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Old 06-09-10, 01:49 PM
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Windsor Tourist: first impressions

My first impression is that it is a good deal at $599. For those who don’t know, this is a bikesdirect bike, which comes boxed, shipped for free in the US. Some say it's a rebranded Fuji Touring with a few generic parts. It seems like it to me. It comes like this:

The next picture is stock, just after I put it together, minus the rack, which is actually okay for a light rack--it sits quite far back, so good heal clearance. The seat and peddles are not good, but for a chromoly touring frame, Deore and Tiagra drive train, STI shifters (good for my commuting/light touring), 36-spoke wheels and decent cantilever brakes, I think it’s a good deal. Hubs and BB are generic, sealed cartridge. Rims are generic, too. Gearing is on the high side, but better than the road bike I’d been riding. Weight seems right on par with what I felt in touring bikes at my LBS. All in all, it’s perfectly functional, and fairly homely, I think.

Now the (almost finished) after shot: I scrapped out the stem and bars, and replaced them with Nitto, technomic stem and noodle bars (which I just love). I added SKS fenders and a $30 Axiom rack, for a total of $200 in swapped parts and accessories, bringing the price up to $800 for my commuter, occasional tourer (pedals swapped from my road bike). Still a good hundred dollars cheaper than what I was finding at my LBS, and with all the trimmings and a nice stem and bars, so probably $300 or more off what I would pay for a fair equivalent (though the “equivalent” wouldn’t have the generic parts). I bought the extra parts and accessories at my LBS, so they did and will continue to get my business. I was simply on a very tight budget, and this bike made sense for me right now. As soon as my finances recover I’ll be adding a honey Brooks saddle and silver seatpost.

In the end, I like the looks, and the fit is great. And I don’t know where I’d get more bang for my buck in a new bike. I do want to add that I had no problems with bikesdirect, which means I can say they're legit, but I can't report on what you might experience if you have problems. Most people would probably do better to shell out the extra dough and go with the LBS, but if you're adventurous, broke, and this bike's specs fit your bill, you might think about it. I had a great time putting it together and decking it out just how I want it. Fun stuff. I’ll give a report after a short tour with my wife in Michigan over July 4th weekend. So far, very happy.

Last edited by unkabin; 06-09-10 at 03:25 PM.
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