Saracen any good?



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D

Dennis

Guest
Picking a bike seems to be a minefield. I'm just looking for a general bike for towpaths and
commuting etc.

My LBS suggests a Giant GSR Comfort AluxX FS for £200 (+rack & mudguards)

Or, i've seen a - team saracen hyroad for £235 at http://www.saracen.co.uk/hyroad.html what do you
guys think? TIA Den
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
Dennis wrote:
> Picking a bike seems to be a minefield. I'm just looking for a general bike for towpaths and
> commuting etc.
>=20
> My LBS suggests a Giant GSR Comfort AluxX FS for =A3200 (+rack & mudguards)

For a "general bike for towpaths and commuting etc." I'd personally say=20 forget front suspension
at this price level. IMHO the money would be=20 better spent on better quality elsewhere.
Suspension's nice for serious =

off-road (*big* bumps and/or big velocities on rough) or if you're=20 throwing lots of money at the
thing, but a rigid bike will be perfectly=20 capable of doing what you want, and you'll probably
save weight (and=20 thus effort) and get a better frame and/or components that will last=20 longer
and work better (less effort again).

Something like a Ridgeback Speed (plus rack and 'guards) is what I'd get =

for a new bike at =A3200.

Pete. --=20 Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics,
Ninewells Hospital Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
R

Richard Bates

Guest
On Thu, 10 Apr 2003 21:42:12 GMT, "Dennis" <[email protected]> in
<[email protected]> wrote:

>Or, i've seen a - team saracen hyroad for £235 at http://www.saracen.co.uk/hyroad.html what do you
>guys think?

Ugh. Yuck. Bleargh. Views from 1997, when I worked in a "bike shop". I sent back approx 1 in 4 bikes
to Saracen due to them having fundamental faults such as missing bolts, and awfully untrue wheels.
Their customer service was appalling, taking several weeks to send out missing parts. Eventually I
resorted to simply sending unsatisfactory machines back to them.

They may have improved since, but I wouldn't touch them with a 10ft anything.

Love and hugs from Rich x

--
Two fish suddenly swim into a brick wall. Damn! To reply put only the word "richard" before
the @ sign
 
S

Smudger

Guest
"Peter Clinch" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
Dennis wrote:
> Picking a bike seems to be a minefield. I'm just looking for a general bike for towpaths and
> commuting etc.
>
> My LBS suggests a Giant GSR Comfort AluxX FS for £200 (+rack & mudguards)

For a "general bike for towpaths and commuting etc." I'd personally say forget front suspension at
this price level. IMHO the money would be better spent on better quality elsewhere. Suspension's
nice for serious off-road (*big* bumps and/or big velocities on rough) or if you're throwing lots of
money at the thing, but a rigid bike will be perfectly capable of doing what you want, and you'll
probably save weight (and thus effort) and get a better frame and/or components that will last
longer and work better (less effort again).

Something like a Ridgeback Speed (plus rack and 'guards) is what I'd get for a new bike at £200.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/

Steer clear of Saracen. I suggest a Ridgeback too but if you can find an extra £49 then the
Ridgeback Switch Cyclone is a total bargain. It looks the business too. You get good quality
equipment but most importantly you can upgrade when you want to. See Cycling Plus 141 for a review.
 
A

Andy

Guest
"Peter Clinch" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
Dennis wrote:
> Picking a bike seems to be a minefield. I'm just looking for a general bike for towpaths and
> commuting etc.
>
> My LBS suggests a Giant GSR Comfort AluxX FS for £200 (+rack & mudguards)

For a "general bike for towpaths and commuting etc." I'd personally say forget front suspension at
this price level. IMHO the money would be better spent on better quality elsewhere. Suspension's
nice for serious off-road (*big* bumps and/or big velocities on rough) or if you're throwing lots of
money at the thing, but a rigid bike will be perfectly capable of doing what you want, and you'll
probably save weight (and thus effort) and get a better frame and/or components that will last
longer and work better (less effort again).

Something like a Ridgeback Speed (plus rack and 'guards) is what I'd get for a new bike at £200.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/

For £249 I'm very happy with my recently bought Specialized Hardrock rigid Cr-Mo (now that I've put
flat bars & bar ends on it). As far as smoothing out bumps goes it's a lot better than my 10 yr old
MTB offroad. I'm not sure if this is more due to a better frame or slightly fatter tyres. It's also
faster on the road despite the knobblier fatter tyres. Great all round cheap bike.

Andy
 
J

James G

Guest
"Dennis" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Picking a bike seems to be a minefield. I'm just looking for a general bike for towpaths and
> commuting etc.
>
> My LBS suggests a Giant GSR Comfort AluxX FS for £200 (+rack & mudguards)
>
> Or, i've seen a - team saracen hyroad for £235 at http://www.saracen.co.uk/hyroad.html what do you
> guys think? TIA Den

Saracen bikes are junk. I worked on the Saracen assembly line for a short while last summer when I
was temping. Quantity over quality was the key. The line manager got a bonus if he could push a
certain number of bikes through per day. If a thread got crossed for example, it was common to ram
the screw in with an air gun, even though that meant it couldnt be unscrewed again. Bikes would
occasionaly be dropped from quite a height as the dolleys they were on were ****, they were touched
up with paint if required and put back on the line. The guy working next to me even lost his finger
while spinning a wheel to adjust the gears, we had to carry on working while someone was found to
drive him to hospital... it was shortly after that I walked out.
 
