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Old 04-17-12, 06:43 PM   #1
bleau
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any opinion on a Raleigh Route 4.0 vs a Specialized Crossroads Elite Low Step?

Trying to avoid buyer's remorse, I'm looking at both of these comfort hybrid bikes. I need to sit up straight on a bike these days d/t arthritis in my neck, and lower spine. I ride about 50% on the road/pavement and 50% on hard packed ground or fine gravel along a path.
I can get the Raleigh for about $200 less than the Specialized (because it's a year old model as compared to the Specialized).
My days of riding for the speed are over - I need COMFORT now, for my back, neck, and bottom
Any feedback on either of these bikes?
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Old 04-17-12, 06:48 PM   #2
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Take a long ride on each of them and see which fits best.
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Old 04-17-12, 06:56 PM   #3
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well, we must have bike shops here that are stinkers. There's a no return clause on bikes once purchased, so I want to be careful which I pick. They let you ride to your heart's content in the parking lot outside their business but no long rides off the property. I tried them both and they felt different, of course, but can't say one stood out as definitely better.
So I was hoping to hear feedback on others who might just happen to have one or the other. I've heard both these bikes are made in China these days, not like back in the time when I had Raleigh's from England.
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Old 04-18-12, 12:21 AM   #4
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well, we must have bike shops here that are stinkers. There's a no return clause on bikes once purchased, so I want to be careful which I pick. They let you ride to your heart's content in the parking lot outside their business but no long rides off the property. I tried them both and they felt different, of course, but can't say one stood out as definitely better.
So I was hoping to hear feedback on others who might just happen to have one or the other. I've heard both these bikes are made in China these days, not like back in the time when I had Raleigh's from England.
Hmmm - I would be very hesitant to buy from a shop that wouldn't allow a reasonable test ride off the property. I would think if they let you ride for 20-30 minutes, you would have a pretty good idea of which bike was more comfortable, fit you better, etc. I have a 2007 Crossroads Elite which was my first "new" bike, since a 1970's era Schwinn Super Sport. It was the standard frame, not the step through version, but it was a solid bike, (even though it was a Chinese frame). Braking and shifting were both solid and it was pretty comfortable up to a point. I did a couple of 50 mile rides on it, and that was about the limit of how far I could comfortably ride. It's a great bike if you need more of an upright position - its like sitting in a high backed wooden chair.

If possible, I would still look for another shop that would let you test ride the bike under real world conditions, though.
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Old 04-18-12, 09:11 AM   #5
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@bleau

That's sad to hear that no LBS around you will allow off property rides. There's no way I'd buy a bike I couldn't ride a good 10 miles on--30 or 40 minutes even better--and testing saddles, one needs a few days to really get to test a saddle.
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Old 04-18-12, 09:14 AM   #6
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I would think the Specialized is made better but I have no experience with either bike.
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Old 04-18-12, 10:14 AM   #7
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In looking at the specs for the two bikes, I don't really see anything that would give one the advantage of the other. Hence, I think what others have said is the unfortunate reality. An office premise test ride is probably your best bet. Is it possible to do some searching for shops that would allow such a test ride?

BTW, I wouldn't worry about where the bikes are made. Both companies have their reputations on the line. So, at this price point, you're going to see pretty much the same level of quality all around.
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Old 04-18-12, 02:57 PM   #8
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Thank you for your thoughts on this. It's helpful to get other people's opinions, not only on the bike, but what to expect from a dealer. It's been many years since I bought a new bike. I used to know so much more than I do know.
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Old 04-18-12, 03:43 PM   #9
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Thank you for your thoughts on this. It's helpful to get other people's opinions, not only on the bike, but what to expect from a dealer. It's been many years since I bought a new bike. I used to know so much more than I do know.
Around here (at the 50+ Forum) there is a general feeling that it's wise to shop for a good LBS and then the bike.
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Old 04-18-12, 09:21 PM   #10
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Not familiar with the Raleigh, but the wife and I bought matching SPecialized Low-entry Elites.

Very satisfied with our purchase. Put over 1000 miles on mine last summer.

