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  1. #1
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    Gary Fisher Mendota

    Does anyone have experience with this bike? Opinions based on specs? I'm a little worried the rims could be a little weak. I do like that it is fender and rack ready with disc brakes.

    http://www.fisherbikes.com/bike/model/mendota

    Do you think it could handle relatively smooth gravel roads?

    I'm about to start commuting by bike to work and there is a section of road with no shoulder or bike lane but the land next to the road has a nice trail. I'm going to start the ride with my current MTB but in case the habit sticks I'm already looking for a dedicated bike to commute. I'm thinking this bike would look great with a B-17 Honey/copper rails, tubus rack and berthoud stainless fenders.

  2. #2
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    As long as we're talking....

    a SMOOTH hard pack trail it likely wouldn't be a problem. The stock Bontrager Select wheels are actually quite strong and stiff. They are NOT however by any stretch of the imagination an off road wheel. Gravel, pavement, and fairly smooth hard packed dirt paths should be no problem. Though for gravel roads and such I'd consider going with a bit wider tire, say a 700x38c or even a 700x42c if there's frame and fork clearance. The stock 700x32's at the pressures you have to run them are likely to be a bit sketchy on gravel surfaces. But if we're talking a cattle trail that gets 4 inch deep hoof prints in it every time it rains then you may want to consider something else.

    The Mendota is an excellent commuter. Reasonably light and fast, yet more comfortable than a full on road bike with a more fogiving geometry. It's a good commuter, but carefully consider the terrain on your route and purchase a bike that will handle the worst of it. As I said, narrow tires on loose surfaces can be down right treacherous, and a roughed up cattle trail will beat you and the bike to death. So ride your route on your MTB and pay attention to the gravel road and the trail that you intend to use. Then go from there. And keep in mind, what an MTB can handle with ease can be down right scarry on a narrow tired pavement oriented bike. The wheels are strong enough for what you describe if everything stays the same all the time. But variables could make things interesting.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply. Very good points. I am not too familiar with road bike stuff as I have never owned one.

    I wonder how wide a tire that bike would fit. If it can go pretty wide it sounds like the bike may work like a champ (as long as things are fairly smooth).

    You know, my first MTB was a ridig 21 speed bike and used to do some crazy stuff. Of course the bike was built for it but sometimes I forget that suspension is not really necessary to ride hard stuff.

  4. #4
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    If I remember right....

    the max tire width on the Mendota should be somewhere around 38 to 42c. Not all that wide. It'll depend on the fork and stay clearance of course.

    Yeah I know what you mean. When I was rolling over my hardtail to commuter service I didn't have a fork for it, and kept thinking it was going to take me forever to get it together, forks are expensive! Of course I was thinking suspension. Then it dawned on me, why in the world would I need a suspension fork on a commuter!? Went down to the shop that afternoon and walked out with a ridged Surly fork. Had the bike on the road that evening. I think we tend to get wrapped up in what we want rather than what is necessary. I mean lets face it, all you really need to ride off road is a frame, a fork, two wheels, a drive train, and brakes. From there everything else is just fluff.

    Anyway, good luck with the commuting. I know I enjoy it.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  5. #5
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    Welcome to the world of commuting!! When you get to the point of adding fenders, feel free to give me a shout. I put together some sweet wooden ones for some other MTBR members.
    The wood is being bent! Let me know what you need!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squash
    As I said, narrow tires on loose surfaces can be down right treacherous,
    I disagree. I ride my touring bike with 28c Continental Top Touring tires off-road all the time on dirt/gravel roads and dry single track with no ill-effect. If you have the off-road skills you can apply them on any bike. A bigger volume tire would work better, but is probably not necessary unless this is a big component of your mileage on the bike.

    As for your original question, the Mendota looks like a fine bike, and its named after a lovely lake but for that kind of cash I would want something with drop bars for more hand positions (= more comfort and efficiency).
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  7. #7
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    I've had good luck with the Monona

    The Monona is the next step down from the Mendota - same frame, with the steel fork and no discs. I put on Kenda 700 X 35 red Cross tires, and the handling in loose stuff did improve. A tough, reliable, quick handler that I use around town and do my road training on.

