I had an old Specialized Expedition Deluxe touring bike from the 80's for a while. I trained for and then rode the 2007 Seattle-to-Portland ride on it. It was my main ride for a while, even edging a Romulus I had at the time. I didn't know as much about bikes as I do now, but the standard-sized diameter tubes it has probably contribute to the responsive yet supple ride quality it has. In Fall 2008, I sold it to fund the down payment of my Ebisu All Purpose, thinking that I would keep the Romulus alongside the Ebisu. I ended up selling the Romulus later also, and learned and changed somewhat my preference of bikes--toward bigger tires mostly on 650b wheel size, standard-diameter tubing, and higher offset at the fork. I am really happy with 2 out of 3 in my stable--the Ebisu and my Kogswell P/R, but have moved through several bikes as the third--my Romulus, a Raleigh One-Way, a Rawland cSogn, and most recently a Rivendell Bleriot.
I actually like the Bleriot quite a bit. It's an attractive bike that fits 40mm tires with fenders, and rides fairly well. It feels different from my Ebisu and Kogswell in that it had oversize tubes and lower fork offset, and I sit somewhat differently on it than my other two bikes even though they are the same size. The Bleriot was a capable climber that at times felt spriter than my Kogswell during off-the-saddle spirited climbs, and definitely more edgy on the descent. I had suited it up well, and had plans to keep it for a long time.
The clearance on the frameset allows me to use 650bx37mm tires on it with 49mm Honjo Fenders. However, both the fork crown and the chainstays were too narrow for the fenders. instead of cutting the fenders to fit, I pressed the fenders to fit by fastening the 5mm bolts to the frameset. I put some rim tape to dampen the vibration that manifested as creaking noises during rides.
The bike rides great! I put about 200 miles in the first month since I built it up. The 650b fat tires plus the more flexy standard-sized tubes make for a comfortable ride, and the short and shallow but flared drops of on-one Midge keeps me pretty comfortable for long stretches of road. After testing it for a while, I will bring the bike to Ukiah where I work part of the week. It will be capable of going on paved or unpaved roads and let me get out even at night with its dynamo lighting.
Here is the part list:
-- Specialized Sequoia frameset with original headset; powdercoated by previous owner
-- matching color blackburn rear rack
-- Velocity Dyad/Shimano LX wheelset 650b 32h; front hub is a dynahub, similar to the DH-3n80
-- Panaracers Col de la Vie tires; measured 37mm on the Dyads
-- 8-speed sram cassette 11-32T
-- Velo Orange Chrome crankset 50/36T
--Shimano XT low normal rear derailleur
-- Shimano 105 double front derailleur
-- Laprade 26.6mm seatpost
-- Terry saddle
-- On-One midge handlebar, with 3 layers of cloth bar tapes
-- Tektro brake levers
-- Dia Compe Mod 750 center-pull brakes with modern brake shoe/pads
-- Suntour non-ratchet shifter on the right and silver shifter on the left; shifter housing under the bar tape
-- B&M IQ Cyo senso front LED lamp
-- Plant Bike Blinkie
-- Honjo 48mm fluted fenders
-- Velo Orange Front Constructeur Rack
-- Velo Orange Campangne boxy front bag
-- Rivendell Banana saddle bag
-- Velo Orange threadless stem 9cm 6 degree with VO stem adapter
-- Brass bell