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Windsor touring bike

Old 03-18-08, 04:14 PM
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Windsor touring bike

Does anybody own or know anything about these bicycles? I'm looking at a touring bike to do some road trips and the Trek 520 and Cannondale Bad Boy are out of my price range. Supposedly these are comparible to the 520 at about half the price. Is the reason they are cheaper because they are not as sturdy and well built, or is it because it's not as well of a known brand as Trek? Any help would be great. Thanks
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Old 03-18-08, 06:41 PM
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Calling staehpj1, here's your cue.
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Old 03-18-08, 06:55 PM
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Based on what I have heard, it is not comparable to the Trek 520, but is a decent touring bike.

Based on that general information from the forums, I just picked up a used frame that I am building into a commuter...
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Old 03-18-08, 08:50 PM
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Windsor / Bikes Direct stuff has some admirers and many detractors.

1) The "List Price" is, as best I can determine, a fabrication. AFAIK BD never sells at list, and I do not believe these bikes are sold by anyone not connected to BD.
2) Their marketing techniques are borderline shady -- lots of variously-named eBay sellers who actually work for BD, for example.
3) Similarly, BD does odd stuff like buy out the names of failed-but-once-great European bike manufacturers (e.g. Motobecane) and slaps the name on Taiwanese mass-produced frames.
4) Assembly is allegedly less than stellar.
5) Customer service is reportedly.... sporadic.
6) You're totally on your own in terms of service, support and sizing.

In terms of components, the only thing that leaps out at me is the no-name / house brand wheels. My guess is that if they used Alex rims, Shimano hubs and hand-made wheels, that would increase the price of the bike by, maybe... $200?

It's probably a half-way decent bike, but I find it hard to imagine it's in the same league as the better-known touring bikes (Trek 520, LHT, even REI Randonneur / Safari). If you actually do get one, make sure to take it to an LBS and have them go over it thoroughly. If they give it the green light, you should be OK.
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Old 03-19-08, 08:17 AM
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Here's a link for a bit of reading for you. Type in Windsor Tourist. The topic seems to come up every year.
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Old 03-19-08, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by robow
Calling staehpj1, here's your cue.
Yes, I have posted on this bike a few times. Folks are probably getting tired of me posting about this one

Three of us rode three of these bikes coast to coast last summer and were quite happy with them. I think they are very good for the money and capable of long distance touring with a gearing change. We swapped the crank for a $80 Sugino XD600 46-36-26 crank and later swapped the 26 for a 24.

The rear rack is a little wimpy, but one of use used it for the entire TA, the others used a Blackburn EX-1.

I had a screw back out of the cassette on mine and score the spokes. I had some resulting spoke issues. The other two had no problems.

The stock tires wore well, but were a bit prone to punctures. Three of the six original tires made it 4244 miles across the US. The smallest rider in the group is still riding on them, but ready to replace them.

The brake pads were sub par and either spares should be carried or they should be replaced. We just used them until they wore out, but be forewarned that they fail somewhat suddenly.

In general everything else is quite nice, particularly if you are on a tight budget.

You can probably find more if you search my posts here or on Crazy Guy. Also check out our journal at:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/staehling2007
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Old 03-19-08, 10:32 AM
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One handy thing about buying your touring bike from the LBS is that usually give you free tune-ups an maintenance, and will swap out components for you, sometimes at no charge -- that is, as long as the replacement is the same cost. With my touring bike, the LBS provides 3 years of tune-ups, added a 3rd chainring and changed the front derailleur from a double to triple at no charge.

So, three scenarios....

Surly LHT, Minimal Mechanical Skills: $1000 for the bike, $0 for gearing, $50 for rack, $50 for tires, $10 brake pads, $75 for saddle, $0 for 1 year maintenance and tune-ups. Total: $1185.

Windsor, Minimal Mechanical Skills: $600 for the bike, $100 to upgrade the gearing, $50 for rack, $50 for tires, $10 for brake pads, $50 for initial tune-up, $75 for saddle, $50 for another tune-up at, say, 2,000 miles. Total: $985.

Windsor, Good Mechanical Skills: $600 for bike, $75 for gearing, $50 for rack, $50 for tires, $10 for pads, $75 saddle, $0 for service. Total: $860

I.e. the Windsor is a good deal if you do your own work (and if you exclude the opportunity costs of doing your own maintenance ), otherwise it is not quite the bargain that it seems.

Feel free to correct my estimates if I got something wrong.
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Old 03-19-08, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
One handy thing about buying your touring bike from the LBS is that usually give you free tune-ups an maintenance, and will swap out components for you, sometimes at no charge -- that is, as long as the replacement is the same cost. With my touring bike, the LBS provides 3 years of tune-ups, added a 3rd chainring and changed the front derailleur from a double to triple at no charge.

So, three scenarios....

