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2018 Giant Roam 2

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Old 04-18-18, 06:52 PM
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hokiefyd
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2018 Giant Roam 2

Okay, let's do this new bike thing again. I detailed my experience with the 2018 Giant ARX in that thread, and will now show pics of its replacement, a 2018 Giant Roam 2, and I'll comment on what I like and don't like about it.

I was initially undecided on the Roam 2 vs. 3. The 2 has nicer components, but I thought that I liked the blue color on the 3 better. My local Giant dealer has a 3 in Satin Blue and a 2 in Satin Grey, so I went to check them out. In person, the Satin Blue was just a bit "off". I think it had a little hint of either green or yellow in it, and wasn't a pure blue like I hoped it would be. The website shows more of a pure blue, but it's not quite that in person, or at least the example at my local bike shop wasn't. So I bought the 2, in Satin Grey in large frame size. Giant call this "Satin Grey", and it's a pretty soft grey...with just a HINT of either blue or green in it I think. It's a nice color, and the blue/yellow accents really do look nice.

roam01 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

These aren't the greatest pictures, and I haven't really even cleaned it up. In fact, I had already removed the stock grips and hadn't put new ones on yet. I'll keep this thread updated with stuff I do on it as I go.

roam02 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

It's a full Acera drivetrain (front and rear derailleurs) and the rear derailleur is a newer Shadow model (RD-T3000). I like the straighter cable routing with it and shift effort is about the same as any other derailleur (it's a non-clutch model). Shifting is a little clunky, but I think this particular derailleur is tweaked just a bit. I need to have it back to the bike shop to look at it. It shifted okay in the bike shop parking lot, but I haven't been able to get it better at home, and the cage looks just a bit angled outboard, so I think something is slightly bent on either the derailleur or the hanger (the hanger looks straight). I'm not bothered -- the bike shop'll get it right.

It comes stock with a KMC X9.93 chain.

roam03 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

Shimano M371 crankset. 26-36-48 chainrings. This crankset is a visible upgrade over the Prowheel crankset on the ARX, though the chainrings feel a little thin and cheap on this. I like the Suntour Powerflow crankset that comes on the lower-spec Roam 3 at least as much as this. That same Suntour Powerflow crankset is on my Trek Verve, and it's been great. I'm sure this Shimano crankset will be fine though.

The front derailleur is an Acera, but looks like very cheap stamped steel all around. I haven't been able to find a model number on it yet. It actually shifts beautifully, but it looks really cheap.

roam04 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

I like internal cable routing, but I actually like this even better. The cables (and brake hose) run down the down tube inside this plastic shield. You can remove the winged piece and just use the plastic bar underneath. Or you can remove both and just bolt the cable retainers directly to the downtube and not use either protector. Bonus: there are four screw holes in the downtube, and this uses just three. The fourth is just above the lowest hole, and in the right location for a bottle cage mount. So one could run a third bottle cage on this frame.

roam05 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

The cables (and brake hose) run cleanly under the bottom bracket. I like this setup because the cables stay nice and clean without any cable stops, but yet you can still easily replace cables and brake hoses without needing any internal cabling tools. Well done, Giant.

roam06 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

These are the Shimano M315 hydraulic brakes, with 160mm rotors. At first, I thought it had a complete silver circle on the caliper housing with a black circle sticker just applied off-center, but it's all paint. There's just a silver crescent of paint. Weird. They work nice, though. I don't know if these are semi-metallic or organic pads.

roam07 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

Simple cockpit. The handlebar is a 670mm bar. This bar is another upgrade on the Roam 2 over the 3, besides the drivetrain and brake differences. The 3 has what appears to be a smooth steel handlebar, whereas the 2 has the Giant Connect matte finish aluminum bar.

roam08 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

I like the tires, the Giant Crosscut 700x38s. They measure about 37.5mm, so they're pretty true to size. They have a mixed tread that seems to work great on the pavement. I don't have a lot of riding time on it yet, but the tires seem great; I think I'll go on and keep them.

roam09 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

This is a pure mystery to me. Giant advertises this fork as a Suntour NEX HLO (hydraulic lockout) fork. They don't mention the ability to adjust preload, and there's a smooth cap over the left side stanchion from the factory. Yet, if you pry that cap off, there's a preload adjustment. And it works. I can't figure out why Giant would HIDE the preload adjustment and not advertise it as a feature of the fork. Did they save money on these forks by just covering that up? Why not buy forks without actual preload adjusters? Very strange. I have left the fork fairly soft (it's why I bought a bike with a suspension fork), but I'll play with it and see what feels good to me.

