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  1. #76
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Flic- Thorn proof tubes are next to useless. Looking into buying some puncture touring resistant tires, such as the Schwalbe Marathon or Marathon Plus. Those actually work. They are expensive, but worth every penny. (not that you use pennies..... )

  2. #77
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    mannnnnnnn ok I'll look at different shorts, thanks amaferanga :-) and will get back onto Africabybike.

    You know IronMac... A few years ago I would have definitely agreed with you dude. I remember watching this kid go off to sail around the world solo and when he left he forgot some vital pieces of equipment for navigation, couldn't even run spinnaker sheets and pretty much everyone said "well he ain't coming back". But somehow the dude made, he remains the youngest kid to have ever sailed around the world solo. When he got back we went sailing together and I was SHOCKED by how little he still knew (like he didn't know how to use a tiller?!). I've come to the conclusion that people are capable of a lot more than they think they are. Not trying to be rude or anything, just hoping hardcore that you're wrong is all!!!

    jurjan thankyou, I will have a nice day :-) you too.

    Ziemas... can you explain why thorn resistant tubes are useless? I'm not saying I don't believe you (not at all!), I'd just like to know why. The kid who was telling me about them said he'd had glass sticking into his tyre and that the tube still hadn't punctured. I mean I can see how puncture resistant tyres would be usefull too, but why not both (except that the tubes are heavier?) Just would like to know for the sake of knowledge. Cheers mate

    I hope you're all having fun riding and all of that. :-) stoked.

  3. #78
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flic
    Ziemas... can you explain why thorn resistant tubes are useless? I'm not saying I don't believe you (not at all!), I'd just like to know why. The kid who was telling me about them said he'd had glass sticking into his tyre and that the tube still hadn't punctured. I mean I can see how puncture resistant tyres would be usefull too, but why not both (except that the tubes are heavier?) Just would like to know for the sake of knowledge. Cheers mate

    I hope you're all having fun riding and all of that. :-) stoked.
    Because they don't work. See the following thread.....

    Do thorn-resistant tubes work?

  4. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by amaferanga
    So you are aware that most of the journey (probably 80% or more) from Cairo to Cape Town can be done on asphalt if one so desires? Doesn't sound that hard to me and indeed it is not. Of course if you believe the Tour d'Afrique website then it is THE most difficult journey on Earth.
    No, I am not aware that you can do the journey on asphalt. But, what sort of asphalt are we talking about? The stuff you get between Toronto and Montreal? Or the rough stuff you get on the way in to Wadi Rum in Jordan?

    And, personally, I'd rather believe the Tour d'Afrique website than someone who's never been there before. I also think it's idiotic to use the Murphy example who's a grandmother-figure compared to a young lass. NO ONE's going to harass a granny on a bike!

  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flic
    You know IronMac... A few years ago I would have definitely agreed with you dude. I remember watching this kid go off to sail around the world solo and when he left he forgot some vital pieces of equipment for navigation, couldn't even run spinnaker sheets and pretty much everyone said "well he ain't coming back". But somehow the dude made, he remains the youngest kid to have ever sailed around the world solo. When he got back we went sailing together and I was SHOCKED by how little he still knew (like he didn't know how to use a tiller?!). I've come to the conclusion that people are capable of a lot more than they think they are. Not trying to be rude or anything, just hoping hardcore that you're wrong is all!!!
    Jesse Martin sailed from Belize to Tahiti with a group before he undertook his circumnavigation. He probably spent half of his life on the water. It's not as if he simply decided one day to purchase a boat to go sailing off. To make it clear, though, I think that that would be much more likely to result in your death than a ride through Africa.

    The odds are that you can do the trip but those odds would be a lot better if you had done touring before.

  6. #81
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    There's a book called "Cold Beer and Crocodiles" about a guy who bike around Australia almost ten years ago. It's one that should give you some idea of what to expect on an extreme bike trip.

