Monday, January 17, 2011

A Lovely Touring Bike... For You?

When I mentioned my "roadbike for women who fear roadbikes" project earlier, I didn't make this clear as I was still figuring out the details - but it is now very much official: I will be giving this bicycle away for free to an interested recipient in the spring.

To recap: Back in November, I picked up a vintage Shogun bike in which I saw a lot of potential, due to its comfortable frame geometry. The Co-Habitant and I are overhauling the bicycle from the frame up and fitting it with nice, comfy components. The goal is to turn it into a touring bike that will hopefully address some issues that fledgling female cyclists tend to have with roadbikes. I was not able to handle a roadbike until (after much trial and error) I discovered that a comfortable frame plus the right components were key. That experience changed my perspective and made me very happy, and I would like to help make that happen for someone else.

I am able to fit this bicycle with extremely nice components and give it away for free, thanks to the generosity of several donors. The main donors for this project are Velo Orange and Cambridge Bicycle, whose contributions will be described below. I have also been offered a monetary donation by a reader "Cedar" to cover the costs of the frame and wheelset I had purchased. Additional contributions of components were made by: Justine Valinotti of Midlife Cycling, reader "Spindizzy," reader "G.E.," reader "neighbourtease," and "somervillain" of Boston Retro Wheelmen. The Co-habitant and I are contributing our time and labor, as well as a few of our own things.

The frame and fork are cro-moly, and the seat tube angle is a comfortable 72.5 degrees. The frame has "touring geometry" and eyelets for fenders and racks. The bicycle as shown in the pictures here has been stripped of most of its original components, fitted with an updated touring wheelset, a Nitto stem, Nitto Randonneur handlebars, and a Velo Orange saddle. The drivetrain shown is original, but it will soon be replaced.

The size of the frame is 52cm, as measured from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the intersection with the top tube (or 54cm if measured to the top of the seat tube). I am 5'7" and the size is just right for me - with plenty of top tube clearance, but not too much. If you are 5'5" - 5'8" it should fit you as well. Outside of that range, I would need to know your inseam measurement or pubic bone height to give you a better idea. Since there is only one bike, the size will naturally exclude many of you from participating in the give-away, and I am sorry about that.

The frame colour of the bicycle is an ethereal mixture of mauve and champagne. It's a neutral colour, but vibrant, with some shimmer to it; the pictures here portray it accurately. The headtube panel is a deep, dark chocolate-plum. The Shogun insignia on the downtube is sage green.

The Nitto Technomic stem and Randonneur handlebars are from my own parts stash (the handlebars are new, the stem gently used). I am not sure yet whether the final bicycle will have the Randonneur bars or the Noodles - I am planning to do a comparison test.

The saddle is a "Model 3" touring saddle from Velo Orange, which I will test out and review once the roads are clear of snow. The person who gets the bike in the end will have a choice between this saddle, and one of my own Brooks B17S saddles (which I no longer use).

In addition to the saddle, Velo Orange was kind enough to donate: a headset, a crankset, fenders, and leather handlebar tape. The items were ones I requested specifically for this bike.

I don't want to remove the hammered fenders from the packaging until it's time to install them, but they look beautiful. The hammered pattern has a "honey comb" look to it that I visually prefer over the Honjo version - though this is, of course, a matter of taste.

The "Grand Cru" crankset is classic and beautifully made, modeled on vintage TA. Before VO released this model, it was very difficult to find a crankset in a classic style.

I haven't put leather tape on any of my own drop bars, as I consider it too expensive - but if will be fabulous to try it out before giving the bike away!

I have not yet picked up the components donated by Cambridge Bicycle, but they will include: brakes, short-reach brake levers, derailleur, cables, housing, and MKS touring pedals. I will feature these in a separate post.

For others interested in getting involved in this project, I am still in need of the following components for the basic build: bar-end shifters (Shimano or Silver), a bottom bracket (JIS Square Taper, 110mm spindle length, hollow axle), tires (32mm Panaracer Pasela Tourguards), and a few other random items. Additionally, I am looking for a local bike shop that would be willing to ship the bicycle in the event that the recipient is not local, so that their winning does not entail having to pay for shipping. Everything donated will be used for this project only. To contribute, please get in touch at filigreevelo-at-yahoo-dot-com and thanks in advance for the help!

