In the past few weeks, I've been catching up with plenty of reccommendations for a touring bicycle. Unfortunately, with not a huge budget to go on... under £1000, $2000CDN, $1900US, ¥200000yen total,I must limit myself with some options. Sure, costs for a Bruce Gordon is possible with my price range, but as I currently live in Japan, shipping charges and then custom fees can most certainly add another 15-25% to the initial cost. A Trek 520 sounds great, but I'm a fan of 26" tyres ever since I had a crack on my 700c for 2 months when I was cycling S.E. Asia. T2000 T800, I've never really been a fan of dropbars, and the frame are too big for me. Steel seems to be the most common reccommendation for a long distance touring bicycle.
As for my experience, I've toured on and off for 5 years, totalling about 32,000kms. All on a Marin hybrid I had from my days in uni. Usually totally loaded, 4 panniers, handlebar bag, and sometimes a BOB trailer all together. Why do I carry so much? Well, when I first started off, I also carried a 16mm motion picture camera with a studio sized tripod... Now, I'm in search of something that'll last a bit longer. Have let the 16mm and BOB go... now just the bags.
I've seen posts about the Novara, T2000, T800, 520, Koga-Miyata, Fuji Tourer, Dawes, Rivendell, Roberts, Giant OCR, Bruce Gordon, etc. But for a steel frame, with 26" and price wise I'm really looking at either building from a Surly LHT or purchasing a Thorn Sherpa with gear upgrades. Something that is just after entry level since I usually go for 2-4 months at a time.
- Getting a LHT to Japan isn't a problem, since I've got a friend in the states who can pick up a frame for me, but asking for a whoe bike to be boxed,... I'm not sure if they could manage it.
- For the Thorn Sherpa I'm flying to the UK, and since I've got a friend in Cornwall, I could stop by Bridgewater, SJS cycle to pick up my bike if ordered. (I could also possibly get it VAT free as well)
Oh yes... another thing. I've read plenty about how people are really REALLY tall, but what about for us short blokes? I'm 5'.... yeah.. that's it... 5' with a small clearance. 16"-17" or 42-44cm frame sizes is what I'd need.
Parts wise, for both choices, I'm thinking of...
Sun-Ringle Rhyno or CR18 rims
Brooks B67 or B17 saddle
Flat bar (my back does funny things with drops)
XTR Brakes (is it necessary? would regular Deore be alright)
Schwalbe Marathon XR tyres
Any other suggestions?
Everything else, I'm salvaging from my old bike or not too worried about.
So, I apologize for the long entry, was just wondering what people thought about Thorns vs LHT, since I've seen comparisons of other bikes, T2000, 520, LHT etc.
My plan for 2007 is to cycle Lao, Vietnam, and then fly to Mongolia and to cycle to Turkey via Kazakhstan.
Thanks again for reading this far!