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Thread: New to touring

  1. #1
    Senior Member lubers's Avatar
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    New to touring

    I'm new to touring so I need some help, right now I ride a Fuji Royale and I have taken it on a couple of tours (BAK and the Northwoods Tour in WI) I find the frame to flexes too much for me and I'm in search for a touring bike. I'm 6'2 and on the heay side 240 which probably accounts for the five broken spokes last year. Anyway I've been looking at the Trek 520 and was all set to buy one when I checked out a 04 Cannondale T800 that was left over. I'm looking for the pros and cons of them. I can't seem to find any feedback on either one on the web. I can pick the Cannondale up for 850.00 (04) and the Trek (05) for 1000.00. Which one is better for dollar? I have ridden about 3500 miles the last two years and I'm looking for something that will be more trouble free. Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Jeff

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    Senior Member metal_cowboy's Avatar
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    Both are good bikes. The Trek 520 is a proven design, but I have never liked the low handlebar height. The Cannondale is great, but the aluminium frame may be a bit rough.

    Have you looked at the Surly Long Haul Trucker? It is a steel framed touring bike that can be built up for less than the Trek 520.

    Bianchi also make a good touring bike.

    If you are breaking spokes, make sure you get a wheel set with at least 36 spokes. At your weight, you should not be breaking that many spokes.
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    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    They're both very nice touring bikes. The Cannondale's gearing is lower than the Trek's which many tourists prefer. OTOH, the Trek has barcons instead of brifters which many tourists prefer. Ride both, see what you like. You could also ask your bike shop to build you a Surly Long Haul Trucker for about the same price.

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    I'm a big guy and don't have problems with broken spokes. The wheels are suspect, have a good bike shop go over them for proper tension.
    The more spokes the better, but 36 should be good unless you like running over things.
    Both the Trek and Cannondale are good bikes. Personally I would go with the Cannondale, less flex in my opinion. Just make sure the weight is properly distributed front and rear.
    Regards,
    lee

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerlee
    I'm a big guy and don't have problems with broken spokes. The wheels are suspect, have a good bike shop go over them for proper tension.
    The more spokes the better, but 36 should be good unless you like running over things.
    Both the Trek and Cannondale are good bikes. Personally I would go with the Cannondale, less flex in my opinion. Just make sure the weight is properly distributed front and rear.
    Regards,
    lee
    I tried the Trek when I was looking for a new touring bike a couple of years ago but I didn't like the ride that much. I've ridden steel touring bikes forever and had a few problems with others. I bought the Cannondale and, while it is stiff and harsh without a load, loaded it has a great ride! I've never had a touring bike that rides as well with a load as the Cannondale T800.

    [Edit] To Lubers: At $850 the Cannondale is a steal! Bikerlee is right that the Trek and Cannondale are both good but for $150 less the 'Dale is a great buy.
    Last edited by cyccommute; 02-22-06 at 08:43 AM.
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    Of the two the trek would be my choice, but thats just my opinion. Another to look at would be the Navara Randonee from REI. Just saw a right up on it in Bicycling magazine. Looks to be a good bike with a solid spec for right around 1000.
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    Senior Member lubers's Avatar
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    OK I just bought the Cannondale last night, I've been looking at getting some different pedals, I have SPD on my Fuji and was looking to get something with a bigger platform. Anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Jeff

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    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lubers
    OK I just bought the Cannondale last night, I've been looking at getting some different pedals, I have SPD on my Fuji and was looking to get something with a bigger platform. Anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Jeff
    Keep the pedals, get shoes with stiffer soles.

    "Big platform" pedals mostly require big clunky cleats and road shoes that you can't walk in. Your shoe can work just as well as platform and still allow walkability.

  9. #9
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfspeed
    Keep the pedals, get shoes with stiffer soles.
    +1

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    How does that 'dale ride. They have a reputation as a big guy's bike, stiff in the larger sizes, harsh in the smaller ones. Is this correct?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lubers
    I'm new to touring so I need some help, right now I ride a Fuji Royale and I have taken it on a couple of tours (BAK and the Northwoods Tour in WI) I find the frame to flexes too much for me and I'm in search for a touring bike. I'm 6'2 and on the heay side 240 which probably accounts for the five broken spokes last year. Anyway I've been looking at the Trek 520 and was all set to buy one when I checked out a 04 Cannondale T800 that was left over. I'm looking for the pros and cons of them. I can't seem to find any feedback on either one on the web. I can pick the Cannondale up for 850.00 (04) and the Trek (05) for 1000.00. Which one is better for dollar? I have ridden about 3500 miles the last two years and I'm looking for something that will be more trouble free. Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Jeff
    If everything about the bike is great except for the flex, you might try putting a bit of weight up front, using a handlebar bag. That's my suggestion if all your weight is on the rear right now. I couldn't even ride my old tour bike (essentially the same CrMo frame as today's 520), fully loaded, otherwise--it was way too squirrely.

    As regards wheels, you might consider wheels with more and stronger spokes--even with a 520--if you have a lot of weight on the rear. SS spokes in a 4-cross pattern were the thing for touring years ago. I've got 32-spoke wheels with butted spokes for ordinary road riding now and they work fine but I'm not sure I'd trust them on a loaded tour.

    I remember when C-dales first came out--road bikes with big al tubes--they looked pretty cool. But they were for race so the wheelbase wouldn't have been that good for touring--don't know about the current crop of C-dales but you might compare the specs to see if the wheelbase is as generous as your current ride or the 520. For example, if your current ride has ~40" wheelbase (like a 520), you may miss that if you end up with a stiffer frame and smaller wheelbase.
    Last edited by wagathon; 02-25-06 at 09:05 AM.

