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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 04-25-13, 11:12 PM   #1
Graupel731
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Terrible question but can't find an answer...

What's a good randonneuring bike? With that, randonneuring, specifically in mind when getting a new bike? I know "what's comfortable" is best but then what if your getting a new one?

Thoughts?

FWIW: something I was looking at was the secteur compact by specialized.

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Old 04-26-13, 12:08 AM   #2
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randonneuring varies everywhere from (nearly?) racing to touring depending on the rider's approach. So it's really, that's the kind of question you have to answer for yourself. Fit is the most important starting point. For me, I want to be able to use 700x25mm tires with full fenders and lower trail to accommodate a front rack. Others follow Jan Heine and use 650bx40mm, low trail. Plenty of people ride racing-appropriate carbon.
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Old 04-26-13, 12:15 AM   #3
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People ride long distance on all sorts of bikes. Major manufacturers usually have separate bike families for "endurance" (long distance/rando) and for "competition", but differences are small. Secteur/ruby/roubaix are endurance.

What you put on the bike may be more important than what the bike is. You need good lights, you need some way to carry a lot of water (either a camelbak or a bunch of bottle cages, maybe as many as 4). Depending on the climate/location, it may be a good idea to have wide tires (700x28's and 700x32's are not uncommon) and to be able to mount fenders.

Low gears help too. Unless you're in flatland, I'd get a triple. Though I don't like secteur triple (only 8 speed and 30/25 low, not much better than secteur compact's 34/28 low. At least, if you get a secteur triple, you can swap the cassette for a 8-speed 12-28, they are dirt cheap.)

Trek has a specialized touring model Trek 520, it's probably out of your price range (MSRP $1489) but it shows what to look for. Triple, 26/32 low gear, 700x32 tires, built in fender mounts, etc.
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Old 04-26-13, 01:47 AM   #4
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What's a good randonneuring bike? With that, randonneuring, specifically in mind when getting a new bike? I know "what's comfortable" is best but then what if your getting a new one?

Thoughts?

FWIW: something I was looking at was the secteur compact by specialized.
Have a look at the Century Bikes thread and see what people are riding long distances on:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...tury-bicycle(s)
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Old 04-26-13, 06:01 AM   #5
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It should be something you like enough to want to ride it, but not enough to want to hang it on the wall and gaze at it lovingly. Randonneuring bikes get dirty!
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Old 04-26-13, 06:46 AM   #6
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I put my fenders on last Friday night because thunderstorms were moving through the area and I was afraid they wouldn't be done by the time Saturday's ride started. Turns out we got very little rain but the fenders were a good idea, if only to keep the worms off of the bike. Nasty.
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Old 04-26-13, 06:55 AM   #7
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Worms??

A worm infestation sounds sort of biblical in nature.

I think that a good randonneuring bike is really a balance between speed, comfort, and utility. When a design goes way out on the fringes to maximize a single aspect (like super speedy racing bikes or long flexible touring frames) the other aspects suffer. You can't have it all.

It's really a matter of deciding what balance of design characteristics is important to you. And the bike must also fit your riding style. For example, my Trek 520 is very comfy on the road when you sit and spin for miles and miles. But if you ever try to get out of the saddle and crush the cranks it feels like you're going to twist the frame into a pretzel shape. That comfy flexible frame is a nightmare on a long climb because the frame flexes so much when you try to put power to the cranks.

Last edited by Hydrated; 04-26-13 at 07:17 AM. Reason: Accidentally posted before I was finished.
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Old 04-26-13, 08:44 AM   #8
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first soaking rain of the season always results in the roads covered with worms. I lived in Virginia for a long time, same thing there. Actually, after PBP I had a few French worms on the bike. Maybe Georgia worms just are too smart to cross the road?
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Old 04-26-13, 08:51 AM   #9
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If you search there are many threads dedicated to this topic. But the search function is troublesome, so...

When you choose a rando bike you have to figure out a few things about what's important to you. The most important questions I think are:

- How much stuff do you want to carry?

- What sort of roads will you be riding on?

- Does your location/club require fenders?

