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  1. #1
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    Of These Three Bikes, Which Would You Choose?

    I've been going back and fourth about whether to restore/convert an older Raleigh M50 for city/commuter use, or just buy a new bike. No matter how I hack it, buying a new bike will be, at most, as much as fixing up the M50, and at the end of the day I'll be left with a better/more appropriate ride. I'll find a new home/new purpose for the M50 eventually, but anyway...

    I've been doing some poking around. A Cafe-style bike seems the best option for me, just given what I'm accustomed to, and the type of riding I need to get done. I also like that the ones I'm looking at lack a front derailleur and have only one chain-ring. Trying to keep it as simple as possible, preferably as maintenance free as possible too.

    So I've narrowed it down to the following choices. This is by no means the result of an exhaustive search, so if you think there's something better out there for the money, by all means shoot me a link.

    Basic criteria:

    As reliable as possible.
    As maintenance free as possible.
    Under $450 shipped.

    I'll be using the bike in Los Angeles, which has a mix of up, down, flat, all-around, etc. The weather is generally nice and rain-free, but there's sand to contend with. The bike will serve first and foremost as a commuter, and will be equipped with dual Soma grocery panniers as needed for food and laundry (up to 50 pounds of cargo at any given time). For reference, I'm at about 200 pounds myself.

    So, without further adieu...

    (EDIT: The Motos have been removed from the running for several reasons, and replaced by the KHS Green)

    KHS Green -- Not the coolest looking bike, but this is going to be a utilitarian ride first and foremost. The three speed internal seems the most reliable and least picky of the Nexus hubs, but I question whether or not three speeds will be enough. Still more versatile than the single-speed Raleigh build I was considering, and really, when I had 21 speeds I don't think I was using more than three of them 90% of the time. Despite questionable frame strength and components, this one will be hard to pass up if I can get it for the $275-$300 it's rumored to go for. Online outfits list the price at $370; if that's the case the Felt is far and away the better choice. Either way, I'm giving a LBS a call tomorrow to see if they have it in stock, and what they run.

    Felt Cafe 8 Delux -- About $420 to the door for a leftover '08, which is effectively identical to the '09s from what I can tell. Looks to be a pretty sweet ride, comes with a rack, and has a few little extras to sweeten the deal, like a saddle bag, fenders, etc. Has an external cassette/derailleur system as opposed to the Nexus, which is, I suppose, somewhat of a disadvantage for the type of riding I'll be doing. On the other side of the coin, it has 8 speeds, which may prove better than three for LA's varying terrain.

    Any help/advice is greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by JJBlanche; 07-26-09 at 10:32 PM.

  2. #2
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    I like the Felt. Would get something from a LBS so you can get a free year year plus of tuneups unless your good with a wrench. Would also want to test ride something before I pull the trigger.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skoal View Post
    I like the Felt. Would get something from a LBS so you can get a free year year plus of tuneups unless your good with a wrench. Would also want to test ride something before I pull the trigger.
    I'm pretty good with my hands. So long as I have a tutorial to follow, doing basic maintenance isn't an issue for me. I'd hit up a LBS, but in general I'd be paying more than what I would online, I'll be new in town/won't know where to go, and I won't have a car or other easy means of getting there.

    I had my eye on the Felt too. I like the Nexus concept and the ability to shift sitting still, but the Felt pretty much has everything I need (and then some) off the line. Plus, there's probably no better climate for the derailleur system than LA.

    ...but my mind still isn't made up. I'll gladly accept any other suggestions/pointers, etc.
    Last edited by JJBlanche; 07-26-09 at 09:03 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    My LBS sells the KHS Green (IGH 3sp, rack, fenders, lock, chainguard) for $300 I would consider that a better deal than the Cafe Express 3.
    2009 Motobecane Fantom CX
    2008 Jamis Coda
    1999 Trek 930

    ISO: Carradice SQR Rucksack Harness.

  5. #5
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    I'd go with the Felt, the Moto's have adjustable stems, and is a definite sore spot because of the amount of flex they exhibit. I speak from personal experience with my Cafe Noir, in which I had to replace the stem due to it's excessive flex, which would have made climbing hills miserable.

  6. #6
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    barturtle: The KHS Green is definitely an option I overlooked. If I can find it in the $275-$325 range, I'll put some strong thought into it. A little fugly, but effective nonetheless. According to the KHS site, there's a dealer fairly close to my new place, so I'll give them a ring tomorrow and see what they run. Online prices are at about $370 though, and at that point I'd just spend the extra on the Felt. The 8 vs. 3 speed will have me deliberating, but if the price really is over $100 less, it'd be hard to refuse.

    dynodonn: I noticed the adjustable stem on the Motos, and it seemed like a weak point. I'm leaning more and more toward the Felt, but if I can find that KHS close to my place and for a good price, I'd be foolish to pass it up.

  7. #7
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    Foiled, the LBS is closed on Mondays. I'll give them a ring tomorrow RE: the KHS Green. The Felt looks pretty promising, though. I think the KHS would have to be around $300-$325 after tax for me to seriously consider it, this assuming they stock them to begin with.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    those new bikes look wicked slow
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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