  12. #12
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wagathon
    If everything about the bike is great except for the flex, you might try putting a bit of weight up front, using a handlebar bag. That's my suggestion if all your weight is on the rear right now. I couldn't even ride my old tour bike (essentially the same CrMo frame as today's 520), fully loaded, otherwise--it was way too squirrely.

    I remember when C-dales first came out--road bikes with big al tubes--they looked pretty cool. But they were for race so the wheelbase wouldn't have been that good for touring--don't know about the current crop of C-dales but you might compare the specs to see if the wheelbase is as generous as your current ride or the 520. For example, if your current ride has ~40" wheelbase (like a 520), you may miss that if you end up with a stiffer frame and smaller wheelbase.
    The flex of my old steel touring bike was one of the reasons I went the the T800 when I had a chance. I've done high speed descents even with bags on the front that were less than comfortable on my old steel touring bike. The T800 handles 40 to 50 mph loaded downhills with ease.

    As for the geometry, the Cannondale is even a little longer in wheelbase and chainstay length then the Trek. For example, the wheelbase on a T800 is 41.9" as compared to 41.4" on the 520. The 520 has slightly shorter chainstays too. Cannondale has really done their homework on their touring bikes. For a production, relatively inexpensive touring bike, it's a solid well built machine.

    And while it is harsh without a load, you get used to that.
    Stuart Black
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    Banned wagathon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    The flex of my old steel touring bike was one of the reasons I went the the T800 when I had a chance. I've done high speed descents even with bags on the front that were less than comfortable on my old steel touring bike. The T800 handles 40 to 50 mph loaded downhills with ease.

    As for the geometry, the Cannondale is even a little longer in wheelbase and chainstay length then the Trek. For example, the wheelbase on a T800 is 41.9" as compared to 41.4" on the 520. The 520 has slightly shorter chainstays too. Cannondale has really done their homework on their touring bikes. For a production, relatively inexpensive touring bike, it's a solid well built machine.

    And while it is harsh without a load, you get used to that.
    If I was new to touring, I'd be persuaded . . . the stats sound great and you can't do better than a testimonial. For me, however, I'd go with the steel 520. In the largest size, I noticed that the 520 has a lower center of gravity. And while the t-800 does appear to have a 2 cm longer wheelbase and 0.7 longer chain stay length, the 520 has slacker seat and head tube angles for greater comfort. I like the t-800's gearing a lot better though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    The flex of my old steel touring bike was one of the reasons I went the the T800 when I had a chance. I've done high speed descents even with bags on the front that were less than comfortable on my old steel touring bike. The T800 handles 40 to 50 mph loaded downhills with ease.

    As for the geometry, the Cannondale is even a little longer in wheelbase and chainstay length then the Trek. For example, the wheelbase on a T800 is 41.9" as compared to 41.4" on the 520. The 520 has slightly shorter chainstays too. Cannondale has really done their homework on their touring bikes. For a production, relatively inexpensive touring bike, it's a solid well built machine.

    And while it is harsh without a load, you get used to that.
    I have been eyeing the T800 lately for that very reason - I love to climb and descend, and I notice a fair amount of flex in my 520 when doing so heavily loaded. Problem with the T800 for me is that in my size (L), it comes with 175mm cranks - too long for me (5'10, 32inseam), since I normally use 170's and am sensitive to changes. I would have to change them out. Interestingly, a comparable size Novara Randonee uses 170mm, and I think the new Trek 21" uses 172.5. Lot's of variation.
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  15. #15
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnroads
    I have been eyeing the T800 lately for that very reason - I love to climb and descend, and I notice a fair amount of flex in my 520 when doing so heavily loaded. Problem with the T800 for me is that in my size (L), it comes with 175mm cranks - too long for me (5'10, 32inseam), since I normally use 170's and am sensitive to changes. I would have to change them out. Interestingly, a comparable size Novara Randonee uses 170mm, and I think the new Trek 21" uses 172.5. Lot's of variation.
    I ride mountain bikes a lot so I'm used to riding with 175mm cranks. I like 170 for road bikes but I don't find the difference to be that great. I did change the original crank out (I swap stuff on my bikes all the time ) for a Race Face Turbine with 44/34/20 chainwheels however. It really feels like riding my mountain bikes now (gearwise, not ride wise )
    Stuart Black
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    Senior Member lubers's Avatar
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    Haven't picked the bike up yet so far I've been working six to seven days a week since the first of the year. I had to take vacation just to go look at it and take it for a ride last week. Bike shop is about 80 miles away. Next week we are also scheduled for seven days so hopefully the week after that I will pick it up. I also ordered some Crank Brothers Candy SL pedals for it. I'm starting to get the itch to start riding. After standing on the scale today it was butt ugly.( 260lbs ) I'm going to have to work hard this year again.

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    Senior Member lubers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lubers
    Haven't picked the bike up yet so far I've been working six to seven days a week since the first of the year. I had to take vacation just to go look at it and take it for a ride last week. Bike shop is about 80 miles away. Next week we are also scheduled for seven days so hopefully the week after that I will pick it up. I also ordered some Crank Brothers Candy SL pedals for it. I'm starting to get the itch to start riding. After standing on the scale today it was butt ugly.( 260lbs ) I'm going to have to work hard this year again.
    Picked up the bike last night, was hoping to get a ride in this week but it's to cold today and forecast is for more snow tomorrow. Oh well maybe next week.
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