The first question will sort out a lot...if you want to carry substantial loads, enough to be largely self-sufficient for, say, a 600; the bike has to be built around that premise to handle those loads while maintaining good handling characteristics.

The second has to do with tire choice. Since fast tires are now available in a wide variety of sizes, you can go all the way up to a 42mm tire if you will be encountering very poor roads...or if you just enjoy the comfort. The clearances required to suit your choice will limit your choice still further.

Finally, do you need fenders? If you decide that a racing bike will suit the first two criteria, fenders will complicate things and should be considered from the start.

There's nothing wrong with the Secteur, if it suits your needs. I've done brevets on racing bikes, cross bikes, light touring bikes and a dedicated rando machine. They all work, depending on your interests and approach.
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Old 04-26-13, 09:54 AM   #10
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Maybe Georgia worms just are too smart to cross the road?
I think that maybe it's that the Georgia birds are faster than the Georgia worms!

Our soaking spring rains bring out frogs... we have them everywhere when it rains for a few days.

Maybe frogs are the new worms... and Pennsylvania hasn't caught up yet!
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Old 04-26-13, 11:24 AM   #11
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What's a good randonneuring bike? With that, randonneuring, specifically in mind when getting a new bike? I know "what's comfortable" is best but then what if your getting a new one?

Thoughts?

FWIW: something I was looking at was the secteur compact by specialized.
What do you have now?

If you already have a decent bike and are new to the randonneuring stuff, you might just want to use what you have at first and let your experience guide you to what would work best for you.
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Old 04-26-13, 11:46 AM   #12
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Hey, this one's really simple. You want to go randoing, you must have a rando club in the area. So show up at a brevet start and drool on bikes. Around here, the hard core stylists will have some sort custom steel or ti bike with French bar bag, polished metal fenders, dyno hub, custom light mounts, and all the rest of it. The fast boys will be on carbon, no hub, but may also have custom light mounts. Everyone else will be "run what ya brung." Every kind of thing. If you'd ride a century on it, you can rando on it. I ride an old carbon race bike, clip-on fenders if any and 23c tires. I find my comfort in completing the course as quickly as I reasonably can, sitting in a soft chair, eating, and then a shower and bed. Ummm.

I suppose the only really trick thing that makes a huge difference is a waterproof cue sheet holder:
http://www.rei.com/product/637973/bar-map-holder-small
or similar. It's really about staying on course and finishing in the time limit.
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Old 04-26-13, 06:11 PM   #13
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Your main question has been answered... you can rando on pretty much anything that you find comfortable. A few things to take into account as you look for a bike:

- Fitting: Whatever bike you end up getting, you should be able to ride it comfortably over hundreds of miles. If anything hurts, continue making small adjustments to your fitting until you find the sweet spot. The geometry on the Secteur is far from aggressive, so it seems adequate from the point of view of "comfort."

- Saddle: Goes with the above. Make sure you upgrade to the most comfortable saddle you can get. Some people go through lots of saddles until finding the "right one." There are already several threads in this forum about the most popular.

- Drivetrain: double or triple crankset. Many here love triples, but there are even few here who rando on single-speeds. Others feel comfortable on doubles. Just keep in mind that many brevets happen in hilly (or at least on rolling hills) terrain.

- How do you prefer to carry your gear: saddle bag, rear rack with trunk bag or panniers, or front rack w/ front bag? Notice that most frames with carbon forks are not made/designed to carry any weight up front with a front rack. Your only option will be using a saddle bag or rear rack instead (or a "frame bag" if you like those.)

- Tire width and fenders: Not all frames are made to fit wide tires or fenders. The weather can be unpredictable on brevets over 12 hours in many parts around the world. Fenders will make a big difference in comfort (i.e., not riding soaking wet!) and keeping your drivetrain cleaner. Some here prefer narrow tires while some prefer much wider 650b or 26" tires for rough surfaces and to soften the ride or increase safety (e.g., if you hit any unpredictable bumps or pothole on the road at night.)

