Monday, November 28, 2016

Specialized AWOL Expert

The Specialized AWOL Expert is a do-everything bike. Photo courtesy: specialized.com
The Specialized AWOL Expert retails for $2,500.

If you follow bicycle retail, you've probably noticed some interesting models labeled "adventure," "bikepacking," "gravel" or "offroad touring."  These are bikes like the Soma Wolverine, the Salsa Marrakesh or Vaya, and Surly's Troll or Ogre. They take wide tires, they tend to be made from high quality steel, and they come with disc brakes. Basically, they're designed to handle the rough stuff while carrying a load.

Specialized's offering is pricey, but it has it all: dyanamo-powered lights (add it to Edwin's list!); fenders with mudflaps; front and rear racks; disc brakes; really wide (comes with 700x45) tires; and a many gear combinations.  You could ride across the continent on this, or you could just ride to work. It will do whatever it is you want it to do.

Here is a 2014 review from Bicycle Times. 

Here are the specs:
    • FRAME

      Heat-treated custom-butted Premium Cr-Mo tubing, internal light cable routing-ready, Adventure Geometry, post disc mount, fender/rack mounts, kickstand plate
    • FORK

      Butted premium Cr-Mo, unicrown, heat-treated
    • FRONT HUB

      Shimano Dynamo hub, Center Lock disc, 32h 
    • REAR HUB

      Shimano Center Lock disc, 32h
    • SPOKES

      Stainless,14/15g w/self-locking threads
    • RIMS

      Specialized 29" disc front, 6061-T6 aluminum, 32h
    • INNER TUBES

      Standard, Presta valve
    • FRONT TIRE

      Specialized Borough Armadillo, 60TPI, 700x45mm
    • REAR TIRE

      Specialized Borough Armadillo, 60TPI, 700x45mm
    • CRANKSET

      Shimano Tiagra
    • CHAINRINGS

      50/39/30T
    • BOTTOM BRACKET

      Shimano Tiagra
    • SHIFT LEVERS

      Shimano Tiagra
    • FRONT DERAILLEUR

      Shimano Tiagra
    • REAR DERAILLEUR

      Shimano Tiagra
    • CASSETTE

      Shimano, 10-speed, 11-36t
    • CHAIN

      KMC X10EPT Anti-Rust, 10-speed, w/reusable MissingLink
    • FRONT BRAKE

      TRP HY/RD, hydraulic disc, 160mm rotor
    • REAR BRAKE

      TRP HY/RD, hydraulic disc, 160mm rotor
    • HANDLEBARS

      Specialized Adventure Gear AWOL, alloy, 125mm drop, 70mm short-reach, 12-degree flare-out
    • TAPE

      Specialized Adventure Gear S-Wrap Canvas Tape
    • STEM

      Specialized, 3D forged alloy, 4-bolt, 7-degree rise
    • SADDLE

      Body Geometry Phenom Comp, hollow Cr-Mo rails, 143mm
    • SEATPOST

      Specialized CG-R, FACT carbon, single bolt, reflective, 27.2mm
    • SEAT BINDER

      AWOL forged alloy, CNC, stainless bolt, 29.8mm




You can ride it in the country; you can ride it in the city. Photo courtesy: specialized.com

Monday, July 11, 2016

GT Traffic 1.0

Traffic 1.0 is GT's top city bike.  Photo courtesy of  GT Bicycles.



The GT Traffic 1.0 is an aluminum 8-speed with disc brakes that retails for $660.

In a recent review, Adam Newman of the Bicycle Times sums up Traffic 1.0:

The Traffic is a solid platform for getting where you need to go and fun enough to take you a little bit beyond. While I will admit to being spoiled by some of the high-end bicycles we get to demo, I was impressed with the value of the build. Included are Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, full coverage fenders and even a bell. Add some lights and a lock and you’re off.

I would add that the Traffic 1.0 is built for wide tires.  It comes with 700 x 40c Schwalbe Roadcruiser tires that feature reflective sidewalls and puncture resistance.  These are quality tires -- I think they go for about $25 apiece -- and they should offer a cushy, flat-free ride and last for a long time.

