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Old 10-11-16, 03:28 PM   #1
gauvins
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Most expensive vs "ultimate" touring bikes

A degenerated thread has just been closed, for good reasons, I suppose. Maybe it is possible, however, to learn a couple of things. So, here it is:

googling "best touring bikes" returns a couple of semi-interesting links, where the usual brands are mentioned. Road.cc lists 10 "best" bikes, starting as low as 460 (say, 600USD) up to a maximum of 1800 for the Dawes Galaxy Classic (2200USD).

Cycling about has a list of 8 bikes, where the most expensive entry is the Salsa Marrakech at 1600USD.

Compare this to "best road bikes", according to bicycling.com where the average price is close to 4500USD with the Litespeed T1 reaching 10000USD.

So, yes, it looks like road bikes sell at higher price points, with the descriptive blurb almost always referring to the bike's weight.

I also googled "most expensive bikes" and came across an interesting entry. The most expensive bike is listed at 1 000 000USD (1 million). For a solid gold (24k) mountain bike. Even though most entries fall squarely into the "show-off" category, one or two could be conceived as being technologically "ultimate".

I also wanted to mention Tom Allen's list who presents a very down-to-earth discussion of what makes a good touring bike. He has written quite extensively on the subject. How to Build the Ultimate Round-the-World Expedition Touring Bike is a good read.
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Old 10-11-16, 04:16 PM   #2
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Is touring about the trip or the Bike ? Mark Beaumont (round the world record setter) Bought a Koga in their signature Program.

they shipped the completed bike to one of their dealers .. they put the whole thing together for You.

as a Canadien you would fly to Europe then get the bike there , Pre ordering and buy ing it than going to a dealer by the Airport
you designated to get it from. [No Koga dealers in North America]

[getting the paperwork, at point of sale, once you get the right stamps at departure, when you take it home You can get the VAT rebated.




'/,

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Old 10-11-16, 04:44 PM   #3
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There is no such thing as the ultimate touring bicycle because tours & cycle-tourists vary too much. It would be like saying there is a defined perfect mate. Too many variables. Too many tradeoffs. Forget it.

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Old 10-11-16, 05:17 PM   #4
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The bike is only as good as the rider.

Experience, knowledge, and training is what makes the "ultimate bike."

As time progresses and using gained experience, knowledge, and increased training, sometimes seeing items you would like to change about your setup is perfectly normal. There will be some trial and error until you get to your next "ultimate bike."

Using the attributes above for an educated decision on the bike you purchase, within a price point you are comfortable with, makes it a great bike. Anyone who tells you otherwise is insecure with their bike purchase.
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Old 10-11-16, 06:46 PM   #5
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The closest I've seen to the "ultimate touring bike" are the bikes by Vivente - but even they are not that expensive compared to road bikes

And they are deliberately not very high-tech

Last edited by nealcollins; 10-11-16 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 10-11-16, 07:09 PM   #6
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Is touring about the trip or the Bike ?
It's about the trip.

Unless Murphy pops up and your 10 miles from the pub!
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Old 10-11-16, 08:31 PM   #7
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There is a huge gap between the cost of touring vs road and mountain bicycles. My question was why that gap is there. The point I tried to make was what would a touring bicycle be if it were in the cost and material range of a top end road bicycle. Not anything about should you spend that much.

Check out Landshark where you can ride a work of art, if you chose to.

I agree with Big aura lots of different riders and places to go to say 1 ultimate bicycle. I could easily see having a different bicycle for paved, rail trails, and gravel touring.
For example I bought a 15-25 cassette. It should be good for rail trails, but real stupid for anything else.

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Old 10-11-16, 09:50 PM   #8
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most expensive, ultimate, best.....not the same.

"most expensive" is something currently on the market,
probably custom, made for folks with too much money
and not enough sense. these are made to be looked
at and drooled over by the unwashed peasants on
inferior bikes like lht's.

