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  1. #1
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    Windsor Tourist Vs Motobecane GT

    BikesDirect has these 2 touring bikes, Windsor Tourist and Motobecane GT and the main difference seems to be STI Vs bar end shifters.
    There is a $200 price difference and to me it looks like the lower priced Windsor is more attractive.
    Has anyone used any of these two? What is the opinion? Some plastic parts, e.g. barrel adjustors and QR nuts look flimsy.

  2. #2
    I don't know. RB1-luvr's Avatar
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    I like my Windsor Tourist, it's a nice bike, albeit a bit heavy.

    the rack it came with was too flimsy, I replaced it with a stronger old Blackburn Mtn Rack. And I am running 35c Paselas with Planet Bike fenders.

    only complaint: no third set of water bottle braze-ons.

    Last edited by RB1-luvr; 11-09-12 at 08:51 AM.
    Rast ich so rost ich. (When I rest, I rust)

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I have not looked lately, but I think I recall the GT having nicer wheels and better gearing. That said I hate bar end shifters and do not care at all for that choice.

    Three of us rode Windsor Touring bikes on the TA and a lot of additional riding and touring and liked them pretty well. We did swap out the cranks for a bit more sensible gearing.

    Bottom line for me is that if you like bar end shifters the Motobecane GT is a better bike. It is pretty expensive to switch to STI brifters though.

  4. #4
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    My friend Roy now has 68,000 miles on his Tourist.

    Still has the original crank set and chain rings on it.

    http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/h...oseofTexas.jpg
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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    Sounds like Windsor Tourist is the way to go for me.

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    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    I like my tourist a lot. Just about any bike you buy you may want to make some changes to suit you. I found the rear cassette pretty nice but I still made a change. I messed around a lot with the front gearing as the way it came was more of a road bike triple.

    Here is what I ended up with for gears and I have no desire to change anything again. Loving this setup.
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...4-28-32-36)-o)

    Agree the rack that came with it was light but I did a little reinforcing and it was ok. I love the STI’s and they are a plus for me. With the extra money you can get fenders and a few other things.

    My only complaint was I had some spoke issues and I would suggest on both bikes if you don’t have the skills have the wheels gone over at a bike shop. I don’t think my problem was the part quality just machine built wheels was the issue.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  7. #7
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I had two Blackburn EX-1 racks so my daughter and I used them, but a friend used the OEM rack for the Trans America and it didn't fail. If I recall she was carrying about 30 pounds.

  8. #8
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    There's are other differences than just STIs vs Bar ends -- the Motobecane has a better crankset, a better rear derailleur, and better gearing. The stock gearing on the Windsor is awfully tall with a lowest gear of 25.3 and you might get a 30-42-52 front crankset, which for me would be a bad choice for touring -- the middle ring of 42 would be awfully high. Note that the low (28-34) gear on the Motobecane is 22.2, and that's a 12% difference from the Windsor's 25.3 (30/32), which is a noticeable difference. That extra low gear is really welcome when carrying a load. Of course you could put a 26 or 24 tooth granny chainring on either crankset, but the lowest cog in the Motobecane cassette still is a 34; it's a 32 on the Windsor, and if Bikesdirect were to put a 30-42-52 crankset on the Windsor, that would be a big jump between a 26 granny and a 42 middle ring (albeit doable).

    I don't know if the wheels on the Motobecane are better. The rims, hubs, and bottom bracket are unbranded on the Windsor, which *might* indicate lower quality than the Vuelta and Shimano components on the Motobecane.

    I won't go into the STI vs bar-end controversy, but I would pick the Motobecane on the basis of gearing and better components. That said, the experience of the posters of this thread indicates that the Windsor works just fine.
    Last edited by OldZephyr; 11-09-12 at 12:40 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    The Motobecane looks better in manny respects to me, but I'd really want STI shifting and that'd be an expensive upgrade as many other have noted.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  10. #10
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Bar-ends or STI is a personal preference for sure. My Windsor was my first experience with any type of brifter and I wasn’t sure what I was going to think. For me the learning curve was very short and I was very pleased with how well they shift. All reports show they are very dependable but also if they did give out it would really limit your ability to do a field fix that’s true. Depends so much on your riding style to some degree or what you are used to. If you were to be planning a tour to some remote area of the world it might play a bigger role.

