philpw1

I've been searching for a 1 bike solution for a while now. My criteria was:-

Capable of light touring, so mounts for mudguards/racks
Sub £1500
Available in the UK
SRAM 1x groupset
Threaded BB
hydraulic brakes
Enough tyre clearance for some offroad/gravel/singletrack
Capable of having a child seat or a trailer attached
Ideally steel frame/carbon fork combo

Turns out that the requirements I have set may be a bit too limiting though as I'm struggling to find anything that ticks all the boxes. I've looked a lots of different bikes online and have ruled out carbon frames as I want to pull a trailer and most carbon frames won't have rack mounts either. I also ruled out alloy frames as I want as comfortable a ride a possible. I've been a bit flexible with my list of requirements and narrowed it down to the following 3.

1) Jamis Renegade Exploit (cons = no SRAM 1x, no framset option in order to build it up myself)

2) Genesis Croix De Fer Decade (cons = Samox BB8601 press fit BB)

3) Niner RLT 9 steel (cons = pfbb30 press fit bottom bracket, complete bike is over budget)

From a purely aesthetically POV, the Niner is my preferred option. I'd go for the frameset and build it up myself, but my brain is telling me to avoid the press fit BB like the plague as a noisy/creaky bike will give me buyers remorse.

In my search for the elusive bike to suit me I found some bikes by British company called The Light Blue.

http://www.thelightblue.co.uk/Sport/5LB5RV62O/Robinson-1x-

http://www.thelightblue.co.uk/Sport/5LB5DV12Z/Darwin-One-By-

I'm leaning towards the Darwin as opposed to the Robinson model, due to the extra tyre clearance on the Darwin.

Only thing these don't have is hydraulic brakes and they have steel forks rather than carbon, but everything else looks good. The problem is nowhere stocks the bike and they have to order it in from the manufacturer. One of my local bike shops has offered me a a ride on a similar bike to the Darwin to get a feel for the geometry. The bike they want me to test is the Specialized AWOL.

I guess the reason for this lengthy post is to ask the following questions:-

1) What are your thoughts on the two bikes by The Light Blue
2) Are there any alternative bikes you can recommend which I may want to consider?
3) Am I making too big a deal of the Press Fit BB? 
4) Is it worth getting a test ride on the AWOL? The geometry figures online don't look that similar to the Darwin tbh

Thanks

edit: review of the Robinson model available here:-

http://road.cc/content/review/174276-light-blue-robinson-rival-1x

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Enoch
You may want to look at the Raleigh Line up although Sram is not a option. After using Shimano 11 speed, I don't know why any one would even consider Sram.

As far the Press Fit issue, Praxis and WHeels Manufacturing makes some excellant conversions. I've installed several without any issues.

Only thing I saw on the Light Blue that caught my eye was the steepish Headangle on the 56cm model. 

I'm wanting a Carbon bike myself and the Jamis Renegade and Raleigh Roker are at the top of list. I'm not wanting a warmed over cross bike, I'm wanting full commitment Slack Gravel type geometry. Low BB (at least 70mm drop), Long Wheelbase, Slack head angles (71 or less) MUST be able to run at least 40c tires.
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philpw1

Enoch wrote:
You may want to look at the Raleigh Line up

Carbon and Alloy only. No steel frames, at least not in the UK.

Enoch wrote:
As far the Press Fit issue, Praxis and WHeels Manufacturing makes some excellant conversions. I've installed several without any issues.

That's an option I guess, if I find the perfect bike except for it being press fit. I assume that the converter would allow me to retain use of the same cranks or with a change of BB using the converter would I be using a different spindle size and need a new crankset too?


Enoch wrote:
Only thing I saw on the Light Blue that caught my eye was the steepish Headangle on the 56cm model. 


Was that on the Darwin or the Robinson? The Darwin is the one I'm leaning towards, but no reviews of it yet.

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Enoch
The Robinson had the steeper headangle.

If you use a BB adapter, you can only use cranks with a 24mm spindle
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BluesDawg
Wheels Mfg. also makes good replacement press fit BBs so you could use the stock crank. But I would only change if I actually experienced problems with the stock setup, not just because I read that I might.

I saw a Niner RLT steel bike in a shop last week and it was a real beauty.

As for your 4th question in the original post, yes it would be worth testing the AWOL. I'm loving mine.
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DrSpoke
The LBC bikes both look very nice.  The weight on the Robinson looks good, especially w/the steel fork, but I agree w/you on the tire size limitation.  And you can also change to a carbon fork at a future date.  They do look like straight tubes rather than the current tapered versions.  And hydraulic brakes would be nice as well.

I think I just bought the bike you want at only very slightly higher than your budget:
http://www.ninerbikes.com/IMBA
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DrSpoke
And +1 on the BB comments.  The Niner comes w/press fit.  I'm going to run it OEM until and/or if I get problems and, if so, convert to the Wheels Manufacturing.  That said, I don't expect any isssues.  I've run PF92 on my Pivot for 2 years, hard, w/no issues.  I think most of the creaking is the old BB30 setup.
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philpw1

DrSpoke wrote:
The LBC bikes both look very nice.  The weight on the Robinson looks good, especially w/the steel fork, but I agree w/you on the tire size limitation.  And you can also change to a carbon fork at a future date.  They do look like straight tubes rather than the current tapered versions.  And hydraulic brakes would be nice as well.

I think I just bought the bike you want at only very slightly higher than your budget:
http://www.ninerbikes.com/IMBA

I looked at the Imba limited edition, but shipping to the UK was going to be £150!!! Plus, I need to get it from a LBS for tax reasons as there's a cyclescheme my work offer where they only deduct 70% of the value of the bike from my salary.

Lovely bikes though, congrats on winning the auction.

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DrSpoke
I didn't really need another bike as I recently picked up a Ridley X-Trail for gravel and mixed pavement/dirt riding.  So I bid sort of expecting (hoping) and not really wanting to win.  Regardless, I won it for the lowest price of the 10 bikes offered.  And now I'm pretty excited to get it.  Should be here in, hopefully, a couple more weeks but more likely 3 or 4.  It comes with the new Blackburn bikepacking gear and hope to use it for just that. 

I live in Escondido, CA and we have a great shop here - BikeBling.  They will negotiate on anything and I'm sure can ship anywhere.  And, of course, carry Niner bikes.  I know the owner though on a more casual than friendship basis.  But would be happy to help if I can.  Oops, they only ship Niners to USA.  Anyway, let me know if I can help.

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DrSpoke
Does Performance Bikes sell/ship international?  That is where I got my Ridley.  And a friends picked up a GT Grade carbon for what I think is a great price - $2,000 along w/an additional 20% ($400) in points against future purchases.  And it's a VERY nice bike.

GT Grade:  http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1185360_-1___

My X-Trail:  http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1185378_-1___000000
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philpw1
DrSpoke wrote:
Does Performance Bikes sell/ship international?  That is where I got my Ridley.  And a friends picked up a GT Grade carbon for what I think is a great price - $2,000 along w/an additional 20% ($400) in points against future purchases.  And it's a VERY nice bike.

GT Grade:  http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1185360_-1___

My X-Trail:  http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1185378_-1___000000

They do deliver to the UK, although both bikes can be purchased locally. I actually looked on their website as they had a GT Grade with SRAM 1x a while ago (not sure if they still have) but I decided against both the GT Grade and the X-Trail as they're carbon. I test rode the Grade and I liked it. It felt a bit twitchy in the frontend so I think I needed to go up a size, but carbon bikes aren't designed to tow a kiddy trailer and I've got a 2 year old and another on the way so I see myself doing a fare bit of towing in the coming years.
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