Riding the Bennett (even though it hasn’t been restored yet!)

Today was such a delightful day that when I was invited to a ride into town with a group of friends I naturally decided to go, and to ride the Bennett. The reason for this was to see how I would find it on a longer ride comfortwise. I ended up riding for close to two hours, though it was by no means a fast or a continuous, ride, and this allowed me to assess some of the components for comfort.

I had made a few adjustments to it, raising the saddle and moving it as far back as it would go so that the riding position would suit me better. I had also lowered the bars from their upturned position.

The handlebars are tiny, they are REALLY narrow, which is great for diving between cars and other traffic but that is not really the sort of riding I do, I do not need them to be so narrow, and would much prefer them to be wider. Of course, to change them would mean new brake levers as well.

The saddle, much as I love its retro shiny vinylness, is not really good for longer rides, a Brooks would be much more comfortable.

The seating position was OK when I could hold the bars in the centre, but, in order to get effective braking, using the brake levers which are placed down low rather than the ones up near the top of the bars, I had to use the drops, and this meant that my position felt as though my spine was parallel to the top bar, though I am sure this was not quite the case. I am accustomed to using aerobars from my triathlon days so it was not due to my being unaccustomed to being  in a low riding position, I just do not need to be that low to ride around town.

The gears changed smoothly, in fact everything was smooth and quiet and it is a fast ride, I noticed this especially coming up the hill that is at the end of my ride, it was much easier on my legs than the Giant or the Speedwell. I think I will have a use for such a bike if it is altered to make it more comfortable and practical I have a rack that fits it perfectly, though it is from an earlier era and that may make it look out of place. I have also ordered some mudguards for it, I guess the next order will have to be a new saddle and bars …

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8 Responses to Riding the Bennett (even though it hasn’t been restored yet!)

  1. anniebikes says:

    I see that your bar redesign will get complicated. You’ll need new brake levers, maybe longer cable housing… the good thing is the shifting levers are not on the bar. That’s one less thing to deal with. Yes, we are doing something very similar. You might consider the mustache bar like mine. I use this bar on my Miyata is the down-turned direction, but on the Ross I’m using it in the upturned way to resemble the 3-speed design. I like the versatility it allows.

    Check this out:

    This place is spendy but shows you many styles.

    Good luck!

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks for these links Annie, they are very useful! I didn’t realise that moustache bars were so versatile regarding the places where you can grip them, but the type of brake levers would obviously dictate how they could be used. I can see, too, that upgrading one thing will lead to other upgrades …I’ll be watching your work with great interest!

  2. petermc says:

    My bum hurts just looking at that saddle – I blame the Road King for that! The two bikes have much in common….

    • Vicki says:

      Funny you should say that Peter, as my bum and legs don’t hurt at all after yesterday’s ride, all my aches and pains are in my upper body today. I’d say the reason for that is that so much of my weight was on my arms! And yes, the two bikes are very similar ….

  3. Greg says:

    Fantatsic Blog. Love the pictures of your Bennett and look forward to following its restortation. I’ve owned a similar model (green in colour) since 1980. If you were to join the Giant Real Riders website (growing community of cycling enthusists) you can check out some photos I’ve posted of it. Your bike looks like it is a “supersports” where mine is a “montreal” (gears the main difference).

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks for your comment Greg, I don’t know much about Bennetts, I was given this one and it rides quite well. It is in pieces now and I will be posting about it again soon. I looked at the giant site but couldn’t find the pics you speak of.

      • Greg says:

        To see my bike photos you will need to register as a site member and then search for Greg (using advance search name criteria) or Bennett (using my bikes criteria). Look for my “Belmont” avatar. Start at http://www.giantrealriders.com.au/real-rider-community (this site is not specificaly for Giant owners, just general bike enthusiasts).

      • Vicki says:

        Greg, I joined up and looked at the photos of your Bennett, it is in great condition! It was interesting to see the headbadge painted. Mine had been painted over and there was none of the original paint on it, if it had ever been there…

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