- Lighting: Most of us get away with the new and powerful battery lights mounted on the handlebar, helmet or fork. Some prefer not having to worry about batteries ever and go with a dynohub which will also allow you to charge electronic devices on the run. The type of lighting will depend greatly on your budget. Notice that flashing lights (front or rear) are not allowed on any RUSA or ACP sactioned brevet after dark.
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Old 04-26-13, 08:41 PM   #14
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Thanks for the feedback. Will be test driving some bicycles in the near future.

Here is a table I put together of the ones I am interested (side by side). Woudn't want to waste your time since you all are being nice and helping me out!

Unfortunately, I couldn't get all the exact same info, specifically for the specialized spectre triple (couldn't "decode" its specs to match up with the rest eck). I will be spending a day and going to places to test drive them FYI.



Links FWIW:
http://www.rei.com/product/845693/ma...a-a6-bike-2013
http://www.rei.com/product/848610/ra...send-bike-2013
http://www.rei.com/product/848607/ra...o-20-bike-2013
http://www.rei.com/product/848526/di...um-2-bike-2013
http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...urtriple#specs
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 2013-04-26 09.40.16 pm.jpg (98.3 KB, 35 views)

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Old 04-26-13, 10:15 PM   #15
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Interesting, came across a steel (!) specimen with a lbs nearby - the Speciale Strada. Steel have any advantages in randonneuring?

http://www.masibikes.com/bikes/steel...le-strade-2013
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Old 04-26-13, 10:30 PM   #16
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Of the bikes you listed, the Raleigh Port Townsend comes closest to the traditional rando bike. It's awfully heavy, though. If you want to go fast, it's probably not your best choice. At the least, you'd want to change the tires out for something lighter and faster.

The rest of the bikes look like pretty typical budget road/performance bikes. I'm not sure there's much to pick from between them, other than whichever one floats your boat the highest. It's easy to get lost in the minutiae...
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Old 04-26-13, 10:39 PM   #17
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Of the bikes you listed, the Raleigh Port Townsend comes closest to the traditional rando bike. It's awfully heavy, though. If you want to go fast, it's probably not your best choice. At the least, you'd want to change the tires out for something lighter and faster.

The rest of the bikes look like pretty typical budget road/performance bikes. I'm not sure there's much to pick from between them, other than whichever one floats your boat the highest. It's easy to get lost in the minutiae...
Yeah, that is kinda how I feel
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Old 04-27-13, 09:13 AM   #18
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It's easy to get lost in the minutiae...

This is so true. And with most bicycle designs, you have to make really gross changes and really get out on the fringes before you see/feel noticeable effects to the bike's behavior. Don't get caught up in a couple of mm here and a mm there... it probably isn't going to make any difference.

It's amusing to see the fights that break out here over which bike is better... and it's funny because the bikes are usually the same bike from any practical standpoint. A couple of years ago we had a... errr... "spirited debate" about bike frames and which was best. It was the usual thing where people were claiming to feel huge differences in handling and performance between several frames. You know how it goes... "I own bike X and it is so wonderful... but I rode bike Y and it was heavy and twitchy and wanted to dive into the nearest ditch!"

The combatants were less than amused when I pointed out that the three bikes that they were arguing about had PRECISELY the same geometry and the naked frame weights were within 6 ounces of one another.

So don't get too caught up in little tiny differences. Don't get me wrong... there are intangibles that can combine to make a bike feel magical. But those aren't things that you can sum up on teh interwebz. You just have to find the magic for yourself.
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Old 04-27-13, 06:31 PM   #19
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IMHO custom always wins, a bike is more a prosthetic limb than an appliance like a car. How it sets up for turns,responds to being jittered by rough surfaces all legions of unameable little things are multiplied tens of thousands of times by long hours in the saddle and tens of thousands of pedal revolutions. For a given set of contact points between somebodys feet, hands, butt, and between axles different hieghts and angles arent interchangeable they all give different qualities.
Mass manufactured metal frames mostly use lower cheaper heavier tubing (no spirit.life,S3 etc among them, generic 4130 can be good but its no 531C, butted excellent finish ti vs plain guage) and cant hand pick individual tubes to make a particular combination of characteristics, they just come out of the same mold that is often designed to cover adequetely a very wide variety of people and uses rather than really excell for one person. Plus you can end up owning something very cool, and a bike is kind of like a concert violin or something you can go on and on getting more deeply connected and used to it if its right. Imho steel and ti to some extent has a huge advantage in rando/touring/distance work because of the nature of its elasticity vs stiffness

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Old 04-27-13, 07:06 PM   #20
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Yeah, that is kinda how I feel

Then just chill.

