Yeah, my local bike shop has both in stock. They are both nice and pretty equally speced. (neither great but not bad for the price) I do like the barend end shifters on the Masi. I've found them to be bombproof and can be switched to friction if something goes out of adjustment while out and about. Also I prefer the horizonal top tube. Not a deal breaker on the clubman but a personal prefrance.
If your bike shop has them in stock and the geometry fits, go for it. The Masi bikes are well spec'd for the price, and I like the old-school styling. The Jamis Aurora and Elite are also very good values for commuter-tourers, if any local shops carry them.
I purchased the Speciale Randonneur in March and have thoroughly enjoyed riding it since. My primary intended use is commuting, which I've done in the past on a Cannondale cyclocross bike, along with occasional extended rides and light touring.
Thus far my impression is that the steel frame makes a huge difference in comfort versus the aluminum Cannondale. This is after installation of a carbon fork on the C'dale - it helped but there's really no comparison in overall comfort. The long chainstay is a real plus for my laptop pannier.
One issue in mounting a rack is that the bike has sidepull brakes and they interfere with the left seatstay braze on. I bought an Axiom Odyssee in the hope that it would mount up easily and save me about 60% versus a Tubus. I had to seriously bend the upper left seatstay mounting bracket to get around behind the brake assembly. It works, but looks pretty funky. I'm actually considering getting a a Tubus Fly because it mounts to the brake bolt rather than the braze ons.
There is an odd vibration on the power stroke when you're on the big chainring that might be a result of the chain lifters stamped into the ring. These lifters are necessitated by the compact crank -- which by the way is a real improvement in terms of gearing range compared with a standard 2-ring crank. I'm working with the LBS to sort out the vibration, but please note that this is a minor complaint (it's noticeable, not irritating).
I had planned on making several changes immediately, including mounting a Nitto Noodle bar and a Brooks B17. Thus far, both mods are still in their boxes because I've found the stock items really very comfortable and good looking (consistent with the overall styling of the bike). But I will probably go ahead with the B17 once I have a decent small saddlebag that mounts to the loops.
I had planned on putting some larger tires on, but the stock Kenda's (32mm) are plenty cushy, have the advantage of a reflective sidewall and seem thus far to be pretty resistant to puncture (I've had to run over glass and thorns and have had no problems yet). I'll keep these around for now.
My take is that this is a great bike, combining the benefits of a steel frame with modern componentry and some really pleasant traditional touches (leather seat, cork bar tape, bar-end shifters). It looks sharp and rides/handles nice.
Thinking about picking one of these up but I can't find much in the way of a review, certainly not for the 2011 model which is the one I found.
A few people complain about the compact crank on the 2009 & 2010 models but the 2011 has that fixed with its triple.
Can anyone here comment on the comfort and ride quality? I'd like to use it mainly for commuting, weekend riding and 2-4 days touring (sometimes 'credit card' sometimes with a bit of gear such as tent, sleeping bags and clothes).
Also, I'd like to put Tiagra brifters on it ASAP. Would that pose any problems? Any issues routing the cables? Will it shift just as smoothly a bike that comes stock with STI?
I know trying it out for myself will be the ultimate test but I don't want to waste the dealer's time if the bike is not a good option for any reason.
I could get a Surly Crosscheck or LHT but they are like $1200+ here in Taiwan and have lower spec than the Masi which I can get for around $600. Is the Surly really twice the bike?
Thanks in advance for any input that y'all can give me!
I have the Speciale Commuter which is essentially the same frame but with caliper brakes instead of cantilever brakes, so I think I can comment on the ride. I have two of these bikes, one as a single speed and the other I built up with 2 x 9 with down tube shifters and compact crank.
First, I would not hesitate to buy one again. The frame has a nice ride and feel. It is a very typical steel frame and rides like one. The frame is heavy but I don't think any heavier than the Surly LHT. It has long chain stays which means good clearance for panniers. The bike likes to track straight and is not a bike you can lay down into a turn. I always compare it to a pick up truck rather than a sports car. This to me is what you are looking for in a commuter or touring frame.
It can take 32 C tires with fenders, at least on my frame. Has eyelets for everything you want and it has the beautiful flat crown fork. You could change out the shifters as you want there is no problem there. As I said I went with old school down tube shifters as they are bomb proof.
Masi's are good value in my opinion and it sounds like the price is right. I wouldn't hesitate to buy it.
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