Chairman of the Bored
Join Date: May 2004
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
Bikes: 2004 Raleigh Talus, 2001 Motobecane Vent Noir (Custom build for heavy riders)
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Most of this comes from a mountain bike owners perspective, but the part grades should help in figuring out if their quality is to your liking.
I just got my Raleigh Talus on saturday. Great bike, beautiful paint/artwork on the frame, good choice of parts to go with it, and at a good price. Current Raleighs can be compared to Diamondback as far as quality, since they are now both made by the same company (even their contact number was the same last I checked)....Think of it like Ford vs Mercury....both make the same thing, but they cater to a slightly different market group. Diamondback being usually the younger crowd, and Raleigh being usually the older crowd (I don't really fit this mold, being 24...but still I saw it and just had to have it
Raleigh is very fond of using shimano drivetrains, and has their own "avenir" brand of accessories, which you will most likely find on their bikes. The lower end models either have a SR Suntour or RST suspension fork, the mid end models usually either have a beefier SR Suntour or a Judy fork, and the higher end models usually sport Manitou forks.
As far as reliability, my Diamondback Outlook has served me well, and the only problems it had were my fault...for doing things like 1 foot drops (which I am fairly sure the bike did not appreciate). It had a Shimano Tourney drivetrain, aluminum wheels, a 6061 aluminum frame, and a 50mm SR Suntour suspension fork. For a $200 bike, that was a pretty good buy in my book. I put loads of miles on that bike, and it still runs nice...It was just easier to get a new bike than upgrade that one to be what I wanted. Right off the bat though I can tell you I liked the 6061 frame better, it jsut seemed to be a smoother ride.