Surly LHT, Minimal Mechanical Skills: $1000 for the bike, $0 for gearing, $50 for rack, $50 for tires, $10 brake pads, $75 for saddle, $0 for 1 year maintenance and tune-ups. Total: $1185.

Windsor, Minimal Mechanical Skills: $600 for the bike, $100 to upgrade the gearing, $50 for rack, $50 for tires, $10 for brake pads, $50 for initial tune-up, $75 for saddle, $50 for another tune-up at, say, 2,000 miles. Total: $985.

Edit:
Oh and I imagine most would change the pedals on any of the choices. I won't list a price because choices vary.

Windsor, Good Mechanical Skills: $600 for bike, $75 for gearing, $50 for rack, $50 for tires, $10 for pads, $75 saddle, $0 for service. Total: $860

I.e. the Windsor is a good deal if you do your own work (and if you exclude the opportunity costs of doing your own maintenance ), otherwise it is not quite the bargain that it seems.

Feel free to correct my estimates if I got something wrong.
I can't say you are wrong, but will quibble on the count on the Windsor. Similar reductions are probably possible on the LHT so in effect I am probably lowering the numbers across the board equally and not affecting the balance between the three choices. I won't redo the numbers for the Surly, because I haven't ridden one, but assume the situation is similar. I agree that your conclusion is generally correct.

Windsor, Minimal Mechanical Skills: $600 for the bike, $100 to upgrade the gearing, $50 for rack (a bit less and optional , but I won't quibble on this one), $0 for tires (originals good enough to use until worn out, one of us rode the TA and is still using them)., $0 for brake pads (originals good enough to use until worn out), $50 for initial tune-up, $0 for saddle (quite happy with original saddle), $50 for another tune-up at, say, 2,000 miles. Total: $850 ($800 if you opt to use the rack as did one of my companions).

Windsor, Good Mechanical Skills: $600 for bike, $75 for gearing, $50 for rack (a bit less and optional , but I won't quibble on this one), $0 for tires (originals good enough to use until worn out), $0 for pads (originals good enough to use until worn out), $0 saddle (quite happy with original saddle), $0 for service. Total: $725 ($675 if you opt to use the rack as did one of my companions).
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Old 03-19-08, 01:06 PM
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I'd hope that someone touring would have enough mechanical skills to do something as simple as tune a bike - no?
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Old 03-19-08, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rogerstg
I'd hope that someone touring would have enough mechanical skills to do something as simple as tune a bike - no?
I've been touring for years and can barely change a tube when I have a flat!
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Old 03-19-08, 06:20 PM
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I just bought one of these to use as a commuter. I researched it ahead of time, so I knew what I was getting into. Some things to consider:

(1) The company/support: bikesdirect.com is owned by the same people/person who owns Cycle Spectrum (a chain of bike stores in Texas). You can check both bikesdirect.com and Cycle Spectrum on the Better Business Bureau and see that they both have poor ratings due to not responding to customer complaints. Bikesdirect.com does not give you a telephone number, only an e-mail address for contact. They promise to respond withing 24 hours, but you can see some people report on the internet about lack of response if a problem arises. I never contacted them with a problem, so I cannot say if it is true.

(2) Advertising (Windsor/Motobecane/Mercier/etc.): You should also keep in mind that Windsor is bikesdirect. They operate a separate Windsor Cycles web page, but you will note there is only an e-mail contact and no other Windsor dealers exist other than bikesdirect.com The same is true with the other brands they sell, Dawes, Mercier, Motobecane, etc. A lot of people (myself included) are turned off by the advertising approach. They revived classic cycling names and pretend that they are several different companies. It is misleading to the customer.

(3) MSRP comparison: In all cases, MSRP on bikesdirect.com is inflated and in most cases, the bikes they compare to are not the same class. For example, the Windsor tourist has lower cost wheels, stem, seat, and tires than high-end tourist bikes they compare to.

(4) re-badged Fuji Touring: Several people suggest the Windsor tourist is a re-badged Fuji touring. I believe that is true. Compare the current photo of the Windsor tourist:

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ourist_big.jpg

to the photo of a 2004 Fuji Touring:

https://www.fujibikes.com/images/bikes/tour04_4.jpg

It looks like the same image to me. However, I should note that the Windsor tourist I received did not have the crankset shown on the image on bikesdirect.com. My bike has the same truvative crankset shown on the image of the current 2008 model Fuji Touring:

https://fujibikes.com/2008/images/bik...big/tour_4.jpg


(5) My experience: For what it is worth, I can give you my experience with the bike and bikesdirect.com I placed an order through the bikesdirect.com website. The bike was shipped via UPS ground the next day. It was shipped from Texas (a suburb of Houston if I recall). The bike arrived in good shape. I had already purchased some tools and a bike repair stand in anticipation of the bike. The bike came partially assembled, but I needed to install the rack, front wheel, stem, seat, handlebar, pedals and route the cable and housing for the front brake. I had to adjust the brakes, minor adjustment of derailleaurs, and the rear wheel was slightly out of true. You will need a metric socket set, adjustable wrenches, metric allen wrenches, spoke wrench (SW-2 size) and cable cutting tool to complete assembly. The bike comes with a generic "assembly manual" that went straight to my trash bin. You need a good bike mechanic book, or just pay a bike shop to assemble it.

