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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 03-20-17, 11:14 PM   #1
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What do you think of this bike as a first venture into 650b brevet bike?

https://www.rei.com/product/108760/d...rbon-bike-2017

27.5" wheels (same as 650b?)

Carbon Frame

9 speed, dura ace bar end shifters, triple chainrings 48/36/26 and 11-34 cassette

Most importantly: sold by REI.
----


I currently ride 700x23 on a race-type bike and want to try out 650b; want to try out bar-end shifters; want to try out a triple crankset. I'm also going to use this bike to try out a mid-arch cleat position on SPD shoes (currently on speedplays).

The beauty of buying from REI is that they have a 1 year return policy. So I can try it out put 5,000 miles on it with nothing to lose. If I decide I like the 650b tires but find that this particular bike doesn't work for me, it will have served it's purpose and I can get my money back. I can always change out the cassette, tires, and chainrings on this bike to something more suitable for riding brevets.

1. Thoughts?

2. Is 27.5" functionally the same as 650b, i.e. can I get a wheel that takes whatever is the most popular rando tire?

3. This versus the St. Toussaint Velo Routier ?
https://www.cyclestoussaint.com/prod...outier-bicycle

That would be my first choice except that they do not have a 1 year return policy.

thanks.
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Old 03-21-17, 04:04 AM   #2
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I don't think you "try out" a bike for 5,000 miles. I think that's disingenuous and part of the reason the REI return policy has become more restrictive than in the past.
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Old 03-21-17, 07:00 AM   #3
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https://www.rei.com/product/108760/d...rbon-bike-2017

27.5" wheels (same as 650b?)... Is 27.5" functionally the same as 650b, i.e. can I get a wheel that takes whatever is the most popular rando tire?
Yes, 650b and 27.5" are just different words for the same thing (also known as 26 x 1 1/2).
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Old 03-21-17, 09:00 AM   #4
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I appreciate the conscientiousness about possibly abusing their return policy, I get it. After returns/refunds, I spend around $5,000 every year at REI, including buying things like pedals etc where I know that I'm paying 10% more than regular price anywhere else. Their business model succeeds because I end up buy everything from there, as it gives me peace of mind.
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Old 03-21-17, 09:04 AM   #5
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I don't think you "try out" a bike for 5,000 miles. I think that's disingenuous and part of the reason the REI return policy has become more restrictive than in the past.
+ 1. And no the OP's post in no. 4 does not convince me that what the OP proposes to do is the right thing to do.
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Old 03-21-17, 12:58 PM   #6
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650b isn't magic. The reason it's a popular size with brevet riders is that it allows 1.5"/38-42 mm tires but with an overall diameter close to 700x23.

The two bikes you listed share a wheel diameter, and that's about it.
The DB Haanjo seems like a very cool bike, and it seems like a good value.
But it's definitely aimed at the "adventure" end of the market, with disc brakes and clearance for 2" MTB tires.
It has high trail geometry, from 66 to 80 mm of trail depending on frame size. That's relatively standard for drop bar bikes.

The Velo Routier from Cycles Toussaint, in contrast, is designed as a classic French randonneur bicycle, with a steel frame and low trail geometry. It has rim brake centerpull calipers over 1.5" tires, and a quill headset.
It's definitely retro (and I love it).

What I'm trying to say is that riding one of these bikes will not give you a good indicator of what riding the other one may be like. The DB Haanjo is basically a monster cross bike, where the Velo Routier is a rando/tourer. The DB is designed for dirt, and the VR is designed for roads. There's a lot of crossover in their missions, but each takes a different tack to accomplish the mission.

For example, I have a bike that's relatively similar to each.
My Rivendell (650b-converted road bike) is similar to the Velo Routier, except my Riv still has its original medium-trail fork.
My Foundry Auger is full carbon and fits 700x38 tires. It would probably fit a 650 x 45 tire if I had the wheels to test it out.

My Riv is smooth, comfortable, predictable, and still pretty fast. But its steel frame and rando bag setup make it ~30 lbs. I can feel this difference when accelerating and climbing, but then it descends like a freight train.
My Foundry is light, fast, playful, but a bit more work to turn (takes more lean) because of the taller wheel. It's 23 pounds with fenders, bags, and dynamo system. It's a lot easier to climb, but it doesn't hold momentum like my Riv.
I use both bikes for riding on gravel and dirt paths. But the Riv is more comfortable on the road, where the Foundry is more oriented toward dirt. Different horses for different courses.



