The Raleigh Passage 4.0
I finally decided to get back into bicycling, but over the past two decades, it seemed the spandex wearing skinny tired weight wienie race boys and their outdoorsy testosterone poisoned mountain biking brethren had taken over bicycling. Bicycling was no longer fun. It was no longer a way of getting around. It was a "sport", a way of life, and worse, a fierce and distasteful game of one-up-manship. I was much more of a beach cruiser type guy, but I could still appreciate the lightweight, geared mindset, just to get around town quickly, cheaply, efficiently, and to carry a few things on the way. I wanted a durable bike though, not a finicky carbon fibered anorexic space aged contraption.
Thus, when I went shopping for a bike, I was pleased to find a Raleigh in traditional British Racing Green. Yeah, OK, it's fabricated in China, not Nottingham, but the thought processes are still Raleigh. It's a Raleigh Passage 4.0, a nicely conceived hybrid bicycle. The "Hybrid" class of bikes is a blend of the mountain bike and the lightweight road bike, giving birth to a new breed, a bike for people like me, people who just want to get around efficiently and in relative comfort.
The riding position on the Passage can be altered through manipulation of the adjustable handlebar stem and seat post. I purchased a 21 inch version, and it seems like the first time in years that a bicycle has actually fit me. It has a pneumatic seat post to help smooth out bumps, as well as an oil filled SR-NEX 4010 hydraulic front fork to dampen knocks awaiting me ahead. The white tape trim is reflective, providing an additional margin of safety at dusk. The frame is lightweight aluminum. The components are made by Shimano. Rubber is 26 inch Kenda 700's.
The Raleigh Passage 4.0 came with a very cushy spring laden seat made by Avenir. For me, it just did not sit right. I was starting to see this bike as a reincarnation of the Austin Healey Sprite. Only one seat would do, a Brooks, so I ordered up a Champion Flyer Special. This is a sprung single rail saddle that fits right on the Raleigh micro-adjustable seat post. In a honey color, is the perfect complement to the British Racing Green.
The Raleigh Passage 4.0 has a total of 24 gears, selected by Shimano EZ-Fire levers on the handlebars. Gear swaps are performed by a Shimano Acera rear derailleur matched with a Shimano C50 forward derailleur. Good, reliable stuff.
It is difficult to not like this bike. It has the feel of quality that exceeds it's $349 new bike shop price. It's understated and classy, without a bunch of stickers in eye assaulting colors to grab attention. I did not have to do much more to make it into exactly the bike I wanted for standard get around and get the job done duty. I removed the rubber pedals and installed aluminum platform pedals. They will be more durable, and the spikes help keep my feet on the pedals despite dew or rain. I eschew toeclips. Finally, I installed a rear rack on the bike. A rack increases the utility of any bicycle immeasurably.
So, if the thought of being unable or unwilling to blend into the beautiful young Tour de' France wannabe set, the tanned and rugged mountain bike crowd, or the pierced and angry punk bikers has kept you away from bicycling, think again. There are bikes out there for the rest of us.