"ultimate" is your dream bike that is prolly not available
yet. it's what you'd build yourself if you had an unlimited
budget. doesn't necessarily mean expensive, as some
folks might even consider an inferior lht that perfectly
meets their need to be their idea of ultimate.

"best" bike is something currently on the market that,
ummm, best meets the needs of cycle tourists. for
many the best available is the inferior lht.


think of it another way....substitute "girlfriend" for
"bike" in each category......
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Old 10-11-16, 09:58 PM   #9
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The most expensive girlfriend would not be the ultimate or the best, that's for sure.
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Old 10-11-16, 10:07 PM   #10
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There is a huge gap between the cost of touring vs road and mountain bicycles. My question was why that gap is there. The point I tried to make was what would a touring bicycle be if it were in the cost and material range of a top end road bicycle. Not anything about should you spend that much.
A better question might be: what features do you want from top end road bikes in your touring bike that they don't already have?

The only one I can think of is Ultegra 3x11 with integrated disc brakes (DI2 powered off the hub generator maybe?)
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Old 10-11-16, 10:24 PM   #11
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A better question might be: what features do you want from top end road bikes in your touring bike that they don't already have?.....
really can't think of any "high-end" road bike features that
would be an improvement over a realiable, durable, affordable,
repairable touring bike.

a $2000 increase in the price doesn't count as an improvement.

remember....starkist doesn't want tunas with good taste, they wants tunas that taste good!
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Old 10-11-16, 11:35 PM   #12
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I think to have an intelligent discussion one would have to forget high end or ultimate as a dollar value and focus on design (regardless of cost).
Using traditional loaded touring as the genre in this case:

For example wheel sets could be seen as crappy quality, durable mainstream quality, exotic material quality. No one really wants crappy quality. Durable quality of common materials serve most people reasonably well with few faults. Exotic material quality may offer a slight weight savings but in loaded touring that isn't really worth much, especially if used with thicker touring tires rather than thin road tires. Even if they perform a bit better, replacement or repair on tour may be more difficult. So while it may seem on paper, that exotic wheelsets should be the "ultimate"; in reality, a good set of mid range wheels of traditional materials may actually fit that description better.

You can do the same analysis with frame sets, braking systems, drivetrains, shifters etc... The intended purpose and environment shape what defines "ultimate" as far as the bike goes. Add all those parts up to make one bike and you would have the "ultimate" touring bike (within the agreed upon definition).

Oddy enough, it sort of looks like a LHT.

Another scenario: I had two bikes, nearly identical size, one a 87 Raleigh, the other a 91 Marin. The Raleigh was High Ten steel but free. The Marin is Chromoly but cost $55. The Marin is also 10lb's lighter. So... It cost me $55 to drop 10 lb's off my touring bike - good deal. Let's say I look around and find a similar Al frameset on CL for $100 that is even 5 lb's lighter than that. $100 to drop 5lb's - maybe still a good deal. Now let's say I contact a custom frame builder to get the same size frame made out of Ti or CF that will drop another 5lb's and they quote me $3000. $3000 to drop 5lb's for a loaded touring bike - not a good deal when you consider the amount of weight being packed overall and the fact I could shave the same amount by going on a diet for three weeks. That's how I see the law of diminishing returns as far as high priced components or bikes for touring.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 10-11-16 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 10-12-16, 04:00 AM   #13
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It is interesting, to me at least, to think of the ultimate randonneur rather than the ultimate loaded tourer. For me, the Kona Sutra, LHT/DT, Specialized AWOL, and a few others are the ultimate in loaded tourers as they are pretty much perfect--for loaded touring--from the get go.

Idealized randonneuring bikes, on the other hand, share some things with tourers. High spoke counts, wide tires, steel frames with fender and rack mounts to name a few. They look like tourers and are often used as light tourers, but for brevet rides--200km, 300km, 400km, 600km, 1200km and above--lightness and very good quality components are desirable.

Personally, I would never spend more than about $2000 US on a bike I was going to load up and tour on for tens or hundreds of thousands of kilometers, like those I mention above, but I can see how I could spend $10,000 US or above on an idealized "ultimate" randonneur.

