Monday, May 22, 2006


It must be that time of year again: people are starting to buy bicycles on Ebay. How, you might ask, do I know? Well, my last twenty searches of the day have all been looking for a review of the Dawes Lightning series of bicycles. As far as I know, you can only find these on Ebay. (though they do have a website)

Well, I know how hard it was for me to find a review from anyone who had actually seen much less ridden one of these, so I decided to write one.

I bought the DAwes Lightning DLX. For those of you searching Ebay for this item, that's the one selling for 295usd, and coming with shimano STI shifting (shift on brake). I bought the red one, and I think the green one is ugly.

But seriously, let me tell you about the bike.

First off, it is heavy. It is a steel bike, and NOT aluminum. Anyone looking for a "racing" bike should look somewhere else, this is not it. This is a touring bike. That means if you like to ride, and ride a lot, or long distance, this is for you. If you are looking to set a new TT record, this is not even close. I would say, with water bottles and a bike bag (with tools) you could easily be pushing 30lbs.

But before that scares you off, remember it is steel. That means your ride will be SMOOTH. Like butter. Steel absorbs more of the road inclusion than aluminum, or even carbon. It is THE BEST material to ride long distance on because of this and its natural flex. If you can afford titanium, you might feel a better ride, but then you wouldn't be looking into this bike, would you?

That out of the way, this stacks up very well with most entry level bikes offered by Trek, Specialized, etc. Remember, those are aluminum bikes, so they will weigh less. Probably a good 5 lbs less, to be quite honest. But they come with the exact same components. In fact, my friend bought a Specialed Allez Triple, and it had ALL the same stuff, except for the stem.

The alex rims are double wall, but not as nice as the ALX series you will find on some bikes at the Local Bike Shop (LBS). They are fairly bomb proof, though, and in the year I road on them (probably around 200-300 miles weekly, more on "trip" weekends) I had to true them ONCE. They are heavy, though, and this is a good area to drop some weight, if you can afford it. On Ebay someone is always selling the Vuelta XRP rim set for 99usd. Get those if you want a nice affordable deep aero rim with less weight. They even match the red bike.

The bike, contrary to the description, does NOT come assembled, or even close. Be ready to give a good two hours to set up and tuning before you can ride it. It's not hard set up, it just takes a lot of tinkering to get the STI shifters smooth. I really think people need to be clear about that up front. If you do not know ho to do this, expect to take it to your LBS and pay them around 30-40 to do it for you.

"Chicabike" the seller, is VERY nice, and will answer honestly everything you ask of her. Shipping for the product was supersonic quick, and well packed. Her support after the product arrives is top notch, and she really wants to make everything as easy and fast as possible.

Finally, I sold my Dawes this year, back on ebay. I paid, total, 330usd for the bike, road it hard for a year, and sold it, I think, for 260usd. That is pretty good considering the miles I put on it, and that I sold it without having to ship it (which means actually it only depreciated 40 bucks). The bike retains the value, I think, because it is built like a tank. It really did look as good as when I bought it, and everything on the bike remained true and nice.

In summary, if you are reading this and are looking for a nice entry level road bike, a commuter, or a touring bike, and you are wondering whether this is a good value: it is. Do not worry about buying an "unnamed" bike off ebay, save yourself some cash, and buy it. You will easily pay 200usd more to get the same thing at the LBS. If you are reading this and want an impressive racer: move on. This just isn't for you.

Hope this helps all you people stumbling on this site looking for a good review. Feel free to email me with more questions.

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