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Old 03-28-09, 05:21 PM   #1
Robert Foster
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Ride report on new Masi.

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?

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Old 03-28-09, 05:35 PM   #2
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Pretty bike, good report although you forgot to give pie details. Love that white bike! And I've been lusting after Masis for a while now.
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Old 03-28-09, 05:56 PM   #3
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And of course it was a Masi that Dave Stoller rode in that jewel of cycling culture, that American icon, that beautiful and inspiring, towering and monumental....Refund? Refund!!...Breaking Away?
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Old 03-28-09, 10:06 PM   #4
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And of course it was a Masi that Dave Stoller rode in that jewel of cycling culture, that American icon, that beautiful and inspiring, towering and monumental....Refund? Refund!!...Breaking Away?
And you even have a picture of, "Ahh my Leetle Kat trina, I knowa you Mama nd Papa missa you so very much." You know I think I might be picking up an accent.
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Old 03-28-09, 10:28 PM   #5
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Pretty bike, good report although you forgot to give pie details. Love that white bike! And I've been lusting after Masis for a while now.
I thought I would go wild today and rather than my traditional Cherry I decide Peach with just a dollop of vanilla ice cream. The pie was heated of course. But it seems Cappuccino was in order today. Only it came in a paper cup. But I have found a little Italian coffee shop that serves tea and pastries and it is right on one of our favorite riding paths. Even better it is on the way home. But alas I must limit myself to only once a week or I will always remain a Clydesdale.
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Old 03-28-09, 10:35 PM   #6
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Nice Masi, RF. I was looking at a Masi randonneuring bike when I picked up my LHT. Very impressive.
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Old 03-29-09, 12:39 AM   #7
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Glad to see the bike is as good as you hoped it would be so get out and find more PIE.

You know you will enjoy it- and the bike will adapt to you as you admire it at the cafe's.
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Old 03-29-09, 01:29 PM   #8
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A bit off topic maybe but I think the value of a bike is to look at what it is designed to do and accept or build on that. If I can drift for just a moment here is how I see it. My Revive is a very comfortable around town bike. It does reasonable work getting groceries and can be fun with a group ride of non cyclists to a park or picnic. If you were working outside and wanted to jump on a bike to go pick up something from a friend a few blocks away the Revive is a hand bike to have. It has the strength of not needing bike specific clothes and being extremely comfortable.

The Trek is a non suspended dirt bike. It does some cross work with the Revive because it can easily be ridden with non bike specific clothes and is a great choice for running to the hardware store or any other place you might not be able to see the bike while you are shopping. But what it does best in the now and then dirt trail or crushed rock path. It is good for about 20 miles on the street or on a fire road but is not something I would want to ride with the club on a week day. But it is a strong bike that could be used for some light touring with some modifications.

The Masi is a Cafť racer like some motorcycles I used to ride were cafť racers. Not a full blown race bike but it had some of the features of one. It is more casual for that occasional ride with friends of 10 to 20 miles for breakfast or pie but it can do some longer road duty as well. Its strength is in the options it offers. Fender and rack mounts if they are desired and once again with a few modifications it could make a good touring bike.

The Jamis is a road bike. Not a race bike maybe but it is an easy 100 mile week day ride. It doesn’t pretend to be a grocery getter and putting a back pack on will only make the ride uncomfortable. It doesn’t like to be ridden in non bicycling specific shorts or shoes and will tell your body not to try it if you do.

You may notice the Haro is missing. Well there was too much overlap with the Trek and I had planned to give the trek to my Daughter in Law. However she was too short to stand over the top bar and the Haro with its dropped top tube was a better fit. Plus the look on her face when I offered it to her was worth it.
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Old 03-29-09, 01:54 PM   #9
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That seems to be a good Multi-use stable you are building up there-

All thats lacking is a Tandem to complete the set.
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Old 03-29-09, 07:57 PM   #10
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That seems to be a good Multi-use stable you are building up there-

All that's lacking is a Tandem to complete the set.
With a little imagination, he could come up with several more bike types to get before considering the set complete. I could think of 3 or 4 varieties of MTB to start with.

The Masi looks like a nice addition. Sometimes I think I'd like to add a fast fitness hybrid to my lineup. I would have to come up with something other than a flat bar, though. Still an upright position and MTB type controls, but a more swept back grip position. Maybe a Mary bar would work.
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Old 03-29-09, 08:11 PM   #11
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With a little imagination, he could come up with several more bike types to get before considering the set complete. I could think of 3 or 4 varieties of MTB to start with.

