Pulled the trigger on a Windsor Cliff 4500- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Pulled the trigger on a Windsor Cliff 4500

    After doing research on a lot of different bikes in the last couple of months, this morning I ordered a 17" Windsor Cliff 4500 from Bikes Direct. I'm a novice at mountain biking, so it seemed to be the logical choice to get started on - $300 is easy on the budget, and I can decide to upgrade to something fancier later on if needed. Plus, I like the black color! Will post pictures when it arrives...hopefully by this weekend but we'll see!

  2. #2
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    I just purchased the same bike Monday morning, it's supposed to be delivered tomorrow! I can't wait. This is my first bike since I used to tool around on a Trek 820 rigid as a kid.

  3. #3
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    How long did it take for Bikes Direct to email you with shipping information? I've gotten my PayPal confirmation to show that the bike has been ordered, but haven't heard from Bikes Direct yet about my order - I placed my order at about 7:30 am Eastern time.

  4. #4
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    I had my tracking number that afternoon, and updated tracking that evening.

  5. #5
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    I just ordered the new 2011 version also. Can't wait! Mine will be here tomorrow. First real bike after a heavy as heck 10 year old steel department store bike that was stolen ( Don't know why it was a pos but it worked ).

  6. #6
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    Have the 2011 Cliff 4500 somewhere in a UPS truck as a replacement for my stolen windsor wellington 2.0. Using it for a commuter/city ride/beercruiser.

    Not going to let it get the crap beatin out of it, got a nice XC and cyclocross ride for that.

  7. #7
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    Got mine yesterday, set it all up and tuned it up, very impressed so far, rode around the neighborhood yesterday a bit, going to pack some miles on it this weekend, I can't wait.

  8. #8
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    Cool! Feel free to post photos! I'll be posting photos of mine in black when it gets here...we need someone to post photos of one in white since as of now, there are no photos of the white one on Bikes Direct.

    What kind of tuning did you do to it?

  9. #9
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    Mine is black, I didn't have a chance to get any pics yet, I will this weekend.

    I basically just had to adjust both brakes and both derailleurs which were off a good bit, also the brake cables came unconnected, too about 30-45 mins total to set everything up properly.

  10. #10
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    Mine arrived today at work. Build quality out of the box was atrocious. Shifting was maybe 10% setup at best, brakes were completely out of line (one caliper was on upside down). Wheels were true (very minor wobble, maybe 1/32inch). Tires made it 3 miles on 20psi with no problem.

    After a half hour of work, first impressions are its a very good ride for the cash. I'll keep updating with any troubles that may arise over the next few weeks.

  11. #11
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    Good job! windsor cliff 4500

    After buying a wal mart bike that started to fall apart and did not perform well after a few trips out to the local trail I found the windsor cliff 4500 and it fit my budget so I returned my walmart bike and ordered a 2011 black windsor 3 days later it was at my door step. It was 80 - 90% assembled and with a quick shifter tuning it was ready and it has been awesome so far I have logged a little over 80 trail miles in the past 3 weeks and this includes steep ravines, drop offs, sharp turns, tree roots in other words I have been beating this bike up and have been very impressed with the performance it is one smooth bike on the trail and definitely recommend this bike for anyone who wants a low budget bike with good components or who has been thinking of ordering one but is unsure becuase of the name, you will not be dissapointed. Friends that ride specialized and cannondales have ridden my bike and have been very impressed with the bike.

  12. #12
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    Updated Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    On Monday, my Windsor Cliff 4500 arrived. I ordered it the previous Wednesday, so the shipping was very fast. I was able to assemble the bike within 1 hour. The only problem I noticed is that one of the brake cables was not attached properly, and one of the brake calipers was not attached to the fork, but these were quick fixes.

    I had a hard time doing the brake and derailleur adjustments myself, so I took it into the LBS and had them do these adjustments, plus look over the bike and tighten up anything I missed. I paid them $35 for this service, which included an extra $5 to install a derailleure cable which was short by about 4 inches. After I paid them, I realized that the price I paid for their service was a little bit less than I would have paid in tax at a local bike store for a similarly priced bike.