    The Windsor as set up would be a really good commuter gearing or touring in the flat lands. I totally agree the low end isn’t low enough and the high end is way too high. The Motobecane for me would be better but I think for someone doing loaded touring may still find it a bit not low enough and a bit too high. So in my case I would have changed gears on both bikes.

    Mine came 30, 42, 52 and 11-32. First change was a 26t granny. Second a 12-36 cassette. Third a 22, 32, 44 crank. Fourth back to the 26, 42, 52. Fifth a 24t granny. Sixth the thread I posted above 12-36 & 24, 42, 45. For what it’s worth with the STI the shift from the 24 to the 42 isn’t that hard to do and it doesn’t get done a lot. When I do it’s a soft shift under no load and the chain hops right up. I would recommend a chain minder if you go any lower than the 30t granny.
    The STI shifts amazingly smooth between the two larger rings when it was 42, 52. Now that I have 42, 45 it’s so smooth I don’t even know it shifted. Every bit as smooth as a cassette shift.

    Another one to look at might be the Nashbar touring bike also. I never studied it much but it’s in the same price range.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Here is another thread you might find interesting depending on how much wrenching you do. Would apply to both bikes.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...chanics-Owners

    Oh and one last thing do you like blue or green better.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  12. #12
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    i once bought the nashbar steel touring bike when it first came out and there was one of their $20 off sales. I got it for a ridiculous price and it came with 105 brifters and deraileurs. I ended up selling most of the 105 parts because ultimately the bike was going to be my commuter and I didn't want to be locking it up outside with brand new 105 parts. The only thing that absolutely sucked abou tthat bike was the super duper generic wheelset that came with it was just absolutely horrible. the bearings were wacky and the adjustment was like something I'd never seen before and I never got them quite right. I sold the wheels for $100 on craigslist and luckily I found another set of used wheels with a dynamo hub up front so it worked out great. THe motobecane is essentially trying to be a LHT and it does a great job but if you hate bar ends than get the windsor and be wary of the wheels.

    Again, mine was a nashbar bike, the wheels on the windsor may actually be great but just be sure to double check. just because there are 36 spokes, doesn't mean they were built up properly. If your going to do true touring you may want to get a set of wheels built no matter what bike you buy, it's not as expensive as you would think, particularly if you stick to a basic Shimano MTB hubs

  13. #13
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscTruckerMF View Post
    Again, mine was a nashbar bike, the wheels on the windsor may actually be great but just be sure to double check. just because there are 36 spokes, doesn't mean they were built up properly. If your going to do true touring you may want to get a set of wheels built no matter what bike you buy, it's not as expensive as you would think, particularly if you stick to a basic Shimano MTB hubs

    When I first started having a spoke go here and there on my Tourist, mostly drive side rear. I changed a few and then I got tired of it and read in a few blogs others popping spokes. So I went to my trusted LBS and said build me a new set of whatever it takes 36, 40 or even 48 if that’s what it takes. The owner looked at me like I was crazy and said let me see what you have. He said he would spend my money if I wanted but thought the rims and hubs looked to be good quality and figured the wheels were never right and with time I fatigued the rear and I shouldn’t trust them now. He suggested I go with new spokes in the back (DT) and just re-tension the front. I told him to go ahead and do them both.

    I took a couple of the old spokes and a couple new DT spokes and I happen to have a materials testing lab I could use. So I did a bunch of tests on both spokes and found them to be pretty close. That kind of confirmed for me it was a build / fatigue problem from the beginning, and why I recommend anyone on any mail order bike or lower end bike have the wheels looked at and tensioned as needed.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    When I first started having a spoke go here and there on my Tourist, mostly drive side rear. I changed a few and then I got tired of it and read in a few blogs others popping spokes. So I went to my trusted LBS and said build me a new set of whatever it takes 36, 40 or even 48 if that’s what it takes. The owner looked at me like I was crazy and said let me see what you have. He said he would spend my money if I wanted but thought the rims and hubs looked to be good quality and figured the wheels were never right and with time I fatigued the rear and I shouldn’t trust them now. He suggested I go with new spokes in the back (DT) and just re-tension the front. I told him to go ahead and do them both.

