I bought a bike..... (!)
    And as I type, I have yet to take it out for a spin (save for the initial test ride).

    REI's Novara Randonee priced at $1,149.....
    * I got this new 2009 model for $599. Reynolds steel frame, 36 spoke wheels, Shimano 105 components, luggage rack, etc.

    * I bought it using a new REI credit card, resulting in REI's 10% dividend, 5% rebate using the card, and a $50 gift certificate.

    * I then drove to Kinetics Bicycle in Elk Grove, CA and had the distance between my "sit bones" measured, resulting in purchase of an $85 155mm 'Specialized' new & improved gel seat. Kinetics offered me 20% off my purchase of a Specialized helmet and bike shorts if I bought from him..... given as how I planned to attend REI's "20% off SALE" today. (The seat that came on the bike might have been best suited for a child's little butt.... but certainly not for my fatass!)

    * Then I went to REI this morning and bought at 20% off, a kit including a multi-tool, tube repair kit, and air pump. I also picked up a couple water bottle cages, some padded undershorts, an insulated water bottle, tail bag for my luggage rack, and chain lube. I also bought a quick-release handlebar bag that doubls as a fanny pack..... but I went to a great deal of trouble (at 3am this morning) mounting a bracket for an old Nautical GPS that fits perfectly on the stem.... so the handlebar bag won't fit unless I rethink it all through.

    * I already had a pair of bicycle lamps.... mounted to my Bandit 1250. (In strobe mode, they're GREAT for lane splitting, commuting, or in-town when the traffic is crazy.) It so happens that I didn't use the handlebar mounts on the motorcycle, which are now in the Randonee. I can quickly & easily do a quick transfer of the lamps from the motorcycle to bicycle with the simple press of a button. And I already had a red LED tail-lamp.... but the tail bag blocked the view of the light, so I moved it down to the leg of my luggage rack.

    Still suffering the effects (rash) of Wednesday's procedure after a day of the required liquid diet...... use yer imagination. Haven't slept well the last couple nights, and I'm hungry. With any luck, I'll be taking the bike out for a spin soon.... Kinda giddy like the kid who got a bicycle from Santi Clause; last time I was riding bicycles on a regular basis was over 25 years ago. Oh, and I took the cages off the pedals..... muscle memory may still be there, but I'm not as quick as I used to be.....



    [​IMG]
    #79
  20. TheNedster

    TheNedster Lurkapotamus

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    :thumb

    Now go ride the crap outta it!
    #80