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  1. #1
    a long tall rider
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    Feedback on Raleigh Alyeska

    I stumbled across this forum while trying to gain info via the internet on the Raleigh Alyeska. I'm 6'6" and am currently looking for a large touring bike. I found a 25" Alyeska for sale, but its not local. I'm curious to hear any owners/previous owners feedback on the bike. I have considered a Surly LHT, rode it, liked it, but I can't seem to get past the 62cm size. I currently ride a 65cm Mercian (not set up for touring). I rode a Fuji touring model (in a 58cm) and don't feel confident enough to have the shop owner order one in a 64cm for me. The owner of the Alyeska wants about $800 for a near pristine bike. I'm almost convinced to purchase it to save some money get a nice lugged frame etc.
    I would love to hear any thoughts experiences etc. people have had with the Raleigh.
    Any thoughts are appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by j4gitr View Post
    I stumbled across this forum while trying to gain info via the internet on the Raleigh Alyeska. I'm 6'6" and am currently looking for a large touring bike. I found a 25" Alyeska for sale, but its not local. I'm curious to hear any owners/previous owners feedback on the bike. I have considered a Surly LHT, rode it, liked it, but I can't seem to get past the 62cm size. I currently ride a 65cm Mercian (not set up for touring). I rode a Fuji touring model (in a 58cm) and don't feel confident enough to have the shop owner order one in a 64cm for me. The owner of the Alyeska wants about $800 for a near pristine bike. I'm almost convinced to purchase it to save some money get a nice lugged frame etc.
    I would love to hear any thoughts experiences etc. people have had with the Raleigh.
    Any thoughts are appreciated.
    I had a Raleigh Alyeska. NOT worth $800 in any condition. Don't waste your money, for that price, you might as well buy a new touring bike in the correct size (Surly, REI, etc.).

    If you go with the Raleigh, it's worth about $150, $200 tops, regardless of what the delusional owner thinks it's worth. Frame is Raleigh 555, which is a seamed cromoly tubing. Forks are hi-ten. Geometry is right for touring, has the right braze-ons, 18 speed, friction shifting, brakes are a pain to adjust. Not a bad bike (I only sold mine because it was too tall for me), but not a great bike either. Offer this guy what it's worth, and if he won't take it, take a pass and find one on eBay or craigslist for $150, or buy a new, modern touring bike for a little more than the $800 the Raleigh owner wants.


    PS- Not sure what you mean about "not feeling confident" about the Fuji; can you explain?

    PPS- What size bike are you looking for?

  3. #3
    a long tall rider
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    Thanks for the input. What I mean by "not feeling confident" is that after riding a 58cm Fuji I don't know if I like it enough to have the owner order a 64cm that I am locked into purchasing if I don't like the bike. I'm also not completely sure I like the indexed shifting via the brakes as they have it configured. That said I am looking for a dealer that has a 64cm Fuji that I can try.
    I am looking for a minimim of a 25" 63cm to 67cm frame. I know I can go the Rivendell route but I don't really want to spend $2500 on a new bike...but they are really pretty.
    I appreciate the input on the Alyeska

  4. #4
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    ^
    Stock '84 Alyeska, with exception of Brooks B.15 saddle.

    +1 to Blue Order's comments, a few other things to add:

    Tubing is Raleigh 555T, not to be confused with the 555SL used on the racing lineup. What the difference is between these two has yet to be determined, but I figure it is important not to blur the line between them, in the case that the tubesets are ultimately found to be different.

    As Blue Order indicated, the Dia-Compe 660/660D cantilever brakes included on the Alyeska are amongst the worst performing cantilevers in existence, and are also quite easily the most aggravating caliper ever designed when it comes down to adjusting or replacing pads. The return spring of the caliper sits on the boss that retains the brake pad, shoving the fixing bolt out of alignment whenever you tighten it. Removing the spring only makes one's job more difficult.

    On the bright side, Mafac or Mafac-copy brake calipers solve the problem with little hassle, and one can easily convert the Alyeska - with no modification of the brake bosses at all - to 700C if desired. Note that my particular example did not have the brake bosses brazed on squarely, requiring the utilization of the built-in offset-compensating cams that so happened to be built into these particular Prostar cantilevers:



    As a matter of fact, although I am a staunch fan of 630mm/27" rims, I highly suggest the conversion on the Alyeska, as you will quickly find that any tire larger then 27x1-1/4 will result in hardly 5mm of tire clearance against the bottom of the fork crown, with virtually no clearance left for fenders. With 700C, you can run a 40cm tire before running out of clearance:



    I must concur on the price as well. $150 on the high end, $200 max.

