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Ridgeback voyager

Posted: 26 Apr 2013, 1:59pm
by Digby1958
I've come across a Ridgeback Voyager with an 8 speed Alfine hub, at a good price, right size, whilst i was in fact searching for a Ridgeback Panorama. I think I'm right in saying that the Voyager would be lower spec. However, would people think this would be a good buy for a touring bike, with average use over say 15 years? Should I hang out for a Panorama? I have had one opinion that said he thought the gear ratios would be ok, even though there are only 8 of them. It does seem very good value. Thanks.

Re: Ridgeback voyager

Posted: 26 Apr 2013, 11:22pm
by johnmac
It's a good bike, but compared to my Cheviot SE, it seems a heavy frame.

Re: Ridgeback voyager

Posted: 27 Apr 2013, 7:46am
by Digby1958
Thanks for that. I've never had a touring bike before but am aware they will be heavier, but as you imply, just how heavy do I want it! I was also wondering if anyone had any feedback on the Alfina gears. The bike is £599. They have only got one which is my size. Seems very good value, but I guess it would be silly to rush at it if it isn't quite right. Its just about in range for a day out to the shop to give it a try!

Re: Ridgeback voyager

Posted: 27 Apr 2013, 8:05am
by 531colin
living in Kendal, I think the first thing you need to do is compare the gear range with whatever bike you are used to.
The search function on the forum should get you started, or a post in the "technical" board.

Re: Ridgeback voyager

Posted: 27 Apr 2013, 9:58am
by Digby1958
Yes, thanks, I guess I would also need to try it out for this reason as well. I was also wondering whether anyone has experience of hub gears, reliability/no quick release etc.

Re: Ridgeback voyager

Posted: 27 Apr 2013, 10:19pm
by vernon
Digby1958 wrote:Yes, thanks, I guess I would also need to try it out for this reason as well. I was also wondering whether anyone has experience of hub gears, reliability/no quick release etc.

I'm not sure how the alfine hubbed wheel is connected to the fram and the gear change cables but I have a Rohlhoff hub with quick release skewer and vertical drop outs. Removing and replacing the rear wheel is only a couple of seconds longer than a derailleur equipped rear wheel.

Re: Ridgeback voyager

Posted: 28 Apr 2013, 7:32am
by Digby1958
Thanks. And if you had your time again, would you choose a hub over a derailleur system?

Re: Ridgeback voyager

Posted: 30 Apr 2013, 9:12am
by Ant
Hi Digby

do you mean the Ridgeback Journey? I have one of these and it is a great bike, although I should point out it's primary use for me is commuting. The Ridgeback Voyage uses derailleur gears AFAIK.

Anyway the Alfine system is fantastic and I would not go back to derailleurs. The range on the Journey is 27.7 to 85 gear inches. I could sometimes do with a little higher when commuting, but don't feel lower is needed. You can easily lower the ratios anyway by either a larger sprocket or smaller chainring (or opposite to raise them!) neither of which is difficult or expensive...

This is my third Alfine 8 hub. I have had one for 10000 road miles with absolutely no issues at all, still like brand new. Another is on a mountain bike and does less miles, but is more heavily used in the lower gears. Again, not a single issue after 2 years and a few thousand miles. The Alfine 8 is reliable and very efficient. A flat tyre requires a 15mm spanner head but this is no great issue (I recommend the PDW 3wrencho for changing tyres on a hub geared bike). The late Sheldon Brown has used QR on hub gears, but I am happy enough with bolts. The Journey has semi horizontal dropouts to allow for chain tensioning.

The Journey weighs 30lb with rack and mudguards, not that the weight matters particularly. Seems very good when loaded, but tbh I have not carried more than 10kg (ish) on it yet. There are low rider rack mounts on the front forks too. It handles well and is very comfortable, I find the Reynolds 520 frame compares really well to other steel frames I have had (531st and tange prestige). It also looks great and is nicely finished, the paintwork is really nice and has a great sheen to it and seems to have held up well to it's first winter. I find the bar top levers occasionally useful in traffic and negotiating low roofed canal towpath bridges.

Only issues for me has been the stem length which I found too long and other Ridgeback world series owners have reported similar. The stem on my 60cm model is 110mm long. I have changed it for a Ritchey adjustable height 80mm stem, which brings the bars back and up by a couple of cm and now it feels perfect. Some people feel the saddle is too soft, I feel it is OK, but perhaps not the bikes best point. My old Brooks is certainly more comfortable and I will probably change this eventually. For the commute though the stock saddle is absolutely fine, and of course not affected by wet weather.

£1150 RRP seems a bit steep, but it is a very good bike. If you see one for a good price then it is certainly worthy of consideration. I have not regretted buying it and am more than happy with Alfine gears. If the bike you have seen does have Alfine gears (i.e. is the Journey model) then £599 is a steal.

Hope this helps.