First Impression: Raleigh Clubman Disc


Editor’s note: Here at Bicycle Times we are as mindful of price as you are. So we gathered together a group of six very diverse bikes to showcase what you can find right now at the $1,000 price point. See our introduction here.

Way back in issue #2, I reviewed the Raleigh Clubman (with rim brakes). I said “The Clubman departs from the go-fast focus with some well thought out details intended for users with practical leanings.” For 2015 Raleigh takes the Clubman to the next level with disc brakes.

In our group of $1,000 bikes, The Clubman Disc stands out with a steel frame, classic looks, and the excellent 10 speed Shimano Tiagra group, a mid-level drivetrain that continues to impress me.


The steel frame uses a modern sloping top tube and hooded dropouts. These “Wright” or “Breezer” style dropouts minimize the amount of flat metal plate at the highly stressed axle clamping zones, and maximize the strong, stiff and light tubing. This is a good things for frame stiffness, strength and longevity, at least that’s what Joe Breeze told me a few years ago, and I think Joe Breeze is a trustworthy place to get my frame building technology knowledge.

Raleighclubmandisc-4 Raleighclubmandisc-10

The saddle pictured is not the stock seat. That is actually the fourth saddle that has been on this bike; the stock microsuede saddle, a WTB Vigo, a Selle Anatomica, and this Fyxation leather saddle. The WTB didn’t match the aesthetic at all, but it was a wise choice for my break in ride. That ride started at 11 P.M., ended the next evening around 8 P.M., and included about 175 miles of rain, dark, sleet, muddy rail trail,  brand new pavement and gastrointestinal issues. It was quite an introduction.

A ride like that is a solid way to get a feel for a bike, and so far, the Clubman could be best described and friendly, competent and quiet. The micro-knobby Kenda Karvs were ideal for the mix of pavement and crushed limestone, and the steel frame and upright position kept me rolling along through bad weather and rough roads.


Stay tuned for the full review in our next issue, Bicycle Times #33, due in early February. Subscribe now to get it delivered to your mailbox or favorite electronic device.






First Impression: Yuba Boda Boda


Editor’s note: Here at Bicycle Times we are as mindful of price as you are. So we gathered together a group of six very diverse bikes to showcase what you can find right now at the $1,000 price point. See our introduction here.

There’s no doubt about it: this is a quirky bike with a quirky name. The second Yuba model after the widely acclaimed Mundo long-tail, the Boda Boda is designed as a “half-tail”, a bike that falls somewhere in between the 18-wheeler Mundo and a regular car. If we keep rolling with the analogy, the Boda Boda is a minivan—plenty of room for kids and stuff, but not so big that you won’t be able to park it.

There are two models available: a small/medium step-through and a medium/large step over, which is what’s pictured here. At six-foot-two I’m pushing the limits of the seatpost, but otherwise the bike fits great. The handlebars are nice and wide, and the riding position is upright and relaxed. If you’ve ridden a Dutch-style opafiets, you’re going to feel right at home.


Behind that seatpost is where things get interesting though. The wheelbase is extended to allow for the extra cargo space created by the integrated rear rack. Yuba offers a ton of accessories for hauling kids or cargo, but to squeak under the $1,000 limit we had to go without. Now, normal panniers do attach just fine, but you’re really missing out on the versatility of the bike without them. The extra-huge Yuba Baguette panniers are $89 each.


If you’re wondering, the black panels over the rear wheel are skirt guards to keep kids toes or—or your skirt—from getting caught up in the spokes. They are easily removable if you’re more of a pants-person.


So far I’ve taken the Boda Boda on a few leisurely rides and it has a great casual vibe to it. It’s certainly a bike you could ride as an everyday commuter without feeling like you’re a piloting a cargo ship. Watch for my full, long-term review in an upcoming issue of the magazine. Subscribe today and you won’t miss it.



First Impression: Framed Minnesota 2.0 Fat Bike


Editor’s note: Here at Bicycle Times we are as mindful of price as you are. So we gathered together a group of six very diverse bikes to showcase what you can find right now at the $1,000 price point. See our introduction here.

I’m pretty stoked to be testing the Minnesota 2.0 fat bike from Framed Bikes this winter. I have ridden a few fat bikes, and a bunch of my riding buddies rock them throughout the year, but I haven’t had the chance to really get into the whole scene until now.

