Saturday, November 08, 2014

Bike Test: Road Bike -- Raleigh Revenio 3.0

A buddy let me borrow his Raleigh Revenio 3.0 road bike today so I could get a feel for how it fared on a common regular ride I do. The results were pretty good:

12 min 39 sec Home->Work
13 min 14 sec Work->Home

Super excellent.

General thoughts:
  • These were 700cc wheels (like people recommended I try). Rims 23mm wide. Tires 700x25c. (Cannondale Quick is 700x32c, Cannondale Quick Speed is 700x28c)
  • It was fast. It took me about 1/2 the time of the regular (on my hardtail mountain bike) to do it.
  • San Francisco's hills are still hard -- the road bike does not make the hills a ton "easier", but it does make them quicker (take less time, though the effort is still similar).
  • A road bike really has an advantage in a "straighaway" -- a flat road without a lot of stop signs... you just zoom then.
  • Drop bars were fun to try and very weird at first. In the end I think I actually don't generally like them for what I will be using this bike for. It is awesome to get into drop mode and totally zoom, but in general with commuting there's a lot of looking up, stopping when a car does something stupid or doesn't see you, alerting traffic and waving to people to say thank you... etc. I need my arms up often to signal, etc. So I didn't like having them tucked away when I needed them out all the time :)
  • Bumpy roads were generally fine, I didn't really miss the shocks for this minimal commute
  • Surprisingly, I DID like the foot "loops" quite a lot -- the power on the up-pedal was nice and I felt I was getting a lot out of them. These "loops" on this bike were much better I think than clip pedals for my purposes -- again I need to get on and off a lot at stop signs etc, so better to be able to pull my foot out quickly, which was possible with these.
  • Another thing that was weird and I definitely did not like was the hand position and the access to the brakes. I am a guy who wants access to the breaks to be readily available, and I felt I could only get the access I wanted if I was in "drop mode". Riding with my hands on top of the straight bar (eg when climbing a hill), I had no access to breaks at all (generally OK). Riding with my hands on-top of the breaks, but forwards was meant to be the "standard" way of sortof-upward riding. Most road bikers I saw today biking along were riding that way. I was definitely not into the lack of break control from that angle -- I need to be able to slam them on at any given time, and I did not have the access I needed. So that was a fail. I found actually there were several times I wanted to have the breaks close, and had to drop into "drop mode" to get them, even though I didn't want to be in "drop mode" at the time. So the break access was not great. Generally, the 2nd "forwards and over the brakes" hand position also to me was quite uncomfortable. I found I needed to move often between all the different hand positions too, which was somewhat akin to driving a manual car. A bit distracting overall. I can see why Cyclocross bikes have a 2nd set of brakes right on the main handlebar.
  • All in all: I liked it and it was a fun trial. But, I suspect a thin/slick-tire flat handlebar hybrid might end up winning for my purposes.

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