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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 03-14-10, 11:35 AM   #1
MikeOCS
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Which Bike?

I'm sure this topic has been covered in the past, but I've found the search function on this forum to be difficult to use, so I will ask again.

I'm looking for opinions on which bike I should consider purchasing. Before I start, I realize I will have to get fitted and test ride any bike I consider buying. What I'm really looking for is a starting point.

I want a bike I can use for centuries and other long distance rides. I rode my first century last year on a 20 year old, 12-speed Raleigh. It handled it well overall, but I didn't feel like I had enough of a gear range and I think the top tube is a bit too long.

I probably should describe how I ride. Most of my rides are for exercise/stress relief and are 20-40 miles in length. I'm not particularly fast, but also not that slow. Anyone who has ridden with me knows I'm not very good at a "leisurely" pace. I will usually average around 17 mph on a training ride. I averaged 15.9 mph on my century. I'm typically in an upright position with my hands just behind the brake levers on a set of traditional road bike handle bars. I almost never get more "aero" than that.

My goal is to do several supported century rides per year along with the type of training rides described above. I don't have any plans for touring, but I can see myself doing it in the future.

I see that most bikes are either light weight racers or "touring" bikes. I feel like my choices are a "Usain Bolt" or a "my grandma". There has to be something in between.

I want a new bike to be durable and reliable. From what I have read, steel or at least all metal would be the best idea. I want this bike to last a long time, because if I fork over $1000+, it might be 10 years before my wife will even let me look at something else.

I also want the bike to be fun to ride. Not racy, but fun. If I'm on a local club ride, I don't want to feel like I am trudging along behind.

A few small things I would like are enough clearance for fenders, multiple mounts for water bottle cages, attachment points for at least one rack and a relaxed geometry.

My LBS suggested a Specialized Secteur or a Giant Defy. I have also looked on-line at the Trek 520, the Surly Long Haul Trucker, and a Soma Stanyan.

I would appreciate any and all thoughts and opinions. Thanks.

Mike
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Old 03-14-10, 12:01 PM   #2
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You're asking a lot. Look through this thread Sometimes it seems like there is a thread like yours every couple of weeks, and the forum isn't that old so you can actually scroll through the pages.

Here is another thread

Just scrolling back through, there are quite a lot of threads.

Last edited by unterhausen; 03-14-10 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 03-16-10, 08:51 PM   #3
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In my opinion the Velo Orange Rando frame is the best frame going in your price range.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:33 PM   #4
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When I was shopping, I found that some items much discussed online (the Long Haul Trucker, for example) simply weren't stocked anyway locally, and that can help narrow things down.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:39 PM   #5
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FWIW, Surly uses very thick walled oversize tubing. I had one, and it was a decent bike for what it was, but wasn't a good bike for spirited LD riding. I didn't mind the weight so much, but it's a very stiff and dead-feeling frame. That significanty detracted from my enjoyment.
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Old 03-16-10, 11:27 PM   #6
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In my opinion the Velo Orange Rando frame is the best frame going in your price range.
I rode part of the most brutal 200k brevet ever with a person on one of those. It looked nice. It would be a pretty good trick to build a $750 frame into a bike that costs around $1000 though. I agree with your other post, you really don't want a full touring frame for randonneuring.
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Old 03-17-10, 12:08 AM   #7
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Maybe a bike like a Specialized Tricross would be a good bike for your type of riding. However, I don't think you are going to find it for around a $1000 (maybe used.) I know the Tricross can take the fenders and has mounts for a rack. Otherwise, I agree that a rando specific bike might be the ticket - however, the bike you want is difficult to find in that $1000 price point. While touring bikes (I own one) are great for distance rides, they aren't so fun if you want to go fast (group rides) or for climbing hills (the gearing is fine but the bike is heavy.) I like doing the much of the same type of riding as you. However, for club rides and distance rides I have a cannondale synapse. Yes, it's a bit racy, but it designed for all-day comfort. It doesn't have the eyelets for a rack (but for light commuting I use a quick release bag that attaches to the seat post - carradice SQR slim) and it might be able to take fenders (race blades at least.) My cannondale synapse is carbon (close to $3000) but it does come in an aluminum frame and carbon fork starting at $1300. The Specialized Roubaix is a similar bike.