T

The Technical M

Guest
james g wrote:

> "Dennis" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > Picking a bike seems to be a minefield. I'm just looking for a general bike for towpaths and
> > commuting etc.
> >
> > My LBS suggests a Giant GSR Comfort AluxX FS for £200 (+rack & mudguards)
> >
> > Or, i've seen a - team saracen hyroad for £235 at http://www.saracen.co.uk/hyroad.html what do
> > you guys think? TIA Den
>
> Saracen bikes are junk. I worked on the Saracen assembly line for a short while last summer when I
> was temping. Quantity over quality was the key. The line manager got a bonus if he could push a
> certain number of bikes through per day. If a thread got crossed for example, it was common to ram
> the screw in with an air gun, even though that meant it couldnt be unscrewed again. Bikes would
> occasionaly be dropped from quite a height as the dolleys they were on were ****, they were
> touched up with paint if required and put back on the line. The guy working next to me even lost
> his finger while spinning a wheel to adjust the gears, we had to carry on working while someone
> was found to drive him to hospital... it was shortly after that I walked out.

So where is the factory based ? Why do they take so little interest in quality assurance ? Would it
be a good idea to report the factory conditions and attitude of the quality assurance team to a
cycling or industrial magazine ?
 
J

James G

Guest
"The Technical Manager" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> james g wrote:
>
> > "Dennis" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> > news:[email protected]...
> > > Picking a bike seems to be a minefield. I'm just looking for a general bike for towpaths and
> > > commuting etc.
> > >
> > > My LBS suggests a Giant GSR Comfort AluxX FS for £200 (+rack & mudguards)
> > >
> > > Or, i've seen a - team saracen hyroad for £235 at http://www.saracen.co.uk/hyroad.html what do
> > > you guys think? TIA Den
> >
> > Saracen bikes are junk. I worked on the Saracen assembly line for a
short
> > while last summer when I was temping. Quantity over quality was the key.
The
> > line manager got a bonus if he could push a certain number of bikes
through
> > per day. If a thread got crossed for example, it was common to ram the
screw
> > in with an air gun, even though that meant it couldnt be unscrewed
again.
> > Bikes would occasionaly be dropped from quite a height as the dolleys
they
> > were on were ****, they were touched up with paint if required and put
back
> > on the line. The guy working next to me even lost his finger while
spinning
> > a wheel to adjust the gears, we had to carry on working while someone
was
> > found to drive him to hospital... it was shortly after that I walked
out.
>
> So where is the factory based ? Why do they take so little interest in
quality
> assurance ? Would it be a good idea to report the factory conditions and attitude of the quality
> assurance team to a cycling or industrial magazine
?
>

The factory is in Leamington Spa. If someone suggested a suitable magazine (ie one that doesnt rely
on lots of Saracen sponsorship) I would be happy to write them a letter.
 
R

Rg

Guest
"james g" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
>
> "The Technical Manager" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> > james g wrote:
> >
> > > "Dennis" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> > > news:[email protected]...
> > > > Picking a bike seems to be a minefield. I'm just looking for a general bike for towpaths and
> > > > commuting etc.
> > > >
> > > > My LBS suggests a Giant GSR Comfort AluxX FS for £200 (+rack & mudguards)
> > > >
> > > > Or, i've seen a - team saracen hyroad for £235 at http://www.saracen.co.uk/hyroad.html what
> > > > do you guys think? TIA Den
> > >
> > > Saracen bikes are junk. I worked on the Saracen assembly line for a
> short
> > > while last summer when I was temping. Quantity over quality was the
key.
> The
> > > line manager got a bonus if he could push a certain number of bikes
> through
> > > per day. If a thread got crossed for example, it was common to ram the
> screw
> > > in with an air gun, even though that meant it couldnt be unscrewed
> again.
> > > Bikes would occasionaly be dropped from quite a height as the dolleys
> they
> > > were on were ****, they were touched up with paint if required and put
> back
> > > on the line. The guy working next to me even lost his finger while
> spinning
> > > a wheel to adjust the gears, we had to carry on working while someone
> was
> > > found to drive him to hospital... it was shortly after that I walked
> out.
> >
> > So where is the factory based ? Why do they take so little interest in
> quality
> > assurance ? Would it be a good idea to report the factory conditions and attitude of the quality
> > assurance team to a cycling or industrial
magazine
> ?
> >
>
> The factory is in Leamington Spa. If someone suggested a suitable magazine (ie one that doesnt
> rely on lots of Saracen sponsorship) I would be happy
to
> write them a letter.
>
>

I'm not 100% certain but I believe that the "factory" in Leamington Spa no longer does any assembly
work - bikes are now brought in fully assembled from China/Taiwan or wherever fully badged and ready
to go to shops (mainly Halfords????) - in the past I think that the frames were brought in ready
assembled and the components simply hung on to them. My info comes from a local (to Leamington)
frame builder/LBS who seems to have his finger on the pulse.

If I am wrong, then so be it - but it would appear that the guy who worked there has some sort of
axe to grind .........

Finally, I am no fan of Saracen and would not contemplate buying one BUT I do have (amongst my
collection of about 10 bikes) 2 Saracen machines (a HyLander Hybrid and a Rufftrax cheapie MTB) that
I acquired from my brother when he "upgraded" to 2 folders for his caravan excursions - and for what
they are they do the job - cheap and functional! [I lend them to friends while I ride my
Specialized]

RG
 
A

Albert Fish

Guest
"Andy" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

> For £249 I'm very happy with my recently bought Specialized Hardrock rigid Cr-Mo

sheesh, skanked !

that's one of the heaviest bikes I've ever picked up, heavier than a raleigh noname.