Here are the specs:

Sizes:

XS, S, M, L, XL
Frame: NEW GT Traffic Triple Triangle 6061 series alloy, smooth welded, and hydroformed (TT,DT), forged drop-outs, chainstay disc mounts, all utility braze-ons
Fork: GT Traffic fork with hydroformed alloy raked legs, Disc brake tabs, rack and fender eyelets, steel steerer.
Chain: KMC Z72
Crank: SR Suntour XCC 48/38/28t
Bottom Bracket: Cartridge sealed
Pedals: New GT high impact nylon platform
Front Derailleur: Shimano FM-191
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Altus RD-M310 8spd
Shifters: Shimano Acera 8spd
Cog Set: Sunrace CSM55 8-spd 11-32t
Rims: Alex R500 disc specific aero profile
Tires: 700x40c Schwalbe Roadcruiser w/ puncture protection and reflective sidewalls
Hubs: F: Formula Disc 32h; R: Formula Disc 32h Freehub
Spokes: Stainless steel 14g
Nipples: Brass CP
Brake: Shimano BR-M355, Hydraulic Disc, W/ 160mm Rotor SM-RT56
Brake Levers: Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brake Lever
Handlebar: All New Melt forged Alloy Ahead type
Stem: New GT 3D forged Alloy Ahead type
Grips: GT Wing design
Headset: Threadless Ahead
Saddle: New GT Traffic saddle
Seat Post: Alloy one bolt seat pillar
Seat Clamp: Bolt type
Extras: Polycarbonate full wrap front & rear fender

*All prices and specifications subject to change without notice.
 


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Raleigh Superbe

The 2016 Raleigh Superbe.  Courtesy: Raleigh USA

The 2016 Raleigh Superbe is a 7-speed that comes with fenders, a chainguard, and a rear rack and has an MSRP of $450.

Last we checked, the Raleigh brand was owned by a Dutch conglomerate after being sold and resold several times.  So it's not the same company that was founded in Nottingham, England in 1887 and once dominated the bicycle industry in terms of quality and performance.  The old Raleighs, like our friend old Binnie, have held up to the test of time.  If you're feeling nostalgic, you should check out this promotional film made at the Nottingham factory.

Nevertheless, the Raleigh brand rides on, and the names of the most famous old Raleigh models are being recycled: first, with the Clubman model and now Superbe.

According to the late, great Sheldon Brown, the Raleigh Superbe model "was always the super-deluxe version of [Raleigh's] top-of-the-line bike."  Sheldon Brown's Superbe looked like this:

Sheldon Brown's 1954 Raleigh Superbe. Courtesy: sheldonbrown.com

The 2016 Superbe is a poor imitation of the real thing.  That sounds harsh, but compare the 2016 model with Sheldon's 1954 model:

The 1954 model came with a dynohub light system.  The 2016 model does not include lights.

The 1954 model had an internal gear hub, protecting those gears from rainy English weather.  The 2016 model comes with a plastic derailer.

The 1954 model had a full chaincase, shielding the chain from moisture and the rider's pants from the drivetrain.  The 2016 model has a chainguard.

The 1954 model came standard with a leather Brooks B-66 sprung saddle. The 2016 model has a synthetic sprung saddle.

The 1954 model came with a pump and pump holder.  The 2016 model comes with neither.



The 2016 Superbe is a useful, functional bike.  It's just not superb, like the Superbe of yore.

2016 Specs:

Frame MaterialSteel
Bike Wheel Size700c
FrameRaleigh Classic Steel, Twin Tube Low Step-thru
ForkSteel 1" Threaded w/ Brake Bosses
CranksForged Alloy, 170mm w/ 42t Heron Chain Ring
Bottom BracketCartridge Steel w/ Oversize Bearings, Chromoly Spindle
Rear DerailleurShimano Tourney 7spd
ShifterShimano 7spd Revo Shifter
Brake LeversPromax Alloy
BrakesPromax Alloy V Brake, Silver
CogsetShimano Tourney 7spd 14-28
RimsWeinmann 700c Alloy 36h
TiresKenda 700x35 Skin Side Wall
PedalsVP Classic Steel Cage
HandlebarAlloy Silver 640 Width 60mm Sweep
StemSilver Anodized 1" Quill
SeatpostAlloy Micro Adjust 25.4x300mm
SeatRaleigh Comfort Saddle w/ Springs
HeadsetSilver, 1" Threaded
ChainKMC
Front Hub36h Nutted
Rear Hub36h Nutted,
Spokes14g Zinc Plated Steel
GripsVelo Black Cork
ExtrasRack w/ bungee cords, Metal Fenders, Silver Kick Stand


http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/city/classics/superbe

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/org/superbe54.html






Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Scott Sub EVO 20

The 2016 Scott Sub Evo 20. Photo courtesy of Scott Sports.
The Scott Sub Evo 20 is currently on sale at Big Wheel Bikes for $800 (the MSRP is $1,000).

The first thing we need to do is add this to Edwin's list of bikes that come with lights. The front headlight is a Busch and Muller Eyc, which is powered by Shimano Deore dynamo hub.  The rear light is also from B and M.

