Hubby suggests this "Cafe Bike" for my first tour; what do you think?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by SierraSlim, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    For my first beginner's bike tour next June on flat bike-path terrain, my hubby has suggested this as a possible option. It sells for $450. (Picture below.) I think it's really pretty, and it comes in a lovely shade of rose, lol, but mostly I want to know if it's the kind of bike y'all have been suggesting for me. What do y'all think? Thanks for your input.

    Here's what they said:

    Faster than a Hybrid or Comfort bike, more comfy than a Road Bike! It's a Cafe Bike!!
    Cafe bikes are road bikes with flat bars and adjustable stem so you can ride with more comfort and control than a regular road bike and far greater speed than a hybrid or comfort bike.

    The Motobecane Cafe Express 8 comforts you with the superior ride of a meticulously handcrafted 6061 series Advanced Aluminum frame. The smooth ride and stable handling is perfect for those relaxing weekend tours of the countryside or cruising fast and comfortably in your favorite charity ride.

    Premium Upgrades from the Express 3 include:
    * 5 more gears for a more efficient, faster and comfortable ride
    * ride with more visible reflective sidewall tires and LED flashing pedals Click Here to See
    * Faster, more aero Alex-SUB aluminum rim wheelset

    Ultimately Convenient Internal 8 Speed Hub
    Upgrades from external shift bikes with the easiest shifting 8 speed internal Shimano Nexus hub.
    Shift at any time - Even when you are at a stop. Get rolling again and you are in the gear you want.
    Fast and Smooth rolling 700c wheels, comfy seat and powerful brakes round out this high quality ride.



    Frame Handmade Advanced 6061 Aluminum with Rear Rack Mounts (brazeons), water bottle mount Fork Motobecane Unicrown Dura-Forte Steel 1.125" steerer with fender eyelets Crankset RPM by FSA Aluminum Arms with Black Finish, Single Ring 42T, 170mm Bottom Bracket Sealed Cartridge Unit S-Taper Pedals Comfort Platform Resin with built-in LED flashers* Click Here to See Front Derailleur None Rear Derailleur Shimano Nexus Internal 8 Speed Mechanism Shifters Shimano Nexus Twist Shift with gear indicator Cassette/Chain (internal gearing) external cog 20T / KMC Z-51 8-speed Hubs Bolt-on, Shimano Nexus 8-speed Internal Rear
    Aluminum Sealed Caged Ball Bearing front
    Note: Bkes now upgraded with QR front hub (NOT nutted as pictured)
    Spokes Stainless Steel, 14 gauge, 36fr/36rr Rims Alex SUB, Aero Profile, Double-wall Aluminum 700c Black Tires Reflective Sidewall, Hybrid CST 700x40c black-wall, Presta Valve tubes Brakes Tektro V Aluminum Alloy Black Finish Brake Levers Tektro Quartz Aluminum Handlebar Kalloy Aluminum with Comfort bend Stem Kalloy Adjustable Rise 0 to 60 degrees, Aluminum Tape/Grip Velo Dual Comfort Density Saddle WTB Comfort Shaped with Suspension Cushion tech Seat Post Aluminum Alloy Seat Clamp Ultralite Aluminum Alloy Sizes 16, 18, 20, 22" mens, 15" ladies, 17" ladies Geometry Sizing Chart Colors Silver (as shown) or Rose(pink)Picture Gallery of Rose
    Note: Bkes now upgraded with QR front hub (NOT nutted as pictured)
    Our low price is $449.95 Compare at $900
    This bike comes 90% assembled.
    We suggest you take it to your local bike shop for final assembly & safety checks.



    [​IMG]
     
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  2. NBoddy

    NBoddy New Member

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    I would suggest taking the bike frame geometry to your local bike shop and see if they have bike with the same dimensions. You really need to be sure the bike fits you. Since you posted that you are riding on a flat bike path you will not need granny gears. Fit is the key.
    Have a blast on your first ride and hope you have many more.
     
  3. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hi, NBoddy!

    That's a great idea, thanks for the suggestion! I do worry about ordering a bike online, which Frugal Hubby seems to want to do, so checking out the fit on another bike is an awesome idea. I know this isn't a classic road bike, and I had never heard the term 'cafe bike.' But it seems to have many of the requirements that have been suggested to me through these forums, other than it has fever gears. This upcoming tour is indeed on flat terrain, but if I love it as much as I THINNK I'm going to love it, then I will definitely be going on more of them, some of which will probably eventually require 'granny gears.' What a perfect name for gears on my bike, considering my age, LOL.

    Thanks again for the suggestion!