I paid £225cash for a £450 "rrp" bike, all ali, weighs just 28lb

as far as "there's no point in suspension forks at this pirce point" poppycock. 2" is better than
nothing and the only reason (in my mind) to have rigid forks is if you want to do trials stuff as
endos and the like are tricky with front suspension :)

get out into those cycle shops, there's bargains to be had, except saracen.

Albert
 
T

The Technical M

Guest
james g wrote:

> "The Technical Manager" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> > james g wrote:
> >
> > > "Dennis" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> > > news:[email protected]...
> > > > Picking a bike seems to be a minefield. I'm just looking for a general bike for towpaths and
> > > > commuting etc.
> > > >
> > > > My LBS suggests a Giant GSR Comfort AluxX FS for £200 (+rack & mudguards)
> > > >
> > > > Or, i've seen a - team saracen hyroad for £235 at http://www.saracen.co.uk/hyroad.html what
> > > > do you guys think? TIA Den
> > >
> > > Saracen bikes are junk. I worked on the Saracen assembly line for a
> short
> > > while last summer when I was temping. Quantity over quality was the key.
> The
> > > line manager got a bonus if he could push a certain number of bikes
> through
> > > per day. If a thread got crossed for example, it was common to ram the
> screw
> > > in with an air gun, even though that meant it couldnt be unscrewed
> again.
> > > Bikes would occasionaly be dropped from quite a height as the dolleys
> they
> > > were on were ****, they were touched up with paint if required and put
> back
> > > on the line. The guy working next to me even lost his finger while
> spinning
> > > a wheel to adjust the gears, we had to carry on working while someone
> was
> > > found to drive him to hospital... it was shortly after that I walked
> out.
> >
> > So where is the factory based ? Why do they take so little interest in
> quality
> > assurance ? Would it be a good idea to report the factory conditions and attitude of the quality
> > assurance team to a cycling or industrial magazine
> ?
> >
>
> The factory is in Leamington Spa. If someone suggested a suitable magazine (ie one that doesnt
> rely on lots of Saracen sponsorship) I would be happy to write them a letter.

It would be better if you informed them that you worked at the factory during a certain time. Ensure
that the letter is published anonymously.
 
J

James G

Guest
"RG" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
>
> "james g" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> >
> > "The Technical Manager" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> > > james g wrote:
> > >
> > > > "Dennis" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> > > > news:[email protected]...
> > > > > Picking a bike seems to be a minefield. I'm just looking for a general bike for towpaths
> > > > > and commuting
etc.
> > > > >
> > > > > My LBS suggests a Giant GSR Comfort AluxX FS for £200 (+rack & mudguards)
> > > > >
> > > > > Or, i've seen a - team saracen hyroad for £235 at http://www.saracen.co.uk/hyroad.html
> > > > > what do you guys think? TIA Den
> > > >
> > > > Saracen bikes are junk. I worked on the Saracen assembly line for a
> > short
> > > > while last summer when I was temping. Quantity over quality was the
> key.
> > The
> > > > line manager got a bonus if he could push a certain number of bikes
> > through
> > > > per day. If a thread got crossed for example, it was common to ram
the
> > screw
> > > > in with an air gun, even though that meant it couldnt be unscrewed
> > again.
> > > > Bikes would occasionaly be dropped from quite a height as the
dolleys
> > they
> > > > were on were ****, they were touched up with paint if required and
put
> > back
> > > > on the line. The guy working next to me even lost his finger while
> > spinning
> > > > a wheel to adjust the gears, we had to carry on working while
someone
> > was
> > > > found to drive him to hospital... it was shortly after that I walked
> > out.
> > >
> > > So where is the factory based ? Why do they take so little interest in
> > quality
> > > assurance ? Would it be a good idea to report the factory conditions
and
> > > attitude of the quality assurance team to a cycling or industrial
> magazine
> > ?
> > >
> >
> > The factory is in Leamington Spa. If someone suggested a suitable
magazine
> > (ie one that doesnt rely on lots of Saracen sponsorship) I would be
happy
> to
> > write them a letter.
> >
> >
>
> I'm not 100% certain but I believe that the "factory" in Leamington Spa no longer does any
> assembly work - bikes are now brought in fully assembled from China/Taiwan or wherever fully
> badged and ready to go to shops
(mainly
> Halfords????) - in the past I think that the frames were brought in ready assembled and the
> components simply hung on to them. My info comes from a local (to Leamington) frame builder/LBS
> who seems to have his finger on
the
> pulse.
>
> If I am wrong, then so be it - but it would appear that the guy who worked there has some sort of
> axe to grind .........
>
not at all, just because I worked there doesn't mean I can't tell people that the bikes are ****.
TBH I couldn't care less, and wouldnt have made the appearance of grinding if no one had asked
the question.

When I was there they bought in the sprayed frames from Taiwan and fitted the forks, brackets etc..
If anyone is that interested in finding out the details of what they do the assembly plant is at
Saracen House, Heathcote Industrial Estate, Warwick CV34 6TS 01926 338427

It wouldn't surprise me if they got strategically pruned from the supply chain though, the
management was obviously on a drive to make 'efficiency' savings, and there wasnt much room left for
further savings to be had..AFAIK the transfer of assembly to Taiwan will probably yield increase in
quality, as far less has to be spent on wages.
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
albert fish wrote:

> as far as "there's no point in suspension forks at this pirce point" p=
oppycock.
> 2" is better than nothing and the only reason (in my mind) to have rigi=
d forks
> is if you want to do trials stuff as endos and the like are tricky with=
front suspension :)

Or, if you bothered reading the OP's original question, if you don't=20 want be offroad to any
greater extent than a towpath, which is the=20 context in which the assertion was made.

