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Friday, November 16, 2012

Raleigh Crested Butte: The Ride

I've been riding the Crested Butte off and on for a couple of weeks now, so now I have a good idea what the bike is like and whether I like it or not. It's always worrisome to invest a deal of time, energy, and cash into a bike project when you don't know the outcome.

And the outcome? Yes, I like it!

I'm still getting used to it. And there are still tweaks to do and squeaks and rubbing noises to diagnose. (Ah, fenders.) It took a few days to figure out where the ideal seat height and positioning was, but when I got it "dialed in" it all came together. The swept back Civia Dupont bars became comfortable. As for the saddle...I'm going to have to say the Avocet Touring II doesn't really agree with me, so I'll swap it with the olden leather saddle I have in the stockpile. (If anyone wants to sell a Brooks B66/67/Champion Flyer or comparable saddle for a reasonable amount of money, please let me know. Trades also.)

The fit is good. Not perfect, as the frame height (20") on the short side, and it has quite the long top tube. A frame size one bigger, like a 22" might help, but I don't know.

And yes, that geometry is pretty relaxed! Oh yeah, that 68 degree top tube and a fork with a lot of rake! On the test riding without the front rack/basket, I popped a couple wheelies when taking off from a stop. Now that I have weight up there, it doesn't do that. I think it handles pretty damn well with a front load, and I've taken my hands off the bars and no wobble. Stay in line, she says.

The bike handles the "rough stuff" well, as I've seeked it out where I can. Potholes, yep. Rough road, uh huh. Love the Rubena Cityhopper tires.

The gearing is good, too. I will note that she's not a fast bike, and going uphill can take a bit more work than my other bikes (hello, relaxed geometry.) But the gearing is now enough, so I just work it until I get to the top of the hill.

The big issue, however, is I've found out that the front chainring is bent in all the rings, which means a new crankset at some point. Oh, the irony. I didn't want to replace drivetrain on the M40, which led to the purchase of the Crested Butte. And now the drivetrain of the CB has issues. Oh well. The big difference is that I really like the Crested Butte, whereas the M40 was just-ok. It is rideable right now, though.

There will be more tweaks down the road, but it's pretty good for now. I've found myself a keeper.


  1. She looks good on road,my friend :) Sorry to hear about the bent rings...I HATE when that happens on a project bike (well...and bike,but projects especially) =/

    The DC

  2. Shawn, The most important thing I learned while working with a veteran bike mechanic this winter (he started at the shop at age 14, and is now 50!) is that judicious use of a hammer not to be underestimated. Like truing a wheel, find the bent part of the ring and whack it. Recheck, tap it again. You may almost be able to solve the problem entirely.

    As for the ability to wheelie, I suspect the feeling is because you are not accustomed to riding without 'stuff", nor am I. I feel like this when I finally unload my bike at the end of the season. I went mountain biking and crashed over the bars because I didn't have 40 lbs of stuff to keep me grounded.

    I love the CItyhoppers too. Do they come in 26x4.0?

    1. Thanks for the hammer tip. Alex, my "mechanic", was worried about putting hammer to it, but I guess what is there to lose?

      The Cityhoppers only come in 2.0". Rubena is pretty limited in tire width/size selection for its models, and doesn't seem to have the infinite choices that Schwalbe has. From the looks of the Rubena website, it doesn't look like they've gotten into the whole fat tire arena, as the widest mountain tire is around 2.25".

    2. Nothing to lose except a bent ring. Despite the fatigue and failure mode of aluminum, the ring will not crack or break. You are bending only a very little bit.

      Ha! I didn't expect the Czechs to be making commuter tires for fatbikes, but the thought is quite funny.

  3. That's a beautiful ride - I'll have to look out for an old 80s MTB myself. I owned a Raleigh Mustang, which was one of the first MTBs on the UK market. Lugged steel, Sachs drivetrain, Rigida rims - a real tank of a bike. Loved it.


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