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-   -   The Newbie's Guide To Touring Bikes (http://www.bikeforums.net/touring/180433-newbies-guide-touring-bikes.html)

Juan2know 07-27-09 06:54 PM

Buying Off Of Ebay or Used Vs New
 
I was in the same situation you were several months ago and wondered into REI
and spent a considerable amount of time asking questions and saying stuff like,
"Whatcha got"?

They measured me for a bike and they showed me several bikes but I chose to test
the Navara Safari Touring Bike. After going online and checking it out on Google there
was nothing but praise for the bike.

I love it the moment I tested it. The moustache handle bars are great for positioning
your body around on long rides plus you can get low in the wind or going downhill.

The bike is extreamly sturdy and I'd suggest you take a serious look at it. Seems like
it was around $800.00 but I got it on sale at a 20% reduction. As an REI member they
have sales like that from time to time.

This way you get to test the bike instead of shooting in the dark and hoping you guess
right.

Hope this helps...John:)

Ghoulardi 08-12-09 09:24 PM

What would you recommend being the minimum mechanical knowledge for a multi-day tour? Can anyone give me a list of must-know things?

I'm trying to learn as much as I can before I attempt my first mini-tour via a class and a volunteering/apprenticeship at a bike co-op.

stokell 08-13-09 04:55 AM

You should carry a couple of tubes and know how to change one. I started touring with just that much knowledge. In 17 years, Ive had to change tubes twice. The real secret; tour with a well-maintained bike.

jviking 10-07-09 07:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tpstrat (Post 9320547)
Complete newbie here again...I want to buy a touring bike for FULLY loaded touring, but it would be a huge hassle to get to a bike shop to get "fitted" for a bike. Anyone have any suggestions? I found this bike fit calculators online. Are these calculators accurate (i.e. can I know what specs will work for me just by punching in my dimensions?)

I'm 6'0 as well, 215 (down from 250, thanks to riding!) and i ride a 58 CM, if you go with this you can mess with the stem and fit it to your specific size. If you go much bigger it might be to big and you are SOL. You can always make a small bike fit a taller person, but never a to big a bike fit a shorter person.

jviking 10-07-09 09:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jviking (Post 9817359)
I'm 6'0 as well, 215 (down from 250, thanks to riding!) and i ride a 58 CM, if you go with this you can mess with the stem and fit it to your specific size. If you go much bigger it might be to big and you are SOL. You can always make a small bike fit a taller person, but never a to big a bike fit a shorter person.

pretty sure I ment to say seat-post.... not the same thing as the stem right? sorry still iffy on my biking vocab

hammockman 01-16-10 02:39 PM

I'm thinking about turning an old Marin mountain bike into a tourer and was reading about wheelbase distances on this site. Where do you measure between to get this distance?

kipibenkipod 01-16-10 02:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hammockman (Post 10277827)
I'm thinking about turing an old Marin mountain bike into a tourer and was reading about wheelbase distances on this site. Where do you measure between to get this distance?

From http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_w.html :
Wheel Base

The distance from the center of the front wheel to the center of the rear wheel. In general, a bicycle with a longer wheel base is more stable and comfortable; one with a shorter wheel base tends to be more maneuvrable.

So you can measure between the two touching points of the wheels with the ground.

Regards,
Kfir

hammockman 01-16-10 03:13 PM

Thanks, it looks like about 44" wheelbase on the old Marin mountain bike that I've had for many years. I think I'm going to be doing a lot of research on here to figure out the best way to turn it into a starter tourer correctly the first time so I don't have to spend a lot of money doing things over again the right way.

kipibenkipod 01-16-10 03:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hammockman (Post 10277919)
Thanks, it looks like about 44" wheelbase on the old Marin mountain bike that I've had for many years. I think I'm going to be doing a lot of research on here to figure out the best way to turn it into a starter tourer correctly the first time so I don't have to spend a lot of money doing things over again the right way.

Most likely, it the Marin is made from steel, it will be a good tourer. You can spend 1000$ and then find that the bike you bought is not good for you. Try to fit them with racks and go tour. You will learn a lot, for the style you need for tour.
Start by feeting it with racks, like Tubus Cargo 26'', that you will use also on a 700 tourer at the future. I'm using 26'' rack on my 700 tourer.
For the front, you need to check for low rider eyelets. If you don't have them, then you need to search for a rack that can clamp on the fork.
If 2 bottles are not enough, then buy a water bag and tie it in the back.

