As some of you might know I just got a great deal on a 2008 Masi Caffe Solo. I was looking for a backup bike to my road bike but one that might be a bit more relaxed. I came across this Masi that a friend got on impulse and I donít think it was ever on the road other than for a test ride.
My first real ride after deciding to drop the hammer on getting the Masi was a climb out of our little desert valley. I didnít expect the ride to turn into a 4 mile climb but it did and as many of you know hills are not my favorite part of cycling. The bike shifts very precisely and the gear selection seems to be spaced fairly evenly. The flat bars are reasonably comfortable and have plenty of adjustment for normal daily riding. The stock seat was even fairly comfortable.
How did it climb? Well even for a Clydesdale like me it was pretty good for the first mile or so of the climb. But as things got steeper it seemed harder to pedal than I had expected. My heart wasnít pounding like it wanted out of my chest but the legs were telling me it was a steep road. I was almost cursing to myself that I should tried an easier ride to test this bike out. The ride down the mountain was much better. The brakes were better than I expected as well. And the ride was a lot more relaxed than my regular road bike and it was also a bit slower in just cruising. But the handling was great. The wide flat bar makes downhill on a winding twisting road a lot more like a motorcycle than my traditional drops. I just think the commuter tires have more rolling resistance than I am used to. There was a squeak that kept bothering me but I just could seem to find it.
On the ride home I adjusted the seat just a bit and discovered the rear break was dragging ever so slightly. As we know that can make a big difference in how your legs feel after riding a bike. By the time I got home the bike felt like it rolled twice as easy and more than likely would have been a lot easier to get up the hill. I decided to have the rear wheel re-trued and I want to add a set of bar ends for more hand positions. The trigger shifters work perfectly so I have no complaints there.
My impressions so far are that this is a very capable around town bike that would have no problem running with the pack for a 20, 30 or maybe 40 mile jaunt. The squeak turned out to be the saddle. While the stock saddle was fine for some reason it squeaked. I replaced it with my old road saddle that I already knew fit me and had the added advantage of a narrow horn. The squeak stopped. I guess that is why we seem to keep most of our spare parts? It comes with mounts for fenders and racks and might make a reasonable touring bike as well. But where I expect it to shine is at the coffee shop with the club riders and some pie after a recovery ride. Of course with the name Masi , maybe some Tea and Biscotti?