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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 07-03-05, 06:06 PM   #1
greenbeing
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New Bike

This is my first post and I hope that It isnít a silly question, so if it is, bear with me please.

I am looking at buying my first bike. I have ridden all my life, both Mountain bikes and road bikes, and now that Iím looking to buy my first bike I want to get a bike that offers quite a bit of versatility. Last summer I did about 1000 miles of touring in southern France on my dadís old Bianchi. It didnít have the right gearing and consequently I spent a lot of time crawling up big mountains with my extra 30 pounds of touring gear. Despite this, I still loved it and plan to do more touring in the future. So I want to get a bike I can tour with.
Consequently, I know Iím going to be using the bike for commuting a lot and also for going on long rides not loaded up with gear.

So my question is if there is a bike out there that offers the durability of a commuting, capabilities for touring with heavy loads, and also is just a fun, responsive ride for century rides on the weekend.

Right now Iím looking at some cycle cross bikes like the Bianchi Volpe.

Any advice would be great.

Thanks!
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Old 07-03-05, 06:32 PM   #2
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How about the surly LHT you can build a bike up from scratch with parts you want and need. Stick to shimano gears and barcon shifters for easy and relyability. 700c wheels enable you to go fast on the street as well as tour. They can handle a little dirt chesk what size you need cause smaller LHTs have 26" wheels which would be better if you are hauling larger loads or heading off road. Good luck with it Cheers Guru out.
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Old 07-03-05, 06:51 PM   #3
greenbeing
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Thanks for the Advice. Two questions:
1. How does the steel frame compare with other CrMo frames?
2. Is there a good book that walks you through building up a bike, because it is something I would love to do, but have no experience doing it.

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Old 07-03-05, 10:01 PM   #4
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Aside from being a well executed job at producing a smart touring frame, it's going to be about as cheap as you can find. That's quite a bargain as I've seen the LHT for under $400 for the frame & fork. I've also ridden one that was properly built for touring. Then my friend took that bike and went over 600 miles with it in six days with about 60 pounds of gear. This tour started on a rough jeep trail and while he later confessed that he wasn't having much fun going over a mountain on such a road, the bike performed well considering the 700c wheels.

Building your bike up is the way to go if you're going out on long self-supported tours. Knowing how things when together can be a big help on the road in the middle of nowhere when something starts acting up.
There may be a book that covers build, I didn't look. Many of the bicycle maintenance books cover each part individually and that's great too. Then there are other options like this:

Here's a video that would help

The thing that leads me from the LHT is your mention of century rides and your use of the word "responsive". The very best bikes built for loaded touring are not going to be something a typical rider is going to take to an organized century ride. These bikes are generally about 30 pounds including the racks and no other gear. The Giant OCR Touring would probably be a great bike or frame for you to consider. I don't think they are a new model anymore but have seen some leftovers in shops and a frameset recently went on eBay. There are several OCRs and most are the racing/sport variety. Make sure the one you consider has the rack attachment hole about midway up the front fork. I have a few friends that use these bikes and they are a good compromise.

Where are you and what's your budget? Panniers or trailer? Credit card touring or self-supported? Paper or plastic?


Cheers,

Ron
Wasatch Mountain Range, Utah
Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine x2...in 4 days!
Our Touring Journals
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Old 07-04-05, 08:22 AM   #5
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The reason I wanted a bike that was responsive and fun to ride and that I would be able to commute on is because that is what I will most likely be what type of riding i'll be doing the most. However, I don't have the budge to have both a commuting/road bike and a touring bike, so i was hoping to find a bike or build one that could do both of these things.

My budget is as far under 1,000 as possible. I know the Bianchi volpe is around 900 and that was the bike i was looking at. I am going to be using panniers. And I usually bring my own canvas bags to the grocery store.

Cheers-
GB
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Old 07-04-05, 09:01 AM   #6
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See also Jamis and Fuji for good mid-weight tourers.
Steel is the most common material for tourers (although you can get goos ones in Al and Ti).
The branded tubesets such as Reynolds and Columbus are generally better quality and lighter. Reynolds do make a heavy duty chromoly (#520). Unbranded Chromoly tubesets may be as good but are usually towards the heavier end of the scale.
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Old 07-04-05, 09:37 AM   #7
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MichaelW just about took the reply out of my mouth.

Cannondale has their T series bikes which are very well liked for touring and would work superbly for your other riding. You can find anything from the T800 to T2000 in your price range used and in fantastic condition. Same goes for Trek's 520. These bikes are always on eBay. Here's an example:
T800 auction

The Fuji Touring and Jamis Aurora are easy to find new for less than $1,000. I've seen them both used for coast to coast loaded touring.

You can build up a LHT for 1,000 and I had a friend order one from a local shop fully built up for about 1,100. The other bikes listed above are going to be more responsive for unloaded riding though.

If it were me I'd lean toward a Cannondale. They can really take a beating. Here's an example:
Mark Boyd's Cannondale and tours


Good luck and have fun finding your bike.

Ron
Wasatch Mountain Range, Utah
Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine x2 in 3 days.
Our Touring Journals
The excellent website we use for our journals is having a rare problem. Hopefully the owner gets it fixed inside of three days.
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Old 07-04-05, 08:23 PM   #8
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Trek 520. Check it out. Check Fuji's touring bike too. Haven't ridden it, but people on this forum have said that it is a good bike for the buck. Good luck.
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