    All the bad things aside though, the Alyeska is not too bad as an excellent mild touring machine, or, for that matter, as a fancy full-loaded grocery-gettin' machine if gas prices get a bit too high for your liking. The frameset itself isn't bad - the included, stock componentry is what has given it a bad reputation. Fitting it with components of your choice can result in a nice buildup though - I'm doing something of the sort with my '84 right now:



    Tires are temporary.

    -Kurt

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    I'm pretty sure you can find a new tourer for less than the Rivendell. The Novara Randonee is priced at around $1000, for example.

    You can probably find reasonably priced used tourers as well (you should be able to pick up a Trek 720 for around that $800 price, for example. I think the 720 is over-priced because it is in demand, however). Univega's are particularly well-made and undervalued. Miyata, Fuji, Trek, Univega all made loaded tourers in the 80s, and they all pop up for sale occasionally. The market for touring bikes is hot right now, though, so prices will tend to be high-- but that Alyeska owner is still delusional.

    cudak888 still has his Alyeska, I think, and I'm sure will be weighing in here sometime soon.

    EDIT: And he has.
    Last edited by Blue Order; 05-31-08 at 11:19 AM.

  6. #6
    a long tall rider
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    Thanks for all the input. I think I will sit tight and bide my time and continue my search. Perhaps I will reconsider the 62 Surly or look to find a Trek 520 to test ride in a 25". It seems few dealers stock tall bikes.

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    I've got to say that there's a frustrating disconnect between real world pricing and what many BF members consider 'absolute' pricing. Clean Raleigh Wyoming's go on Ebay for $150-200 all the time. Alyeska's sell for far more, like this $473 sample just did:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Raleigh-Alyeska-...QQcmdZViewItem

    Proclaiming an extraordinarily low price as 'law' ("$150-$200 max") and then having that unobtainable price confirmed by someone obviously pretty knowledgable, does a disservice not only to the OP, but to us all.

    To be perfectly clear: Market price for a Raleigh Alyeska in fair condition is currently around $425.

    What you got yours off that clueless old lady via Craig'slist is besides the point, so please don't even bother.

    I've got to disagree on the Dia Compe cantilevers as well. They are very tough to set-up but once set-up well, they're admirable performers. Many people mistake the less than crisp feel (when the bike is at a standstill no less) to the action of brakes that have a high mechanical advantage for inadequate stopping power. This action is the key to controllable modulation and is exactly why the roundly, but baselessly, criticized Campagnolo Delta's have such a controversial duality in reputation. Both the Delta's and the DC Canti's take a big difference in cable pull between braking just a touch and full on lock. When you put a properly set-up version of either brake on a test platform, I'll bet that both can clamp as tightly (and better I'd bet) as any brake on the market: Past or present. True rim crumpling power is possible and available to either.

    People that have read, and put into practice, Sheldon's guide on how to set up a brake know better. To one up that, they just actually know the difference between reality and the passing comments/prejudices of the under-informed .

    Danny
    Last edited by dannyg1; 05-31-08 at 12:58 PM.

  8. #8
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Good point, Danny - didn't realize that the eBay nuts had bumped the Alyeska's value up that much since I last saw one sell. Mind you though, from what I can see, that example has had a good deal of the original componentry replaced with far better equipment (RD, FD, chainrings, barcons, brake levers, cantiliver calipers, bars and stem).

    However, I will maintain Blue Order's position that a completely original Alyeska is not worth the $473 total that this example commanded, considering that you can work your way towards a much better crafted touring machine at that cost. With the modifications, I can see where it would be a more desirable machine.

    Question is - would an original command the same $400+ price as the upgraded machine?

    -Kurt
    Last edited by cudak888; 05-31-08 at 12:54 PM.

  9. #9
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    Cuda,

    There's not much upgraded on that Alyeska IMHO. Saddle, bar-ends I'll give you. Stem and bars, maybe. RD is a crossgrade.

    I've been following Alyeska pricing pretty closely for the last 8 months or so and while there have been a number of examples selling for below $350 (the current typical minimum) in that time, most have sold for around $425. A clean one went for close to $600 (with full racks on it) last month. Prices on the Schwinn Voyageur SP (and the chrome 11.8) have risen substantially as well.

    Danny
    Last edited by dannyg1; 05-31-08 at 01:16 PM.

  10. #10
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    *shakes head* I wonder who can justify himself into spending that kind of money for an Alyeska.

