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  1. #1
    Member DavidInGA's Avatar
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    New Bikers selecting a bike - Raleigh Detour 4.5 vs. Specialized Crossroads Sport

    Howdy all,

    My wife and I, 53 and 52 respectively, both out of shape, overweight, myself considerably, decided we better do something before one of our health's failed, so we decided to take up biking. We've done some reading on the web, visited several local bike shops and took a couple relatively short bike rides to determine fit. AS of now, we're thinking she's a 15" roughly and I'm a 19" bike, if that makes sense.

    We live in Northeast Georgia near Athens and it's a hilly area, so both local bike shops recommended more than an 8 speed bike to accommodate hills and the medium sized, but narrower tires of the hybrid for being 95-98% on the road and 2-5 percent on mild paths. Our joints issues are not going to allow us onto the mountain bike trails at this point and maybe never.

    We found two bike shops, one with Raleigh bikes and one with Specialized bikes that we think can do the job for us. We plan to add fenders, a rack, lights, mirror and a tire repair kit to the bikes we buy, with most of the install work being done by the shop we buy the bikes from.

    The two bikes we're looking at are a Raleigh Detour and a Specialized Crossroad Sport, current models. Neither shop has both size bikes in stock at this time of year and neither is offering any discount off of MSRP, though both are offering lifetime service and a 10% discount off of accessory stuff bought at their shop. The Specialized dealer is the same age we are and seems to understand our issues and what we're looking for better than the Raleigh dealer, who is younger and comes across as more elitist, if that makes sense.

    I've looked at both bikes brands on their respective websites and can't tell much difference in the components they use. The Raleigh is $509.99 and the Specialized is $500.00. Sales tax is 7% in the county the Raleigh bike is in and 6% in the county the Specialized bike is in.

    Here are links to the two bikes:

    http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/life...detour-4-5-13/

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...rossroadssport

    Would you be kind enough to comment on the components and relative reputations of the two bikes or something other than the LBS is nicer to help me make a decision? Near as I can tell, the two bikes are pretty much the same bike components wise, but I am not familiar with the components.

    Thank you,

    Dave
    Last edited by DavidInGA; 01-02-13 at 09:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    I will let somebody more knowledgeable than myself comment on the relative merits of the bikes...

    But I did want to advise you to NOT discount the value of a good LBS (Local Bike Shop) ...

    I guess when you buy a car you may never see the car dealer again -- unless the car needs warranty work. But that is not the case with bikes.

    The bikes will need to be fitted and very possibly refitted to the two of you. And the shifting will need adjustment, and you will get a flat and need it fixed and so on...

    Plus, getting the fenders and water bottles and mounts and so on... You will probably need his help to install them and probably also need his advice on what to buy.

    A good LBS can make a bad bike look good -- just as a bad LBS can make a good bike look bad.

    I am not suggesting that you buy something that you don't want from the good LBS. But I am suggesting that he will be an integral part of making your cycling a good experience -- or not.

    In the case of a tie -- or even something pretty close, I would always lean towards the LBS that I felt I could depend on to look out for my best interests and who can provide good solid advice and mechanical work I can depend on.

    If I had to put a value on it, I would say a good LBS would be worth at least 25% of the price of the bike. But, on the other hand, a good LBS will still work on a bike from another bike shop -- but it's better to establish the relationship right up front.

    Best of luck with your new bikes and your new hobby.

    And, too, welcome to the forum.
    ... And keep us posted on your decision and on your progress...

    Again, best of luck to you and your wife.
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

  3. #3
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Unless the Raleighs really speak to you and make your heart flutter, the good vibes from the Specialized dealer should trump everything else.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    I'd rather pay a bit more at a good LBS than pay less at a bad LBS(or at least one I didn't get a good vibe from). Believe me and others, the LBS isn't going to be a one stop where you buy the bike and never see them again. A good LBS will appreciate your purchase and loyalty. You also need to feel comfortable and it sounds like the Specialized dealer made you feel more comfortable and invited.
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  5. #5
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I'll second the idea that choosing a dealer is as important as choosing a bike. I wouldn't let a few dollars one way or the other be the deciding factor. A second visit to each dealer may change or solidify your initial assessments.

    The two bikes seem very similar and well suited to your stated purpose. A couple of components (rear der. and cassette) are very slightly better spec on the Raleigh, but nothing you're going to notice. FWIW, the Specialized has wider tires, 45 vs 35. That could be an advantage for either or neutral depending on your preferences. I would bet that either bike could take the other size if desired.

    I might take a look at slightly more road-biased hybrids like the Cadent/Alysa and Sirrus/Vita lines just to see if you like that setup better.