    If you're dead set on this trip, here are some words of advice:

    A. Learn how to fix your bike. It would be great if you could do more than simply fix a flat. Try to cram in a repair course before you leave.
    B. Steel frame is recommended since any breaks can be welded by some guy with a blowtorch.
    C. Don't cheap out on gear because it will come back to haunt you.
    D. PM "Machka" on this board since she's done long-distance touring and can probably give you great advice.
    E. Clean water is a priority.
    F. Money will solve almost any problem but don't keep it on you.

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronMac
    No, I am not aware that you can do the journey on asphalt. But, what sort of asphalt are we talking about? The stuff you get between Toronto and Montreal? Or the rough stuff you get on the way in to Wadi Rum in Jordan?

    And, personally, I'd rather believe the Tour d'Afrique website than someone who's never been there before. I also think it's idiotic to use the Murphy example who's a grandmother-figure compared to a young lass. NO ONE's going to harass a granny on a bike!
    We're talking some perfect asphalt (the Chinese build some damn fine roads), some with occasional potholes, but asphalt all the same.

    Why don't you believe me instead of the Tour d'Afrique website? I've got nothing to gain from exaggerating the difficulty in cycling Cairo to Cape, where as the Tour d'Afrique are trying to make the trip sound like a huge challenge even with all the support and back up. With the exception of Sudan and Egypt (and Somalia) I've cycled in all the countries likely to be on Flic's route so I'm speaking from experience, not basing my views on something I read somewhere.

    I don't see why the Dervla Murphy comparison is idiotic actually. Young or old she is still a woman and my point was that there's no reason why women can't do such a trip.

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    Bike shorts will be useful for comfort but they should be worn with no underwear and clean every day or you will get saddle sore infections. You can wear lightweight shorts or anything else over them for modesty/local customs.

    Gloves will protect your hands from serious skinning if you fall. A skinned hand is a horrible injury that puts you out of action for weeks and can get infected without medical care. Wear gloves with leather palms. Gel gloves are designed to protect against vibration as well but I prefer plain padding.

    The std expedition touring tyre is Schwalbe Marathon XR.
    I use plain marathon and it is a tough, reliable tyre. The Plus version is even tougher and the XR is super tough and durable. Good but not cheap.

    When you get your bike get someone to show you how to do basic emergency repairs and practice them yourself. It isn't that difficult:
    Puncture repair.
    Replacing spoke
    Fix snapped chain (with chain tool on multitool)
    Adjusting hub bearings.

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by amaferanga
    We're talking some perfect asphalt (the Chinese build some damn fine roads), some with occasional potholes, but asphalt all the same.
    First, the Chinese have only built roads in two countries that I'm aware of and they may not be the ones that Flic would be using.

    Quote Originally Posted by amaferanga
    Why don't you believe me instead of the Tour d'Afrique website? I've got nothing to gain from exaggerating the difficulty in cycling Cairo to Cape, where as the Tour d'Afrique are trying to make the trip sound like a huge challenge even with all the support and back up. With the exception of Sudan and Egypt (and Somalia) I've cycled in all the countries likely to be on Flic's route so I'm speaking from experience, not basing my views on something I read somewhere.
    Sorry did not realize that you did most of the countries already. But, aren't you the one who posted that using a cheap bike leads to no end of problems? And, have you cycled from Cairo to the Cape?

    Quote Originally Posted by amaferanga
    I don't see why the Dervla Murphy comparison is idiotic actually. Young or old she is still a woman and my point was that there's no reason why women can't do such a trip.
    You also posted that Murphy was often mistaken for a man and had to prove that she was a woman at times. Of course, a woman can do this trip but not EVERY woman can or should do this sort of trip.

    I certainly think that Flic needs a lot more prepping and that cannot be done in less than two months.

  10. #85
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    IronMac Jesse Martin hadn't spent half his life on boats... Someone who has spent half there life on boats knows how to use a tiller... Thanks for the other advice though dude. I agree ideally I would have more than a month to get organised, but I know me, and if I extend my leaving date, then it won't necasserily mean that I get my act together any quicker unfortunately.

    MichaelW... geez infected saddle sores sound gross. Thanks for the other advice :-)

    amaferanga... she seriously got mistaken for a man and had to prove that she was a woman? How did she prove it? It sounds kinda crazy...

