Author Topic: REI Bikes  (Read 19170 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline NEIL FROM BROOKLINE

REI Bikes
« on: March 29, 2010, 02:50:51 pm »
Hi everyone,
I am new to bike touring & new to the forum. My local REI sells a number of touring bikes. The Randonee & Safari seem to draw the most attention. However, REI also markets some other bikes as suitable for touring: the Marin Lombard Bike, GT Type CX, & the Scott CX. What do members of the forum think of these bikes in terms of their suitability for loaded touring on mostly paved roads, plenty of hills, and occasional dirt and gravel? Please let me know.
Thanks,
Neil
Brookline, MA

Offline John Nelson

Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2010, 04:33:15 pm »
Any bike sold as a touring bike is going to be just fine. Don't overanalyze things. Buy the one you like the looks of and fits you best. If you're going to be heavily loaded and/or on poor roads, get a wheel with lots of spokes. If you have bad knees and/or are taking routes with a lot of hills, get a bike with low gearing. You don't hear many people complain that their gears are too low.

It's going to be hard to find anybody who has owned more than a couple of bikes that are still on sale today, so it's going to be hard to get objective direct comparisons.

In my opinion, it would be better to buy a bike that the manufacturer specifically markets as a touring bike rather than one the salesman says will do fine for touring. I look for as many of the following features as you can get: 36 spoke wheels, clearance for wide tires, V brakes, long chainstays for pannier clearance, mounts for at least three water bottles, long wheelbase for stability, mountain-bike gearing, drop or trekking bars, fender, and fittings for front and rear racks. You certainly don't need all of these features, but get as many as you can.

Offline rvklassen

Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2010, 04:45:36 pm »
I'll give you a rather indirect response.  

The first thing to note is that people have toured successfully on almost any bike.

That said, the question is what would best work for you.

What sets a touring bike off, especially for loaded touring, is
- sturdier wheels
- longer chainstays
- longer wheelbase
- wider gearing (relative to a road/racing bike).
- braze-ons for mounting things.

But you can get away with almost any frame without braze-ons and there are ways of adapting for the load.
If you are going to pull a trailer, the longer wheel base and chainstays don't matter.

Depending on your size, the longer chainstays may not matter either - and that partly depends on how much or little gear you carry.  More gear, more chance of interference between your heel and the rear pannier (but not if you use a trailer).

You can always change the gearing (but if you're buying something new, why would you not get something with a wide enough range?)

And you can always change the wheels.  

Of the Randonee and Safari, the Safari has a significantly wider gear range, esp. at the hill-climbing-with-a-load end.  At a glance, the chainstays on some of the others are a bit short.  (Note how close the rear wheel is to the seat tube).  Which may or may not matter, as I said above.  More clearance for the wheel means it's easier to put on fenders, if you care (if you're riding on wet roads the fenders will extend the life of your drive train); but also reduce the likelihood of heel strike on rear panniers.


Offline aggie

Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2010, 06:11:12 pm »
The Randonee has been a good touring bike over the years.  If you do a search for Randonee you will see how many members feel about theirs.  The Safari is fairly new.  To choose between these two bikes I'd say it depends on the type of road you will be doing most of your riding.  If you are going to be riding mostly on paved roads or hard packed trails then the Randonee is a good choice.  If you are going to be doing a lot of single track or loose gravel then you may be better off with the Safari since it will accommodate wider tires and is slightly lower geared.

The nice thing about REI is that if you are dissatisfied with the bike after a ride you should be able to take it back for a refund, especially if you are a member.

Offline Tourista829

Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2010, 07:00:24 pm »
REI is very reputable and you will be able to actual test ride a bike in you size, a unique concept. If interested in the Rondonee, check the tire width and clearance. I ride on 700X32c but sometimes I like to ride on 700X37c and larger. You may also want to check the Surly LHT.(not available at REI) Frame size <56c 26" tires 56c> 700c tires. Ditto's on the fenders and mud flaps. Allot some money for accessories, panniers, handlebar bag, and racks, although I believe the Rondonee comes with a rear rack. If you are new, get a good lock and chain. I have several but the one I like the best is from SARIS. It is light weight, 8 foot, 10mm braided steel cable loop and lock. It does not need a key to initially lock it, only to open it. Good luck in your search.

Offline NEIL FROM BROOKLINE

Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2010, 10:18:34 pm »
Hi Tourista, Aggie, Rvklassen, & John,
Thanks very much for your excellent replies. I plan to visit the local REI soon & follow-up on each of your recommendations.
Best,
Neil.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2010, 11:30:41 pm »
I like to have only one bike for everything--day rides, long days, short and long tours.  The best way to accomplish all of the above for me is to ride a light, fast carbon fiber bike and when touring, use a trailer and change the tires to more sturdy ones for long tours.

May the wind be at your back!

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 320
  • "I am well, thank God, and in high spirits"
Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2010, 07:34:12 pm »
The Safari is a great trekking bike, but I think REI messed it up by giving the larger sized 700/29er wheels. I have an '06, and it is great for a "long haul" bike. I have a Bianchi Volpe and a Trek MTB, and I had my fastest bicycle speed ever on the Safari (39.6 MPH. After that I lost my nerve. :o ) The only other gripe I have had with it is that there is a little bar on the chainstay that prevents using a rear-mount kickstand with it. My dream bike is the Koga Miyata World Traveler, and I consider my Novara Safari to be a very worthy substitute, at a third of the price!

