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  1. #1
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    Need street bike advice. Any thoughts on Jamis Citizen 3, Coda Sport, and Allegro 2X?

    I am a newbie getting back on a bike after over 25 years being off one. My last bike was a Schwinn ten-speed with the shift levers mounted on the stem such that you had to find each gear. I understand that the technology has made a quantum leap since then and that shifting and braking are easier and more sure.

    I anticipate riding mostly on pavement for exercise and exploration, and (as a southern California person) would like to take the bike to the beach and to the desert and out on bike trails, though I am not a mountain person and won't be up there with it. As I progress I am sure I will want to take the bike for increasingly longer rides.

    From my research I am very interested in Jamis bikes. They seem to be well made, well respected, and of great value.

    I am hoping not to have to spend more than $675. And I don't think I am ready for or will like dropped road handlebars, so I am looking more at flat handlebars or even a mid-rise comfort bar for a more upright ride. Given where I am going to ride and the kind of cockpit I think I will be most comfortable in to start, I guess I need a hybrid with 700 x 28/32/35/38c tires.

    I must admit that the intricacies, if not most of the basics, of gearing escape me...

    With that in mind, the bikes that have caught my eye in the 2008 Jamis catalog for my needs and at my price range are the Citizen 3, the Coda Sport, and the Allegro 2X.

    I like that the Citizen 3 packs a lot of punch for the dollar (MSRP $565) - with disc brakes and a Shimano Deore rear deraillerur and lockout (63mm) front suspension fork. Admittedly this is more of a comfort style bicycle given its geometry and mid-rise handlebars and tires (700x38c), so longer rides may be a problem as my skills progress.

    I like that so many people rave about the ride of a steel frame bicycle, which is what the Coda Sport provides for a reasonable amount of money (MSRP $600). I would be giving up disc brakes (for Tektro alloy linear pull brakes) with this bike and adding flat handlebars (with stem spacers and an angle-adjustable stem to optimize positioning). And I believe the gear ratio (9-speed with 50/39/30 compared to the 8-speed 48/48/28 on the Citizen 3) and tires (700x28c) are made for more speed with this bike, though the Citizen 3 has puncture-resistant tires that the Coda Sport lacks.

    I like that Jamis describes the new Allegro 3X/2X/1X bikes as "sport utility vehicles - off-road influenced and capable, but built for real-life everday use, whether urban, suburban, or rural." This seems like the kind of bike I am looking for based on my riding needs. The Allegro 2X (MSRP $675) has the same flat handlesbars and gearing and brake system and rear derailleur (Shimano Deore) as the Coda Sport, but has an aluminum frame, suspension fork (63mm lockout), and 700x35c (puncture resistant) tires.

    What do those with knowledge and experience think about which bike would best match my needs? Make me happiest in the long-run? What are the plusses and minuses for each option? Any input would be greatly appreciated so that when I head to my local bike shop I know enough to make a prudent purchase. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member RoMad's Avatar
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    I am sure someone with knowledge and experience will answer you soon, but I will chime in for now. When you say you are going down to the beach and the desert and the trails are you talking about riding in sand, dirt etc.? If you are you might need the front suspension, but if you are just going near the beach and by trail you are talking a paved trail you probably won't need the extra expense and weight of the front suspension. Whatever you decide on the best thing you can do is test ride the bikes. They will feel very different on actual rides than just sitting on them in the shop. As for Jamis, there is a dealer near me and some of my friends have them and they are happy with them. You might also talk to your dealer about any left over 07 bikes. He will be able to make you a better deal on them. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress shopping and then riding.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Leigh_caines's Avatar
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    I know it's nice to get a new bike but...
    if I was just starting out [Knowing what I know now
    I'd go buy a $50 MTB 2nd hand [there are lots of them around]
    Put good street tyers on it [say 1.25 or 1.5]
    Set the handlebars up to what you feel is good.
    Get a good seat [you can move this from bike to bike]
    Ride ride ride....

    After you've done all sorts of riding you'll know what new bike to buy
    good luck

  4. #4
    Senior Member dorosz's Avatar
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    If you have a couple of decent local bikes shops go visit, spend some time talking to the folks and explaining what your looking for and want to do. Do a bunch of test rides on differant bikes and differant styles of bikes. Look around at their bulletin boards for local bike clubs and check them out so you can talk to people who may already have what you want and ask them how the bike stacks up after the honeymoon is over. Personally I like Jamis and bought their Ventura Comp last year and am thinking about upgrading my 20 year old Schwinn ATB with one of the bikes you mentioned next year, but I think you will be a lot happier if you have a better knowledge base to make your choice from and you will only get that by doing some homework. Though test riding bikes is really fun homework so it shouldn't be to tough a pill to swollow!

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    Sounds like you have been doing your homework. I'm unfamiliar with the bikes you're looking at, all my riding has been on skinny tire, drop bar road bikes, but I do have one worthwhile suggestion.

