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looking for new bike advice

Old 12-24-05, 12:36 AM
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looking for new bike advice

Hi, I'm looking to buy a new bike at my LBS, a Trek/Lemond/Giant dealer. I'm going to be using this bike for long distance touring (with a sag wagon, so I'm not carrying any gear) as well as for regular riding. I tested a Trek 5,000, whose fit I was not impressed with, and then rode a Lemond Versailles (men's version), which fit me a lot better. I want to spend under $2,000.

A few questions:

*Would anyone recommend riding just carbon over a mix of carbon and steel? I toured a lot last summer and experienced quite a bit of back pain, but then again I was riding an aluminum bike.
*I am thinking about upgrading to the Buenos Aires, because it has more ultegra components than the Versailles. It doesn't, however, have a women's model. I am 5'8" tall female...do any of the taller women out there really prefer the geometry of the Lemond women's models over the men's?
*I have heard some good things about the Specialized Roubaix Elite. Upon a bit of investigation, its components seem a step down from the Buenos Aires, but it's a carbon bike. Would anyone recommend this over the 2 Lemond models?

Thanks so much! Elana
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Old 12-24-05, 09:19 PM
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This may be useless to you since you are looking into other bikes but i would reccomend:

1.Chromoly/Steel all the way!
2. A Bike Friday! For that money you can have an amazing (custom fitted/made!) bike that will bike as well as any of those other bikes you mention plus it can be taken on multi mode transport. BF's are serious bikes just check their site and the huge tours some people have done of them.
3. If you are set on full size, a Surly Long Haul Trucker, super versatile, comfortable and affordable.
4. Brooks Saddle, your back and but will love you.

Good luck!
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Old 12-24-05, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ElanaB
Hi, I'm looking to buy a new bike at my LBS, a Trek/Lemond/Giant dealer. I'm going to be using this bike for long distance touring (with a sag wagon, so I'm not carrying any gear) as well as for regular riding. I tested a Trek 5,000, whose fit I was not impressed with, and then rode a Lemond Versailles (men's version), which fit me a lot better. I want to spend under $2,000.

A few questions:

*Would anyone recommend riding just carbon over a mix of carbon and steel? I toured a lot last summer and experienced quite a bit of back pain, but then again I was riding an aluminum bike.
*I am thinking about upgrading to the Buenos Aires, because it has more ultegra components than the Versailles. It doesn't, however, have a women's model. I am 5'8" tall female...do any of the taller women out there really prefer the geometry of the Lemond women's models over the men's?
*I have heard some good things about the Specialized Roubaix Elite. Upon a bit of investigation, its components seem a step down from the Buenos Aires, but it's a carbon bike. Would anyone recommend this over the 2 Lemond models?

Thanks so much! Elana
I don't think you necessarily need a 'womans' bike - my gf is quite happy with the standard geometry of her bike, but of course your mileage may vary - I would test ride any bike before buying and make sure it feels right for you. If you are having back pain, I think the fit of the bike is more the culprit than the frame material. For your back pain, you might consider a more upright riding position. I think you'd like the ride quality of steel/carbon better than all carbon and will be happy with either Lemond.
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Old 12-25-05, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by v1nce
This may be useless to you since you are looking into other bikes but i would reccomend:

1.Chromoly/Steel all the way!
2. A Bike Friday! For that money you can have an amazing (custom fitted/made!) bike that will bike as well as any of those other bikes you mention plus it can be taken on multi mode transport. BF's are serious bikes just check their site and the huge tours some people have done of them.
3. If you are set on full size, a Surly Long Haul Trucker, super versatile, comfortable and affordable.
4. Brooks Saddle, your back and but will love you.

Good luck!
I have to take exception to this "cromoly/steel" bias which seems to permeate this touring forum. I've had a Cannondale aluminum frame for over 10 years/50000 km without any problems at all. At the same time, I have yet to see anyone come forward and say that their aluminum frame caused them grief, either domestically or overseas. If there are "horror stories" about aluminum, then I would like to read about them, but at the same time I would like to hear about the Cromoly/Steel "horror" stories as well. Just searching for the truth.