    When I went to pick the bike up from the bike store, I asked how "rough" the assembly of the bike was, and they said that it was very rough and they had to go though and adjust lots of different things, but they also commented that the $300 that I paid for the bike was a very good price.

    I took it for a ride today and it handled very well. The main thing I noticed that I didn't like so much was that the brake rotors rubbed against the calipers during the entire bike ride, which I understand is common for these kinds of brakes, as they require a break in period. Also, the paint chips rather easily. Other than that, I was happy with the performance of the bike.

    Do I think this bike is worth the $750 list price as stated on the website? No - I'd say $450 to $600 is more accurate. Do I think I got a good deal for $300? Absolutely. I would definately recommend this bike to anyone on a budget, although be aware that you will need to be familiar with how to adjust the brakes and derailleurs, or be willing to pay a LBS at least $30 - $40 to do the adjustments for you. Also, realize the sizing may not fit you best - typically I ride an 18", so getting a 17" Windsor was a leap of faith. I'm still undecided if the bike fits me or not, but I have no problems with the quality of the bike.

    Would I recommend this bike to a friend? Absolutely. Definately good quality for the price I paid - the only way you are going to get close to the same quality at a similar price point is to purchase last year's models on clearance - and even then, it would be hard for you to get as good a deal as the price I paid for this bike.

    So, if you are thinking about getting this bike, and you only have $300 to spend, don't hesitate to order!

    Here is a picture I took tonight on the maiden bike ride:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Pulled the trigger on a Windsor Cliff 4500-bike.jpg  

    Last edited by getagrip; 04-13-2011 at 09:52 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip
    After doing research on a lot of different bikes in the last couple of months, this morning I ordered a 17" Windsor Cliff 4500 from Bikes Direct. I'm a novice at mountain biking, so it seemed to be the logical choice to get started on - $300 is easy on the budget, and I can decide to upgrade to something fancier later on if needed. Plus, I like the black color! Will post pictures when it arrives...hopefully by this weekend but we'll see!
    How does the 17" fit you & how tall are you? I read on another thread that BD frames run a little small, so that one might want to buy the next-size-up.

    17 inch fits up to 5'8" (standover clearance = 29")
    19 inch fits up to 6'0" (standover clearance = 30.5")
    I'm 5'9, so I'm on the border of the 17" & 19".

  14. #14
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    frame sizing

    I ordered the 19" frame on my windsor cliff 4500 and I'm 6'1" and I feel that it fits just fine.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by chimpanzee00
    How does the 17" fit you & how tall are you? I read on another thread that BD frames run a little small, so that one might want to buy the next-size-up.

    I'm 5'9, so I'm on the border of the 17" & 19".
    That's kind of a hard question to answer, because everyone's preferences are different. I'm 5'7" tall and personally like the feel of 18" frames a little bit better than 17" frames. However, because that wasn't an option, I went with the 17", but it feels a tad small for me.

    That being said, it seems that there are a lot of guys who are 4 or 5 inches taller than me who prefer 17" frames. So, I think a lot of it depends on your personal preferences, and the kind of riding you do. If you are going to be doing a lot of jumping and tight turns and that kind of a thing, you might prefer the 17", but if you will be doing more distance riding, you might prefer the 19".

    What you could do is test ride some bikes at the LBS in each size, then compare the geometry of the Windsor Cliff to the bikes that you test ride, and make a decision from there. If you feel bad about doing that, you can always buy something from the LBS to thank them for their time, such as an accesory of some sort, or take the bike you order online to the store to get it tuned - something like that. Then again, you might actually find a bike at the LBS you like, and purchase it from them instead of ordering online!

  16. #16
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    I'm 5'10 and the 19 inch fits great. I use my cliff for commuting so I have the seatpost almost all the way extended. If I was getting the bike for offroad purposes, I'd get the 17inch frame since you'll never have the seatpost maxed as you'll be standing most of the time.

