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Old 11-01-11, 11:02 AM   #1
ihwang
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Swobo Baxter aggressiveness

Hi all, I've been thinking about getting a bicycle that's more cut out for commutes over iffy roads and bad weather than my current skinny-tire 80's road bike. Specifically, the Swobo Baxter: http://www.swobo.com/catalog/product...Path=2448_2449 I'd be going for the 42cm step-thru size, and I love all the specs, but the one thing I am concerned about is that the Baxter is a bit too laid back. A sales representative told me that the Baxter is "sitting up with a bit of a forward lean," while I'd like something with a *bit* more aggression (I'm used to the suicide levers on my road bike). Based on the geometry (and the one picture I can find of the 42cm) http://www.flickr.com/photos/bike/4527228682/, do you guys think that I can make the ride a bit more aggressive by swapping out for, say, mustache bars and adjusting stem/seat height? What are the limiting factors on changing the riding position on a bike?

Thanks for your advice!
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Old 11-01-11, 12:22 PM   #2
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Can you test ride one? You might like the upright position, it's very comfortable. I enjoy both riding upright and riding aggressively, which has led to owning multiple bikes, with the upright bike being the main ride.

You could get a bit more forward on the Baxter with a longer stem, and more aero by flipping the stem; stem swaps are easy. Moustache bars would bring you pretty far forward, and they look great, but you'd have to get a new shifter and brake levers. There are two shifters that work with the Alfine: the J-Tek bar end shifter, which you can find online for around $75; and the Versa VRS-8 brifter, which runs around $220. If that isn't a deal breaker, you could also go with drop bars; riding on the hoods would put you as far forward as riding in the drops on 'stache bars. Both would look great on that bike.

Or you could just get a cyclocross bike and put some fat tires on it; zippy and comfortable.
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Old 11-01-11, 12:53 PM   #3
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Swap for a flat bar or something with less sweep/rise and you'd have an immediate improvement.
Mustache bars are cool, too, but you'd either have to switch your brake levers/shifters or find a mustache-style bar that is the correct diameter for the current levers/shifters.
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Old 11-01-11, 01:53 PM   #4
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If the roads are really iffy, I'm thinking that you won't see much of an improvement with anything smaller than a 32mm tire and a more forgiving frame geometry. A cyclocross bike would likely be a good choice - espeically given your comfort with regular drop bars. It would be easy to install mustache bars or a compact drop bar (or even flared "dirt drop" bars) on a cyclocross bike, because the bar diameter would be compatible.

If you really want an IGH (I can't blame you - I like IGH's) some other alternatives to the Swobo would be:
MEC Hold Steady (MEC will ship to the USA from Canada). My wife has one of these and loves it
Giant Seek
Civia Kingfield or Hyland
Scott Venture 30 (Step-through style)
Scott Sub10

To name a few.

If you really want something fun, you could build up a Soma Buena Vista with a Nexus 8 speed for under $1500 if you kept the parts mix reasonable. The mixte will have a longer effective top tube, so you'd have to keep that in mind when selecting stem and bars.
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Old 11-01-11, 09:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by canyoneagle View Post
Mustache bars are cool, too, but you'd either have to switch your brake levers/shifters or find a mustache-style bar that is the correct diameter for the current levers/shifters.
Thanks for all the advice! I think I'd like to try the mustache bar swap, but a few technical details to work out first. Baxter specs say the stem clamp diameter is 26.8mm, while the handlebars themselves are advertised with a 25.4mm center clamp diameter. Which clamp diameter should I be looking at? If it's the handlebar-stated 25.4mm, I think I'd be looking for a mustache handlebar with the 25.4mm diameter clamp size and 22.2mm bar width, which is a surprisingly difficult combination to find.