    Well, if that's the going price, that's the going price. Makes me wonder what one would bring if equipped with classic touring components - something to the extent of Mafac cantilivers, Duopar RD, MA-2 rims, TA 6-pin crankset, NR high-flange hubs.

    -Kurt

  11. #11
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    Just to prove my love for the Dia Compe 986, I just finished a build of a custom frame. Total price in the $4000 range:






    Brakes spec'd: Dia Compe 986 to Campagnolo Centaur flatbar shifters.

    EDIT: I polished these brakes for over 15 hours and removed, with a file, flash seams that roundly followed the entire outline of each casting. They never were as beautiful as these are but the potential was always there and they were designed to look like this.

    Danny
    Last edited by dannyg1; 05-31-08 at 05:41 PM.

  12. #12
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1 View Post
    Brakes spec'd: Dia Compe 986
    Very nice substitutes to the 660's...and a very nice custom build you have there. Eclectic.

    -Kurt

  13. #13
    a long tall rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1 View Post
    I've got to say that there's a frustrating disconnect between real world pricing and what many BF members consider 'absolute' pricing. Clean Raleigh Wyoming's go on Ebay for $150-200 all the time. Alyeska's sell for far more, like this $473 sample just did:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Raleigh-Alyeska-...QQcmdZViewItem

    Danny
    I actually considered this bike. This was my first exposure to this model so I started to do some investigation too late. It certainly looked more appealing after the auction closed than before. So I continued to pursue this style bike as an option when I came across a shop in Maryland with the 25" for $800. I should ask if the bike in question has significant upgrades to make it worthy of his asking price. The question becomes then what are the upgrades worth. We probably could go on for hours. My struggle continues to be size. I would love to convince myself to lay down the cash for a Rivendell, but I wonder if I did if I would want to expose such a pretty machine to the elements. A bike is meant for riding as a guitar is meant for playing. If I didn't take my guitars out and play them, then how would I enjoy them? Perhaps I should consider the same as it comes to a bike. I have a 100cm PBH which according to the Rivendell site would put me on a bike with a 72cm. That sounds crazy to me, but I wouldn't mind finding a 27" Schwinn frame for a trial.
    I continue to search for advice and a steed.

  14. #14
    a long tall rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    Very nice substitutes to the 660's...and a very nice custom build you have there. Eclectic.

    -Kurt
    Ditto...!!! Beautiful lug-work

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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1 View Post
    I've got to say that there's a frustrating disconnect between real world pricing and what many BF members consider 'absolute' pricing. Clean Raleigh Wyoming's go on Ebay for $150-200 all the time. Alyeska's sell for far more, like this $473 sample just did:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Raleigh-Alyeska-...QQcmdZViewItem

    Proclaiming an extraordinarily low price as 'law' ("$150-$200 max") and then having that unobtainable price confirmed by someone obviously pretty knowledgable, does a disservice not only to the OP, but to us all.

    To be perfectly clear: Market price for a Raleigh Alyeska in fair condition is currently around $425.
    Sorry, I paid $150 plus shipping for my eBay Alyeska, about a year ago. Every other Alyeska I've seen since then (I admit to not having deliberately tracked Raleigh Alyeskas recently, however, I do keep track of them when the word "touring" is included in the description) has gone for about $150 too. $200 tops. I understand that prices are higher this year-- I started thread about that subject about a month ago. That said, no way has the market value of an Alyeska tripled in one year. Sometimes bikes go for crazy prices-- I started another thread about that here. That one time crazy price doesn't mean that the market price for that particular make/model is now set at the crazy price.

    EDIT: I did see that Alyeska listed, but didn't track the price, because they just don't interest me any more (and that should tell any who are looking at an Alyeska what it's worth). There are far better touring bikes out there, for less money. If I had seen the price, I would probably have started a thread about it, shaking my head as Kurt has done, laughing at the ridiculous prices that anything with the word "touring" in the caption can command.

