Touring - choices, choices... can anyone help?
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03-07-03, 02:41 PM
I just received a $800 check from a previous employer saying it was my portion of the stocks I had accumulated while working there for 2 years. Just in time, too, as I have been interested in buying a touring bike!! I am an avid mountin biker, but want a bike more suited for the road. I will use it mostly for commuting (10 miles each way), but also want to keep some panniers on it for going to gorcery store, etc. (want to phase out the use of my car altogether), and the occasional visit to my parent's in Eugene (100 miles away). I don't want to spend more than about $900, but want a good, solid, reliable ride. So I did a little research and came up with some options. Could anyone give their opinions as to which ones would better suit my needs?
Thanks, and happy riding!
03-07-03, 04:52 PM
Depends on how many of them you can find in your area.Seems like I remember seeing the Jamis had double eyelets on the front and rear. All would be great bikes. You just have to break it down to fit, component grade and features.:D
03-07-03, 09:11 PM
I've never seen the Canadian bikes (Norco or Devinci) but any of the rest would be suitable candidates. You're not going to be able to proceed much further without getting out there and riding the bikes, which may require finding shops that will order samples in your size for you to test ride.
You may find that the differences among bike shops -- service, support, willingness to customize the bike, policy about test rides, etc. -- are more important to you than the differences between the bikes.
03-09-03, 12:02 AM
Originally posted by gonesh9
[About these bikes:]
Thanks, and happy riding!
The Devinci and Norco are closer to MTB geometry, with a sloping top tube and high bottom bracket..
Amongst the others, check what is the clearance for wide tires under the fork and stays. Also, for the same reason, the bike should use cantilever brakes or V-brakes, instead of sidepull brakes, because it's hard to fit wide tires and fenders with sidepull brakes.
Shifters also make a difference. The Trek 520 uses bar-end shifters, which I prefer (I also put my bars high... and ride from the drops), but some others use STI (brake levers that also serve as shifters). Many people prefer STI, but if they break, they usually are unreparable and expensive to replace.
As for the actual gearing, the Trek (and I think most of your other choices) come with 52-42-30 chainrings and 11-34 9-speed cassette. Even for commuting, the gears are too high, and for touring, they are way too high. I would suggest that whatever bike you select, you have the small chainring replaced for a 26. Eventually, when you decide to replace the cassette, something like the Cyclotouriste 14 (ratios from 14-34, with close one at the driving range) would give you closer ratios in the gears we typically use on the flats.
BTW, I have a 2000 Trek 520 that I enjoy very much. It's a very stable bike, even when fully loaded. My front tire is still the original 700 x 32, but my rear tire is now a 700 x 37. With fenders, the bike could fit 35 mm front and 42 mm rear (with fenders).
If you look at the other bikes, the chainstays and seatstays of the Trek 520 are much beefier than on many other bikes. It's one of the factors that prevent shimmy when fully loaded.
03-11-03, 11:56 PM
well, i tested a few bikes, and today broke down and bought the trek 520. i was just super impressed with the ride, and new it would last forever. my girlfriend is already jealous of the attention i'm giving the bike. i was actually contemplating a specialized sequoia, which was an awesome ride, but it wouldn't be able to be loaded up near as much as the trek. honestly i never thought i'd own a trek- not because there's anything wrong with them, but because they're like belly-buttons: everyone's got one. but i guess there is a reason for their popularity--
i've heard sooo much about how the gearing is too high on this bike, and many other touring bikes. one thing i've noticed (mainly from mountain bikers, since that's where my history has been) is that most people shift way too far down way too early entering a hill. the way i see it, is push the hardest on the hill-- you'll get to the top faster, hence be able to rest sooner. also, riding up a hill in too low of gear slows your momentum down, and you actually end up expending more energy then if you really cranked it up the hill. - but i must say i'm a cross-country mountain biker just getting into road riding, so maybe it's different on the road, and i'm just talking out my ass. anyways, this forum has been a lot of help, and i look forward to reading more stories and advice from those more experienced....