2" of travel where there's no need will just add weight and reduce=20 climbing efficiency from
pogoing. The point of suspension should be to=20 make your life *easier*, and for roads and towpaths
on a =A3200 bike=20
(i.e., one with a low-end commodity MTB fork rather than anything=20 specifically designed for
tarmac use like Moulton's leading link=20 designs) it's very unlikely to do that. Or, put
another way, 2" is=20 actually *worse* than nothing, especially as the money could go on=20
something that will make a bigger efficiency and/or comfort difference=20 like a better saddle
or better gears.

Pete. --=20 Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics,
Ninewells Hospital Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
A

Albert Fish

Guest
"Peter Clinch" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
albert fish wrote:

> as far as "there's no point in suspension forks at this pirce point" poppycock. 2" is better than
> nothing and the only reason (in my mind) to have rigid forks is if you want to do trials stuff as
> endos and the like are tricky with front suspension :)

> Or, if you bothered reading the OP's original question, if you don't want be offroad to any
> greater extent than a towpath,

and commuting. please be accurate, Pete.

commuting = potholes, kerbs, drain holes etc.

> 2" of travel where there's no need

no need ? exqueeze me, we'll just un invent 'happy shopper' suspension because pete says there's no
'need' ...... market forces and all that.....

> will just add weight and reduce climbing efficiency from pogoing.

it's a commuter, for going over bumps and putting up with the daily battering uk roads tend to give,
not some esoteric time trials machine. the 'extra' weight is free, negligable and built in at this
price point.

> The point of suspension should be to make your life *easier*,

the point of suspension is not to make life easier, what a silly suggestion, it's to stop harsh
shocks running up your arms / wrists, a job that even cheapo suspension magages to do quite well.

> and for roads and towpaths on a £200 bike (i.e., one with a low-end commodity MTB fork rather than
> anything specifically designed for tarmac use like Moulton's leading link designs) it's very
> unlikely to do that.

the OP was after info on saracen bikes for £200, I advised that if the OP get's on their proverbial
they will find £400+ bikes avail for £200 in various sales. it's at this point your argument falls
flat on it's face because at £400+ front forks actually become quite plush (compared to a novice on
a rigid fork design)

> Or, put another way, 2" is actually *worse* than nothing, especially as the money could go on
> something that will make a bigger efficiency and/or comfort difference like a better saddle or
> better gears.

but on a £400+ bike the groupset / chainset will be more than adequate for a novice.

agin, you need to remind yourself that this is not a do all be all bike, it's a hack and my advice
is to get the cash out and get haggling for something with front suspension. the OP will get a
decent £450 bike for around £200 - £250 (which is what the OP wanted to spend in the first place so
no probs there)

your advice seems to be stick with the price point and forget about and fancy gubbins, you don't
need it as it wouldn't do you any good. which is poppycock.

Albert
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
albert fish wrote:

> commuting =3D potholes, kerbs, drain holes etc.

Going up kerbs, if you approach them slowly you can hop the front wheel=20 up and it will make no
practical difference whether or not you have=20 suspension. If you approach them fast and don't hop
FS will help, but=20 not as much as growing a brain and doing it at a more sensible pace. Going down
kerbs, as long as you know how to momentarily take your=20 weight off the bars there won't be much
shock. Same with potholes,=20 though in practice when I commuted by bike on my rigid upright tourer
I=20 preferred to bunny-hop them.

The thing is, these are all occasional obstacles and you can see them=20 all coming in advance and
be sure of being on the smooth either side of=20 them. Suspension is designed to improve matters in
continual operation, =

not occasional blips, and though it does work on occasional blips so=20 does a bit of active rider
input like hopping the front wheel or=20 stopping leaning on the bars for a second.

> no need ? exqueeze me, we'll just un invent 'happy shopper' suspension =
because
> pete says there's no 'need' ...... market forces and all that.....

Just because the market sells things doesn't mean they're any use. The=20 cycle market has sold lots
of people gaspipe clunker "MTB"s with knobbly =

off-road tyres to people who never go offroad. That's a good thing, is i= t?

> it's a commuter, for going over bumps and putting up with the daily bat=
tering
> uk roads tend to give, not some esoteric time trials machine.

Ah, so the entire range of Dawes touring bikes, made to go hundreds of=20 miles in reliable comfort
over all sorts of roads and tracks, are=20 "esoteric time trials machines" because nobody saw fit to
give them=20 front suspension forks? Even odder is I see quite a few of them used as =

commuters, despite being far more expensive than FS equipped bikes are=20 available for.

> the 'extra' weight is free, negligable and built in at this price point.

No and No. A basic telescopic FS fork will cost more than a basic=20 Cro-Mo or Al fork and weigh
more as well.

> the point of suspension is not to make life easier, what a silly sugges=
tion, it's to
> stop harsh shocks running up your arms / wrists, a job that even cheapo=
suspension
> magages to do quite well.

But that it has no *need* to do well if you can ride a bike to a=20 reasonable standard. If you come
across a large pothole you can go=20 round it or hop the front wheel over it.

