So, after a long time off the bike, I recently bought a Raleigh Tamland 1. I was looking for one bike (my only bike), that fell under $2,000, and was versatile enough to do a little bit of everything. I have a lot of gravel roads near a family vacation home a couple of hours away, but most of my riding around here would be on the road. My road racing days are over, but I might at least want to try my hand at CX for a few races this winter. I have always enjoyed charity and organized rides, and wanted something that I could work back up to riding centuries, potentially light touring, and even commuting when the weather is nice.
I wanted to write this since I have not really seen much first hand info about this bike on the forums, or really, on the internet as a whole. The bike is spec'ed as shown on their website: Raleigh Bicycles - Tamland 1. I outfitted the bike with Crank Brothers pedals, a cat eye computer, a light, a frame pump, and some old carbon cages.
The bike's MSRP is right at $1600. Some of the highlights are a Reynolds 631 steel frame, full 105 group, and TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes. I have put about 100 miles on the bike, half of it on gravel or dirt roads, half on pavement. The bike rides great. Some of that is due to the 40mm tires, but the steel noticeably takes the sharpness off some of the bad bumps. The nicest thing I noticed that is a difference from some of my older steel bikes is that there is no noticeable bottom bracket flex (I am 5'9" 195 lbs). The bike is stiff, but comfortable. The frame/tire/wheel combo actually does a really good job with the roots, rocks, and bigger bumps, too. The paint job is surprisingly high quality, although there are a few very minor imperfections on the seat stays. As far as geometry goes, the bike has a nice balance between responsive and stable. The bike does not hesitate to go where you point it, but you are never fighting any twitchiness trying to keep it straight. The added stability is really noticeable when you get on the looser stuff off road.
This is my first time with disc brakes in about ten years, and the Spyres seem pretty nice. They are dual piston and actuate from both sides, which, at least on paper, offers some nice advantages. This also gives them a lot of adjustability, which is nice for taking the wheels on and off or swapping them out. I had some issues with their initial setup, but I have been able to fix most of them from reading the owner's manual and tinkering. The one thing I haven't been able to remedy is the long pull in the rear brake. I have to get the handle basically back to the bars to get full power.
The wheels are bombproof, but not particularly light, as you can imagine. The Clement XPlor MSOs are really nice. One of my 25 mile off road rides was in the wet, and they bit great in the corners. The line of closer center knobs lends itself to fairly fast rolling on pavement or harder packed surfaces while going in a straight line or close to it. The 105 drivetrain is exactly as expected, and the gearing works out well for the mixed surface intentions of the bike.
All in all, I am excited to have a new ride and get back into the sport. I really missed and love the exploring part of riding, and so far, this seems like a great bike for somewhat that wants to be able to do go anywhere and do anything but road racing.
A couple of notes:
I will probably eventually upgrade the wheels, but I am not in any huge hurry. The only downside to this is that with the width of rims, there aren't a lot of more narrow road tires available that fit. I originally intended to swap out the tires as needed, but I have been happy enough with the XPlor MSOs on road that I will wait until the fall to upgrade the wheels. The handlebars are a little narrow, especially for off road, but they still seem good enough for me. Saddle is of course a personal choice, but I have been pretty impressed by the stock offering so far.
The steel fork actually flexes enough when the skewer is closed that if it is not at the correct tightness, it will make the rotor drag. This has taken me about 30 seconds or so to tamper with every time I put the front wheel back on. Not a huge deal, and I am getting used to it fairly quickly, but I thought I had somehow managed to bend the rotor on the drive home from my LBS.
Nice bike and nice review of the Tamland. It's definitely not the first cross bike to come up in conversation but you may have found a winner. I wonder about frame weight and 40c rolling resistance on roads or has Raleigh put together a package that synchronizes components well?
The weight is definitely on the heavy side, between 24 and 25 lbs for my 54. I am on the heavy side (195-200 right now, hopefully 185-188 in the coming months). I also have not been riding for the past year or so after dealing with some non-cycling injuries, so the weight issue is not really that noticeable for me. I will say that Raleigh did a good job with the gearing. The 30 cog with the 34 is more than enough for me, my crappy knee, my weight, and the bike's weight to get up anything steep with ease. I have actually only used the lowest two gears on the cassette once to see how they felt since they are so low and I have not done any serious climbing yet.
As far as the rolling resistance is concerned, I am sure it would be noticeable to someone with more tire expertise, or if you were to ride a 23-25 back to back with the 40s. You would probably also notice it on any faster group ride or real fast solo efforts. Since I don't have any serious competitive ambitions at this time, the tires work fine for me, and they definitely don't feel like riding a mountain bike tire or anything like that. I have done my road rides around 80 PSI, and the higher concentration of smoother knobs in the center of the tire seems to let the bike roll fairly well and fairly quietly on the road in a straight line or slight corner. You get a lot more noise and probably a lot more resistance when you really lean into the corners.
I am doing a 60 mile road charity ride in about a month, and then doing a 70 mile gravel/pavement "race" that I will be doing as an individual fundraiser in early September, so I will have some good feedback on the bike and tires throughout the summer.
If you want a lower RR tyres than you need a more flexible tyres carcass and less tread, NOT thinner rubber. Unless you're running at time trial/peoleton speeds, where tyre aero is more important (which is why TDF riders use narrow tyres, NOT RR) then a fast 30-40mm tyre like a Grand Bois or Almotion is the way to go. A speed optimized premium tyre might feasibly halve your rolling resistance, so it's worth doing.