Take care and go touring,
Kfir

T-Hussy 01-20-10 09:20 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Here is my converted mountain bike commuter/touring rig, need to get a shorter stem. Should work well enough until I can drop the money on a "real" touring rig. http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=133895http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=133894

Juan2know 01-25-10 08:38 AM

I bought and REI Novara Safari & Was Not Made Aware Until Check Out Time That...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jcwitte (Post 2285327)
One question that I know comes up every so often is...
"What bike would be good for touring if I have a tight budget?"
Of course "tight budget" could mean alot of different things to alot of different people. I did a search for the word "budget" and this is some of what i came up with...

If your budget is really tight (below $700), you might be best off upgrading a bike you already own. It may not be a true dedicated touring bike, but touring can and has been done on all sorts of bikes. Also, older and/or slightly used touring bikes can be found on ebay, craigslist, or even at local garage sales in your area.

If you have a little more cash on hand ($750-$950), the next step up would be one of the budget touring bikes from REI (Novara Randonee), Fuji (Fuji Touring), or Bianchi (Bianchi Volpe). REI often times has coupons (check the coupon forum on this site) for 10-20% off.

Next up from that (on up to about $1400) would be the Trek 520 (ready to tour with after swapping to lower geared crankset and a stronger rack), Cannondale T600 (??) or T800 (Aluminum bikes), or the Surly LHT (sold as a frame and then you build it up how you want it).

After that, things start getting expensive for the "budget shopper". There is the Bruce Gordon BLT, the Rivendell Atlantis, the Koga Miyata World Traveler, and I think Waterford's models are in the high end as well. Regardless of which bike you get, "most" tourers have steel frames with attachments for three water bottle cages, front and rear racks (mid-fork braze-ons), at least 36 spokes per wheel, drop style handlebars or flats with some sort of extension for more hand positions, and mtb gearing for hauling heavy loads up steep mountains.

...that there was only room for one water bottle and that almost killed the deal for me but since I liked the bike so much and read so many positive reviews, I decided to go with it because at the time REI had mailed me a 20$ off coupon which saved me a couple of hundred dollars.

So, I've decided to to buy a BOB trailer and figured I can put 2-3 water bottles on it and make due. I did buy a big 40oz Camelback water bottle and love it because I don't need to tip my head back and drink out of it like conventional bottles. It has a built in straw so to speak so I can keep my eyes on the road...minor but nice. I'm going to have some of my videos on www.followmybike.com in about a week...the site isn't up yet but I'm working on it. All bike enthusiast are encourage to put up videos and pics of their trips.

stokell 01-25-10 10:25 AM

To add to the budget touring bike debate:
My first tourer was an old chromoly framed road bike I bough for $50. It had most of the braze-ons and space for 2 water bottles. Basically many of these 20-30 year old bikes are similar to a touring bike, except a little less relaxed geometry.

The roadies now want aluminum, fibre carbon or titanium, leaving these old bikes on the market really cheap. I toured on that bike until I was hooked on touring, then I bought a dedicated touring bike. I did find that being able to choose the gear ratios helped at the top and bottom end and the more upright position a little easier on the back.

Don't be put off touring because someone says you don't have the right bike. If your bike can take 2 panniers and 2 water bottles, just do it!

indyfabz 01-28-10 09:05 AM

"After that, things start getting expensive for the "budget shopper". There is the Bruce Gordon BLT, the Rivendell Atlantis, the Koga Miyata World Traveler, and I think Waterford's models are in the high end as well. Regardless of which bike you get, "most" tourers have steel frames with attachments for three water bottle cages, front and rear racks (mid-fork braze-ons), at least 36 spokes per wheel, drop style handlebars or flats with some sort of extension for more hand positions, and mtb gearing for hauling heavy loads up steep mountains."

Don't forget Independent Fabrication and Co-Motion on the high end. Both are custom builds. I have an IF road bike. A joy to ride and a beauty to look at.

BTW...You can get the LHT as a frame only or as a complete bike. The complete bike is selling for around $1,100 these days and is a great ride both loaded and empty. Jusr and racks and panniers and you are set.

BigBlueToe 01-29-10 10:48 AM

There are lots of differening views about most every aspect of bike touring. I suggest reading this forum every day, searching for old posts on topics that arise, and also spending a lot of time reading journals on CrazyGuyOnABike.com. I don't adopt the practices of everyone who posts - far from it - but I like to hear what they have to say, and I've learned a lot.

