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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 02-04-06, 11:09 AM   #1
mossless
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"new" bike on the cheap?

First time poster, and new reader, so forgive me if this has been hashed over and over in the past.
I'm a casual bike rider. I have ridden for years, but just for fun. As I have gotten older and less rambunctious, my riding has tapered off. I currently have a Nishiki Pueblo, bought used, just to tool around town or on some of the bike trails in the area.

But! My wife has finally agreed to go on RAGBRAI this year, with me. I went on this 7 day ride 25 years ago (twice) on a Schwinn Continental, and had a blast. Went with a group, and was not really "touring" as we had our own SAG wagon to carry most of the gear. Being much younger, that tank of a bike was not really a hindrance. Now, however, I'm looking at this heavy mountain bike and know that there's no way I want to ride that thing across the state.

I'm 6'2" and about 235, but hope to be somewhat lighter, before the ride at the end of July. I will get some miles in and get in shape, and using the Nishiki for that makes sense. Longer torso and arms, if that makes a difference, fit-wise.

So... the point of this post.. I want a different bike for this ride, and to continue to use around town, and possible for commuting to work (10 miles or so, all city for the most part. I live and work in the Washington, DC area). I don't have $3000 for the bikes I have seen recommended in other threads in this forum. I don't even have $1000 that I feel comfortable spending. What is the least expensive way to get a suitable bike for RAGBRAI and after, for someone my size? I have explored buying used, and reconditioning.. buying something really ratty that has a good frame and replacing all the parts necessary, using the frame from my Nishiki Pueblo and fitting it more for touring rather than mountain biking (not sure if that is even possible), and other options.. Cost IS a factor. Cool is not (well not much...). I don't need full gear carrying capacity, but some would be good. And I just started my second half-century on this planet, so letting gears do more of the work, and my knees less, is a definite preference.

Sorry for the long post. Hope to benefit from the group knowledge here, rather than starting from scratch!

Mossless
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Old 02-04-06, 11:22 AM   #2
mtnroads
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Welcome to the forum. Yes, this topic has been hashed over regularly, as in weekly, so I suggest you either search or just scroll back through the postings here in the "touring" forum, and look for terms such as "budget", "inexpensive", etc. Many people do not want to invest $1000 or more in order to get a solid, comfortable, all-around bike that can be used for many purposes. You will find bikes such as the ubiquitous Trek 520, the Cannondale T800, Surly Long-Haul Trucker, and several other quality bikes discussed regularly. Have fun, and again, welcome.
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Old 02-04-06, 12:42 PM   #3
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Yeah, welcome! It could be that RAGBRAI is just the trigger for a new life of touring....

Or maybe not, summer will tell. If you're only looking to get yourself across Iowa, unloaded, you don't need a full-fledged touring bike. This gives you lots of options, either used or new.

If I were in the same situation, I'd look at the Surly Crosscheck. Not because I think it's perfect -- in fact I've never even seen one, let alone ride one. But Surly has a great reputation, I can't remember hearing or reading one complaint about their bikes in the past couple of years (except for maybe their paint choices...) The Crosscheck has a reputation for being a well-built, reliable, multi-purpose, good value bike. Some have set it up as a fixed gear, some have even done loaded touring on it. It certainly isn't a lightweight racer, but it just about covers all other bases.

It's Surly's only built-up bike (the other models are sold frame-only), and it's about $900 new. Check aebike.com, or do a google search to read about 'em.

I'm sure there are lots of other good choices, too. I'd just put the Crosscheck on your list.

Hey, what's your wife gonna ride for RAGBRAI?

-- Mark

Last edited by EmmCeeBee; 02-04-06 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 02-04-06, 10:51 PM   #4
silversmith
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RAGBRAI!

I'm going to pedal the 110 miles to Marengo in 2 half centuries+(Hey! I'm staring at the half century mark myself) and then ride the last two stages of RAGBRAI to Muscatine. I'm sure my 1970's Fuji would have sufficed.
But then I spotted a sub 4 pound Sakae frame on Ebay for $150, shipping included ()

I'm getting the components from Ebay, the Salvation Army & other thrifts, off my shelves in the garage, and a few things like spokes and cables from the LBS.


I think I should have a pretty decent, if somewhat cobbled together, ride for under $300 bucks.

Last edited by silversmith; 02-04-06 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 02-07-06, 03:39 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses, and I have done some reading in previous threads.
I have a possible purchase on a used hybrid. Raleigh C-200. Set up for a taller rider (good!) with some upgraded parts including Mavic rims, Sugano crank, new(er) rear gears. Also has halogen light (front) and red-strobe (rear), as well as frame-mounted air pump. It has street type slicks(?) for tires. I'm still getting up to speed on the terminology, parts, etc.

Does this type bike sound like it is worthy of working with and possibly upgrading? I don't know anything about Mavic rims, etc. I believe it is a 1998 or so model, and the new parts have about 250 miles on them, the owner said.

Still searching but this doesn't sound too bad, I think.
any idea what price range this should fall in?

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Old 02-07-06, 05:50 PM   #6
FarHorizon
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Cheap touring bike for a Clydesdale like me? I recommend a Kona Dew (the base model, not the Deluxe or Dr. Dew). Sturdy, reliable, available in 60 cm frame size (what we probably need at our height), and with quality components. Add some racks & panniers & you're good to go. Happy trails!
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Old 02-07-06, 11:07 PM   #7
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Try looking at a Trek 7.2 or 7.3Fx bike. The bike is geared for touring and has the threaded mounts for racks. These bikes come with a mountain bike style of handlebars instead of drop bars.
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