General Cycling Discussion - Bikes Direct mixte bike
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01-08-12, 02:46 PM
I found a BD mixte that seems quite attractive here: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/kensington8.htm
I'm interested in the mixte because of the low step over height and from what I've read, mixte tends to be stronger than the dropped top tube typically found on women's bikes.
I'm a bit curious about he sizing though because they are smaller than the men's sizes though. For a 5'8" man, should I go for the 49cm? Lack of geometry on the site makes choosing this difficult.
The other thing is how difficult is it to assemble and possibly change the gear on the Nexus hub? With a 44T crank, I want a 24T or 26T gear on the hub. This will give me the desired gearing according to Sheldon's gear calculator. I live in San Francisco, lots of hill here and I prefer easier climbing over speed.
I'm just gonna say it because I bought a Bike Direct bike some years ago. In certain corners of the bicycle culture there is some resentment of mail order bikes....usually purchased without the usual quality assembly one gets at a LBS. Fitment is another issue, like buying shoes or helmets off the internet. The buyer then brings the bike into the LBS and un does some of the initial purchase savings by getting it professionally assembled and adjusted. I gave a bike mechanic a $50 Starbucks card to dial in mine and I'm not taking sides on this type of buying decision, just explaining an "under the radar" part of it, it may not even apply to you! After 8 years I liked my Bike Direct bike so much I still have it as a third roadbike. If I was going to do it again, I think I'd go into my LBS, introduce myself and tell the folks what I'm doing and ask how much to dial it in (unless you are comfortable in doing it all yourself). Just some thoughts. I'm sure some will disagree with me but that was my recent past experience. BTW, since then I've gotten to know and ride with my LBS owner and have bought 3 subsequent bikes from him and all accessories. The relationship part is what you don't get through UPS or FedEx!
01-08-12, 10:08 PM
I currently already have a bike that I bought from LBS, manufacturer outlet actually, but mixtes aren't exactly common which is why I am excited about this bike on BD. I can't walk into any LBS and expect to find a mixte which is what makes this BD bike attractive. I would not even consider BD if that were the case; I just happened to be browsing their website when I found it.
I do see a bunch of mixtes on Craigslist, but they seem mostly to be road bikes. They look like they have steep angles, drop bars, etc.
01-08-12, 10:40 PM
Also these days, most urban centers have some form of a bicycle co-op. That co-op will assist you in the proper assembly of your bicycle.
01-08-12, 11:36 PM
I'm surprised they are calling a mixte a lady's bike. I always thought it was just a good frame design that was suitable for anyone. I happen to like it.
They even have women's bikes with conventional top tube. It's more a difference in personal geometry than anything else. That is why some bikes are called "step through", even though they used to be intended to for girls.
01-09-12, 05:41 AM
Go with the same size seat tube you would on a standard diamond frame. Worst case scenario if you go short is a bit more seat post sticking out. An upright bike is a bit more forgiving in the fit department than a drop bar bike.
It isn't too difficult to swap a cog on a Nexus hub, and resetting the cable isn't too hard either, if you can follow directions. IIRC there are several Youtube tutorials on how to do it.
I love my IGH bikes, currently I have 3 that I ride regularly and two more being built up.
01-09-12, 09:57 AM
I ride a 19" diamond frame hybrid, but it's much closer to a mountain bike than any road bike.
I think the 49cm will probably be closest; for my height
01-09-12, 12:21 PM
5'8" I'd think a 54 is a better size.. you might consider a sloping top tube
diamond frame.. top tube a virtual 55 cm long, seat tube would be shorter..
seat post extended higher.
those 2 thin tubes are not very stiff , like 1 bigger tube .
bult up a light weight of 531 for a GF, you could not pull up on the bars.
the headtube torqued , and the wheel moved sideways.
01-10-12, 07:56 PM
Just my experience: Bought wife a 49cm Windsor 8 from Bikes Direct just before Christmas to replace her cruiser that was stolen just before we left So. CA. Bike arrived in Christmas rush in very good condition - packed and protected very well for UPS trip from Fla to WA State.
Assembly was not hard, but I have a few tools and above average mechanical aptitude. Pretty easy though.Here in the Portland, OR area, sellers are asking from $150-$175 just for 35 yr old Mixte frames. Complete used Mixtes are for sale for $250-$400. The BD price is definitely very attractive.
Wife happens to also be 5'8", and she has two Bike Fridays that fit her very nicely. I have seat height set at 33 1/2" from pedal to seat (straight up the seat post). Works great and stock seat is same as one of her Fridays, so no problem there. The only downside (in my mind - she hadn't noticed) was the handle bar height/position. I spent $15 on a new Kalloy Quill Stem that is angled up, vs. the stock one that is angled down a bit. The bike looks better, and she is more comfortable.
Only other adjustments were to loosen chain that was tighter than a drum, and a bit of truing and bearing adjustment on the front wheel. Agree, these things might be a bit out of many folks comfort zones.
Bike shifts beautifully, I can't even hear it when riding along side her. Also, this bike (in the 'Ocean' color) is a guy magnet. Our first ride to the store netted two "nice bike" comments from strangers (men strangers).
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