Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts
8 posts • Page 1 of 1
I'm in the market for a flat bar roadie and have narrowed down a range of bikes that I'm planning to test ride. Any comments - good or bad on these bikes would be much appreciated.
All will be a major upgrade from my 12 year old Apollo and I'm looking forward to having a nice bike to ride.
Typical commute = 15km/day + to shops, out for fun etc etc whatever. My bike is my car, except for days when its pouring and the bus will do. No plans for off road or long distance touring, 99% of riding is on roads, bike paths, some dirt roads.
Avanti Blade Pro
Avanti Blade Comp
Giant CRX 1
All bikes are the 2007 models.
Thanks in advance,
I've had a breif ride on one of the Blades, I can't remember which, but it had carbon forks and seatpost. Anyway, I was riding it on grass and dirt. It didn't have the heavy, lugging feel of a mountain bike, but nor did it have the super-low gears of a mountain bike. It's pretty good on dirt considering the completely slick tires. Very light, shifts beautifully and is reasonably comfortable over rough terrain.
Have a look at the Trek S500, Giant CRX City and Avanti Blade 8 while you're at it. Those all have the nice Nexus 8 speed hub, which is very good for riding in town - stop at lights, shift to 1st, take off in 1st. I have the older S500 with 7 speed hub.
Apart from that, well, your 4 are all pretty nice. So buy whichever one you like best.
I've just had a quick look at the various company websites for those bikes. I've never really thought of or know anything about the internal gears/brakes.
How do they go for routine maintenance and longevity?
How do the gear ratios relate to the the "normal" types? Are they adjustable in the sense of having different gear ratios or are you stuck with what you get? e.g. on a traditional setup, it's easy enough to put either a different chainring or back cluster if you wanted to.
The internal gears are very good. Straight chain line so your chain, cog and chainwheel last well. Can change gears when stationary. The gearing is protected from rain, muck, grit, etc. They make a very sensible choice for commuting and have done some mighty tours in strange places. Don't be afeared of the internal gearing ... but the rest of the bike has to suit you as well.
They are essentially an adjustable hub, so you can change freewheels and chainrings to suit yourself - some actually come with derailleur gearing as well giving insane numbers of gears.
They're practically zero maintenance and adjustment compared to a deraileur. The hub is sealed in an oil bath, and the shifting components are just a set of toothed clutches. You adjust the shifting by lining up two red lines on the hub with the adjustment barrel, and that's it, perfectly indexed.
The total range for the 8 speed hub is about 320% from the lowest to highest, with fairly (but not exactly) even jumps between gears. Shifts up or down happen with a quick "click" as the clutch changes, nothing jumps around, and you don't need to be moving.
I've changed the chainring on mine, which moves all the ratios down as you would expect. It's possible to change the cog at the back too, but you can't change the spacing like you can with a deraileur, only the total ranges.
The new Alfine group set, which there are a couple of bikes coming out with now, has a chain tensioner, which would in theory let you fit a front deraileur. It also has disc brakes as an option.
One thing I will say is I'm not too hot on the Nexus hub roller brakes, they're too hard if you have hilly terrain. Better to have the new Alfine disc brakes, or like the CRX city a V brake on the front. The roller brakes are however, very low maintenance. They are covered and use a "brake grease" which means you will probably never have to replace the pads (not for years).
Finally, you lose some efficiency over a deraileur, but it's not that noticeable with the newer hubs, and the bike might be a bit heavier overall. It's all compromises of course.
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