a Cross Country Rider
from SF, CA
Date Reviewed: September 25, 2008
Strengths: Cheap, Made in USA, easy to set up the front der. and get the bike back into a condition suitable for commuting
Weaknesses: Heavy, poor cheapo Tektro brakes, stock tiny grips are uncomfortable even with gloves
For fifty bucks at a flea market, I found a bike that, with some cleaning and setup of the front derailleur, is just fine for a daily seven mile commute.
The frame is not as forgiving as my Rockhopper, which I really enjoy taking on trails. On a recent trail ride, I found this bike isn't much fun as a "real" mountain bike. The low gearing isn't low enough to get up steep hills, the bike is a heavy pig, the rigid fork isn't forgiving at all on the rocks and bumps. Also, the Kenda tires, with plenty of tread left, suck and wash out constantly in sand.
As a commuter, the knobbies at 45psi are plenty comfy for city riding, the upright seating is acceptable but does put plenty of weight on your hands. I'll probably cut some OURY grips for more comfort.
Similar Products Used: Steel Specialized Rockhopper rigid fork
Bike Setup: 7 speed Shimano SIS drivetrain, gripshifts, Tektro brakes and levers, Alex X101 rims, no-name hubs, Selle Stratos saddle with a nice big rip in it, Kenda knobbies
from San Marcos, TX
Date Reviewed: February 23, 2005
Strengths: Still going strong after 2 years of constant use, but there is one caveat, read the bottom line...
Weaknesses: Nothing anymore, I upgraded them all
This is my update to my previous post. I just realized that I posted that first review the day I bought the bike. I guess I was quick to judge it, but I think I was right. Funny thing is, I upgraded every component except for the fork and headset. Oh yeah, I actually paid $134.95, not $139 since I just found my receipt.
It all started because I didnt like gripshift. I switched to a set of STX rapidfire pods. Then, I found the brake levers which were designed to fit against a gripshifter very uncomfortable, so I figured I needed new levers. Tried to find cheap levers, but ended up finding a set of Avids for as cheap as some Tektros, so I decided I would buy some Alivio v-brakes as well, as not to have a mix-breed quality/crap brakeset. Then I wanted better derailleurs and a nicer crankset than the TY-33 junk, so I found myself with a nicely equipped cheapo steel frame. Figuring the last thing I had to upgrade were the wheels, I did that too. Once you get in that deep, you might as well go for it, dont ya think?
So, the bottom line is that my bike isn't stock, so there isn't much to compare to a regular M20. However, I do think if it still had the original parts, it would still be running well today. In fact, many of those parts made it onto my bro-in-law's bike, which is still going strong (unless the dude he sold it to completely trashed it out in the two weeks it has been serving as a downtown pedi-cab).
Similar Products Used: Huffy 20" "hood bike", Murray 24" POS-MTB, Huffy Scout mtb, Diamondback Apex, Raleigh M60, Madwagon City, Trek 400, Trek 700, Jamis Boss Cruiser, Jamis Explorer single speed convert, Cannondale SR500, Kona Kikapu, Cinelli single speed townie soon to be fully geared Campy equpped retro road bike (I just listed every single bike I have owned, some of which I still have)
Bike Setup: STX/Alivio/Deore/SRAM drivetrain, Mavic 221 rims on Alivio hubs, Alivio v-brakes, Avid SD-2.0 levers, Titec hell-bent h-bar, Profile Boa stem, and some big fatty fat fat slicks
the real fatcat
a Cross Country Rider
from los angeles
Date Reviewed: February 15, 2004
Strengths: This is only a frame/rigid fork combo that I bought. I saw it NEW sitting in the back storage area of the bike shop. Its older than 1999, because its the kind with top pull brake routing. I believe its a 1997 or 98? Its metallic green and in mint condition. Its componants were stripped except for headset/fork/frame. One reason I bought it was because it was the one of the last MADE IN USA frames Raleigh cranked out before heading out to China. The bike is beefy, rigid, cromoly strong and is a great commuter.
Weaknesses: The 1" headtube. There are very few 1" steerer tubed suspension forks to choose from. I believe Manitou and Rockshox are the only suppliers, and those are just 76mm or 80 mm travel max. But better than nothing. Other than that a $220 msrp bike---if you complain about anything, you should complain how cheap you are for buying one. However this Made in USA, old RaleighUSA model is a keeper!
This green rigid fugly is a great commuter bike. Strong and no flex, it gets you from point A top point B in no comfort at all, but takes very little time doing so.
On trails, it climbs very well, not a lightweight-- the cromoly frame is heavier than some others, but steel is real and it feels nice on the downhills.
It will take alot to destroy this frame, Raleigh still makes the M20, but now with tensel steel.
I will probably order a 1" threadless headset from pricepoint.com and buy a 1" tubed RockShox fork from A Bicycle Station bikeshop in Los Angeles, where I bought the frame/fork combo. He has a few new/oldies in boxes at his shop. However my question is that can a 1" roadbike stem handle offroad use? Or do I have to keep the threaded 1" headset--the Rockshox fork can use both.
Similar Products Used: Schwinn Moad2, Mongoose Rockadile, Santa Cruz Chameleon, Specialized Rockhopper. For trails--Hardtails suck, they're time is over! Use them for commuter bikes, y'all!
Bike Setup: Shimano XT Vee-brakes and Levers---$100. Mavic 221 rims and Shimano Deore hubs---$120. Easton EC70 carbon straight bar---$75. Shimano Deore Hollowtech crank----$75. All that stuff cost more than the bike was originally worth, but comfort and reliablity is a good thing.
from Austin, TX
Date Reviewed: January 22, 2003
Strengths: Cheap, Strong frame, no frill functionality, and MADE IN THE USA
Weaknesses: heavy, cheesy brakes
This review is for the 2001 M20. I needed to replace my old Huffy which Im way too tall for now and its starting to wear out, so blah blah blah I needed a new bike. I needed a bike with nothing fancy, just a good, strong, reliable bike. I just got is so these are my initial impressions. It has a big strong steel frame. Its heavy, but that is no importance to me despite my brief stints of weight nazism with my mountain bike. The bike rides very nice with the slick tires I installed on it. The only thing I can really complain about are the brake. They are pretty cheesy feeling and have lots of flex, but it still stops the bike quick. I think the best thing about this bike is the overall build quality. 2001 was the last year Raleigh built its bike here in the US, so I am happy to have found a leftover new 2001. Best part about that is I scored it for $139. Think about this one for a second, I bought a brand new quality US made bicycle for less than 150 bones, that is freakin value.
Similar Products Used: my old Huffy (lasted 6 years and is still goin)
Bike Setup: I put a bell on it, ding ding
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 13, 2000
Strengths: First real mountain bike
Weaknesses: Seat is kind of uncomfortable
I didn't want anything fancy, just a plain bike I could ride to work on. I wanted to be able to put a rear rack on it, or maybe a child seat in the future. I can do all of this with the M20. It's been a great bike for the price. I haven't had to get it tuned up or anything, it has held up terrifically. I give it 5 stars.