I am not sure yet what form the give-away of this bicycle will take. I hate to call it a "contest," but there will obviously have to be some sort of selection process, as there is only one bicycle. Either way, the formal rules will likely not be announced until early Spring. In the meantime, I would love to hear what you think about the whole idea. A refurbished vintage bike is not a typical give-away item and I am not even certain whether anybody will want it! Do you like the colour? The look so far? And I am especially interested in hearing from women who would like to try a road bike with drop bars, but have not had much luck thus far. What has been your experience? What do you find intimidating or difficult about the process? Similarly, if you already ride a roadbike, but find it uncomfortable or sub-par, I am interested in why.

I am enjoying putting together this bicycle immensely, and I thank once again those whose donations have made this project possible!

72 comments:

  1. Neat idea, and a really handsome frame to start with. I always liked the old Shogun's quality and restrained design. The graphics were sort of bleh but then most of them were back then.

    I assume you're going to set this bike up with indexed shifting but if you're not I have some un-used vintage SunTour friction type bar-ends shifters that are just waiting for a noble endeavor like this.

    Spindizzy

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  2. Great idea and looks like a lovely bike which will hopefully make a super prize for someone. I ride a touring bike with drop handlebars and prefer them for tje range of riding positions they offer, but they seem to be out of fashion these days. I do prefer a step-through frame though.

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  3. Spindizzy - The subdued graphics are one of the surprising things about this frame. It is '80s, but does not have the "dreaded '80s paintjob".

    I will be using friction shifters, non-indexed. Thanks for the offer! What are the Suntours likes in comparison to the Shimano or Silvers?

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  4. There really is no comparison(he said with a "Hrumph..."), The SunTours are nice substantial levers with a rounded rubber(actually vinyl)cover and beautifully chromed hardware and the most satisfyingly tactile ratchet mechanism that allows very precise and positive adjustment. I'll just send them, they are the absolute finest bar-ends in the history of the world and indexing be damned.

    Spindizzy

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  5. I would *love* it! However, it would probably be smidgen too big for me, plus I live too far away to make shipping or pickup feasible, so I'll just have to wait until next Christmas and envy the person who is lucky enough to get this one...My experience with roadbikes is nil, mostly because I just got into transportation biking about 6 months ago and am intimidated by the thought of riding the flashy, fancy carbon-fiber bikes in my LBS that cost as much as my room and board for a semester. Plus, there's sort of a subtle "boy's club" feel that I get when walking into the LBSs in my hometown (no welcoming Harris Cyclery in Houston), and I'm too shy to defy their expectations and ask to test-ride a Cannondale. On the other hand, I feel like my street cred is a bit reduced by riding a second-hand hybrid comfort bike and a cheapo Target cruiser, so maybe I should just bite the bullet and try it out. Either way, I'll be reading your blog for advice!

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  6. if you have time, maybe it would be nice to offer a few test rides to local riders? that would be a great opportunity to learn more about road bikes even if one is not the lucky winner...

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  7. I love this idea. I have always been, well, uninterested in road bikes, probably because the only one I've ever tried riding belong to my husband and is sooo not right for me. These days I ride my cheapo KHS Green bike or else my hubby and I take out the tandem. I pretty much agree exactly with everything the poster above (Claire) said; I'll definitely be reading your blog for advice and inspiration!

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  8. Anon 9:51 - If anyone local is interested, I would certainly be open to that!

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  9. Um... Spindizzy, pal, I _want_ those!

    Have a set of Shimano indexing 8-speed? to trade (currently on my MB--I use them as friction b/c 5-speed cassette).

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  10. I will trade you Spindizzy's shifters for yours after he sends them to me
    : )

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  11. I think he's looking handsome. Those fenders are going to look great, too. I would not necessarily pick a pearly plum, but he looks wonderful with those brown tones and gum walled tires. Also, I think he is my size! I'm just under 5'6". I've never been on a road bike before, but I'd like to try it someday. My sister just purchased a Giant carbon fiber road bike that's too big for me, so I can't try it out (she's 5'8"). Not that I want to--bikes I can toss with one hand seem scary to me!

    Even if I don't win a bike this will be so helpful to learn about; why specific components were picked, and what to look for in a frame.

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  12. the most satisfyingly tactile ratchet mechanism that allows very precise and positive adjustment

    YES. These shifters are the cat's meow. I have them on two bikes.

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  13. As a new reader I'm really excited to watch as you build up a bike, and even more excited about the give-away! You put a lot of love into your bicycles and I'm sure this will be no exception. I had previously only ridden upright bicycles until I went out on a limb and bought a vintage mixte in October. It came with drop bars, but I'm thinking about switching them out for swept back bars, which I think will be more comfortable for me. I have to admit that I'm a little freaked out by drop bars because of the changing of hand positions to be able to break. I was wondering if you could address this with the Shogun and add a component that could make the transition to drop bars a little easier. Here is an interesting style of brakes on a bike featured on the Old Ten Speed Gallery: http://oldtenspeedgallery.com/owner-submitted/burton-bs-1977-katakura-silk/ I'm not sure what this style of brake lever is called, but it seems nice to have the option of braking from the upright hand position. Is this something you might consider adding to the Shogun?