I think the Roam 2 is a pretty solid value compared with the ARX 2 that I had bought. The Roam 2 is another $100 at retail. For that $100, you get a suspension fork (questionable utility to some, but it certainly cost Giant some money to include on the bike), a 3x9 drivetrain vs. 3x8, a demonstrably nicer and more expensive crankset, more expensive hydraulic disc brakes (Shimano M315 vs. Tektro HD-285), and what appear to be much nicer tires (Giant branded vs. CST, Cheng Shin Tire). Even if the Crosscuts are really produced by CST, they seem to be at a higher level than the CST-labeled ones. And the Roam has that nice cable routing (though the truly internal routing on the ARX is probably more expensive to produce). Handlebar/stem/saddle is the same between them.

That's a lot of extra/nicer kit for 100 bucks. Even if the Roam had a rigid fork, I still think it's a better value at $600 than the ARX is at $500. Oh -- the hubs on the Roam are also different and, I presume, a little nicer. The rear hub on the ARX sounded a little dry/gritty. But it wasn't something I was willing to make a four hour trip to fix. Thus why I won't soon be buying another bike from an out-of-town dealer.

I'm very happy with the way the Roam rides. It's comfortable, quiet, stable, and just easy to ride. I'm excited to own it.
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Old 04-18-18, 07:31 PM
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Great pics.


I have no need of a Giant Roam, but they look so nice that I keep having to fight the desire to get one.
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Old 04-18-18, 07:47 PM
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Just saw one at a local shop yesterday when I was getting my wife's Specialized looked at. Read up on it when I got home and really looks like a good deal.
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Old 04-18-18, 09:40 PM
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What made you take the ARX back? I know you say the Roam is a better value, but was there something about the ARX that you decided you didn't like after riding it a little? Either way, nice bike... again!

I really like way the cables are routed on that Roam. I haven't seen that before, but it certainly seems like the best of both worlds - easy access for maintenance, yet covered for better protection.
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Old 04-19-18, 07:41 AM
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Nice bike!

The tires are more dirt-oriented than my 2015 Roam 2 (& slightly thinner). The rest appears very similar....including the HLO fork.

Oddly enough, Giant "specs" for my year lists preload adjustment. 2018 does not. Perhaps they hid that feature to make the Roam 1 more appealing?

Hope you enjoy yours as much as I have. Mine sees frequent duty on moderate single-track MTB trails & the hydro brakes/suspension fork really help. 50+ mile greenway rides are common, too. I really find this to be a great Dual Sport "best of both worlds" ride that doesn't break the bank.

Last edited by Roamer2; 04-19-18 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 04-19-18, 08:27 AM
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Nice Roam! I was tired of the clunkiness of my Alivio shifting as well. My LBS couldn't get it any smoother than what it was. I ended up, after a year of ownership, changed the cassette from the HG200 to the HG400. That is a big difference in shifting and smoothness.

I currently use the HG200 on my trainer wheel.
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Old 04-19-18, 08:45 AM
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Yay another Giant Roam! The Roam is a great bike. Really comfy and a true dual sport bike. Yesterday I took it on a long ride on pavement the whole time. Locked the suspension fork and off I went. It performed pretty well and was still pretty comfy even with the locked suspension fork.


Edit: What grips are you switching to? I don't really have issues with the stock grips though I've been looking to get bar ends added. So might consider getting some Ergon grips for mine.
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Old 04-19-18, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by finch204 View Post
Edit: What grips are you switching to? I don't really have issues with the stock grips though I've been looking to get bar ends added. So might consider getting some Ergon grips for mine.
Same here. The stockers move about when I push it on the trails. Ergons w/ the bar ends are looking pretty good...
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Old 04-19-18, 08:31 PM
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Thanks for posting

I've purchased my Roam 2 and will be picking it up Monday. Shortly thereafter I'll be beefing up the back rim due to my weight. Guy at the bike shop recommended I do this because I'm over 250 lbs by about 27 lbs. The upgrade is 200+ $. 40 spokes.
Y'all see any red flags with that?
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Old 04-19-18, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by TexN View Post
I've purchased my Roam 2 and will be picking it up Monday. Shortly thereafter I'll be beefing up the back rim due to my weight. Guy at the bike shop recommended I do this because I'm over 250 lbs by about 27 lbs. The upgrade is 200+ $. 40 spokes.
Y'all see any red flags with that?
What is beefing up a rim?