You can tour on a very limited budget - which is what I did when I started as a poor college kid in the 70's - and you can also spend almost unlimited amounts if you want - fully supported tours in Europe with gourmet dining and beautiful hotels, for instance. I'm in the middle. I now have what I consider to be excellent equipment - bike, panniers, racks, cooking gear, camping gear, etc. I don't always buy the most expensive stuff, but if I want something of high quality I don't lament the price - I buy it. I guess my biggest luxury item is nights in motels. I almost always camp, but when I have a reason - whether it's a rain storm, I can't find a suitable camping spot, or I'm just feeling a need to spoil myself - I find a motel.

Bicycle touring the way I do it might not be as inexpensive as some would think - especially when you add up the cost of all the food I devour (I don't limit myself, either in quantity or price.) But it's still undoubtedly cheaper than most any other form of travel.

The equipment costs can be pretty high initially - say $1,000 for a bike, $200-300 for racks, $200-300 for good panniers, $100-200 for a tent, $100 for a sleeping bag, $70 for a stove, etc.......... - but all of that equipment lasts a long time witih very little maintanence costs, especially if you do your own wrenching. I had my last touring bike - lower-quality Nashbar from 1992 - for about 15 years and it's still as good as it was when I bought it. I gave it to my nephew. He rode the entire west coast on it, and is looking for more tours to take it on. He's also using the REI panniers and handlebar bag I bought in 1992. They have a couple of scars, but they still work fine. I still have the stove I bought in 1992 and it still works fine. The mess kit will probably never die.

My point is that even people who worry about spending a lot of money initially can take comfort in knowing that it's a long-term investment. Once you've got what you need you don't have to worry about paying for equipment - except maybe inner tubes, a new tire or two every couple of years, maybe some grip tape, new gloves, etc. Not much.

I think the most valuable tip I can give a new tourer is to bring a little notebook and a pencil with you. When you're sitting down relaxing after a day's ride, write down thoughts about what you'd do differently. What equipment do you wish you had? What did you bring that you could do without? What items have turned out to be more valuable than you ever dreamed? What needs to be modified on your bike?

I find that those thoughts are in the front of my brain when I'm "out there" but when I get home they recede into the fuzzy part of my brain and I forget, and hence don't make the changes that could help.

I'm constantly updating my packing list. I don't think that will ever end. Over the years I've gone back and forth several times on certain items because I can't make up my mind definitively. But in the process my list is so much better now than it was 30 years ago. Plus, I always like to try new things. I just bought a chair because I saw someone sitting in it on a CrazyGuy journal. Haven't you just longed for a comfortable chair to sit in after a long ride? Of course, it may end up being too much extra weight to justify bringing. I'll see.

thestoutdog 01-30-10 07:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by T-Hussy (Post 10294447)
Here is my converted mountain bike commuter/touring rig, need to get a shorter stem. Should work well enough until I can drop the money on a "real" touring rig. http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=133895http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=133894

Hey T-Hussy, nice looking HR, planing the same transition for mine. What kind of stem is that?

chazzie mann 02-04-10 04:03 PM

Hi...

Can anybody tell me if the Kona Smoke would be ok for touring... The frame is made of 4130 Chromoly butted steel... the chain stay is about 17.7 in (450mm) ... the wheel base is 43.5 in (1111 mm).... the link is http://www.konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=smoke if you like to have a look... They are 220 euro were i live...

Any comments will be much appreciated

stokell 02-04-10 05:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chazzie mann (Post 10362051)
Hi...

Can anybody tell me if the Kona Smoke would be ok for touring... The frame is made of 4130 Chromoly butted steel... the chain stay is about 17.7 in (450mm) ... the wheel base is 43.5 in (1111 mm).... the link is http://www.konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=smoke if you like to have a look... They are 220 euro were i live...

Any comments will be much appreciated

It seems to be a commuter bike. Relaxed geometry - GOOD
3 frame braze-ons - ?
able to take front and rear racks - ?
Bars - not too many configurations

Any bike can be good for touring depending on how comfortable you feel after carrying 25 kilos of gear up a hill for 8 hours.

That's my opinion. If you are doing light or fully supported touring, it will be great!

Enjoy.

Phil_gretz 02-05-10 09:09 PM

Build Your Own
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by indyfabz (Post 10329755)
"After that, things start getting expensive for the "budget shopper". There is the Bruce Gordon BLT, the Rivendell Atlantis, the Koga Miyata World Traveler, and I think Waterford's models are in the high end as well. Regardless of which bike you get, "most" tourers have steel frames with attachments for three water bottle cages, front and rear racks (mid-fork braze-ons), at least 36 spokes per wheel, drop style handlebars or flats with some sort of extension for more hand positions, and mtb gearing for hauling heavy loads up steep mountains."