Seriously, read Hydrated's post and take it to heart. Find the bike that makes you tingle and go with it. It almost certainly will not be significantly better or worse than other bikes in the price range.

Beyond that, as you gain experience, you will discover what works and doesn't work for you, which is information of far greater value than anything any of us could tell you. At some point, you will be ready for your dream bike, which will likely be custom. Just be careful: I'm on my sixth or seventh dream bike now, and am thinking about the next one.
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Old 04-27-13, 07:20 PM   #21
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IMHO custom always wins, a bike is more a prosthetic limb than an appliance like a car. How it sets up for turns,responds to being jittered by rough surfaces all legions of unameable little things are multiplied tens of thousands of times by long hours in the saddle and tens of thousands of pedal revolutions. For a given set of contact points between somebodys feet, hands, butt, and between axles different hieghts and angles arent interchangeable they all give different qualities.
Mass manufactured metal frames mostly use lower cheaper heavier tubing (no spirit.life,S3 etc among them, generic 4130 can be good but its no 531C, butted excellent finish ti vs plain guage) and cant hand pick individual tubes to make a particular combination of characteristics, they just come out of the same mold that is often designed to cover adequetely a very wide variety of people and uses rather than really excell for one person. Plus you can end up owning something very cool, and a bike is kind of like a concert violin or something you can go on and on getting more deeply connected and used to it if its right. Imho steel and ti to some extent has a huge advantage in rando/touring/distance work because of the nature of its elasticity vs stiffness
Custom will be the next next bike . Unfortunately, I am on a budget and limited in my options. Thus, looking for sub $900 road performance or touring bicycles.

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Then just chill.

Seriously, read Hydrated's post and take it to heart. Find the bike that makes you tingle and go with it. It almost certainly will not be significantly better or worse than other bikes in the price range.

Beyond that, as you gain experience, you will discover what works and doesn't work for you, which is information of far greater value than anything any of us could tell you. At some point, you will be ready for your dream bike, which will likely be custom. Just be careful: I'm on my sixth or seventh dream bike now, and am thinking about the next one.
That is the plan. Haha. That time will come, just not now.
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Old 04-27-13, 07:24 PM   #22
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FWIW, I've been pretty impressed by REI bicycles. I know they're subject to snide remarks from the "in" crowd, but they strike me as a good value for the money.

Oh, and also FWIW, unless your current bike is a total slag heap, it's probably the best rando bike for you at the moment. It'd kind of suck to get yourself a "rando" bike and promptly discover that it doesn't meet your needs for randonneuring...
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Old 04-27-13, 08:42 PM   #23
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FWIW, I've been pretty impressed by REI bicycles. I know they're subject to snide remarks from the "in" crowd, but they strike me as a good value for the money.

Oh, and also FWIW, unless your current bike is a total slag heap, it's probably the best rando bike for you at the moment. It'd kind of suck to get yourself a "rando" bike and promptly discover that it doesn't meet your needs for randonneuring...
So you liked REI bikes? Per chance do you own one? Indeed I was considering them...
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Old 04-27-13, 09:04 PM   #24
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fair enough
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Old 04-27-13, 09:17 PM   #25
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Graupel, you haven't answered which bike you have now. I used a 1980's Bianchi for the rando season last year (my first), and while I lucked out in some aspects, riding that bike taught me a lot about what I would want in my next one. If you're new to the sport, and trying to figure out the "perfect" bike with little experience, you're bound to run into "analysis paralysis". Just ride some centuries and 200k's with what you have, take good notes on what you like, what hurts, what gets too wet when it rains, and the decision-making will become clearer.
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