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Old 10-12-16, 05:55 AM   #14
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Old 10-12-16, 06:28 AM   #15
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It's just the nature of the market.

Little point in paying for ultra-light materials to save a few lbs, and then loading it down with heavy panniers and camping gear. Touring bikes tend to see a lot more risk and abuse than high-end bikes like getting locked up outside, and ridden in lousy weather and on unknown crappy roads. Bicycle touring/camping is an extremely economical way to travel - those that have the means to buy a 10k bicycle tend to prefer different accommodations than sleeping on the ground in crowded pubic campgrounds.
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Old 10-12-16, 08:44 AM   #16
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The idea of that the weight of a bicycle is meaningless is a wrong idea to many people. Many people do consider the wt of their gear. Total wt is important to some tourers. Just look at the bike packers, you'll find plenty of wt concern there. There is currently a thread in BF about tents well under a kilo. So wt does matter. Also building a frame so heavy that it handles poorly does not make for a quality touring bicycle.
Lots of different ways to tour.
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Old 10-12-16, 10:22 AM   #17
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The idea of that the weight of a bicycle is meaningless is a wrong idea to many people. Many people do consider the wt of their gear. Total wt is important to some tourers. Just look at the bike packers, you'll find plenty of wt concern there. There is currently a thread in BF about tents well under a kilo. So wt does matter. Also building a frame so heavy that it handles poorly does not make for a quality touring bicycle.
Lots of different ways to tour.
The frame builder I got my frame from charges $2400 CAD for a True Temper OX Platinum frame. That's only $1800 USD. This is one of the the most expensive tubesets you can buy. True Temper does have a newer, more expensive tubeset called the S3, but this stuff is incredibly thin and dents very easily, so nobody in their right mind would build a touring bike with it. With the weight of a full touring load, you could put a hole in your top tube if you leaned it too hard against a tree. S3 is mostly used for custom steel road bikes.

Of course if you really want exotic you can go for a stainless or titanium tubeset, but these will not be lighter than the S3. In terms of cost, even the most expensive steels are incredibly cheap: $35 dollars per tube for the OX Platinum, and $50 per tube for the S3. A bike doesn't have that many tubes. Do the math. 80% of the cost of a custom frame is the labour. The actual cost of the steel is spare change.

Summary: assuming you want to stay with steel, it is currently not possible to go lighter than a $2000 frame, no matter how much more money you spend. Once you build this frame with the most expensive electronic shifting group set on the market, you're still only up to $5000. If you opt for the most exotic boutique touring parts available, Phil Wood hubs, Chris King headset, Paul brakes, carbon seatpost, stem, bars, etc; you could perhaps get the cost up to $6000.

I know from your other thread that you are aiming for a $10k touring bike. I'm sorry, the only way you could ever get a touring bike up to that price point is if you go to a boutique carbon frame maker and order a one off custom carbon touring frame. Keep in mind the lightest True Temper S3 steel frames are down to about 2.2lb, so at that point you're paying $5000 extra dollars for perhaps 100 grams of weight savings. You would without a doubt be "more money than brains".
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Old 10-12-16, 10:52 AM   #18
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If you want to save weight touring, your money would be far more effectively spent on ultra-light camping gear. My core camping rig (shelter, bedding,
kitchen, rain gear) is ~5lbs/10L and my base pack weight (before food/water) is 13lbs out of a single pannier.

