Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: south Puget Sound
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
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Quoted: 155 Post(s)
What leapt out at me from the description of the Mendota was the very sane set of chainrings (48/38/28) paired with the aggressive cassette (11/26). If it had an 11/32 cassette (which would require a different rear derailer) I would think it would be perfect re-entry bike.
As is, if you don't have a ton of topography to deal with, I'm sure it will be great anyway. Even if you do have a ton of topography, it will still be great, and you'll get some big leg muscles. And 28/26 is still a better low gear than a lot of racer-y bikes allow.
In general I haven't really heard much about sram or shimano being better than the other, except that everyone I know who has an opinion prefers sram chains. Not sure if that's just the smartlink, or if other factors come into play as well.