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Old 09-12-10, 10:53 AM   #1
wheelsoverfeet
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what bike to buy: road, cyclocross,touring

I hope this is the right forum for this question. I have read past threads on the road vs. touring vs. cyclocross but they all seem a few year old. First I'm trying to buy my first ever nice bike but I'm stuck on what to purchase since I bike soo much. I have two bikes form the 1980s that I use for commuting rather than a car and I just completed my first full triathlon on a 1985 Norco road bike in 2:53. I did about 50K rides along country roads this summer and I'm thinking of doing a few ~ week long tours. I also would like to do some occasional triathlons and have a bike that I can go fastish on. I'm 5'8" with a 31" inseam, 145lbs.

As I see it, I can either by a less practical fast road bike and use my Norco for commuting and possible touring. However, the Norco lacks the attachments for paniers. If I buy a cyclocross I can take it on the country roads but I'm afraid it might be slow for racing and I'm not sure about the durability for long distances. Also whatever bike I get I want to ride it regularly and I'm worried about a very expensive bike getting stolen (I've had 4 broken down bikes stolen!).

I'm looking at a Lemond Buenos Aires but its a steel frame and I already have a steel frame bike. I've tried a Surly long-haul trucker but the frame feel very upright and I didn't think I could get it going very fast. I've seen recommendations for the Bianchi Volpe, Axis, Kona Jake and Crosscheck but I don't know if I'm going to have the chance to try all these bikes. I'd like to figure out whether I should be looking for a road biked (trek, giant), touring (Devinci, Surly) or Cross (Felt, Surly again). All comments are appreciated since my mind is full of bike types, specs and brands.
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Old 09-12-10, 10:56 AM   #2
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You need Two Bikes.
Race and touring.
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Old 09-12-10, 11:02 AM   #3
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Are you really restricted to just having one bike?
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Old 09-12-10, 11:26 AM   #4
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+1 for 10 wheels
I suggest prioritizing the activities from most to least that you want to do with the new bike. I am not saying it can't be done, but racing and touring geometry generally don't mix well. No bike does everything. There will be trade offs.
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Old 09-12-10, 11:44 AM   #5
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Basically, if I start hankering for a new bike, I try to decide if 1) it fills a new role not currently served by any other bike I already have, and 2) if not, is it better enough that I'm willing to part with one of the bikes I own.

I don't have a reason to have two bikes that do the exact same thing (not yet, anyway). If I needed to have a backup bike while a primary bike was out for repairs, like if I broke one in a race and had another race in a week, then I'd reconsider.
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Old 09-12-10, 01:02 PM   #6
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In response to your suggestion I can't afford two bikes (I'm a student) and I move around too much to be able to transport 2 bikes with me all the time. Plus I already have two bikes to hack around town with so I don't want to overdo the number of bikes I have. Is there a racing bike that might be more versatile maybe?
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Old 09-12-10, 01:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheelsoverfeet View Post
Is there a racing bike that might be more versatile maybe?
Not really, because bikes that are marketed for "racing" are stripped of things that are useful for commuting or touring.

Your best bet so far is to use something that fits you well, then strip off the commuting/touring accessories when you go racing.

The bonus is, no matter what you ride, you're sure to be faster than some other rider who spent five times as much money on their bike.
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Old 09-12-10, 04:25 PM   #8
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This is just my two cents. A classic 10 speed meets all your criteria. I have an old Gitane from the 70's that I ride fast on, put racks and fenders on for winter and utility use, and has fat 27x1 1/4" tires for on and off road use. It could easily be turned into a nice tourer yet its still quick and responsive to go on a nice quick training ride.

I know, its not new and doesnt have 30 speeds and index shifting, but its very versatile.
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Old 09-12-10, 06:51 PM   #9
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I'd look for some sort of sport touring bike. Something like a Litespeed Appalachian or maybe even an older Specialized Tricross Comp. I've got a 2006 model Tricross that has rack mounts front and rear so I'd work for touring plus changing to a light wheelset would make it decent to use for Triathlons.
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Old 09-13-10, 08:25 PM   #10
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Have you considered the Surly Pacer or the Salsa Casseroll? They are both steel framed road bikes that can take wider tires for touring and commuting. I have owned a Pacer, Crosscheck, and Long Haul Trucker. The Pacer is definitely the "sportier" of the three. It feels more like a racing road bike but can handle rouger roads and loads better than a lightweight racer.
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