Merry Christmas to all and may your cycling in 2006 be everything that you have dreamed for...
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Old 12-25-05, 07:43 AM
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why not just buy a trek 520 and have a workhorse bike perfectly suited for centuries, club rides, commuting, and sag tours? Maybe your idea of bikes is somewhat more esoteric, and looking for bikes built with expensonium/scandium/unobtanium to please the crowd, but why not please yourself first, with a solid, reliable, steel touring bike?

'Luminum is a rattletrap, regardless of the saddle comfort....
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Old 12-25-05, 09:27 AM
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For SAG touring, something light and sporty is good but you may not want a low racing position or race gearing.
520 and Surly LHT are both much heavier duty than needed.
What alt applications do you see for the bike. Will you need rack and fenders for eg commuting or loadcarrying for future solo touring?
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Old 12-25-05, 09:40 AM
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I personally think of the 520 as one of the few bikes off the shelf today that even remotely emulate classic steel touring bikes or the 'french standard' bike,

sure, it may be heavier, but it's not a mountain bike! 520's are perfectly suited for unloaded riding in my experience, and the ride is sublime.

I can't think of any benefit from a sporty, stiff, race-biased frame and components to an all-day, multi day rider, versus a bike built for and with the geometry for long days in the saddle.

I guess my suggestion of the 520 is a recc for one of the best all purpose bikes available at the OP's choice of shop, that would also serve the needs on a SAG tour just fine.... buying a bike built of expensonium usually limits your riding, but a 520 can be ridden just about anywhere or anyhow.... a 520's gearing range is a fast 52-11 to a 30-32 granny right off the shelf.


Oh, there's a new, $1100 to $1700 bike from Specialized, the Tricross.

Carbon, expensonium, more racebox gearing than than a "touring" bike...maybe worth a look?

Last edited by Bekologist; 12-25-05 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 12-25-05, 12:53 PM
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About the Alu/Steel controversy, there are so many threads on this on BikeForums already, i don't think i want to debate it here once again. But i do think (taste/my view mind you) that steel is a safer bet (especially as the OP experienced back pain on a Alu bike, this may have been related or may not). But i will add that Cannondale do have a reputation for making the finest/most comfortable production Alu bikes around, so YMMV.

I agree that the bikes you were looking into seemed excessively expensive from my point of view and that the extra expense would add little in the way needed performance. I would also recommend looking further into a cheaper more of a do-everything bike. I still stick by my first post as the best possible deal for your cash (custom/woman's fit Bike Friday) but by all means if you don't want to order the aforementioned Trek is a fine bike and all the money you save can go to accessoiries (New Saddle, good cycling clothes, sunglasses, water system) and gear which often are just as crucial as the bike for any long tour. Curious to find out what you decide on in the end!
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Old 12-25-05, 08:31 PM
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Bek makes good points about the Trek 520 - it really would be more versatile than either of the Lemonds and the OP did state that her LBS was a Trek dealer.

I purposely refrained from mentioning other brands, saddles, etc. because the OP didn't seem to be looking for such things. I would assume she knows what type of bike she is looking for and IMHO sometimes we are too quick to muddy the waters with our own likes and dislikes rather than directly addressing what the OP is asking. Just my two cents, as usual.
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Old 12-25-05, 09:38 PM
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For the bike you describe, this is the wrong forum to ask. If your question was "Which outdated early 70s model bike should I get?" then you would be in the right place.
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Old 12-25-05, 09:41 PM
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I had an early Canondale MTB just after they gave up the large front wheel thing. I agree those frames are fine. I have never riden two identical unloaded bikes, so I don't know how aluminum fares in that comparison. But unless one goes the Canondale route, I;m not sure how much choice there is in that segment.

I would buy a touring bike unless you plan to race. I think touring bikes on blacktop are the big secret. Markets are only moved by extremes, which create buzz. Most notably in the bike segment, the racing bike was king, until the mountain bike came along. 90% of cyclist, on-road, need a touring bike. I'm talking classical touring bike, but the next best option would be MTB, etc... configured for touring. You can get a nice steel touring bike for about half your target.
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Old 12-25-05, 10:54 PM
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@ Chipcom, Good points,.. though i have to say i am kindoff a 'muddy the waters' type of guy. Sometimes you have to disturb the water loads, wait and then you can see the bottom the clearest. Allright, bad analogy but you get my drift.

