|Cannondale Touring Ultra|
I've been thinking about getting a proper touring bike that could replace the mountain bike/tourer I've been using for years. It needs to be a bike that will last for years and can cope with serious miles in comfort.
I looked at a number of options for the bike, including Trek and Dawes tourers, plus custom bikes such as Santos and Thorn. Decided pretty quickly that I a mountain-bike style bike was the answer for me, partly because I'm getting rid of my mountain bike to make way, and it would be useful if the new bike could see service off-road if needed.
MTBs are also more upright, safer in traffic and the braking is more comfortable on long descents. Plus 26" wheels are tougher than road (700c) ones...
The bike came from Evans (not my first choice retailer, but it was cheap and the only one in stock in the right size I could find). It's a 2009 model, which has a similar spec to the 2010 but is £500 cheaper (although they've brought in a new frame design, plus integrated lights, this year).
Overall I really like the bike. It's not immediately 'sexy', but it's very well put together, is great to ride and I have high hopes for its long-term prospects. Many of the components are excellent, others are sensible if not top drawer and a couple are junk.
Overall rating: 9/10
Anyway, here are my detailed thoughts. Please feel free to skip if you're not a cycling geek...