The Masi looks like a nice addition. Sometimes I think I'd like to add a fast fitness hybrid to my lineup. I would have to come up with something other than a flat bar, though. Still an upright position and MTB type controls, but a more swept back grip position. Maybe a Mary bar would work.
I was at my LBS Saturday getting ready for our afternoon ride when I came across a brand new Giant Transend with heavy duty racks front and rear. It was some kind of factory display. As impressive as the racks were, they expanded up to lock in place for larger loads both front and rear, what impressed me the most is this particular model came with trekking bars. I was instantly impressed. The bars are a bit smaller than I imagined but looked like they would make a great alternative to my flat bars without having to change my shifters or brakes. However, so far my flat bars are more comfortable than the ones on my Trek mountain bike. I am going with bar ends first but I can picture trekking bars on the Masi someday in the future.
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Old 03-31-09, 05:56 PM   #12
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In the early 1970s my cycling buddies had a running joke to the effect that "God rides a white Masi." We could not pass (or be passed by) someone on a white Masi without Ollie observing, "The bike is the real thing, but I don't think the rider is."
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Old 04-06-09, 11:57 PM   #13
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The Masi earned her stripes today. I took her out to ride with the club and see what adjustments I might need to make for daily 30 to 40 mile rides. I had spent a lot of time Sunday adjusting and cleaning and oiling parts to make sure everything was working smoothly. I got the stock Masi saddle back on after making sure there were no more squeaks.

I made one slight technical error when adjusting the saddle. I decided to oil the seat post attachment point so it was easier to adjust fore and aft and nose up and nose down on the saddle. It adjusted real well but I ended up having to take it apart and clean all the oil off so it wouldn’t adjust itself if I hit a bump, like a manhole cover, when I wasn’t looking.

To get down to it the Masi did very well in the club ride. It was a bit shorter than some, only 35 miles, but it had a climb or two and several long grades. I fell behind on one of the grades but actually made up the distance on the first climb and passed two riders on the second a short time later.

My impressions are this will make a good medium distance bike and maybe even a bit longer. It seems like a very comfortable ride. The bars do make my hands hurt a bit but not as bad as some. They just limit climbing a bit. I find them a bit uncomfortable to try to stand with. I may have the seat post just a touch high but not by more that Ĺ inch. The toe clips and straps aren’t going to work. I think the cage is too short and it presses against my big toe. She has very quick steering but that too could be the bars as well.

However I plan to make some changes and re-evaluate after. I was thinking of adding bar ends for more hand positions but now I am thinking maybe trekking bars will be the ticket. I will replace the traps and straps with another pair of Time Atac pedals. I believe this could make the Masi into a long range bike. I plan on starting the transition sometime next week so I will provide pictures of before and after and report back if it proves to be the improvement I am looking for. I already replaced the700- 28 commuting tires with some high pressure 700-23 road tires. Made a world of difference.

I like the Masi so much I may even break down and give her a name. Let’s see, Marilyn
or Sophia even Katrina? Suggestions?
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Old 04-07-09, 08:20 AM   #14
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Catherine

Norma (with a rolled R) for opera fans

Or Violetta
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Old 04-07-09, 09:55 AM   #15
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Catherine

Norma (with a rolled R) for opera fans

Or Violetta
I like the idea. Well will see after the modifications.
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Old 04-22-09, 12:47 AM   #16
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Thank you for a review. My first post here. Thinking about getting this Masi or Swobo Otis. what do you think?
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Old 04-22-09, 05:20 AM   #17
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Thank you for a review. My first post here. Thinking about getting this Masi or Swobo Otis. what do you think?
I think they are very different bikes. Is 3 speeds enough for you? If so, the Swobo Otis looks like a pretty cool bike.
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Old 04-22-09, 05:37 AM   #18
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Holy seat post Batman.... (lower right corner)
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Old 04-22-09, 09:22 AM   #19
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Holy seat post Batman.... (lower right corner)
Yes, that belongs to one of our club,"Racers". He is always riding like he is in the drops. But he is only in his 40s and his back still bends.
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Old 04-26-09, 12:23 AM   #20
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It's nice to see I'm not the only guy with that bike. Mine was bought in Jan. on sale and it's my only form of transportation at the present. I'm not quite in shape for rides of more than 20 mi. or so one-way, but so far it's been great for shorter trips. Fairly quick to accellerate and very nimble and crisp shifting.

I also had a squeaking problem for the first couple hundred miles. It turned out to be the seat post, which was a little low anyway. I raised the post a few mm's and it went away, thank Gawd. It was driving me nuts.

Now I have it loaded up with a rack, bag, triangle bag and panniers. Can't be a weight weenie with an all around commuting/semi-touring/city bike!!

The bar extensions make a big, big difference in stopping the wrist tingles and even the stock seat isn't too bad for my scrawny arse, but I could see myself upgrading that when I get to the point that my legs and lungs can outlast my butt.

