VeloWeb Readers’ Rando Rigs…

19 04 2011

Photo: Raymond Parker...

I posted a slew of poorly lit and haphazardly composed photos of bikes from the Eau de Hell Week 600K last week. Chris Cullum kindly pointed me to a post on Raymond Parker’s VeloWeb site that details a few of these bikes with professional photography. Chris also provided some updates on the info in Raymond’s post discussing changes since last year [see comments section of my EdeH bike post]. I know, for example, Lee Ringham no longer rides the LHT shown as he has switched to a Velo Orange 650B Polyvalent bike.



9 responses

19 04 2011

I would like to reiterate that Ray’s Veloweb is an excellent source of info.

Re: Surly Long Haul Trucker

I’d like to make a few unsolicited comments for the benefit of people who do not yet own an LHT. The LHT is an awesome bargain at $1500 (or whatever it’s currently selling for). It has a sturdy frame with good touring geometry and excellent components for the price. You can take it out of the box, put a seat, rack, mudguards, pedals and handlebar tape on it and it’s ready to go touring. Even picky me has an LHT, for riding in places where my bike might get stolen. I put upright handlebars on an it and I use it for a commuter bike, seen here on the Ecovelo Blog:

The LHT happens to have frame geometry and eyelets that are perfectly suited to randonneuring and a lot of people are using LHT’s for brevets. However, the LHT is designed for loaded touring. For brevets you don’t need the LHT’s heavy touring wheels, the LHT’s heavy-duty touring frame and fork or the LHT’s triple chainring. If you just want to try some brevets without forking over money for a rando-specific bike then the LHT is fine but you will not set any course records with it.

If you are more serious about having a jolly time doing brevets you would use a more svelte and sophisticated handmade rando-specific metal frame and fork with more racing-oriented wheels like Mavic Open Pro’s (if you are light enough for the Open Pro’s) with handbuilt (preferably by you) butted DT or Wheelsmith spokes, a Schmidt Dynohub on the front and a Shimano Ultegra hub on the back. Or just use whatever Jan Heine is using.

I love lovingly-made lugged and brazed frames for randonneuring but there are some nice welded frames too. A lustworthy rando-specific bike may cost $3000-$5000 by the time you have all the accoutrements attached but it will repay you handsomely in riding pleasure and you can use an LHT for your training/touring/commuting bike.

And don’t even think about using upright handlebars on a rando-bike.

19 04 2011

The Velo Orange Randonneur is low cost like the LHT, but offers a lighter a rando specific design:

as I noted in my post Lee is riding brevets on a 650B Polyvalent:

which is a great deal although stock is limited to the biggest frame size for a while.

If you want a bike with modern higher trail geometry MEC offers a low cost cyclocross bike that is available under $1K in the rim brake version or for $1350CDN for the upgraded disc brake version:

…both have room for fenders.

19 04 2011

If you started with the disc brake MEC cross bike:

– $1350 [bike]
– $20 [rear blinky]
– $120 B&M Ixon IQ [front light]
– $15 [MEC rear rack]
– $49 [MEC rack bag]
– $39 [MEC handlebar bag]
– $15 [rearview mirror]
– $20 [reflective sash + 2 reflective leg bands]
– $130 [upgrade to road tires]
– $25 [spare tube, tools and patch kit]
– $30 [bike pump]
– $35 [fenders]
Total ~$1850cdn

You can easily have a nice rando rig for under $2K.

19 04 2011

As a longtime MEC member I have bought lots of tents and sleeping bags and avalanche beacons and so on from them but I never agreed with their decision to sell bikes so I am quite biased but I am not crazy about those MEC bikes:

Aluminum frame: Ruff!
Aluminum fork: Blecch!
Internal headset: Yuk!
Triple crankset: What?
Overall: Cheep!

Those MEC bikes come from a reputable manufacturer in Taiwan that sells properly spec’d bike under it’s own brand name. The MEC bikes look like they are spec’d according to the findings of a focus group of motorists. I will stick to bike shops for my bike stuff.

I was thinking more along the lines of a nice lugged rando frame from Richard Sachs or someone like that, if you could convince him to do it. He has a seven year waiting list but there are plenty of other excellent framebuilders, some of whom Richard lists on his website:

19 04 2011

Naturally a custom $10K rando bike would be lovely, but most people can’t afford one or wait 7yrs. You can fill in any cyclocross bike you like for the MEC one – a steel Surly Cross Check for example and come out with a similar result in your particular flavour of bike.

My point was that the cost of getting into the rando world does not start at $3-$4K+.

19 04 2011
Raymond Parker

Thanks for the plug, Vik! 🙂 BTW, I am aware that Lee has switched over to a Polyvalent. Maybe he’ll update me.

Also encourage anyone else who’d like to share their rigs in the same format on Readers’ Rando Bikes. I’m in the process of doing a major update of the site.

19 04 2011

@Raymond – I’m not an expert rando, but I’d be happy to contribute my Boulder Bicycle All Road to the mix.

19 04 2011
Raymond Parker

“Expert” rando or not (we’re all just practicing), I’d be happy to have your beautiful bike grace the page.

Just take a nice photo and follow instructions at bottom of page. Email any questions. Always interested in what drives decisions.

26 04 2011
Chris Cullum

I gotta agree that the MEC bikes don’t do much for me. I’m not sure what niche they fill that is not already covered by most major bike manufacturers. Given the mandate of commuting and practicality I don’t understand why they stock so many narrow 700Cx23mm tires. Every bike store has this pseudo-racer genre extremely well covered already. I know they carry some tank-like tires too but it would be great if they carried some nice lightweight 28-32mm tires.

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