While I do enjoy the looks and functionality of rando specific bikes, I don't find that I do any riding on terrain that requires the more robust frame and wider tires. My centuries and club rides are pretty much on paved bike trails and paved roads. About the worst road conditions that I ride are roads covered with chip seal. Good luck on your search... but kick up the budget by at least a few hundred dollars ($1500 over the ten years that you want the bike to last isn't that huge of an investment - $150 a year? I've dropped that much on a round of golf.)
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Old 03-17-10, 05:27 PM   #8
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I rode part of the most brutal 200k brevet ever with a person on one of those. It looked nice. It would be a pretty good trick to build a $750 frame into a bike that costs around $1000 though. I agree with your other post, you really don't want a full touring frame for randonneuring.
Well, he did say $1000+.

$3000 is technically $1000+.
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Old 03-17-10, 05:35 PM   #9
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I have the Specialized Allez and ride it multiple times a week between 30-40 miles, avg pace 16-20 mph, do charity rides ranging from 50-150 miles, and do a few centuries a year. So far it has been a solid bike, no quality issues, and gives me enough power when I need it. This bike is pretty cheap (I believe new at $850) and you can find the prior year model at around $600. I don't really have anything negative to say about the bike as a good affordable beginner bike. I've had mine a little over 2 years now and don't see myself replacing it anytime soon.

If you're worried about durability most bike shops offer an extended warranty, just check to make sure the parts you are worried about are covered.
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Old 03-17-10, 07:16 PM   #10
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I'd look for a cyclocross bike in that price range.
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Old 03-18-10, 07:04 PM   #11
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Some bikes that fit your description are:
Surly Cross Check
Surly Pacer
Salsa Casseroll
Masi Speciale Randonneur
Raleigh Clubman

I personally ride a Surly Cross Check on brevets. I don't have direct experience with any of the others, but they're all close to $1,000 and all seem to be pretty well suited to long distance riding.
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Old 03-19-10, 10:43 PM   #12
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Just a thought. Would the new Dynamic Synergy fit his needs and qualifications? At approx. $1000 and under 20 #'s it seems to be right in there. Anyone got one that could respond?
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Old 03-19-10, 11:15 PM   #13
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Just a thought. Would the new Dynamic Synergy fit his needs and qualifications? At approx. $1000 and under 20 #'s it seems to be right in there. Anyone got one that could respond?
Good idea but looks like a poor choice though. Appears they didn't allow for much of any fender clearance even though it has eyelets, and the track dropouts mean you'll have to add some chain length to get the axel right at the end of the drops, so as to be able to squeeze the rear tire out when changing a flat if you do get fenders on it. The Pacer would be a better choice than the LHT. I've seen many people go that way and be happy they did.
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Old 03-22-10, 11:20 AM   #14
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I really appreciate all the replies. I've been doing a lot of research recently and have looked at several of the bikes mentioned above. Last night I really geeked out and measured my frame dimensions (C-C, C-T, wheelbase, top tube, etc.) so that I could better compare to new bikes. I don't think I have looked at the Raleigh Clubman, but I will. I will take a second look at the Specialized Allez

I have looked at a lot of different cyclocross bikes because they do seem to fit my needs pretty well. I found that Redline has several models that look like they could be good. A lot like Surly, not many dealers carry them. One of my LBS had exactly one Redline cyclocross bike. The LBS that offers Surly doesn't have any in stock.

The Redline Conquest Sport and Conquest classic both look like possibilties. The Conquest Classic has better components but the $750 for the Sport sounds a lot better.

Mike
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Old 03-28-10, 07:06 PM   #15
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Thinking about getting a Kona ***** for doing these things... good or bad idea?

Also maybe light-touring... i think that sort of fits in with long-distance/brevet?
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Old 04-28-10, 11:56 PM   #16
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I have just bought a Giant Defy for my wife. It's so good I'm selling my Cannondale CAAD9 to buy one for me. I cannot stress how nice the Defy is... the instant I got on her bike, I pretty much decided to sell the Cannondale.

Beware - some of the steel bikes mentioned will be great for long distances and touring, but with a longer wheel base they won't be as sporty as I think you want for the shorter stress-buster rides.

I think the Defy fits perfectly the 'not too racy, but sporty' description you gave. It feels light, responsive, well mannered at speed, quick to accelerate and it soaks up vibration for a smooth ride... I could go on... it's been an eye opener. PLEASE try one!


PS. And everyone's got a Specialized... can't think of anything less special.
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