a Recreational Rider
from Glenn Dale, MD
Date Reviewed: August 3, 2001
Strengths: lightweight, sturdiness, wheels & tires, brakes, shocks, attractive colors (mine is midnight blue - looks black with blue metalflake - cool in the right light!)
Weaknesses: iffy shifters, soft seat (not bad - not great), pedals
I went looking for a hybrid bike and having owned several Schwinn's I started there. They were over-priced, and heavy. Components were ok. Several of my buddies have Treks and they seemed to be pleased. That was my next choice. I saw the Raleigh when I was looking at the Schwinn and I remembered that I liked the looks. I initially wanted a "cruiser", but started to ride more actively over the past 3 months or so.
I found a local dealer that had both the Raleigh C200 and the Trek 7300 and test rode both for over a half hour each. My overall impression was that the C200 was lighter, more comfortable, and MUCH more attractive (my kids thought so too). The 7300 (at the time) did not have front shocks and was some $45 more expensive. However, the shifter was far & away better. I decided on the C200 and figured that if I was that unhappy with the tranny, I'd upgrade later. The C201 rear is OK, but not a nice as the Deore-equipped Trek.
The cost of upgrading the tranny turned out to be just a bit more than the difference in the cost between the two bikes. Further, I upgraded a level beyond that of the Trek for about $85 (another $20). Getting shocks on a Trek (at the time) was an additional $120+ proposition (Model 7500)
In conclusion, the bike is a good selection for the casual+ rider; comfortable, good quality components, lightweight, sturdy & smooth ride. It also makes a great platform for upgrades should your riding needs change. I think my next round of upgrades will be the seat and handlebars - though not urgent.
Similar Products Used: Tried the Trek 7300 & 7500, Schwinn
Bike Setup: Stock until today . Changed grips, shifter to SRAM Rocket shifters, Shimano Deore XT, Shimano M324 pedals w/toe clips, and
a Recreational Rider
from Toledo, OH
Date Reviewed: May 2, 2001
Strengths: A well made bike at a great price.
Weaknesses: None at this point
I wanted to move up from my old "toy store" Murray. I wanted something that would allow for recreational as well as fitness rides. I tested all manner of mountain bikes, hybrids, and road bikes. I have some back problems, so the low profile of road bikes wasn't a good option. The mountain bikes seemed a little too cushy in the tires for my mostly paved path riding. This bike offers a great solution. I rode it in last years MS 150 and was very pleased with the way it rode, except for the saddle. It came with a very cushy gel padded and spring seat. At the end of that long ride, I was a little numb where I really didn't want to be. I changed the seat the next week for a Specialized Body Geometry Sport model and am very pleased so far. I put on about 1000 miles in 2000. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good recreational/fitness or commuter bike. It is very light and the cushioned seat post and fork absorb most of the urban bumps. The components are good quality for most middle of the road riders. Serious road racers will probably turn up their noses, but that's their problem. I just want to ride and don't care to win any races.
Bike Setup: Pedals with toe clips added as well as bar ends, which I reversed to provide a modified drop position. Also changed the saddle.
from Cleveland, Ohio
Date Reviewed: March 26, 2001
Strengths: Components are very good for a mid-ranged price bike and the brakes seem to be very good. It is an aluminum-framed bike that has a very comfortable ride. The price was much better than the Trek or the Cannondale.
Weaknesses: I didn't like the pedals, so the dealer put on ones with toe-clips. The handle bar also is somewhat "wimpy," and I had the dealer exchange it for a straight(mountain-bike)handle bar, and then I paid for the bar-ends.
After looking at many bikes, I decided to purchase the C-200 for what it had to offer. I couldn't see myself spending a lot more and getting similar components, and I wanted to go with a lighter bike. (I had an old Diamond Back Cross Country.) The aluminum frame does take a little getting use to---it does have a stiffer ride, but after testing other bikes, I decided that the Raleigh C-200 was the right bike at the right price for me. If you shop around, you may be able to get it for less than $400---I did.
This is a bike for someone who wants to commute to work. IT is also a good bike for someone who wants to ride hard on bike paths. There are many higher-priced bikes out there, but for what I use it for---120-150 miles a week, it seems to do just fine. With a little "tweaking" on the buyer's part, one could actually ride off with a very good bike for around $500---I did. The pedals need to be replaced with more aggressive upgrades, and the handle bars are too curved and upright, but with some haggling and some "creative buying," you can get a very good bike for a very reasonable price.
Similar Products Used: Trek 7500, a Cannondale, and a Diamond Back
Bike Setup: I had new pedals and a handle-bar installed, and I also put on a bike rack on the back for saddlebags. I use this when I commute to school. The bike also has a very nice cycle computer and two water-bottle brackets. The front fork is a Rock Shox XC Metro and seems to do the job rather nicely. The seat was replaced with a more comfortable one.
from New Hampshire
Date Reviewed: June 8, 2000
Strengths: Specs and price
Weaknesses: tires, pedals and seat post
I bought this bike just for commuting to work, because I hate putting excess wear on my beautiful road bike. I wanted something serious, but not so serious that I would have to mortage the house. I chose the C200 because of it's price and the componenst it came with. Now if I was just messing around on this bike I would have no complaints, but because I want to commute to work on this rig everyday and put serious miles on, I had to change the pedals the tires and the seat post, just so that I could be comfortable and ride how I wanted to ride. Raleigh makes good quality, affordable bikes and I would recommend them to any one after my experience, I ride a Colnago road bike with full Campy and I am not ashamed to ride my C200 to work everyday with pride.