second pic

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click on the pic for a larger pic.

Initial 5 mile test drive report. Rides like no bike I’ve ever had before. That’s not the greatest endorsement, because the only thing I’ve ever owned for the road is converted mountain bikes, but it is solid and fits great.

Good points: 1. It’s built like a tank. 2. It has a great finish on the frame. 3. It’s still relatively light. 4. Almost all the components are awesome. Not top of the line, but solid and built to last. 5. The color looks great in person. This bike is fun to look at.

Mediocre points. **Disclaimer – I’m super happy with it and these are all EXTREME nitpicks** 1. The wheels are very obviously machine built. They’ve already got a very slight warp to them. It’s similar to the Alex wheelset on a bike I bought for my wife 2 years ago – and very minor – the kind of thing you can fix in 40 minutes by relieving the spokes and re-truing the wheel, but still annoying. You can’t expect hand built wheels for a bike at that low of a price point any more. 2. The bars top section is completely flat. After using my moustache bars for the past 8 months. I like that curviness, and wish they had a at least a slight 5 degree ramp. 3. Wish the cassette was LX or XT. The solid Deore cassette sprockets are heavy just looking at them, and the freewheel has a pretty heavy ‘clunk’ to it when it engages (rather slowly some times). I’m spoiled rotten by the White Industries freewheel on my singlespeed though. 4. The complete bikes come totally built up from Taiwan. Just install the bars/wheels/etc… and they’re ready to go. That sounds good, but since it came built up, I never got the chance to do any type of frame preparation to the insides of the tubes. I have to put that on my list of things to do when I do my 100 mile initial tune-up. It’s a little of a pain, but well worth it.

Originally I was going to ‘junk it up’ and put my old racks and computer on it right away, but I’ve since decided to wait and get a wireless computer and a stainless rack for the back. I’ll only bolt my front rack on when I’m taking it on long trips. I’ll also be looking for a good pair of light full coverage fenders down the road. For now it’s fun to cruise around town, and even for a Long Haul Trucker it’s still lighter than anything else I own!

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