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Discussion Starter #1
After days of internet research, I just ordered a Jamis Coda Sport sight unseen. I know that sounds nuts, but I live in a rural area where there aren't that many bike stores and there are few models to actually see and try.

It was interesting surveying the entire U.S. bike market. There were some good and bad surprises. Good: the expansion of different types of bikes for different needs. (I started biking in the 70s when there was only one bike available: the "10-speed racer.") Bad: lousy colors (black, grey, brown, white), straight handlebars (bad for the wrists), and gears (not low enough for the terrain we actually live in and people's level of fitness).

In the end I did not find the bike I wanted: a light hybrid/touring bike with full mountain gears, 700 x 32 tires, a truly comfortable seat, and an upright, sweptback handlebar like the Nitto Northroad. So I had to spend $150 extra to modify the bike.

It will have 22-32-44 chainrings and an 11-34 cassette, for a gear range of 17" to 108". I can't understand why there is no hybrid/touring bike with this gearing. I had this on my road bike and it worked perfectly for the steep hills where I live. The Jamis will also have Vittoria Randonneur Pro 700 x 32 tires.

Some other bikes that made my short list: Breezer Greenway and Liberty (very difficult to find and I never did see one), Giant Escape 1, Fuji Absolute 3.0, Trek FX series.

A big deciding factor in my purchase was finding a retailer who was willing to make the needed modifications without adding too much to the cost. Quotes ranged from $650 to $950 on an msrp of $675! I went with a store that was willing to swap the crank and cassette for no added charge. Another factor was the retailer's willingness to order the bike without my firm commitment to buy, since I had never ridden the bike. There were huge differences in service and flexibility among the retailers.

Well, I just wanted to share my bike-buying experience. I intend to use the Jamis Coda Sport for daily fitness riding and loaded tours. The reviews for the bike are great and I have high hopes, especially for the mountain gears!
 

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I hope you enjoy it! Post some pics when it comes in.

I, too, am considering ordering a bike sight-unseen. Quite daunting. But the closest dealer for what I want is about 5-6 hours away. I don't really want any modifications to what I want to order, but since it will be pretty different than any bike I've ridden, I'd like to be able to give it a spin before committing. I guess driving 5 hours to avoid making a $1,600 mistake is worth it, though.
 

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When I started my search for a do all bike the ones that rose to the top were all bikes no one kept in stock and I ended up buying sight unseen. It's a leap of faith but it paid off because I got a beautiful bike. It's nice in some ways to see the bike market become so fragmented that nearly every need can be met but at the same time it can be very daunting to pick one. Bikes have become very diluted yet very much the same at the same time. It all comes down to components most times. The frames they are bolted onto and the name on that frame are an after thought most times.

And +1 on the pics!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
XELA: Wow, 5 hours is a lot. 10 hours round trip! Maybe you could turn it into a pleasure trip. If you order sight unseen, the key is extensive research. One problem with reviews is that people tend to love their bike/guitar/kayak and rate everything a 9 or 10 even when it's a mediocre product.

For $1600 I would make the drive. Even if you know all the minute specs, in the end the frame and all the components come together into a whole that has a specific feeling. That feeling can be hard to predict, but you know it instantly when you get on the bike. I have no idea what this Jamis Coda Sport will feel like. "Rides like butter" people say.


NIGAL: What do-all bike did you find?

I think it's very curious that there are literally hundreds of bikes being produced, yet not a single one that met my (I think) simple criteria. In touring forums people complain all the time that the usual gearing on touring bikes is not low enough. Obviously there's a market for mountain gears on touring and hybrid bikes.

Yes, it was incredibly daunting to choose a bike. Some companies feel compelled to give a bizarre name to every single model, like Ikea does with their furniture. And the specs can be cryptic, leading to yet more research.
 

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Raleigh Clubman.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Very interesting bike, fenders and all! I bet you approve my getting one of the few steel hybrids available. I've been riding aluminum for 10 years and can't remember what steel feels like. It will be interesting to experience that again.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update

I now have the bike. I love it! This is the comfortable yet efficient bike I've been searching for for 15 years. I'm finally comfortable on a bike: no neck, shoulder, or hand pain (upright handlebar, ergonomic grips), no rear pain (ergonomic gel seat), wonderfully low gears that go up just about anything. I'm amazed at how comfortable a properly set up bike can be. I don't even need padded shorts on this bike---another blessing.

The Jamis Coda Sport is a bit heavy. I concluded that touring bikes are heavier by definition than the aluminum fitness bikes (example: Marin Terra Linda) that I was envying, so I accept the weight. The Coda Sport is not designed for touring but I think it will make an excellent touring bike as I've set it up.
 

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To tell ya the truth I don't know if I'd even notice the difference between aluminum and steel. Congrats on the bike...NOW POST PICS! LOL!
 
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