Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Giant TransEnd

Men's and women's TransEnd from Giant. Courtesy: Giant bikes.

The Giant TransEnd has an MSRP somewhere between $450-550.  It may no longer be available in the U.S. 

Clare from New Zealand contacted us about the TransEnd.  She is a 5’5 woman in the market for a new "comfortable" bike for weekend rides and shopping trips. She writes: “I haven't ridden a bike for many years but am very much looking forward to doing this with my 10yr old son, and to build up my own strength and fitness - as well as have fun!”

The question is whether the TransEnd is the right bike for Clare.  I asked her to explain why she was considering the TransEnd, and she wrote:

What attracted me to this particular bike is a combination of factors. Firstly a little research via my local bike shop & online taught me that Giant, Trek, and Specialized were the recommended brands available in New Zealand. Secondly, my initial research had also taught me a bit about "women specific designs", and because I do have a history of spinal (back/neck) problems that I'm currently seeing an Osteopath for, I figured a WSD bike with upright seating would be a big bonus for me. And lastly I wanted a bike that would be a comfortable ride, with adequate gears for the hilly country area I live in though in saying that, it's also very important for my purposes to be able to carry shopping, towels for beach etc, and have fenders as we can get wet weather all year round. Of course I realize these can be added on later, but if these are already attached at purchase that's another tick.

Clare says her short list includes the Trek Allant, the Giant Suede, and the TransEnd, which she found to be "super comfortable."  Unfortunately, her local bike shop currently does not have her size.  She says she's open to recommendations.

Thank you, Clare, for contacting Bikes For The Rest Of Us.  Let's see if we and our readers can help.  First, and this is mandatory here at BFROU, let's take a look at the specifications for the women's TransEnd:

Frame: Sizes XS:14, S:16, M:18

Colors: Light Blue

Frame: ALUXX FluidFormed™ alloy, comfort 700c

Fork: Alloy ahead straight blade

Handlebar: Alloy low riser 610mm x 30mm rise

Stem: Alloy 25 degree

Seatpost: Alloy 27.2 micro-adjust

Saddle: Giant comfort w/gel women’s specific

Pedals: Flat Comfort

Shifters: Shimano Altus 24 sp. EZ FIRE+

Front Derailleur: Shimano M191 31.8

Rear Derailleur: Shimano Altus 8 sp.

Brakes: Alloy V-brakes

Brake Levers: Shimano V-brake

Cassette: Shimano HG30 8 sp. 11-34T

Chain: KMC 8 sp.

Crankset: Shimano M131 28x38x48T

Bottom: Bracket VP semi cartridge

Rims: Alloy double wall 700c x 32H w/reflective decal

Hubs: Fr: Alloy QR

Rr: Shimano RM30 8sp cassette

Spokes: 14G stainless steel

Tires Kenda 700 x 35c Reflective sidewalls

Extras: F+r Fenders, rear carrier/rack, Reflective decals

Here are some things I like about this bike: fenders, rear rack, and wide 35mm tires.  I find that V-brakes have powerful stopping capability, so I will count that as a plus as well.  I'm less excited by the flat bars and straight fork.

For Clare, I think this just might work.  She found it to be super comfortable, and it will allow her to ride in an upright position. It's important that she finds a bike that does not aggravate her neck/back injury, and maybe this is the one. I would recommend different handlebars (maybe north roads or albatross bars?) that work better in an upright posture and allow more than one hand position.  Tom did a post on riding upright that you can find here.

OK, readers.  What do you think?  Share with Clare in the comments.

Update: In the comments, Evan mentioned that this model looks similar to Giant's Escape City. He's right - they are very similar. You can find our post on the Escape City here. For a quick comparison, here is what the men's and women's 2012 Escape City models look like:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bike To Work Day

This Friday is Bike to Work Day, and after 16 years of bike commuting, I thought I would share a few thoughts on the subject:

#1   I love it. That's most important thing. Every workday, no matter what else is going on, I always have two bike rides to look forward to.  If you try it, you may love it, too.  That's the whole point of Bike to Work Day.

#2  Once you start biking to work, you may find that you no longer need a car.  Or you can go car lite, as my family has (1 car for a family of 4).  The savings are phenomenal.

#3  Weather is not a problem. In fact, weather keeps things interesting.  The adage is correct: There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.

#4  Invest in a good commuter bike.  It should be functional and fun to ride - it should be a bike you want to jump on every morning. A good place to check out transportation bikes is right here at Bikes For The Rest Of Us.

#5  Your fellow cyclists are your friends.  If you're having trouble with your bike (most commonly a flat tire), you will be amazed at how many bicyclists will stop and offer to help.  When passing a fellow cyclist, say hello. At the very least, give them an audible warning so they know you're there.

