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  1. #1
    Senior Member Pukeskywalker's Avatar
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    Gravel/trail/commuter alternative to a Novara Randonee?

    I'm looking at the price tag of REI's Randonee, which is reaching over $1,200 (with upgrades), and I'm wondering if there is a better alternative.

    My girlfriend is looking for something to use as a weekend trail bike and a daily urban commuter

    Can anyone throw out some alternatives in this price range? Maybe something a little more "sporty"


    Things I don't like about the Randonee (considering the price tag):

    - $1,200 for a 30lb bike (planning carbon fork upgrade)
    - No STI shifters


    Want we want for her bike:

    - triple crank
    - Space for 700x35c "cyclocross" tires (like Kenda Happy Mediums, Conti Cyclocross) and full fenders
    - A rear rack for light pannier loads
    - V- or disc brakes
    - drop bars
    Last edited by Pukeskywalker; 04-08-14 at 01:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Sadly, triple cranksets are becoming and endangered species. It's getting to the point where you can only find them on touring bikes, which brings your 30-pound weight and non-STI shifters in the deal.

    The Jamis Bossanova meets your requirements but stretches the budget a little. The 2013 Kona Jake also fit the bill, but they moved to a compact double for the 2014 model.

    Another option would be to get something with a double and have the shop swap it out for a triple before you take it home. That would open up your options a lot.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Pukeskywalker's Avatar
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    Thanks Andy. I will check out those suggestions.

    What is with the switch to doubles? I'm considering the Raleigh RX 1.0 Women's. Beautiful color scheme on the thing, but another $200 on top... with Tiagra-level SRAM components. Not sure if it's such a great buy with all the work involved in switching out the drive train and probably the STIs too.

  4. #4
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
    2012 Pedal Force CG2: "Secolo Bicicletta" the modern carbon fiber road bike
    2012 Pedal Force CX2: "Carbone CX" the carbon fiber CX bike
    2010 Origin 8 CX 700: "Servizio Grave" Monstercross/29er bike
    1997 Simoncini Special Cyclocross: "Little Simon" lugged Columbus steel CX bike
    1987 Serotta Nova Special X: "Azzurri" The retro Columbus SPX steel road bike
    1971ish Peugeot PX10: "Fancy Lugs"

  5. #5
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    The Specialized AWOL bears looking at for $1350 (Specialized Bicycle Components).

    If you're willing to go to $1500, you might have a look at Salsa's Vaya 3 (2014 Vaya 3 | Bikes | Salsa Cycles) or Raleigh's Tamland One (Raleigh Tamland 1.0 Bike - 2014 at REI.com). The Vaya's got the triple, where the Tamland's pushing a compact double.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Pukeskywalker's Avatar
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    Thanks blackfoot, great suggestions.

    I think the Bosanova has won the battle, with the Tamland as a close second.

    Choosing the Bosanova over the Randonee, for delivering a 3-lb-lighter bike with STI's and disc brakes for only $100 more. With REI's 20% discount the Randonee is only $1,000 -- but even at $300 more, those features seem worth it.

    The Bosanova is designed for exactly what we want: Trail/light-touring bike that also make a good commuter. The flat black color will make it less of a theft target in the city. Also the Bosanova's smallest size has the shortest stand-over height (good for this short-inseam girl I'm shopping for).

    - Specialized AWOL is really cool, but Sora-level components (Bosanova is Tiagra) and no carbon fork

    - Tamland - Very close second. 105 components are nice. Steel fork, etra $200 price, and the added cost of switch out the crankset make this a no-go

    - Salsa Vaya 3 - Sora components again. Steel fork. Jamis just seems to deliver more for this purpose

    - Tricross 2014 - double crank, new paint jobs are not approved by the woman

    - Tricross 2013 - Canti brakes, can't find anywhere local anyways.

    -
    Kona Jake 2013/2014 - similar story to above

    - Raleigh RX 1.0 womens - beautiful paint, but double crank and canti brakes, girlfriend says it looks "to race-y"


    Bosanova pros:

    - comes with rack
    - triple crank
    - carbon fork
    - disc
    - Tiagra STI
    - comes with pedals

    Bosanova cons:
    - The wheels sound not great. concerned. No-name Alex rims (not even listed on their site), formula hubs, stainless steel spokes
    - Comes with 28c tires. Most other bikes in this league seem to come with 32c (closer to what we want)

    Impressed with Jamis on this. We'll see how the test ride goes

    Thanks all

    Last edited by Pukeskywalker; 04-09-14 at 12:43 PM.

