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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    YMMV,but my carpel tunnel wouldn't tolerate that straight blade alloy fork. I had an '06 Big Buzz with skinny,curved alloy fork. I swapped the stock 28mm Rando's for 32's;it helped,but if I rode the bike to work for a week straight it bothered me. Wound up selling it. Also tried a Road Buzz. The fork was very similar to the current Big Buzz(but with more tire clearance). It was so bad that not even going up to 42's helped. Returned it. I would seriously consider a Zealo if it had a CF fork,but I'll never do another one of Novara's alloy forks.
    I've got my '05 Big Buzz, and have been loving it for almost a decade now! I roll 28s outside of winter, when I swap on 32 cyclocross semi-knobbies. Anyway, it's one of seven bikes in the regular stable, and my go-to utility scoot and commuter.

    In that scenario, neither the fork nor ride quality are bothersome to me, nor really anything other than different from the carbon, steel, and alloy rigid forks on the other bikes. I'm a heavy, aggressive rider, though, so I probably induce flex in bikes that many think are stiff! I also don't have physical problems like your carpal tunnel, so while I'm not hyper sensitive to ride quality, I definitely pay more attention to it, and am more dialed into it, than most recreational cyclists.

    I don't know if it was the same handlebar on your MY06, but my stock bar was very harsh. I did swap it out for a Ritchey unit, and also the stem. I'm a big fan of Ti bars for MTB applications, and ran an old straight gauge WTB Ti bars on my Bridgestone commuter/racer for many years. If you haven't tried Ti bars, I highly suggest you do, for comfort.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by yd653 View Post
    I'd like to get a AWOl this summer when I'm taking my summer break in the US. I checked REI and didn't see AWOL for sale. I thought I read somewhere that AWOl is not to be sold online in the US. I really prefer to buy it online and have it delivered to where I will stay. Do you know any online stores that sell AWOL. Thank.
    You have to buy Specialized bikes from a dealer. Some dealers will let you order online/by phone but you have to pick kit up in person. Alternatively some dealers my let you pay in person then have it shipped to where you live. Bottom line is you must show up to the dealer in person as part of the transaction. Good news is Specialized is one of the larger bike companies, so finding a deal in most areas should be possible.

  3. #28
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    Thanks a lot, mstraus! Chance is that I'm going to be in Ithaca,NY and the closest dealer is dozens of miles away. Too bad.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by yd653 View Post
    Thanks a lot, mstraus! Chance is that I'm going to be in Ithaca,NY and the closest dealer is dozens of miles away. Too bad.
    NP, could be a good excuse for a road trip. Or would you pass one on your way to Ithaca?

  5. #30
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    Wow, what a great thread! This is what I look for in a discussion. I rode a few bikes and tried to take notes, but the dimensions of the Anyroad and AWOL really caught me. Both are sweet bikes. I am a big slacker and the riding position of these bikes make for a nice option to my Giant Escape 3. As noted elsewhere in forum, the AWOL is not the "front window display" bike at my two Specialized LBS/Sort of LBS choices.
    My local Giant dealer loves the Anyroad, but says his customers like the Revolt better. Interesting, huh?
    Thanks again guys!
    Fred

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankykentucky View Post
    Wow, what a great thread! This is what I look for in a discussion. I rode a few bikes and tried to take notes, but the dimensions of the Anyroad and AWOL really caught me. Both are sweet bikes. I am a big slacker and the riding position of these bikes make for a nice option to my Giant Escape 3. As noted elsewhere in forum, the AWOL is not the "front window display" bike at my two Specialized LBS/Sort of LBS choices.
    My local Giant dealer loves the Anyroad, but says his customers like the Revolt better. Interesting, huh?
    Thanks again guys!
    Fred
    AWOL is a very different bike the the Giants Anyroad or Revolt. The Giants are more performance oriented, AWOL is more "adventure touring" oriented. AWOL is steel, so its heavier but will ride better, both giants are aluminum. AWOL has brazons to mount front and rear rack and fenders. I don't think the Giant can do rack and fenders (I can't remember, maybe just one but not both). This was ultimately a deal breaker for me on the Giant, as I wanted something more aimed for commuting that could also do some touring. The AWOL was just more flexible and ultimately I decided to get an AWOL Comp myself. If you don't care about the extra flexibility and want a bit more performance, Giant are great options.

