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Old 08-25-10, 06:14 PM   #1
monkeymartin
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MEC Nineteen Seventy-One Bicycle

What do you think of the MEC Nineteen Seventy-One Bicycle.

Here is the link

Would this bike make a good touring bike?

I know it is not the best bike but for $990.00 Canadian is it a good value?
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Old 08-25-10, 06:20 PM   #2
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I looked at it, more multi-purpose than pure touring, but i don't see any huge knocks against it for touring around canada.
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Old 08-25-10, 06:30 PM   #3
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If you are looking for a dedicated touring bike there are better ones on the market for that price. If you want a good all around bike I see nothing wrong with that one.
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Old 08-25-10, 07:10 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses.
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Old 08-26-10, 12:07 AM   #5
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It's got all the right bosses and is even upgradeable to disc brakes. The components are okay (nothing to write home about) for the price but the aluminum frame AND fork would keep me from paying that kind of money for it unless I was buying it more for cyclocross and or commuting than touring. And though some cyclocross bikes work for touring, aluminum isn't usually the best frame material to spend long days riding, especially aluminum forks. Steel is almost always the best material for a touring bike. It flexes with road conditions and has a predictable fatigue pattern. I don't mean to beat on the Surly LHT drum but for the money it's still an excellent buy for a tourer and I've known several people who love it as a multi purpose vehicle as well. Other than that, for shorter tours and for more aggressive cycling, there is also always the Cross-Check which I've heard to be a decent short touring bike as well as an excellent cyclocross and commuter. That said, the 1971 looks like a decent bike.
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Old 08-26-10, 12:26 AM   #6
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The specs on the website say it has a 31.8 mm stem. That is extremely short for a stem and is inconsistent with the picture. Details, details... not really important.
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Old 08-26-10, 01:25 AM   #7
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Nothing really wrong with al, Canondale has been at it a lot longer than Surly, and they have been using al. Koga Miyata is another gold standard name in aluminum. 990 is pretty cheap for a touring bike in Canada. If you are in TO you should also ride the Urbanite touring frame when you are downtown, at urbane peddler.

The suggested alterations by the MEC reviewers were all pretty bad advice. Neither seemed aware of the avalanche of things that would be changed in addition to what they wanted to change, like Vs mean differnet levers or TAs, and trekking bars (do not have more positions than drops) and changing them would likely change levers also. A lot is personal preference, so you would have to ride both. The 1971 does have a lot of new stuff like internal headsets that are not always the favorite of tourists.

Last edited by NoReg; 08-28-10 at 12:55 AM.
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Old 08-26-10, 11:36 AM   #8
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The MEC next to my house just started carrying bikes in the past couple weeks, and I have been ogling the 1971. It's a good multi purpose bike, and would tour quite well. However, it appears to be designed for cyclocross, so it has an aggressive body position (may become uncomfortable doing long distance rides), and comes with knobby tires that you'd probably want to change.

The differences between steel and aluminum can be offset by changes to the shape and diameter of tubing, but whether they are or not is hard to say without riding the bike. Take it for a test ride on some older pavement and see how the vibration feels. If it's just in the seat, a shock post might fix the problem, but vibration in your hands will kill you on tour.

Otherwise, I thought it looked like pretty good value - at least as far as buying locally goes. You could certainly get better value if a trip to the states is in your future. But I can't say I've given it the full look-over that I would if I were seriously considering a purchase.

Last edited by neil; 08-26-10 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 08-26-10, 01:23 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by monkeymartin View Post
What do you think of the MEC Nineteen Seventy-One Bicycle.

Here is the link

Would this bike make a good touring bike?

I know it is not the best bike but for $990.00 Canadian is it a good value?
If you are going to do loaded touring for sure I would swap out the rear cassette for something with a 34T rather than only 25T! That might need a new derailleur as well.
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Old 08-27-10, 04:54 PM   #10
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31.8 mm is the bar clamp diameter (handlebar diameter), not the length of the stem.

Last edited by dsmyers; 08-27-10 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 08-28-10, 12:41 AM   #11
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I looked into this bike this summer, ended up getting a Spec Tricross instead. A friend of mine did buy a 1971 and is happy with it.

The reasons I didnt get it were--main thing, the rear cassette is a 25 t and to go larger DOES require a diff derailleur. I have toured a lot, and a front "granny" of 30 and a largest rear cassette of 25 is just not low enough for loaded touring, even just rear bags IF you are going to be on hills.

second- the Sora brifters for me were not "nice" when shifting, and the next level up , Tiagra, do have a much more quality feel. This and the not low enough gearing made me discount the 1971 and the other MEC model of the same frame but with disk brakes (the Cote?)--a very nice bike too, but same gearing, 12-25 cassette.

I always have a bag or two on my bike, and so I knew from my old touring bike gearing that I need lower gearing.

ps, the specialized Tricross triple is $1000, same as the 1971 and while the derailleurs etc are shimano 2300 I think, of which I dont really know, it does come with the 50-39-30 and 11-32 rear cassette, same as teh next Tricross model, Tricross Sport which has tiagra brifters and a LX derailleur that can handle the wider range cassette (just as the triples derailleur can as well)

as for alu vs steel, yes steel is a bit more forgiving over bumps, but Cannondale has been making alu touring bkes for a long time, and my new bike is an alu frame and it aint too bad vs my old steel touring bike. In any case, you load up a bike and it dampens things out in any case.

also, when i test rode the 1971, the tires are at least 32s, maybe even 35s i forget, they are about 80-90 psi tires and I found that they dampened the bumps quite well. higher pressure 28s would be harsher thats a given, but stock, its a pretty comfortable ride-------JUST NOT LOW ENOUGH GEARING.