03-12-03, 12:09 AM
Cool beans! I just bought a 520 on sunday too. I loaded the bike up, and headed up some big hills. I would not want that gearing if I was on tour. I am swapping out the 36 for a 24. Head for some tough hills and toss tons of weight into your panniers just for a demo. Make sure about the gear selection before you head out on a real tour.
As for the gearset and commuting, its just fine. I would be completely happy with it, and probably not go into the granny much at all. It is all directly relative to the load you will have on the bike and the size of the hills on your commute.
I did a fair bit of research 2 years ago, and concluded that the Trek520 was the best bike for the money. It has been around a long time, and for good reason. Check some earlier threads, especially from (I think) Merriwether. I had readabout the gearing concerns, and swapped out the stock cassette when I bought my 520. I love the bike - stable, reliable, smooth-shifting, great when loaded. Enjoy.
03-12-03, 01:03 PM
Sorry to interrupt this thread, but what type of steel does Trek use for the 520 frame? The 520 is second on my list of touring bikes, but I canít find anything in Trek's literature on the frame except that it has a lifetime warranty and it is made of steal.
03-12-03, 01:08 PM
ya, i'm loving it, too. rode it to work this morning-- i'm still smiling... i took a pannier loaded with afterwork items, and i have to say i understand what people are talking about now regarding the gearing being a little high for a tourer. it was just fine for the commute, but i can see that with extra weight loaded on the bike for a tour, it would be nice to have some lower gear options. i love the component choices and believe, as i keep reading here, the bike will last pretty much forever. my mountain biking friends have been giving me a very hard time about buying a road bike, and are calling it "casey's strange new urge to road ride". well, their loss, i guess. my girlfriend has also given me grief about it; having a fit when i told her i was going to start commuting to work, telling me it's too dangerous too ride on city streets... so i decided to wait a few weeks to let her know i'm planning on selling my car, and using the bike to go EVERYWHERE!!!
i just want to ride---
bottom line, i love the bike.
03-12-03, 01:17 PM
it's a chro-moly, which makes me happy!
03-12-03, 01:22 PM
gonesh, did you get fenders?
I added some to my 520. Tomorrow the skies will open up so I will see how effective they are.
03-12-03, 01:27 PM
I got a Trek 520 almost a year ago. It's a tank. I love that bike!!! Confidence-inspiring on commutes (100% the case for me).
I don't know about the gearing problem everyone's referring to. I have stock everything, and I have no problems on hills, etc. I have a triple, so maybe that's why. It's a heavy bike but that's expected given that it's a tank. For my commute I'll gladly trade weight for the additional safety the bike affords by allowing me to ride anywhere -- good for evasive maneuvers.
03-12-03, 02:36 PM
sailguy- i did add fenders... the shop i purchased it at did installations for free on new bikes, so i figured, "why not have them do it?"-
i saw your bike through another post, looks nice! pretty much the same.- my light battery is able to strap to the top tube, which is nice. i'll get some pics up when i've got everything just right. i, too, think i'll replace the saddle and change the granny, but everything else is great.
i was initially a little weary about the weight, as i'm used to a nice light mountiain bike. but the extra weight on the tourer actually makes it feel safer and ride better with panniers.
The Zefal fenders I put on my 520 are very effective. I also installed:
- Skewer Locks - effective so far (seat/wheels not stolen) but a bit of a pain when changing a tire due to poor ergonomic design of skewer wrench
- Vetta wireless computer - great so far
- M585 Pedals - I liked them for the wide support platform which seems to eliminate pressure points and you can ride the bike withour cycle shoes if you have to
- Arkel Panniers, no complaints yet, I chose the T42 side-load version
- Specialized BG saddle - saved my behind (literally) on my inaugural century last year
My personal best for speed with the 520 was 54.6 kph/34 mph(unloadedon, flat course, light tailwind) - not bad for a tank. I rode the MS150 last year fully loaded, no complaints.
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