  7. #32
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    The Awol is a very nice ride if you are looking for this sort of versatile bike. The closest bike I've come across and ridden is the Salsa Vaya. In fact the Vaya 3 is specced almost identically to the Awol, though in my market it cost a fair bit more for some reason. Personally I've just settled on and ordered an Awol Comp which should be arriving at my LBS today or tomorrow, and I'm admittedly pretty excited about that!

    I'll use the bike for errands that are a bit tough to pull off with my Kona and some light to moderate duty touring. I'm really looking forward to getting the bike!

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstraus View Post
    AWOL is a very different bike the the Giants Anyroad or Revolt. The Giants are more performance oriented, AWOL is more "adventure touring" oriented. AWOL is steel, so its heavier but will ride better, both giants are aluminum. AWOL has brazons to mount front and rear rack and fenders. I don't think the Giant can do rack and fenders (I can't remember, maybe just one but not both). This was ultimately a deal breaker for me on the Giant, as I wanted something more aimed for commuting that could also do some touring. The AWOL was just more flexible and ultimately I decided to get an AWOL Comp myself. If you don't care about the extra flexibility and want a bit more performance, Giant are great options.
    Any photos? I haven't seen too many photos or reviews of the AWOL in the wild - just the sponsored stuff.
    http://treadrightly.blogspot.com/

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by treadtread View Post
    Any photos? I haven't seen too many photos or reviews of the AWOL in the wild - just the sponsored stuff.
    I have a few photos, so far mostly a stock AWOL COMP plus a few accessories. During a bike fit they recommended a longer stem, which I am trying but seems a bit against the idea of the bike so may wind up going back. I also plan to replace the saddle, but haven't yet. Also plan to set up with rack, fenders, etc when I have time (though debating if I wait on fenders till fall). I will try to post these and a review. Unfortunately I haven't gotten to ride it very much yet for a multitude of reasons (injury, travel, illness, needing to be at a client site). I hope that changes soon as I am itching to go ride.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by treadtread View Post
    Any photos? I haven't seen too many photos or reviews of the AWOL in the wild - just the sponsored stuff.
    Here's a couple.

    Like mstraus mine is a stock AWOL comp, but I've added front & rear racks & fenders. These were taken last week on my maiden voyage right after taking possession of the bike.

    Yesterday I went back to try a different saddle - the stock saddle definitely didn't work for my anatomy! I'm trying out a Specialized Toupe and so far it seems to be a much better fit.

    AWOL_01_reduced.jpgAWOL_03_reduced.jpg

    I love the ride - it's much more forgiving on wooden bridges and gravel than my Kona. It's much slower, too, but that's OK, I'm having so much fun riding it that I don't care too much about that.

    It's a pretty heavy bike, but it feels very stable, the disc brakes are excellent and will really be appreciated on the many rainy days we get here.

    I'm still getting used to the SRAM shifters as I'm used to the 105s on my Kona, but the difference isn't really causing me any issues. What is taking some getting used to are the larger gear jumps on the Apex cassette. I could see that being annoying if someone primarily rides on flat terrain. I'm almost always climbing or descending so the range is welcome, but still, surprises me a bit sometimes.

    All told, I love the bike - my commute is short, about 4 km but this morning I got up a bit early and added a nice loop down to the ocean before heading into work. That made it about a 17 km ride and I found myself wanting more!

  11. #36
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    surly cross check or bianchi volpe would also be good considerations - though the bianchi is a little pricey.
    Twitter@theSurlyBiker

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by winston63 View Post
    Here's a couple.

    Like mstraus mine is a stock AWOL comp, but I've added front & rear racks & fenders. These were taken last week on my maiden voyage right after taking possession of the bike.