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  14. Drool! I'm torn between wish I could try a nice road bike, and having to face facts that as a mom, I am doomed (for a few years anyway) to be on my upright bike towing my baby trailer.

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  15. Fjelltronen - I never imagined that I would like such a colour until I happened upon this bike! Now the longer I have it in the house, the more I grow mesmerised by it. It changes with the light and matches pretty much everything.

    Erin - An hour on the roadbike here and there will make you more energised to deal with the baby. You'll be doing it for the baby! : )

    Juco - I am going to write about this issue soon. [In my view] you should not be holding your hands in a position from which you can't brake; your hands should be on the "hoods" of the handlebars. Modern, short-reach brake levers can be easily squeezed from this position. I do not plan to put interruptor levers on this bike, because I don't think they are good for you - you just need a comfortable style of drop bars (not all are the same) and good brake levers. This is hard to explain without pictures, but I'll have them shortly.

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  16. One thing to remeber for any taker of this is that, if you are for example Inuit, Samic or Asian, your inseam is probably shorter than Veloria´s. Even if you are the same height. Fitting bikes is tricky business!

    Smashing sweater and coat btw!

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  17. This will be a fun project to follow. I've always liked that color range on bikes, though not on anything else. To me, it looks "right" on a touring bicycle.

    And another vote here for the Suntour friction bar-end shifters. The are amazingly positive and easy to adjust. I would dearly love another set.

    Corey K

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  18. > if you are for example Inuit, ...

    that reminds me to check on shipping rates to the Arctic

    But all of this depends. I went to high school with some really tall, long-legged Cambodian kids. And I know some extremely short Germans. Best for everyone to judge their own leg/torso proportions.

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  19. HI! Your fabulous-ness never ceases...

    I don't know if you experience this, but I hate the fact that when I'm riding a "road bike" with drop bars, I feel so uncomfortable with my neck perpendicular to my body. (I saw in some of your "drop bar" posts that you raised the stem. Loved that.) And I feel like I can't see around me. That's why I've avoided road bikes in the past. But I live in a very hilly area, Penn State, so there are so many advantages to having a lighter bike... (right now I ride a 70's Peugot mixte)

    Also, will it be a 10 speed?

    BTW I'm also 5'7...eagerly anticipating the terms of the give away...muwahaha

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  20. A Shogun 600 was my first modern road bike. I had a Gitane Racer GS before that but I'm not going to say that tubular tires are modern. The Shogun came with mostly Shimano 600 components. I put thousands of miles on my Shogun and its still nice to see them popping up today.

    I recently ran across a Shogun 400 mixte. We made some changes, that made it more suitable to how it would be used. Here's a picture of it, a bit stretched for me before I gave it to my friend.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/InrYYj4uAXQ9QTuIsBwqeA?feat=directlink

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  21. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who appreciates these things. I really mourned the passing of the old SunTour, such well made stuff and no flash. Most of my bikes are Shimano free zones because their stuff, while just about perfect in some ways, always seemed to be trying a little too hard to be new and innovative. Sometimes a componant really has attained functional perfection so why not just make em' as well as you can and sell em' for as long as people will buy them.

    I have a couple of sets of these and I don't mind donating them for this cause. If they end up on MDIs bike that's fine with me, but I'm not going to part with anymore of them so use them wisely.

    Spindizzy

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  22. This will be the best bike give-away I've ever seen! I think you will be overwhelmed with people who would love this bike... including me. What a fantastic project and a great way to share your expertise.

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  23. Thanks Spindizzy, I'll take them. My main deciding factor whether to put them on this bike or trade them for MDI's Shimanos, will be how user friendly I'll think they are to someone like me. I've just never tried them, so I want to see for myself. Thanks again!

    Julia - It will be a 12 speed. The neck thing... My working hypothesis, is that on a properly set up bike the body adjusts itself and either the neck muscles strengthen or something happens, that it stops being a problem very quickly. Same with being able to see over your shoulder. Sometimes it's the instability of a roadbike that makes us feel as if we can't see properly, rather than the leaned over position per se. I have not ridden enough bikes to understand this yet, but based on my experience so far, that's the direction I am thinking in.