The Minnesota 2.0 features an aluminum frame and fork, big 26×4 120 tpi tires, 2×9 SRAM drivetrain, and Avid BB5s among other bits and pieces. Retailing for $900, it’s really targeted towards the price-conscious fat biker.


Taking the bike out for its maiden voyage, the first thing that was most apparent was the tight cockpit. Framed chose to go with an effective top tube that is noticeably shorter than other similarly sized fat bikes. The 18-inch Minnesota 2.0’s top tube has an effective length of 22.5 inches.

Framed is trying to create a bike that rides smaller than it is and provides a more aggressive feel on the trail. It also places more of the rider’s weight in the rear center, allowing for better rear wheel traction. Initially the “short” top tube felt really odd to me, but about halfway into my first ride the bike did start to give me a bit of a playful vibe.

At around 34.5lbs the bike isn’t light by any measure, but does fall in line with similarly spec’d models around the industry. Coming off a light mountain bike, there is definitely a bit more umph required to get through some of the more techy uphill sections and rolling around familiar trails feels a bit more arduous.


With on-trail tire pressure adjustments made in accordance with some more seasoned fat bike riders’ suggestions, things felt a bit better. A lot of the small, harsh trail features seemed less apparent when rolled over with so much squishy rubber.

So far my take away is it rolls over stuff, it’s fun, and I can’t wait to ride it some more. Check back to see how things progressed and my thoughts on this fat bike thing.


Keep reading

You can see all the bikes in the Bicycle Times $1,000 group test here.

Watch for my long-term review in Bicycle Times Issue #33, due on newsstands and in mailboxes in early February.



First Impression: Breezer Greenway Elite


Editor’s note: Here at Bicycle Times we are as mindful of price as you are. So we gathered together a group of six very diverse bikes to showcase what you can find right now at the $1,000 price point. See our introduction here.

When it comes to road bikes, I like mine comfortable, practical and versatile. Enter the $1,095 Greenway Elite. My contact at Breezer tells me: “Whether you’re riding for exercise, transportation, off-road recreation, or anything in-between, the Greenway is your do-it-all machine.” Roger all that.

The tall stack of stem spacers raised the bar, which helped to put me in a comfortable, upright riding position. As did the appropriately-short top tube. Speaking of comfort, the stock Ergon grips are a personal favorite. Note the Trelock Bike-I Uno LED headlight (dynamo hub powered, with standlight feature). Safety first!

Here’s a look at the Shimano 3-Watt Dynamo hub that powers the front/rear lights. Yep, that’s a disc brake rotor on the opposite side of the hub. This baby’s got Shimano M355 hydraulic disc brakes front and rear. A bike that’s designed to “do it all” rates a set of hydros, in my opinion.

Ample fender coverage gives the Greenway foul weather capability. The Trelock Trio Flat tail light has standlight functionality, and rocks steady (as opposed to blinking). The Greenway’s rear rack ticks a critical box on my “do it all” checklist. To do it all, you gotta haul.

The SRAM VIA Centro 2×10 drivetrain provides a wide gearing range, which matches the versatile intentions of the Greenway Elite. I’ve already put those gears to use, while hauling panniers filled with groceries. All the while daydreaming of loading those same satchels with overnight gear and heading for the hills. Very tempting.

Breezer’s D’Fusion hydroformed aluminum tubing used on the down tube and top tube has a D-shaped cross-section that helps diffuse the stresses that occur near the head tube joints without the need for reinforcement or gusseting. The rear stays use D’Fusion tubing as well. Look closely and you’ll notice a plastic cover bolted onto the concave underside of the down tube. The plate cleverly hides and protects the cables and electrical wiring.

From my first ride, the aluminum frameset and fork impressed me as feeling very solid and responsive. The Greenway provides very direct and clear feedback from the tires’ contact patches. I would not call the ride overly stiff, but it’s certainly not a buttery experience by any means.

Ah yes, the venerable Breeze-In dropout. A piece of mountain bike history that’s a welcome feature on any bike, and worthy of ogling. Light, stiff, and elegant.

I’ll have to admit that the Greenway Elite looks ready to rumble, even when it’s casually leaning on its kickstand. Never fear, the bike’s found a willing partner in yours truly. Keep your eyes peeled on the print version of Bicycle Times #33 for my full review, after I’ve racked up the miles. In the meantime, learn more at


First Impression: Marin Lombard

Marin Lombard—WEB (1 of 20)

Editor’s note: Here at Bicycle Times we are as mindful of price as you are. So we gathered together a group of six very diverse bikes to showcase what you can find right now at the $1,000 price point. See our introduction here.