    Sierra
     
  4. Steve_A

    Steve_A Member

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    From the information provided, I'd give it a tentative thumbs-up. Frame material and equipment look pretty good. The Shimano Nexus hub is solid quality, so you have the advantage (perhaps psychological) of the internal gears and simple shifting, in a pretty decent bike. The high spoke count on the wheels should give you some piece of mind as to weight. I agree with NBoddy that fit is the most important variable. I hope that you continue with your plan to visit REI and ride several bikes. I would be great if you could not only experience find the size and configuration that fits you, but also if you could experience shifting both types of drivetrain. But I don't doubt that you will like the way the Nexus hub works. But you might be surprised at how easy the derailleur bikes shift. Lots of people mail order bikes. You lose the advantage of the service and fitting provided by a good bike shop, and the after-purchase care and warranty service. This bike has an adjustable stem, so that's an advantage in your case: you can experiment with handlebar position without having to have the stem changed. So between that and adjusting the saddle (up/down, forward/back), you and your hubby may be able to get a good fit. Check and see if the seller has a trial period or return policy (I have no idea as I've never ordered like that.)
     
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  5. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Steve, I knew I could count on you to help me assess this bike. Thanks!

    Don't worry, I am still going to REI today to try on bikes, and want to ride several with different gear types. I hope the derailleur shifting is as easy as you say (and figure you're not lying, lol), just so I can get over my trepidation about it. But even if it is, Hubby definitely wants me to get an internal hub gear, no matter which bike I end up buying. He has had the Nexus one on his bike for 4 years now, has never had a second's problem with it, and commutes to work daily plus taking long rides on weekends, so it gets a decent workout. Although he hasn't come out and said so (which is how he works, lol), the implication is that if I get a derailleur, I will have a hard time getting him to mess with it when it needs it. So I probably will go with an internal gear hub, just to keep my 'mechanic' happy. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif But I'm still test driving the derailleurs at REI.

    We are talking about getting the steel wheels suggested at some point in one of my threads, but maybe the high spoke count would make this unnecessary? Or, if the wheel buckles under me at some point (omg), we could add the steel wheels then, I guess, after I commit hari kari from mortification. I do have one last question: Is there any other adjustment/change to the bike that you would make immediately, if you were buying it? Any components you think are sub-par, etc?

    I do worry about losing the after-purchase care stuff, which Hubby evidently thinks he can offset by just paying for whatever is needed at the LBS, and since it's his money that's buying it, now that I've retired.... This seller does have a 30-day return policy if I don't like the bike, so if the worst happens, it can go back. They offer free shipping of the bike to me; however, if I return the bike I have to repay that and pay the return shipping, as well. I guess that seems fair. I'm not buying it until I've tested others here, and hope that I can find something comparable here in town that I won't have to buy sight unseen/unridden. If not and we end up buying it, I guess it's caveat emptor.

    Thanks again for ALL your help. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif

    Sierra
     
  6. BHOFM

    BHOFM Active Member

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    Slim, my thoughts are that the cassette, derailleur system is about as trouble free and low friction as you can get.
    The geared hubs have a place but at a cost of repair and drag. With an 18 or 21 speed hybrid you have a range of
    gears for almost any situation you will run into. With the shifters make into the grips you never have to take your
    hands off the bars. You really don't even need to look, it just becomes second nature after a short time.
    If there is a problem with the shifters, with a phillip's screwdriver you can set it in one gear to get home.
    I don't know it the hub defaults to high or low gear in a cable failure, but I would find out. If it defaults to
    high gear you might end up pushing the bike home,

    Buying a bike for one purpose is a questionable investment.

    My ex wife bought a three speed and now she doesn't ride because it it too hard. She can't even come
    close to keeping up with the kids on their mountain bikes on the streets, and they aren't that hilly.

    My thoughts and that is all they are.....

    BTW, I have a Huffy Savannah and I love it. I have tried several high $$ bikes and the old Huffy just fits me
    better than they do.

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/700c-L-Savannah-road-bike-model-56770-burgundy/12517030

    I have visited with a bunch of people on the trails that ride the Savannah and they are all
    very happy with their bikes, Young and old alike.....
     
  7. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    I just checked out the gearing of a Nexus 8 speed hub. It is pretty impressive. It gives you 96.5 gear inches on the high side and 24.3 gear inches on the low side. This is comparable to having a rear cassette with a small cog with 12 teeth and a large cog with 37 teeth. These cogs coupled with the 42 tooth chainring will give you ample climbing power but you won't be winning any TDF's with the speed. With a little effort though, you will be able to get a respectable cruising speed out of it in the higher gears. The steps between the gears are pretty large so you don't have the versatility in being able to bump it up or down one cog to get the most comfortable gearing.

    I agree with NBoddy that you should get fitted and then check out geometry of the Motobecane with a similar bike at REI to see if it is good for you.

    I can't see anything wrong with the Cafe Express 8. I would get the model with the Quick Release front wheel though. Don't worry about the rims!!!!! The rim material is almost of no consequence as long as the spoke count is high enough. With 36 spokes on both the front and back, those wheels are ultra strong.

    BTW, it looks like a comfort bike to me. I never heard of a "Cafe" bike, but hey, its all marketing anyway.