    Yesterday I went back to try a different saddle - the stock saddle definitely didn't work for my anatomy! I'm trying out a Specialized Toupe and so far it seems to be a much better fit.

    AWOL_01_reduced.jpgAWOL_03_reduced.jpg

    I love the ride - it's much more forgiving on wooden bridges and gravel than my Kona. It's much slower, too, but that's OK, I'm having so much fun riding it that I don't care too much about that.

    It's a pretty heavy bike, but it feels very stable, the disc brakes are excellent and will really be appreciated on the many rainy days we get here.

    I'm still getting used to the SRAM shifters as I'm used to the 105s on my Kona, but the difference isn't really causing me any issues. What is taking some getting used to are the larger gear jumps on the Apex cassette. I could see that being annoying if someone primarily rides on flat terrain. I'm almost always climbing or descending so the range is welcome, but still, surprises me a bit sometimes.

    All told, I love the bike - my commute is short, about 4 km but this morning I got up a bit early and added a nice loop down to the ocean before heading into work. That made it about a 17 km ride and I found myself wanting more!
    Very Nice! What racks are those? What fenders? Any other plans to tweek it?

    The stock saddle isn't great for my anatomy either, though I haven't swapped it yet. My dealer recommended the Specialized toupe too based on a fitting, as well as one other option. I am hoping to try swapping it this week. My dealer also recommended a longer stem during a fitting, which I liked at the time though after riding it a bit I am questioning if that was the right call. I might try swapping back to the original a bit and see which I like better. Seems like short stem is part of the idea for this bike.

    They also recommended narrower handlebars, but I really like the stock one so not sure if I want to switch.

    I hope to have some free time this weekend to do some tweaking on my bike to get it all set up, so will try to post some pics after that.

    In the mean time, here are some pics of the bike when new, basically stock minus the swapped stem, a waterbottle cage (just one but probably will get a second), and a saddle bag.

    2014-03-25 18.02.34.jpg2014-03-25 18.03.16.jpg2014-03-25 18.04.19.jpg2014-03-25 18.05.01.jpg

    Since these photos were taken, I haven't done much except put on some lights and a Wahoo Fitness RFLKT+ and RPM

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstraus View Post
    Very Nice! What racks are those? What fenders? Any other plans to tweek it?
    Nothing terribly fancy, but the rear rack is a Topeak Explorer and the front rack is an Axiom Journey DLX Lowrider. I'm afraid I don't know who makes the fenders as I asked the bike shop to put fenders on as part of the build. I live in an area where rain is a possibility on any given day so I never take fenders off.

    I won't do much else, but I will add a couple of water bottle cages and I still need to buy some front panniers. The trunk bag in the photo is an Arkel, and it's great.

    The stock saddle isn't great for my anatomy either, though I haven't swapped it yet. My dealer recommended the Specialized toupe too based on a fitting, as well as one other option. I am hoping to try swapping it this week. My dealer also recommended a longer stem during a fitting, which I liked at the time though after riding it a bit I am questioning if that was the right call. I might try swapping back to the original a bit and see which I like better. Seems like short stem is part of the idea for this bike.

    They also recommended narrower handlebars, but I really like the stock one so not sure if I want to switch.

    I hope to have some free time this weekend to do some tweaking on my bike to get it all set up, so will try to post some pics after that.
    Good luck with the tweaking!

    I've only had the Toupe for two days, but it's a vast improvement over the stock seat. But the dealer encouraged me to give it two weeks and we can try something different if it doesn't work. I have a feeling I won't be turning it back in though, it's flatter, wide enough to support my sit bones (the stock seat was too narrow) and it has a cut out which I think works for me.

    I love the wider handlebars! That's something I sure wouldn't consider changing. I've made no changes to the stem, but the bike fit me pretty well after adjusting the seat height and position so that's a non-starter for me.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by winston63 View Post
    Nothing terribly fancy, but the rear rack is a Topeak Explorer and the front rack is an Axiom Journey DLX Lowrider. I'm afraid I don't know who makes the fenders as I asked the bike shop to put fenders on as part of the build. I live in an area where rain is a possibility on any given day so I never take fenders off.