    Since you are new to modern bikes I will assume that you plan to rely on the bike shop (LBS) to do any service work such as adjustments, tune ups, overhauls, etc. If so, I suggest you buy your bike at a shop where you feel comfortable with the staff even if they don't offer the best price. A good relationship with your LBS is worth it's weight in gold. Some LBS show lots of respect to new riders and go out of their way to be helpful and honest. Some don't.

    There are experts in this forum who can give sound advice on specific bikes in your category so be patient 'til they pop in.

    Oh, and welcome to the 50+ forum.

  6. #6
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh_caines View Post
    I know it's nice to get a new bike but...
    if I was just starting out [Knowing what I know now
    I'd go buy a $50 MTB 2nd hand [there are lots of them around]
    Put good street tyers on it [say 1.25 or 1.5]
    Set the handlebars up to what you feel is good.
    Get a good seat [you can move this from bike to bike]
    Ride ride ride....

    After you've done all sorts of riding you'll know what new bike to buy
    good luck
    This is the best advice that should be offered but Nothing like a nice shiny new bike to get the enthusiasm working. It was how I started 17 years ago but that was due to poverty at the time.

    Leigh is right in that the first bike is only to advise you on what your second bike should be.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  7. #7
    Senior Member Paydirt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    the first bike is only to advise you on what your second bike should be.
    +1 I would bet that there aren't any of us that have stuck with cycling that wouldn't agree with this statement.

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    "After you've done all sorts of riding you'll know what new bike to buy."

    That's really good advice. Having never ridden a mountain bike, I can't vouch for them. With their big knobby tires, short, stubby handlebars, and semi-fetal riding position, they don't appeal to me for my operations. (I think it would be a gas to ride one off road, though, and hope to try that this year.) However, any bike should be a good starting point to learn about bikes.

    On the other hand, looking for good, cheap, second-hand items can be a hassle. Unless you value your time at nothing per hour, you may be better of just walking into a bike shop, plunking down $600, and rising off into the sunset, having first test-ridden everything interesting. That get's back to another good piece of advice -- get the one you like best. Only you can determine this.

    Personally, I'd pick the Breezer Citizen and not even look at the others. I would not consider any bike without lights, chainguard, and fenders, anymore than I would consider a comparably unequipped automobile. Some folks ride for just exercise, but I'm way too lazy for that. I can't get on a bike unless the trip serves a purpose - commute, shop, go to the beach, whatever. I love to ride, but there has to be a mission. Any preparation beyond "put on a helmet and hop on the bike" would keep me off of it, except on trips where driving my car is even less convenient. That's me, though, and your priorities may be different. In fact, as a non-cyclist, you probably don't even have priorities yet.

    In any case, the Breezer Citizen is reasonably close to being a functional replacement of the British three speeds of the 1960, which I think were among the best all-around bikes ever made, vastly better than the ten speeds that replaced them. The other alternatives will all require much more pre-ride preparation and a fair amount of weekly tinkering to kep them running. (These considerations can be grounds for rejection, something that doesn't matter at all, or even plusses. Some people like the feeling of suiting up for a special activity or keeping mechanical things working right.) There are no "right" or "wrong" choices - it's all a matter of what you want.

    PS -- I started with a Specialized Crossroads hybrid that my wife gave me as a birthday present and that I never rode. Then, one day, I found that parking was impossible at my new job, looked at the bike, and said, "hmm?" It turned out to be easier than driving, but also fun. I found the bike unsuited to my usage patterns and speced out what I needed, searched for it, and found it. Maybe there's a bike like my old one waiting in some garage near you.

    Paul

  9. #9
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I have a Jamis Coda Elite and it's a very nice bike. Like you, I thought I would never be in drop bars, but you may be, just as I am. I had a Trek with front suspension, I took it back after a few weeks and got a Trek FX 7300. With no suspension and the ride was pretty close to the same. I rode that for a while and went to a steel bike and it's a world of difference, believe me. I wouldn't let the tires sway you, because of all the bikes I bought, they where the first thing to be changed, besides the saddle.

    A few of the members here went and bought a Jamis after seeing mine and they like there's as well. I think you'll have to take bought bikes out that you mention and just try them out. I think with the Coda you may have more options down the road to change some things out to make a touring bike. I put a rake on mine and trekking bars and I have it set up, if I felt like touring with it I feel I could take it anywhere. I put 32mm tires of it and that made the ride smoother. You'll just have to play around with it and get it the way you want it. I went with the 2005 model just because I liked it better and they did cut back on a few things and the 2008 uses a different tubing. There's nothing wrong with it, I just liked mine better. I'll see if I can post some pictures later.
    George

  10. #10
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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  11. #11
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I learned how to do that from BluesDawg.
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  12. #12
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    Be careful not to sell yourself short, you'll be surprised how addicting it becomes
    My wife and I started riding about 6 months ago. Our style and needs seem similar to yours. We bought hybrid bikes (A Giant Cypress for her and a GT Nomad for me). after a few months we realized that they were way to heavy for anything other than short commutes or really flat trails. We looked around and I decided on the Jamis Satellite that I have had for a few weeks now and I love. I changed the tires to Gator Skins 28's that I bought for the Hybrid. They are a little wider than the stock tires it comes with, but more comfortable.
    My wife is still deciding whether to go with the womans version or a flat bar (She has joint problems).

