Dawes bikes (question)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Dawes bikes (question)

    Hello folks:

    I've never posted here (commuter thread). Strictly a beginner mtbr with 2 years experience.

    Considering commuting to work some (maybe 1 time per week to start - my town is woefully commuter unfriendly) as well as fulfilling a pledge to myself to take several small trips near my home under my own power (bike or run).

    I'm thinking of buying a very cheap commuter bike. Keep running across Dawes bikes and can get a SS for around $300 (again, do not want to throw a bunch of $ into this b/c I do not know just how well this plan will work out).

    So, Dawes bikes - what can you tell me about them? Worth a look or move on...

    Thanks in advance...

  2. #2
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    I just bought a Dawes SST from Bikes Direct about 2 weeks ago so I could start riding it to work. I've been wanting to commute since I moved to relatively flat Sacramento but the 13 miles each way on my Santa Cruz Nomad was too much. $319 was a about as cheap as I could find for a steel frame with pretty decent wheels and crankset and I wanted a singlespeed so the decision was easy. I actually wanted the Windsor Clockwork (same bike different bars) but it was backordered and I was impatient. Anyway....
    Got it in the mail and put it together. Had to have the wheels trued right off (pretty common I hear with these bikes) and replaced the seat yesterday. Stock saddle was very long and narrow and was never comfortable. Stock bullhorn bars are very uncomfortable...weird downward bend and I just can't get used to them so I'm shopping for something new....maybe risers. I replaced the really short stem with something longer and I put Spec Armadillo tires on it to avoid flats (still got one the other day but none since)..bought a topeak explorer rack and MTX trunk bag to haul my clothes and junk and hit the road. I finished my 125th commuter mile yesterday and felt great. The bike rides and look better than it should for such a cheap bike. I think the bottom bracket may be going though...there are some funny clicking sounds in that area when I pedal. Singlespeed is great if you don't have many hills. I feel stronger everyday and it's super quiet and maint free. Overall I'm happy with it and it serves it's purpose as a cheap commuter really well. HOWEVER...if I had to do it over again and had the money I would have spent the extra $200 or so and got a Redline 925. That's the bike I really wanted but didn't have the money at the time. I think the geometry of that bike is better suited for commuting. The Dawes is more of a track bike and isn't as comfortable as I suspect the Redline is. Then again...maybe when I get the new bars and can cruise comfortably without shoulder and neck pain I'll think otherwise. If you're on a budget and want a fast, cheap commuter then go for the Dawes or the Windsor Clockwork at bikesdirect. You'll may still need to spend a few bucks to get it dialed in but overall it's still a good deal.
    To insanity and beyond.....

  3. #3
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    Haven't ridden a Dawes, but I recently picked up a Motobecane hardtail 29er. Bikes Direct bikes get a bad rep because they aren't name brands and a lot of people are anti-ecommerce in the bike world because it doesn't support local bike shops. They are fairly priced though and usually speced with good components. Like bugsdad, I had to pick up a few more components to get it dialed in but it was an investment over-all that I do not regret. If you aren't willing to invest huge amounts of money on a "better" bike (or simply don't have it to begin with) then this is the way to go IMHO.
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  4. #4
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    Dawes, Windsor, Motobecane are all from the same company, bikes direct.

    You can search the forums and blogs and find all sorts of mixed reveiw and bad press etc.

    Bottom line:
    I bought a bike from them and I love it. Everyone I have spoken to who actually has one is very happy with it.

    Just be prepared for two things:
    1) you are getting a bike just as it rolled out of the factory. No adjustment etc. Sometimes it works out and wheels are trued etc., sometimes it takes a little work.

    2) In general, the componenets are great for the price, but some components tend to be crappy and need immediate upgrade.

  5. #5
    weirdo
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    I don`t know about them, but I see by the specs that some of them still have 21 speed drivetrains and don`t specify the hub or the cassette/freewheel. If you can manage it, I`d suggest trying to get at least 8 speed hub because that way you`ll know for sure it isn`t a screw on freewheel. That gives you a lot more options for gearing, makes it easier to find drivetrain parts in general. and generally will be a stronger hub. And don`t forget about Craigslist- usually a better bang for the buck used as long as you can see exactly what you`re getting before you commit to buying it.

  6. #6
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    We see Dawes...

    etc. in the shop quite often. The most common problem with them is the cranks and bottom bracket, and the wheels being untrued and/or quite low in the tension department. Had one in last week that was missing some minor headset parts out of the box as well.

    They seem to be of reasonable quality for the money spent though.

    Just keep in mind, as noted above, they are factory direct, no adjustments have been made so they need complete set up from headset adjustment to wheel truing, etc. Also check the torque of the bottom bracket, crank arms, and all other fasteners on the bike. Make sure you have all the tools you'll need before you start. It's likely to require more than a 5mm allen wrench and a screw driver to get you in business.

    Once you've got the bike you'll need to keep an eye on things. At this price point you'll be looking at a lot of no name components, or "who are they" components if they are branded. The name brand stuff is usually lower end, but of reasonable quality. You'll likely end up replacing some of the no name stuff sooner than later.

    Anyway, for the money you're getting a reasonable bike that's a good step above a walmart bike. You may hit some glitches, but nothing that isn't easily fixable. And Bikes Direct seems to back things up as well. The last one we had in had a bb and crank problem. The customer said he'd contact BD and see what would happen as the bike was less than 2 weeks old. A week later he came back with a new crank set and bb that we installed for him. And he said that BD told him to send them the bill for the install and they'd pay him back for the cost. Not bad in my book.

    So you could do allot worse.

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

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy33
    Dawes, Windsor, Motobecane are all from the same company, bikes direct.

    You can search the forums and blogs and find all sorts of mixed reveiw and bad press etc.

    Bottom line:
    I bought a bike from them and I love it. Everyone I have spoken to who actually has one is very happy with it.

    Just be prepared for two things:
    1) you are getting a bike just as it rolled out of the factory. No adjustment etc. Sometimes it works out and wheels are trued etc., sometimes it takes a little work.

    2) In general, the componenets are great for the price, but some components tend to be crappy and need immediate upgrade.
    I have to agree with jonesy, I did a lot of reserch when I purchased my Dawes Lighting cross and found that most people who trash talked Bikes Direct did not own one of their bikes. I very happy with my purchase and would have switched out parts on a more expensive bike...because I can't seem to leave well enough alone anyway.
    "You don't need a lighter bike, you need bigger muscles"

  8. #8
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    Wheels will probably be the weakspot, as on most low-mid level road bikes. Should be a fine bike for your intentions though. Worked on late 90's Dawes the other day that is still in great shape and running smoothly.

    Definitely worth a look.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all of the replies folks - still considering.

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