Within the last two years I have participated in several races. These include the The Color Run, Warrior Dash, and Go Far Women’s Half (in which I participated in the 2 person relay). My new found love of running fun races eventually lead to bigger goals. I wanted to start hitting PR’s (personal records) and really challenge my body. This lead to races such as the Fargo Half Marathon and the Maple Grove Lifetime Tri.
Yep, that’s right I am a triathlete! With my old Raleigh 10 speed from the 1970’s that was gifted to me, running shoes, and a swim suit I set out to race in my very first Triathlon! This first tri, for me, was more about the logistics of how a triathlon even works and just being able to finish. I set out solo and met some great people in my wave of “first timers”. Overall, the tri was a success! I finished in about 1:45:00, but I quickly learned during the biking portion, my bike would not cut it for another race.
Fast forward to the present, I have recently purchased a home within one of the most bike friendly cities in the U.S., Minneapolis! With my love of racing and now living right off of the greenway spurred my recent purchase of a brand new bike!
I am new to the biking community and really only know the basics but everyone’s got to start somewhere right? That’s what spurred my idea for this post; a great new workout and lot’s of learnings about the biking world that would be beneficial to share.
Drum roll please…
Meet my new baby Sierra!
I pretty much name everything with wheels.
She is a Raleigh Capri Aluminum 1.0 2015.
The Raleigh Capri is an endurance road bike built specifically for women. She has an aluminum frame for the beginning biker which is great for both commuting and beginning to race (though if you get serious, start looking at those sweet carbon bikes). The price is just right at about $649.99 for your basic level bike. I purchased mine at my local Erik’s Bike Shop in St Louis Park, Minnesota. I love the staff here, very friendly and helpful. Plus they give you two years of tuning when you purchase a new bike! They run several sales throughout the year and offer free financing options if that price up front scares you, but it’s so worth it! I love shopping at Erik’s Bike Shop because not only do they have bikes, but they have boards too!
Let’s dig into this bike a bit.
I trust the Raleigh brand but like any millennial, I did my research before purchase. I could not find many detailed reviews on this bike but the few things I did find were very positive. After having this bike for almost two months now, I thought it was time to write my own review in hopes to help others.
With an aluminum frame I have found this bike to be super light and very responsive to my movements. It turns almost too well, but I am still getting used to it since my last bike was a steel beast. This to me is a great quality to have as to avoid accidents especially when racing, I can easily maneuver out of danger. Don’t let the weight of the bike fool you though, this bike is sturdy and will hold up to the bumps which it glides nicely over.
WARNING: This bike also stops on a dime. Due to the nature of the wheels of a road bike and how light it is, don’t lose control and let it slide out from under you. I’ve been close! I was able to avoid some collisions on the trails due to this quick stop, definitly a great feature.
The shifting on this bike is pretty slick with the ticking sideways of your break handles. Though awkward to get used to I have come to love this because all my controls are at my fingertips, literally. No shuffling your hands around. The needle at the top of where the handlebar starts to curl lets you know which gear you are in on each side so when you are racing or your elevation is continuously changing it is seamless to switch between gears.
My first spin out I rode 16 miles! This wasn’t even on purpose just happens when exploring the trails on an awesome new bike. I the North Cedar Trail which goes from St Louis Park to downtown Minneapolis. This is fairly flat with some gradual inclines and declines so I got to play around with the gears quite a bit. I did have an issue once I got close to home I shifted into the lower gears and my chain jammed and locked up. I seem to be talented at having the flukes in products. I brought it back to Erik’s Bike Shop and they fixed it with less than a day’s turnaround.
After a few more stops into Erik’s due to continued shifting troubles, I found out that I did not understand the proper shifting of this bike. This may have caused the previous jam to happen. Please remember, this is my first nice road bike.
I discovered that I was both shifting too hard and not enough. What does that mean? Easy does it with this bike on the right (or rear) gears, you really don’t have to crank as the transition is effortless otherwise you may skip gears. A simple tapping sideways of the gears will do just fine. Remember, light on right! Whereas the left (or front) gears have only two cogs so you do need to crank that chain over.
Gear Tuning & Trimming
This bike also features trim functionality where you can adjust how the chain weaves through the parts of the cogs so as to not rub when it is at an angle between the front and rear cogs. This is activated by slightly adjusting the needle on the left gear but not completely cranking over to the next ring. The left shifter is tough on this bike and after visiting the shop a few times I have come to find out that is a known factor because it is a basic model. You would have to upgrade the shifter for a smoother transition.
For more information on proper shifting I found this great article “The Basics of Bike Shifting“.
This bike is a true road bike, it does not have the suspension that you find on mountain bikes so padded biker shorts are a must for distance riding. Also watching ahead for bumps in the road so you raise your tush off the seat will save your rump (and your tires). Do not opt for the padded seat covers as I have been informed by a bike shop employee that they are not safe for long rides since they do not form to your butt, they can actually cut off circulation.
However I have found that even though this bike doesn’t have suspension it is still very comfortable. It is so light I fly across small cracks and bumps with ease. With the different aspects combined of having your bike fitted properly with your height and style of seat, handlebars and wheel size this bike is very comfortable to ride distances under 10 miles without my biker shorts. Please note this is a personal opinion, maybe your tush is more sensitive but this is coming from someone who wears bike shorts to spin class and her rump is sore for days after still.
This bike comes in sizes for women who are 5’0″ to 5’11”. This chart was taken directly from the Raleigh website here.
In all, even with initial frustrations on shifting I love this bike and would give it 4.5 stars. I believe it is a great bike for the beginning/intermediate biker. It’s an affordable price to dip your toes into the biking and racing world when your not ready to leap for a performance bike. It’s also a great bike to zip around town on.
The Raleigh Capri 1.0 provides a light bike to commute easily with without too much sweat while also able to get those high speeds when racing. It is very comfortable when fitted properly and easily customizable. I will be riding this bike for the next few years until I’m ready to upgrade to the next level.
It’s time to accessorize the bike to my wants and needs. There are so many options! Special wheels for the sports you intend, water bottle holder, colored handlebar tape and more. Also to extend your training season for those in the cold weather like myself you can get a bike trainer and bring your bike indoors.
Personally the first thing I did was put a water bottle holder on it, it is very important to stay hydrated! I also got a sweet phone holder so I can both listen to music and track my workout. My friend Christina over at Four Season Fit showed me one of her favorite tracking apps that I have become obsessed with and highly recommend, Endomondo. Be sure to find me so we can be friends! Of course the other thing I added right away was my GoPro handlebar mount! I keep moving it to different bars on my bike, experimenting with different shots.
I would highly recommend getting a bell too. This is something I will be grabbing this weekend. Yelling “Left!” with headphones blasting in your ears seems to be a bit disturbing to the people ahead.
I love recommendations for biking upgrades myself! Feel free to comment below with your “must have’s”.