    Take your time and do what seems right. Enjoy your new bikes!
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  6. #6
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Welcome David.
    I moved from Atlanta to Florida 2 months ago. I'd have to recommend Hub Bicycles in Athens. Tell them what your goals are, your budget, etc. and let them guide you.
    Good luck.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon 105

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  7. #7
    Member DavidInGA's Avatar
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    I'm responding to BluesDawg post, as his seems to include a good bit of what is represented in the other posts and has some technical information as well. Thank you for your comments so far and please continue. I think I'm much closer to buying a bike now.

    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    I'll second the idea that choosing a dealer is as important as choosing a bike. I wouldn't let a few dollars one way or the other be the deciding factor. A second visit to each dealer may change or solidify your initial assessment.

    At this point, I've been to both dealers a couple times and they seem to be holding steady in both locations. The Specialized dealer doesn't have tons of employees and while the two men there are cyclists, they seem very practical and factual in their approaches.

    The Raleigh dealer isn't bad, but doesn't seem as helpful or down to earth and seem to be a bit more interested in selling to college students rather than old geesers like myself. Though that may be because they're in Athens. Of the three Athens shops I visited, they were by far the most helpful, but not nearly so helpful (to me specifically) as the Specialized shop was. I think I may be soured to this dealer though, due to an experience I had with them. I'd like to get some input if I'm being a cranky old man or not:

    I was there trying bikes out with my wife on New Year's Eve before lunch and the owner didn't have a bike assembled that would fit me. He offered to do so while my wife and I went to lunch, stating it would only take 45 minutes out of the box. Knowing he closed at 2pm and running a small business myself, I asked him if he had other items he needed to take care of that building a bike for me might interfere with. He then stated "To be honest, I was doing a repair on a bike in the back that we need to call around town and see if we can find a part for, then repair." I made a decision to let him finish his repair, then come back after New Year's day and try out the second sized bike.

    When I called the day after New Year's, the person I spoke to (not the owner, they weren't there) told me they could have the bike ready for me the next day. He would not explain to me why they couldn't get to the bike I was interested in and when I tried to ask about that, he repeated the "next day" statement. I had talked to this gentleman before and the owner and both knew I was serious about buying two bicycles this coming weekend with accessories from a shop that could find bikes that fit my wife and I. My plan and I stated this to them, was if they found a frame to fit us, I'd order the bikes on the spot if they didn't have them in stock.

    I was shopping in the 500-700 dollar range for the two bikes and planned to buy accessories as well. I don't know if this is much money to a shop, but felt like after Christmas, it was a good amount of money to spend. I felt disappointed they couldn't make more of an effort to get that bike together since I had already inconvenienced myself and would have to make a return trip (~45 minute drive from home) to their location to try out the bike.

    The guy I talked to over the phone made me feel in that conversation as if the shop had more important things to do (that he couldn't or wouldn't tell me about) that day than to help an old guy like me find a bike that fit and buy a couple of ordinary bikes.

    The feeling I got from that conversation was what caused me to try another bike shop near where my wife works in an area called Hamilton Mill, where I met the two guys my age. They were helpful and factual about bikes that worked for them. They also quickly modified what they showed me based on the information I was giving them. The owner, once he got enough information, basically recommended the same bike he's currently riding an older version of.


    The two bikes seem very similar and well suited to your stated purpose. A couple of components (rear der. and cassette) are very slightly better spec on the Raleigh, but nothing you're going to notice. FWIW, the Specialized has wider tires, 45 vs 35. That could be an advantage for either or neutral depending on your preferences. I would bet that either bike could take the other size if desired.

    For me, the biggest concern on either bike component wise is durability/longevity. The second concern is the bike's holding adjustments a reasonable period of time. Finally, matching gear set and range to the road conditions here in Northeast GA, an area that is fairly hilly to me. Both shops advised against 8 speeds and below due to the hills here.

    Will the components on the Specialized hold up a good long time and are they of a type that bike shops can get parts or similar replacement parts for a good long time?

    My thoughts on getting the bikes I am getting is they aren't quite as comfortable as "comfort" bikes right now, but should be comfortable enough to get me past getting in shape, then provide me a bike we can ride for a few years until we decide weneed something else.


    I might take a look at slightly more road-biased hybrids like the Cadent/Alysa and Sirrus/Vita lines just to see if you like that setup better.

    I took a look at those, but I'm afraid they're just a bit too hard core for where we're at right now and are likely to be over kill in the future, due to time limitations.


    Take your time and do what seems right. Enjoy your new bikes!
    Last edited by DavidInGA; 01-03-13 at 04:59 PM.

  8. #8
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidInGA View Post
    For me, the biggest concern on either bike component wise is durability/longevity. The second concern is the bike's holding adjustments a reasonable period of time. Finally, matching gear set and range to the road conditions here in Northeast GA, an area that is fairly hilly to me. Both shops advised against 8 speeds and below due to the hills here.

