Touring - Fitness/Hybrid Bike for Short Tours?
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I went to two local bike shops today. I told them I wanted a bike for riding mostly country roads with potholes and gravel shoulders. My wife and I like to ride our cheap mountain bikes on country rides, but they're just too heavy for longer distances so we thought maybe that the hybrid or fitness type bike would be comfortable for our purposes.
I test rode two bikes today. The Giant FCR 3 http://www.giant-bicycle.com/us/030.000.000/030.000.006.asp?model=11329 I think it was around $500. It was amazingly light compared to my crappy Mongoose mountain bike, and just as comfortable with its upright seat position. It has 32 spoke wheels and its tires are 700 x 28c and 650 x 25c (I don't even know what that means). But the tires looked like they could handle country and gravel roads pretty well.
The other one was the Raleigh Passage 3.0 http://www.raleighusa.com/items.asp?deptid=7&itemid=272
The guy at the LBS said it was considered a hybrid. It was also really comfortable, and a little less expensive than the Giant at $400. He also had racks in stock that would fit it.
We're just planning on doing some short trips of 50 miles or less in each direction to camp out at some local lakes. We'd just need to bring a tent and a little bit of food so just one rack on the back of the bike would be good. Also, one local lake has a nice bike trail that I'd like to ride on, and I'm hoping these style of bikes could handle it better than the standard road bikes.
Any thoughts on these? Maybe at some point if we can get enough time off work we'd like to try a week long tour (maybe over the 4th of July week). Also, I've actually mapped out a trip to a lake in our area using exclusively country roads that's right at 45 miles, and that would be the first "tour" we'll try.
I don't really like the feel of standard road bikes as much as mountain or hybrid. I just like sitting more upright.
Thanks a lot.
Giant over the Raleigh. The front fork on the Raleigh will add weight that you could be using for the planned supplies you want to carry. When you go up in prices on hybrids you will shave weight and get better components. You could later upgrade to a carbon fork on the Giant. If you can get a deal on an FCR 2 which online says it is $679, thats a super hot looking machine with a good bit of weight shaved as well as better components. When I got my hybrid, the weight savings off my old bike made ride times go down a lot.
03-29-06, 02:46 AM
I've always thought the FCR3 would be just fine as a touring bike, with it's fender clearance, V-brakes and fatter tires. While the components are a little low end, they're still perfectly servicable for a short to medium tour, in my opinion. One thing you might want to change out is the flat bars. You don't want to spend too long in the saddle with only one hand position. Something like http://www.nashbar.com/profile_moreimages.cfm?category=92&subcategory=1049&sku=9756&brand= (http://p) <-these would give you plenty of hand positions and not require expensive shifter/brake lever upgrades. I think the FCR has eyelets for a rack, but if not, perhaps a B.O.B. Trailer? Have fun!
You can also check out the Trek FX series. There is a picture here (http://www.geocities.com/xillios/index.html) of my wifes 7.2FX all set for this springs tour.
03-29-06, 09:22 AM
I've used the Trek 7500FX for loaded touring and have no complaints. Carried both front and rear racks, bike weighted about 85 lbs loaded. I've put on a MTB 44-32-22 cranks and run LX/XT shifters, brakes, derailleurs, etc. along with a 11-34 cassette.
03-29-06, 10:33 AM
I think you are going to be unhappy real quick on tour with the Giant. Look at the gear ratios on the two bikes. That Raleigh will climb a hill pretty easy with the Shimano gear set. You don't need an 11T cog on back with a 50T on front for what you are looking for. For the Raleigh, you might want to change to smaller tires, say 700 x 32 or 700 x 35, but that is a lot easier and more adapatable than wrestling a high gear bike up a long hill. Then you can change back to your big tires for some dirt roads around home. And I wouldn't even change them until you make a tour or two.
I promise that a pound or two one way or the other will not matter if you are on tour. Be sure the Raliegh has fork eyelets for the racks.
Trust me on this gear thing. Its really a big deal if you want to tour in hilly country. And by the way, the seven speed cog is back is sufficient for what you need. My Schwinn is a 90's hybrid with geometry almost identical to a Trek 520. I can use it on dirt with bigger tires or on the highway. I currently run 700x32 Schwalbe's on the road. I have installed that same 14-34T Shimano mega gear shown on the Raleigh, and I love it. I used to have a smaller cog and it was really tough on hills. My vote is to buy the Raliegh and then go enjoy it.
03-29-06, 10:36 AM
Check the compatability og the Giant with a rear luggage rack. Some Giant frames lack seatstay eyelets.
It is overgeared for touring/general purpose.
A 28/38/48 is better for casual and light trail use. I switched from road triple to MTB triple for mountainous hostel tours.
I have the Raleigh Passage 5.0, basically the same bike, but with trigger shifters and disc brakes. Maybe a bit thinner tire 700 x 35. I am in Florida where it isn't hilly at all and find that when I ride over a causeway I need the lower gears. I don't understand all the numbers but gearing is the key to riding in hilly areas unless you have legs of steel. My wife has the same bike in a women's version and really likes it, too.
I looked at a ton of bikes yesterday, and am no closer to deciding. The Giant FCR 3 does have eyelets for adding a rack. I rode it again and a hybrid Giant called the Cyprus which had disc brakes and rapid fire shifters.
I didn't go up any major hills, but I'll take your word for it on the climbing ability of the bikes. It sounds silly, but I like the look of the "fitness" bikes much more than the hybrid "Cyprus" bike for example (which was only availabe in an ugly green or brown), but comfort and ridability is what matters. Both bikes felt comfortable and were much easier to pedal than my current mountain bike...
I ended up getting a Raleigh C40. The price was good, I believe it was a 2005 model. So I'm happy with what I spent on it, and it's been great compared to my mountain bike. So much easier on hills, and all around faster and more comfortable. I've been putting some miles on it (all country roads) and soon I hope to go on a short tour. I need to get a rack for the back. Luckily it does have holes to accomodate it. All in all I'm happy with my purchase. Thanks for all the advice.
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