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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
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    I would choose the Coda Sport because I dont like slogging up hills, so I could do without the extra weight of the disc brakes and the sus fork. I think it will also give you a less upright riding position which will put less weight on your butt, so will be more comfortable after 15 mins of riding. The 28 tires are fat enough for normal street potholes and packed dirt trails, but will sink in if the trails are sandy. It would probably take 35 tires which would be an easy change when the original tires show signs of wear. The narrower saddle will be less likely to rub on the inside of your thighs when pedalling. I suggest adding bar ends to give variation in hand position, and a saddle bag for patch, kit spare tube and mini pump. The adjustable quill stem on the Citizen 3 gives you a wide range of adjustment in both height and reach. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your input.

    Andrew, thanks.

    You make a good point on the weight issue. The Coda Sport is 25.75 pounds, the Allegro 2X is 29.00 pounds, and the Citizen 3 is 33.50 pounds.

    Do you or others see the steel frame of the Coda Sport providing the more comfortable ride between the three, even though the Allegro 2X and Citizen 3 have suspension forks?

    You also make a good point on the saddle that would evade a novice like myself - the narrower seat (both the Coda Sport and Allegro 2X have a Selle San Marco Elba saddle in comparison to the Jamis Comfort saddle on the Citizen 3) may actually be more comfortable, descriptive names notwithstanding.

  4. #4
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    As an addendum.

    Andrew, or any others, what do you know and think about KHS bicycles?

    Their prices are very competitive.

    Their Urban Xcel aluminum frame model comes with disc brakes, 700x35c tires, flat handlebars, and a 63mm suspension fork for $519. Their Urban Xpress steel frame model comes with 700x35c tires and a 20mm rise handlebar for $409. It does appear as if the KHS derailleur components are not nearly as good as the comparable Jamis models, which is understandable at those prices.

  5. #5
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    I think Al got a reputation for a harsh ride in its early days but designers have now learnt how to adjust for its properties, so differences will be small. I now ride a steel bike but my next one will be Al. Comfort saddles are comfortable for a ride around the oarking lot. I switched from straight bars to drops to cope with headwinds, but find them a lot more comfortable. I have them almost level with the seat and the reach is slightly less than a young sporting rider would recommend (I am 66). Lighter tires make the bike seem a lot more nimble because the reduced gyroscopic effect makes it easier to make fast steering movements.

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