    I took a couple of the old spokes and a couple new DT spokes and I happen to have a materials testing lab I could use. So I did a bunch of tests on both spokes and found them to be pretty close. That kind of confirmed for me it was a build / fatigue problem from the beginning, and why I recommend anyone on any mail order bike or lower end bike have the wheels looked at and tensioned as needed.
    I agree 100%. I think bikes direct has awesome bikes and values. but the wheels is where they lack on many of their bikes and it really is as simple as just stress relieveing them as soon as you get them and bringing up the tension to appropriate levels if need be. That is something that a good lbs mechanic would do with a name brand bike but you could also pay them $25 a wheel to do it to an internet bike and it's still going to make the bike far less than other name brand options. I actually took it upon myself to learn how to build my own wheels. It is super easy to do and requires minimal equipment. I have a cheapo minoura truing stand, if I thought I was going to build more wheels for friends, I'd consider getting the park tool truing stand.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    Here is another thread you might find interesting depending on how much wrenching you do. Would apply to both bikes.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...chanics-Owners

    Oh and one last thing do you like blue or green better.
    I liked that thread but have to say that if one cannot assemble a mail order bike, which amounts to putting on the paddles, saddle, front wheel and handlebar, etc., one should not even think about bicycle touring. I really am at a loss why people think that LBS people are "Bike Gods". They must come in all varieties, too good and bad. I have not ridden a LBS bike yet, but had a LBS true a rear wheel in NYC at an event and the next week had a broken a spoke on the same wheel. My first broken spoke in 30 years of casual biking in the US. I just didn't care about the pace at which the mechanics handle each job, as if it is a race.

    I don't know how wheel building machines work. I think that machine made wheels may be inferior to hand made wheels, but in that case the hands that make those wheels must be exceptionally well trained, which is not always guaranteed. A machine, if setup and maintained correctly would churn out the same product many times over. The same cannot be said even for a well trained human being.

    And, I guess I like green over blue for a touring bike.
    Last edited by ak08820; 11-10-12 at 06:46 AM.

  16. #16
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    ak08820, True enough that an inexperianced/lazy/distracted/whatever wheel builder may not build a wheel as well as the machine can, but generally humans do better because they're not forced into a defined program. Stress relieve and true the wheels, build the Windsor (or the Motobecane) and ride it to evaluate what, if any changes you wish to make.

    Brad

    PS If I hadn't found THE frameset I wanted for a touring build I'd very likely have had the same dilemma as you. I like bar end shifters and blue frames.

  17. #17
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Is the frame and fork the exact same for both models?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by robow View Post
    Is the frame and fork the exact same for both models?
    There was a discussion quite awhile ago that I remember, maybe on this forum. The gist was that for low volumn models from a smallish manufacturer there may indeed be outsourced frames. The Tourist and GT have a very similar frame to the Fuji Touring http://www.fujibikes.com/bike/details/touring . Comparing specs and these three are quite similar. Fuji was guessed to be the supplier of the Windsor frame, but who knows?

    Brad

  19. #19
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscTruckerMF View Post
    I agree 100%. I think bikes direct has awesome bikes and values. but the wheels is where they lack on many of their bikes and it really is as simple as just stress relieveing them as soon as you get them and bringing up the tension to appropriate levels if need be. That is something that a good lbs mechanic would do with a name brand bike but you could also pay them $25 a wheel to do it to an internet bike and it's still going to make the bike far less than other name brand options. I actually took it upon myself to learn how to build my own wheels. It is super easy to do and requires minimal equipment. I have a cheapo minoura truing stand, if I thought I was going to build more wheels for friends, I'd consider getting the park tool truing stand.
    I agree on the BD wheels not being ready to go, at least not on my Fantom CXX. They need to be properly tensioned and stress-relieved. (To be fair, they tell you that up front). On the other hand, I have a LBS bike that I used to break spokes on. When I got the tools and skills to tell the difference, I discovered that that the wheels hadn't been tensioned evenly. I guess it really depends on the LBS mechanic if this is done properly or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
    I agree on the BD wheels not being ready to go, at least not on my Fantom CXX. They need to be properly tensioned and stress-relieved. (To be fair, they tell you that up front). On the other hand, I have a LBS bike that I used to break spokes on. When I got the tools and skills to tell the difference, I discovered that that the wheels hadn't been tensioned evenly. I guess it really depends on the LBS mechanic if this is done properly or not.
    yes, a lot of lbs mechanics will simply get the wheel laterally true and then turn all the spokes up a half turn to add tension. unfortunately, just because a wheel is laterally true doesn't mean it's properly tensioned. I'd rather have a evenly tensioned wheels slightly out of true

  21. #21
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    I'm not sure the Bikes Direct frame is still the same as the present Fuji touring frame as there are some differences in the geometry and the Fuji is using a threadless headset and fork and the Bikes direct is still using a threaded fork and headset. I know for years they were identical.