For that money you could have someone built a very good heavy duty wheel.

Sounds like a ripoff unless they really build a good wheel.
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Old 04-20-18, 04:41 AM
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Thank you all for the positive comments.

Originally Posted by AU Tiger View Post
What made you take the ARX back? I know you say the Roam is a better value, but was there something about the ARX that you decided you didn't like after riding it a little?
Yes; I posted details in that ARX thread. In summary, it just rode differently than I really wanted. I expected more of a relaxed ride, but the ARX always seemed poised to *do something* (usually turn off the line I'm on). I don't ride it at speeds high enough for the steering to settle out and stabilize.

Originally Posted by Roamer2 View Post
The tires are more dirt-oriented than my 2015 Roam 2 (& slightly thinner). The rest appears very similar....including the HLO fork.

Oddly enough, Giant "specs" for my year lists preload adjustment. 2018 does not. Perhaps they hid that feature to make the Roam 1 more appealing?
The two Roams that the Charlottesville bike shop had were 2015 models, with the more street-oriented tires and the same style of fork. Theirs were Roam 2s also, and they had the same cap over the preload adjustment. Does your 2015 Roam 2 not have the cap? That's interesting -- perhaps a mid-year change that year?

Originally Posted by travbikeman View Post
Nice Roam! I was tired of the clunkiness of my Alivio shifting as well. My LBS couldn't get it any smoother than what it was. I ended up, after a year of ownership, changed the cassette from the HG200 to the HG400. That is a big difference in shifting and smoothness.
Yes, I'm thinking that the bargain bin HG200 is some of the problem. I appreciate your comment that a nicer cassette made such a positive difference.

Originally Posted by finch204 View Post
What grips are you switching to? I don't really have issues with the stock grips though I've been looking to get bar ends added. So might consider getting some Ergon grips for mine.
The stock grips on mine would twist on me during the test ride. The bike shop put some hair spray in them and slid them back on, but I didn't want them to be too tacky that I'd have to really mess them up (and/or scratch up the handlebar too much) to eventually remove them. I hate slip-on grips because I like to try different setups with mirrors and bar ends and things like that, so I move things in the cockpit around every now and then.

For now, I have the Ergon GP1s on it that I "borrowed" from my Verve (I can ride only one of them at a time, right?). I will probably put bar ends on the Roam also, so I'm certainly not done messing with the cockpit. I did already replace the stem. The stock stem is a 6 degree, 90mm stem, and this put the handlebar out just a touch too far for my preference. The medium frame has the same stem, but the effective top tube is shorter, so it was better on that one. My dad had an extra stem he wasn't using from one of his bikes, an Origin8 stem with something like a 45 degree rise and a bit of a shorter reach, so my bar is about 2 inches "up and back" with that stem. I'll keep playing with it.

It's a super comfortable bike. I'm away on business travel right now, and I hope to be able to put some more miles on it when I get back home today.
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Old 04-20-18, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
Does your 2015 Roam 2 not have the cap? That's interesting -- perhaps a mid-year change that year?

It has the cap. The only clue is the mention in the specs. Seems common tho...the Specialized my GF rides has both rebound and compression adjustments, both "hidden".
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Old 04-20-18, 09:26 AM
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That looks better "in person" than it does on the website, which btw...anybody else think Giant's website could use a little help? Regardless, great looking bike! I like that you can remove that winged shield piece. I love the idea of the cabling protection without going internal for sure, but the sides definitely make that plastic shield really standout.
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Old 04-20-18, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
The stock grips on mine would twist on me during the test ride. The bike shop put some hair spray in them and slid them back on, but I didn't want them to be too tacky that I'd have to really mess them up (and/or scratch up the handlebar too much) to eventually remove them. I hate slip-on grips because I like to try different setups with mirrors and bar ends and things like that, so I move things in the cockpit around every now and then.