And I think your idea of returning a bike to REI after using it for 5k miles is super shady. I don't care how much you spend there or what their official policy is, it's a jerk thing to do.
If I was buying a bike from REI, I'd test ride it for the afternoon. If I wanted to test ride it longer than that, I'd rent it.
That's my opinion.
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Old 03-21-17, 01:17 PM   #7
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Thanks Tim, that is super helpful, and I will probably go with St. Toussaint because of your post.

I appreciate the input regarding REI. My 5K miles statement was a bit of hyperbole, longest I've actually used their return policy is about 4 weeks when I bought a 2015 Caad10 105 road bike that turned out to be a bit too stiff for me, I ended up getting a 2015 Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi Mod. Nevertheless, I will be more judicious in my future use REI's return policy given how strongly you all feel about it, I consider myself a fair and conscientious person, and I value your opinions.
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Old 03-21-17, 03:03 PM   #8
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Thanks Tim, that is super helpful, and I will probably go with St. Toussaint because of your post.

I appreciate the input regarding REI. My 5K miles statement was a bit of hyperbole, longest I've actually used their return policy is about 4 weeks when I bought a 2015 Caad10 105 road bike that turned out to be a bit too stiff for me, I ended up getting a 2015 Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi Mod. Nevertheless, I will be more judicious in my future use REI's return policy given how strongly you all feel about it, I consider myself a fair and conscientious person, and I value your opinions.
I've heard good things about the Velo Routier.

But I think the build is TOO retro for my own use; I don't like non-aero levers or downtube shifters. I'd go with aero brake levers (Tektro RRL) and bar-end shifters.
Also, I tried a 46/30 with 12-28 combo myself and didn't like it. The 46 to 30 gap felt huge.
So, I'd go with a frame-up build myself.
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Old 03-21-17, 04:32 PM   #9
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Personally I'd pick the diamondback... I have a few vintage rides and I don't want to carry a large front bag so low-trail doesn't really interest me that much. I would also love being able to ride the compass 48mm 650B tires but I'm a larger rider so that's why I like the plump tires. It also has 3 water bottle braze-ons, and is tubeless ready if you wanted to try that out. I had a touring bike with the same gearing as the DB has it was more than capable for any kind of riding I did, I couldn't spin out 48x11 and found 26-34 to be low enough for climbing. The only thing I noticed about the DB is that the rear fender would need some sort of fanagaling since there isn't a brake bridge. Not a deal breaker in my books.
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Old 03-22-17, 04:37 PM   #10
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Thanks Tim, that is super helpful, and I will probably go with St. Toussaint because of your post.
One of the super high mileage guys in my randonneuring club rides a Velo Routier. It's a good bike, although I think I read in another thread that the popular sizes are sold out and Cycles Toussaint has not been super responsive to requests for estimates of when they will have them back in stock, so it may not even be an option, but the Diamondback isn’t a randonneuring bike at all. I’d cross that off the list if you’re looking for a brevet bike.

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…Also, I tried a 46/30 with 12-28 combo myself and didn't like it. The 46 to 30 gap felt huge…
I use a 50/39/30 triple for randonneuring, but the guys I have ridden with using a 46/30 leave it in the big ring most of the time and only drop to the bailout ring for big hills. The 46 just gives up a little top-end that you don’t really need for randonneuring so you can just leave in in one ring most of the time.
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Old 03-22-17, 10:02 PM   #11
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I rode my All-City Macho Man Disc for a SR series. It worked well. It's very similar to the Diamondback, except that it will only accept smaller tires. Never thought of doing a 650b conversion, that might go well. I think the Diamondback would work well for some people. It will take fenders and has some provisions for racks.
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Old 03-23-17, 07:50 AM   #12
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I use a 50/39/30 triple for randonneuring, but the guys I have ridden with using a 46/30 leave it in the big ring most of the time and only drop to the bailout ring for big hills. The 46 just gives up a little top-end that you donít really need for randonneuring so you can just leave in in one ring most of the time.
I can understand that. So it's like an old-school half-step plus granny 5-speed, except it's a 1x10 plus granny. Or something like that.

Personally, I'm heavy (#250) so I found myself using the 30 ring much more often when I had a 46/30 on a Rivendell Roadeo. I couldn't climb hills in 46 x 28, so I'd have to drop to the 30t chain ring halfway up a hill; it just seemed like a huge drop in gearing unless I shifted 3 cogs at the same time.
But part of that feeling was the limit of a 28t cassette (limited by RD I was using, part of a vintage 8s Campy Ergo setup). If I'd used the 46/30 with a wide range 32-36t cassette, maybe I would have been more comfortable with that crankset.