Scott calls this a 30-speed.  It comes with a cassette with a range from an 11-tooth cog up to a mountain-tackling 34-tooth large cog.  The Sub Evo has an aluminum frame and fork and is equipped with Shimano disc brakes.  Overall, my impression is that this bike can handle a mix of terrain and climates.

The Sub Evo comes with fenders and a Racktime rearcarrier.  Racktime is a complete system which works with "snap it" accessories, as depicted in this youtube video.

Overall, this looks like a well-designed and thought-out bike.  There's a review of the Sub Evo 30 bike on youtube (a similar, but not the same, model).

Specs:

Frame


SUB Evo 6061 Tig welding




Fork
Sub Evo Alu Rigid Forged




Headset
VP-A41AC Semi integrated




Rear Derailleur
Shimano RD-T610 SGS 10 Speed




Front Derailleur
Shimano Deore FD-T610




Shifters
Shimano SL-T610




Brake Levers
Shimano BL-M355




Brakes
Shimano BR-M355




Crankset
Shimano FC-T611 Black 48x36x26 T




BB-Set
Included with crankset




Handlebar
JD-MTB 25AF




H'stem
JD-ST57A




Pedals
VP-615




Seatpost
JD JD-SP68T.1.




Seat
Syncros Urban Solution 2.5




Hub (Front)
Shimano Deore DH-3D37 Dynamo 32h




Hub (Rear)
Shimano FH-M615 CL 32h




Chain
KMC X10




Cassette
Shimano HG62 11-34 T




Spokes
Pillar Steel 14G




Rims
X12 Disc, 32h




Tires
Continental City Ride II




Lights
Front B&M EYC and Rear Integrated B&M Ilu Jr




Rack & Fenders
Racktime Standit w/ spring clamp
Curana C-lite D45 with integrated Rear Light




Approx weights in KG
15




Approx weights in LBS
33.07



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Republic Bikes

Republic's Plato Dutch Step-through available through Urban Outfitters. Photo courtesy of Urban Outfitters

Republic Bikes' Plato Dutch diamond and step-through 3-speeds are advertised for $499 at Urban Outfitters.  The singlespeeds are $399. They can also be ordered directly from Republic.

Republic Bikes jumped on the fixie/singlespeed bandwagon in the late 2000's.  Republic fixies were quickly derided by bike snobs as cheap and heavy.  They were, after all, made from tensile steel (*gasp*).  There were also grounds to mock Republic fixies based on the partnership between Republic and Urban Outfitters.  In 2009, the world's funniest bike snob commented:

You can certainly continue to enjoy something after it's received the Urban Outfitters treatment, though you can no longer tell yourself that the fact that you enjoy it makes you special.

Bike Snob was talking about fixies and hipsters, but the same sentiment can now be applied to "Dutch bikes" and the city dwellers who love them.  Yes, we know these are not *real* Dutch bikes.  But will Dutch bikes ever hold the same allure after receiving the "Urban Outfitters treatment"?

The Republic Bikes/Urban Outfitter "treatment" includes a web page where you "build your own bike," by which they mean you get to choose a color scheme.  I'm not going to make fun of this.  Urban Outfitters sells fashion, and "Dutch" bikes have long been considered a fashion accessory.

Republic has built a fleet of these "Dutch" bicycles for Google employees to cruise from building to building at the Googleplex campus in Mountain View, California.  These are useful bikes, even if they are tanks designed as fashion accessories.

Specifications

Total assembled weight: 40 lbs (18.14 kgs)

Frame: Custom lugged design in hi-ten steel. Adjustable alloy seat tube clamp. Front and rear pipe carrier racks included.

Forks: Crown Lugged, hi-ten steel.

Gearing (1-speed): 36T chainwheel, 18T freewheel

Gearing (3-speed): Shimano Nexus 3-speed internal hub, 36T chainwheel, 18T freewheel

Grips: Custom stitched comfort grips.

Saddle: Custom two-tone button saddle with Republic logo plate.

Chaincase: Fully covered PVC chain protector

Skirt: Clip-on PVC skirt nets attach to rear fender.

Wheels: Alloy 26 x 1.5". Nutted axles to both front and rear.
Tires: 26 x 2.25" custom hue balloon tires

Rear hub (1-speed): Coaster brake hub with 18T freewheel.

Rear hub (3-speed): Shimano Nexus 3-speed Coaster brake hub with 18T freewheel.

Front hub: Shimano Nexus roller brake.
Chainset: Steel 1/2 x 1/8 x 36T with 165mm Alloy cranks

Handlebars: Alloy, 600mm wide semi-raised.

Pedals: 9/16 PVC with reflectors.

Brakes: Rear coaster brake, front Shimano roller brake.

Seat post: Alloy 28.6mm x 400mm.

Center kickstand included.

Front, rear and wheel reflectors included.