    Begining to agree with yous all that maybe the 25 Ltr Bag might be a little bit too small and I will have to use the 30Ltr one...

  11. #86
    Senior Member Alex L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronMac
    But, aren't you the one who posted that using a cheap bike leads to no end of problems?
    Not always. For some people that is a challenge, nothing more. Look at this webpage for instance.

    This webpage is on the topic Turkey and "single blonde women". I read it by chance, because wanted to learn more about Muslim culture before to leave for Turkey on our unsupported bike tour this October. Some aspects of right behavior are clarified there.

    As to the idea on traveling in Africa in that style, I think it is her life and she has the right to have a free hand, so the imperative advices arenít acceptable. The issue has not a simple answer. The opportunity to see life right now, to get adrenaline with some real risk is on the one side, and a possible feeling of regret for the things that wasnít done all the rest of the life is on the other side. I canít judge and you? Look at alpinists, the slopes of famous mountains are covered by their remains despite most of them were prepared enough. But people go there again and again. That is the nature of the people, I think not the worst one. Something that is misery for one is just fun for another.

    Good luck Flic, I respect the people, who can make decisions and are ready to take the responsibility.

    Alexey

  12. #87
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    hey Flic just do it if I listened to everyone I would have been mugged, robbed or killed on my recent tour to Russia and back. I also lived in Africa all my life and it's very strange but I'm still alive to tell the tale. I know you're going to have a good time,just do it day by day and you'll be ok it's just comon sense really, the tour I've just finished was my first it covered 8000 km and I hadn't touched a bike really since I stopped racing probly 5 years earlier.

  13. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by challengea2z
    I know you're going to have a good time,just do it day by day and you'll be ok it's just comon sense really, the tour I've just finished was my first it covered 8000 km and I hadn't touched a bike really since I stopped racing probly 5 years earlier.
    Great advice to an absolute newbie from someone who used to bike race.

  14. #89
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    Flic, why don't you make a list of what you need, put it in a pile and, then, decide on the capacity of the bags?

  15. #90
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    Yeah IronMac never had to carry panniers or camp every night on my stage races!! my road bike also never weighed 60kgs either(and haven't hardly been near my bike for the 5 years since stopping racing so I wasn't fit to ride it took me 3 weeks to get fit and I finished my tour ),riding isn't that hard once your half fit. I'm sure Flic knows how to ride a bike, fitness will happen if she intends riding from the north to the south of this beautiful continent, and I would say that if she's not fit in a month then she's a freak of nature or hasn't ridden her bike for that month having spent the time on public transport rather than riding.

  16. #91
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    Alexey... Hey dude :-) thanks for the website and link to that forum thread, it was a very interesting read. Another guy here (amaferanga) gave me the similar advice of "if you don't do it you'll forever regret it. If you do do it you'll never forget it"... and I reckon it was such a valuable thing to have told me, so thanks again for that :-) I wouldn't respect me too much, I'm one of the worst decision makes going around usually... :-(

    chalenea2z ... glad ya still alive mate! Thanks for the positive thoughts. Luckily, no one in Australia has told me I'm gunna die yet, though maybe they're just too polite, who knows.

    IronMac ... This is very sensible advice, its more just that I don't own the bag yet and visually judging 5Ltr of space is sort of difficult. I was reading the man's site again last night about traveling lightly and he says he uses a 40Ltr dry bag, though it looks like it is maybe folded up a bit to be made smaller...

    In other news I'm gunna go look at bikes again today! My first stop (please be proud of me) is the Bicycle Recycle Centre (!!!) which was recommended to me by a previous post, and then a couple of other shops as well... Maybe at the Bicycle Recycle centre I can find a good frame... I hope... I also borrowed a book on cycling and it gives some advice for touring and details some of a route in Ethiopia.

    Thanks again to everyone for contributing, I'm really, really touched that so many people are reading and offering advice.

  17. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronMac
    Sorry did not realize that you did most of the countries already...[snip]. And, have you cycled from Cairo to the Cape?
    Nope, but spent a year in total meandering well off the beaten track in southern and eastern Africa, about 20,000km. Also met and spoke at length with several cyclists who have cycled Cairo-Cape.