So much misinformation is given out by bike industry,.. And since the OP had actual physical pains on one bike and is a 'newby' (at least here) it thought it prudent to give her lots of options & info, especially as she asked about Custom/woman's fit bikes & comfort. Lastly she seems to be considering rather different bikes and materials hence it can't hurt to get people's opinions on them. I for one wish i had gotten lots of perspectives (and tried some of the stuff i ride now) years ago. I might have rejected -rightfully so- about 80% of people's ideas and perspectives but the left over 20% would have made a world of difference for me.
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Old 12-25-05, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by v1nce
@ Chipcom, Good points,.. though i have to say i am kindoff a 'muddy the waters' type of guy. Sometimes you have to disturb the water loads, wait and then you can see the bottom the clearest. Allright, bad analogy but you get my drift.

So much misinformation is given out by bike industry,.. And since the OP had actual physical pains on one bike and is a 'newby' (at least here) it thought it prudent to give her lots of options & info, especially as she asked about Custom/woman's fit bikes & comfort. Lastly she seems to be considering rather different bikes and materials hence it can't hurt to get people's opinions on them. I for one wish i had gotten lots of perspectives (and tried some of the stuff i ride now) years ago. I might have rejected -rightfully so- about 80% of people's ideas and perspectives but the left over 20% would have made a world of difference for me.
I was just sayin....
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Old 12-25-05, 11:00 PM
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I agree with the poster who said she's in the wrong forum. The OP is looking to tour with a race bike and a sag wagon. If this is the case, she probably won't need a traditional tourer and a race bike might just be fine. In fact, she might feel weighed down with a traditional tourer. I guess the real question would be, if you had to choose race bike for touring, what bike would that be?
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Old 12-25-05, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
I agree with the poster who said she's in the wrong forum. The OP is looking to tour with a race bike and a sag wagon. If this is the case, she probably won't need a traditional tourer and a race bike might just be fine. In fact, she might feel weighed down with a traditional tourer. I guess the real question would be, if you had to choose race bike for touring, what bike would that be?
But then again, Steve, touring isn't about the kind of bike you ride to do it. I'd hate to ship her off to the roadies forum just because she wants to tour on a race bike. Them folks will have her on a carbon bike, carting an HRM, touring from Starbucks to Starbucks and joining the OCP! Worse, 'he who shall remain un-named' may tell her that women have no business riding a nice bike!

If the OP ever replies, perhaps we can get a better handle on what her real needs and desires are.
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Old 12-26-05, 01:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ElanaB
Hi, I'm looking to buy a new bike at my LBS, a Trek/Lemond/Giant dealer. I'm going to be using this bike for long distance touring (with a sag wagon, so I'm not carrying any gear) as well as for regular riding. I tested a Trek 5,000, whose fit I was not impressed with, and then rode a Lemond Versailles (men's version), which fit me a lot better. I want to spend under $2,000.

A few questions:

*Would anyone recommend riding just carbon over a mix of carbon and steel? I toured a lot last summer and experienced quite a bit of back pain, but then again I was riding an aluminum bike.
*I am thinking about upgrading to the Buenos Aires, because it has more ultegra components than the Versailles. It doesn't, however, have a women's model. I am 5'8" tall female...do any of the taller women out there really prefer the geometry of the Lemond women's models over the men's?
*I have heard some good things about the Specialized Roubaix Elite. Upon a bit of investigation, its components seem a step down from the Buenos Aires, but it's a carbon bike. Would anyone recommend this over the 2 Lemond models?

Thanks so much! Elana
Hi Elana,
I have a couple of roadbikes of differing styles, so perhaps can offer a couple of suggestions. I have Trek 2100 carbon/AL racing style bike similar to those you have looked at, and a Trek 520 touring that has been mentioned here. I use both for general riding and the 520 for occasional camping tours.

For general riding, the 2100 is incrementally faster (about 1-2 mph avg faster on a 2 hr ride) because it is a bit lighter and stiffer for climbing, integrated shifters, better aerodynamics, and probably as much because I generally wear full kit and ride ridiculously hard when I am out on it. Hard not to go fast and work hard on the fast bikes! It is rewarding for those purposes, and it is suprisingly comfortable for 30-40 mile rides due to the carbon seat stays, carbon fork and 25mm tires. I would say this bike would compare generally to the Lemond or Spec Roubaix you are considering, so my comments are meant to apply to them in your considerations. This type of bike will do CC touring fine, once you get a seatpost rack or handlebar pack on it to carry stuff. A sporting way to go touring, and once home it will serve well for fitness riding, club rides and the general speeding around in full kit sort of thing.