    Paddy - Nice mixte! Same VO fenders, right?

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  24. This project and idea is all kinds of awesome. Cannot wait to see the end result and who the lucky girl is!

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  25. The bike is very nice. I like the color very much: It's rich and complex.

    It's a bit small for me. But I'll be very happy for the woman who gets it.

    By the way, the fenders are the same ones I have on Helene, my Mercian women's bike. I've always liked VO, but I like them even more now, seeing how they've donated to your project.

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  26. I love this project. It's a great idea on your part and props too to all the companies and individuals who are donating things to make it all possible.

    I think the color is the best. It seems subdued but also surprisingly interesting. That's how I'd like to think of myself so it suits me! (Yes, I will be planning on entering this contest).

    For me, the big issue with road bikes and drops is the reach overall. Get me on a bike that fits my legs, and I am way too stretched out to reach the handlebars. It sounds like this bike has a geometry that maybe isn't so extreme, but I don't really know anything about bike geometry. Also, I think when the seat is higher than the handlebars it's too extreme- when you're in the drops you really can't see ahead.

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  27. Fantastic idea. I will be interested in seeing how it comes along.

    Erin - as a Dad who has ridden with trailers behind bikes with tires both skinny and fat, I assure you that you could take a trailer along behind you with this bike. I am confident Velouria will make sure it has a kickstand.

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  28. I've got a hunch that this color will look spectacular, phenomenal when the new components are installed, leather bar tape, tires, fenders, cranks.

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  29. This is a really neat project, and a beautiful bike! I envy the lucky girl who gets it.

    I've started reading your blog only recently but am completely enamored with it. Thanks for keeping it up!

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  30. Justine - Thank you for the bottom bracket!

    I am crossing out bottom bracket and shifters from the "needed" list, and thank you to those who have emailed me privately as well!

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  31. Suntour barcons are legendary. If you match them up with Cyclone derailers I'm not sure how you could do better in a friction shifting setup.

    "[In my view] you should not be holding your hands in a position from which you can't brake; your hands should be on the "hoods". . ."

    Can't agree, but we can take that up when the time comes. For now I'm willing to stipulate that it could go into the "advanced skills" category.

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  32. As a young woman becoming a little more interested in the road biking experience every day, this is an amazing giveaway. Especially since I have little knowledge of how to select components and what parts to choose in refurbishing a used or vintage bike. Your doing at the work for us!
    Really don't worry about people wanting the bike or not. It's going to be so very handsome.

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  33. Bad experiences shouldn't (and won't I'm sure) keep others from giving it a go and completely loving the end result! You're amazing for doing something like this!

    My own experience hasn't been good. It's been years since I have been on a road bike that was comfortable. A year or so ago I decided to try one again and purchased a Swobo Del Norte (a cheap bike $700-800 range), I love the aesthetics but riding it killed me! I found the drop bars and position of the brakes uncomfortable, never got around to putting a decent seat on it (and man was the stock seat BAD!) and the front wheel sometimes bumped my foot while turning. A two hour ride put me in pain for two weeks! I could hardly move my neck and shoulders.

    For myself, while this bike is beautiful and I'd love to own it, I'd be too afraid of being just as displeased with this road bike as I am with the Del Norte. I don't know that I'll ever get on a road bike again :*(

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  34. Patience - It sounds to me like you are exactly the sort of person this bike is for. The difference between it and the Swobo would astound you; seriously.

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  35. When I was a teenager I used to have a women's "racing bike" with drop handle bars and really skinny wheels. It's interesting the debate about hand position and brakes. I had brakes that could be activated both when "hunched over" in the curvy bit and when more upright - I don't know what they were called.

    I now ride an upright bike (and very much appreciate having a basket at last).

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  36. Alas, this wouldn't fit me. I have a 52cm Miyata two-ten that I'm currently trying to sell because it's too big, and I'm currently fixing up a smaller (48cm) Novara Randonee for myself.

    I'm not sure I'd like the handlebars anyway. I just ordered some Salsa Poco bars, which have really short reach and drop, they make those Nittos look HUGE.

    This is a really awesome idea though!! Even though my Miyata is too big, it was the first diamond frame (and touring bike) I ever owned, and the bike I tried to tour in before made me think I didn't like touring, but the Miyata helped me learn to love it. It's really amazing how much it helps to have a well-made bike intended for the purpose.

    You sound a bit like me: I'm hoping that whomever buys my Miyata is someone who will use it to start touring, I want them to love that bike like I did!

