October 15, 2014


This is a rambly bicycle post. You have been warned.

Over the summer, I tested out and learned about a dozen road bikes. Unable to narrow down my choice, and pull the proverbial "trigger,"  I am still the proud owner of my heavy hybrid comfort bike (a 2008, Trek 7200!). Seattle has an intensely dedicated group of highly opinionated salespersons. Most helpful, many annoying, all properly opinionated.

For my bike research, I read a bit about components, speed, weight, durability, but really I wanted to ride the bikes, and understand how the bike would fit me, and my perceived wants and needs.

This perceived list of wants and needs includes:
  1. I want a road bike for riding long distances, but not for racing or triathlons. I want to ride to cool places and go as fast as Karl. He has a road bike, I have a hybrid. Inevitably, I trail behind him. It would be nice if I could go over 40 miles on a ride for a day. It's funny to me that I bought a hybrid "comfort" bike. There is nothing comfortable about riding slowly up and down Seattle's hills. My bike was solid for my less than 5 mile commute to and from work in AL. I had a meltdown on a trail after a grueling 40 miler this summer (where wine was or was not consumed in copious amounts).  
  2. I want a relatively light bike that goes up hills more easily than my current heavy bike. I don't think putting 30 miles per week is a lot anymore. 
  3. I would like to mount a rack and fender if possible, weight be damned.
  4. Lastly, I would like the bike to "grow" with my needs. Buying a bike a few years ago, was the best decision I made. It got me on a bike, I used for commuting, and now I want an upgraded version. I think I know what I want more now that I've spent the past few years on a bike.
With my list,  I looked at road bikes. I looked at new and used bikes. I looked at cyclocross bikes. I looked at new hybrid bikes. I tried to not ride more than 4 bikes per visit, and learned that riding 2 bikes per visit was really ideal. After many visits, I would drag Karl to the nearest bar for a de-stressing beer.

I liked every single bike I rode. Which is great! Each bike was light, zippy, fast, and such a huge upgrade from my hybrid clunker, it was hard to decide - but I did narrow down my choices and I tried to only include three:

1. The Jamis Quest Elite. A bike above my budget, but that is outfitted in all the correct ways, and solid specs. Once on it, I raced back and forth along the Burke Gilman, and then rode it up hill over and over again. I'd get up, scramble through the gears, fly down, and then do it over again. After riding this, I tested out a Lynsky viale. Holy fiets y'all. Steel is where it's at!

2. The Cannondale Synapse (alloy not carbon) Disc 5: I loved the overall fit of this bike, and it's two cassettes, and all the same drivetrain components. It is more racey than commuter-ey, This bike felt like it was working together and all the components were harmoniously talking to each other. I test rode this a few times. I rode it up a huge hill and even the hubs was impressed that I went up that hill. I test rode this bike twice, and each time it impressed. It was heavier than the steel Jamis. How? Discs?

3. The Raleigh Capri 3.0 and the Ravenio. I liked both bikes. It was the first or second bike I tried, and even then I liked the fit and speed. The hubs snapped a few "action" shots.

Now, I just need someone to rent these bikes to me for a long ride so I can decide. Any bike enthusiasts out there feel like weighing in?


  1. how do you feel about dropped handle bars after having straight ones? they still make me a little nervous for city biking... but i've never really used them.

    1. At first weird, but then later I liked them. I prefer upright sitting, but I can see how the dropped handlebars may be more comfy on longer rides. I agree too, they do make me nervous for riding because they might make you harder to see. Also, they are crazy responsive.