Don't forget Independent Fabrication and Co-Motion on the high end. Both are custom builds. I have an IF road bike. A joy to ride and a beauty to look at.

BTW...You can get the LHT as a frame only or as a complete bike. The complete bike is selling for around $1,100 these days and is a great ride both loaded and empty. Jusr and racks and panniers and you are set.


>> My preference is to search diligently for a butted, lugged steel frame from the mid-to-late 1980s. I've found a nearly complete 1988 Fuji Saratoga touring bike for $100, and a very, very clean Trek 620 touring bike for my wife for $550. Hers required about $250 in upgrades to give her 9 indexed speeds in the rear. Mine, the Fuji (not yet completed), came with a triple cycloid crankset appropriate for touring, all of the braze-ons you could imaging, and a 40-spoke rear wheel. It will need cables, pads, pedals plus my seat. I will also upgrade from the 6-speed Suntour freewheel to a 7-speed IRD with ramps to round things out. Total cost should come in a bit over $400 for mine, and the ride is very comfortable. My wife's is sublime.

>> I guess the point is that you can build one from a good frame, if you're patient and dig for the correct parts.

D2B2 02-18-10 10:28 AM

FWIW. I'm a "newbie" to touring (actually a wannbee tourer - when spring arrives...) but not new to bikes and riding. After lots of ruminating I recently purchased a Bruce Gordon BLT-T. I am very happy with Bruce's frame and component package and very happy with his guidance. The project has come together slick. I am looking forward to getting this rig on the road and incorporating it into my "paid to breathe" retirement.

thebeard 02-21-10 01:11 AM

I have a question. I'm usually just a commuter and recreational rider. My main bike is a Giant TranSend. I love it to death. I'm also a backpacker/hiker. Naturally, I want to start doing light touring. Besides the lack of handpositions on my risers with Ergo grips (which I love), what would other downfalls be with the bike? Just for clarification, I have a rack, panniers and everything and also have a well tuned bike.

Max

10 Wheels 02-21-10 01:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thebeard (Post 10430548)
I have a question. I'm usually just a commuter and recreational rider. My main bike is a Giant TranSend. I love it to death. I'm also a backpacker/hiker. Naturally, I want to start doing light touring. Besides the lack of handpositions on my risers with Ergo grips (which I love), what would other downfalls be with the bike? Just for clarification, I have a rack, panniers and everything and also have a well tuned bike.

Max

None:
This guy did 2100 miles NM to FL
http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/h.../FredTipps.jpg

kipibenkipod 02-21-10 05:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thebeard (Post 10430548)
I have a question. I'm usually just a commuter and recreational rider. My main bike is a Giant TranSend. I love it to death. I'm also a backpacker/hiker. Naturally, I want to start doing light touring. Besides the lack of handpositions on my risers with Ergo grips (which I love), what would other downfalls be with the bike? Just for clarification, I have a rack, panniers and everything and also have a well tuned bike.

Max

Hi Max,
You will not have problems, part of the usual stuff. I guess maybe breaking spokes. Take with you few spokes with you and a tool to remove the cassette.
If as you say the wheel is true and the spokes with even tension, you probably will not break too much spokes, if any.
Spokes breaking was my major problem at our recent 4 month tour from London to Barcelona. But I'm 95kg with load of ~35kg on 700 36holes rims. You have 26'', so its much stiffer then mine, but just if it is 36. Also it depends on your weight and luggage.

Regards,
Kfir

RepWI 02-21-10 09:05 AM

Hello
I currently have a Navara Safari. I have never been able to get it to fit me properly. (I bought it through Craig's list.) It is a nice bike but I really want a Surly Long Haul Trucker. But I also know the value of a proper fit and do not want to make a mistake.

I want to purchase a LHT this spring but am concerned with fitting it. I have a couple of questions.

I am 6'1" and weigh about 220lbs. Should I simply purchase a bike that will broadly fit me, then tweak that size to fit me?

I guess the real question becomes: What is the process one goes through to determine the proper fit for a bike?

10 Wheels 02-21-10 09:17 AM

Order the LHT from your local bike shop.
They can fit you to the bike.

RepWI 02-21-10 09:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10 Wheels (Post 10431043)
Order the LHT from your local bike shop.
They can fit you to the bike.

Yes, I will be. They are a great shop and have treated me very well. I do though would like some information from you folks so that I can ask the right questions as they are fitting me.

Thanks


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