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Whaddya think of THIS bike that REI urged me to buy for beginner's tours?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hey, Y'all.


Of the bikes I rode at REI, the Marin bikes fit me better than others.  They didn't have any that I liked the looks of, but the clerk suggested I try this one from online for $699, and I think it's pretty to boot.  Opinions on the components, anyone??  Any components you would change/replace?   And THANKS!! 


Marin Terra Linda Women's Bike - 2010


Frame:  Hydroformed, triple-butted 6061 aluminum frame

Fork:  RFE carbon

Crankset:  Truvativ Touro 3.0, 52/42/30

Bottom Bracket:  Sealed cartridge.

Shifters:  Shimano ST-R225

Front Derailleur:  Shimano R453

Rear Derailleur:  Shimano Sora

Rear Cogs:   8-speed, 12-25 cassette provide 24 gears.

No. of Gears:  24

Brakes:  Alloy linear-pull

Brake Levers:  Shimano ST-R225

Rims:  Double-wall Alex DC-19

Front hub:  Formula, 28h

Rear hub:  Formula, 32h

Tires:  Kenda Road 700 x 28

Handlebar:  Custom taper double-butted flat bar

Stem:  Alloy threadless

Seat post:  Comp alloy microadjustable

Saddle:  Marin Women's Plush Road

Pedals:  Composite

Headset:  Double sealed.

Chain:  Shimano HG40


post #2 of 15

I'm not real impressed by the level of components. They are only about a half step above the bottom teir of components meaning that your hubby is going to be busy adjusting and readjusting everything. The lower end components might work well for those who have not ridden better, and they usually give pretty good service when they are brand new, but they do not hold adjustments well and they tend to wear and give sloppy performance more quickly than higher quality components.


As far as changing components is concerned, you will need to add an adjustable stem as this bike does not have one. I am not real fond of Alex rims but that is just my personal opinion. You can ride on the Kenda tires but once they are worn out, you will probably want to go to a better tire such as the Michelin City. Its a better tire with less rolling resistance.


I will admit that the spoke count would be good for your current weight and the frame and fork materials are good. In fact, if you took and stripped down the frame and built it back up with Shimano Deore XT Components, then I would be impressed.


I still think that you should go with the Motobecane Cafe 8 because it has all that you need and it would make Mr. Slim happy too.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Oh, DeLong, how I love your sense of humor!


AND I love how well I can understand what you're saying, lol. 


Since you were nice enough to answer me on that post, can I ask you one more?  Would a Marin Ravenna be better?  Specs below. 






Marin butted 6061-aluminum w/Women's Fit Geometry


RFE Carbon


Alex R450




WTB 15g stainless-steel


Kenda Koncept 700 x 23c


FSA Vero Triple



Front Derailleur


Rear Derailleur

Shimano Sora

Rear Cogs

Shimano 8-speed; 12-25


Shimano STI


FSA Vero Compact


Cork w/Plush gel


Marin Aluminum

Brake Levers







Marin Women's Plush Road

Seat Post

Aluminum micro-adjust

post #4 of 15

This bike has drop handlebars. I thought you wanted flat bars. Other than the handlebars, adjustable stem, and STI brifters (brake levers and shifters in a single unit), it is essentially the same bike. The Ritchey Logic Comp Headset is a step up and the tires, while still Kenda brand, are one of thier better quality offerings. It seems like a decent enough bike for a beginner but you will still have the adjustment issues with the Shimano no-name front derailleur and eventually with the Shimano Sora rear derailleur.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hey, Kdelong.


I am at this point really confused as to what handlebars I need, lol.  I didn't think I wanted drop-down bars because I injured my back when I rolled a pickup years ago, and bending low for the drop bars would make it really hurt.  So I said I wanted flat bars, so I could have a more upright position.  At the suggestion of Froze and some others, I now think maybe what I need are mustache bars so I can change hand positions on my tour.  But I'm not seeing those on any bikes I look at, either.


Also, in my ignorance I had assumed it would be easy/cheap just to change handlebars on a bike, and was thinking I would do that on a bike I liked if it had drop-downs.  I have since learned that it isn't cheap, so kind of don't know where to go at this point, other than buying a bike that's a little cheaper so I can afford to change to mustache bars. 


