There are a lot of different road bikes out there, but I had very specific needs and wants which whittled the field down pretty quickly. The Raleigh Clubman made the short list of finalists.
I wanted a versatile and comfortable road bike. To me this means, clearance for wider tires and fenders, higher handlebar position and frame and fork that leans toward stability and comfort, rather than speed and stiffness.
The Clubman comes through on all points with longer reach brakes for tire and fender clearance, a long head tube and a steel frame with a low bottom bracket and longer chainstays for stable handling. It even has rack and fender mounts!Some things I’ve noticed in the 100 or so miles I’ve got on the Clubman so far:
The Brooks Swift saddle needs to break in. About halfway through a 50 mile ride a few days ago it started to feel much better. I hope that turns into long ride comfort soon.
The rear wheel needed some love with the spoke wrench during assembly. After a few short rides I needed to dial in more tension. Seems to be fine now.
Water! Not sure if it was all running down the seatpost and into the frame, but after a very wet first ride there was a lot of water in the frame as evidenced by the puddle that formed on the floor from the chainstay vent holes when I stood the bike on its rear wheel.
The flat topped ergo handlebars are very comfortable, with quite a few good hand positions.
The 57cm frame I’m riding fits me quite well and seems very well mannered on broken pavement.
Compact gearing is one of the smarter innovations in road cycling in the last few years. 50-34 is plenty fast for most folks.
My plans for the bike this spring include commuting, pleasure rides and if all goes well, a bit of local racing and perhaps a 400 mile cross state ride.
Stay tuned to the Bicycle Times website for an update as the miles accumulate, and be sure to subscribe to Bicycle Times print mag and you’ll be able to read my full-blown product review in an upcoming issue.
Raleigh Clulbman Specs:
Frame–Reynolds 520 Seamless Butted Cromoly tubing
Fork–4130 Cro-mo Road
Cranks–Shimano Tiagra 2pc 34/50t
Bottom Bracket–Shimano Outboard Bearing
F. Derailleur–Shimano Tiagra
R. Derailleur–Shimano Tiagra
Shifter–Shimano Tiagra STI, 9spd
Brake Levers–Shimano Tiagra STI
Brakes–Tektro Dual Pivot Long Reach w/ cartridge pads
Cassette–SRAM PG950 9spd (12-26t)
Rims–Freedom RLX 1.9 Double Wall
Tires–Vittoria Zaffiro 700x25c
Pedals–Alloy Cage, Steel clips w/ leather straps
Handlebar–Avenir 200 Series Road, 31.8
Stem–Alloy 3D forged Ahead 31.8
Seatpost– Avenir 200 Series
Seat–Brooks Swift w/Chrome Rails
Headset–Ahead 1-1/8 w/ alloy cups
Hubs– Joytech Alloy Sealed 28h
Spokes–14g Stainless MAC w/alloy nipples