Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

New Bike for Randonneuring?

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Old 07-03-18, 06:08 AM
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Amitoj
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New Bike for Randonneuring?

Hi
I am sure this has been asked many times before, so apologies in advance.
I had a Cannondale CAADX for a few months and I used that for a few brevets and one 400K ride. It was an OK bike but in the short period of ownership, I realized it had a few shortcomings. Long story short I dont have that bike any more and now I am in the market for a bike that I can use for long distance rides. Some of my requirements are:
1. Fender friendly
2. Wide tires (on 650B preferred)
3. Rack friendly
4. Gearing for climbing
5. Shouldn't break the bank (i.e. no custom bikes)

Some of the bikes I am looking at are
1. Masi Speciale Randonneur: Test ride scheduled in the next week
2. Breezer Doppler Team. Still looking for a dealer that has them in stock.
3. 2018 Specialized Diverge Comp E5

My question is specific to the 3rd option up there. Marketing says it has Open Geometry, which is Specialized term for another version of low trail geometry. Plus the Future Shock thingammajig might help absorb road vibrations?
My ultimate goal would be to put a generator hub on whatever bike I get, and go with a handlebar bag and a saddle bag as the cargo options.

So, am I crazy in thinking that a modern bike can make for a good randonneuring bike?

EDIT: My budget is $2K max. What other bikes can I consider? I am open to buying used as well. Just that it needs to be at least 60cm

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Old 07-03-18, 07:56 AM
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Open Geometry is not another version of low trail. Trail for the Diverge Comp E5 varies from 56mm at the largest size to 69mm at the smallest. This would be high mid-trail to high-trail.

The Masi Speciale Randonneur is low trail at 37mm.

Modern bikes are great for randonneuring bikes. I currently ride a low-trail Soma Fog Cutter and love it. The Some Double Cross Disc or the Fog Cutter would be good options as well.
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Old 07-03-18, 07:58 AM
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It's easy to over-think it. I know I have. Then I go on a brevet and see every kind of bike imaginable. I rode a 400k a few weeks ago with one guy on a supersix evo and another on a Bacchetta recumbent. I don't recall seeing gravel bikes, but maybe that's because they're relatively new.

Velo Routier seems to check all of your boxes. May want to add that to the list.
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Old 07-03-18, 08:15 AM
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Check Jamis Renegade series:
Expat $1199: https://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/renegadeexpat.html
Exploit $2200: https://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/renegadeexploit.html

I got Escapade for me but it is out of your budget.

These bikes frames are made of Reynolds steel + carbon fork, have tons of mounts for everything, take up to 700x42mm or 650x47mm tires.
Gearing is typical: 50/34 x 11-32
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Old 07-03-18, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Open Geometry is not another version of low trail. Trail for the Diverge Comp E5 varies from 56mm at the largest size to 69mm at the smallest. This would be high mid-trail to high-trail.
Thanks for pointing that out. I was going by their marketing-speak, "you can think of it as a road version of modern trail bike geometry"

Originally Posted by kingston View Post
It's easy to over-think it.
True. That's part of the "process" I guess.

I am looking for something off the shelf though.

Originally Posted by Oso Polar View Post
Check Jamis Renegade series:
Expat $1199: https://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/renegadeexpat.html
Exploit $2200: https://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/renegadeexploit.html

I got Escapade for me but it is out of your budget.

These bikes frames are made of Reynolds steel + carbon fork, have tons of mounts for everything, take up to 700x42mm or 650x47mm tires.
Gearing is typical: 50/34 x 11-32
Thanks! Will check them out
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Old 07-03-18, 08:38 AM
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Ah I didn't read the entire blurb. In that case they're referring to "trail bike" as in mountain bikes. Trail bikes are generally built to be more stable and to handle more difficult terrain easier than an XC bike. Thus the road version of modern trail bike geometry would be higher trail, shorter chainstays, less aggressive steering geometry so that higher speeds on rougher roads or gravel feels more settled. You steer more by leaning and less by turning so that during high speed descents and/or singletrack the front wheel is less deflected by impacts and especially so during cornering and off chamber turns. Stability is high at any speed but gets higher as the speed increases. For low-trail stability is high at lower speeds and gets lower as the speed gets higher.