> the OP was after info on saracen bikes for =A3200, I advised that if th=
e OP get's on their
> proverbial they will find =A3400+ bikes avail for =A3200 in various sal=
es. it's at this point your
> argument falls flat on it's face because at =A3400+ front forks actuall=
y become quite plush
> (compared to a novice on a rigid fork design)

The argument doesn't fall flat on its face, because MTB suspension is=20 designed for MTB riding,
not roads. It'll still weigh more, pogo more=20 when climbing (which is why more expensive MTB
suspension can be locked=20 out on the fly, of course) and still not really be of that much
benefit. =

Oh, and it'll need more maintenance input and make the bike more=20 desirable for thieves at the
same time. Great! Touring bikes, which aren't all about weight saving to any real degree,=20 are
*very* rarely sold with FS forks despite being expensive machines=20 (they *start* at =A3450)
designed for the road conditions you say make 2"=
=20
of travel a Big Win. The same bikes are notoriously unencumbered by=20 fashion requirements, and
just specced to do the job as well as=20 possible. They have rigid forks for the most part. MTB and
road suspensions are not designed the same way on serious bikes: =

why do you think a NS Moulton doesn't use a typical MTB fork?

> your advice seems to be stick with the price point and forget about and=
fancy gubbins, you
> don't need it as it wouldn't do you any good. which is poppycock.

You seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that MTBs are the=20 only bikes that are ever
sold at reduced prices for being in last year's =

colours etc. Not the case at all.

You also seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that all other=20 things being equal FS is a
clear win, but it's heavier, requires more=20 maintenance, makes the bike more knickable, reduces
front luggage=20 options and takes climbing energy from the drivetrain. None of which=20 are
actively good. A telescopic fork on a bike like this is a tradeoff=20 of some things against others,
not a clear win (or Super Galaxies and=20 the like would have them). For MTB riding the plusses
generally=20 outweigh the minuses, but not for road riding.

And btw, I'm not just kneejerking against suspension on road bikes. If=20 I was, my main road bike
wouldn't have full suspension, which it does.=20 But it was designed specifically and carefully for
road riding, not the=20 assumption that sticking any suspension on *must* make things better.

Pete. --=20 Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics,
Ninewells Hospital Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
T

Tony W

Guest
"albert fish" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...

snipped lots of stuff of dubious value.

> your advice seems to be stick with the price point and forget about and
fancy gubbins, you
> don't need it as it wouldn't do you any good. which is poppycock.

For streets, paths and reasonable quality bridle paths I much prefer a machine with rigid forks. OK,
bouncy forks soften some blows but the disadvantages far outweigh the benefits (I particularly hate
the dip of the forks as you start off).

IMO bouncy forks come into there own only once the stuff gets rough enough -- with tehm you can go
fast enough to maintain steering while on rigid you would probably need to stop & walk).

Peter's advice to the OP was perfectly reasonable (certainly not poopycock).

You demonstrate that one size does not fit all. However, I do doubt that your defence of bouncy
bikes for the purpose described by the OP is particularly valid.

T
 
A

Albert Fish

Guest
"Peter Clinch" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
albert fish wrote:

> commuting = potholes, kerbs, drain holes etc.

> Going up kerbs, if you approach them slowly you can hop the front wheel up and it will make no
> practical difference whether or not you have suspension.

untrue. non suspension bikes are far easier to bunny hop. I can get my front susser about 2' off the
ground from standstill... when I do the same on a rigid I gain an extra few inches. but I digress,
the OP is asking about saracens, Pete, so they are hardly likely to be hopping.

> If you approach them fast and don't hop FS will help,

if you approach a 4" kerb at speed having 6" of travel isn't going to save you from taco'ing your
front wheel.

> not as much as growing a brain and doing it at a more sensible pace.

tell me, Pete, as a denizen of the dept of medical physics, how does one 'grow' a brain ? or was
that just a petulant monday morning off the cuff remark ?

> Going down kerbs, as long as you know how to momentarily take your weight off the bars there won't
> be much shock.

yeah, right. and it's possible to do that every time ?

some research: bump down a kerb on a rigid fork bike, full weight on the bars. then do the same on a
bike with 2" travel in the forks, both time with a rucksac/ bag on your back at the end of a day in
heavy traffic. see the difference ? feel it when you get home ? no? repeat experiment until it sinks
in or your wrists snap..

> The thing is, these are all occasional obstacles and you can see them all coming in advance and be
> sure of being on the smooth either side of them. Suspension is designed to improve matters in
> continual operation, not occasional blips,

eh ? it's designed to do both. it's overall design is based around increased comfort and better
handling, even the cheapo elastomer suspension tracks better over pebble strewn bepotholed road
margins than fat tyre rigids, especially if you put a bit of weight on the bars to make the
suspension work.

> and though it does work on occasional blips so does a bit of active rider input like
hopping the front wheel or stopping leaning on the bars for a second.

which any rider would do anyway.

> no need ? exqueeze me, we'll just un invent 'happy shopper' suspension because pete says there's
> no 'need' ...... market forces and all that.....

Just because the market sells things doesn't mean they're any use. The cycle market has sold lots of
people gaspipe clunker "MTB"s with knobbly off-road tyres to people who never go offroad. That's a
good thing, is it?

yes indeed; the bikes are so **** the trails are free of the people that buy such iron ;-)

>> it's a commuter, for going over bumps and putting up with the daily battering uk roads tend to
>> give, not some esoteric time trials machine.