MEC is surely going to come out with a"touring" bike perhaps even next year, with proper gearing. It makes sense, given the "self propulsion" bent of MEC in general.

as others have said, a "real" touring bike is worth the extra money if you are going to do fully loaded touring, but bikes such as the Spec Tricross Sport or Triple have adequate gearing for touring.

read more online stuff here or elsewhere on "touring" gearing so that you can see that these recommendations are not off the wall. I was tempted by the 1971 or the Cote, but I am glad I didnt go that route, not low enough gearing is no fun with stuff on your bike and a steep hill....
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Old 08-28-10, 12:11 PM   #12
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I looked into this bike this summer, ended up getting a Spec Tricross instead. A friend of mine did buy a 1971 and is happy with it.

The reasons I didnt get it were--main thing, the rear cassette is a 25 t and to go larger DOES require a diff derailleur. I have toured a lot, and a front "granny" of 30 and a largest rear cassette of 25 is just not low enough for loaded touring, even just rear bags IF you are going to be on hills.

second- the Sora brifters for me were not "nice" when shifting, and the next level up , Tiagra, do have a much more quality feel. This and the not low enough gearing made me discount the 1971 and the other MEC model of the same frame but with disk brakes (the Cote?)--a very nice bike too, but same gearing, 12-25 cassette.

I always have a bag or two on my bike, and so I knew from my old touring bike gearing that I need lower gearing.

ps, the specialized Tricross triple is $1000, same as the 1971 and while the derailleurs etc are shimano 2300 I think, of which I dont really know, it does come with the 50-39-30 and 11-32 rear cassette, same as teh next Tricross model, Tricross Sport which has tiagra brifters and a LX derailleur that can handle the wider range cassette (just as the triples derailleur can as well)

as for alu vs steel, yes steel is a bit more forgiving over bumps, but Cannondale has been making alu touring bkes for a long time, and my new bike is an alu frame and it aint too bad vs my old steel touring bike. In any case, you load up a bike and it dampens things out in any case.

also, when i test rode the 1971, the tires are at least 32s, maybe even 35s i forget, they are about 80-90 psi tires and I found that they dampened the bumps quite well. higher pressure 28s would be harsher thats a given, but stock, its a pretty comfortable ride-------JUST NOT LOW ENOUGH GEARING.

MEC is surely going to come out with a"touring" bike perhaps even next year, with proper gearing. It makes sense, given the "self propulsion" bent of MEC in general.

as others have said, a "real" touring bike is worth the extra money if you are going to do fully loaded touring, but bikes such as the Spec Tricross Sport or Triple have adequate gearing for touring.

read more online stuff here or elsewhere on "touring" gearing so that you can see that these recommendations are not off the wall. I was tempted by the 1971 or the Cote, but I am glad I didnt go that route, not low enough gearing is no fun with stuff on your bike and a steep hill....
From what i've seen the tri-cross has no lower eyelets on the seat-stay for a rack, pretty essential. I would say the frame is even further from a touring bicycle and only designed for lighter loads. It is true the MEC 1971 has a narrower cassette, but if that becomes an issue there is always the possibility to swap the RD and cassette... With the tri-cross, it is not possible to swap the frame of the bicycle without getting a "new" bicycle.

My general principle is always purchase the frame first and worry about component issues later.
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Old 09-01-10, 11:50 AM   #13
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From what i've seen the tri-cross has no lower eyelets on the seat-stay for a rack, pretty essential. I would say the frame is even further from a touring bicycle and only designed for lighter loads. It is true the MEC 1971 has a narrower cassette, but if that becomes an issue there is always the possibility to swap the RD and cassette... With the tri-cross, it is not possible to swap the frame of the bicycle without getting a "new" bicycle.

My general principle is always purchase the frame first and worry about component issues later.
agree 100% on the frame principle.
the tricross's do have frame eyelets (only one set though both up front and back, my touring bike has 2 at the back, one for rack, one for fenders) and the rack I put on mine 10 mins after I bought it attests to that. I havent put my fenders on it yet still, and will have to piggy back the rack and fender thingees together (I did buy some extra long allen bolts for this)

I freely admit the tricross is not made purely for touring, but I did measure and compare things to my old steel touring bike that i did all my fully loaded tours on and curiously enough, the wheelbases are the same (104cm comes to mind) and the rear chain stay is the same as well (44cm I think)- so I have no rear pannier/heel issues at all. The steering is a bit quicker than my touring bike, but not by a lot.

For me, I saw this as a bike that would be fine for lightish touring, even with climbs. But yes, it is not a dedicated tourer but I didnt buy it for that. The question here was how is the 1971, and it is basically a competitor to the Tricross, Jake the Snake etc. I just wanted and needed lower gearing, and figured the diff in $ was close to what a replacement RD and cassette would be compared to the 1971 (plus tiagra vs sora brifters)
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