a Recreational Rider
from Yuba City,CA
Date Reviewed: December 22, 2001
Strengths: Yes this is a strong bike,used for commuting and loaded touring.
Although somewhat heavey,but who cares.
Weaknesses: For a touring bike the details make a
difference. B.G. does not provide braze-on's
at the dropouts for fenders.He has braze-on's
on both front and rear racks for fenders,
but I have never seen a fender that will
mount at his chosen location. B.G. provides
3 water bottle mounts,but a regular 24oz
water bottle will not fit in the lower down
tube cage,he needs to move the bottle cage
braze-on's closer to the bottom bracket.
This bike is designed for loaded touring from the ground-up.The frame
has predictable handling,meaning stable with or with-out a load.Over
rough terrain [bad dirt roads with rocks] this bike handles even better
when loaded.The good handling may be partiality due to the tires that
come with the bike Avocet Cross 700X38.
The Lx cantilever brakes that come with the bike never worked very well,
especially with a load.The up grade to Avid Shorty 6 brakes,is a vast
The B.G. front and rear racks are well made out of 4130 steel tubing
and have held up fine.
The Lx drive train with a 11-32 T cassett was nice to have on a self-
supported loaded tour of the high Sierra Passes last year.
The bar end shifters took almost no time to get used to.I use this bike
for commuting and have found myself reaching for the wrong kind of
shifter,but with two other road bikes,one with STI and the other with
down tube shifters I think this is to be expected
Bike Setup: Lx drive train[standard],changes or improvements
Schmidt Dynohub and Lumotec head lights,
from Royal Oak MI
Date Reviewed: April 5, 2001
Strengths: Solid, comfortable, apparently reliable frame. Great construction, fit and finish. Front and rear racks are very solid.
Weaknesses: "Standard" equipment is outdated (bar-end shifters, etc). Brakes seem to require a lot of pressure to stop anything close to quickly. No good place to mount a rear flasher once your bike is loaded. (I suggest a thick, short, vertical bar on the rear rack to which one could mount a rear light)
Overall I am very happy with this bike so far.
The mfgr's are kinda dry to work with, but the bike arrived quicker than I expected (around 3 weeks, I believe). I worked with a local bike shop to assemble. Only complaint was the screws for the racks were taped in such a way that when you go to remove the plastic bag from the bike shipping box, the bag rips and the screws and washers fall into wads and wads of the shredded paper... never did find several of them.
The wheels are very solid (mountain bike wheels really), the frame is solid and rides very comfortably. The saddle is an Avocet MB model.. not sure yet how it's going to do on my 1200+ mile trip this June.
I'm a short, skinny guy (5'6, 125lbs) and the frame fits me very well overall. The wheels are 26" which allow for a smaller frame size. I was happy that even with the smaller frame size all clearances one hopes to find were still available. For example, I could put in a tall water bottle on the outside of the down tube and it clears (just barely) the front wheel. A tall water bottle on the inside of the down tube barely clears my frame pump. My feett, when pedalling, just barely clear the rear panniers. Someone was careful measuring out this frame!
I'm not crazy about the bar-end shifters or the breaks. As far as the shifters, the guys at Bruce Gordon said that's what they recommend because they are reliable, can go into friction mode (which might be important if your indexing gets out of whack on a long trip) and are mechanically simpler and therefore more reliable and easier to fix on the road. All this might be true but I still can't seem to "naturally" find the shift lever without hunting around for a second or two. The thing is, because it's an actual paddle shape, when in lower gears the padel is upward pointing and when in higher gears the padel points toward the ground. So where and how you grab the paddle to shift changes based on what gear you are in.
Brake wise, I'm not sure if the brakes aren't worn in yet or what, but I really have to put a lot of effort on both front and rear to get a good stop. If I apply the same pressure as on all previous bikes, this bike only slows down and does not come close to actually stopping, which obviously could be a bad thing. I'll check with my local shop to see if there's a goodd explanation for this.
The steering took getting used to because of the angles of the frame. It has a solid steering feeling overall but seems a bit twitchy if you make quick movements of any size. Sometimes when reaching down to find that blasted bar-end shifter I can accidentally tug a bit on the handle bars and it makes the bike feel skiddish. Again, I think this would not be an issue if the shifters were more accessible.
The racks are made by BG and are very sturdy, and fit the bike well. At first I was concerned because the first couple inches of the rear rack slope downward toward the seat tube, which looks like it would invite something on the rack to slide right down into the brake cable. So far this hasn't happened because anything I've carried right there has been large enough to wedge between the seat and the rack. But if someone put something smaller there I can easily see it pushing right into the brake cable. I wonder why the rack isn't just horizontal from end to end?
The gearing seems to be a good choice, although the "granny" gear isn't quite as small as on their higher end models.
The thing that impresses me most about the bike is that it is very sturdy and comfortable and solid feeling.. just what you would want in loading touring bike, plus I there are a lot of little things they accounted for in a touring bike that other manufacturers seem to have missed (front and bake braze ons for racks, three places for water bottles etc)
I'd buy this bike if you have the extra money and want to make sure you are going to get a solid touring bike. If you want to start with something cheaper you might be happy in the short run but I wonder about the long haul..