For longer rides, or when I just want to relax and enjoy the scenery, I take my 520, which in comparison to the 2100, is plush. All steel, about 8 lbs heavier, a bit slower, not as flashy, but great for just about everything. I have a Brooks saddle and back rack on it, and often use a handlebar bag too, when out for the day. I can take it down a gravel or dirt road without a worry. It is geared low, so I can mosey over hill and dale all day long without wearing out. Since it is less flashy, I don't feel I have to compete with others on the road, but I can easily ride 60-80 miles a day on it. It really fits my preferred riding style and if I had only one road bike, this would be it. A credit card tourists dream, imho, and many use them for that. But not as trendy or flashy for those club rides. Similar although more expensive bikes might be a Rivendell Atlantis or other semi-custom steel bike.

I think that you need to think about what type of riding you will be doing most of the time. Either bike will do the credit card tour, the 520 a bit more comfortably, the sporty bike a bit more quickly. But what will you be doing when you are riding at home?

On the Lemond bikes. I always heard that they were a traditional racing geometry with a long top-tube compared with the newer compact frames, resulting in a long reach. My understanding is that most women have a shorter torso length relative to legs, which is often better met with women specific designs that have a slightly shorter top tube and some other alterations. Several brands have them, including Trek WSD. But if a Lemond feels good, then by all means go for it.

On Specialized. I have heard a lot of good things about the Specialized Roubaix - supposedly very comfortable in ride and seating position, and Spec in general make excellent bikes.

On components - anything with 105 or above should be fine for many years of riding pleasure.

Last edited by mtnroads; 12-26-05 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 12-26-05, 05:54 AM
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Egads! SOS about frame materials and nothing to do with the OP's question

lets try this

Here is the Trek:


Here is the Lemond:


Here is the roubaix

]

Looking at the top two pictures does anyone want to take a guess why Elana may have been more comfortable on the Lemond than the Trek?? .....Time up! first thing I see is the Trek has a level top tube , The Lemond has about a 3 deg up slope and also a taller headtube. Our friend Elana possibly was more comfortable because the bars were a bit higher. also If we look up the specs, The Lemond comes with a slightly more shock absorbant 700 x 25c tires as opposed to the 700 x 23c tires on the Trek. I couldn't find much other diffrence from an ergonomic standpoint between the two
Next, looking at the Roubaix and comparing it to the Lemond Versailles, I can see why some people like the Roubaix, it has even more up slope in the top tube so we can raise the bars a bit more. The Roubaix's anatomic bars are flatter on top to make riding on the hoods less of a reach. On the down side The tires are 23c so it likely will have a slighty harsher ride than the Versailles. The harsher ride will likely be offset on the front end by the 72.5 degree headangle and 49mm rake on the Roubaix versus the 73.5 head angle and 45mm rake on the Versailles. The small diffrence in steering IMO might make the steering on the Versailles feel a bit lighter but the larger tire may cancel that out if it is noticeable at all.
In the 55-56cm sizes the Versailles and Roubaix have the same top tube length and only 1/2 deg difference in seat angle. The Fit between these two bikes will likely be similar and be worth comparing. None of the 3 bikes provide for fenders or rack mounts so frame material is not really germain to the arguemant. Any of the 3 materials are versatile enough to be used to create a ride that can be compliaint or harsh. You have to ride all of them to make an informed choice.

Now the 520.


The main negative thing that jumps out at me in comparison to the others is the level top tube. and of course there is no adjustment in the bars because Trek will not supply the Fork tube longer. This is not an insurmountable problem because you can get a extender to clamp on and raise the bars(yuk IMO). The top tube on the 520 is 1 cm shorter than the Roubaix and Versailles which can be cancelled out with a longer stem. seat angle is the same as the Roubaix .From the standpoint of ride If you were not going to load it with panniers it will probaly have a harsher ride though this is mostly canceled out by the larger 700x35c tires and longer wheelbase. The greater steering trail and longer wheelbase than the Versailles or Roubaix will probaly feel more stable and may require slightly more steering input when turning. Another thought one may want to consider is that if you are planning on riding in sagged groups and the group likes to ride hard and fast and you want to stay with them you will be at a slight disadvantage since the 520 will be a few pounds heavier than the other bikes. However one could put some lighter wheels and lighter tires on the 520 that would lighten up the bike a bit.