    By the way, I sold that Alyeska on craigslist for less than I paid for it, because I couldn't in good conscience sell it for $150 when it needed work. It went to a kid who needed it to get to work after his bike was destroyed when a driver who "didn't see him" collided with him. I don't feel at all bad about giving him a break-- and I would have felt bad if, as you suggest, I had fleeced a clueless elderly woman out of her "valuable" Alyeska.
    Last edited by Blue Order; 05-31-08 at 02:31 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by j4gitr View Post
    I actually considered this bike. This was my first exposure to this model so I started to do some investigation too late. It certainly looked more appealing after the auction closed than before. So I continued to pursue this style bike as an option when I came across a shop in Maryland with the 25" for $800. I should ask if the bike in question has significant upgrades to make it worthy of his asking price. The question becomes then what are the upgrades worth. We probably could go on for hours. My struggle continues to be size. I would love to convince myself to lay down the cash for a Rivendell, but I wonder if I did if I would want to expose such a pretty machine to the elements. A bike is meant for riding as a guitar is meant for playing. If I didn't take my guitars out and play them, then how would I enjoy them? Perhaps I should consider the same as it comes to a bike. I have a 100cm PBH which according to the Rivendell site would put me on a bike with a 72cm. That sounds crazy to me, but I wouldn't mind finding a 27" Schwinn frame for a trial.
    I continue to search for advice and a steed.
    Upgrades can be worth $3500 (If you've spec'd SRAM Red) so that's a hard question. Take Cuda's example and put some prices to them: T.A. Cyclotouriste crank ( $125 or so, clean on Ebay), Mafac canti brakes ($80 or so), Phil wood hubs to Mavic MA2's ($400). and you can start to see some money piling on.

    That said, I'd have to agree with Blue Orchid and Cuda (I'm typing your names from memory so apologize if I got it wrong) that the Alyeska frame probably isn't the proper starting point for a bike I keep for life full on tourer; it's a mid-range bike that's stout, solid, reliable but a Singer it will never be. I would again agree with some previously given, sage advice in that there are a number of Miyata built touring bikes that are more worthy of your attention n regards to getting the best value for your money. The Univega Grand Turismo/Grand touring (That's the name right? Upper end models have diamond shaped lug cut outs) is a more finely detailed and finished frame than the Raleigh. Centurian's Pro Tour 15 is another rare, but great find. Schwinn's Voyageur SP is slightly easier to find and is a beautifully done frame and then, the Trek Reynolds 501 and 531 tubed bikes. Nashbar sold Nashbar branded tourers that can be found pretty inexpensively that were the same frame as the Schwinn and Panasonic made a few tourers over the years that were nicely done as well.

    Raleigh's older English built touring frames, on the upper end (above Super Course, a racing build I know) were also better choices for your requirements. Palo Alto bicycles are another you might look for. Lastly, custom built touring frames can sometimes be found in the $1000 range, and below, if you look and once you've perused that level of craftsmanship, you'll want to experience it for yourself. On the plus side for you, extremely large sizes aren't easy to sell and typically sell for a fat discount on the market.

    Take your time and learn a bit before you jump to buy. There're plenty of suitable candidates, once you've set what you really want more decidedly.

    Danny

    Best option
    Last edited by dannyg1; 05-31-08 at 05:33 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by j4gitr View Post
    Ditto...!!! Beautiful lug-work
    Thanks guy's. Richard Sach's thanks you for the lugwork appraisal.

    Danny

  18. #18
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1 View Post
    Upgrades can be worth $3500....Danny
    ^
    Cannot agree more with everything said here. Very sound advice.

    -Kurt

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    Yep, it's a gorgeous bike Danny.

    Agree on your evaluation of all the other touring bike choices as well.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    Sorry, I paid $150 plus shipping for my eBay Alyeska, about a year ago.<snip>. That said, no way has the market value of an Alyeska tripled in one year. <snip> That one time crazy price doesn't mean that the market price for that particular make/model is now set at the crazy price.
    <smip>
    I'm sure you can find examples to back your position as well and I see the makings of a conundrum forming once again here on BF. I'll defend my position by saying that larger outside of the typical market pressures are driving the current used bicycle market and price swings have become extreme. Examples of some bicycle related items that have tripled in the past year or two:

    Campagnolo Nuovo and Super Record groups.
    Campagnolo Chorus brifters in alloy.
    Campagnolo 50th anniversary groups
    Campagnolo C-Record rear derailleurs (1st gen)
    TA cranksets and pedals
    Masi Gran Criteriums (Carlsbad)
    Schwinn Voyageur SP's
    Schwinn Paramounts in full chrome
    Miyata RB1's
    Shimano Dura Ace 25th groups (Have only doubled)
    Shimano 7400 groups (2.5 times)
    Merckx MX Leaders
    Serotta 7/11 bikes
    Vintage early Richard Sachs bikes
    Pegoretti's


    Danny

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post

    ^
    Stock '84 Alyeska, with exception of Brooks B.15 saddle.