Last edited by ihwang; 11-01-11 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 11-01-11, 09:33 PM   #6
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If you really want something fun, you could build up a Soma Buena Vista with a Nexus 8 speed for under $1500 if you kept the parts mix reasonable.
I was definitely toying with the idea of custom building a mixte, but don't have the funds! Maybe one day...until then, I'll settle for something pre-specced.
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Old 11-01-11, 10:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ihwang View Post
Thanks for all the advice! I think I'd like to try the mustache bar swap, but a few technical details to work out first. Baxter specs say the stem clamp diameter is 26.8mm, while the handlebars themselves are advertised with a 25.4mm center clamp diameter. Which clamp diameter should I be looking at? If it's the handlebar-stated 25.4mm, I think I'd be looking for a mustache handlebar with the 25.4mm diameter clamp size and 22.2mm bar width, which is a surprisingly difficult combination to find.
Moustache bars are usually designed to be used with road components, hence the 23.8mm grip diameter. A moustache bar made with a 22.2 (mountain) grip diameter wouldn't be able to take road brake levers, wouldn't have hoods, and wouldn't really be a moustache bar.
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Old 11-01-11, 10:38 PM   #8
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^^^
Exactly. I don't think that you're gonna find 'stache bars that'll fit the shifter/levers that come with the Baxter. I've done the 22.2 mm (MTB standard) bar to 23.8 mm 'stache bar conversion; you need to get new levers and a shifter. Since the Baxter has an Alfine, the only shifter options are the two that I mentioned earlier. If you were going from a larger diameter bar to a smaller diameter bar, you could shim the shifter/levers, but this isn't the case unfortunately.
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Old 11-01-11, 11:44 PM   #9
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The bar that comes with the Baxter (the 'Hoopty' ) looks like a North Road style bar. If this is the case, then I think that canyoneagle was right with the straight bar suggestion. The difference between a straight bar and a North Road is huge (my commuter conversion went: straight-->straight w/bar-ends-->moustache-->North Roads). You will have a much more aggro position just switching to a straight bar, and you can still use the same shifter/levers that come with the Baxter. If you still want a more stretched out position, you can get a longer stem; if you want more hand positions, you can mount bar-ends (which are great for aggressive climbing, btw).
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Old 11-01-11, 11:58 PM   #10
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There's always the Trekking bar option also, it'll add about as much reach as a mustache bar and fits MTB controls.



Here's a setup I have on one of my bikes. I had to shave down the barends a bit to get the controls on but makes for a nice riding position, IMO.


Controls on the barends by Lester Of Puppets, on Flickr

I'd ride a bit with the stock bar placing your hands in the flat area to get an idea if a flat bar would give you plenty of reach first, then consider other more "reachy" options.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 11-02-11 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 11-02-11, 09:24 AM   #11
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Ok, good to know! I'll try it out with all the stock components first, and if the position is really bugging me I'll take it from there. Thanks a ton for your input, and nice setups you have there, LesterofPuppets.

FYI: Soma makes a mustache for MTB levers, http://store.somafab.com/so3spmoiiha.html
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Old 11-02-11, 09:56 AM   #12
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I have a pair of flipped north roads on my '68 dunelt (ralrigh sports) and I am way faster on it than my other sports with upright bars.
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Old 11-02-11, 11:56 AM   #13
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I have a pair of flipped north roads on my '68 dunelt (ralrigh sports) and I am way faster on it than my other sports with upright bars.
Flip them, that's a brilliant idea. I had a bike with flipped north roads and it was awesome. I like the combination of short reach and aggressive drop, plus, it uses parts you already have.
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Old 11-03-11, 08:42 AM   #14
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I like the idea of flipping the bars (and stem), I'll give that a try...after it's assembled...Thanks for all the tips!
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Old 11-05-11, 09:53 AM   #15
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Hi IHwang,, Kona has a Mixie,, along with Rivendell. Soma might. Once they were common as bugs,,now a high end frame,,if you can find one without breaking the bank. The Swobo Crosby is a single speed//fixed cyclocross bike too. Chris
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