First Impression: Raleigh Clubman Disc

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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First Impression: Marin Lombard

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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First Impression: Jamis Renegade Elite

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The Jamis Renegade was one of a handful of interesting adventure bikes that caught our attention at this year’s Interbike show. The Renegade brings a healthy dose of technology to Jamis’ line of adventure bikes, which had been anchored by classic steel touring bikes like the Aurora and Bosanova.

Two models of the Renegade will be offered; the $2,399 Expert and the $4,199 Elite. Both bike utilize the same frame geometry, but are constructed with different carbon fiber raw materials and spec’d with different components.

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On paper, one of the most interesting aspects of the Renegade is the attention Jamis paid to the frame’s geometry. Jamis’ goal is to provide consistent ride quality across all sizes of the Renegade. In order to do so, it is producing bikes with three different fork offsets, three different bottom bracket heights, and three different chainstay lengths.

Smaller sizes have shorter rear center lengths, lower bottom brackets, and slacker head tube angles with more fork offset to reduce toe overlap. As frame size increases, the chainstays lengthen, bottom bracket gets a little taller, and the headtube steepens while fork offset decreases. Since I’m unable to ride both a 48cm and 61cm frame in addition to my size 54cm, I can’t weigh in on the results first hand, but I will say all of these moves make perfect sense conceptually.

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But, as interesting as all that tech might be, I was excited to get my hands on the Renegade and see how this technological wonder felt on the road. It’s been a while since I’ve ridden a fancy carbon road-ish bike with components on the high-end of the spectrum, and I’m simply blown away by the Renegade’s performance. It’s fast and responsive and all the components work like a dream. I’m afraid I’ve become awfully spoiled by the Renegade’s Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. The power and modulation are simply incredible. The Ultegra-level, 11-speed drivetrain is equally impressive. Shifts are super quick regardless of the situation.

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Let’s delve into some of the interesting specifics of the Renegade…

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Jamis’ Enhanced Compliance Offset (ECO) fork sweeps the fork blades forward a bit more than usual to increase vertical compliance, but rearward facing dropout maintains the desired offset. Just below the 12mm RockShox Maxle thru axle you can see the removable fender eyelets. Due to the forward location of the fender eyelet, the stays of some fenders will not be long enough. Only two of the four stays on my new Planet Bike Cascadia ALX fenders (sold separately) would reach, and even those are a stretch.

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The rear fender and rack eyelets’ location is more traditional, making fender fitment much easier. Note that burly mounting interface for the rear brake.

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These shiny aluminum fenders look awesome on the Renegade. Kudos to Jamis for producing a performance bike with practical details like rack and fender mounts.

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Speaking of burly, the Renegade’s EVO386 bottom bracket is massive. Fortunately it provides a very stiff pedaling platform.

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I swapped the stock 100mm stem for a 90mm to shorten up the reach just a little bit. The Ritchey Comp Logic Curve handlebar has a nice bend, but I can’t help but yearn for a handlebar with a little bit of flair on a bike like the Renegade.

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Internal cable routing keeps things tidy and clean.

Keep reading

So far, so good on this test, but I’ve only been on the bike for a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for the in-depth review in an upcoming issue of Bicycle Times Magazine. Support us by subscribing to the magazine or our weekly email newsletter. Either way, you’ll have all our best content delivered conveniently.

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