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Old 12-27-10, 02:48 PM   #1
revisisland
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REI- Marlton NJ

First post. Was hoping to get some help/advice.

I am looking to buy my first "road" bike soon. I am looking to ride for fun and don't expect to get competitive anytime soon. After looking at all my options I think the best bike for me would be a steel touring bike. I'm currently looking at the bianchi volpe, raleigh clubman, jamis aurora, surly pacer, masi speciale cx and redline conquest classic as I don't love the idea of bar end shifters and think i would prefer the tiagra shifters.

The problem I am having is that I've been to 5+ bike stores that sold these brands in the past week and I couldn't find one of these bikes in my size to test ride. I live in the NYC area so I didn't expect it would be this hard.

I didn't feel good about biting the bullet and buying one of these bikes from an LBS without trying it first. So when I saw the Clubman at REI on discount, in what I believe to be my size(55cm), I pulled the trigger. My rationale is that I can test the bike, and if i dont like it or it doesn't fit---return it---and i'll re-evaluate my options.

After reading about some poster's experiences at REI the reviews seem to be mixed. The closest REI to me that is an authorized Raleigh dealer is in Marlton NJ. Has anyone been here? Anyone have experience with the Bike techs here?

A couple other general questions? Does REI typically fit their Bikes to the consumer? Will they sell me the Bike if I should be riding the 57cm instead of the 55cm?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
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Old 12-27-10, 02:52 PM   #2
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How does it feel when you ride it?

http://s256.photobucket.com/albums/h...2d55b4f1_o.jpg
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Old 12-27-10, 04:34 PM   #3
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I havent ridden it yet. I'm a little under 6' with short arms and short legs.

I think I'm about 31" inseam.
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Old 12-27-10, 04:40 PM   #4
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I am 6ft and ride a 60cm.
56-58 might be best for you.
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Old 12-27-10, 05:13 PM   #5
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Thanks---

The reason I ordered 55 is because I was able to find a clubman at a lbs (I think it was a 52) and sit on it. The owner told me I should be in the 55-56 range. He was a couple inches taller than me and rides a 57. Maybe I'll go to another local store for a second opinion before I take delivery
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Old 12-27-10, 05:16 PM   #6
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That would be a good idea.
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Old 12-27-10, 05:34 PM   #7
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Definitely try to test ride the bikes. ""55cm" per one maker may feel completely differently than 55cm by another company. Besides the differences in how "size" is measured, some bikes may just feel different to you. So-called "compact" frames (not the same as "compact" gearing) are usually sized S-M-L-XL. A shop has a range of adjustments they can make - saddle height, saddle fore-aft position, stem length, stem height, but you ideally want to get the frame about right first.

Any chain of shops is as good (or awful) as the staff. The local REI is cluefull, while I have never purchased a bike there, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.

My commuting bike happens to be a Bianchi Castro Valley (almost same frame as Volpe) and it is a great all-around bike; I use it as a commuter, did a century on it, and would use if for at least light touring if the opportunity arose.
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Old 12-28-10, 10:33 AM   #8
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Thanks again for your responses. I like the idea of the Volpe as well. I'm generally not picky at all about colors but I can't stand the 2011 volpe colors. I have my eyes open for a 2010 volpe to the extent the clubman doesn't work out.
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Old 12-28-10, 03:24 PM   #9
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I actually called a couple places up in the city to get on a 55cm clubman. I found a place that had a 2010 clubman in stock.

Here's the deal:

When I pulled the bike off the ground to see how much room i had to my pubic bone--there was about 1.5-2.5 inches

When I stood next to the bike with the seat up 4 inches or so---it came up 2-3 inches below my belt buckle.

When i got on the seat and got in riding position the sales guy told me I looked a little bit streched out and that I may want to try the 53cm bike.

I have been on the 53cm clubman in the past and was told it was too small for me. I guess it sounds like 55cm may be the right size.
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Old 12-28-10, 04:51 PM   #10
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Use Competitive Cyclist's fit calculator and to help you get a better idea of what frame dimensions you need, it will also give you a sense of what stem length to run. Keep in mind these are base figures to work from but it's better than the gap between the top tube and your crotch which with compact geometry is worthless. Bike fit is something you want to get as right as possible because getting a bike which is uncomfortable is an exercise in frustration.
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Old 12-30-10, 10:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by revisisland View Post
Thanks again for your responses. I like the idea of the Volpe as well. I'm generally not picky at all about colors but I can't stand the 2011 volpe colors. I have my eyes open for a 2010 volpe to the extent the clubman doesn't work out.
I have a 2008 Volpe (it's sort of a drab green, but tolerable) that I'd buy again in a heartbeat. I's comfy, great for riding in the city as well as light trails. I've done a number of metrics and imperials on his bike, and have been very pleased with the handling and comfort. Like many cross bikes, it's totally versatile- I have a road set (Mavik Axsium with Conti Gatorskins) that I pop on for the centuries. It's also a great touring bike.
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Old 01-01-11, 06:13 AM   #12
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Another Bike to throw into the mix is a 2009 cannondale t2. I have the opportunity to get one for 1000. Yes it is all aluminum but I really like the idea of buying USA. The lbs got me on the bike, took some measurements and thought I would fit best in a medium.

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Old 01-04-11, 02:56 PM   #13
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Another Bike to throw into the mix is a 2009 cannondale t2. I have the opportunity to get one for 1000. Yes it is all aluminum but I really like the idea of buying USA.
Are you aware that Cannondale no longer makes bikes in the U.S.:

http://www.bikeradar.com/news/articl...cilities-21101
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Old 01-06-11, 12:33 PM   #14
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REI in Marlton is a great shop. Most of the people that ride on our team go there. I would be pretty sure you will be satified with their service.
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Old 01-10-11, 07:18 AM   #15
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The 2009 cannondales were "hand made in the USA"

So I made it to REI marlton over the weekend and it was solid. I took delivery of the 55cm 2009 clubman. The bike feels pretty good.

It won't get any use till spring so I'm still trying to decide.

I'm hoping to get on the 53cm aurora next weekend for a test ride.

Fyi they are opening a REI in Yonkers NY this spring so I intend to use them to the extent I keep the clubman.
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Old 01-10-11, 02:59 PM   #16
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The REI guys are ok. I bought a bike there a few years back and it was too big for me. But they let me walk out the door with it. make sure its one of their bike mechanics....
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