I have only ridden the bike about 2-3 miles so far. It rides great. Even though it is steel, it is much lighter than the 15 year old mountain bike it replaces. I installed fenders, lights, and rear panniers. I plan on using it for commuting, but I am still awaiting the complete snowmelt from my commuting path. I am a wimp when it comes to winter riding. I have ordered a set of platform pedals because the clips are a hassle in traffic. I may also set up some cyclocross auxiliary brakes for the top of the drop bars.

Would I buy again? Yes. I am satisfied with the bike and hope it lasts me 15 years like my previous one did.

Last edited by m_yates; 03-21-08 at 05:37 AM.
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Old 03-20-08, 05:22 PM
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Sounds like the bike meets minimum standards and works acceptably.
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Old 03-20-08, 07:51 PM
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I bought the FUJI touring 2007 and have no doubt that this is the same bike. If you do buy the Windsor, Take the wheels and have them properly tensioned. I broke a spoke at mile 500, the bike shop reported that the tension was very uneven.

The Windosr/Fuji is a great value for a stout bike. The wheel build is a weak point. But with a small investment in retensioning it should be reliable because the wheel components are quite adequate for loaded touring.
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Old 03-22-08, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by m_yates
I just bought one of these to use as a commuter. I researched it ahead of time, so I knew what I was getting into. Would I buy again? Yes. I am satisfied with the bike and hope it lasts me 15 years like my previous one did.
Thanks for this write-up. There seems to be a lot of hysteria about BikesDirect, and yours is the best summary I've seen of both the good and the bad.

It seems to me that it's great for all of us (as bike consumers) to see someone trying a new business model using the Internet. More competition means more options at lower prices for us.

It's not so good that they resort to marketing gimmicks and hype, like their "inflated" list prices. And of course there's never an excuse for poor customer communication, if they are guilty of that.
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Old 03-22-08, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy
Thanks for this write-up. There seems to be a lot of hysteria about BikesDirect, and yours is the best summary I've seen of both the good and the bad.

It seems to me that it's great for all of us (as bike consumers) to see someone trying a new business model using the Internet. More competition means more options at lower prices for us.

It's not so good that they resort to marketing gimmicks and hype, like their "inflated" list prices. And of course there's never an excuse for poor customer communication, if they are guilty of that.
I just take the hype with a grain of salt. I really don't care one way or the other about the recycled names. The same for the inflated list prices. I can see where that stuff might annoy some customers though.

On the communication thing. They only do email, but seem to respond quickly. I have purchased three bikes from them and had no issues with communication.
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Old 03-22-08, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
I just take the hype with a grain of salt. I really don't care one way or the other about the recycled names. The same for the inflated list prices. I can see where that stuff might annoy some customers though.

On the communication thing. They only do email, but seem to respond quickly. I have purchased three bikes from them and had no issues with communication.
I should say that I didn't have any communication issues either, because I never had to contact them about any problems. My bike arrived in good shape. I was just worried that it might be an issue before I ordered. 600 bucks is a lot of money, so I was somewhat concerned ahead of time. Also, I actually like the recycled names. I just wish bikesdirect.com did not try to pretend to be several different companies. They could just be honest and say they are reviving classic cycling names for their high-quality house brand bikes.

I actually just came back a few minutes ago from a 20 mile ride on my Windsor Tourist. I'm happier now than I was when I wrote the review above. The bike handled very well. I went over some big hills and I could see where lower gearing would be better for loaded touring. For light touring, the crankset that comes with it should be fine. The only thing I changed was replacing the pedals with platform pedals and adding lights and fenders. This is my first road-style bike. The bike really is so much nicer than my old mountain bike.
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Old 03-23-08, 07:09 AM
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I agree that there is a place for Bikes Direct. Most of us are fairly knowledgeable in the price of parts and drivetrain. Look at the specs, give minimum value for the frame and go from there. I visited the store in Jacksonville Beach and was very impressed with the overall quality of the bikes. You know what you are getting, so ignore the hype in the ads and make a decision based upon your knowledge.
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Old 03-23-08, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Little Darwin
Based on what I have heard, it is not comparable to the Trek 520, but is a decent touring bike.
I disagree that it is like the Trek. The Trek has handlebars that are too low for commuting and touring. The Windsor has handlebars in a nice position for touring and commuting. Also the components are a step lower on the Windsor, but they are still decent. The Windsor is probably the heaviest bike I have every owned. Perhaps the tubing on mine isn't butted; I like it anyway. The Trek isn't that heavy. The Trek has those bar end shifters, which are particularly unsuited for the Trek because the handlebars on the Trek are too low. My Windsor has very nice Tiagra shifters that, so far, are shifting awesome. I like the new Tiagra shifters better than the 9-speed Ultregra shifters that I had on my last bike. I cannot speak to the reliability of the components because I've only had my Windsor since late last summer, and I don't ride in the winter.