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    sorry I can't help you at your local bike shop and show you the features of their bikes .

    are all those mentioned above sold where you live ?





    are you at work writing from the company computer? ...

  8. #8
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    I don't think you will find much of anything w/ triple cranks. Do you REALLY need it? how much climbing is in your area beyond 10-15% grade?

    Find something sram double compact 44/34 gearing. Add wifli rear D, and 12-32 cassette. Gearing should be down right walking pace if you can't turn the cranks.

    Also, all wheels at this price point and even to 2 grand will be junk and donated to craiglist for a low return after you upgrade.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Pukeskywalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post

    are you at work writing from the company computer? ...
    Isn't that 75% of this website's traffic anyways?

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    It seemed like a good question to ask .. maybe another Survey poll topic.



    Dude, you can change as few components on any bike , and dial it in to your needs .

    they all came off a boat , in a box, you are not stuck with the parts pick by the company .
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-09-14 at 03:24 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Pukeskywalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    I don't think you will find much of anything w/ triple cranks. Do you REALLY need it? how much climbing is in your area beyond 10-15% grade?

    Find something sram double compact 44/34 gearing. Add wifli rear D, and 12-32 cassette. Gearing should be down right walking pace if you can't turn the cranks.

    Also, all wheels at this price point and even to 2 grand will be junk and donated to craiglist for a low return after you upgrade.
    This is the first I've heard of wifli derailleurs. I am impressed by the tech

    The need for a triple is debatable. Her commute is totally flat. But outside of our city (philadelphia), things can get hilly. The granny gear would probably see use a half dozen times per year.

    Appreciate the advice on the wheels. I am new to buying off-the-shelf bikes.. everything I own was bought on CL or built from frames

    Last edited by Pukeskywalker; 04-09-14 at 03:03 PM.

  12. #12
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    I don't think you will find much of anything w/ triple cranks. Do you REALLY need it? how much climbing is in your area beyond 10-15% grade?

    Find something sram double compact 44/34 gearing. Add wifli rear D, and 12-32 cassette. Gearing should be down right walking pace if you can't turn the cranks.
    I like the idea of 44/34 gearing on a crankset. I generally dislike compact doubles because the jump from 34 to 50 is too big to be a transition I'd want to make often and going from a stop to anything much over 15 mph generally involves making the transition. And yet, who really needs a 50T chainring anyway? Certainly not me, and probably not anyone who isn't happy with a 39T small ring on their crankset.

    I've got my geared CX/gravel grinder set up right now with a 46-34. That's not too bad. I spend most of my time on the "big" ring.

    I have triples (50-39-30) on my commuter and my road bike. I generally never use the 50T ring on the commuter, but I need the 30T for the climb up to my house. A 39-30 double would be great for that bike. I typically use my road bike crank like a 50-39 with a bailout. I only use the 30T ring when I'm on a really steep climb.

    But here's my gripe. When you need a low gear, you often wish you had an even lower gear. The argument is usually made that a 50-34 crank with a 12-32 cassette will give you about the same gear range as a 50-39-30 with a 12-28, which is true but it won't give you the same gear range as you'd have if you paired the 12-32 cassette with the 50-39-30 (to say nothing of the gearing options you lose without the middle ring). Whatever huge cog you put on the cassette would give you an even lower gear with a triple. So the argument for a compact double always sounds to me like saying "the gearing options with a compact double are almost as good as with a triple"?

    What's the problem that not having a triple is supposed to solve? Near as I can tell, the only thing you gain is a better looking weight on the spec sheet.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Pukeskywalker's Avatar
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    I like spinning at low torque, so I like having a triple. A 1-to-1 gear ratio like with these new Wifli derailleurs still isn't enough for me.

    I really wish they sold road-style cranks with 44/30 gearing... but will have to settle for converting triples to doubles. This is unsatisfactory, because then you have to deal with added the Q-factor. Oh well.

    My girlfriend had knee surgery as a teenager so I also encourage her to spin more. Plus at some point I expect the bike to be carrying gear up a hill.

    We are both out of shape after a year of dropping off our cycle-commuting routines. Hoping to rectify that with this purchase.

