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kelz0429 04-02-08 08:08 PM

Raleigh Venture 3.0 vs. Specialized Expedition Sport
Hello All!

I will be commuting to school beginning in August and have narrowed my bike search down to the Raleigh Venture 3.0 and the Specialized Expedition Sport (both sporting a step-through woman's frame). Both of the bikes fit me well and seem very well-matched as far as components are concerned--they are also exactly the same price, and both shops seem equally as helpful. I am so stumped that I am about to make the decision based on the paint job...

Does anyone have an opinion as to which bike/brand might be a better choice? See specs below:

Thanks in advance!

Specialized Expedition Sport
Frame & Fork
Frame Construction TIG-welded
Frame Tubing Material A1 Premium aluminum
Fork Brand & Model SR NEX-4100-26, 63mm
Fork Material Hi-tensile steel, single crown
Rear Shock Not applicable

Component Group Comfort Mix
Brakeset ProMax linear-pull brakes, Tektro alloy levers
Shift Levers Shimano Revo Twist
Front Derailleur Shimano FD-C050, clamp on 31.8mm
Rear Derailleur Shimano Altus
Crankset Shimano FC-TX70, 24/34/42 teeth
Pedals Platform nylon w/Kraton top
Bottom Bracket TH cartridge, 122.5mm spindle
BB Shell Width 68mm English
Rear Cogs 7-speed, 13 - 34 teeth
Chain KMC Z7, 1/2 x 3/32"
Seatpost Alloy suspension, 27.2mm diameter
Saddle Specialized Comfort Plus w/springs
Handlebar Hi-Ten 620mm wide, 60mm rise
Handlebar Extensions Not included
Handlebar Stem Specialized Ground Control
Headset 1 1/8" threaded Specialized loose ball

Hubs Front: Specialized forged alloy, Rear: Shimano FH-RM30S
Rims Alex Z-1000, 32-hole
Tires 26 x 1.95" Specialized Hemisphere
Spoke Brand Stainless steel, 15ga. (1.8mm)
Spoke Nipples Unspecified

Raleigh Venture 3.0
Frame & Fork
Frame Construction TIG-welded
Frame Tubing Material Atomic 13 Aluminum
Fork Brand & Model SR Suntour NEX 4100, 63mm travel
Fork Material Steel/aluminum, single crown
Rear Shock Not applicable

Component Group Comfort Mix
Brakeset Tektro brakes, Tektro levers
Shift Levers Shimano Revo
Front Derailleur Shimano C50
Rear Derailleur Shimano Altus
Crankset SR Suntour XCC208, 28/38/48 teeth
Pedals Avenir Comfort Platform
Bottom Bracket Sealed Cartridge
BB Shell Width Unspecified
Rear Cogs 7, 14 - 34 teeth
Chain KMC Z51
Seatpost Alloy Micro-adjust Suspension, 27.2mm diameter
Saddle Avenir Deluxe Comfort
Handlebar Comfort Riser
Handlebar Extensions Not included
Handlebar Stem Alloy Adjustable
Headset 1 1/8" threaded Uspecified

Hubs Joytech Alloy QR
Rims Weinmann CN520, 36-hole
Tires 26 x 1.95" Kenda K-841A w/K-shield
Spoke Brand Stainless Steel, 14ga. (2.0mm) straight gauge
Spoke Nipples Unspecified

Jarnett 04-02-08 08:27 PM

I have been commuting on a Raleigh Venture , the 7 speed model for the past month and I very pleased with the bike. My ride is a about 6 miles each way and the bike is very comfortable and shifts very well. This is the first real bike I have had since I was a kid, but I think it great.

Severian 04-02-08 11:23 PM

The shop I work at sells both. My personal bent is towards the Specialized. But, I am a bit biased. I do have a couple points that I can illuminate:

The crankset on the Specialized is geared a little bit lower across the band than the Raleigh. So it's high end isn't as high and the number of unique gear combinations may be smaller on the Specialized.

My own personal bias also leans towards the Specialized because of the tire. Kenda makes a decent MTB tire, but I'm not convinced about the durability of the other tires in their line. My own feeling is that Specialized sources a better tire in general than Kenda.

I also like the wheelset on the Specialized a bit more. The rims and spokes on both bikes wheelsets are about comparable. But, the hubs on the Specialized are a step up from the Joytech hubs on the Raleigh. When you have wear in your hubs down the line you're more likely to find replacement parts for the Shimano hub on the Specialized, for example.