For now, I have the Ergon GP1s on it that I "borrowed" from my Verve (I can ride only one of them at a time, right?). I will probably put bar ends on the Roam also, so I'm certainly not done messing with the cockpit. I did already replace the stem. The stock stem is a 6 degree, 90mm stem, and this put the handlebar out just a touch too far for my preference. The medium frame has the same stem, but the effective top tube is shorter, so it was better on that one. My dad had an extra stem he wasn't using from one of his bikes, an Origin8 stem with something like a 45 degree rise and a bit of a shorter reach, so my bar is about 2 inches "up and back" with that stem. I'll keep playing with it.
I'm interested to see what you end up with for the grips and the bar ends. Fortunately, I don't seem to have issues with the grips... yet. The first upgrade I would most likely make is a new saddle or new pedals.

The stock saddle is actually okay, but I want it to be a little softer.

As far as the stock pedals, I don't like pedals with those spikes. I've already scratched my shin before I even started my long ride last Wednesday. I'm looking to switch them into more city/urban shin friendly pedals. I'm thinking of getting the Velo Orange Sabot pedals. While those pedals come with pins, they are like rounded pins that should be less damaging to my shins.
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Old 04-20-18, 10:25 AM
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I've said this before, regarding grips and bar ends. Having tried many, I really like the Specialized iteration of ergo grips and P2 Overendz barends, as the best I've used. They are very similar to others, and seem to be slightly more forgiving to hands for the grips, and the most unubtrusive and comfortable bar end that I have found. On top of that, they are affordable.
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Old 04-20-18, 10:26 AM
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Nice ride! Welcome to the Roam family!.

My Roam 1 is now 1yr old. Just decided to upgrade the saddle to an Ergon SMA3 saddle, its in the mail, anxious and hoping it pans out as more comfy. Undecided about grips so far, but for pedals i'm leaning towards the Shimano Saints.
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Old 04-21-18, 05:29 AM
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I've already swapped the pedals with some VP rubber-coated pedals (I think they came stock on my wife's Trek 7100). The Roam's pedals had that metal cage (which I don't care for) and they were pretty small in size also. I actually like the ARX's pedals better -- they were larger platform pedals. I will also probably swap the saddle. I have a $40 gift card to Richard's from Christmas, so I will likely get one of the Selle Royale saddles they have there. I also have a set of large bar ends that I'll use on this for now. The Ergon grips I have are small size (and I prefer large), but they'll work for now. One of my favorite grips is a Velo brand ergonomic grip that came on my dad's Magnum Peak e-bike, but they don't seem to be readily available.
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Old 04-21-18, 05:44 PM
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roamcreek1 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

roamcreek2 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

roamcreek3 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

I like this bike better each time I ride it. Weather was nice in the Shenandoah Valley today, so I was out for about 10 miles today. This picture shows my new stem, the Ergon grips, and the bar ends. I like this style of bar end, and I'm pretty comfortable using these (these were pirated off another bike I had for now). I also have a Selle Royal "Alpine" saddle on it, but I don't know if I'm going to keep it. Need to do some more riding to see if this is going to work for me.

I'm really getting into the color combo. The Satin Grey actually looks a bit different in different lights. It sometimes has a slight light blue tinge to it, and sometimes it looks more like concrete in color. In these pictures, it seems to by playing off the green leaves. The blue and yellow accents look pretty nice on it I think.
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Old 04-21-18, 05:49 PM
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I also want to remark about how fast this bike is. I don't ride for speed, which makes it even more noticeable to me. I find myself in the 3rd chain ring regularly (48t), and I NEVER use the 48t on my Verve. I don't know if it's the riding/pedaling position on this bike, maybe the seat tube angle, maybe it's the tires themselves (I have them at 30/60 psi front/rear, like on my other bikes), but this bike just seems to roll. I did remove the wings from the down tube protector, but I have the main protector bar on there. And it definitely gets dirty, and I like that it keeps rocks and such from chipping the down tube's paint.
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Old 04-21-18, 08:58 PM
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Looks like it was a great day for a ride! My son and I are going out for a ride tomorrow. I'm curious though, what trail were you on?
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Old 04-22-18, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by travbikeman View Post
Looks like it was a great day for a ride! My son and I are going out for a ride tomorrow. I'm curious though, what trail were you on?
That's in Sherando Park. We live across the road from the MUP there, and many of our rides are through the park on paved and gravel paths.
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Old 04-23-18, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
I like this bike better each time I ride it. Weather was nice in the Shenandoah Valley today, so I was out for about 10 miles today. This picture shows my new stem, the Ergon grips, and the bar ends. I like this style of bar end, and I'm pretty comfortable using these (these were pirated off another bike I had for now). I also have a Selle Royal "Alpine" saddle on it, but I don't know if I'm going to keep it. Need to do some more riding to see if this is going to work for me.
I'm jealous as I did not get to ride over the weekend. Is that a Giant Kickstand you have on it? I should just have one installed on mine so I don't have to find objects to lean it against haha.

Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
I also want to remark about how fast this bike is. I don't ride for speed, which makes it even more noticeable to me. I find myself in the 3rd chain ring regularly (48t), and I NEVER use the 48t on my Verve. I don't know if it's the riding/pedaling position on this bike, maybe the seat tube angle, maybe it's the tires themselves (I have them at 30/60 psi front/rear, like on my other bikes), but this bike just seems to roll. I did remove the wings from the down tube protector, but I have the main protector bar on there. And it definitely gets dirty, and I like that it keeps rocks and such from chipping the down tube's paint.
For how heavy it is, it is not slow at all. That's the main revelation I had during my test ride. I've been riding mine for over a week now and looking at my average speed for my rides, I'm as fast on it as I am on my older Trek FX.
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Old 04-29-18, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
What is beefing up a rim?

For that money you could have someone built a very good heavy duty wheel.

Sounds like a ripoff unless they really build a good wheel.
I hope it's not a rip off. And it is being built by someone in Michigan that's the reason for the wait.
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Old 05-01-18, 11:40 AM
  #24  
hokiefyd
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IMG_20180501_114103315 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

I went for a quick ride at lunch today, to enjoy some of the spring splendor in the northern Shenandoah Valley. The grass is lush, the mowers are running, and the sun is shining. Can't beat that, right?

I've added a few things to my Roam. I have a cheapie Bell bike computer from Walmart that seems to be working pretty well. It's the Bell Dashboard 150, and I paid $14.99 for it at Walmart, but it's less than $8 (prime) on Amazon. It has more functions than I'll use, and a large and bright display. As you can see from my bike, there's plenty of wire lead from the sensor (I prefer the wired computers); it's wrapped tightly to my front brake hose all the way down to the fork. I have an older Specialized Body Geometry saddle that came on a $10 thrift store bike I picked up last weekend, and I must say that this is one of the more comfortable saddles I've used. I estimate it from the late '90s to 2000s just from the styling on it. I also added a Topeak Explorer MTX rack. It came with chrome rack struts which I didn't like, and I borrowed these struts from the no-name rack on my Verve, but I don't really care for these, either. I'll replace them with the rod type. My bike shop has a rewards points system, where every $350 you spend gets you a $30 gift certificate. So with the bike, the rack, and the HG400 cassette that I bought the other day (that just came in today, I need to fetch it), I have $60 of gift certificates. I'll probably use that on another Topeak Explorer MTX rack for my Verve, with the remainder towards a Topeak MTX trunk bag, so I can hot-swap between the two bikes. The HG400 cassette is a 12-36 in nickel coating, and I hope that smooths the shifting over the current HG200 11-34 I have now.

It has developed a creak/tick in the bottom bracket area. It's most noticeable when I stand/shift weight on the pedals. I don't think it's in the pedals themselves, and I don't think it's in the seat tube or seat post clamp -- I think it's down in the bottom bracket area. I will tighten the cranks and tighten the bottom bracket cartridge, but if it looks like it'll need any parts, I'll carry it back to the shop and let Giant pay for that.

A driving trip we took last weekend to Pittsburgh took us through Paw Paw, WV, and I got excited for our get-together on 12 May in Shepherdstown, WV, to ride some of the C&O towpath. One of these times, I'll load the bikes up and go do the Paw Paw tunnel, just to say we've done it! :-)
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Old 05-01-18, 12:17 PM
  #25  
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Pretty country! My GF is from Harrisonburg, but we haven't gotten to ride much up there yet....

I had a similar noise & it goes away when I lube the pedals. I'll upgrade when if/when it gets worse.
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