Ride safe,
hans
2WX: The Two-Wheeled Explorer
www.twowheeledexplorer.org
"St. Louis to the Western Sea if nothing prevents."--John Ordway, Corps of Discovery

Offline Tourista829

Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2010, 11:47:28 pm »
Neil-A couple of further thoughts. REI is offering members a 20% off coupon, member20 code, one item until 4/17. I do not see any restrictions on bikes. ($799 is not a bad price) I looked at the specs and the bike comes with 700X32c tires without fenders. (You will need fenders) Check the clearance and see if fenders will fit or if you need to downsize to a 28c tires, hopefully not. Some other things, it has a 30,39,50 on the front crank. I would see, when you purchase the bike if they would switch out the smallest chain ring for a 24 or 22 tooth ring. I see a Sram 12-28, 9 speed rear cassette. See if they would sell you an additional 11-34 rear cassette and give you a break on the price. (check to see if their rear dérailleur can handle this wide range of gears)  Finally, some retailers will let you swap out the saddle they offer for another saddle. If you like another saddle see if you can work a deal, you may be able to save money.

Offline NEIL FROM BROOKLINE

Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2010, 11:51:11 pm »
Hi Trailpatrol & Tourista,
Thanks very much for sharing. I will be trying out the Safari & Randonee ASAP. I am grateful for Tourista's detailed recommendations on what parts to swap out on the Safari.
Best,
Neil.

Offline Tourista829

Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2010, 12:03:48 am »
You are welcome, glad I could help. Adventure Cycling Org., in their store has a mirror from Ortlieb (elongated) works great. We also like the bright triangle for additional visibility, especially in bad weather. A small bell is a good way to alert people. I hope you save money on whatever bike you purchase :)

Offline rvklassen

Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2010, 10:25:34 am »
Neil-A couple of further thoughts. REI is offering members a 20% off coupon, member20 code, one item until 4/17. I do not see any restrictions on bikes. ($799 is not a bad price) I looked at the specs and the bike comes with 700X32c tires without fenders. (You will need fenders) Check the clearance and see if fenders will fit or if you need to downsize to a 28c tires, hopefully not. Some other things, it has a 30,39,50 on the front crank. I would see, when you purchase the bike if they would switch out the smallest chain ring for a 24 or 22 tooth ring. I see a Sram 12-28, 9 speed rear cassette. See if they would sell you an additional 11-34 rear cassette and give you a break on the price. (check to see if their rear dérailleur can handle this wide range of gears)  Finally, some retailers will let you swap out the saddle they offer for another saddle. If you like another saddle see if you can work a deal, you may be able to save money.
Several things to note:

"Offer valid on Novara bicycles only; all other brands are excluded."

Also, switching a 30 to a 24 or 22 tooth ring isn't just a matter of changing the ring.  Most FDs are good for a maximum range - likely the one on there is good for something more than a 20 tooth difference between the smallest and the largest, but not likely a 26 tooth difference.  It's relatively easy to find something that works for a 24 granny and 48 big ring.  Not necessarily a 24 or 22 and a 50.  Maybe, but not guarantee.  At the other end, the RD has a limited capacity.  It's not just a question of whether it can handle an 11-34, but whether it can handle an 11-34 WITH a wide range up front.  The capacity has to do with how much chain it can take up when switching from something close to the largest cogs front and back to the smallest front and back.  While neither of these is a great idea to be using, you don't want the system to fail badly if you should happen to shift into the bad cross-over.  Without enough capacity, if the chain is long enough to reach big-big, it will fall off when you go small-small.  And if it isn't long enough, it can bind when you try to shift into certain positions. 


Offline John Nelson

Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2010, 12:58:51 pm »
I'm running 48/36/26 in the front with 11-34 in the rear with LX derailleurs, and it is at the absolute limit. Any more and the chain wouldn't function on both small-small and large-large. Now you don't necessarily need small-small or large-large, but then again you don't want anything bad to happen if you should accidentally shift into them.

charchilp

  • Guest
Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2010, 11:00:37 pm »
I like to have only one bike for everything--day rides, long days, short and long tours.  The best way to accomplish all of the above for me is to ride a light, fast carbon fiber bike and when touring, use a trailer and change the tires to more sturdy ones for long tours.


Online Reputation Management

Offline Tourista829

Re: REI Bikes
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2010, 11:11:10 pm »
We have a 22-36-48 in the front with a 11-32 cassette in the rear. Shimano Tiagra STI, Rear Derailleur is a Shimano Mountain Bike (long throw) I can assure you it works fine. My mistake, I thought the Rondonee was an REI bike and the ad I had, did not specify.  On suggesting switching only the granny gear, he would have to switch the derailleur and might want a closer pattern in the front. I was trying to encourage Neil to see if he could get REI to switch out his drive train, if it was too high a low gear. It might be less expensive, when purchasing the bike verses retro fitting. Some REI's will do it, some won't. Never hurts to ask.