#6  Safety is the number one issue preventing people from choosing their bikes over their cars or public transit.  Over the course of the last 16 years, and especially in the last 5 years, I believe Washington, DC has become a much safer environment for cyclists. There seem to be a lot more of us, thanks to better facilities and bikeshare, and there is safety in numbers.

You can leave your advice for newbie bike commuters in the comments. And newbie bike commuters, after reading all this unsolicited advice, you may want to check out Bikeyface for a little humor.

Happy Bike To Work Day! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fuji Porteur

2012 Fuji Porteur in dark gold. Courtesy: Fuji.
Fuji is offering its new Porteur bike at an MSRP of $559.  The price is right, and so is the bike, with its fenders, chainguard, high stem with riser bars, and comfy upright ride.  But what about that front rack?

Porteurs were French newspaper deliverers, and the newspapers were stacked up high on a front rack right in front of their handlebars.  A bike needs a certain design to accomplish this - primarily a front fork that is strong enough (Fuji is using hi-tensile steel) to handle the load.  The fork also must have enough bend or "rake" to distribute the weight out over the front wheel.  Fuji's Porteur appears to have plenty of rake.  Still, if you have the opportunity to test ride it, bring along something heavy (phone books?) to see how the front weight affects your steering. 

I do have one not-so-small criticism of this bike.  It doesn't have a front brake.


SIZES XS/S (48cm), S (52cm), M/L (56cm)

COLOR(S) Dark Gold/Yellow

MAIN FRAME Elios 2 custom-butted CrMo w/ fork stablizer eyelets

REAR TRIANGLE Elios 2 custom-tapered CrMo

FORK Fuji 1 1/8" HiTen fork w/ CrMo steerer and rack/fender eyelets

CRANKSET Fuji forged alloy crank, 44T

BOTTOM BRACKET Sealed cartridge ST

PEDALS Fuji 1-piece alloy platform



SHIFTERS Shimano Nexus 3-speed

CASSETTE Shimano, 20T cog


WHEELSET Fuji sealed bearing 36H QR front hub and Shimano Nexus 36H 3-speed rear hub w/ Fuji double wall alloy 36H rims

TIRES Kenda K-193, 700x38c

BRAKE SET coaster brake


HEADSET Fuji 1 1/8" standard semi-cartridge

HANDLEBAR Fuji steel

STEM Fuji steel quill

TAPE/GRIP Fuji kraton

SADDLE Fuji padded and sprung

SEAT POST Fuji micro-adjust alloy, 300x27.2mm

WEIGHT 14.98 / 33

OTHERS kickstand, fenders

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Surly Pacer

The 2012 Surly Pacer is "sparkleboogie blue."  Sharp. Courtesy: Surly.

The Surly Pacer, available as a complete bike for MSRP $1175, or as a frameset for MSRP $465.

The Pacer has always stood out as an all-purpose steel road bike, especially in this era of carbon fiber racing machines, but three things about the 2012 Pacer caught my attention.

First, it's available as a complete bike now, not just as a frameset. That makes it more accessible to wider range of bike buyers.

Second, the 2012 model takes wider tires than previous Pacers. It will take a 32 mm tire, or 28 mm with fenders.

Third, I couldn't help but notice Surly's catchy slogan: "The Pacer reminds us, quietly, that there is a road bike out there for the rest of us." 

Here are the specs:

Frame: Surly 4130 CroMoly steel. Main triangle double butted. TIG welded.

Fork: Surly 4130 CroMoly steel. Lugged and brazed. 1 1/8" threadless steer tube, uncut

Crankset: Andel RSC2 , RSC2-217XR. 34/50t. Silver

Bottom bracket: Shimano UN-54, 68 x 110mm. Square taper interface

Front Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra , FD4600. 28.6mm clamp

Rear Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra, RD4600-SS.

Silver Cog or Cogset: Shimano Tiagra , CS-4600. 12-28t

Chain: SRAM PC-1071 , 10-speed. Silver

Headset: Cane Creek 40 , 1-1/8" threadless. Black

Brakes: Tektro R358 , Dual pivot. Standard reach (47-57mm). Silver

Brake/Shift Levers: Shimano Tiagra , ST4600

Stem: KALLOY AS-008 , 26.0mm bar clamp. Silver

Handlebar: Salsa MotoAce Short and Shallow , Silver

Saddle: WTB SST Comp , Steel rails. Black vinyl.

Seatpost: Kalloy SP-342 , 27.2mm. 350mm. Black

Extras: Surly stainless steel post clamp, Cushy cork bar tape

Front Hub: Shimano Tiagra , Shimano Tiagra HB4600. 32h. Silver

Rear Hub: Shimano Tiagra , FH4600. 32h. 130mm O.L.D. Silver Rims Alex R390 , 32h. Black

Tires: Continental Ultra Sport , 28mm. Steel bead. Black

Sizes: 42, 46, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62

Braze-ons: Single fender eyelets front and rear, dual water bottle mounts, and pump peg (54cm and larger)