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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 05-13-06, 03:32 PM   #1
jackrobot
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What bike should I buy?

I know its a bit of a general question to say the least but any input from others would help. I'm looking to get into touring this summer and I think i would like to buy a bike in the $1000 range. I dont really have the time/knowledge to biuld one from the frame up so I'll have to buy one complete.

I've been looking at the Trek 520 and 1500, and Giant OCR 1 to start out but I know that there is a large group of smaller companies that I'm not seeing. Can anyone point me towards a road/touring bike that's in this price range?

Thanks, Mike
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Old 05-13-06, 04:21 PM   #2
jimmuter
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For the money, good luck finding something better than the Trek 520.
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Old 05-13-06, 04:29 PM   #3
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Hi Jackrobot,

From what I've seen, around $1k will get you a new Trek 520. I'm sure others will chime in with other new options. You could also go used (Ebay, Craiglist, etc.) But you usually can't try the bike before you buy unless it's local.

The 1500 and OCR aren't touring rigs but might work. This begs the question: what do you mean by 'touring'? Depending on what you plan to do it may open you up to other types of bikes. Do you plan to go fully loaded or pull a trailer. Or maybe supported touring? Mountain bikes with moderate to no modifications are often used for touring.

Remember, road bikes are "generally" not well suited for touring (build for speed, not comfort. No rack mounts. Tire/fender clearance issues).

My wife and I just bought a 520 for her. It will be a commuting/light touring bike for her. She wasn't interested in building up a bike (like me ).

-Dave
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Old 05-15-06, 04:24 AM   #4
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The best benchmark for a loaded touring bike is probably the Bruce Gordon BLT. It is above your price range but has all the features a long distance, fully loaded tourer could want. Use it to compare with some of the perfectly good lower cost models from Trek, Jamis, Fuji, Bianchi.
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Old 05-15-06, 06:53 AM   #5
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If you are looking at light touring you might also look at the Bianchi Volpe. It is around 900-950 complete and has canti brakes, front & rear rack and fender mounts, and a pretty decent gear range (28x38x48 in front and 11-32 in back).

God bless!
Wayne J.
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Old 05-15-06, 11:17 AM   #6
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Love my 520. Find a shop with one that they can't seem to move. You should be able to get it for under $1000. Mine cost $900 two years ago.
While you're there, see if they can't swap out the gears. Get a bigger rear cassette (34 big gear) and a smaller granny (I run a 26, but they make a 24 for the 105 triple). The 30-32 on the 520 is much too big. A good bike shop shoul be willing to replace that on a new bike for cost.
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Old 05-15-06, 11:31 AM   #7
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The Jamis Aurora is another option.

-Dave
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Old 05-15-06, 11:44 AM   #8
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As mentioned, the Trek 520 is just about perfect, but comes with a "road" crankset (Shimano 105) with gearing that is a bit high for loaded touring. It is fine for credit card touring or commuting use, though. I have talked to two dealers who said they would swap the crankset to a mountain (22-32-44) or trekking (26-36-46) setup for minimal cost, since they can sell the 105 setup which is a popular upgrade for low-end roadbikes. Obviously this is on a new bike purchase only.

Another excellent choice although a bit harder to find is the Cannondale T800. It has an aluminum frame that is very strong and does not flex when loaded up, but rides a bit firmer when unloaded, although I find that the ride is actually not bad - more like a firmly sprung sports sedan in nature - the 37mm tires take the harshness out pretty well. It comes equipped with appropriate gearing and also has a more upright riding position than the 520.

Both of these bikes can be found for around $1000, discounted from $1200 list price.
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Old 05-15-06, 12:47 PM   #9
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Hey thanks everyone. By 'touring' I mean a fully loaded, 1 - 1.5 month tour using panniers. I'm not sure how much weight is optimal for most touring bikes but I'm pretty sure I can pack really light. I'll look into those bikes and I appreciate the input everyone.

-Mike
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Old 05-15-06, 01:28 PM   #10
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For what it's worth, a lot of bike options open up if you get a trailer for touring. I did a 6 week unsupported ride last summer without panniers and a bob trailer on my MTB.. If you need to buy panniers and racks, the bob ends up costing about the same or less. Personally, I found it much easier to organize all my stuff in the bob than with panniers.

Now, i'm in the same boat of looking for a new bike. After a winter of salting my bike, it's toasty and i'm looking to replace it as a touring bike with something else.

I might end up getting a fuji cross bike and swapping out the gears, or maybe bianchi axis.

good luck,
gk
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Old 05-15-06, 02:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnroads
As mentioned, the Trek 520 is just about perfect, but comes with a "road" crankset (Shimano 105) with gearing that is a bit high for loaded touring. It is fine for credit card touring or commuting use, though. I have talked to two dealers who said they would swap the crankset to a mountain (22-32-44) or trekking (26-36-46) setup for minimal cost, since they can sell the 105 setup which is a popular upgrade for low-end roadbikes. Obviously this is on a new bike purchase only.
Note that the 105 crank and deraileur can handle a 24 tooth ring pretty easy, so they don't even need to swap out much.
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