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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 03-14-06, 09:55 AM   #1
babysaph
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Build a bike or buy- which is cheaper?

I want to build a touring bike from a mtn bike frame. Will that be more expensive than just dropping $1000 for a new touring bike.
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Old 03-14-06, 10:16 AM   #2
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Depends on what you have at hand and how much you'll have to buy. If you're starting with a frame and buying everything else to go on it (including wheetset) then it'll probably be more expensive to build up instead of buy.

Some of it also depends on how much you "need" the high end stuff. For me, if I was going to the trouble to build up a touring bike I'd wanna pick everything perfect instead of just scrounging, so it definitely would be more expensive for me to build. I think high-end parts tend to get pretty expensive a la carte. OTOH, if you have the time and inclination, you can cruise the internet/LBS sales and probably put together a pretty nice bike.

Not much of an answer, I know, but maybe a few things to think about. Maybe some of the LHT crowd can say how much they spend on everything (minus the cost of the frame).
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Old 03-14-06, 10:46 AM   #3
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Plenty of people tour on bikes that aren't touring specific--mountain bikes, hybrids, cyclocross, etc. That said, if you are going to spend a chunk of money and intend to do serious loaded on-road touring, it might make sense to look at a less expensive or used touring bike.

Mountain bikes often have very short chainstays to help with traction and which can interfere with panniers. They also have high bottom brackets which some folks say makes the bike less stable when loaded. Finally, mountain bikes usually have flat bars which have a more limited number of hand positions when compared with drops or trekking bars.

None of this is an absolute impediment to using the mountain bike frame, just stuff to think about. On the positive side, mountain bikes usually come geared pretty low which is more appropriate for touring and tend to be pretty sturdy frames, also good for touring.

If you only want to have one bike, you might consider selling the current one (if it is worth anything) and getting something like a Surly Karate Monkey which is very versatile and could be used for touring (or at least Surly says so). I know people seem to really like the Long Haul Trucker, and I love my Crosscheck and intend to do some light touring on it.

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-14-06, 11:25 AM   #4
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Without doing much to your current mtb setup, the easiest way to set it up as a tourer is to use a trailer.
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Old 03-14-06, 12:29 PM   #5
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I think I can use all of the gearing. Want to put new brakes on it and fenders and handle bars. If I use panniers. Should I put them on the front or back. Only need one set.
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Old 03-14-06, 12:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Fixer
Without doing much to your current mtb setup, the easiest way to set it up as a tourer is to use a trailer.
+1

If the MTB is in good shape, it may be ideal as is. MTBs have lower gearing than typical road bikes (including some stock touring bikes), have sturdy wheels and frame. They do tend to be a bit heavy but if you're going to load the bike up, what's a couple pounds extra?

Using a trailer makes things easy because MTBs usually have shorter chainstays and heel clearance with panniers may be a problem.

Buying components to build up a frame is almost always more expensive than buying a complete bike.
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Old 03-14-06, 03:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by babysaph
I think I can use all of the gearing. Want to put new brakes on it and fenders and handle bars. If I use panniers. Should I put them on the front or back. Only need one set.
Why don't you put up a picture of your Raleigh? That might help us give the best advice we can! Focus on the whole bike first, then the brakes, then the chainstays and axle dropouts, and the fork. That will give us a good idea if you have a longer wheel base or shorter wheelbase Mountainbike. The suggestion of a trailer is a good one as it reduces the percieves weight on the bike. I run front and rear panniers both, myself as well as a trunk bag if I need more bag space. I also use a bar bag. My rear pannies aren't expedition panniers, but instead are a set of Banjo Brothers commuter bags that Banjo sent me to evaluate on a field trial. By the way, they are roomy and really nice for commuter bags! They are a bit small for epic tours like riding from Paris to Moscow or across the USA, but for weekenders or up to a week in a 4 pannier config they are pretty good!
http://www.banjobrothers.com/products.php is the link to their site if you are interested. They have a nice taper in the front that allows my size 14(US SIZE) gunboat feet to clear the panniers on a MTB frame.
Welcome to the world of touring! Done right, it can be an adventure you remember positively for the rest of your life!
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Old 03-14-06, 04:44 PM   #8
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From your description, it sounds like MTB. If you're just adding front or rear panniers, fenders and brakes, that sounds a heck of a lot cheaper than a full touring bike.

The way I am doing it is the same - I can't afford a full bike. So I am updating my MTB with the view of transferring the components over if/when I find the need to. Bought some slicks and fenders and a brooks saddle. I have a cheap rack that I need to work on to add, and then I can start going on small local tours to train and to figure out what needs replacing.

Same thing with the rest of the equipment, I'll use what I have and go out and do it, and then as I find an area that needs something better, I'll get it.

Cya
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Old 03-14-06, 06:47 PM   #9
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Can you put fenders on a mtn bike? Also if I need parts how do I identify my bike. It has been repainted and I am not sure of the model or year.
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Old 03-14-06, 08:11 PM   #10
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You'll be happy to know, most parts are pretty universal as to accessibility! Your LBS (Local Bike Shop) can help a lot with whether you need one bearing set or another, or a cassette hub vs a Freewheel hub, or whether you have a 1" or 1 1/8 or a metric seatpost size or Stem size or whatever. Most bikes are a frame by a manufacturer and assorted vendor parts, like Schimano, or SRAM or Campagnolo, or whatever! As you learn more about your horse, you will be able to start shopping the internet, but don't scoff at a bike shop for service and early on advice! When you hook up with one, support it any way you can.....even if you don't have a budget, you can refer customers to them! This pays off in the long run, for example, because I get a discount at my LBS. I've never asked for one but one day, they started discounting my parts! Great guys! They are unstinting in advice and have often saved me a repair bill with a suggestion! I sincerely hope you can hook up with an LBS of equal caliber!
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Old 03-14-06, 08:12 PM   #11
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By the way, yes, you can put fenders on a MTB, no problem, and the little bit of weight is worth its weight in gold on cruddy weather roads!
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