I have always preferred 29 inch/700c wheels on bikes for the road, probably partly out of habit
and partly because I am 6'4", in any case I am really pleased with the current popularity/fad of
29 inch wheels. Bikes as a whole have gotten hugely expensive, granted the parts are top notch
and miles ahead of the old days, but still, even a decent starter bike costs a ton new. Part of the
problem is probably the complexity of modern bikes, with indexed shifting, a berjillion gear hub
and a level of precision that would have been unavailable to all but the top racing teams 15 years
ago. I don't know about you, but as a semi out of shape middle age dude, I don't use half of the
gears on my bike and probably use closer to 1/4 of them (keep in mind I am in a congested
urban environment that is not too hilly). I got my bike for about 1/3 of retail price because it
has a large frame, was a 2 year old model on clearance and the dealer was discontinuing that
manufacturer. What I am getting at is that I never would have ponied up full boat for this bike.
All of this brings me to the modern 29er, the Marin Hamilton is a single speeder, but it has a low
enough gearing that it could probably meet most of my modest needs and it's pretty cheap at
a tick over $400. The only thing it's lacking IMHO is a multi speed hub, in this case the Shimano
8 speed sealed hub. Seriously, add that modest gearing and it will easily cover all my needs.
Well, almost. The handlebars need work. Straight handlebars suck as far as I am concerned,
there are just too few hand position/riding posture options to make them comfortable. I prefer
Nitto Albatross style bars, which are remarkably similar to old skool 3 speed bars, either that or
Japanese style mustache handlebars (which I have not tried but look promising). So, add the
Albatross and the gear hub and u are in business. For those of you generationally challenged,
here is a picture of modern Albatross bars.