The components issue is the most confusing of all for me, because I don't know which components are good.  I had heard Shimano was good, so was looking for those, and now I've learned that certain Shimanos are considered much better than others (but don't know which).  Is there a way for me to know which components are higher-grade than others, or which will need more adjusting or whatever? 


Finding a good bike has turned out to be really HARD, lol.


Thanks for the input! 

post #6 of 15

Slim: You aren't seeing mustache bars on mainstream bikes because they aren't popular, except with a certain genre of riders (hard to explain), but they are the folks (like me) who read and buy from Rivendell and Velo Orange, to name a few.  If you want these bars on a bike-store bike, the best thing to do, IMO, is to buy a bike with flat bars.  Then the brakes and shifters will most likely be moveable to the mustache bars with little effort.  There are a lot of types of brake levers to use with those bars, see Velo Orange.  It would be nice if you could ride a bike with those bars before buying, but that may not be possible.  Since you're in CA, I wish I could just send you down the road to the nice folks at Rivendell, but I don't think a $2000 to $3000 bike is in your budget.  We wouldn't want to give hubby a stroke.  But you could buy the bars from them, and speak to them on the phone, I bet they would be helplful.  You might want to do this before you buy a bike, they may have some suggestions for what to look for in the way of the equipment on the bike, to make for easier conversion to the must. bars. 


So the catch is, you may want a road bike, but with alternate bars.  The nice integrated brake/shifters (sometimes call brifters, a term I dislike) that come on almost all road bikes now,  will do you no good and you''ll have to buy something else.  Or buy something (like Marin Fairfax, if I recall) that is basically a road bike with flat bars, and change the bars.  You're out $75 or whatever the mustache costs, plus price of a stem (most likely), plus installation.  


As far as Shimano road parts go, there is a definite hierarchy, from low to high:  Tiagra, Sora (check on these two, I may have reversed them), 105 (plenty good, I have it), Ultegra and Dura Ace.  There is a similar hierarchy in Shimano mountain bike parts, but I'm not that familiar; some bikes you look at with have mtn. parts, or a mix of the two.


I hope this all helps.  Steve 

post #7 of 15

Here is a link to affordable Mustache Handle Bars. You will need to add brake levers and bar end shifters, not a big expense. http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/SubCategory_10053_10052_200388_-1_200276_200303 

Handle Bars are easy to change with a couple of common hand tools and some dish soap. PM me if you want more details. 

There is another option for alternating hand positions that is very inexpensive and can be added by your hubby, or even you. Clamp On Bar ends for flat bars.




This is the Shimano Hierarchy for Road Bike component groups, Mountain Bike component groups, and Internally Geared Hub component groups. New bike manifacturers will often mix components from different groups to meet their performance goals and price points.


Shimano road bike components, listed from low end to high end are:


Shimano no name, precisely that, no name listed on the component other than the name Shimano found on the cheapest of bicycles.


Shimano 2200 Series. Found on the higher priced discount store bikes. Used to be called Shimano Tourney.


Shimano Sora. Lower end recreational components.


Shimano Tiagra. Recreational components.


Shimano 105. Good entry level components often used by enthusiasts and un-sponsored racers.


Shimano Ultegra. Really good quality, what most un-sponsored racers use.


Shimano Dura Ace. Best quality used mainly by sponsored racers and people who want status that comes with owning the best.


Shimano Di2. Ultra expensive electronic shifting. Currently not legal in USAC sanctioned events.


Shimano Mountain Bike Components, listed from lowest to highest:


Shimano Alivio. Most widely used Shimano MTB component group. It works well.


Shimano Deore. Upgraded recreational component group.


Shimano SLX. Entry level competition components.


Shimano XT. Higher grade but affordable MTB component group.


Shimano Saint. Cosmetically very nice MTB component group. Formerly known as Shimano Sante. For those people whose MTB never goes off the pavement.


Shimano XTR. Highest end, mostly used in competition by sponsored racers and by those people who want the status of owning the very best.


