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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hope you guys can help me decide which you be the best limestone rider - issues to consider = cost, safety & fun (the fun means spirited light bike riding compared to the 10 yr old C40 Raleigh steel hybrid we used to ride on the limestones trails) (we already purchased Trek Carbon road bikes that have spoiled us completely but the limestone trail is just a mile away while the MUP we used for the road bikes is 45 minutes away by car)

The first is a Raleigh Cadent FT-3 - last years model - 700x32C wheels/tires - carbon fork, Tiagra components - seems well built & well thought out for $750

The second is actually a road bike, KHS Flite 500 - carbon stays, carbon seat post, carbon fork that would be converted to a flat bar hybrid - seems a little lighter over all but not much, also has 700x25C wheels/tires which seem a little thin possibly for the limestone trail, price is $950

I like light but my brain says that alot lighter than our old steel hybrid is probably good enough, safer & if I can't full carbon alot lighter is fine
 

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With the wide variety of bikes available, I don't think buying a road bike, then changing the handlebars, brake and shift levers and tires would be your best option. The Raleigh looks like a nice choice for the riding you want to do.

There's no reason to use flat bars if you prefer drops. Have you considered a cross bike?
 

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On second though, if you're into road bikes, and you just want one that you can knock around on, the Felt makes sense. If 28s fit, it should be trail worthy with a change of tires. I think the 25s are cutting it a little thin and most would prefer 32s.

I love how my 28s dance over loose surfaces but most riders prefer to feel more grounded.
 

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Given a choice of 25s (125 psi), 28s ( 90- 100 psi) or 32s (60 to 80 psi) I'd strongly suggest 32s for crushed stone trails.

On very well groomed trails the 28s are at best bumpy. The problem is that most crushed stone trails in the midwest are not perfectly groomed. There are soft spots, ruts, bumps, loose gravel, places where gravel rather than crushed stone was used for repair, etc. The 32s with a wider profile and lower pressure than the 25s or 28s are a *lot* easier to handle and more comfortable .

My wife and I ride a lot of gravel and crushed stone. She has a Jamis Aurora and is extremely happy with the same Vittori Randonneur 700x32s that come standard on that Raleigh Cadent FT-3.

(Disclaimer: This is coming from a guy with 26x1.75 tires and trekking bars on his main ride ... not nearly as hard core as qmsdc15 ;) )
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I got an education from a bike dealer about tires and how much contacts the surface - with the thinner tires you mentioned Larry M they can actually dig in instead of riding on the surface - actually slowing down the bike - it is why beach cruiser have such big tires - here I thought it was just for looks - you have it exactly right Larry
 

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If you prefer road bike to cross, you might consider a Hampsten Strada Bianca. http://www.hampsten.com/bikes/strada-bianca Caliper brakes, lower BB and steeper HT than a cross bike, and better looking. Designed to be used with 24 to 35mm tires.

I found out about that bike while Googling 'Strada Bianca tires'. Strada Bianca means white road in Italian and is the name of an unpaved route that is occasionally added to the Giro parcours. Alas the Google search brought more info about the Hampsten bike than the road he named it after...

I was trying to find out what size tires are used to RACE on a similar surface to that you wish to ride. Paris-Roubaix in probably not as similar to crushed limestone but it was easier for me to find an article about the tires used there. http://velonews.competitor.com/2012...-pressures-were-roubaix-riders-running_212925

Your comment about thinner tires being slower prompted this research. The article does note that the second place finisher was on the fattest tires "close to 30mm" and that he lost by a tire width. :D

Fatter is better, thats why I ride 28mm instead of 23 or 25. :)

Larry, your preference is only one size bigger than mine. I have 26 x 1.5 on my 26in wheel bike. I don't use trekking bars, but I do use risers with barends. We're not so different. ;)
 

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Yes, it's expensive but you could sell your plastic toy to help offset the cost. The Hampsten will go anywhere you want to go. Real steel. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, it's expensive but you could sell your plastic toy to help offset the cost. The Hampsten will go anywhere you want to go. Real steel. :thumbsup:
You are obviously a tougher & more adventurous biker than I am - I just love how the pedal action seems to transfer to the ground & I don't want to go anywhere - I want to enjoy the ride as much as possible and that makes me want to ride even farther - all a win
 

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You are obviously a tougher & more adventurous biker than I am
Obviously :) but that doesn't mean you can't ride custom steel. You obviously have more money than I do.

I just love how the pedal action seems to transfer to the ground & I don't want to go anywhere - I want to enjoy the ride as much as possible and that makes me want to ride even farther - all a win
You don't want to go anywhere!? I thought you wanted to go on an unpaved MUP. My point is the Hampsten will give you everything your race bike does and more. It might weigh slightly more (I don't know) but I doubt you will notice. Keep the Madone for the paved MUPs if you like. I only suggested selling it because the bike I'm recommending is so versatile (and so expensive).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have now tried out the bike seen above in a parking lot ride - I also at a different LBS tried out tried out a trek 7.5, 7.6 and the cadillac of Hybrids - falt bar road bike's actually the trek carbon 7.7, ironically the components don't match up with the Raleigh Cadent FT-3 until I reach the trek 7.7 which costs $1000 more, the 7.5 had Deore, the 7.6 Deore Shadow & the Raleigh & Trek 7.7 were Tiagra.

The ride:
7.5 - not impressed - especially at the price $989
7.6 - impressed - Frame was responsive - cool feature that allows rear frame to flex a little - $1289
7.7 - VERY impressed, like the feel of the frame, very much like my roadie - trek Madone 3.1, cons for the Limestone trails - widest tire available 28c - $1899
Raleigh Cadent FT-3 - $750 - very good looking bike - nice people at the LBS - comes with 32c wheels - rides as good as the 7.5 with better components, rides almost as good as 7.6 for ALOT less, can buy two - need one for my wife also. for almost the cost of the 7.6, and get $$ back for the price of the 7.7
Does it sound like I have made my decision - I think so! - unless my wife disagrees it will be the Cadent - if so she an buy her own bike !
 
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