Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Narrowing the list

I've been thinking more about the bike I want. I think I will go steel...just because. Therefore I can immediately cross the few aluminum bikes off my list. I'll also pass on the disc brake and carbon fork bikes, which are probably overkill. I'll sneak the Handsome Devil in there, though I'd have to have that built up at a to be determined cost.

Here are the front-runners:
The Raleigh Clubman and the two Masi are all gorgeous bikes and at the top of my list right now. The Handsome is close behind. Masi is a San Diego-based company, so I like to factor that in. It is always nice to support the local guys. On the other hand, it is nice to support the little guys like Handsome (not that Masi are huge themselves). If I could do a comparable build of the Devil in that $1100 price range, it would be a tough call.
  • Bianchi Volpe - steel frame/fork, triple crank, Shimano Tiagra/Deore ($1099)
  • Surly Cross-Check - steel frame/fork, bar-end shifters, Shimano Tiagra ($1050)
  • Gary Fisher Lane - steel frame/fork, triple crank, Shimano 2300/Deore ($1099)
The Bianchi Volpe and Surly CrossCheck are both solid choices, but don't seem to have some of the flair of the previous bikes. The Fisher Lane is brand new to the market but is very much akin to the Volpe and CrossCheck. I admire Gary Fisher and how he's an ambassador for cycling of all types.
The Specialized Allez Steel could be a dark horse here. The Kona Honky Tonk appears a close cousin to the Allez. I think the geometry of these two are the sportiest of the bunch. Not that I really understand much about bicycle geometry, but they have the shortest wheelbase and chainstay length. They may not take fatter tires either. The downtube shifters of the Allez are certainly a throwback, but the price is not to be ignored, especially if it indeed has Reynolds tubing.  In 2009 the Honky Tonk also had downtube shifters, but for 2010 Kona switched to STI shifters. Whether that's an improvement depends on your perspective, I guess, but this bike also looks like a good value. I've not seen a local shop yet that carries Kona road bikes, though.

What to do, what to do?? Test rides would be an ideal start, I suppose...

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