  22. #22
    Member Chackadaux's Avatar
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    I am now looking into The tourist also, Like the bike alot. I wouldn't call what I do touring but I dont ride races either. But this is a nice bike in between a Hybird and Road bike. Im looking to ride a bit more faster like a road bike but also longer like touring. I like to sight see around my state. One day I would like to do a weekend tour with some friends of mine. This bike seems to fit what I do.

  23. #23
    Senior Member steve-in-kville's Avatar
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    I've had the Tourist going on two years. So far its my main commuter. I added fenders, a rear rack and an areobar for comfort. I have various bags/panniers to use depending on my cargo that day. I would recommend it, but the wheels do need trued a bit. Not sure how many miles I have so far... 5k at the most??
    Best regards - steve
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  24. #24
    Member Chackadaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post
    I've had the Tourist going on two years. So far its my main commuter. I added fenders, a rear rack and an areobar for comfort. I have various bags/panniers to use depending on my cargo that day. I would recommend it, but the wheels do need trued a bit. Not sure how many miles I have so far... 5k at the most??
    I have a trek steel flatbar muiltytrack I rebuilt and looking to up grade it. I have been thinking about getting a set of areobars how do u like the one u bought. I enjoy this bike alot. the only problem I built it for my wife and my son, sometimes I wish I could take that back.lol

  25. #25
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak08820 View Post
    I liked that thread but have to say that if one cannot assemble a mail order bike, which amounts to putting on the paddles, saddle, front wheel and handlebar, etc., one should not even think about bicycle touring. I really am at a loss why people think that LBS people are "Bike Gods". They must come in all varieties, too good and bad. I have not ridden a LBS bike yet, but had a LBS true a rear wheel in NYC at an event and the next week had a broken a spoke on the same wheel. My first broken spoke in 30 years of casual biking in the US. I just didn't care about the pace at which the mechanics handle each job, as if it is a race.

    I don't know how wheel building machines work. I think that machine made wheels may be inferior to hand made wheels, but in that case the hands that make those wheels must be exceptionally well trained, which is not always guaranteed. A machine, if setup and maintained correctly would churn out the same product many times over. The same cannot be said even for a well trained human being.

    And, I guess I like green over blue for a touring bike.
    Ak08820
    I completely see your point. I rarely take my bike to a bike shop and doubt I would with a new BD bike to get going out of the box. I started that thread because I have been asked quite a few times where I bought my bike and like some of the above posters many people are interested in a Windsor Tourist as more of a cross between a road bike and a hybrid or commuter. I do agree you shouldn’t be on a bike if you can’t do some of the simple maintenance but there are a lot that would shy away from a BD bike for the fear of doing the minimal assembly. The tune up might include a few things like lubing the bike and making shifting and stopping fine-tuned and maybe even a fitting.

    I am an automated machine designer by trade and have watched a few movies on the latest wheel lacing machines and they are quite complex machines and I would say that in almost all cases a machine can build things way more accurately than a human. Bike wheels were first invented with human assembly in mine and that sometimes doesn’t lend itself well to automation. I’m sure the very best machines now can do a very good job of building a wheel and human variability is a very big unknown for sure. I guess the only sure fired way to know would be to learn the skill set and do the trueing yourself. The next best is to build some relationships with LBS and talk to them enough and ask enough questions of others that have had wheel work done to find someone you trust, as I did.

    Wheel building is a craft I like to think of as a mixture of art and science. Machines get the science part pretty well but the art is only as good as the human designing and programing them.

    If you haven’t tried STI’s Try and find some to see what you think. They are really great on the cassette IMO. Depending on what Rings you run up front and getting used to trimming with them etc. there is a little learning curve over something like friction shifting. Part of the reason I wanted to have a good working range on the granny ring over something like a mega-range cassette.

    Green is good
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

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