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  1. #1
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    Touring and Randonneuring Bike

    I'm currently shopping for a new bike. I would like it to be both a good touring and a good randonnee bike. Is it possible to have both? Can a good randonnee bike be a touring bike without racks and with different tires, or are there greater differences?

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    A couple of other possible differences are that "randonnee bikes" might be made with lighter (read: not meant to carry touring loads) tubing, and may have moderately more aggressive geometry than a tourer. also they may not have the extremely low gears.

    So that said, a Touring bike sans its panniers, with maybe a lighter set of wheels, will be a better randonnee bike than a randonnee bike will be a good loaded tourer.

    For your case I might recommend something from the more sporty side of the touring market. Marinoni tourismo perhaps?
    All You Haters Suck My Pawls.

  3. #3
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    I used to think Randonneur and Touring were synonomous, or translation of each other, but here in the US, randonneur bike has a more specific meaning, that is , a fast, comfortable well handling bike designed for carrying a load on a front rack for long, unsupported rides like brevets, based more or less, on the bikes made in France by Rene Herse and Alex Singer among others. The light camping models seem to be adaptable to both fast riding and loaded touring. Custom builders can build such a bike. They are also made in France and Japan. These are rather expensive options. A more modest possibility is the VO Polyvalent, which has a TIG welded frame, and can be built up with varying configurations. I've been Looking at it on the VO website www.velo-orange.com , and am serously thinking of buying it. Elsewhere, on other subforums, it has been reviewed favorably.

    It seems to me that there is too much specialization, and too much emphasis is put on whether one type of bike can be used for another purpose. Many bicycles are adaptable, and you don't need permission to use a touring bike for a fast ride.

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    The differences are more of a matter of degree than anything absolute.

    People manage to tour just-fine on randonee and cyclocross bikes. Your options are more if you don't plan to carry a lot when touring. Being able to mount a front "low rider" rack gives you more options. Some people randonee on touring bikes.

    Some people might need a longer wheelbase to be able to move big panniers far enough back to clear their heels. If you used smaller panniers in the back (and front ones), you might not need a long wheelbase bike.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kludgefudge View Post

    So that said, a Touring bike ... will be a better randonnee bike than a randonnee bike will be a good loaded tourer.
    +1. If you can only have one bike and it must be good at being a loaded tourer, then that's what you need to get. For randonneuring, it will be somewhat-heavier than required, and the frame will be less "lively" and steering may be less sprightly. So it may be a little slower than a rando-optimized bike. But many people ride rando on touring bikes.

  6. #6
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebulls View Post
    +1. If you can only have one bike and it must be good at being a loaded tourer, then that's what you need to get. For randonneuring, it will be somewhat-heavier than required, and the frame will be less "lively" and steering may be less sprightly. So it may be a little slower than a rando-optimized bike. But many people ride rando on touring bikes.
    +2. My long-distance bike is a Surly Long Haul Trucker. I'm not yet a real randonneur (was going to do my first 200K today but I banged up my knee this week), but I've done rides up to 102 miles on it. It's comfortable and reliable, which for me is more important than lively and sprightly. Plus, I weigh a bit over 200 pounds right now, which means that I wanted a strong bike that could run wide tires at moderate pressure. I run 35mm Paselas and I have a sprung saddle to boot. The result is a bike that still feels comfortable after a day in the saddle.

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    Since the LHT was mentioned, I will put in my suggestion that you look at the Surly Cross Check. I have not had a chance to load mine fully yet, but know that many people do and are happy with the way it handles (this years model also comes with mid fork brazeons for low riders). I have come to love it as a long distance bike, I have found it to be a very stable and comfortable ride.

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    P.S. If you can afford it, consider getting two wheel sets, a lighter one to go fast and a heavier one with lower gearing and more durable tires for touring.

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    I would definitely be getting 2 wheel sets. I've been curious about the the LHT and have looked at many bikes (including the Tourismo mentioned earlier). If I get a bike than can do both randonneuring and touring I realize it wont be perfect at either. I was planning on building the bike myself, so I'll have the freedom to make components choices and I'm hoping that'll help.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterbugg View Post
    I would definitely be getting 2 wheel sets. I've been curious about the the LHT and have looked at many bikes (including the Tourismo mentioned earlier). If I get a bike than can do both randonneuring and touring I realize it wont be perfect at either. I was planning on building the bike myself, so I'll have the freedom to make components choices and I'm hoping that'll help.
    Generally, I think that the component choices that you would likely make for touring will be "perfect" for randonneuring as well. Wide gear range would likely be your choice for touring -- e.g. Sugino XD600 with 24/34/46, paired with a Shimano or SRAM 11/34, and derailleurs and shifters to suit. If the range is somehow too wide for rando, you can easily swap in a smaller cassette.