Marin describes the Lombard as having been “Birthed from cyclocross and touring parents…” and “Part adventure bike, and part urban warrior.” Those descriptions certainly had me sold from the get-go, this is my kind of bike: versatile.

Marin Lombard—WEB (16 of 20)

We’ve had a lot of conversation around the office lately about just how good bikes around and under the $1,000 price point are these days. Assembling the Lombard further cemented that point in my mind. On initial impression, this bike is very well built and spec’d at the price point.

Let’s take a walk around the bike.

Marin Lombard—WEB (13 of 20)

Due to the subtle matte grey and black palette, the Lombard’s gum-wall Schwalbe Road Cruiser tires draw your attention. These 35mm-wide tires seem like an awesome choice for a bike that will see terrain that varies from dirt to street.

Marin Lombard—WEB (7 of 20)

The second thing to strike me were the Lombard’s subtle reflective graphics. Not only is the branding minimal and tasteful, it also adds an element of visibility after dark.

Marin Lombard—WEB (18 of 20)

Promax Render R cable actuated disc brakes promise all-weather stopping power front and rear. Note the Lombard’s dual eyelets for both a rack and fenders. By mounting the brake inside the rear triangle, Marin greatly simplified rack and fender installation.

Marin Lombard—WEB (8 of 20)

Check out that headbadge and ample tire clearance in the fork with the stock 35mm tires. Looks to me like a 40mm would fit no problem. Might even be able to squeeze a 45mm in there.

Marin Lombard—WEB (20 of 20)  Marin Lombard—WEB (19 of 20)

Rear tire clearance is generous at the seatstays, but a little less forgiving at the chainstays. Anything much bigger than a 40mm tire looks to be a tight fit.

Marin Lombard—WEB (10 of 20)

The Lombard’s 9-speed Sora drivetrain with the 50/39/30 triple chainring offers a wide range of gearing. Let me tell you, this Sora group operates more like an Ultegra group from the 9-speed era than an entry level drivetrain. It really is that good.

Marin Lombard—WEB (9 of 20)  Marin Lombard—WEB (12 of 20)

Marin’s house-brand cockpit rounds out the build. All of these bits are functionally perfect and the fit is spot on for me.

Look for the full Lombard review in Issue #33 of Bicycle Times. Subscribe to the magazine or our eNews to have more of this great content delivered directly to your inbox.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the brand of brake calipers.



First Impression: Specialized Diverge A1


Editor’s note: Here at Bicycle Times we are as mindful of price as you are. So we gathered together a group of six very diverse bikes to showcase what you can find right now at the $1,000 price point. See our introduction here.

All-surface road bikes are what the popular kids are riding—especially here in Northern California—and we also enjoy moderate climates, rolling terrain, and unlimited riding opportunities. So it’s no surprise to see NorCal’s own Specialized launch its Diverge line of bikes with disc brakes, endurance geometry, and tire clearance for up to 700x35c rubber. We are reviewing the Diverge as part of our $1,000 bike round up.

The Diverge line includes seven models, from the $8,500 flagship Carbon Di2 to the entry-level $1,100 A1, which we received for testing in late October. Three models are available with a carbon frame and fork, with four available with an aluminum frame and carbon fork. The A1 frame is welded aluminum, mated to a Specialized FACT carbon fork with Zertz gel inserts for road chatter damping. The entry-level 8-speed Shimano Claris group helps keep the overall price of the bike down, but also contributes to its stout 24-plus pounds.


Gearing is a spot-on 50/34-tooth crankset and 11-32-tooth cassette, providing ideal cruising and climbing options. Shifting was a little slower than I’m accustomed to after riding several Dura-Ace and Ultegra equipped machines the past year, and the external shifting cables were a bit distracting at first.


The taller headtube and bowed top tube props me up a bit taller than my daily rider, but I settled in quicker than I thought. I appreciate bikes with longer wheelbases, and the 700x30c Specialized Espoir Sport tires still provide room for fenders; Specialized included handy threaded bosses on the chainstay bridge and rear dropouts to add its Plug + Play fender set.

After spending the past couple months on a repurposed Ibis Hakkalügi Disc bike, I’m ready to put the Diverge A1 through its paces on my test loop through Arastradero Preserve.