    That said, my other bikes are Fisher 29ers (Superfly HT, HiFi Plus FS) I am a mountain biker first and last. A better road trainer/commuter for me would have been the Dual Sport. I like the longer cockpit, it turns out - the Monona frame is shorter - I sometimes feel like I'm on a unicycle. The hybrid frame does keep your head up comfortably - but it is still a road bike.

    Good luck.

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    Thanks for the input on the dual sports. I might look at them again.

    For the time being I've decided I need to do more of actual riding on what will be my future bike route (I hope) than thinking on what bike to do it in.

    My employer's new building will be ready in December and won't be until then that I'll be within my limits for ridding to work. The wife is a little lukewarm about the idea because being on a bike during rush hour 3-4 times a week has some risk.... as she put it, it is a matter not of "if" I'll be in an accident but "when" and "how bad". However, the route I'm scoping out will only have 4 crossings on major streets and the 2 bad ones have cross walks. I'll be like 2 miles on low traffic streets and 8 miles on trail so I'm hoping it won't be bad at all.

    I did get a brooks B-17 to begin breaking in on my mountain bike...

  9. #9
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    Cool - I'd give anything to have the commute you're looking at. I am trying to do a 2/3 driving 1/3 bike - I'm 65 miles from my desk - but I can't find a way to save miles in the car. I have to go out of my way to ride along San Diego Bay.

    Tell the wife, hey, it could be a lot worse - bring home a brochure for a Yamaha R1 or similar...

    Again, best of luck.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishMan473
    I disagree. I ride my touring bike with 28c Continental Top Touring tires off-road all the time on dirt/gravel roads and dry single track with no ill-effect. If you have the off-road skills you can apply them on any bike. A bigger volume tire would work better, but is probably not necessary unless this is a big component of your mileage on the bike.

    As for your original question, the Mendota looks like a fine bike, and its named after a lovely lake but for that kind of cash I would want something with drop bars for more hand positions (= more comfort and efficiency).
    I would have to agree there. I ride a touring bike with 32c tires on it. I never planned on taking it offroad, but when a truck comes skidding up behind you on a rain slick road, you want to take whichever path gets you out of harms way quickest. In this case, it was the overgrown right-of-way beside the road. I was moving along at a pretty good clip (around 20 mph) when I darted off onto the shoulder. Once I realized I was safe from the truck, anger set in and I started yelling and cursing the dude. I kept riding through the grass and ruts without even thinking about it. As soon as I realized what I was doing, I decided I had better get back on the pavement. Off-road experience once again proved to be a benefit when riding on the street. I have ridden dirt bikes for years and I feel that experience has saved me numerous times on my motorcycle. Learning to ride on that ragged edge without much fear will allow you to cope with surprise much better.
    Get on your bikes and ride!

  11. #11
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    I picked up an 09 Mendota a few weeks ago. I sold my 08 Specialized Crosstrail to get it. It was worth every penny. It's very fast and nimble. My frame size is the 22.5" version. This is a sweet bike. Buy one, you won't regret it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekJeff
    Welcome to the world of commuting!! When you get to the point of adding fenders, feel free to give me a shout. I put together some sweet wooden ones for some other MTBR members.
    Are you sure the pallets you use are really waste and not just in storage. I know a lot of businesses have pallets out back, but they're eventually reused.

  13. #13
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    Im also considering an '09 Mendota. I currently have a Trek 4500 MTB and want something faster/lighter as most of my riding is on paved paths. I also plan on racing in a couple sprint triathlons this summer and need something faster than my MTB but dont want a full road bike.

    Any thoughts on if the Mendota is a decent option ? Ive also considered the Trek FX and Cannondale Bad Boy.

    Thanks,

    Tpope1

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus
    Are you sure the pallets you use are really waste and not just in storage. I know a lot of businesses have pallets out back, but they're eventually reused.
    Actually the fender stock I have now is white oak reclaimed from a home tear down. I was running into too many pallets with stains, cracks and ended up with a mess. The white oak is 1/4sawn and the house was dated back to the 1920's. Things have been coming out great.
    The wood is being bent! Let me know what you need!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpope1
    Im also considering an '09 Mendota. I currently have a Trek 4500 MTB and want something faster/lighter as most of my riding is on paved paths. I also plan on racing in a couple sprint triathlons this summer and need something faster than my MTB but dont want a full road bike.