  11. #11
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    I have a Surly LHT, and it's pretty sluggish when it comes to acceleration and steering. Speed isn't a problem, but getting up to and maintaining it is. As for taking corners, it takes WIDE turns due to the long chainstays and wheelbase. With that said, I've seen people do randonnees with Long Haul Truckers, and it is their ideal randonneuring bike. Too bad it isn't my ideal, but I'm sticking with it 'til I can find something a bit more snappy.

  12. #12
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Most of the rando guys around here seem to be riding just regular road bikes (with generator hubs or whatever). Anyway, I'm riding my Sojourn. Either works, just depends on what you want to do and how you want to do it.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  13. #13
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    I agree that a randonneuring bike won't make a tourer, although there are exceptions as Machka's recently stolen Marinoni was (a lighweight steel frame with moderate geometry and a durable rear triangle -- and the original carbon fork was replaced with a steel one).

    I've put in some years touring and randonneuring on a touring bike (a circa-2001 Fuji Touring). It served me well. I now use a carbon-framed bike which I would not use for touring except for day tours or card touring. I still have the Fuji, generally for touring, but also as a back-up randonnee bike.

    There are a number of factors as to why I went to carbon and I won't go into them here. But really, the only way to find out what might be a suitable arrangement is to find a touring bike that, vitally, fits you, then go from there. You might find it is just not sprightly enough for randonnees. There is nothing in the long term to stop you from having two bikes that serve separate purposes.
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  14. #14
    Gouge Away kaliayev's Avatar
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    I have used my 04' Trek 520 for long distance rides and touring of course. Unfortunately a tour this year is out, so I am planning on doing a lot more long distance rides. I have switched out the crank to an Ultegra 6503 with 52-42-30 gearing and an Ultegra 12-27 cassette. It runs pretty nicely with this set up. I am also seriously considering switching out the bar ends for a set of 6510 shifters I have laying about. I also have a Bontrager Satellite Plus carbon fork with a 50mm rake I am thinking of using. Any thoughts on if the fork would be a good idea?

    I also have the opportunity to get a Trek 5500 frame set at a really good price. Would this make a good long distance rider?
    Last edited by kaliayev; 04-27-10 at 03:41 PM.

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    rawland sogn

    I have a rawland sogn 2009 which is part tourer part randoneer and cyclocross
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    Last edited by unterhausen; 09-04-10 at 06:22 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    There is nothing in the long term to stop you from having two bikes that serve separate purposes.

    I would love an excuse to buy 2 bikes instead of just one ...

    Are there any other recommendations out there? People who have used their touring bike for randonneuring and been pleased with the results?

  17. #17
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    as per keeping in line with this thread however, what of the Gunnar Crosshairs? it could take panniers and fenders (sure bottom bracket is a bit higher but big deal IMO...or am I missing something)...just have 2 separate wheel sets.

    or the salsa casserolle perhaps or vaya?....others?
    Last edited by unterhausen; 09-04-10 at 06:32 PM.

  18. #18
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    depends on what you need to carry, for both events.
    fully loaded front and rear panniers, with the kitchen sink and laptop along? then the rando, sport tourer, club bike will probably not work - but you can add an xtrahweel trailer (something i'll do should i decide to tour this way)

    or ultralight and fast touring, minimal luggage, minimal (or smartly chosen) and lightweight gear...) - then the rando bike will work - something i'm working on and width, paring gear, streamlining setup, etc. etc.

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    bmike as per your quote below: my LBS suggested: either getting a gunnar sport (i've expressed interest in that model for some time) and just do a loaded tour with a trailer for when I wish to go loaded...OR call waterford and see about tweaking one of their existing stock models (sport or tourer...or just have 2 sets of wheels built for a tourer...(I've just sent an email to richard schwinn of waterford telling him of my gig (selling riv atlantis being too big and seeking a good ''all rounder for both touring and sport touring/club rides''...will be interesting to hear what he suggests)

    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    depends on what you need to carry, for both events.
    fully loaded front and rear panniers, with the kitchen sink and laptop along? then the rando, sport tourer, club bike will probably not work - but you can add an xtrahweel trailer (something i'll do should i decide to tour this way)

    or ultralight and fast touring, minimal luggage, minimal (or smartly chosen) and lightweight gear...) - then the rando bike will work - something i'm working on and width, paring gear, streamlining setup, etc. etc.