    I won't do much else, but I will add a couple of water bottle cages and I still need to buy some front panniers. The trunk bag in the photo is an Arkel, and it's great.



    Good luck with the tweaking!

    I've only had the Toupe for two days, but it's a vast improvement over the stock seat. But the dealer encouraged me to give it two weeks and we can try something different if it doesn't work. I have a feeling I won't be turning it back in though, it's flatter, wide enough to support my sit bones (the stock seat was too narrow) and it has a cut out which I think works for me.

    I love the wider handlebars! That's something I sure wouldn't consider changing. I've made no changes to the stem, but the bike fit me pretty well after adjusting the seat height and position so that's a non-starter for me.

    Yea, I tried a similar saddle at the shop, but not the Toupe as they didn't have the right size, but I needed wider and flatter then the stock saddle too. Good to hear its working out for you, hopefully it will for me as well. I hope to go back to my LBS soon as they should have ordered some seats for me to try.

    I don't really want to change the handlebars. So far I have found them very comfortable on the hoods or in the drops.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstraus View Post
    AWOL is a very different bike the the Giants Anyroad or Revolt. The Giants are more performance oriented, AWOL is more "adventure touring" oriented. AWOL is steel, so its heavier but will ride better, both giants are aluminum. AWOL has brazons to mount front and rear rack and fenders. I don't think the Giant can do rack and fenders (I can't remember, maybe just one but not both). This was ultimately a deal breaker for me on the Giant, as I wanted something more aimed for commuting that could also do some touring. The AWOL was just more flexible and ultimately I decided to get an AWOL Comp myself. If you don't care about the extra flexibility and want a bit more performance, Giant are great options.
    My apologies to the original poster. I am not trying to hijack your thread. This is great information.
    Still on the fence over which bike to get. I have ruled out the Giant Revolt because I don't like the riding position. Still no Anyroads in the Boston area.
    Just wondering, did you guys notice a big difference in the ride between the AWOL and the AWOL Comp?
    Are your AWOLs turning out to be good road bikes as well?
    Thanks,
    Fred

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankykentucky View Post
    My apologies to the original poster. I am not trying to hijack your thread. This is great information.
    Still on the fence over which bike to get. I have ruled out the Giant Revolt because I don't like the riding position. Still no Anyroads in the Boston area.
    Just wondering, did you guys notice a big difference in the ride between the AWOL and the AWOL Comp?
    Are your AWOLs turning out to be good road bikes as well?
    Thanks,
    Fred
    Hi Fred,

    I tried sending you a private message, but the forum software won't permit that until I get more posts! So, I'll add to my post count and try to answer your questions here.

    I don't know if the ride differences are huge between the AWOL and the AWOL Comp. Originally I rode the stock AWOL and I liked it enough to buy it. However, in thinking about it, I decided to splurge and I ordered the Comp even though my dealer didn't have one in stock. So it was a couple of weeks from riding the original AWOL to me picking up the Comp and I didn't have a chance to do a side-by-side comparison.

    The Comp does have some frame differences and uses SRAM Apex with a dual chain ring whereas the AWOL goes with a triple and Shimano Sora. But I found the Shimano just fine really. If I'd never heard of the Comp I'd be happily riding a stock AWOL instead.

    The bike is wonderful to ride on the road, but you'll never mistake it for a speedy road bike! That's partly due the relatively heavy steel frame, the big tires (700 x 42) and the long wheel base. But the bike handles nicely under load - yesterday I had to pick up groceries and beer on the the way home from work and I found the ride was stable and balanced. It was hard to tell that I had the extra weight, well, except when climbing some steep hills, but all I noticed was my legs getting a greater workout.

    I think the base AWOL is a wonderfully versatile bike and I would have happily bought it. The frame and the tires make for a really nice ride and do a great job of absorbing bumps in the road - I have a couple of rickety wooden bridges I cross and riding over those on my Kona is a bone-shaking experience! Not the case with the AWOL where it seems to smooth out a lot of that.

