Raleigh America is getting wonderfully nichey of late, adding fixed-gears, singlespeeds and utility bikes to its stable. The 2008 Detour Deluxe is a well-designed commuter, reliable to the quick, but lacking a few special touches.
The $US710 Detour Deluxe does several things right. First, the 700c wheels roll over most everything on the pavement. The adjustable stem and riser bars allowed our riders to dial in the reach, and the smart Shimano Dynamo front hub generated power to the front and rear lighting system, with cables cleanly routed through the frame and under the rear fender. The full fenders and pannier-friendly rear rack reflected the Detour Deluxe’s true calling: transportation through all conditions. Even the Avenir wide saddle plays an important role, keeping one’s tender areas from chafing in such an upright, traffic-wary position.
Noticeably absent, however, was a kickstand. The longer chainstays and ample clerance between the lower seat tube and chainstay bridge allow for one; no doubt the product managers at Raleigh could have spec’d an all-important kickstand. Surely it’s not a weight issue. With a machine designed to be so commuter friendly, weight could have been saved by fitting a double or single front chainring versus the stock triple, or just not worrying about the extra weight at all.
The aluminum tubing is constructed well, but the compact design prompted our 5’7″ tester to really crank the seat higher than looked aesthetically proper, considering the suspension seatpost. If the Detour Deluxe is for you, choose one size larger than normal for proper fit and reach to the bars.
The Basta Pilot lighting system is an ideal touch for the Detour Deluxe. The handle three-point setting is easily accessible while riding and insulated housing protects cables from the weather. The Avenir rear pannier rack is well connected, sturdy, and lightweight, but the alloy pedals are too narrow for most shoes, cycling or non.
The 36-hole Shimano disc hubset (Dynamo DH3D front/ M475 rear) are laced to Weinmann XTB-26 double wall rims, and stayed true for the first two months on the road. Our main tester experienced six flats in two weeks; the Kenda K1053 700x35c tires may have reflective sidewalls, but the so-called Kevlar belt didn’t do anything to keep debris from puncturing the inner tubes, front or rear.
The clever addition of mechanical disc brakes clean up the lines of the fork and rear seat stays, while enabling the rider ample braking power in all conditions. The brakes were a bit tedious to dial in at first, but once the pads and rotors were aligned, there was minimal interference. The simple and effective Shimano Alivio eight speed shifters perform flawlessly, and the Ergon-style Avenir grips are a perfect fit for every hand.
The Raleigh Detour Deluxe is a steady commuter, with more positives than negatives. It was smart to spec an eight speed cassette, but silly to overlook the kickstand and choose a triple crankset. It was genius to use the Basta Pilot integrated lighting system with front Dynamo, but an oversight to use a compact frame design.
The Detour Deluxe is a step in the right direction for Raleigh, and for serious commuters looking for durability and comfort. Available in the US only.
© BikeRadar 2007