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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 05-23-05, 10:01 PM   #1
jcwitte
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None of the LBS have any Touring bikes

Right now all I have is a Trek Navigator 300 Comfort Bike. I fell in love with riding after I got that and soon realized that I should have gotten something different. I love camping and backpacking and if I could combine that with cycling then I would be in heaven. The only problem is that none of the local bike shops carry touring bikes. Between the three shops here in town, the brands sold that have touring models are Trek, Cannondale, Giant and Fuji. But none of the stores actually carry the touring models so I am unable to actually test one out before I buy. If I have a budget of $900 to $1200, it doesn't leave me a very wide range of options anyway. Basically, there is the Trek 520, the Cannondale T800, or the Fuji Touring bike. Is there really much of a difference in the feel of these bikes that I would be messing up by just picking one and going with it? Has anyone here ever just ordered a bike without going for a test ride? Were you dissatisfied with the purchase?
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Old 05-23-05, 11:23 PM   #2
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I've bought all (8) of my bikes over the internet, either from folks on news groups (phred), craigslist or e-bay. I've lucked out, and they've all fit.

That said-if you will be ordering yours through a LBS, they should be able to "fit" you perfectly. At the same time you may be able to swap out some components (perhaps at minimal cost).
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Old 05-24-05, 05:16 AM   #3
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All three brands that you mentioned have been tried and tested and would make good choices. Do your research, get fitted, and find the one that best fits your needs.
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Old 05-24-05, 07:43 AM   #4
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I have done a good deal of research already, I just have always heard that you should test ride your bikes before purchase. I suppose that a test ride is not always possible, especially with touring bikes. Good thing we have this board.
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Old 05-24-05, 08:10 AM   #5
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Can you take a weekend trip to a big city where you could get a chance to check these
bikes out and give them a test ride?

But, you don't HAVE to test ride a bike, plenty of people order bikes without trying them first. If your local dealer will size you up, and order the correct size bike, then fit you to the bike, you should have no problem.
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Old 05-24-05, 09:24 AM   #6
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I will be goiong to Chicago in a couple of weekends to help my brother move. I may sneak away to Kozy's to see what they have on hand, but it sounds like I'll be fine to just get sized up and order one of the models I already mentioned. Thanks.
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Old 05-24-05, 10:08 AM   #7
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I feel your pain. Been there.

It depends on how comfortable you are with it, but I would not lay out a thousand bucks on a touring bike without first having the opportunity to take it for a spin any more so than I would buy a car without first giving it a test drive.

The last time I went shopping for a tourer, all of the local bike shops had mountain bikes and high end road bikes coming out of the yenyang, but not a single touring bike. Because I had owned several Treks and prefer the flex of chromoly over the rigidity of aluminum for touring, I was mostly interested in the 520 over the Cannondale. The local bike shop offered to order me one, but that meant prepayment without a test ride, which I refused to do. Eventually, I went to a larger city and found a bike shop with a Bianchi chromoly tourer. One test ride and I loved it! What's more, it was about $300 less than the 520. Bought it on the spot from the shop that earned my business.

FWIW, some weeks after I bought the Bianchi, I saw a shop with a Fuji tourer. Since I was no longer in the market for a bike, I didn't take it for a test ride. But I really liked the design of the Fuji, including braze-ons for carrying spare spokes on the chain stay. Looked like a well-thought out bike.
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Old 05-24-05, 10:30 AM   #8
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The 'dale is a big guy's bike, the stiffer frame works best in larger sizes.
The Fuji and Trek seem pretty similar.
Which dealer do you prefer? Can they build wheels? Factory wheels often need tuning before they are as strong as they can be.
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Old 05-24-05, 10:31 AM   #9
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all of the bikes mentioned are good choices. maybe call around chicago before you go to see who has what. if no luck there and your happy with the dealer you bought your trek from i'd probably go with the 520. a good bike shop can make a big difference. but like i, and others have said they're all good choices and the differences between the 3 are going to be minor.
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Old 05-24-05, 11:15 AM   #10
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Pur4plek - Was it a Volpe you got?
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Old 05-24-05, 12:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScandiHo
Pur4plek - Was it a Volpe you got?
Indeed it is, a nice dark blue one.
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Old 05-26-05, 02:39 AM   #12
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I also have had no luck with finding any local dealers with the bikes I am interested in buying. I do have an old bike though that I feel fits perfect, so I at least know what kind of frame size I am looking for, and I have a dificult time finding anything similar even online, the other bike I have is the same size (58cm) but the top tube and other measurements are different and even though the difference does not seem substantial it is like night and day when riding,

I feel that fitting with a measuring tape and a book with tabels or a computer program is a cop out since they often give a range that while making a good starting point for reference does not provide a replacement for actualy taking the bike for a ride around the block a few times, and even that is not as good as taking a bike for an extended ride, one local shop though has an articulated stationary bicycle that can be adjusted in every dimension and that seems a much better compromise.
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