As it stands, I've since sold the Roadeo and traded the crank. C'est la vie.

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I rode my All-City Macho Man Disc for a SR series. It worked well. It's very similar to the Diamondback, except that it will only accept smaller tires. Never thought of doing a 650b conversion, that might go well. I think the Diamondback would work well for some people. It will take fenders and has some provisions for racks.
I think the Diamondback is an interesting mix of enduro/rando and dirt/bikepacking. The Trek 920 has some similarities, though that bike has an Aluminum frame and 29er tires.
The Haanjo is definitely more dirt oriented than a traditional steel randonneur bike (though they can handle a good bit of dirt).
I could definitely see it used in brevets wearing the 650x47 WTB Horizon or 650x48 Compass Switch Back Hill tires, and bikepacking style frame bags.

Regarding a 650b conversion of your Macho Man, it would probably allow you to fit an even wider tire, like maybe 42-44 mm. You can do a quick measurement of the stays and fork: 2 cm below the current widest part of the tire and see how much clearance you'd gain. (It's 19 mm difference in rim radius, but that's good enough for a quick measurement).
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Old 03-23-17, 08:58 AM   #13
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The lines are getting blurred every day and 'quiver-killer' bikes are all the rage. The Diamondback would be a great bike for someone who wants to be able to do it all, and I've had several rando-curious friends seek it out primarily for adventure/bikepacking stuff, but who wouldn't hesitate to bring it on a brevet. I kind of want to get one myself!

That being said, I do love the vintage aesthetic of the Velo Routier. The whole 'classic' vibe is what drew me into randonneuring.

OP, I'd be asking myself if the next bike would be a dedicated randonneur, or something to dip your toes in with. If it's the latter, the Diamondback will be way more versatile if you're into mixed-terrain rides, etc etc.
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Old 03-23-17, 09:02 AM   #14
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The time limits are generous enough that you can complete a series on pretty much any bike although I personally wouldn't short-list a gravel/adventure/bikepacking bike if I was looking for something specifically for brevets.
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Old 03-23-17, 09:09 AM   #15
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The diamondback is going to ride more like a mountain bike on the road. It'll feel stiff and unless you're very heavy (and if you believe in such things) it won't plane for you.

It's a fun bike if you live near singletrack or really rough gravel and like to do mixed surface rides. It's kinda harsh and mucky if you just ride on the road. However, if you want to try out all the things you listed it's a great way to do so.

Perosnally I'd be looking at the Endpoint Hunter Gatherer for 650b low-trail disc or the Soma Wolverine for mid-trail 700c or 650b disc.
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Old 03-23-17, 09:29 AM   #16
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I currently ride 700x23 on a race-type bike and want to try out 650b; want to try out bar-end shifters; want to try out a triple crankset. I'm also going to use this bike to try out a mid-arch cleat position on SPD shoes (currently on speedplays).
The bike you've described is this one:
https://www.masibikes.com/bikes/adve...ondo-27-5-2017
I'm not going to sugar-coat it, though, that bikes looks awful.

The Haanjo looks like a good starting point, making the following assumptions:
You're in the middle two sizes (the largest and smallest made some compromises in geometry).
You're up for the tasks of installing fenders, modifying the gearing and tires.
You don't mind the wide q-factor of MTB cranks.


If I was shopping for an off-the-peg rando bike, I'd give some serious thought to these:
https://www.raleighusa.com/clubman-carbon-1436
https://www.twinsix.com/collections/...omplete-orange
https://www.masibikes.com/bikes/adve...andonneur-2017
Soma Fabrications Grand Randonneur
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Old 03-23-17, 09:54 AM   #17
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wow guys, thanks for all the recommendations. I have more options than I thought. Will keep researching.

FWIW, I am not looking for my final rando bike. That will come later, probably custom, probably steel or titanium, once I've figured out exactly what my preferences are and what my optimal fit is. I'm still at the start of my journey and want to sample some features I've read about but have no experience with (e.g. bar end shifters or downtube shifters, triple crankset, 650b, etc) without investing too much money or trouble, as well as try new things with my bike fit (drilling holes for mid-arch cleat position and trying shorter cranks i.e. 165mm or 170mm vs. my current 175mm). Just looking for fully assembled bikes that are on the less expensive side (say under $2500).