Both the Trek and the Windsor are more suited to commuting and pleasure rides than touring; the gearing is too high. I have yet to use the 52 x 11, and I doubt I ever will. I seldom use the 52 x 12 either. Therefore, the result is that I have 7 speed cassette. I wish someone would make a 14-32 or a 15-34 cassette.

I went over to Somerville, and I tried out the Trek, and even though I had the money for it, the handlebar was way too low for me. The bar end shifters exacerbated the ridiculously low riding position. I tried a Fuji, and I liked it, but the bike shop guy said that they were unwilling to change the tires, cassette, or the crank without an extra charge, and I didn't like the brown. So, I figured that the green Windsor was the best bet for me.

I'm not sure that the Windsor is identical to the Fuji as some have claimed. The heaviness of my bike leads me to believe that it doesn't have butted tubes, but I could be wrong. Also, the Fuji that I tried had the cross levers, and My Windsor does not.
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Old 03-23-08, 09:47 AM
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I'd like to also note that the pedals that came with the Windsor were too small for adult feet.
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Old 03-23-08, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ScituateJohn
The Trek has handlebars that are too low for commuting and touring. The Windsor has handlebars in a nice position for touring and commuting.
another impossible assertion. no bike is going to fit perfectly stock from the bike shop. the trek's headtube might look a little short compared to other touring bikes, but that isn't as limiting a factor as people seem to think. If you can buy a bike and have it fit correctly with the stock stem, then you're very, very lucky. People are proportioned differently, and bikes fit differently.
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Old 03-23-08, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Fueled by Boh
another impossible assertion. no bike is going to fit perfectly stock from the bike shop. the trek's headtube might look a little short compared to other touring bikes, but that isn't as limiting a factor as people seem to think. If you can buy a bike and have it fit correctly with the stock stem, then you're very, very lucky. People are proportioned differently, and bikes fit differently.
The Trek's handlebar is so low, and the steerer tube is cut so short that no stem would be sufficient. However, one of those steerer tube extenders might work. Then it would require longer cables and re-wrap the handlebar tape.

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Old 03-24-08, 10:54 AM
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The Windsor/Fuji is made from butted 4130 chrome molybendum steel tubing. For same model years they share almost all the same components. The only differrnce I could find was my Fuji has the additional Tektro cyclo-cross brake levers. Something I plan to remove at some point. I wish I had bought the Windsor, coulda saved a hundred bucks on a 07. I too beleive this is a strong bike suitable for it's stated purpose.

BTW the rear drop out spacing seems to be 132.5 mm. I just put on some new wheels with 135 mm spacing and they slipped right on with only slight finger pressure. (very nice touring wheelsat a good price)

https://cgi.ebay.com/Shimano-XT-M760-...QQcmdZViewItem
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Old 03-24-08, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by ScituateJohn
The Trek's handlebar is so low, and the steerer tube is cut so short that no stem would be sufficient. However, one of those steerer tube extenders might work. Then it would require longer cables and re-wrap the handlebar tape.
I think you mean too low for *you.*

I have a Trek 520; I bought it used. The steerer tube was pre-cut by prior owner, and I had to fiddle with stems until I found a stem that would raise the bar a bit until *I* was comfortable. Others might not like my setup, but after 2500 miles I'd say it works for me.

Also, Trek 520 has stock gearing that was too high for my taste. It cost me $50 to change (sold old crank on eBay, bought new crank on eBay).

In my opinion, anyone looking at touring bike in this price range (including the Windsor or the Trek) ought to have a clear idea of what they need to change and what that will cost. The real price of a bike is the cost *after* making it right. That's the price you ought to compare when shopping.

Back to BikesDirect -- what I like about their bikes is even if you "fix" what appears to be suboptimal you still get a deal.
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Old 03-24-08, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1


You can probably find more if you search my posts here or on Crazy Guy. Also check out our journal at:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/staehling2007
I just checked out the Windsor page at bikesdirect.com, and noticed that they link to your crazyguyonabike.com journal. I assume you already knew that, yes?
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Old 03-24-08, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by digitalbicycle
I just checked out the Windsor page at bikesdirect.com, and noticed that they link to your crazyguyonabike.com journal. I assume you already knew that, yes?
Yes. I didn't know until I started getting lots of questions and one of the people asking mentioned it.
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