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Old 04-19-04, 08:35 PM   #1
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picking the right bike

Hi,

I live in California and am sick and $%^&^%$ tired of paying $2 for a gallon of gas, and have decided to buy a bike. I grew up biking a lot, but when I got my driver's license 8 years ago that all stopped. Anyway, I was looking at different shops today. I will mainly be using the bike to commute from work and to just ride around town. So, the salesguy suggested (and I agreed) that a "hybrid" bike would be best. This shop only had Giant bicycles. I took a lower end model for a test ride, wasn't bad.

I was wondering if anybody on these boards might recommend a good, reputable company that makes quality bikes and is good value for the money I am going to spend (hopefully only $250-380). I grew up with Schwinn, I know they used to make a good bike.

Also, is it important to buy really good components if I only am going to be commuting (probably not every day either). Seems to me that the prices of bikes are really tied to the quality of components. I don't want to spend a lot of money, but I also don't want a piece of junk that will break in 2 months.

Thanks a lot!

Phil
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Old 04-19-04, 09:00 PM   #2
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Phil,


This here is a pretty cool bike by Giant. Its the Cypress LX I believe, and is in the high end of your price range. 700c wheels are a good size for commuting, it gives you the benefits of a fast rolling 700c roadbike, but you also get basic front suspension and disc brakes, so you can run a much wider tire than a roadbike which is severely limited by brake clearance. Components are pretty decent overall, and you're in a more comfortable position than a conventional drop bar roadbike.

Avoid Schwinn like the plague... they sold out to a Asian conglomerate that makes mostly "Huffy" quality bikes these days. Specialized, Trek, Giant, Kona, Jamis, Gary Fisher, are all good and fairly common brands in the bike industry these days.
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Old 04-19-04, 09:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by seely
Phil,


This here is a pretty cool bike by Giant. Its the Cypress LX I believe, and is in the high end of your price range. 700c wheels are a good size for commuting, it gives you the benefits of a fast rolling 700c roadbike, but you also get basic front suspension and disc brakes, so you can run a much wider tire than a roadbike which is severely limited by brake clearance. Components are pretty decent overall, and you're in a more comfortable position than a conventional drop bar roadbike.

Avoid Schwinn like the plague... they sold out to a Asian conglomerate that makes mostly "Huffy" quality bikes these days. Specialized, Trek, Giant, Kona, Jamis, Gary Fisher, are all good and fairly common brands in the bike industry these days.
Thanks for the advice. About the bike you posted...I actually demoe'd the Cypress model, although the one I rode didn't have disc brakes. I was kind of concerned about the quality of it though...when I changed gears, sometimes the chain would kind of rub and click on the derailleur (sp). The thing is, I want to get a bike that will last. My brother just bought a Wal-mart special for $65. I rode it and hey, it worked. But I HATE buying cheap stuff (and I hate shopping at wal mart too...they hurt small businesses). So I was concerned that I would be paying a *relatively* large price for the giant, and getting a similar piece of junk I could have spent $65 for at wal mart. Glad to hear Giant is a reputable brand though.

I'm starting to think, maybe it is going to cost me a little more than I initially thought if I want to get a bike with good value. Hmmm....
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Old 04-19-04, 09:25 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by abc123
Thanks for the advice. About the bike you posted...I actually demoe'd the Cypress model, although the one I rode didn't have disc brakes. I was kind of concerned about the quality of it though...when I changed gears, sometimes the chain would kind of rub and click on the derailleur (sp). The thing is, I want to get a bike that will last. My brother just bought a Wal-mart special for $65. I rode it and hey, it worked. But I HATE buying cheap stuff (and I hate shopping at wal mart too...they hurt small businesses). So I was concerned that I would be paying a *relatively* large price for the giant, and getting a similar piece of junk I could have spent $65 for at wal mart. Glad to hear Giant is a reputable brand though.

I'm starting to think, maybe it is going to cost me a little more than I initially thought if I want to get a bike with good value. Hmmm....
Something to consider is you are buying a shop as much as you are buying a bike... most shops offer a year of free service (tune ups, adjustments, etc). No big-box store can offer that. Also if you buy from a shop they tend to put you as a priority since you bought a bike from them, so you get little jobs done free often times, and get faster more immediate service, and they often go the extra mile for a "regular" customer.