  18. #93
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Hmmm....
    Can I take out a life insurance policy on Flic?

  19. #94
    Slowpoach
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    Hi Flic, Good luck.

    (1) Water requirements On the recent Great Vic Bike Ride I was drinking between 750ml and 1L per hour in 30-35 degree heat, PLUS another 2-3L during rest stops, totalling 1.5L per hour of riding in this heat, or 6-8L per day. I am 90kg, male and tend to drink a lot, so you might get by with a little less, but not much less. I was on the medical team on the ride and dehydration/heat stroke were the biggest problems.

    (2) Water storage. 2 bottles in cages on the frame = 1.5L. One water bladder (camelbak) in your pack = 2L. Add a platypus bag or old wine cask liner - another 4-5 L; you can put it in a cloth bag and strap it to a rack or to the top tube of your bike frame.

    (3) Carrying stuff Definitely get a rear rack to strap stuff to. Tioga makes one for ~40 bucks; it is aluminium and might break with too heavy a load, but it is probably the best value in your budget. Panniers cost more, probably too much for you, and you don't need them if you really travel light - google "ultralight bikepacking" and "monocog log" www.mile43.com/peterson/MonoLog/MonocogLog.html to see what I mean.

    (4) Cheap bikes
    CERES Bike Shed - these guys can help you with spares or repairs (you don't have time or experience to build a bike there from sratch). I got a rack and some spares for a $4 donation.
    8 Lee Street, Brunswick East, Melbourne, Australia 3057
    Melways map reference 30 B7
    Bicycle Recycle: 672a South Rd Moorabbin tel 03 9555 8692

    In your budget, you will find it hard to do it with a new bike. Look for 2nd hand eg trading post etc. Old Shogun or Giant mountainbikes (eg. Trailbreaker or Iguana) are cheap and plentiful in Melbourne.

    New models to look at:
    Kona Smoke at Brunswick Street Cycles (near Alexandra Pde on Brunswik St) - $550, but worth a look for an idea of a robust (rather than feature-laden) bike. Looks like crap and rides like a truck, but pretty solid (except for the rear gears).

    Melbourne Bicycle Centre on Queen St (continuation of Smith St) in Clifton Hill - always has hybrid bikes on sale.

    The big wheel hybrids (700c/road bike size) have wheels that dent more easily with potholes, so if you go for one of these MAKE SURE your tyres are ALWAYS pumped up really hard. Get fat tyres swapped on. Or, get mountain bike wheels and tyres - stronger and easier to get spares for.

    Whatever you do, get a rear rack on the bike (even if you plan on using a backpack) and have plenty of water storage capacity, eg. an empty wine cask bladder (light, compact, strong).

  20. #95
    Slowpoach
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    Some alternatives for regular gear:

    Water storage I know, you're sick of this by now. But: Get an empty wine cask; take the silver (aluminised mylar) liner out; gently pull out the tap/valve; wash it out; put back together. If it is a bit leaky, use a small rubber band as an O-ring.
    You can also get water at the supermarket in these bags, but the smallest I;ve seen is 6L.

    Carrying stuff
    (1) Instead of using panniers, you can strap stuff to the bike frame or raks. If you have the cash get some Sea2summit nylon dry bags (not the ultralight see-thru ones, they are great in a pack but abrade really easily). If not, sew some non-waterproof but tough nylon bags.
    (2) Army disposal canvas daypacks. These can be converted into panniers with some effort. You need a plastic or plywood stiffening plate on the inside of the bag, to which you attach hooks and elastic.
    Look at the bottom of this page:
    http://www.bicyclinglife.com/HowTo/HeavyDutyRacks.htm