So far, the Velo Routier, the complete Soma Rando bike from Bikemania, one of the Masi bikes (either 27.5 Giramondo or Masi Rando) seem to fit the bill in one way or another. REI Haanjo is still a bit interesting to me. The twin six has cyclocx gearing 46/36 that isn't quite what I'm looking for and uses standard brifters, though accomodating wide tires and having fenders is a plus. Raleigh Clubman is gorgeous, but doesn't have any of the features I want to try out.
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Old 03-23-17, 09:59 AM   #18
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If looking to dip your toes into the 650b waters and you want to keep your initial costs down, you could do a 650b conversion on a vintage steel bike. The costs are reasonably low (mainly wheels and tires) but you'll need to be comfortable doing your own work. It can be updated easily to work with 3 x 9 gearing. You'll have to search a bit for the right frame to work with. The C&V forum has a long thread on 650b conversions and I believe Bicycle Quarterly has an article on this as well.
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Old 03-23-17, 12:51 PM   #19
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wow guys, thanks for all the recommendations. I have more options than I thought. Will keep researching.

The twin six has cyclocx gearing 46/36 that isn't quite what I'm looking for and uses standard brifters, though accomodating wide tires and having fenders is a plus.
Glad everyone is giving good feedback! One quick thing to throw out there because you mentioned it: If you're a numbers/spreadsheet nerd (like I am), you'll note that gear inches change ever so slightly because of the different wheel/tire size. A 34t ring swapped in for the 36, and a wide-range cassette in the back (not talking MTB / long-cage worthy, but just mid-cage territory, ~32t), and you should be pretty good. You said up above you wanted a triple, but with a light-touring kind of bike ridden primarily on roads, a wide-range double should be AOK.
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Old 03-23-17, 01:10 PM   #20
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FWIW, I am not looking for my final rando bike.
That's good, because it won't be.
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Old 03-23-17, 02:31 PM   #21
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Glad everyone is giving good feedback! One quick thing to throw out there because you mentioned it: If you're a numbers/spreadsheet nerd (like I am), you'll note that gear inches change ever so slightly because of the different wheel/tire size. A 34t ring swapped in for the 36, and a wide-range cassette in the back (not talking MTB / long-cage worthy, but just mid-cage territory, ~32t), and you should be pretty good. You said up above you wanted a triple, but with a light-touring kind of bike ridden primarily on roads, a wide-range double should be AOK.
Thanks Seajaye.

Do you know if the 36T ring in a 46/36 can be swapped for a 30T, i.e. to become a 46/30? With a 12-32 cassette, I think I'd be a happy camper with that.
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Old 03-23-17, 10:04 PM   #22
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a 110 bcd crank can only take a 34 tooth chainring. There are a number of sub-compact cranks that are here or coming onto the market soon that will take 30 or 32 tooth small chainrings. I think my perfect crank is probably a 30/44. I have a 34/46 that I haven't put on a bike yet, maybe this year. Most of my randoing is done with a compact 34/50 setup, and I find that to be a crummy set of gears. Maybe if I were stronger. I don't actually have too much trouble with my 34-32 low gear. I also have a cassette with a 36 tooth low gear, and I think 34-36 will probably be too low for most of my rides. My Macho Man has a 42 tooth big chainring (mtb crank), and I found that to work pretty well for randonneuring. If I spin out the 42-11 on the flat, like I do sometimes riding locally, I'm going too fast for randonneuring

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Old 03-24-17, 11:46 AM   #23
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a 110 bcd crank can only take a 34 tooth chainring
A 33t actually.
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Old 03-24-17, 12:18 PM   #24
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Thanks Seajaye.

Do you know if the 36T ring in a 46/36 can be swapped for a 30T, i.e. to become a 46/30? With a 12-32 cassette, I think I'd be a happy camper with that.
As @unterhausen pointed out, a compact crank (commonly 50/34, or cx 46/36) has a 100 BCD which can't fit a very small ring.

You need a smaller BCD for a smaller ring.

One popular solution for a subcompact double: take a common 80s/90s MTB triple (usually in 110/74 BCD) and remove the biggest ring and/or replace it with a bashguard ring. Or just saw the teeth off the big ring and file smooth to make your own guard.

Personally, I'd just use the MTB triple as-is. I'm currently building up a road/tour bike for a friend, and I'm using a 48/38/28 triple (Shimano FC-M550) so he can make it up the hills.
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