2016 Raleigh Grand Sport
Train on it, commute on it, take it out for a long weekend ride - and do it all in style on Raleigh's Grand Sport. The sleek, elegant lines that only a steel frame and fork can provide make the Grand Sport an eye-catcher, as well as a comfortable ride over road chatter. Durable Weinmann wheels wrapped in Kenda rubber give you plenty of speed and cornering stability for zipping through the tough city streets or cruising down your favorite winding descent. When the road starts climbing, the Shimano Claris drivetrain lends a hand with a wide range of gears and smooth shifting every time. When you have to slow it down, Promax dual pivot brakes are on the case, providing smooth modulation all the way. The Grand Sport is topped off with Raleigh's tough aluminum components so you get years of use out of this sleek roadster.
* Subject to change without notice.
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The Raleigh Grand Sport is a modern, aluminum framed roadbike, with an integrated headset and carbon work. It is priced at about half a grand, which is less than some people pay for their wheels, so it is not awefully expensive. This isn't meant as a commuter, but nice toughes include bolts on the seatstays where a lightweight rack or other attachments could be mounted. Also the bike is fairly sturdy, which is both good and bad; it isn't a lightweight, but it will hold up to heavier riders and worse roads. The stock parts are basic, and any decent shop will adjust them to accomadate you within the size range of that frame -- if they won't, go to another shop! If they cannot be adjusted to fit you, the bike is the wrong size! But even after fitting the bike to the rider (not the other way around) some cyclists will still change components. I ended up using wider handlebars, in doing so I had to get a stem that used a different size clamp area. The rear shifter was nine speed compatible; the rear gears and chain were only 8 speed, as was the front lever. In short, the rear of the drivetrain was Shimano Tiagara (not to be confused with viagara!) but ther front STI levers were Shimano Sora. The Sora is a cheaper mechanism and while functional, did not allow for shifting as easily from the drops, as the levers were different. For that matter, the seat sucks, it is too wide and not entirely comfortable. I put Tiagara shift levers up front to make the drivetrain even all around, then changed up the front gearing. Standard triple was 52/42 with a tiny 30-somethign granny gear. I changed the granny to like a 28, then the inner to a 39. With the 52/39 it rides like a double, and I don't have to use the innermost gear often, but when I do it can walk up walls, long as my lungs can keep up. This bike was used in winter as well as nice weather, though not in snow. I have a mountainbike for that. As a reviewer, one is asked to describe oneself as either "Casual/ Recreational", "commuter", "Bike messenger", "avid cyclist", or "competitive cyclist." I do not race, but I do ride casually, as well as on longer rides, and faster rides --and I ride to get around wherever possible. However, as this bike currently sports look clipless pedals for comfort over longer rides (softer shoes and pedals hurt the feet in my experience -- I did my first century in ratty old sneakers and switched shortly thereafter for the road bike) I don't often use it for running errands, or commuting. However, I do have other bikes for that; a few older road bikes with toe clips and straps, several fixed gears, a mountainbike with street tires, and a hybrid built out of an old road frame. Last year I went the entire winter without using a car to get to work; when it was snowing I took a mountainbike with knobby tires. This bike has seen some nasty weather, though not nearly as much. One day we scheduled a ride in pouring rain. It was like 60 or so miles. Everyone bailed except 3 of us, and for the first few long hours it was raining steadily. In other words I may not be Lance Armstrong, but I'm not a fair weather rider so much, either. The bike shows it. It's still kinda new looking -- compared to a thirty year old lugged 12 speed with spray paint toughup. But it shows the wear and the grit. And by and large is not the worse for it. The bike held up well. Basically, this is a fairly good roadbike for anything except racing. It's not light -- my steel track bike weighs just under nineteen pounds and after lifting this thing it feels like a balloon with helium in it. However, it works good, is inexpensive, and the weight, if someone is so inclined, or their wallet so endowed, can be brought down fairly well by upgrading heavier parts for lighter (and therefore probably more expensive) ones. Nicer wheels would be lighter; but the stock wheels work fine after over three thousand miles. It might be better to upgrade handlebar, stem, seatpost, fork, etc -- in other words, non moving parts, although naturally a good wheelset can be worth its weight -- literally. And the durability is due in much part to the initial assembly. Although I work on my own bikes wherever possinle, installing shifters, forks, cranks, and chainrings, if the initial assembly is done right a bike could run good forever with routine maintainance. Invest in a good competant bike shop, and you can never go wrong. The same bike, from a different shop, might have wheels which were installed out of the box, without adjusting the hub bearings; they will roll like there's gravel in there. For that matter, when you start to wear things out, upgrade. Since the rear derailer works for 9 speed, and my installation of matching front shifters made it nine speed compatible, I replaced the worn out eight speed chain with a nine speed one and nine speed rear cassette. The front chainrings work with it -- sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. these do. But it's worth it to upgrade. Speaking of parts, let's examine the bike for good and bad: FRAME: Nice and solid. Doesn't ride as harsh as some aluminum frames. Handles nice. On the other hand, it isn't light. FORK: Again, solid, and I was skeptical, being as i mostly ride bikes with steel forks. In my view, a bike should be made of *metal*. But it had held up fine, and proved sturdy. WHEELS: The wheels aren't particularly ligth but not too bad for entry level stuff. They are nice and sturdy, for road wheels, which is probably due to them having a more or less standard section rim and crossed spoke patters. A lot of fancy wheels have streamlined aero rims, flat or radial spokes, or other non-traditional wheel designs. Some work well, soem do not, but why mess with something that is tried and true? A rim with a flat top, not an aero section, and a normal crossed spoke pattern, whould hold up fine. My weight ranges between 170-185 these days, hardly a lightweight for a cyclist. The wheels held up fine. Where things start to go wrong are the TIRES: the stock tires wore out and punctured fairly quickly. I don't ride more than 100-200 miles a week (okay, some weeks like 225 or so, but not that much...) and most of it is on antoher bike, commuting or whatnot. This thing is used mostly for long road rides so you figure it gets used, what, maybe 2 or 3 days a week -- if I'm not using another road bike (I have several). So why would the tires wear out so quick since it was only getting used on the weekend, more or less? Hard to say. Good tires are essential; I'd spring for Continentals, or Vittorias. The stock tires are not all that great. Nor is the SADDLE. Stock saddle was too wide, as stated, and hard to get comfortable on. It'd make a decent hybrid or mountainbike saddle, depending ont he physiology of the rider and their riding position, but not a good road saddle. I nixed it and replaced it with something from my parts bin. The BRAKES work fine, though I've been through many brake pads, nothing wrong there.Likewise, the stock GEARING. Not only where the chainrings steel, they had a 52/42 for the outside, and then the triple. I replaced the 42 for a 39 so it rides like a modern double. Sometime later, I changed the inner "granny gear" to a slightly smaller gear, enabling better climbing. The rear gears were okay, fine for the hills, the flats, etc. But again, when I wore out the chain and gears, I upgraded them to nine speed. Which brings up the front shifters; change em to match. Your bike will thank you. And ultimately, it is worth upgrading. The bike isn't flashy, but it handles well when you've got it set up properly. It will keep you rolling for many years.
I bought this bike to participate in the Pan Mass Challenge. It has exceeded my expectations for training, and has been a joy when riding with friends and family. For the price, I believe it is a very good value and a solid road bike.