You actually spelled derailleur right... there are veteran mechanics that can't do that.

Oh yeah as for the chain rubbing, its normal for it to rub in front if you are in the largest gear in the back and the largest in the front or smallest/smallest. These are called "cross gears" and stretch the chain a lot, so the chain is on quite an angle and will rub the "cage" on the front derailleur. The components on the Giant aren't fantastic, and if you can afford it, though its a definate step up, the highest model of Cypress is really a flat handle roadbike, and ideal for commuting. The components on it are really pretty good.
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Old 04-19-04, 09:45 PM   #5
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Another idea is to check out a used-bike shop, if you have one in your area. Just last week I purchased a 80's era Fuji road bike for $160. (I think it used to be a touring bike, but I am not sure)

It is in fantastic shape too. I had previously been riding my old mountain bike to work, with slick tires on it. Now that I am riding the road bike, I feel I can roll down the road a little faster, with those bigger wheels, and,,, I can get to work a little faster!!!
Sometimes you can find good deals on old bikes, that are in good condition.
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Old 04-19-04, 09:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abc123
Thanks for the advice. About the bike you posted...I actually demoe'd the Cypress model, although the one I rode didn't have disc brakes. I was kind of concerned about the quality of it though...when I changed gears, sometimes the chain would kind of rub and click on the derailleur (sp). The thing is, I want to get a bike that will last. My brother just bought a Wal-mart special for $65. I rode it and hey, it worked. But I HATE buying cheap stuff (and I hate shopping at wal mart too...they hurt small businesses). So I was concerned that I would be paying a *relatively* large price for the giant, and getting a similar piece of junk I could have spent $65 for at wal mart. Glad to hear Giant is a reputable brand though.

I'm starting to think, maybe it is going to cost me a little more than I initially thought if I want to get a bike with good value. Hmmm....
You didn't say where you live in California. I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can get a good price on a Giant Cypress at Performance Bikes. I think the LX model with disc brakes is around $400-450. Another bike that would be good for you is the Specialized Crossroads. It's also a hybrid, and about the same price as the Giant. Check www.specialized.com for the different models, and dealer locations. If you're near Fremont, check out the Bicycle Garage. Allan has free lifetime tune-ups on bikes sold in his shop.
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Old 04-19-04, 10:07 PM   #7
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You didn't say where you live in California. I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can get a good price on a Giant Cypress at Performance Bikes. I think the LX model with disc brakes is around $400-450. Another bike that would be good for you is the Specialized Crossroads. It's also a hybrid, and about the same price as the Giant. Check www.specialized.com for the different models, and dealer locations. If you're near Fremont, check out the Bicycle Garage. Allan has free lifetime tune-ups on bikes sold in his shop.
Dchiefransom,

I'm in Davis (the City of Bikes)! I've never heard of Bicycle Garage, I'll check it out. The cypress model that I demoe'd today was $269 I believe, on sale if I remember right. However, it was lower end than the bikes you guys' have recommended.

It seems like the major difference between the two models is the disk brakes, and I'm not really sure why I need them. Seely above posted that it had something to do with tire width. The tires on the bike I rode were the 70'' tires (larger diameter and skinnier than real mountain bike tires). I'm wondering if he (seely) meant that if I wanted to put mountain bike tires onto the bike for mountain biking, I could do that. But to tell you the truth, although I would like to do it chances are I will not be doing much "trail" riding. I would love to get into it, but unfortunately just don't have the time etc. So one size tire would be o.k., I won't be needing to switch them. Does that mean I don't need disc brakes? If it's not that important, I'd rather spend the money on something else.

Thanks for your guys' imput...
Phil
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Old 04-19-04, 10:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abc123
Dchiefransom,

I'm in Davis (the City of Bikes)! I've never heard of Bicycle Garage, I'll check it out. The cypress model that I demoe'd today was $269 I believe, on sale if I remember right. However, it was lower end than the bikes you guys' have recommended.