Most of this will not matter a whit during paved riding. It really only comes into play at the higher trail numbers when riding in the rain as higher trail requires much more leaning around a corner and offers less traction than mid/low trail.
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Old 07-03-18, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Most of this will not matter a whit during paved riding. It really only comes into play at the higher trail numbers when riding in the rain as higher trail requires much more leaning around a corner and offers less traction than mid/low trail.
This "road version of modern trail bike", is there any way to get an idea how comfortable it would be for long rides? And thanks for breaking down their jargon!
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Old 07-03-18, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Amitoj View Post
...is there any way to get an idea how comfortable it would be for long rides?...
One of my road bikes has a 9cm saddle-handlebar drop which is fine for a 200k and tolerable for a 300k, but on the longer distances I prefer to have the bars almost level with the saddle. That to me is the single biggest factor in long-distance comfort, as my neck and shoulders are my weakest link, which I think is pretty common.

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Old 07-03-18, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
One of my road bikes has a 9mm saddle-handlebar drop which is fine for a 200k and tolerable for a 300k, but on the longer distances I prefer to have the bars almost level with the saddle.
did you mean 9cm? Seems like 9mm would be considered almost level
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Old 07-03-18, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
did you mean 9cm? Seems like 9mm would be considered almost level
I meant 9 cm.
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Old 07-03-18, 10:34 AM
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A used specialized tricross might be a good option if you end up in the used-bike market. I think disc variants were made but I have a canti model. I run 38mm tires but it has room for way wider tires, I don't think 42mm under the fenders would be a problem at all. Some of them came with triples which gives you more climbing gears than you can shake a stick at. Mine has low-rider mounts on the front, 3 water bottle mounts and rear rack mounting points. The geometry isn't too far off my spesh roubaix which is what drew me to the bike in the first place and I think the tricross wasn't really designed for serious cross racing so it might be different enough from the CAADX to be worth a look.

That Masi does seem like a pretty solid package for 1500$ though I would probably choose the breezer just for the 105/ultegra bits and the hydraulic brakes, even though it's over budget if you have to pay msrp and taxes. The breezer also has slightly lower gearing
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Old 07-03-18, 11:30 AM
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Surly Midnight Special?
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Old 07-03-18, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
It's easy to over-think it. I know I have. Then I go on a brevet and see every kind of bike imaginable. I rode a 400k a few weeks ago with one guy on a supersix evo and another on a Bacchetta recumbent. I don't recall seeing gravel bikes, but maybe that's because they're relatively new.

Velo Routier seems to check all of your boxes. May want to add that to the list.
My single brevet-bike is now my Lynskey GR-250 gravel bike with 28mm tires for paved roads.

The most expert and experienced riders I know all have different ideas about what makes a good randonneuring bike, and they're all continually buying and selling bikes looking for the perfect one. If you're confused, well, so are the experts. So yes, you're overthinking it, but then, you're not the only one, either.
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Old 07-03-18, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
The most expert and experienced riders I know all have different ideas about what makes a good randonneuring bike, and they're all continually buying and selling bikes looking for the perfect one.
I feel better reading this. I'm not expert or experienced, but I've been riding the same bike (or two) for most of the last 10 years!
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Old 07-03-18, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
My single brevet-bike is now my Lynskey GR-250 gravel bike with 28mm tires for paved roads.
Now that I think about it, I rode for a while earlier this year with a guy on a seven custom ti gravel bike. He was telling me that he has two sets of wheels, one with 28mm tires that he uses for paved rides like brevets and another with something wider (I don't remember 38 or 40 maybe) that he uses for gravel. Seemed like a pretty good setup. I don't think wider than 28 is really necessary if you're riding mostly on pavement. I see a lot of people riding without fenders while I consider fenders to be non-optional equipment. I guess they are completely unnecessary unless it rains and if the rain is heavy they only really help the guy behind you anyway.
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Old 07-03-18, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
The most expert and experienced riders I know all have different ideas about what makes a good randonneuring bike, and they're all continually buying and selling bikes looking for the perfect one. If you're confused, well, so are the experts.
This is a really good point. I know what works well for me, but none of my bikes right now combines all the elements of that. And I don't think I could buy my perfect rando bike except as a custom.
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Old 07-03-18, 03:12 PM
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Thanks everyone for your inputs.