You're right that swapping out the tires and pedals would go a long way toward making this bike suitable for reasonably long rides. The Alex rims are not too impressive (they're true but the spoke tension is all over the map), and it's a bit harsh riding compared to some others I tried. I suppose a stiff ride to be expected given the material and the fork rake. All in all it's a fair trade off for the lightness and agility. I don't plan on doing any centuries anytime soon.

I really like my Masi. I think I'll name mine after my Italian grandma, Maria. This model seems kind of underestimated IMHO. But I can't complain. You can easily swing a dead cat without hitting one and if they were more popular then mine wouldn't have been sitting on the showroom floor waiting for me to get it at a "last years model" discount. Plus, it's a nice pearlescent White!!
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Old 04-26-09, 02:39 PM   #21
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Thank you for a review. My first post here. Thinking about getting this Masi or Swobo Otis. what do you think?
Well I only know about the Masi so it is hardly a fair comparison but I do like the Masi. If as BD said you are comparing a 3 speed to the Masi then I would go with the Masi. Over the long run you will be able to use the extra gears for whatever direction you want to go. It would be a pretty good bike for a club ride, easily set up for moderate touring and a pretty decent commuter. In my opinion.
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Old 04-26-09, 03:00 PM   #22
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It's nice to see I'm not the only guy with that bike. Mine was bought in Jan. on sale and it's my only form of transportation at the present. I'm not quite in shape for rides of more than 20 mi. or so one-way, but so far it's been great for shorter trips. Fairly quick to accellerate and very nimble and crisp shifting.

I also had a squeaking problem for the first couple hundred miles. It turned out to be the seat post, which was a little low anyway. I raised the post a few mm's and it went away, thank Gawd. It was driving me nuts.

Now I have it loaded up with a rack, bag, triangle bag and panniers. Can't be a weight weenie with an all around commuting/semi-touring/city bike!!

The bar extensions make a big, big difference in stopping the wrist tingles and even the stock seat isn't too bad for my scrawny arse, but I could see myself upgrading that when I get to the point that my legs and lungs can outlast my butt.

You're right that swapping out the tires and pedals would go a long way toward making this bike suitable for reasonably long rides. The Alex rims are not too impressive (they're true but the spoke tension is all over the map), and it's a bit harsh riding compared to some others I tried. I suppose a stiff ride to be expected given the material and the fork rake. All in all it's a fair trade off for the lightness and agility. I don't plan on doing any centuries anytime soon.

I really like my Masi. I think I'll name mine after my Italian grandma, Maria. This model seems kind of underestimated IMHO. But I can't complain. You can easily swing a dead cat without hitting one and if they were more popular then mine wouldn't have been sitting on the showroom floor waiting for me to get it at a "last years model" discount. Plus, it's a nice pearlescent White!!
I will admit I was surprised how much I grew to like the Masi in only one weekend. The guy I bought it from let me keep it for a week to make up my mind but I didnít get it out on the road till the first weekend. The bar ends have been added and do make longer rides easier. I put the same pedals on it as my road bike so I didnít have to get new shoes and cleats. I just got a Shimano rear wheel just like the ones I have on the Jamis. The straight pull spokes are stronger and stiffer I believe even if the aero spokes move you a bit in a cross wind.

I still may add trekking bars at a later date but I am planning on giving it some time before I change much more. I have also learned the hard lesson that you can only work on one project at a time. I have upgraded the chankset, BB, brake calipers and bearings on the Jamis and am looking into a carbon fork. Once I get that done I may tinker with the Masi some more. Right now it is my weekend bike. Great for cruising the coffee shop and talking to other cyclists. In fact I plan on using the Masi for my next beach ride on Memorial Day. That should be a 70 to 100 mile ride. I may change back to my old Jamis saddle for that because it is a bit firmer and a touch more narrow. Or I could just switch seat posts with the road bike and use the Selle SMP.

I was just sitting here looking at what I wrote and realized that a year ago I didnít have a bike and now I have spare parts packed in a box that is getting bigger each week.
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Old 04-27-09, 08:56 AM   #23
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I like your bike. Seems a lot like my Coda, that I also like. One thing a little out of the ordinary I did that I have been very happy with is put bar ends inside the hand grips, very comfortable and lots of hand position options. I reversed them and taped with bar tape.
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Old 07-08-10, 02:22 PM   #24
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Been thinking about getting one of these and this thread has come close to convincing me. Sounds like it can at least handle 40 miles, that's about the longest I'll ever take it. Perfect.
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Old 07-08-10, 04:01 PM   #25
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Been thinking about getting one of these and this thread has come close to convincing me. Sounds like it can at least handle 40 miles, that's about the longest I'll ever take it. Perfect.
Yes 40 miles is more than reasonable. Flat bar bikes tend to wear on me much passed that. But if I had to do it again I think I would put treking bars on. It would make a pretty reasonable long distance bike then.

A lot has changed in my riding style and stable since I started this post.
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