It seems like the major difference between the two models is the disk brakes, and I'm not really sure why I need them. Seely above posted that it had something to do with tire width. The tires on the bike I rode were the 70'' tires (larger diameter and skinnier than real mountain bike tires). I'm wondering if he (seely) meant that if I wanted to put mountain bike tires onto the bike for mountain biking, I could do that. But to tell you the truth, although I would like to do it chances are I will not be doing much "trail" riding. I would love to get into it, but unfortunately just don't have the time etc. So one size tire would be o.k., I won't be needing to switch them. Does that mean I don't need disc brakes? If it's not that important, I'd rather spend the money on something else.

Thanks for your guys' imput...
Phil
phil.. disc brake is good and it's always a plus. however, unless if you are planning on riding in the rain or riding through some wet mud trails, i don't think you should spend the extra dollars on disc brake. plus disc brake tends to be a bit more heavier and a bit more pricy. for me i think the standard V-brake that is on Giant bikes are very good already! but main thing is.. test ride it and make sure it's the size that is for you. other than that.. have fun.. the Giant Cypress is a very nice bike.

i was going to get that until i test rode the Specialized Sirrus. it's cost a lot more.. but it's much lighter and the ride is unbeliveable. it's perfect for my commute.. just very scared to ride it in the rain.. don't want it to rust on me.
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Old 04-19-04, 10:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by abc123
Dchiefransom,

I'm in Davis (the City of Bikes)! I've never heard of Bicycle Garage, I'll check it out. The cypress model that I demoe'd today was $269 I believe, on sale if I remember right. However, it was lower end than the bikes you guys' have recommended.

It seems like the major difference between the two models is the disk brakes, and I'm not really sure why I need them. Seely above posted that it had something to do with tire width. The tires on the bike I rode were the 70'' tires (larger diameter and skinnier than real mountain bike tires). I'm wondering if he (seely) meant that if I wanted to put mountain bike tires onto the bike for mountain biking, I could do that. But to tell you the truth, although I would like to do it chances are I will not be doing much "trail" riding. I would love to get into it, but unfortunately just don't have the time etc. So one size tire would be o.k., I won't be needing to switch them. Does that mean I don't need disc brakes? If it's not that important, I'd rather spend the money on something else.

Thanks for your guys' imput...
Phil
Sorry for the confusion there! The disc brakes allow you to run any wheel size. However, my point was that vs. a conventional drop bar racing road bike, disc brakes offer clearance for a fatter 700c tire. This is not an issue on the other Cypress models w/o disc brakes though, since they use a mountain bike style brake, which allow you to easily run fat 700c sized tires. Even on my 2004 full blown cross country racing mountain bike I still run the standard "V Brakes" as they are called, no discs. They aren't necessary for mountain biking really, and they certainly are not necessary for commuting.

Standard tire diameters FYI:
Road bikes=700c(entimeters) 700x23 is a 700 by 23 centimeter tire, so its 23 centimeters wide,
Mountain bikes=26"

The Specialized Sequoia is a really cool bike if you can find a good deal on one. I really like Specialized and feel they offer a very solid product for the money. I recently bought my first Specialized after selling them now for a few months and have to say I have been thoroughly impressed, though it is one of their *slightly* more high end models However I haven't seen much bad about their lower end models even.

If you are considering doing some recreational road riding, other than just to work, I would definately say look at a flatbar roadbike vs. a hybrid. The two are similar but a flatbar roadbike is going to have better components, a lighter frame and be setup for a bit more speed.
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Old 04-19-04, 11:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by seely
Standard tire diameters FYI:
Road bikes=700c(entimeters) 700x23 is a 700 by 23 centimeter tire, so its 23 centimeters wide
Sorry to pick knits here but the "C" in 700C is not for centimeters but was originally used to denote the width. And the 700 while originally meant to specify the nominal size, is no longer the case. A 700 cm x 23 cm tyre would be a very large and wide tyre indeed. I think you meant millimeters. A 700C rim is 622mm, BTW.