    Any thoughts on if the Mendota is a decent option ? Ive also considered the Trek FX and Cannondale Bad Boy.

    Thanks,

    Tpope1

    After much research and test rides I ended up with the Mendota. Personally I think the bad boy is over priced for what your getting. In a way I think Cannondale has been resting on there name. The higher end Trek FX bikes are nice. They're very fast and nimble. It's too bad they discontinued the FX disc a few years back. The Valencia is basically the a lesser FX with disc. It's an OK bike but the components could be better.

    As for the Mendota, one ride and I was hooked. It replaced a Specialized Crosstrail I was using for commuting. It's drive train, shifters, and brake components were the selling points for me. You should't have to upgrade everything on a new bike. It's a little pricey but its worth saving your pennies for. If you can teat ride all three. Any bike can look good on paper. It's all in how it rides to you. Good luck with your search.

    --Ice

  16. #16
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    I Own a Mendota

    The Mendota is a great bike. I own the 2008 which was about 300 less than the current model. I'm 6'3" and 230 lbs. That said, there was one major change that had to be made to the bike for it to endure the 4000 miles a year it is ridden.

    rear wheel- I kept breaking spokes, but Bontrager has a great warranty and actually upgraded me free of charge to the Race X lite disc ready wheel (~$300 as compared to $150 for the original).

    I commute 25 miles a day into Boston on some of the worst roads for both traffic and pot holes, but the Mendota smooths through it all. It accelerates quick, stops on a dime, and it doesn't look too flashy.

    Initially the BB5 brakes are a pain to adjust ,but once you throw away the directions and just spin the wheels while adjusting the position of the brake you can eliminate any rub with ease.

    All together its a quick and durable bike that's easy to maintain.

  17. #17
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    Mendota Thoughts

    I recently sold my Specialized Crosstrail to buy a 09 Gary Fisher Mendota. It is the fastest commuter I've ever ridden. I did a video on it. Check it out here:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28DRQjQ7-Zk
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
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    Front rack for Mendota?

    So I got a 2009 Mendota for commuting and bike camping trips. Anyone know how (or if it's recommended) to add a front rack for panniers onto carbon forks? They don't have any mounting holes.

  19. #19
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    The fork on the Mendota is the only carbon fork I have experience with. It flexes quite a bit when it absorbs bumps and brakes. The fork seems to flex along its entire length, much like a golf club. If a rack attaches to the middle of the fork and to a second point on the frame, it may stop the fork from flexing at points above the site of attachment and could cause a difference in the bike's handling or worse a crack. Hope this helps.

  20. #20
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    Hey UWSPHD,
    I found a rack made by Nitto that attaches in the middle with fat rubber clamps and I bent up a bracket that attaches to the hole on the rear of the fork. The rack is very light and small, so all it hold is my sleeping bag and maybe another small bag on top of it, but the forks still visibly flex, so I'm comfortable with it. I got it from Ben's Cycles online. Here's a link to a picture.
    http://www.benscycle.net/index.php?m...d49e5af731125d

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Ice807
    I recently sold my Specialized Crosstrail to buy a 09 Gary Fisher Mendota. It is the fastest commuter I've ever ridden. I did a video on it. Check it out here:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28DRQjQ7-Zk


    great review

  22. #22
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    Thanks for the video review! I've been considering the Mendota, but here are a couple others in the running:

    Trek Soho (not the S)
    Specialized Sirrus Comp
    Cannondale Bad Boy Disc
    Cannondale Quick 2

    Any thoughts or experience with the above mentioned bikes? This bike would be stictly for commuting, and I'll be putting fenders and a rear rack with paniers on it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing
    Thanks for the video review! I've been considering the Mendota, but here are a couple others in the running:

    Trek Soho (not the S)
    Specialized Sirrus Comp
    Cannondale Bad Boy Disc
    Cannondale Quick 2

    Any thoughts or experience with the above mentioned bikes? This bike would be stictly for commuting, and I'll be putting fenders and a rear rack with paniers on it.

    The Soho is nice and fast. My mountain bike is a Specialized Rockhopper. So I have experience with the company but not the Sirrus. Cannondale makes a nice bike but they seem expensive for what your getting. I feel the same way about Kona. If your riding on pavment only I'd go with the Sirrus. It's a flat bar road bike.

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