My question to you is: were you able to take either bike out on a decent test-ride? In the end you have to like the bike under your butt. Whichever one feels, subjectively, like it rides better is the one you should go with.

kelz0429 04-03-08 06:58 AM

Thank you both for your replies.

To answer your question, Severian, I have been able to take the Specialized on a 1 mile test ride but have only been able to take the Raleigh on a ride around the very small shop (it was raining the day I went shopping). I plan to go back today or tomorrow, weather permitting, to take the Raleigh out. I really emjoyed the Specialized and hope my ride on the Raleigh will shed some light and aid in my decision.

One more point worth considering is that the Specialized has a lifetime frame warranty, and the shop is offering lifetime maintenance (just standard tune-ups, adjustments, etc.). I believe the Raleigh offers only a 5 year warranty, and the shop is offering a year of free tune-ups (along with a free helmet, lock, water bottle and cage, patch kit, tire tools, spare tube, and pump). Should this really bear heavily on my choice? I ask simply because I have never owned a bike worth the cost of maintenace, so I am not sure how often I would actually use it (or need it).

Thanks again!

n4zou 04-03-08 08:21 AM

Originally Posted by kelz0429 (Post 6451501)
both sporting a step-through woman's frame

I reject the notion that step-through frames are only for women! People in most countries consider step-through frames as commuter and utility bikes. As I get older a step-through frame bike would make getting on and off much easier and I would not be worried about keeping up with the roadies on there stiff frame bikes. A step-through bike also makes it possible to carry a lot more stuff on the rear as you need not lift and swing your leg over the seat.

Torrilin 04-03-08 09:24 AM

My sister just purchased a rigid frame Raleigh Detour, and it has a lifetime frame warranty. It seems a bit odd that such a similar model would have a different warranty. She *really* likes pink, and found the Venture's color very appealing, but didn't really want the suspension after trying both rigid and suspension bikes.

kelz0429 04-03-08 10:47 AM

I have NOW been exposed to the Specialized Crossroads Sport. From what I understand, the only difference between this and the Expedition is the tire size: the Crossroads sports a 700c.

When taking this bike out on a trail, would the 700c provide a decent ride?

KLW2 04-03-08 10:51 AM

I have been commuting in Minnesota year round on a 2003 Specialized Expedition Sport. Have added fenders lights, rack, panniers, etc. Studded tires in the winter and Armadillo Nimbus tires the rest of the year. I have 7 bikes and love this one for the commute (22 miles round trip with hills).
I'm sure the Raleigh is a good bike as well.

Torrilin 04-03-08 10:55 AM

You can ride both 700C and 26" wheels on trails. If you're short, have short legs or are very heavy, 26" wheels can be a better choice. They're smaller, so getting a good geometry for a short person is easier, and they're stronger. 700C is larger and has a wide selection of tires. It's used a lot for racing, so if you do group rides that may be a factor. For an extremely tall individual, a 700C bike may offer some geometry advantages.

Unless you're a serious racer or carry very heavy loads, it's pretty safe to treat the problem as "wheels are wheels are wheels".

Jeffbeerman2 04-03-08 11:33 AM

I can't compare them, but I bought my ex girlfriend a Venture 3.0 and have used it a bit. The bike is very comfortable, with a very upright riding position. I dated her for about a year and there were no problems whatsoever. The components worked flawlessly. Brakes and shifting were great. We only had it adjusted once, about a month after it was new, to account for cable stretch. The 3.0 has good tires with a kevlar belt which helps to avoid flats (which the Specialized does not have). It has more gear range than it really needs. We occasionally used it to pull her son in a trailer (although most of the time the trailer was on my bike). She never commuted on it, but I still outfitted it with a rack, lights and fenders. The frame has the necessary braze ons. The only component she didn't like that I replaced later were the grips, which I replaced with ergons.

We used it on many many weekend rides, usually around 10 miles or so round trip. I rode it about three miles a few months ago when she moved from her apartment and I loved the cushy ride. I can't say that I would like riding it for my own commute which is 12mi round trip because it is not a terribly fast bike (the style of both bikes is more leisurely). The upright geometry is super-comfortable, but isn't ideal for putting power to the pedals or cheating the wind. I wouldn't ride it on busy streets, but it was fine on recreational paths and secondary streets.