  21. #96
    DavidARay@gmail.com DavidARayJaxNC's Avatar
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    I MESSED UP. SOME EXPERENCE HERE!
    I went and got a walmart bike, it broke the 3rd time I rode it. I went and did a 15 mile trail and halfway into it (seriously halfway) the chain snapped off. I had to walk back to the my truck. 90 minute walk. I never will buy a cheap bike again.
    INSTEAD I found a nice used Trek 920 that needed a good over haul. The guy gave it tome because he thought it was unrepairable. I learned how to take it apart and put it back together again. I got about $100.00 in parts off of eBay and made it into an awesome touring machine. It likely works better than bike you can pay $500.00 for in the store, plus doing the work I learned how to replace chains, derailers, cranks, cassettes, tires. That is what you need. a good cro-mo frame set and throw a bunch of nice cheap high-end used parts on it. You will be surprised with what you get.
    '92 Trek 920 Singletrack Fashioned into a Touring Machine.
    E-Mail me DavidARay@gmail.com

  22. #97
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    Hi everyone... Please Comment On These Bikes...

    I've found a couple of bikes which I think might be OK... What do you think of these? I know they're not steel. I found one steel second hand bike but it was Hi-ten steel which I read was pretty crappy steel... Thats the problem, so much contradictory information. Anyway, how are these bikes? I reckon they're OK...

    http://www2.giant-bicycles.com/en-AU...ain/169/22618/ ... this is the Upland made by Giant

    http://www2.giant-bicycles.com/en-AU...ain/169/22428/ ... and this is the Upland SE made by Giant.

    The only difference is the front fork (this one has suspension). Most of the crew on here suggest that front suspension isn't a good idea because if it brakes I'm up sh*tcreek, it adds to the weight of the bike, and can make peddling on the flats less energy efficient. The people in the bike shops say it is a good idea because they never have these bikes being returned because of suspension failure, it eases the stress on the frame because the shocks absorb some of the stress and it makes riding the bike a lot more comfortable. I don't want the bike to brake on me, but if it takes stress off the frame anyway, maybe its a good thing? But thengiven that Giant offers a lifetime warranty on frames, they must be pretty sure that they are OK. Seriously, what is the likelihood of the front suspension failing, and how does this risk compare to the added comfort I will experience through having front suspension and the possibility of there being increased stress on the frame.

    I also found these two, but I don't know as much about them...
    http://www.learsport.com.au/view_pro...product=GT3000
    http://www.learsport.com.au/view_pro...product=MT3000

    Please Please Please give me your opinions on these bikes.

    In other news:

    Yes Bikepacker67 you can def take out a life insurance policy on me... if you like throwing ya coin away and all... :-)

    Caves Thankyou so much for this information, its hella valuable to me. I will follow up everything you have said. Though I think I should say at this point that I thought the Bicycle Recycle centre was crap, at least for someone like me... The lady actually said to me "I don't have time to answer all of your questions"... she also thought I was rubbish because I didn't understand how the springlock on the kickstand worked and she told me "I don't like your chances in Africa" which is fair enough, but the way she said it was quite derogetory to be honest, and I would definitely not reccommend them unless you know exactly what you are looking for and don't need advice. I'll def check out CERES though agree I don't have the time or knowledge to build a bike from scratch.

    DavidARayJaxNC ... thanks mate, I think I've gone off the idea of the kmart/walmart type bike cos yeah, I believe you, I now understand a little bit better the difference in componentory, I'm just worried about my timeframe and knowledge in terms of putting a bike together...

  23. #98
    Slowpoach
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    Repairs and spares.

    At a minimum: keeping your tyres pumped up, fixing flats and adjusting brakes and gears will be needed on your trip. These are all easy to do; make sure you practice these before you go, so you know how to do them on your bike. You need to do these to keep your bike running well, not just in an emergency!

    Limited time and experience and lightweight travel means you will have to rationalize things. Some common problems are:

    Flat tyre; bent rim from riding into a pothole with a flat tyre; wobbly wheel from loose spokes, broken spokes, bent axle or bent rim; poor shifting, from wobbly wheel, bent frame or poorly adjusted gears; poorly working brakes; brakes rubbing against wheel; squeaky chain; slipping chain; loose bearings in wheel hubs, pedal hubs or other bearings.
    Take along a (small and light) book on repairs (or photocopy and reduce onto lightweight paper). Practice is best, but with a month to go I'm sure your time is limited. What do others think are the most important simple repairs to know about; what about prevention?