    Finally, since I'll be riding with her on those hills, and I have a triple, it's nice to have bikes with similar set-ups. So the experience is similar and nobody is lagging/racing ahead due to different bike qualities

  14. #14
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pukeskywalker View Post
    I like spinning at low torque, so I like having a triple. A 1-to-1 gear ratio like with these new Wifli derailleurs still isn't enough for me.

    I really wish they sold road-style cranks with 44/30 gearing...
    Find a frame w/ BB30 (which might push out of your price point a bit) and you can run SRAM X9 double MTB cranks. TRUVATIV X9 10-Speed Crankset | SRAM
    Gearing options = 26-39, 28-42

    To get the best of everything you want, you need to build from frame up. Best bang for buck and bad ass frame out be the Kona Jake the snake would be the best option to start from at $600 frameset Bikeman Kona 2014 Jake the Snake Frameset with Carbon CX Fork, 56cm, Matt Lime with Black and White tapered carbon fork, bb30, clean routing, disc brakes and rack mounting tabs. If the green is to bright, you can plasti dip it black, green, white or pink

    craiglist/ebay SRAM apex or rival shifter $150-200

    wifli/chain/12-32 SRAM Apex WiFli Climber's Kit-In-A-Box

    X9 double bb30 crankset $150ish

    Craiglist take off 29er wheelset w/ disc hubs $100-200 Rovals and Bontrager are common finds

    BB7 road brakes $100 set

    At about 1300 + cockpit parts (bars, tape, stem, seatpost and saddle)

    Jagwire racer cable/housing kits is about $35

    So for about $1500ish you will have some custom to what you want/need and still cheaper then buying a Jake the Snake Complete w/ 105s for $1650 that you would be swapping out parts anyways.


    Only thing to upgrade later on would be the wheelset for something lighter. CX tires are pretty cheap at $30 for some kenda happy mediums or something to match what you are riding on. Can never have too many tires types laying around...

  15. #15
    Senior Member Pukeskywalker's Avatar
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    Thats a cool plan jsigone. My only concern would be the Q-factor on the cranks+BB30. I don't know much about where new parts are headed but I know the XT cranks I had were too wide-set for me.

    Right now I'm getting ready to replace them with Sugino XD600's. Still not the narrowest Q-factor, but a step up. What I really want are some super-low Q-factor, square-taper double cranks with that 44/30 ratio.

  16. #16
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    I'm sure you can call Kona to ask them direct. The Q factor of the double X9s is Q170.9 and should fit both 68/72mm BB shells. Since its MTB crank and disc cross frames are now standardized at 135mm (same as MTB) the cross chaining effect is allot less.

    Downside of narrow Qs is distance between the chain rings and the frame, also might cause heal rub on the bottom stay since disc CX frames are spaced out to 135mm rear to match MTB hubs

  17. #17
    Senior Member Paramount1973's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    I like the idea of 44/34 gearing on a crankset. I generally dislike compact doubles because the jump from 34 to 50 is too big to be a transition I'd want to make often and going from a stop to anything much over 15 mph generally involves making the transition. And yet, who really needs a 50T chainring anyway? Certainly not me, and probably not anyone who isn't happy with a 39T small ring on their crankset.

    I've got my geared CX/gravel grinder set up right now with a 46-34. That's not too bad. I spend most of my time on the "big" ring.

    I have triples (50-39-30) on my commuter and my road bike. I generally never use the 50T ring on the commuter, but I need the 30T for the climb up to my house. A 39-30 double would be great for that bike. I typically use my road bike crank like a 50-39 with a bailout. I only use the 30T ring when I'm on a really steep climb.

    But here's my gripe. When you need a low gear, you often wish you had an even lower gear. The argument is usually made that a 50-34 crank with a 12-32 cassette will give you about the same gear range as a 50-39-30 with a 12-28, which is true but it won't give you the same gear range as you'd have if you paired the 12-32 cassette with the 50-39-30 (to say nothing of the gearing options you lose without the middle ring). Whatever huge cog you put on the cassette would give you an even lower gear with a triple. So the argument for a compact double always sounds to me like saying "the gearing options with a compact double are almost as good as with a triple"?

    What's the problem that not having a triple is supposed to solve? Near as I can tell, the only thing you gain is a better looking weight on the spec sheet.
    Yup, If you are going to have a granny gear, why compromise? All of my bikes have triple cranksets on them and the granny gear is a 24 or 26t (22t on the mountain bike). When I drop down to the low-low, I want to have less than 1:1 gearing.

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