> Ah, so the entire range of Dawes touring bikes, made to go hundreds of miles in reliable comfort
> over all sorts of roads and tracks, are "esoteric time trials machines" because nobody saw fit to
> give them front suspension forks? Even odder is I see quite a few of them used as commuters,
> despite being far more expensive than FS equipped bikes are available for.

lets just bring this thread back to reality, shall we ? the OP was asking if saracen bikes were
any good, they're not (but someone somewhere will have evidence to disprove that, I'm sure)
*your* suggestion : " I'd personally say forget front suspension at this price level is flawed
for 2 reasons:

1/ the pricepoint of £200 is just a rrp/ssp and many decent £400+ bikes have been seen in the wild
for up to 50% off, evans cycles just had a massive sale for expmple. check out their ad in this
months MTBR.

2/ for the £200 the OP has to spend you would have to be a blind man on a galloping horse not to
notice that such sales would be tha place to buy a bike.

so, I reiterate:

>> the OP was after info on saracen bikes for £200, I advised that if the OP get's on their
>> proverbial they will find £400+ bikes avail for £200 in various sales. it's at this point your
>> argument falls flat on it's face because at £400+ front forks actually become quite plush
>> (compared to a novice on a rigid fork design)

> The argument doesn't fall flat on its face, because MTB suspension is designed for MTB riding,
> not roads.

/cough/ it's desigened for bumps, they don't *have* to be up a mountain....

> It'll still weigh more,

Granted. but the difference will be the difference between a rucksack containing 4 sarnies and a
flask of tea versus four sarnies and a packet of biscuits. bugger all in real terms and only
pertinent when attempting a win on points.

> pogo more when climbing

and the OP is going to be doing how many uphill sprints ? sure, my forks dip when I get a wiggel on
up a hill, I burn more calories and get some upper body excercise at the same time. I can weigh that
off against the lack of jarring over the gazillions of lumps & bumps

> Oh, and it'll need more maintenance input

and someone buying at the saracen end of the market would view this how ?

<snip blah>

> MTB and road suspensions are not designed the same way on serious bikes:

no ****...

> why do you think a NS Moulton doesn't use a typical MTB fork?

geometry akin to the early 70's choppers ? (motorcycle) rake, etc ?

> You seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that MTBs are the only bikes that are ever sold
> at reduced prices for being in last year's colours etc. Not the case at all.

no, you just assume that I'm labouring, I'm not. and it's not just MTBs that are sold off cheap,
apparently it's done with every stock item that's suffering oversupply, especially in cramped cycle
shops with low margins and low turnover.

> You also seem to be labouring under the misapprehension

again, I'm not labouring (you seem to like that phrase) I'm currently multitasking quite nicely and
not labouring in any department.

> that all other things being equal FS is a clear win,

all things being equal, it is. I see many people on city roads with front suspension bikes of all
shapes and sizes but, oddly enough, I never see rigid fork bikes out on the trail. so it would be
fair to say if you wanted to experience the full range of terrain in your locale ( and, lets face
it, who buys any kind of MTB without having that dream lodged firmly in their heads) you'd be better
off getting *some* kind of suspension bike, if only to avoid having to buy another bike when the bug
bites (as it surely would) neatly avoiding the need to buy a more suitable, better equiped bike.

> but it's heavier, requires more maintenance, makes the bike more knickable, reduces front luggage
> options and takes climbing energy from the drivetrain.

are not good enough reasons *not* to buy into front suspension.

maintenance? forget about it at this price point, you'll get three years out of it no probs, by
which time some nice pace / manitou will be found at the back of your LBS for a few quid.

nickable ? roll back the application of good design and looks 'cos it *may* make it more nickable ?
I don't think so, it's not the way things are, either.

luggae options ? you're getting desperate now, it's a hack / commuter !

energy from the drivetrain ? it's hack/commuter bike. the losses will be negligable 5% ? and the OP
would not notice, given that they will probably be too concerned at the pain in their
wrists/lungs/legs for the first few months...

for the £235 the OP is thinking of spending on a saracen I managed to get a much better bike, in
fact, I got 2 (almost £900's worth rrp) of bikes for £450 cash a saving of 50% and this was not in a
sale, per se, I just know when to strike :)

I also refused to cement the deal until I got a free pump. lock and trouser clips, etc.

Cash talks. I *know* the shop didn't declare the cash to the revenue because the I was told the
"till was out of action" and I was given a stamped, handwritten receipt.

fairy snuff:

the LBS cleared some space, I got a great deal. A win win situation that I have managed to hustle
three other people through (different shops, different towns) with similar results

it's empirical evedence, bargains are out there and it's enough to convince me to at least try, and
there's no reason to think the OP will be any less sucessful, especially if they scout out a, say,
£400 bike at the back of the shop, covered in a thick layer of dust and start the haggle at 4:30 pm
on a friday (sunnier the better)

at the end of the day, you pays yer money and makes yer choice and my choice would be to haggle like
a demon for the best most feature laden cycle I could get for my money (disregarding geegaws and
fashion items, of course) because the OP *will* want to get off road at some point and a rigid fork
bike, over treestumps and 2" pebbles, is no fun beyond the age of 12

your assertation that I think 'one is better than the other' misses what I consider to be the
essential point to this thread: the OP now has your opinion and mine.


Albert
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
albert fish wrote:

> untrue. non suspension bikes are far easier to bunny hop. I can get my =
front susser about
> 2' off the ground from standstill... when I do the same on a rigid I ga=
in an extra few inches.
> but I digress, the OP is asking about saracens, Pete, so they are hard=
ly likely to be hopping.

Why on earth not? I hop my upright tourer, my Brompton and my MTB. Any =

upright bike is reasonably easy to hop, at least the front wheel.