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  37. It takes a village to build a bike....Er, wait, sorry for the trip through cliche-ville. Nevertheless, an excellent project that will make some deserving cyclist very happy. Next time I place an order with Velo-Orange, I'll give them a thumbs up.

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  38. MDI w/ assist from Peppy (the can haz rain on your parades cat)January 17, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    The neck pain thing isn't magical. Everyone new needs to get some back and "neck" muscles ready and the relevant scaffolding up to speed.

    Also, those pesky tricep muscles will hurt, too, because many people are not conditioned for resistance to straightening the arm--and that is what you are doing the entire time you're balancing your weight between hands/feet/butt.

    Anything else discouraging? Oh yeah, looking behind you/over the shoulder is considered a "skill" in the sense that it has to be practiced and in my experience is much easier on an upright bike. So, yeah, even the most comfortable road bike will not magically solve these issues.

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  39. This is such a wonderful idea! I used to ride my mom's old road bike when I was about 13, but it's been many years since I've had a chance. I remember toodling around the block on it, and wobbling like crazy!

    I currently have an older (I think it's the first batch produced) Rocky Mountain Fusion that I'm converting into a commuter bike. Unfortunately, the fact that it's a mountain bike means I'll likely never make it up the hill to work - it's about 300m up, in 2.2km. Easy enough to walk, but so challenging to ride!

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  40. This is such an awesome idea, and looks like it will turn out to be a beautiful, comfortable and versatile bike! I'm tentatively just starting my own search for a roadbike (my second bike, after my relaxed mixte) and I'm a bit sad that my own inseam isn't the right fit for a bike this size, not only because I will only be able to watch enviously when you start your giveaway but also because it seems to make finding small enough vintage bikes tougher all around! But all information you detail on parts and what makes a roadbike easier to ride is definitely going to be very useful to me in my own search!

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  41. I am preemptively jealous of the lucky lady who will receive this bike (since I'm sure, as the owner of a vintage road bike and soon-to-be owner of a very fancy non-vintage road bike, I don't exactly qualify)! I actually looked a couple times on CL since you showed this frame the first time to see if any shoguns popped up locally, but no dice. The color is stunning IMO, I do so like shimmery colors on a road bike, they make it look so light and nimble.

    Please let us know what you think of the VO crank. I was considering getting their triple that also has that "vintage TA" look for my upcoming bike, but passed after reading some pretty negative reviews of their cranks.

    For me, the absolute glee of going "fast" and climbing hills much more easily than I do on my upright bikes was enough to get me hooked the first time I tried a road bike. Everyone's different, but I hope this project will encourage some lovely ladies (and one in particular) to try riding a road bike!

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  42. I want it! I'm 5'5", but my legs are long in proportion to my body, so it should fit me nicely!

    Like you, I *never* thought I would be interested in a road bike again. I had a 10-speed that my brother built for me and crashed it spectacularly. I did not get on a bicycle again for over 10 years and was scared out of my mind when I did. ANOTHER 10 years passed and my BF put me on a mountain bike, kicking and screaming and complaining -- and I loved it! Bought myself a mountain bike and proceeded to ride on trails.

    Last July I started riding my bicycle to work and it has become my main transportation. But I had NO interest in road bikes -- only fat tires for me! Skinny tires & drop bars scare me to death.

    You, Bike Forums C&V, and some of my riding friends now have me coveting a vintage, lugged steel road bike. I want to do some longer rides with one of my bike clubs. I have no problem keeping up with them on my Retrovelo, but I really want a road bike now. Road bike for women who fear road bikes? You read my mind.

    I will compete fiercely for this bicycle.

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  43. I bet we could build a giveaway bike every few months just by doing what you're doing here, some of them might not be sexy but they would all be worth having. It would take a long, long time before I ran out of stuff to donate. Pick a theme and see what people can throw in the kettle.

    Spindizzy

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  44. I am already in love with this bicycle. The color is really quite striking and will go so well with gum walls and the brown tape and saddle you selected. I am trying not to fall too hard in love, as I imagine that this frame is going to be too big for me. I am 5'5", but all torso. I am likely to need something in the range of 48-50cm. Would you mind telling us short legged folk how high the top tube is from the ground? Is it still with 27" wheels or are they 700C?

    I briefly rode my stepmother's 48cm Schwinn super le tour (I think it is mid 80's and actually pretty nice with double butted chromoly tubing) over the holidays, and it seemed to fit pretty well-- It just turned out that I was terrified to ride it because I could not get the non aero brakes to engage from the hoods and riding down in the drops was not comfortable.