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Old 10-12-16, 11:06 AM   #19
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If you want to save weight touring, your money would be far more effectively spent on ultra-light camping gear.
True enough. And there's the whole discussion about panniers vs bikepacking also, wt & aero alike.
But carbon has proved its value and viability in bicycle frames, components, wheels. Electronic shifting as well. I don't see any reason to not use them for touring. Of course other than the size of the market pretty much requires custom frame & fork. Seems like it could be done though.
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Old 10-12-16, 11:13 AM   #20
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True enough. And there's the whole discussion about panniers vs bikepacking also, wt & aero alike.
But carbon has proved its value and viability in bicycle frames, components, wheels. Electronic shifting as well. I don't see any reason to not use them for touring. Of course other than the size of the market pretty much requires custom frame & fork. Seems like it could be done though.
hey squiggy!

you're back from your very first bicycle tour already?
4 days on the katy?
how'd it go? did ya have fun?

awesome feeling having the very first tour under your belt.

yay! and now you're a katydid!
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Old 10-12-16, 11:34 AM   #21
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At this time I am down to two touring bikes. I got rid of a poor performing one after I used it for a tour two years ago.

One of my two remaining touring bikes is Rohloff and one derailleur, each has advantages and disadvantages.

One is rated for twice the load (not counting rider weight) as the other, but the one with a higher weight rating is also much heavier.

I am sure that I will use both bikes for future tours, I will decide based on desired gearing and anticipated loading which to use. I just wish that both had S&S but only one does.

I have not tried to tour on my foldup bike, but if I planned to go light weight (two panniers, not four) and take it on a trip where I might also be riding a lot of trains I could see taking that foldup instead of one of the touring bikes.

My point is that defining or specifying the ultimate touring bike is not possible, as I could easily see having to make some tough decisions when choosing between three bikes for my next tour. The requirements of the tour will dictate the bike criteria.
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Old 10-12-16, 01:00 PM   #22
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But carbon has proved its value and viability in bicycle frames, components, wheels. Electronic shifting as well.
I wouldn't have a problem touring on carbon, but I've put myself in situations where those electronics would be completely submerged. Not the best idea in some cases.
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Old 10-12-16, 01:31 PM   #23
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There is a huge gap between the cost of touring vs road and mountain bicycles. My question was why that gap is there. The point I tried to make was what would a touring bicycle be if it were in the cost and material range of a top end road bicycle. Not anything about should you spend that much.
Simple. What will the market let the manufacturers charge for the product. If the market will let the manufacturers charge more...they will. Like I put in your other post it all comes down to how well you market the product. If you make people want your product even though its junk you can sell a ton of the product from the get go but when your product starts to fail then no one will believe you in the future. If you 'upsell' market the product and make it sound like its great than you can sell it for whatever you want to sell it for. The skies the limit. Until people find out you are nothing but a ripoff they will continue to buy your overpriced piece of junk, no matter what product you are selling. Once they learn the true quality of your product...you'll be out of business. Marketers know how to upsell anything.

Right now everybody is trying to get into 29ers and off road riding so the prices on those bikes will start climbing while the road bike should start falling due to dropping demand. You have to learn to watch the market to know how to time your purchases so you aren't trying to but an in demand item right before the demand drops off and the prices start falling.
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Old 10-12-16, 02:00 PM   #24
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Simple. What will the market let the manufacturers charge for the product. If the market will let the manufacturers charge more...they will. Like I put in your other post it all comes down to how well you market the product. If you make people want your product even though its junk you can sell a ton of the product from the get go but when your product starts to fail then no one will believe you in the future. If you 'upsell' market the product and make it sound like its great than you can sell it for whatever you want to sell it for. The skies the limit. Until people find out you are nothing but a ripoff they will continue to buy your overpriced piece of junk, no matter what product you are selling. Once they learn the true quality of your product...you'll be out of business. Marketers know how to upsell anything.

Right now everybody is trying to get into 29ers and off road riding so the prices on those bikes will start climbing while the road bike should start falling due to dropping demand. You have to learn to watch the market to know how to time your purchases so you aren't trying to but an in demand item right before the demand drops off and the prices start falling.
The other thing is that there's pretty much no competitive aspect to touring so there's nobody who is willing to pay out the ass for any small improvement that'll let them "win".
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Old 10-12-16, 02:08 PM   #25
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1- Does the market make what it wants to sell to the customer, even though it's inferior.
2- Does the market make what the customer wants to buy, A superior product.
I find carbon to be a superior product.
I disagree with your analysis within the range of bicycles.
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