I have been calling local stores in my area to see if anyone has Breezer Doppler Team in stock. Not a single affirmative response, which is understandable since such bikes are not really in high demand.
But then how does a guy like me try it before I buy it? Or even buy it but have some sort of trial period? Only one shop offered that as a 21 day trial period. Will probably follow up with them on that. I think that is the max I am going to get from a bike shop.
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Old 07-03-18, 03:34 PM
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When I bought my first randonneuring bike in 2012, I had never ridden more than 100 miles and my only bikes were a 90's mountain bike and an old Schwinn cruiser. I didn't think either of those would be good for randonneuring so I came up with a list of requirements and preferences and went to several shops to see what they had and bought the closest thing I could find to what I was looking for. I ended up with a Jamis Aurora Elite that I test rode around the block before buying. It's a 30 pound steel touring bike which fully loaded for a brevet comes in at around 45 pounds. I am constantly looking at new bikes and always decide to just keep the one I have because at the end of the day, the bike doesn't really make that much difference as long as it's reasonably comfortable and the gears are low enough.
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Old 07-03-18, 05:44 PM
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A 21 day trial period for a bike is nuts, that's not sustainable for any LBS I know of. REI would do it but only once for one bike. Performance would do it as well but would limit you to store credit towards another bike. I'm not sure what the solution is in your case as I recently went through the same issue - wanted to try a Masi Speciale Randonneur but found no way to test ride so I just bought one - after a few rides it was obvious the bike was not going to work for me but I was stuck with it. Was able to transfer all the parts to a better f/f so now I'm left to sell the frame. The whole thing has been a huge hassle and I'll not be purchasing a bike in that manner again.

I've done my brevets on a 700x38mm gravel bike w/fenders but have done long distance rides on a variety of bikes. As noted above, the bike doesn't make a huge difference but there are definitely more optimal bikes it's just hard to see/feel that without a back-to-back comparison. I had no idea how much I disliked my 25mm-tired racing bike until I rode a steel 650b bike. Same with my front loaded high-trail bike compared to low-trail. Right now I've got myself well settled and will probably be good for the next 2 years/10,000 miles or so. That seems to be the lifetime of my frames either through failure or restlessness to upgrade.

All that said, I think the best bike of your list is the Specialized. I'm not impressed with steel bikes designed by mass market companies to take disc brakes and fat road tires. Without exception they are built very stiff and stout and do not ride very well. I know for a fact the Masi is like this and I suspect after looking at the frame detail the Breezer is the same way. The carbon of alu/carbon bikes are much better and although stiffer than a rim brake model it's much less so, IMO.
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Old 07-04-18, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I am constantly looking at new bikes and always decide to just keep the one I have because at the end of the day, the bike doesn't really make that much difference as long as it's reasonably comfortable and the gears are low enough.
That's the kind of bike I am looking for as well. The hills always become mountains in the last quarter of a ride

I'll make a note to check how easy is it to adjust handlebar height so that I can raise it a few cms for longer rides.

Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
All that said, I think the best bike of your list is the Specialized. I'm not impressed with steel bikes designed by mass market companies to take disc brakes and fat road tires. Without exception they are built very stiff and stout and do not ride very well. I know for a fact the Masi is like this and I suspect after looking at the frame detail the Breezer is the same way. The carbon of alu/carbon bikes are much better and although stiffer than a rim brake model it's much less so, IMO.
This is valuable input since you have had experience with the Masi. The Diverge does have enough gears for climbing, has provisions for fenders, has eyelets on the fork that I can use to mount a light. Only unknowns are how much will a handlebar bag impact its handling and will it be feasible for me to put 650B wheels with a generator hub on the bike a couple of years down the line?
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Old 07-04-18, 10:15 AM
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There are thru-axle dynamo hubs made by SON and Shutter Precision so it should be possible to buy one and have a wheel built for the Diverge or any other thru-axle bike out there.
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Old 07-04-18, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by clasher View Post
There are thru-axle dynamo hubs made by SON and Shutter Precision so it should be possible to buy one and have a wheel built for the Diverge or any other thru-axle bike out there.
Thanks! That helps.
I will be trying out the Diverge at the same shop that has taken 10% deposit for me to try out the Masi.
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Old 07-04-18, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
My single brevet-bike is now my Lynskey GR-250 gravel bike with 28mm tires for paved roads.

The most expert and experienced riders I know all have different ideas about what makes a good randonneuring bike, and they're all continually buying and selling bikes looking for the perfect one. If you're confused, well, so are the experts. So yes, you're overthinking it, but then, you're not the only one, either.
The journey is the reward (figuratively but not literally).
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Old 07-04-18, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
... I ... wanted to try a Masi Speciale Randonneur but found no way to test ride so I just bought one - after a few rides it was obvious the bike was not going to work for me ....
What was it about the Masi that made it unacceptable?
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Old 07-05-18, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
What was it about the Masi that made it unacceptable?
I saw some of their Masi related posts in this thread
Classic, Not Vintage: 2017 Masi Speciale Randonneur

I dont know if there have been further updates in another thread
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