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  45. I'm sending you a pair of 700 X32 Tourguards.

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  46. What a beautiful bike! I'm afraid I might be a bit short for it though (I barely clear 5'5") so it would be a close call.

    You asked about people who sold former roadbikes. This past Summer I owned a vintage Schwinn Traveler that I purchased largely because it was one of those rare diamond frames that appeared to fit (around here the tall frame seems to be en vogue). Anyways, after tweaking the bike over and over, I still couldn't get past 1) the aggressive angles/posture no matter how I adjusted the stem, 2) the bike was a short frame but still seemed like it was a long "reach" and therefore I felt off-balance and uncomfortable riding it on anything other than a flat surface 3) the components were sub-par and probably needed replacing and 4) the position of the brakes made it really difficult for me to reach them effectively.

    So that, in a nutshell is why the bike never really felt like "mine". Here is a link to a photo of it, I'd love to be one of those people who could know what goes into a "good" roadbike but bike shops usually just go by frame size which I don't think is the only factor in ultimate rider satisfaction.

    I want to say this was a 1970's model Traveler, not Schwinn's finest but not the worst. I believe the frame was one of their Taiwanese "Xtra lite" frames that were popular at that time:

    http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/1020/dsc0009zb.jpg

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  47. Great idea. I figured you were going to go with the contest route. I hope it will work out for the lucky lady who gets it!

    I think having the bars up above the saddle, and keeping the reach shorter, will really help with the neck pain. I'm about to go pick up my 80's race bike with a new Technomic stem and fresh tape. I'm sure having the bars come up and in will make a huge difference for me.

    Once you go fast on a road bike, there's no going back. It's love :). Straight paved trails, no real grade, comfy bike and, in my opinion, a good helmet, all help make things more comfortable. And then it's just practice.

    Love the color scheme on that Shogun. Everyone thinks the frame I bought (blue with yellowy-cream) is pretty, but I like yours better. The decals on mine are big and white. The decals on your bike are more subtle. Green is a wonderful contrast to the other colors. It's going to be a gorgeous bike.

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  48. Just a note to say THANK YOU to all who have contacted me about this project! I now have everything covered, except the tab for the potential shipping. I am glad there are people interested who are the right size for this bicycle!

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  49. Girl, this bike is beautiful! I've recently stumbled onto your blog when searching on the web for a vintage bianchi. My 1975 bright green Schwinn Collegiate was just stolen from me about two weeks ago and now I am on the search. I absolutely love using a road bike as my transportation and as many girls I never thought I would see myself on a road bike everyday. I think this project you have going is great. I'm excited to compete!

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  50. As a 5'7 new-to-bikes-as-an-adult rider and Somerville-ian, I'm excited to watch this unfold!

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  51. I think this is such a wonderful idea! My bofriend is currently rebuliding a Mixte for me. It's turning out quite nicely, but we were discussing my need for a good roadbike not too long ago. We both read your blog and when we read about this we both agreed it was a great opportunity. You had a question about how we would feel about the drop bars. I currently do not use them, though I have before and I have found that they are quite compfortable depending on all of the other elements of the bike of course. Im very excited to learn more about this project in the months to come!

    adamrt

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  52. I don't know if this has already be commented on but the Gran Cru crankset you picture is NOT a TA copy. VO does make a TA cyclotourist copy, and it works well, but the photo is NOT of the TA copy.
    Regards,
    steve

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  53. notesman--I think you're right. I just looked at it the other day then went on VO's site to see what's up. Anyway, it uses some sort of self extractor dust cap and I think it's 110 bcd, and may have some other design differences, yet seems to be styled after the TA crank. Thanks for pointing it out.

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  54. Wonderful, and not just as someone's first bike! Not sure what you mean by "touring bike" but in my mind that word is reserved for a loaded touring bike. It appears that the bike is more of a classic sport or light tourer rather than a loaded touring bike. Shorter wheelbase, and no cantilever posts, and I believe "classic" touring geometry is 72 HA and SA. But that's a good thing, IMHO.

    I've always advocated 80s steel Japanese sport-touring bikes as fun yet practical bikes. Generous clearances, comfortable but still sporty geometry, yet not overbuilt. Of course it's the kind of bike that fell out of vogue for so long because it was hard to market: not quite a racing bike, not quite a loaded tourer, but definitely not a "hybrid."

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  55. jhvu: well it has some uniquely touring features like extra spokes in the rear wheel, but you're right that it lacks cantis. Shogun didn't include those on their top models either, ask somervillain here about his Shogun tour/rando conversion some time.