If your commute is under 5 miles, isn't on busy roads, and your riding style is more leisurely, it is a good value. I think I paid $315 for hers and put about $120 in the rack, flat repair kit, frame pump, fenders, be-seen lights, and a light-duty pannier (accessories bought on sale at nashbar). It's pretty hard to beat a complete bike for ~$450 including accessories and tax. Plan to spend another $60 on top of that if you need a helmet and lock.

While you are test riding, try an Electra Townie too. The crank-forward geometry allows you to put both feet flat on the ground while sitting in the saddle, which is a really nice feature in a comfort bike (you cant do this on either the Specialized or Raleigh). The '08 7-speed (7D model) is only about $30 more than the bikes you are currently considering. You sacrifice the front derailleur but you gain a chain guard to keep grease off of your pants. A triple chainring is overkill in this type of bike and a chain guard is important if you ever want to ride while wearing long pants (unless you like chain grease on your pants). The townie also does not have a front shock absorber. The front shock doesn't do much for ride quality, robs power, and makes the bike unnecessarily heavy.

kelz0429 04-04-08 07:12 AM

:Thanks again, all who have replied!

I am a bit wary of the 700c tires, as I know they are more fragile and flats are more probable. I am also just under 5'4", so the taller tires wouldn't really offer me any geometrical advantages. I am going to the shop to ride the Specialized Crossroads Sport today, so I will have a good idea as to what feels best for me, although I am sure that I could adjust either bike to fit me well.

As far as the Townie is concerned, I am not a far of the chopper-like feel. I am not married to the idea of a front suspension and crank, but I really like the idea that I would be able to take the Specialized or the Raleigh out on my local bike trail and have a bit of a smoother ride on the gravel portions of the trail. Luckily, both of these bikes offer an adjustment to the front shock, although they do NOT lock out completely.

I cannot say that I am leaning either way yet--I think I might have to toss a coin :p

I will keep you all posted!

leo3 04-04-08 12:01 PM

I ride a 2006 Raleigh Venture 5.0, and have only good things to say about it. It is the first bike I've owned in 30 years, and it serves me well for 10 - 12 mile recreational rides, as well as trail rides around the local resevoir. I have had no problems with the Kenda K-shield tires in one year of riding. Some of the components may be a step or two higher than the 3.0, but I'm sure the Venture will be a fine bike for your needs. All of the free stuff thrown in sounds like the deal I got on my Raleigh at Cycle Logic, in Raleigh,NC. Best of luck with whatever you buy.

kelz0429 04-04-08 01:25 PM

Originally Posted by leo3 (Post 6461545)
I ride a 2006 Raleigh Venture 5.0, and have only good things to say about it. It is the first bike I've owned in 30 years, and it serves me well for 10 - 12 mile recreational rides, as well as trail rides around the local resevoir. I have had no problems with the Kenda K-shield tires in one year of riding. Some of the components may be a step or two higher than the 3.0, but I'm sure the Venture will be a fine bike for your needs. All of the free stuff thrown in sounds like the deal I got on my Raleigh at Cycle Logic, in Raleigh,NC. Best of luck with whatever you buy.

Leo, it IS the deal you got at Cycle Logic--I am in Raleigh, NC, and Cycle Logic is actually the only shop here in Raleigh that sells Raleigh bikes (at least, they are the only shop I have been able to find). I hope to take a test drive of the Raleigh on Monday--I can't wait!

leo3 04-05-08 08:14 AM

Hope the weather clears for your test ride. Ed is a cool guy, and strikes me as the most honest bike store owner I have ever run across. Too many LBS owners and employees tend to look down on us folks who are not serious roadies or racers like they are, giving the impression that commuters and recreational riders are not worth serious consideration. That said, I have nothing but good things to say about both my Raleigh, and Cycle Logic.

kelz0429 04-06-08 07:26 PM

Well, the weather cleared up just long enough for me to take a test ride on the Raleigh...

I loved it! I didn't even have to give myself anymore time to consider my decision. I felt as if the suspension of the Raleigh was less cushy, which I am sure will help me when I am climbing hills. I also feel like the Raleigh fits me a little bit better (I feel more comfortable on the bike). I plan to put some super-tough tires on my bike at some point in the near feature, so the tire quality wasn't as much of an issue in my decision as it may be for some.

I am picking up my new Raleigh Venture 3.0 tomorrow :D. I really appreciate all of your input and advice--thanks guys!

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