Internally Geared Hub Groups:


Shimano Nexus. Very nice affordable 8 speed drivetrain group


Shimano Afine. Premium 8 speed drivetrain group. 

Edited by kdelong - 10/20/10 at 5:03pm
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi, Steve!


You said, "I wish I could just send you down the road to the nice folks at Rivendell, but I don't think a $2000 to $3000 bike is in your budget.  We wouldn't want to give hubby a stroke."  I didn't know you KNEW him, ROFLOL.  Truth be told, he actually is being as nice about it as I think he CAN be, given the extreme frugrality that was brainwashed into him by his dad since birth.  (His dad has been married to his mom -- who should be canonized -- for 65 years, and has never bought her one gift or card -- not birthday, anniversary, Christmas, Mother's Day -- NADA.  The man is psychotic about not spending money.)   I think it's an indication of how glad Dear Hubby is that I'm getting into biking (and thus can someday join him on his long rides) that he's willing to spend $6-700 without blowing a gasket. 


The best thing to do, IMO, is to buy a bike with flat bars.  Then the brakes and shifters will most likely be moveable to the mustache bars with little effort.  If I can't find a bike with everything I want in my price range, that is the plan at the moment.  I'm thinking it would be cheaper to change out the handlebars than to change from derailleurs to internal gear hubs.  I hope.      And getting used to new brakes/shifters is something I will have to do no matter what I buy, cuz right now I just have the coaster brakes or whatever they're called.  Sierraslim will be learning!!  Or trying to, lol.


Thanks again for the help -- and for the laughs! 









post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

How's it goin', Delong?


That was a FANTASTIC post.  I actually just copied it and kept it in MS Word for review, because I'm getting so many posts I lose track of who said what, where.   


And thank you for providing those handy links.  I spend so much time on the computer these days trying to find stuff that both my house and my doggies are feeling neglected.  (Two bichons, 8 and 12 pounds, both of whom I got from rescue organizations.  They're my 3rd and 4th children, lol.)   Those clamp-on bar ends are interesting, too; I haven't seen anything like that before.  But then, as I venture into bike stores, I'm seeing a LOT of things I never saw before.   


I feel like I'm finally really beginning to understand just what to look for in a bike, instead of just looking at any bike.  I was so proud in Mike's Bikes the other day when I knew what butted aluminum frames were and the clerk didn't!  And that's thanks to all y'all!


Although my favorite-bike itch has bounced around a lot, these last couple days I'm very intrigued with some Specialized bikes I've seen that another nice guy turned me on to.  My computer is acting up right now and I can't get another tab to double-check, but I think it was the Globe Elite Ig8 that had both the internal gear hubs and the flat bars that I might be able to change out.  It's a little higher than Dear Hubby wanted to pay at $800 for a new 2009, but I can add some from my private stash to make up for the rest, I think.  Then I might have to keep the flat bars for a couple months while I save up enough -- or butter up Frugal Hubby enough   -- to get them switched to mustache bars.  The best thing about the Specialized bikes for me right now is that there's a Specialized store not very far from where I live that does the careful fitting and all.  Most other bike stars are at least 10 miles away from me, so they would be handy.


Anyway, as usual, THANKS for the input!  I could not accomplish this without you guys. 



post #10 of 15

I second the recommendation for the clampon bar ends.  I have them on my flat bar bike now, and they do help by giving you another hand position which puts your wrists facing inward, rather than down.  They also give you a more forward position if you want to stand when climbing a hill.  They are only about $15/pr at Performance, and are easy to install.  Mine are coming off soon since I will be changing my bike back to drop bars (it's been a work in progress for the last few months!)  but that's just what I think I prefer, and I will be raising the bars to get my position a little more upright.  (Your story about your father-in-law is absolutely frightening, but those things do explain a lot about why some people are the way they are.  So good for you hubby for breaking the mold.) 


Specialized:  You mentioned looking at their bikes.  I don't  see the Globe on their current website (I recall it being more of an around-town bike, but that was years ago)  Of the current models, I think you should check out the Sirrus line.  Road-bike oriented, with flat bars. 