And the OP was actually asking about "a general bike for towpaths and=20 commuting etc.", and the
post certainly isn't restricted in scope to=20 Saracen bikes (like, how about the Giant specifically
mentioned...).

> tell me, Pete, as a denizen of the dept of medical physics, how does on=
e 'grow' a brain ?
> or was that just a petulant monday morning off the cuff remark ?

I actually meant if you actually bother to think you can avoid problems=20 crossing kerbs. (Though I
can see why you'd be interested in the more=20 literal answer.)

> yeah, right. and it's possible to do that every time ?

Errr, yes. Why not? I've never experienced a problem in 25+ years of=20 doing it regularly
day to day.

> some research: bump down a kerb on a rigid fork bike, full weight on th=
e bars.

I won't do that research because I don't put my full weight on the bars=20 going over kerbs because
it's stupid.

> then do the same on a bike with 2" travel in the forks, both time with =
a rucksac/
> bag on your back at the end of a day in heavy traffic. see the differen=
ce ? feel it
> when you get home ? no? repeat experiment until it sinks in or your wri=
sts snap..

or until you learn not to lean on things taking impacts when you have no =

need to do so. btw, "heavy traffic" doesn't go over kerbs, so you=20 wouldn't be in it. If you get
into heavy traffic streams over pavement=20 kerbs then you're simply demonstrating a further lack of
intelligence=20 than you'd managed up until now.

> hopping the front wheel or stopping leaning on the bars for a second.

either

> which any rider would do anyway.

Not according to the implications of your "research experiment" they don'=
t.

> yes indeed; the bikes are so **** the trails are free of the people th=
at buy such iron ;-)

So you are at least bright enough to agree that just because the market=20 has been able to sell
things to people it doesn't mean it's a good thing.=

> lets just bring this thread back to reality, shall we ? the OP was aski=
ng if saracen
> bikes were any good, they're not (but someone somewhere will have evide=
nce to
> disprove that, I'm sure) *your* suggestion : " I'd personally say forge=
t front suspension
> at this price level is flawed for 2 reasons:

To quote the OP: "Picking a bike seems to be a minefield. I'm just looking for a general bike for
towpaths and commuting etc.

My LBS suggests a Giant GSR Comfort AluxX FS for =A3200 (+rack & mudguards)

Or, i've seen a - team saracen hyroad for =A3235 at http://www.saracen.co.uk/hyroad.html what do you
guys think?"

He's had a FS Giant suggested by the LBS, and asks about a specific=20 Saracen bike also with FS as
an alternative. This rather implies he's=20 looking actively at a FS bike as the thing to do what he
wants best. I=20 don't think it is, which is why I said so.

> 1/ the pricepoint of =A3200 is just a rrp/ssp and many decent =A3400+ b=
ikes have been
> seen in the wild for up to 50% off, evans cycles just had a massive sa=
le for expmple.
> check out their ad in this months MTBR.

You're still failing to realise that an MTB with FS is designed to do a=20 different job than is
being requested by the OP, so this is not=20 relevant. Pointing out that a rigid forked machine will
probably do his =

particular job better is relevant.

> 2/ for the =A3200 the OP has to spend you would have to be a blind man =
on a galloping
> horse not to notice that such sales would be tha place to buy a bike.

And as I pointed out, the sort of bike I suggested can also get into=20 sales. But it's also the
point that sales only allow you to get what's=20 in the sales, and if there's a better machine for
the job for the same=20 price new, because what's in the sales doesn't match up to the job in=20
hand, then you're better off there. For the job in hand FS makes very=20 little sense at all unless
it's designed for relatively good surfaces.=20 MTB forks aren't.

> /cough/ it's desigened for bumps, they don't *have* to be up a mountain=
=2E...

It's designed for large bumps in large quantities, so the design allows=20 for a great deal more
impact absorption than is required on the road.=20 This in turn makes them heavier and more wasteful
of energy, both of=20 which will very probably offset the comfort benefits of having them=20 there
considerably. Have a look at Moulton suspension and notice how=20 very different approaches have
been taken to take on the rather=20 different job in hand.

> Granted. but the difference will be the difference between a rucksack c=
ontaining 4 sarnies
> and a flask of tea versus four sarnies and a packet of biscuits. bugger=
all in real terms and
> only pertinent when attempting a win on points.

But why have any difference at all, when having it confers no real=20 advantage? That's just stupid,
especially where the money can go on=20 something more useful to the job in hand.

> and the OP is going to be doing how many uphill sprints ?

Quite possibly none, but if you think that you only lose power to=20 suspension if you're sprinting
then it just goes to show you're ignorant =

about it (why is that not a surprise?).

> sure, my forks dip when I get a wiggel on up a hill, I burn more calories and get some upper
> body exc=
ercise at the same
> time. I can weigh that off against the lack of jarring over the gazilli=
ons of lumps & bumps

Which are a figment of your imagination, judging from the way touring=20 cyclists ride a lot further
than you without suspension (and harder,=20 narrower tyres as well) and don't feel the need for it.

> and someone buying at the saracen end of the market would view this how=
?

As a result of this thread he probably *won't* be buying one, because=20 he's shown enough brains to
do some research. And if he carries on in=20 that vein he'll probably be smart enough to realise
that maintenance is=20 an important thing too.

> no ****...

that's right.

> geometry akin to the early 70's choppers ? (motorcycle) rake, etc ?

Errrr, no. The geometry of a NSM is nothing like a Chopper. What *are* =

you talking about?

> all things being equal, it is.

Except in all those places it isn't, which I even helpfully pointed out.