    Will the components on the Specialized hold up a good long time and are they of a type that bike shops can get parts or similar replacement parts for a good long time?
    The components, given reasonable care and maintenance, should last a long time and require only very occasional minor adjustments. The parts are standard configuration and easily replaceable/upgradable. While 8 speed (rear) replacement parts at the high end level will be getting scarce, I would expect these entry level parts to be sold for a long time to come.

    With the triple crank and wide range cassette, you should have all the gearing options you'll need.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  9. #9
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    I totally agree with Blues Dawg's posts and your take on them as it applies to your OP. The shop must be right for you or it will not be a good experience for you and your wife. Of the two bikes you mention the Specialized model wold get my vote, if that shop and its people are friendly, knowledgeable and helpful they are worthy of your business. Athens is just what you say, hilly, our daughter went to UGA, the triple crankset will be a plus for riding in that area. Best of luck in choosing, we need a ride report and pictures of the bikes you both choose, please.

    Oh, welcome to 50+ forum and to BF.

    Bill
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  10. #10
    Member DavidInGA's Avatar
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    Blue Dawg,

    If you would answer a couple more questions, I would greatly appreciate it. You've taught me a good bit in your answers already, but in learning, I've come up with more questions. I also want to express my appreciation of the honest neutrality of your answers, given you work with a shop that sells Specialized bikes.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    The components, given reasonable care and maintenance, should last a long time and require only very occasional minor adjustments.

    Good news, I'm the type that is very meticulous in my care of things I value, but I don't like to have to continuously baby things.


    The parts are standard configuration and easily replaceable/upgradable. While 8 speed (rear) replacement parts at the high end level will be getting scarce, I would expect these entry level parts to be sold for a long time to come.

    Again, good news. Would it be a big deal, should the 8 speed rear fail, to upgrade the rear to a better gear set?

    With the triple crank and wide range cassette, you should have all the gearing options you'll need.

    I think I know what the crank is, but exactly what is the cassette? The 8 gears? Years ago, I don't remember it being called a cassette.

  11. #11
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I'll answer in the opposite order.

    Dave said: I think I know what the crank is, but exactly what is the cassette? The 8 gears? Years ago, I don't remember it being called a cassette.

    Yes, the cassette is the 8 speed gear cluster. You probably remember freewheels which screwed onto the hub and included the ratcheting mechanism. Cassettes are just the gear cogs and they slip over the freehub which includes the mechanism.

    Dave said: Again, good news. Would it be a big deal, should the 8 speed rear fail, to upgrade the rear to a better gear set?


    Replacing with better 8 speed components is as simple as buying and replacing. To move to 9 or 10 speed would require changing rear derailleur, shifters, cassette and chain. You might also need to change the chainrings or crankset and front derailleur, but maybe not. 8, 9 or 10 speed cassettes will fit on your freehub.

    You can learn much at Sheldon Brown's website.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  12. #12
    Member DavidInGA's Avatar
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    Thank you for the answers and link.

    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Yes, the cassette is the 8 speed gear cluster. You probably remember freewheels which screwed onto the hub and included the ratcheting mechanism. Cassettes are just the gear cogs and they slip over the freehub which includes the mechanism.

    Sounds like at some point after the ten speed, they reached a point where the axle wouldn't support the volume and weight of the gears added to it. To correct it, they offloaded the gear set, named it a "cassette." Not sure about the free hub, but I'm better a single interface mechanism, possibly a gear, to interface with the axle.

    Replacing with better 8 speed components is as simple as buying and replacing. To move to 9 or 10 speed would require changing rear derailleur, shifters, cassette and chain. You might also need to change the chainrings or crankset and front derailleur, but maybe not. 8, 9 or 10 speed cassettes will fit on your freehub.

    So basically upgrading components is only worth it if the casette or other axle/hub mechanisms fail and it's basically better to buy another bike rather than look at adding more speeds, even if it fails.

    You can learn much at Sheldon Brown's website.

    Thank you for the link.

  13. #13
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Not to quibble (why do we always say that because its exactly what I intend to do) but you are not a biker. You are a cyclist.

    Cyclists come in every immaginable shade and stripe. If you don't yet own a bike, but you spend time gazing at bike pron and planning 100 mile journeys when you have no idea whether you could make it safely around the block, then you are a cyclist.

    Don'tmake this mistake again. The are some viscous Marines on this forum who enforce the rules.

  14. #14
    Member DavidInGA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
    Best of luck in choosing, we need a ride report and pictures of the bikes you both choose, please.

    Oh, welcome to 50+ forum and to BF.

    Bill
    Bill,

    Thank you for the welcome. I'll try to provide a ride report and pictures when the time comes. Waiting for a bike with the frame size I think will fit me to come into the Specialized shop. If it fits, I've decided to buy two of their bikes for my wife and I. Sadly, due to color schemes, they'll likely match, so we'll add fenders and such to make them more individual. Wish they had them in better looking colors, but that's life.