    Can't comment on specific tools and spares without knowing your bike and your skills, but suggest:
    Pump Go for good and not too expensive, rather than cheapest. If you have mountain bike tyres your choices are easier, because although they take more air the air is at a lower pressure, so most pumps will be good enough. If you get tyres with a car-style valve (ie. the commonest type) you will be able to use any old pump or fill up at a servo. "Presta" valves hold high pressure better, but probably are NOT suitable for your tour.
    Flat repairs Take 3 plastic tyre levers (one will break!). Spare tubes, not just patches (the valves can fail). Patch kit. Might be worth taking a spare tyre (kevlar folding tyres are more convenient, but more expensive). Apart from the tyre, all these can be cheap (bike shop cheap, not K-mart cheap).
    Tools Depends on yout bike. Make sure you have the correct sized Allen keys (hex wrenches) and spanners for every bolt on the bike. You can get little multitools with lots of Allen keys that are quite light. Don't get a 2 Dollar Shop set of Allen keys, they are made of very soft metal and will die quickly. If you have nuts and bolts for your wheels and seat, you will need spanners as well as Allen keys. If so, go to Bunnings and get one decent-quality 6-inch (150mm) adjustable spanner (the one with the screw that makes it bigger and smaller). Also, get either a pair of pliers, a Leatherman-type tool or another adjustable spanner (which can be tiny and crappy). This is because you need a 2nd tool to hold the head of a bolt when you are undoing the nut.

    Other tools depend on experience, a spoke key and a chain tool are nice along with cone spanners (double as pedal wrenches) and a tool to remove the gear cluster from the back wheel, but you won't be doing any of this stuff unless you have the experience.

    Your bike tool or Leatherman tool should have screwdrivers (flat and phillips) on it. If you wear glasses, take along a mini-screwdriver in case they fall apart in the middle of nowhere (sounds ridiculous, but has happened to me with more than one pair of expensive eyeglasses and cheap sunnies!)

    Consumables I think it would be worth taking along some grease (put some in a small tube or container, don't take along a big container), a rag, some combination chain cleaner and lube (eg. Rock n Roll or Pedro's), some spare nuts 'n bolts, super glue, cable ties, duct tape/gaffer tape, some old inner tube (10cm is heaps) for making extra strong rubber bands out of. Spokes are not that easy to change, maybe get a kevlar emergency spoke to get out of trouble and then bus to the next town.

    Sounds like heaps, but apart from the spanners and tyre it is all pretty light and compact. Don't forget a rag and some tissues for cleaning your hands - you will get filthy once you start messing with grease or with dirty wheel rims.

  24. #99
    Slowpoach
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flic
    Hi everyone... Please Comment On These Bikes...

    http://www2.giant-bicycles.com/en-AU...ain/169/22618/ ... this is the Upland made by Giant
    Yep, this is the sort of thing you should be looking for, but keep looking. I think the rear derailleur on this one is pretty crap, but I'm not sure if you'll do better with a new bike in this price range. Look at Shogun, that's another brand that does pretty well at the low-mid end. At least look for an all-metal rear derailleur (Deore is good, but Alivio is probably the best you will find on a budget bike).

    Avoid suspension or disc brakes. Both are crap in your price range. Suspension needs additional maintenance. Keep it simple.

    V-brakes are good. Tektro is generally reliable, if nothing special.

    I'm not so keen on the Learsport bikes, the (very cheap) Great Vic Bike Ride bikes by Learsport had lots of problems. The ones you are looking at seem marginally better, but I reckon Shogun or Giant is a safer bet.


    --- edit ---
    If you can stretch your budget to $400-550 you will get a dramatically more reliable bike. Also, look out for specials at the bike shops. The good bikes don't go on sale until August or so, but the mass-produced ones often go on special after christmas.

  25. #100
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    Caves is then this one better? The Boulder... http://www2.giant-bicycles.com/en-AU...ain/169/22611/ except it has suspension? Everyone in bike shops keeps on telling me to get suspension...?

    It has a different derailluer?

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