> I see many people on city roads with front suspension bikes of all shapes and sizes but, oddly
> enough, I never see rigid fork=
bikes out
> on the trail.=20

Then (a) you don't look very carefully and (b) that is in no way=20 relevant to the roads. Roads and
trails aren't the same, which is why=20 different designs have proven better at the different things
they offer.

> so it would be fair to say if you wanted to experience the full range of terrain in your locale (
> and, lets face it, who buys any kind of MTB=
without having
> that dream lodged firmly in their heads) you'd be better off getting *s=
ome* kind of
> suspension bike, if only to avoid having to buy another bike when the b=
ug bites (as
> it surely would) neatly avoiding the need to buy a more suitable, bette=
r equiped bike.

But the OP didn't say he wanted to do that. In fact he very=20 specifically said otherwise. So the
answer to your "if" is "no", so the =

rest of that paragraph disappears up its own ****.

> are not good enough reasons *not* to buy into front suspension.

They are, actually. Which is why very few high end upright road bikes=20 have it, and when they do
it's generally very different to what you find =

on an MTB.

> maintenance? forget about it at this price point

It is exceptionally stupid to think you can forget maintenance at *any*=20 price point.

> nickable ? roll back the application of good design and looks 'cos it *=
may* make
> it more nickable ? I don't think so, it's not the way things are, eithe=
u.

It isn't the application of good design though, it's the application of=20 "me too" engineering
where it's assumed that because something is good=20 in one context it must be good in another. And
it is the way things are.=

> luggae options ? you're getting desperate now, it's a hack / commuter !=

I'm not at all desperate. Some people carry things on commutes, and I=20 certainly carry shopping on
hacks. Not having to carry a rucksak=20 improves cycling comfort and reduces the need for a shower
and change at =

the other end as you won't have a sweaty back. Which is more useful=20 than FS on a road,
quite frankly.

> energy from the drivetrain ? it's hack/commuter bike.

So why arrive at the end of your commute having used more energy than=20 you need to? Doing so when
you have an easy option not to is simply stup=
ua.

> the losses will be negligable 5% ? and the OP would not notice, given that they will probably
> be too =
concerned
> at the pain in their wrists/lungs/legs for the first few months...

If the effect of riding a rigid bike was nearly as bad as you imply then =

nobody would have bothered much with bikes for most of the last 150=20 years. As I pointed out,
serious distance machines costing serious=20 money and with a priority applied to distance comfort
are sold with=20 rigid forks, and they wouldn't be if that was a genuine problem.

> for the =A3235 the OP is thinking of spending on a saracen I managed to=
get
> a much better bike, in fact, I got 2 (almost =A3900's worth rrp) of bik=
es for =A3450 cash
> a saving of 50% and this was not in a sale, per se, I just know when to=
strike :)

But if they're not fitted to the job in hand that's not actually value=20 for money.

> I also refused to cement the deal until I got a free pump. lock and tro=
user clips, etc.
>=20
> Cash talks. I *know* the shop didn't declare the cash to the revenue be=
cause the
> I was told the "till was out of action" and I was given a stamped, hand=
written receipt.

Good for you. There's nothing about that that is limited to a=20 suspension bike though.

> at the end of the day, you pays yer money and makes yer choice and my c=
hoice
> would be to haggle like a demon for the best most feature laden cycle I=
could get
> for my money (disregarding geegaws and fashion items, of course)=20

Rather ironic that you think FS isn't a geegaw and fashion item when=20 applied to road riding,
because for the most part (i.e., aside from=20 suspension setups designed specifically for road use)
that's just what=20 they are.

> *will* want to get off road at some point

How do you know? Or have you just made a blind assumption apropos of=20 nothing in particular?
Plenty of people have no particular desire to=20 get offroad on trails, and if you think otherwise
you're just=20 demonstrating you only know a somewhat unrepresentative cross section of =

cyclists.

Pete. --=20 Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics,
Ninewells Hospital Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
M

Michael Macclan

Guest
In message <[email protected]>, Dennis <[email protected]> writes
>Picking a bike seems to be a minefield. I'm just looking for a general bike for towpaths and
>commuting etc.
>
>My LBS suggests a Giant GSR Comfort AluxX FS for £200 (+rack & mudguards)
>
>Or, i've seen a - team saracen hyroad for £235 at http://www.saracen.co.uk/hyroad.html what do you
>guys think? TIA Den
>
>
>

Hello Den,

I would have no qualms about buying a Giant bike. My wife and I have owned Giant mountain bikes for
about 9 years and they have been extensively used on and off-road throughout Europe, including
mountain trails in the Alps. We have had no problems beyond normal wear and tear. They have fixed
forks which goes to show that these things do go along trails! I think the situation now is that
it's difficult to get a 'utility' bike without front suspension so the discussion about its pros and
cons is, perhaps, a bit theoretical.

We're so happy with our Giants that we've recently bought two Giant road bikes. Giant is the biggest
manufacturer in the world and appears to be able to apply economy of scale to its pricing. I think
you tend to get more bike for your money from Giant.

Personally I don't like the look of the two bikes you mentioned. For me they're too
'sit-up-and-beg'. I would buy more of a mountain bike from the Giant Terrago or Boulder ranges.
Apart from the styling I would feel happier using it in a variety of different situations. I think
the 'comfort' bikes look as if they're made for people who want to potter about town.

It may now be too late but I think the best advice anyone could give you is to look around for last
year's models. If you can find one that fits you should be able to get something pretty good for
£200-£250.

Hope this helps.

--
Michael MacClancy
 
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