Look for a full review in Bicycle Times Issue #33, along with our complete overview of the six $1,000 Bikes For Work & Play, available in early February.



This Just In: Six $1,000 Bikes for Work and Play

$1000 collage

The new year draws near, and for the first issue of 2015, we’ve rounded up six bike in the $1,000 range as a representative sample at this popular price point. We’ve found it to be common dollar amount for a first “good” bike, or adding a second bike (or third or fourth, etcetera) to the stable. Here’s the rundown with some basic stats, expect more in depth First Impression posts to follow soon.


Marin Lombard Introduction—WEB (1 of 1)

Marin Lombard

Price: $999
Weight: 24.8 pounds
Frame/fork material: Aluminum
Drivetrain: Shimano Sora 3×9
Brakes: Promax Render R mechanical disc brakes, 160mm rotors
Tires: 700x35c Schwalbe Road Cruiser

The Lombard is a listed as a “cyclocross utility” bike on Marin’s website, and is a great way to categorize this bike. An aluminum frame and fork keeps the weight down, while reflective decals and rack and fender mounts should make this bike a willing companion on local commutes or long tours.


SpecializedDiverge_2_watermarked630 (1)

Specialized Diverge A1

Price: $1,100
Weight: 24.2 pounds
Frame/fork material: Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum frame with Specialized FACT carbon fork w/ Zertz
Drivetrain: Shimano Claris 2400 STI, with SunRace 11-32 8-speed cassette, KMC chain, and Shimano Claris 50/34T, 175mm crankset
Brakes: Tektro Spyre mechanical disc
Tires: Specialized Espoir Sport 700x30c

The Diverge line is new for Specialized, and illustrates the diffuclting of finding the correct way to label modern drop bar bikes. Disc brake road bike? Utility cyclocross? light touring? Adventure bike? We are slotting this in the disc brake road bike category, with its compact road crank and 30mm tires.


Yuba boda boda

Yuba Boda-Boda

Price: $999
Weight: 39.4 pounds
Frame/fork material: Aluminum
Drivetrain: SRAM 1×8
Brakes: Mechanical disc brake front, V-brake rear
Tires: 26×2.0 WTB Freedom Cruz

As far as we know, this is the least expensive, complete, long-tail cargo bike on the market today. This is a pretty stripped down bike at this price, and will need accessories to really take advantage of the cargo capacity. Yes that is a lot of seat post. Our reviewer has a lot of leg, and Yuba offers the Boda Boda in only two sizes: one a step-through, and the step-over pictured here.


Raleigh Clubman disc-1

Raleigh Clubman Disc

Price: $1,100
Weight: 27.4 pounds
Frame/fork material: 4130 butted chromoly
Drivetrain: Shimano Tiagra 10-speed, 50/34 crank,
Brakes: Shimano BR-R317
Tires: Kenda Karv 700×28

The Clubman is a long standing model for Raleigh, and we were glad to see it move to disc brakes for the 2015 model. The full Tiagra 10-speed drivetrain and Shimano discs are a great spec at this price point. And those painted to match metal fenders give the bike a whiff of NAHBS.


Breezer Greenway

Breezer Greenway Elite

Price: $1,049
Weight: 31.5 pounds
Frame/fork material: aluminum
Drivetrain: SRAM VIA Centro 2×10 speed
Brakes: Shimano M355 hydraulic disc
Tires: Vittoria Adventure 700×32

The Greenway Elite from Breezer comes stock with a solid year round commuting set up: fenders, rack, bell and even a kickstand. The best part? A set of front and rear Trelock lights running off the Shimano dynamo front hub.



Framed Minnesota 2.0

Price: $900
Weight: 34 pounds
Frame/fork material: aluminum
Drivetrain: SRAM X7/X5  2×9
Brakes: Avid BB5 mechanical disc
Tires: Framed 26×4

Framed is a newer bike company, and besides the a full range of fat bikes, bmx and urban bikes, it is also first to market with a women’s specific model, and sells a kid’s 24-inch fat bike as well. It seems fat bikes are becoming more and more popular as a second or third bike, and not just for snow and sand. The big tires seem to strike a chord with a wide range of riders, for a wide range of uses.


Coming up

The full feature review of all six bikes will appear is the first issue of 2015. Don’t miss this, and the rest of the great content, subscribe now!

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