  20. #20
    Doesn't ride enough Lamabb's Avatar
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    I have a Caad 9 that I use for racing and a LHT I use for touring / relaxing rides. I want to get into randonneuring, but I don't know what bike I would ride. I'm not going to lie, the LHT Is slow as poop compared to the Caad 9, but it can carry ridiculous loads without complaint, and it is much more comfy.

    Would you guys suggest riding the Caad9 with a seapost rack mabye? (carrying a very light load) or the LHT with a few more supplies since it can handle it.

  21. #21
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamabb View Post
    I have a Caad 9 that I use for racing and a LHT I use for touring / relaxing rides. I want to get into randonneuring, but I don't know what bike I would ride. I'm not going to lie, the LHT Is slow as poop compared to the Caad 9, but it can carry ridiculous loads without complaint, and it is much more comfy.

    Would you guys suggest riding the Caad9 with a seapost rack mabye? (carrying a very light load) or the LHT with a few more supplies since it can handle it.
    ride whatever bike you can be with / on / into / over / pedaling for 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k... if the cadd9 is it, add a saddlebag. it will fit whatever you need... if the lht is comfy over the long haul - great. the only thing to do is finish. ride the bike that will get you there.

  22. #22
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    here's a thread with a pic of my setup.

    and another, with 2 touring masters weighing in on ultralight... (i've seen folks on brevets carry more stuff!)

    if / when i can get away for 1-2 months i'll be looking at the extrawheel, unless i can get my kit comfortably down to work with my current setup...
    but unless you are round the world touring, you'll be able to make just about any bike work.

    a friend is setting his casseroll up to tour, and another is using 2 rear bags on a surly pacer.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamabb View Post
    I have a Caad 9 that I use for racing and a LHT I use for touring / relaxing rides. I want to get into randonneuring, but I don't know what bike I would ride...
    As bmike said, the bike doesn't really matter that much. It's whatever gets you there as comfortably and fast as you want it to. I ride a Colnago C-50 with a seatpoast rack and it works awesome for me on 1200km brevets. If you like the CAAD9 but the rides a little stiff, try some more complaint wheels. They can make a huge difference.

    There is one physical constant though that you need to be aware of. The more space you have to carry things, the more things you will carry! It's sad to say but it's true. IMHO many randonneurs carry way too much junk on these rides but you have to go with your comfort level.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  24. #24
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canali View Post
    bmike as per your quote below: my LBS suggested: either getting a gunnar sport (i've expressed interest in that model for some time) and just do a loaded tour with a trailer for when I wish to go loaded...OR call waterford and see about tweaking one of their existing stock models (sport or tourer...or just have 2 sets of wheels built for a tourer...(I've just sent an email to richard schwinn of waterford telling him of my gig (selling riv atlantis being too big and seeking a good ''all rounder for both touring and sport touring/club rides''...will be interesting to hear what he suggests)
    I have a Gunnar Sport, and it would make a good rando bike. It's fine for lite touring.
    Another alternative is custom, he could have a rando frame made that was just a little beefier.
    A larger downtube, perhaps. Which is what I had done, it's waiting to be painted.

    Btw, i am not a rando guy, but I am hoping to do some centuries and long rides after I retire.
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  25. #25
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    IMO we live in an era of excessive specialization.

    Touring, rando and commuting bikes can all benefit from wider tires, fenders, racks, longer wheelbases, robust components, an emphasis on comfort. In most cases, you can easily use the same bike for numerous tasks just by swapping out a few parts.

    If you're doing something extraordinary like a 3000 mile tour, you may want a bike that's more stable when loaded -- or you can just get a trailer. If you lean towards competitive brevets, you may want a more aggressive setup. Even in these cases, you may well be able to use the same bike with a few changes -- flip the stem, change the tires or wheels, use a trailer etc.

    It is beneficial to use the right tool for the job, but ultimately you don't need a different bike for each day of the week.

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