In closing I think for Elana's stated purpose and budget the Roubaix and Versailles are worthy choices but she also throw a leg over the 520. The 520 is a really nice ride just not a fast one IMO. Another bike similar to the versailles and Roubaix would be the Bianchi Vigorelli it is a steel framed bike with mostly Ultegra componets. I rode one back in October it is IMO a good bike for a long day in the saddle .


Rick
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Old 12-26-05, 08:08 AM
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When I'm riding in a paceline group with my 520, and the rest are on mostly race biased bikes, when we stop pedalling enmasse my Trek 520 wants to accelerate past the roadies on light gauge bikes, on level ground. Its pretty consistent and occurs after the group had been moving at the same rate. Can't explain that one. I only weigh 160 so its not me being a clysdale.


Good cogent points about all the bikes here, except gregW's offbased comment about classic touring geometry being out of date or something... bring back a French Standard, I'd be happy. A 520 does handle trails and dirt and gravel most roadies wouldn't even DREAM of taking their 23c tired bikes down.

I think the OP needs to come up with her plan for post SAG tour, and what she wants to do with the bike after this ride. A 520 wouldn't be the choice for a citizen racer, or a person that wants to race cyclotouriste maybe it is not the best choice.

Last edited by Bekologist; 12-26-05 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 12-26-05, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
except gregW's offbased comment about classic touring geometry being out of date or something... bring back a French Standard
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Old 12-26-05, 08:36 AM
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I ride a 2004 Specialized Roubaix aluminum and carbon mix. I am very happy with it and I have a bad back. However when I was looking if I had the money I would have gone full carbon. The ride quality and stiffness was incredible. In a year or two I am going to upgrade. Look into the Giant TCR models. Very good bikes and good pricing depending on options.
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Old 12-26-05, 08:51 AM
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except gregW's offbased comment about classic touring geometry being out of date or something...

A difference of opinion does not make it off-based. I didn't mention anything about "classic frame geometry" all diamond framed bikes are classic, the basic design has not changed since it's inception. What has changed are the materials and components and these just keep getting better and better. That was my point.

I know, I know, steel is real, canti brakes, bar-ends, toe clips, BFE farmer welding steel frames, rigors of touring, rocket science evil STI shifters..............

ils nous détestent parce que nous voyageons!

No hate here, just a love of touring and an open mind to new and better things. I know, I know, new does not mean better, see list above, of course your right I will not descend from the "Touring mantra" again.
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Old 12-26-05, 09:41 AM
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Velonomad, great analysis.
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Old 12-26-05, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by gregw
.

I know, I know, steel is real, canti brakes, bar-ends, toe clips, BFE farmer welding steel frames, rigors of touring, rocket science evil STI shifters..............

ils nous détestent parce que nous voyageons!

No hate here, just a love of touring and an open mind to new and better things. I know, I know, new does not mean better, see list above, of course your right I will not descend from the "Touring mantra" again.
LOL, I was just busting your stones greg
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Old 12-26-05, 10:29 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by foggydew
...If there are "horror stories" about aluminum, then I would like to read about them...
The only horror story I've yet heard about aluminum was a poster here who said that the heavily loaded rack on his Kona Sutra cracked off the mounting tabs. I'm presuming that his Sutra had aluminum (??).
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Old 12-26-05, 10:55 AM
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Wel, the OP def. has lots of info to make up her mind now! Hope she actually still reads and posts!

Off the 4 pictures and rides posted above, i have to cast my vote for the 520 for sure, i like the way it looks functional/understated and that it has wheels with a old skool (bombproof?) spoke pattern. Additionally the 520 has gotten the roadbikereview 2005 road award and scores 4.25 out of 5 in the reviews on that site and that is despite two rather unusual reviewers/reviews. The reviews make for interesting reading so maybe the OP could check then out.

Say, offtopic but:

What is that about 'Canti's' i know and endorse most 'retrogrouch' preferences but i have yet to hear why one should use canti's rather than V-Brakes? Or did you even mean centerpull rather than canti's?

Last edited by v1nce; 12-26-05 at 11:04 AM.
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