I never rode it beyond the parking lot of our LBS, but I looked at enough bikes and it really grabbed my attention as a value bike.
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Old 04-20-12, 04:51 PM   #11
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colpatrick - are you able to private message me about your experience with your bike (and mostly your wife's experience) and where you bought your bike from? I can't send a private message b/c I'm new here. We're from the same general area. Would love to "chat" about this a little more. I need to decide by this weekend - there's a story why.
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Old 04-20-12, 06:17 PM   #12
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My, these two bikes are very similar! I would give the Specialized a very slight edge. It has an adjustable stem, which could be handy for setting the bike up for your best fit. It has Armadillo tires, to which I would tend to give a slight edge. I do like the Specialized frame a bit better, using the single downtube. All relatively minor. Most of the components are exactly the same or very similar.

However the geometry of the frames are different. The seat tube angle on the Specialized is 72 degrees. The Raleigh is 68 degrees.

That means that the angle from the seat/saddle down to the pedals differs. The Raleigh's pedals will be a bit further out, sitting you back onto the saddle more. This is called a more "relaxed" position. Whereas the pedals on the Specialized will be a bit more "under" the seat. A 4 degree difference is definitely noticeable. If you take a close look at the frames, you can see where the seat tube is more reclined on the Raleigh, with the pedals being a bit more extended toward the front.

I don't know which one works best for you, but if you have a chance to ride them, try to make note of this difference.

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...name=Multi+Use

http://www.raleighusa.com/archive/20...d/route-40-11/
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Old 04-20-12, 07:00 PM   #13
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bleau, it's too bad that you have such a short timeline in which to make your decision.

My strong recomendation would be to take a drive to Alfred Station, N.Y. and visit The Bicycleman. He stocks several Hybrids and comfort bikes and many recumbents. With the physical difficulties you have listed you would certainly find your visit to be very rewarding. Peter Stull, the owner, strongly urges his customers to take several bikes out on the roads for long test rides. He wants you to compare the various bikes under realistic riding conditions so that you can purchase and enjoy the bike that is right for you.

The experience would give you a definate direction for your shopping and great confidence in the wisdom of your purchase choice, what ever and whereever you make your purchase.
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Old 04-20-12, 08:21 PM   #14
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Wow - what an awesome forum this is! So much great information!

Tom: Love the fit information. I'm sort of a technical nerd, and appreciate knowing that sort of info. I wish the bike shop people would have talked to me about fit more rather than leave me on my own.

Dude:Would go to your guy in a heartbeat if I could, but since I posted, I'm now sort of stuck having to use a particular LBS. Long story why, but it is what it is. So I'm limited to the bikes at that shop at the moment - which is why I'm looking at those two particular ones. But I sure wish I could go to Alfred and give Mr. Stull my business - that's the sort of guy, from your description, who deserves the business. Next bike, that's where I'll head. Wonder if he has roots in Brockport, by any chance.
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Old 04-21-12, 07:50 AM   #15
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Is there any rule of thumb on fitting a frame to a height or instep measure? I'm not bike savvy anymore, as we can tell from my posts. In the old days it was so basic - stand over the crossbar (ie, horizontal tube) and see if you had a tiny bit of wiggle room between "your delicate self" and the bike with your feet on the ground. Without the crossbar there, how do you measure? I'm 5'3" or 4" and one salesperson said I needed a small frame, the other said a medium frame. Does it all boil down to comfort of the ride and safety getting on and off? My problem is what seems ok in their parking lot may not be ok for the long haul. So wondering if I should be making any particular observations.
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Old 04-21-12, 09:54 PM   #16
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Different brands can be different sizes. That Specialized measures a little larger the Raleigh. That is, the Specialized "Small" frame has a longer seat tube and effective top tube length than does the Raleigh "Small." Thus it is possible for one's best fit to be a Specialized "Small" and a Raleigh "Medium." But if their recommendations are the opposite, then that doesn't make sense.

You should be okay if you feel pretty comfortable during your test rides. In this type of bike, you can make some minor adjustments, like moving the handlebars forward or back, adjusting the saddle in the same way. They tend to fit wider ranges of people than a road bike. That's why they only make them in 3 sizes.
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Old 04-22-12, 09:50 AM   #17
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Thank you for all the great replies and suggestions. On my way to the LBS shortly. Glad I found this forum. Great resource.
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Old 04-22-12, 01:36 PM   #18
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Much better experience at the LBS today. The difference in getting a good sales person.
I settled on the Specialized instead of the Raleigh, because it came with a bell and the Raleigh didn't.

Kidding, of course.

It was a tough choice, both had comfort advantages, different ones from one another, but I wasn't sure in the long run how important those would pan out to be.

thanks for everyone's feedback.
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