    Definitely go try some other bikes at a LBS. The windsor has fairly standard-ish geometry. If you're looking at getting a helmet or new saddle, theres a great excuse to go to a LBS, and you wont feel guilty about wasting their time.

    For my update on how the bike's breaking in. I've got around 100 miles (street) on it. The brakes suck, they cant even compare to a poorly set-up BB5. I've replaced the saddle, put a longer stem on. Shifting is still great since day 1, zero adjustments needed. Everything seems very solid, not disappointed at all.

    Edit regarding getagrip's post. The rotors will not rub against the pads if brakes are properly set up. Back the pads off a bit so you have very minimal clearance between rotor and brake. Spin the wheel, you should not hear the metal-y scraping noise of the brakes rubbing.
    Last edited by falkry05; 04-21-2011 at 11:52 AM.

  17. #17
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    Looks like the 19" is sold out in this year's model. However, it is still available in the previous year's model for $350. While it is true that last year's model has a different frame, it has RockShox Dart 1 forks, a Shimano Deore rear derailluer (which is a step above the Alivio that this year's model has), and from what I can tell, better tires...still a very good option if you want the 19". Also, the Gravity bikes that BikesDirect has look pretty similar component wise to the Windsors. The frame design looks slightly different, but overall, the bikes seem pretty similar.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by falkry05
    I've replaced the saddle, put a longer stem on.
    How does the longer stem effect the bike's center of gravity? I may do that to make the bike feel a little "bigger". I also imagine it would handly slightly differently because of the longer "virtual" effective top tube that the longer stem adds onto the bike.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip
    That's kind of a hard question to answer, because everyone's preferences are different. I'm 5'7" tall and personally like the feel of 18" frames a little bit better than 17" frames. However, because that wasn't an option, I went with the 17", but it feels a tad small for me.

    That being said, it seems that there are a lot of guys who are 4 or 5 inches taller than me who prefer 17" frames. So, I think a lot of it depends on your personal preferences, and the kind of riding you do. If you are going to be doing a lot of jumping and tight turns and that kind of a thing, you might prefer the 17", but if you will be doing more distance riding, you might prefer the 19".

    What you could do is test ride some bikes at the LBS in each size, then compare the geometry of the Windsor Cliff to the bikes that you test ride, and make a decision from there. If you feel bad about doing that, you can always buy something from the LBS to thank them for their time, such as an accesory of some sort, or take the bike you order online to the store to get it tuned - something like that. Then again, you might actually find a bike at the LBS you like, and purchase it from them instead of ordering online!
    What is the weight of your 17" Cliff 4500?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by chimpanzee00
    What is the weight of your 17" Cliff 4500?
    I haven't weighed it, but the shipping weight - box and all, was 30 pounds, so my guess is around 27 or 28 pounds. It definately feels fairly lightweight.

  21. #21
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    I really don't know how differently it handles with different stem and fully extended seatpost. It seems to feel more like my cyclocross ride than a mtb. I only left the stock parts on for a day or so, so not much of a reference point was gained.

    As far as COG, I'm sure it would be a little different for trail riding, but thats not the purpose of my windsor.

  22. #22
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    Well, nice update here.... My friend who ordered windsor cliff4500 after seeing mine had his pedal fall right out of the crank today (maybe 2 miles on bike). Threads got ripped out of the crank arm and are still wrapped around the pedal.

    Will update on how warranty is handled.

  23. #23
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    Last year I ordered a mail order bike from a different company and the same thing happened to me, which I returned to the company for a full refund. The company, Forge Bikes (an AWESOME company to work with) gave me the benefit of the doubt and offered to ship me a new bike (which I regretfully declined). However, the error might have been mine, because I might have mixed up the right and left pedal, and even if I didn't, if you aren't precise when you are screwing in the pedals, you can really screw things up. Here is the reason I say this:

    When I was assembling the Windsor, I noticed that one of the pedals went in kind of funny and was kind of hard to screw in. I was concerned that the same thing would happen with it de-threading the crank, but when I took it to the bike store to make adjustments, they re-threaded the pedal and I have not had any problems since.