    +1 to Blue Order's comments, a few other things to add:

    Tubing is Raleigh 555T, not to be confused with the 555SL used on the racing lineup. What the difference is between these two has yet to be determined, but I figure it is important not to blur the line between them, in the case that the tubesets are ultimately found to be different.

    As Blue Order indicated, the Dia-Compe 660/660D cantilever brakes included on the Alyeska are amongst the worst performing cantilevers in existence, and are also quite easily the most aggravating caliper ever designed when it comes down to adjusting or replacing pads. The return spring of the caliper sits on the boss that retains the brake pad, shoving the fixing bolt out of alignment whenever you tighten it. Removing the spring only makes one's job more difficult.

    On the bright side, Mafac or Mafac-copy brake calipers solve the problem with little hassle, and one can easily convert the Alyeska - with no modification of the brake bosses at all - to 700C if desired. Note that my particular example did not have the brake bosses brazed on squarely, requiring the utilization of the built-in offset-compensating cams that so happened to be built into these particular Prostar cantilevers:



    As a matter of fact, although I am a staunch fan of 630mm/27" rims, I highly suggest the conversion on the Alyeska, as you will quickly find that any tire larger then 27x1-1/4 will result in hardly 5mm of tire clearance against the bottom of the fork crown, with virtually no clearance left for fenders. With 700C, you can run a 40cm tire before running out of clearance:



    I must concur on the price as well. $150 on the high end, $200 max.

    All the bad things aside though, the Alyeska is not too bad as an excellent mild touring machine, or, for that matter, as a fancy full-loaded grocery-gettin' machine if gas prices get a bit too high for your liking. The frameset itself isn't bad - the included, stock componentry is what has given it a bad reputation. Fitting it with components of your choice can result in a nice buildup though - I'm doing something of the sort with my '84 right now:



    Tires are temporary.

    -Kurt
    Yeah, you would definitely need to convert to 700C to get sufficient functionality out of the bike. It's quite obvious that there is no way to get a front fender on with 27 inch wheels whereas you might with 700C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1 View Post
    I'm sure you can find examples to back your position as well and I see the makings of a conundrum forming once again here on BF. I'll defend my position by saying that larger outside of the typical market pressures are driving the current used bicycle market and price swings have become extreme. Examples of some bicycle related items that have tripled in the past year or two:
    High end parts and bikes (for the most part), highly sought after by collectors. I wouldn't use those price jumps to suggest that last year's Magnas have also tripled in value.

    When I bought my Alyeska, the going price for any eBay Alyeska was about $150. Is it possible they've risen in price, along with everything else, since i bought my Alyeska? Yes. Is it possible they are now commanding triple what they commanded then? Possible, but at the end of the day, they're still not worth it. There are still far better C&V touring bikes out there for lower prices. And there are far better new touring bikes out there that are close in price to the $800 the owner of this "valuable" Alyeska is seeking.

  23. #23
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuckk View Post
    What about the Cannondale T series?
    They sold a bunch in the late 80's and early 90's, had a good reputation as tourers, and there seems to be a lot of REALLY TALL Cannondales out there.
    A lot of them, like my '91, were sold to folks who never took the tour they were planning.
    It's been my impression that during the late 80s early 90s Cannondales were made and marketed for people of average height to tall stature. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a sub-50cm Cannondale Road or touring bike for that matter. Lovely Cannondale by the way.

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    For what it's worth, I just bought a vintage Trek 850 mountain bike for $150, About the same price as I paid for my other trek 850. Both with long wheelbases, all the touring braze-ons, double-butted cromoly frames AND forks, and the 26" wheels that Thorn recommends for touring bikes. I'll be converting both to full-on loaded touring bikes. Yes, they will be upgraded, so that $150 isn't the final price, but in the end, they will be a better touring bike than the $800 Alyeska could ever hope to be...and for a lot less money than a Thorn.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    High end parts and bikes (for the most part), highly sought after by collectors. I wouldn't use those price jumps to suggest that last year's Magnas have also tripled in value.

    When I bought my Alyeska, the going price for any eBay Alyeska was about $150. Is it possible they've risen in price, along with everything else, since i bought my Alyeska? Yes. Is it possible they are now commanding triple what they commanded then? Possible, but at the end of the day, they're still not worth it. There are still far better C&V touring bikes out there for lower prices. And there are far better new touring bikes out there that are close in price to the $800 the owner of this "valuable" Alyeska is seeking.
    On this my friend, we can agree 100%. The Alyeska is to me, a $350 bike

    Danny

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