    My one complaint (and this goes for both the AWOL and the AWOL Comp) is the saddle. It really didn't work for me, but replacing that has made the Comp such an incredibly pleasant ride.

    Good luck!

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankykentucky View Post
    My apologies to the original poster. I am not trying to hijack your thread. This is great information.
    Still on the fence over which bike to get. I have ruled out the Giant Revolt because I don't like the riding position. Still no Anyroads in the Boston area.
    Just wondering, did you guys notice a big difference in the ride between the AWOL and the AWOL Comp?
    Are your AWOLs turning out to be good road bikes as well?
    Thanks,
    Fred
    I had replied with a private message to you, but also wanted to address your specific questions in this forum for everyones benefit, since it is difficult to find information or reviews on the Specialized AWOL still.

    Ride between AWOL and AWOL Comp should be about the same. They should have same geometry. The COMP does use a more premium steel then the regular AWOL, but I don't expect that will be very noticeable (maybe it changes weight or durability?). The primary differences are in the components. For me the components was why I ordered the Comp over the regular AWOL.

    As for being a good road bike - it depends what you mean by "good" and what you want to do. I use mine almost entirely on pavement as it is now my primary commuter. The steel frame and larger tires gives much more comfortable and vibration free ride on rough roads. On perfect new asphalt it really doesn't matter, but I ride so few of those on my commute. I also worry much less about the bumps and small pot holes, can go over much more than I can on my road bike. It is much more upright than a road bike, which I like for commuting or long rides (more comfortable). It is heavier than most road bikes, and the wheels are bigger/heavier. Over all it is a bit slower than my road bike. For commuting this only means a few minutes ~16.5 mile commute so not a big deal. Also great for rides with my wife, but not ideal for trying to keep up on a more aggressive group ride. If I want to push it to go fast, I prefer the road bike, if I want to just enjoy the ride I think I greatly prefer the AWOL.

    I do plan to swap out the tires for a slick and slightly thinner tire (I think 35mm) since I am on roads most the time, and then I can always switch back if I want to play on the weekends.

  18. #43
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    @winston63, @mstraus - thank you for the photos and review.
    http://treadrightly.blogspot.com/

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by winston63 View Post
    Hi Fred,

    I tried sending you a private message, but the forum software won't permit that until I get more posts! So, I'll add to my post count and try to answer your questions here.

    I don't know if the ride differences are huge between the AWOL and the AWOL Comp. Originally I rode the stock AWOL and I liked it enough to buy it. However, in thinking about it, I decided to splurge and I ordered the Comp even though my dealer didn't have one in stock. So it was a couple of weeks from riding the original AWOL to me picking up the Comp and I didn't have a chance to do a side-by-side comparison.

    The Comp does have some frame differences and uses SRAM Apex with a dual chain ring whereas the AWOL goes with a triple and Shimano Sora. But I found the Shimano just fine really. If I'd never heard of the Comp I'd be happily riding a stock AWOL instead.

    The bike is wonderful to ride on the road, but you'll never mistake it for a speedy road bike! That's partly due the relatively heavy steel frame, the big tires (700 x 42) and the long wheel base. But the bike handles nicely under load - yesterday I had to pick up groceries and beer on the the way home from work and I found the ride was stable and balanced. It was hard to tell that I had the extra weight, well, except when climbing some steep hills, but all I noticed was my legs getting a greater workout.

    I think the base AWOL is a wonderfully versatile bike and I would have happily bought it. The frame and the tires make for a really nice ride and do a great job of absorbing bumps in the road - I have a couple of rickety wooden bridges I cross and riding over those on my Kona is a bone-shaking experience! Not the case with the AWOL where it seems to smooth out a lot of that.

    My one complaint (and this goes for both the AWOL and the AWOL Comp) is the saddle. It really didn't work for me, but replacing that has made the Comp such an incredibly pleasant ride.

    Good luck!

    Wow, thanks for such a complete reply. You and mstraus could do a bike blog, you know? This info really helps me. I'll let you know what I decide to do. This is a big help!