  13. #13
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    All the advice regarding finding a bike that fits, and getting something used just to find out what you like is good advice. However, since you asked about specific models, I can tell you that someone I ride with occaisionally went through the same logic and bought a Coda Sport. The bike is well made and he's very happy with it and even completed a century on it last summer. It also looks to be a great platform that can evolve as his skills grow, and if he ever gets to the point of outgrowing it, it will serve him well as a great all-purpose bike.

    If you're comfortable with this price point as your entry level into cycling, I think its an excellent choice.

  14. #14
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Are any of these three bikes white? That would narrow your choices immediately!
    Visit my blog! The Leadership Almanac
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  15. #15
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
    Are any of these three bikes white? That would narrow your choices immediately!
    Does the light gray count ?
    George

  16. #16
    Flying Under the Radar X-LinkedRider's Avatar
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    I personally love my FCR3 hybrid(no suspension). I have yet to complete a straight century on it, but have come very close. I just really like the fact that basically as a road bike, it still has enough tire to it to ride towpaths and light trails without changing the setup at all.
    12' SuperiorLite SL Pro w/ Sram Rival | 10' SuperiorLite SL Club w/ Sram Force | 06' Giant FCR (Dropbar) w/ Shimano 5700 | 10' GT Avalanche 3.0 Disc

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    Thanks very much

    Thanks, Baftap.

    I really appreciate the specific feedback on the models I am considering.

    Some additional questions about the Coda Sport for you and anyone else who would know.

    From what you know, is the steel frame a big advantage in the Coda line? This is what keeps cropping up in my research - go with lighter (which means no suspension fork) and a steel frame and fork for the most comfort, which is why I am now focused on the Coda as the priority over the Allegro 2X and Citizen 3 (in addition to thinking, using your term, that is the superior platform of the three to grow from).

    In addition, as I continue to pinch pennies in attempting to squeeze this bicycle out as a Christmas present from the family, are the Coda Sport (MSRP $600) components worth the extra $125 over the Coda (MSRP $475) in your view?

    Specifically, we are talking about the same frame, headset, fork, tires, rims, spokes, seat posts, tape, and brakes between the two. But the wheels are different (Shimano Road 2200 hubs versus Formula sealed alloy QR hubs), the derailleurs are different (Shimano Deore rear and Shimano R453-A bottom pull front versus Shimano Acera rear and Shimano C-102 bottom pull front), the shift levers are different (Shimano ST-440 for flat-bar versus SRAM TRX Unilever trigger-shift), the chains are different (KMC Z9000 versus KMC Z-82), the cassettes are different (SRAM PowerGlide 950, 9-speed, 11-32 versus Shimano CS-HG40, 8-speed, 11-32), the cranksets are different (FSA Vero Triple, 50/39/30 versus RPM alloy triple, 48/38/28), the BB sets are different (FSA Sealed Cartridge versus Sealed Cartridge BB), the pedals are different (full alloy platform type versus platform type, steel cage/resin body), the handlebars and stems are different (Ritchey Alloy flatbar and Ritchey Comp Adjustable stem versus alloy flatbar and alloy adjustable stem), the saddles are different (Selle San Marco Elba versus Jamis Touring with SL top and satin steel rails), and the weights are slightly different (25.75 pounds versus 26.50 pounds).

    As X-LinkedRider mentioned, I am hoping to use this bicycle mostly on pavement but also on the occasional towpath and light trail without having to change the setup. Are the 700x28c Vittoria Zaffiro tires going to be acceptable for this? I almost wish a somewhat wider tire (700x32c or 700x35c or 700x38c) came standard, plus something that was puncture resistant.

    Finally, forgive my ignorance. "Completed a century"? Is that a 100-mile round-trip on the bike? Not bad range for a hybrid, if so, I would think.

    Thanks again.

  18. #18
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    Thanks very much.

    Thanks, X-LinkedRider.

    For the kind of riding you suggest - mostly pavement with the occasional towpath and light trail - what size tires provide the optimal comfort and substance to avoid changing your setup?

    And how much do tread designs differ within the same size of tire? What should I be looking for in this regard for a hybrid setup?

    Thanks again.

  19. #19
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I test rode a steel frame Coda with 700x28 120psi tires on a graveled bike trail and I found the ride to be fairly rough. I rode a number of suspension-less bikes that were smoother, but most of them cost more than your price range. I think I would have liked the bike better with 700x32 tires at 80/90 psi.

    This doesn't mean I'd rule it out, as you indicate you would only occasionally ride on such a surface.

    I'd definitely get out and test ride a few bikes. They definitely don't always ride as you might predict, given their components. Although every bike with a carbon fork had a smoother ride those with a rigid fork made of aluminum or cro-mo, some substantially smoother. Caveat - I didn't test ride any aluminum or cro-mo fork bikes that cost over $1500.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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  20. #20
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Tires are easily replaced. In fact you will be replacing them a few times during the time you own the bike if you ride it much. I would not base my selection of a bike on what tire came on it as original equipment.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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