    One last thing, and this is not a shot at BHOFM, but I would suggest that you stay away from any of the discount store bikes. They are less expensive for a lot of reasons. They are generally heavier because they are made of High Tensile steel or straight walled aluminum which is required for their structural integrity. The tubes of the Cafe Express 8 are butted aluminum. Butting is a precess where the tubes are drawn with different thicknesses of material in the same tube. It is thicker only where thickness is required, and thin everywhere else which makes for a lighter frame. It is also a fairly expensive process which adds 30% - 40% more cost to the frame. They use much better quality components and generally last longer, are easier to adjust, and hold their adjustment longer than the department store bikes, but the department store bikes don't normally get the use of better bikes. It is human nature to stick with an exercise or sports program longer if it is more expensive to get into. Also, discount store bikes are usually assembled by the lowest guy at the store and are pretty much just thrown together. For fun, I have walked through our local Wally World just to see the shoddy workmanship on the bikes. It is kind of funny but also kind of sad thinking that a parent is going to buy one of these bikes for their kids with all of the loose nuts and bolts, mis-routed cables, and poorly adjusted brakes and gearing. Once in awhile you will find a well assembled bike at these stores but not often. And just try to get a replacement part for a department store bike.....ha ha.
     
  8. McLoki

    McLoki New Member

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    I just purchased a new bike (used bike - new to me though) and had 7days to evaluate it and if I did not like it, I could send it back. One of the first things I did was take it to the LBS and get it fitted to me. (seat, bars, Pedal clips, etc.) Total cost was $65 for the fitting (and another $50 for a proper stem, but you would not have that cost with that particular bike setup).

    The main reason I went, was to get their opinion on if the bike would fit me while I still had time to return it. (also it put me in the best position to enjoy my bike) I am sure many here can do their own fitting, but as I found out - it is very hard to fit yourself even if you think you know what you are doing. (I thought I did, turns out I was mistaken)

    It was well worth the money not only to make the bike fit properly, but also for the piece of mind that I purchased the correct size.

    Just wanted to remind you, you can still get fitted at the LBS even if you do not purchase the bike there. You just have to pay a fee for it. BTW - at least at my LBS, they were very good about the fitting and checking out the bike for me. They did not make a big deal at all that I did not purchase the bike there.

    Enjoy whatever you end up with.

    Michael
     
  9. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hi, McLoki!

    That is a really good idea, and I should have been able to figure it out on my own, lol. I evidently will NOT be buying from REI, since they didn't have anything I wanted today, but it's cool to know that I can bring a bike in and pay them to make sure it fits me well. I agree with you that that would be well worth the money! After the experience I had today with one of the bikes so obviously not fitting well, I most definitely want one that does, lol.

    Thanks for the input!

    Sierra
     
  10. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hey, Y'all!

    There's too much good advice coming my way, lol.

    BHOFM, you made such sense to me when you said, Buying a bike for one purpose is a questionable investment. I totally agree. That's kind of why we're leaning toward getting a hybrid/commuter/cafe bike, because I can use it for easy tours (I THINK), and still ride it around town comfortably in my everyday rides. If, after this first tour, we eventually get into doing more tours more often of more difficulty, there will always be time to buy an actual touring bike. After riding a couple of them today, I agree with your wife that my 3-speed cruiser is harder to bike on, if speed and distance is the goal. But I sure have a soft spot for her, lol. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif

    I will try to find out of the the hub defaults to high or low gear in a cable failure. I was pleased that the derailleurs I used today were so simple, but it simply may not matter, since Dear Hubby is my mechanic most of the time, and he doesn't want to be one for a derailleur, having fallen in love with his IGH years ago.

    Thanks again! Have fun on your Savannah. (Love the name!)

    Sierra
     
  11. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    How's it going, KDelong?

    You tend to get a little bit more technical in posting to me than the other guys do, I think. (I have no idea about 96.5 versus 24.3 gear inches, cogs with teeth, etc., LOL). But what's exciting is that I'm beginning to figure out what you're saying, most of the time! So either I'm getting smarter (which is doubtful /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif), or you're explaining it really well. I suspect it's the latter, so thanks.

    My upcoming tour next summer is supposed to be flat terrain, so hopefully hill-climbing won't be an issue with my new bike (because there are none here to train on, even if I wanted to go up them). But it's nice to know I'll have climbing power to do so if I get that bike. I'm not sure what to think about the issue with speed, because never having been on a tour, I don't know how fast they expect me to go! The ad says that it's self-paced and the group doesn't stay together necessarily -- which is a good thing, because my sister and I will probably be the caboose team; in fact, we're thinking of calling ourselves Team Lastalot, because we figure we will be, lol. But that's okay with us, because we're not in this to win any races or beat anybody up a hill; we just wanna have FUN together, and both look forward to doing just that.

    I loved your info on 36 spokes making the wheels strong. I found myself counting spokes on the bikes at REI, LOL! I also appreciated learning what butted aluminum tubing means -- another thing I had no idea about that now makes sense to me. My head is whirling with new information. I was so proud of myself at REI when I could talk about internal gear hubs and derailleurs without feeling like a complete and total idiot. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif

    Thanks again for your help. I will continue the search for my bike, and let y'all know what I find.

    Happy Pedaling!

    Sierra
     
  12. autisun

    autisun New Member

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    thanx for the output. intrnl gear hub best for overall comfrt, smplcty, maintnce. gd ridin.
     
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