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstraus View Post
    I had replied with a private message to you, but also wanted to address your specific questions in this forum for everyones benefit, since it is difficult to find information or reviews on the Specialized AWOL still.

    Ride between AWOL and AWOL Comp should be about the same. They should have same geometry. The COMP does use a more premium steel then the regular AWOL, but I don't expect that will be very noticeable (maybe it changes weight or durability?). The primary differences are in the components. For me the components was why I ordered the Comp over the regular AWOL.

    As for being a good road bike - it depends what you mean by "good" and what you want to do. I use mine almost entirely on pavement as it is now my primary commuter. The steel frame and larger tires gives much more comfortable and vibration free ride on rough roads. On perfect new asphalt it really doesn't matter, but I ride so few of those on my commute. I also worry much less about the bumps and small pot holes, can go over much more than I can on my road bike. It is much more upright than a road bike, which I like for commuting or long rides (more comfortable). It is heavier than most road bikes, and the wheels are bigger/heavier. Over all it is a bit slower than my road bike. For commuting this only means a few minutes ~16.5 mile commute so not a big deal. Also great for rides with my wife, but not ideal for trying to keep up on a more aggressive group ride. If I want to push it to go fast, I prefer the road bike, if I want to just enjoy the ride I think I greatly prefer the AWOL.

    I do plan to swap out the tires for a slick and slightly thinner tire (I think 35mm) since I am on roads most the time, and then I can always switch back if I want to play on the weekends.
    Thanks for the details. The tires on the stock AWOL seemed ideal to me and actually ran pretty well on the pavement. I like the riding position on this bike, but could it be too much bike for me? The dealer might lose his patience with me, but I need to go back for another look. You and Winston really give me plenty to think about. What a great bike!

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankykentucky View Post
    Wow, thanks for such a complete reply. You and mstraus could do a bike blog, you know? This info really helps me. I'll let you know what I decide to do. This is a big help!
    Thank you for the kind words -- I'm really relatively new to all of this, but I'm having the time of my life!

    Have fun with your search. And please do let us know what you decide to do!

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    The sloping top tube is what allows people to ride bolt up right even with drop bars. If you're looking for a practical bike for the average rider, that is what is the AWOL does well. If you like to ride like a pro racer hunched over with a flat back and are looking for pure speed, stick to the classic road bike.

    The country bike/adventure bike/commuter bike is all most people really need in terms of every day two wheeled transportation.

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankykentucky View Post
    Thanks for the details. The tires on the stock AWOL seemed ideal to me and actually ran pretty well on the pavement. I like the riding position on this bike, but could it be too much bike for me? The dealer might lose his patience with me, but I need to go back for another look. You and Winston really give me plenty to think about. What a great bike!
    For most situations the stock tires on the AWOL are great. The tried in the center is very minimal so they do roll fine and pavement and they get good grip in some dirt. I think the desire to try tires is more of me and my urge to tinker and try things to see what the difference will be, especially as I do a long commute with a good climb in the middle.

    As for too much bike - depends on what your looking for. The regular AWOL might be a good option if that is your concern. The newer SORA stuff on it has hand me down tech from the old 105 and is probably pretty good.

    At the end of the day, the best bike for you is the one that is comfortable and enjoyable to ride.

    When test riding, seek out some rough pavement to run over, bumps, etc. This something that helped me when test riding and pushed me towards steel over the aluminum options I was considering.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by treadtread View Post
    @winston63, @mstraus - thank you for the photos and review.
    No worries and nice to see another fellow bay area person. Maybe I will try to post a more detailed review and more photos at some point in a new thread when I have time.

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankykentucky View Post
    Wow, thanks for such a complete reply. You and mstraus could do a bike blog, you know? This info really helps me. I'll let you know what I decide to do. This is a big help!
    Thanks. While I have often thought of trying to do a blog, as I have a bad habit of buying and trying a lot of gear for biking (commuting in particular) I never seem to have time to do a blog regularly. Maybe a communal BF commuter review blog?

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