    I'd hate to say it, but I think the majority of these kinds of problems are due to "user error", and the reason I say that is because I've almost screwed up twice on the same issue when I've installed pedals. From what I understand, Bikes Direct will charge for a part replacement (in this case the cranks and pedals), but they give you a big discount, so your friend won't be out too much money. In my opinion, it would be worth it to have him take it to the bike store to install the pedals, which sounds rather pathetic, but might be the right course of action to avoid the same problem.
    Last edited by getagrip; 05-06-2011 at 09:38 AM.

  24. #24
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    I noticed the same thing when installing the pedals to my windsor. My friend's fairly mechanically inclined, so I assumed he would notice cross-threading or something to that effect. It's entirely possible its due to user error, just want to see how BD will take care of him.

    He's looking at possibly switching to a Shimano Alivio crank from Jenson or Pricepoint if BD charges too much for parts. I'm just going to install the new pedals for him when he gets the new crank.

  25. #25
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    BD offered him a very good discount on a replacement part, however he opted to go with a slight upgrade on the crank and BB through another site. They said warranty was not an option because it is very likely he installed the pedals incorrectly, which is entirely possible.

    Update on my Cliff 4500 after week 4:
    shifting is still 100% accurate after 4 weeks of not adjusting the tension, I swapped to BB5's from another bike that I upgraded to hydraulics, swapped out tires to some random ones i had laying around. Only big problem I've encountered was the wheels became horribly out of true after about 125 miles. Two zipties and 5 minutes later wheels were true again. I also inverted the stem to have a lower rise. Sette Evo saddle is a massive upgrade, I now own 3 of those saddles.

  26. #26
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    Falkry05,

    Curious to know how bad your wheels were out of true, as well some more detail on how you pulled it into round with two zipties? Was this just "worn out of ture", or did you have some sort of event?

    Thanks!

  27. #27
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    Wheel developed a good half-inch of side to side motion. I use zipties to the frame for a ghetto truing stand setup. I've had great results this way instead of forking out the cash for an actual truing stand.

    I haven't been doing anything crazy on the bike, so this just developed with normal street riding.

  28. #28
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    I just got my Windsor 4500 today and must say it was more than I expected. I didn't have much money and the Windsor 4500 had a lot for the money. I did not expect it to look this nice, the paint is a nice finish and has a lot of nice touches. This would be my first true mountain bike, the others I owned were given to me by my uncle who abused them and wore them out.

    It was not that hard to put together. The front wheel and handle bars needed to be put on. The front brake cable was not connected and the seat was off. The brakes needed to be adjusted which only required a good Allen set. The rear derailleur was set up perfect but the front one was all out of whack. I spent most of my time setting up the front derailleur, but the whole setup took me about a hour to complete. Just watch some YouTube videos to learn how to setup a bike.

    The good....
    Some things I didn't expect from this bike was that the suspension not only locks out but also is adjustable too. I'm coming from a bike that had no suspension so any suspension made me happy. I also expected the pedals to be cheap plastic but it seems that its a mix of plastic and metal and feels really sturdy. The seat is the most comfortable seat I've sat on, but I've sat on very few. The Paint had a really nice finish to it, did not feel cheap. The trigger shifters work nicely and smoothly. The price was nice, $300 out the door and takes only days to get to your house but you do need to sign for it.

    The bad...
    A small scratch from shipping on front forks, you can't see unless the bikes upside down. I'm guessing that either the brakes are new or cheap but it took a while to "break them in". The rear brake sounds like metal on metal contact when braking is applied, but riding around while holding the brakes in stopped that. The tires are cheap, not much tread but they do have nice design to them. No water bottle holder, but this is not really a problem.

    Would I recommend this bike, yes. I feel like i got a good deal and the bike is really nice. I have buddies that spent more on their bikes to get the same features I have. I can't really complain about this bike, its a nice bike compared to what I'm use to. I'll be taking it out this weekend for some trail riding and I'll see how it does.

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