    I suspect the first ride report will be more about my pain and discomfort physically than about the bike. I'm pretty out of shape the last couple years since I went back to college at 47 and gained a bunch of weight (40 pounds).

    I notice the Marine stuff on your post. Got a 90 year old former Raider living with me (my Dad). From Pearl Harbor to the occupation of Japan, he and his buddies earned that awesome reputation the Marines currently have.

    Best Regards,

    Dave

  15. #15
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    Dave,
    Glad you and your wife found bikes you both like, they will bring you a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment, Specialized is a very good brand with good support. My LBS also carries Specialized, looked very hard at the Allez line and the Roubaix before I got my CAAD 10.

    My parents were from Americus, Ga, I spent many fun summers there at my grandparents home and around the Georgia southwestern College campus, where my GF taught mathematics and physics and my GM was the Post Mistress. My dad and our daughter went to UGA, Go Dawgs!

    Marine Raiders were a different breed of man, President Roosevelt's son was one of the organizers, Evans Carlson's Exec. Officer, he gave us the phrase Gung Ho. Their operations on Makin Island during Guadalcanal were pivotal in that Amphib. Operation. Your neighbour is one tough guy and the last of a dying breed.

    Enjoy the ride, when your bikes arrive and please stick around 50+.

    Bill
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  16. #16
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    I'm a little late to the party. But I agree with the decision to go Specialized. They are fine machines and will work well for you. Only 1 suggestion. Look at the Sirrus as well. I have 1 and it has served me well. It may be another option for you too look at. I live in Central PA and mountains are a part of life here. I only changed the rear cassette to a slightly larger one for better gearing. otherwise the bike is stock. I'm just playing devil's advocate here. I hope you find what you need.

    Mark Shuman

  17. #17
    Member DavidInGA's Avatar
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    Dealer got in a medium and large frame and got them assembled for me to try yesterday. The medium fit me just slightly better than the large, so went with it. With a bit of negotiation, got the accessories we bought for a 10% discount. Here's what we bought and the net price of the accessories:

    SKS fenders for both bikes ($33.00 a set)
    Specialized Speedzone SPT wireless computers for both bikes ($36.00 each)
    ECO alloy racks ($36.00 each)
    Store brand water bottle racks ($8.00 each)
    Slimed tire tubes (2 each 8 oz. bottles $14.38)
    handle bar adapter for water bottle rack ($9.00) (Note: Specialized location for water bottle on frame not workable for short legged woman.)
    Kryptonite Keyed Bike cable lock ($20.00) (to get home with, will buy truck receiver rack and another lock later down the road)
    Specialized brand helmets ($36.00 each)

    Got out of the store with the above accessories, Specialized men and women's Crossroad Sport bikes and 6% tax for right at $1400.00. Seemed reasonable to me.

  18. #18
    Senior Member jmccain's Avatar
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    Congrats - now let the fun begin!

  19. #19
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Now get out there and ride and enjoy!
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  20. #20
    Senior Member osco53's Avatar
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    At your age and your wifes age and the Indicated conditon of you both I can tell you this for shure.

    You BOTH will ride a Recumbent LWB or a CLWB far more than ANY Diamond frame.
    If you look into the Tadpole trikes or even the recumbent delta trikes you will ride even farther and MORE than the ones I mentioned above.

    No wrist pain,
    No neck pain,
    No rear end pain,
    No looking down at your front wheel because your neck hurts so bad pain.
    And Mr.,,the parts of you that rides on those DF Bicycle seats, even the padded ones will teach you a lesson in the comming months
    I promiss you this....

    I can finish any ride, any distance, double or triple the best I could do on a Diamond frame
    and just sit on the bike resting, not needing or wanting to get out of the seat, just thinking,,,wow I could do that again right now.
    And once or twice I have.

    I swear to GOD this Is true !

    Or,,don't dare to be different and those DF's will spend lots of time In the garage while you two eat Advil and rub BenGay....

    Take a look,,,, and yeah, I lean right back In my Easy chair and ride XD

    HPIM0868.jpgHPIM0870.jpgHPIM0872.jpgHPIM0873.jpg

    The white one, A Long wheel base (67") Easy Racer Tour Easy LE model,
    The Red Delta trike, a Compact long wheel base (CLWB) Sun EZ-3 SX.

    I am 54 now, 195 lbs and can spin out the top gear on the trike.

    The White LWB,,not so.
    I can hold a steady cadence in gear 23 or 24 only, when I go the bike In october 2012 I could only hold steady In gear 22.

    AGAIN,,With these bikes It's just me, my heart, my lungs and my legs all working fine for as long as i Like,,PAIN FREE !
    Last edited by osco53; 01-09-13 at 07:41 PM.
    Scott Spark 760, Tour Easy LE, Sun EZ-3 sx, Walmart Thruster :P

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