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  56. I love this idea, but I love the looks of this bike even more! Since I'm a reader of your blog (2 days) I'm in desperate need of a vintage bike. We live in a small town in The Netherlands, with 2 kids and no car, so we do everything by bike (well, we have sort of a rental car if we really need it). I have a modern Koga Miyata bike (do you know this brand?), but I'd like to have a touring bike for years. Never found the one I wanted though... Guess your blog pushes me in the right direction to find the perfect touring bike for me!

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  57. I haven't had a bike with drop bars since elementary school in the 80s when I was finally tall enough to ride my brother's hand-me-down lime-green 10-Speed roadbike to school every day.

    My bike had the double braking on the top and the bottom.

    I was tall for my age back then, but ultimately only reached 5'8".

    I don't remember how uncomfortable the bike was for me as a 9 year old, but I do know that I am currently struggling with bikes and reach and riding discomfort.

    I would be afraid to buy a roadbike now without a female biking expert holding my hand, so that I would get one that would be comfortable.

    Someone commented that you could build a community built bike every month, but once a year seems more reasonable to me.

    I wonder if you will decide to choose the winner on merit or randomly from all entries.

    I am sure I would be hopeless in the merit department (like making an elaborate or cool such and such a thing before a deadline and having people vote on it) because the demands of motherhood and work would probably mean that I would either drive my family crazy trying to go all out or I wouldn't enter anything at all.

    I would much rather have my name chosen out of a hat. I would be a very appreciative recipient as I am sure any of us would.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely bicycle and community-building project with us!

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  58. AWESOME idea!!
    I want to get my girlfriend into the wonderful world of cycling as a form of transport, and this would be perfect for her.

    I love the idea of doing a community build. That would be awesome. I have some stuff I could donate for future projects, including a 105 crankset, some derailleurs, old handlebars, and some other stuff.

    great blog, by the way!

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  59. Yes! This is awesome. I'm just now hunting for a new bike for myself in San Francisco, and am realizing I can't get a true road bike for my first city bike, but I would love something like this as a second bike to get me there. Please continue to explain the process, how you picked out the components, etc. Thank you!

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  60. Wow, that bike looks amazing. I can't believe that bicycling is still very much alive.
    It's strange. I've looked at your blog from last year - I've always wanted a road bike of sorts. I really enjoyed the customization of your Motobecane Mixte.
    However, I keep reading reviews and I'm a bit deterred from road biking. I hear the uncomfortable aspects of the seating along with the unwieldy handling for someone that is not an experienced biker.
    I'd love to get back into cycling (I haven't ridden since my Magma mountain bike mysteriously transformed into a torture device... it feels like a spin bike. And that was when I was in 9th grade!) I'm in college now and need a reliable mode of transportation (for shadowing/volunteering/grocery shopping/etc.). And I've been reading your blog avidly again since I need some advice.
    Is it easy to build a bike from parts? Should I get a vintage bicycle? I have no idea! Help! :)

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  61. On comfort and handling of road bikes: If you have the right bike, with the right saddle and handlebars, set up properly, comfort is not an issue. Don't fall for the modern cushy "comfort saddles". They are nice when you sit on them for 30 seconds in the shop, but they suck for any real distance. I recommend trying a nice leather saddle like a Brooks. By far the most comfortable saddles I have ever ridden. THis said, everyone is different, so try different saddles, and don't just sit on them, ride around the block a few times and see what you think.
    As for handling, don't let people scare you away from road bikes. Some road bikes have twitchy handling, but many do not. Interestingly, the most twitchy bike I have ever ridden was a cyclocross bike, which you would think would be stable, as it is meant for racing on dirt trails. So again, ride different bikes and test them out before you buy them.
    Buying an old used bike is one of the best ways to go, in my opinion, but ride several first and see what you think. And if possible, take a friend with cycling knowledge when you go to check a bike out.

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  62. This is awesome. My new site (Lindsay's List dot org) is a conservation site with an energy focus and also a big focus on biking for work and pleasure. I love the inspiration I've seen on your site. How do I enter to win?

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  63. Hi,

    I'm not sure if this will be noticed so long after the original post, but I happened to pick up an approximately 1985 Shogun 400 in this exact same color. It's in great condition, but when I took it in to my local shop the owner commented that the top tube looked unusually short and possibly too short for me. Sure enough, the top tube is about 55cm while the seat tube is about 58cm. Have you noticed this as a potential issue on your frame?

    I know that a lot of sport touring geometries had shorter top tubes, but I'm not sure how this affects the handling. I'm less comfortable judging myself, because this is the first bike I've ridden with drop bars.

