You gotta love a nice classic steel bike. For my daily commuter I’m rolling on a classic hand built steel lugged road bike that has been converted in to a single speed. It’s been reborn over and over for whatever my current needs were at the time, and has served as a geared road bike for long distance rides, to use as a fixed gear. These days it is rolling with the hub flipped around with a free wheel, but there is something to be said for a frame that is this versatile. The only bummer is that it is an old race frame, and lacks commuter friendly extras like rack and fender mounts.
When we came across the Raleigh Roper steel cyclecross bike, it stopped us in our tracks. I love the basic no-frills color scheme- gray and black go with everything, and the blue accents just rock. Raleigh’s graphic designer has a serious fan here. Although the total weight on the bike is a bit on the portly side for a race bike, it does mean that for a daily driver this bike has the potential to last decades, assuming its half the bike of my current commuter. Highlights include a full Shimano 105 group, with a number of house branded parts and Joytech hubs to keep the price down. The Roper embraces the future with disc brakes front and rear, which means stopping shouldn’t be an issue whether its wet or dry out. It is also commuter ready with fender and rack mounts and dual water bottle cages. The only way this ride could be more versatile is if it was it was single speed friendly rear dropouts.
What? It is single speed-able? Shut the front door. The frame uses the new BB30 standard for the bottom bracket. I initially was opposed to BB30, as I’m not a fan of press in bottom brackets. However, then I found that an aftermarket option for converting the BB30 to an eccentric bottom bracket exists, and that opens the door to even more possible configurations for this bike. This model from Beer Components looks like it would work swell. I’m still not sold on BB30 for full suspension mountain bikes, but for rigid frames it gives this frame options. (Unless BB30 is replaced by something else a few years from now, but even then you should be able to source off the shelf bearings to fit) The Roper would be a welcome addition to any stable of bikes, and stands out as one of the most versatile option-filled machines currently available.
The Roper retails for about $1499.
Check it out: Raleigh Roper Steel Cyclecross bike