Sheldon Brown has a very good webpage on tyre sizing.
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Old 04-20-04, 09:45 AM   #11
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$269 seem kind of cheap...... maybe too cheap for a bike you are going to ride day in and day out...
If $400 is the max you are willing to spend...then spend $400. You will not regret it.
Do some research about component groups, frames, wheels and overall geometry of the bike, then test ride a bunch of them until you narrow down to the right bike....THAT is the fun part.
Go to multiple bike stores to try different brands in your price range. Once you have found your dream bike, select the right bike store as you will need to take your bike there for minor adjustments on a regular basis. Make sure they offer free maintenance for at least one year....

Your price range is similar than the one I had. I narrowed my choice down to the Garry Fisher Nirvana and the Trek 7300 FX.


I selected the Trek as I did not want a suspension (heavier). I like the 7300FX for it is not at true "upright" hybrid, it is a bit more agressive, yet very versatile. I outfit it with racks, paniers, fenders and rode it through the NY winter with no pb... I think I paid $420 for it.

In the end, it all boils down to personal preferences... take your time, do your research and your ride will be that much more enjoyable!

Next step... accessories!... the fun never ends!
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Old 04-20-04, 10:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seely
Standard tire diameters FYI:
Road bikes=700c(entimeters) 700x23 is a 700 by 23 centimeter tire, so its 23 centimeters wide,
Mountain bikes=26"
To get a good idea of just how big 700 centimeters is, that's 7 meters, 21 feet. If you were a 5'6", this is what you would look like next to the bike...
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Old 04-20-04, 11:14 AM   #13
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For general purpose commuting/riding around town, there is minimal difference between an MTB wheels and a hybrid style wheel, if you are running medium width, quality tyres. The ideal size for you wwould probably be 1.5" for an MTB or 32mm for a 700c. Tyre upgrades are a good investment on a low/mid-range new bike, they help you ride faster and are more puncture resistant.
If you are planning on riding in wet weather, make sure you can fit fenders. The ones that bolt to threaded eyelets on the frame and fork are far better than the ones which clip on. You may also want to consider a luggage rack.
In your price range, a little more $$ buys a lot more bike. For $600 you can get a whole lot of bike, and include styles such a touring, cyclo-cross, and flat-bar road bikes which are all lighter and sportier than these hybrids, but still very tough and practical.
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Old 04-20-04, 01:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
To get a good idea of just how big 700 centimeters is, that's 7 meters, 21 feet. If you were a 5'6", this is what you would look like next to the bike...
Are you saying he'd look like a little woman in a bikini/workout suit from Poser?

Is that a Poser figure, it looks like one.
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Old 04-20-04, 03:13 PM   #15
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Thanks again for the recommendations, guys. Today I rode a specialized with drop handle bars. I didn't like it. I was too hunched over, even though the guy at the shop said it was a decent fit. I got catalogs for Gary Fisher, Specialized, and Trek.

I'm thinking more and more about looking for a good used bike. The problem is that I really like the concept of the "hybrid" bike, and as they are relatively new idea (I think?) I doubt I will be able to find a used one with the 700c tires...or a bike that will accomodate them. I know there are a ton of MTB's on the used bike market, but wonder if I'll find any hybrids at a good price.

I guess the main problem is that, I want to the bike to make economic sense. And the lower I pay for it, the bigger my my IRR (internal rate of return, used as a measure of investments). I'm a financial weenie, can you tell?

Thanks again for the help.

Last edited by abc123; 04-20-04 at 03:14 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-20-04, 03:48 PM   #16
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Thanks again for the recommendations, guys. Today I rode a specialized with drop handle bars. I didn't like it. I was too hunched over, even though the guy at the shop said it was a decent fit.
Before you give up on roadbikes altogether, you might want to know that many people get that first impression. You do have to grow into the roadbike position. Some people ease this transition by installing an adjustable stem or a higher rise stem initially and then working their way to an actual roadie position. Your body has to get accustomed but once it does then riding long distances will be much more comfortable because you are more evenly distributing your weight across the bike.
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Old 04-20-04, 03:49 PM   #17
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Maybe the drop bars on the Specialized were too low for you or too far forward. Drop bars are a lot less tiring on long rides as you can vary the hand positions. People usually ride with their hands on the hoods at the top of the brake levers 85% of the time, but the drop position really pays off when there is a strong headwind.

