20 May 2011 Raleigh Clubman Bicycle: Full Review
Main Features: Tiagra 9speed, full fenders, Brooks Swift leather saddle, Lezyne pump
Other Notes: I reviewed a 2010 model, the only changes to the 2011 are the paint (now green) and the wheels from my understanding are now 32h instead of 28
Over the past year I have been able to review a ton of great product. A product that I started to review for Commute By Bike and was put on hold during my fear of riding on the road is the Raleigh Clubman. As this bike is one of my reliable and one of the most eye catching frames in my fleet I want to make sure to give it a full review for all those interested or looking at purchasing one.
Initial Thoughts of the Bike
Out of the box, the bike is gorgeous. Cigar rings around the head tube and other certain tubes on the frame, slotted rear drop outs for those that may want to turn the bike into a single during the life of the bike. The bike has a very retro and clean feel that many custom builders are utilizing these days. We can thank mostly Raleigh’s Sally for that, bringing boutique looks to a budget minded cyclist!
The bike came with a great Brooks Swift saddle, a great saddle but not very girl parts friendly. After test riding it back and forth to the office one day, I knew I was going to be in deep trouble if I went further than 5 miles at a time!
Changes to the Raleigh Clubman to make it girl friendly
The first change was the saddle, changing over to a WTB Deva women’s saddle, color of course is white! After 100-150 miles I did some cockpit changes for the bike to fit my women’s proportions better. Stem, handlebar and bar wrap were what changed. The handlebar is a Bontrager “women’s fit” 42cm with less reach, the stem is a Bontrager stem with a 90×7º which will long term be swapped to a 100mm. I needed to switch the stem out as the handlebars I went with are oversized (31.8) compared to the 26mm ones that come stock on the Raleigh.
Since making those changes I’ve only done some other basic things, added a rack, Velo Orange bottle cages, and more lights. About a month ago I removed the matching metal fenders to help open up some room for larger tires!
Full Thoughts and Feelings of the Clubman
Initially I was hesitant of the Clubman. The spec for the bike is a middle level build, but I have been pleasantly surprised. As a bike industry employee we are spoiled with riding the best we can get our hands on, ever since high school I have been riding high end road parts because I could.
The Raleigh Clubman put my faith back in budget priced bikes, even motivating me to take a reality check for what people really need to ride. The Shimano Tiagra drivetrain has never had an issue, and the only two things I would upgrade are the brakes and chain (both non-Shimano spec.) This bike brought back memories of riding to ride and enjoying the ride. I wasn’t worried about pimping the bike out, as it rides wonderfully. The tires will probably be upgraded once I flat spot them, but they also were a pleasant surprise.
Now that spring and summer are unrolling at my door I plan on doing longer rides, working to a century and maybe a randonee at the end of the season!