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  64. Wow!! How do you enter?
    I just stumbled onto your blog (while looking for a new bike) What a joy! Recently I tried to buy a really beautiful 1970's Centurion from a shop here in Providence and was denied because the owner didn't think I'd take care of the bike... it felt like him telling me that I didn't deserve such a clean bike if for daily transport. I guess he's saving it for his museum, at least that's what I told him to do with it after he told me "it's not going to just anyone". He then brought out a beautiful red 1970's Schwinn Collegiate that must have weighed 45lbs!! He thought this was really what I meant when I asked him if he had a clean and beautiful road bike that I could commute 10 miles to and from work. As you could imagine I was upset a bit by this mans attitude towards me.
    Point being: great to read a blog that deals with something that at times can be such a boy dominated scene. I love the detailed reviews of your bikes. The whole site is just so welcoming. It's helped me figure out ( a bit more) of what I'd like in my next bike. Go team, good work!
    why don't you set this bike up as a raffle prize for a woman's shelter or recycle a bike girls day?

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  65. Hi there -

    i've just been perusing your blog - lovely blog btw, and I'm having serious bike lust here. As someone who is new to biking (well after about 10 years or so), this bike would be so perfect....if only I were a bit taller (only 5'4"). Good luck, everyone! I'll keep reading - so many things to learn, so many great ideas here. Thanks!

    Padamara

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  66. Wow - this is amazing! I just agreed to go on a bike ride with my co-habitant for the first time on Saturday. I know we looked ridiculous - him with his fancy black mean looking road bike and decked out in that Spandex stuff "serious cyclists" wear and me with my Pashley Sonnet wearing regular clothes and the least ugly helmet I could find.

    I'm petrified to ride a road bike as I feel like it won't be stable and will wiggle around when I haven't done anything (purposefully) to make it wiggle. I'm still getting my bearings being new to cycling since having used a banana saddle bike to commute to elementary school and everywhere else as a kid.

    My co-hab is trying to convince me to try a real road bike, since the Pashley experience from this past weekend was one where he had to wait for me at the top of every hill. Meh. I'm too neurotic and scared unless I hear you've signed off on something and too new to the concept to justify a Rivendell.

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  67. Beautiful! Has a contest format been decided?

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  68. This is an AMAZING idea!

    I'd really love to have a bike. I attend a University away from home, so I couldn't take the bike I had at home because I share it with my dad - in any case, it's modern and it's already falling apart...

    The bike is absolutely beautiful, and I adore the colour.

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  69. Wow, this bike is looking fantastic. May I please enter the contest?!

    I have been riding a road bike (livestrong frame+shimano parts) for three years now and am finally realizing that my discomfort has nothing to do with strength or fitness (since I have certainly acquired those in the course of my riding.) It just turns out that my bike is a tad too small for me and the road conditions to work make the ride on my racing tires pretty bumpy. I've realized that since speed is not my first priority I probably don't need to ride a bike that is only geared toward speed. I am 5'8", I love commuting, and I am planning my first touring trip for this upcoming January (San Fran to southern California, which is home). I know I'll either have to make some major modifications to my road bike to tour on it, or get something new.

    p.s. Your website is absolutely re-invigorating my own love of cycling and of bikes. Thanks so much!!

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  70. How do I enter the contest? I would so love to have a chance at that beautiful bicycle.

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  71. Hi,

    I do enter your contest to win your wonderful bicycle now-now-now-now, ok done !

    Ofcourse I am 5'8" just as required by you.

    Please be assured that your good bike shall be perfectly used by myself who does need it
    urgrntly just as in the Bollywood movie :
    TARZAN THE WONDER CAR, PLEASE DO VIEW IT FULLY AND DO NOTE STRONGLY THAT NOW YOU HAVE MADE THIS TARZAN THE WONDER-BICYCLE ONLY-ONLY FOR ME INDEED. THE WORST KIND OF UGLY, FILTHY
    SPIES&THIEVES&POACHERS&PIRATES OF ALL MY VALUABLES AND MY TIMES AND MY BEST BICYCLE
    ARE INDEED OMNIPRESENT NOW. BUT JUST BY WINNING YOUR GREAT BICYCLE I CAN BE FAR HAPPY THAN ALL THOSE UGLY THIEVES WHO DO STEAL DAILY.
    PLEASE CONTACT SOON : ash7788@rediff.com
    WITH THE WINNING NEWS AND AT ONCE I WILL SEND YOU MY HOME ADDRESS, OK

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