And delong, thanks for the Nashbar link.  I had no idea that they sold mustache bars for so little.   Gives me something to think about...

post #11 of 15

Actually, this is a good bike at a good price...the componenets are recreational grade, all good quality and guarantee trouble free riding. Very few cyclists will appreciate an upgrade. The 700x28 tires are a bit fat for performance asphalt but are perfect for any road that's less than smooth...I'd ride these on unpaved roads without a problem.


The only issue my be fit. If this is a true WSD frame, then it will work only if you're built like a girl, meaning longer legs and shorter arms than men.. Works for some, but many women need traditional frames. If possible, I'd recommend sitting on the bike before buying it...it may save a lot of pain.


Overall, though, not a bad bike for the price. It's not made for competition, but a good all-round, high performance sport bike.

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks, JM!


At almost 60 years old and slowly morphing from a morbidly obese recliner potato to a less obese new biker who just loves her newly discovered sport, I am never going to be a competitive racer or downhiller or whatever they call people like Lance A -- or even the local county fair biker champion, lol.  So a good all-round sport bike is fine with me.  I just need about 100 of y'all to get together on an opinion and agree on a bike here, and tell me which one to buy! 


Thanks for the input; I'll take all I can get!



post #13 of 15

Ask a 100, you'll get 150 opinions. I just got my first CPP pension cheque proving that I'm older than you, and the benefit of a long life is that I've learned not to listen to anyone, especially to recommendations on anything that I have to sit on and peddle.


Do yourself a favour...once you have an idea of the kind of riding that you intend to do, pick a comfortable bike with a wide range of gears...that sporty bike with a granny in your OP was a good choice, it will do everything well. It will actually surprise you with it's ability to climb.


But I don't listen, so I've got 15 bikes in my quiver, something for every occasion.

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

You're right, of course, JM, and I need to learn to make my own choices.  But at this stage, without the helpful advice I've received here, I would sooooooooooo make the wrong one and just buy the prettiest bike I saw, LOL.     Nevertheless, I'm learning, and will eventually just take what I've learned and actually buy a bike! 


You said, If this is a true WSD frame, then it will work only if you're built like a girl, meaning longer legs and shorter arms than men.. Works for some, but many women need traditional frames.  How well I know that!  I do have legs as long as my husband (who's quite a bit taller), but I think I have long arms for a woman.  So I definitely need to try a bike on for size before I put down the greenbacks.  I would LOVE to test-ride billions of bikes I see... my problem has been finding ones that fit me to try!  REI said I need a 19' frame, and a lot of women's bikes only go up to 17.  But I'm working on it!


Have a good one. 

post #15 of 15

Thanks, will do.


I guess what I'm trying to say is that buying a bike from a web based retailer is not something that most people would recommend. Not only fit and quality but in-transit damage is a huge issue (ask all those Ibex customers who received bikes with bent hangers) and after sales service/warranty adjustments can become very complicated. Also, keep in mind that bikes are made to look pretty to sell, but a purty bike may not work as well...actually, I've noticed that the worst bikes look the best.


Also, don't make the mistake of using the seat tube length to determine fit. All it does is determine the size of the front triangle, many manufacturers like a long seat post and a small triangle to help with the climbs, the real fit issue is the length of the top tube. I've got a 20" bike that's rated a "medium" and a 17" that's huge....has a 15.25" BB height and a 33" standover!


But watch out for those pretty bikes...that's how I ended up with that Trek 7.5fx POS that I ended giving away to make room for a good bike (one that's very close to the bike in your OP).


A good LBS is worth every penny...I now pay a premium to ensure that I get what I want...and get great service and warranty work...my wife's CF fork on her road bike cracked after 3 years and she had a new one delivered and installed at no charge in 48 hours. I bent my seat stay on my Ellsworth in a crash and had a new one couriered from California in 3 working days...good luck getting that from an Internet site.


Mrs. M. has a longer torso and shorter legs than the average woman so we need to fiddle with her bikes...I always replace the stem and bars with risers, look at builds with longer top tubes and lower bottom brackets and shorter head tubes. I took 2 years to find the right XC bike for her build.


Anyway, ride safe.

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