Read what advice Rivendell has on drop bars

http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/html/101_dropbars.html

also read his page on fitting etc.

Sheldon Brwon has good stuff to read:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/articles.html
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Old 04-20-04, 07:37 PM   #18
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Sorry to pick knits here but the "C" in 700C is not for centimeters but was originally used to denote the width. And the 700 while originally meant to specify the nominal size, is no longer the case. A 700 cm x 23 cm tyre would be a very large and wide tyre indeed. I think you meant millimeters. A 700C rim is 622mm, BTW.

Sheldon Brown has a very good webpage on tyre sizing.
Yeah I'm ******** sorry!
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Old 04-21-04, 12:07 PM   #19
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Hybrid bikes have been mass market items for 15 years, so there are plenty of used ones for sale. There is nothing wrong with them for commuting and utility use.
Drop bars are usually setup very low and stretched out, but they dont have to be used that way. Touring cyclists use them in a much higher , closer position.
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Old 04-21-04, 01:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertsdvd
Are you saying he'd look like a little woman in a bikini/workout suit from Poser?

Is that a Poser figure, it looks like one.
Heh yea but I ripped it off of landsend.com's virtual model.
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Old 04-21-04, 01:37 PM   #21
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I'd advise you to get a bike with drop handle bars, not flats. In my own experience after I tried'em never looked back.
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Old 04-21-04, 02:32 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abc123
I will mainly be using the bike to commute from work and to just ride around town.
That's how it started with me. Pretty soon, rides "around town" turned into rides around the town, then rides to the next town, then rides to the next county. If you think that this might turn into an addiction (like it has for me) do yourself a favor and look at dedicated road bikes. I bought a Trek 7300 but found that it was painful on rides of more than 20 miles. I got a flat-bar road from the internet. (this one, but last year's model: http://www.ibexbikes.com/Bikes/2004/COR-LT-Details.html) It's pretty similar to the Specialized Sirrus. You might want to test ride that one.

Good luck. you came to the right place
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Old 04-21-04, 03:42 PM   #23
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That's how it started with me. Pretty soon, rides "around town" turned into rides around the town, then rides to the next town, then rides to the next county. If you think that this might turn into an addiction (like it has for me) do yourself a favor and look at dedicated road bikes. I bought a Trek 7300 but found that it was painful on rides of more than 20 miles. I got a flat-bar road from the internet. (this one, but last year's model: http://www.ibexbikes.com/Bikes/2004/COR-LT-Details.html) It's pretty similar to the Specialized Sirrus. You might want to test ride that one.

Good luck. you came to the right place
this ibex bike is pretty nice too. however i noticed the stem part much flater angle compared to my sirrus. but yea definitely.. these bikes are really nice to be riding in town. the other day i got flagged down by two cops eating lunch at BAJA FRESH just to tell me my sirrus is so nice. that sure made my day!
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Old 04-22-04, 04:02 AM   #24
Tom_The_Bikeman
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Originally Posted by abc123
I live in California and am sick and $%^&^%$ tired of paying $2 for a gallon of gas
Oh man, Phil, I feel your pain!

You need to drop everything, learn German, and move over here. Here, you only pay $4 for a gallon of gas! (then again, it's only $1 for a liter/litre of gas, so you'll *think* you're spending less)

Go for the drops. You'll appreciate them after a while.

Good luck getting started,
Tom

P.S. Remember, only YOU know how the bike fits you, not the shop guy/gal. Trust the way it feels, but make sure it's fitted to you...
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Old 04-22-04, 10:25 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Corsaire
I'd advise you to get a bike with drop handle bars, not flats. In my own experience after I tried'em never looked back.
Corsaire
I agree wholeheartedly. Before I got my Randonee, I asked the same question on the forum. Now I'm not going back to straight handle bars after having been using the drop bars.
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