Santa Cruz Chameleon, Cannondale R800 (CAAD4) with Dura-Ace upgrade
sorry, my only experience is with the older ones as well. I did my first ever off road/road tour on one in the flagstaff/sedona region of Arizona. Know it doesn't help, but your question brought back fond memories fo one of the greatest experiences of my life.
It looks like a great bike. I really like gary fisher bikes. You said that you are using it for road/trails? If by trails you mean dirt and possibly mountain, then an X-caliber might be more suited for you. It is a little more aggressive and it has lower gearing for hills, where as the Montare has a little higher gearing, but still, quite a big range of gears. I will be building a montare at the shop tomorrow and I will let you know what I think once I actually see one in person.
I haven't managed to see one in the flesh myself yet. I'm torn between a marin point reyes, a cannondale bay day and the GF.
I won't be doing any aggressive off roading on it, just trails and tow paths mainly. I think the GF has slightly bigger wheels than the other two bikes (29' instead of 26') but smaller than the 700c that some hybrids have. The 29' seems like a good compromise to me - although I wonder whether there might be a problem getting tyres.
The other factor I'm considering is the front suspension. The other two bikes don't have it and I'm not sure whether thats an advantage or disadvantage really.
When I first opened the box, I immediately disliked he tires. This changed a bit when I realized that this bike, though called dual-sport, is leaning a little more towards the mountain bike style. The stock tires are a slicker middle with more mountain style on the edges. I'm not sure the exact size, but they aren't as wide as a normal mtb tire, but it is a 29er and you could easily swap them with any 700c tires you can find.
While putting it together, I noticed that the wheels were pretty good quality, with some help from the discs, they appeared to be able to handle quite a bit of abuse. It does come with decent disc brakes which would be great for touring, but overkill for normal riding, unless you really wanted nice smooth stopping power. The fork on it is pretty nice. Nothing you want to go jumping with, but they too appeared to be a quality fork. The shifting on this bike was really good. After a quick adjustment, it shifted like a dream, both front and back, very smooth. The gearing on this is more set for road riding, as opposed to having very low gears. Still with the 11-34 9 speed on the back, you get plenty of variation in gears. I did find a small grass hill on the test ride that I rode up in a lower gear, and unless you wanted to ride up anything pretty big, the gearing is plenty low enough for casual off roading. On that same note, I really liked the handling of the 29's on the grass, I felt confident even after only riding it for a few minutes. Another little thing I liked is that it comes with bar ends for a little different hand placement.
The only thing I didn't like about the bike was that rather than using frame mounted cable stays, on the front fork and the seatstay for the rear disc, it used a little stick-on mount to get a precise placement, but I would recommend putting a couple pull ties to help the stickies stay on. Other than that minor gripe, It was a great bike.
Thanks very much for taking the time to give me your impressions of the bike. I'm going to see one (and hopefully ride one if they have my size) later this week.
I will bear all your pointers in mind when I look it over and will let you know my thoughts. I'm torn between a marin point reyes and the montare. I don't suppose you've ever ridden/built one of those?
I'm struggling to find anywhere in my region that stocks the Montare so I may have to go ahead and order the bike based on info on the GF site, your review and a few other older reviews I've found. With regard to sizing the frame, I may have to size up on a Utopia (which appears to have the same geometry and sizings). Could you foresee any problems with this strategy. I'm 6 feet 2 inches so it will probably come down to a choice between the 19 inch and the 21 inch frame.
I'm really interested in this bike....should buy within a month's time. But it's impossible to find at any LBS.
I'd really like to test-ride it first, but it doesn't look like it'll happen. Most stores say they'll accept it back
if it doesn't work out....not my preference, but what's a Hoo Koo E Koo to do?
I generally buy 32" inseem jeans/slacks.....Based solely on this limited info, does anyone with personal
experience think I will fit the "large" bike? This is the 19" bike with a standover height of 30.8"
I think all the LBS's up here who sell Trek just kinda/sorta list the Fisher bikes, but their selection is
terrible (on the floor "samples").
Any problem with frame strength regarding urban riding (such as hopping curbs, potholes, etc.)?
It's been a long time since I've purchased a new bike and I'm used to the large-tube aluminum
frames of yore, so these modern once raise an eyebrow for me.