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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 07-17-06, 12:26 PM   #1
steve_toy
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Purchasing Advice

Hello there, I'm relatively new to the cycling, so please bear with me if what I'm about to ask sounds a little stupid.

I'm looking at doing a long tour (cycling across America) and I'm trying to choose a bike fit for purpose. I've been looking at the Cannondales, and I'm trying to figure out the differences between them. While I know the differences in technical specs, I'm not sure how these translate into noticeable differences, and whether they matter. The bikes are:

1. Cannondale T800 2005 http://www.evanscycles.com/product.jsp?style=5412

2. Cannondale Touring Classic 2006 http://www.evanscycles.com/product.jsp?style=60345

3. Cannondale Touring Light 2006 http://www.evanscycles.com/product.jsp?style=60345


Any help or advice choosing between these would be very much appreciated! Thanks.
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Old 07-17-06, 12:38 PM   #2
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Personally, I'd stay away from Cannondale. Go with Steel for a long tour.
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Old 07-17-06, 12:42 PM   #3
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Thanks. Can you recommend some good brands to look out for that are in a similar price range?
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Old 07-17-06, 02:01 PM   #4
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Are you in the UK? If so, then you might consider Thorn cycles. Although now that I think about it, they are probably pricer than the Cannondales you refer to.

If you don't already know about it, there is a long standing debate on aluminum versus steel frames. It isn't difficult to find the gruesome details in this forum. I will just say that there are people who prefer aluminum and steel frame bikes (I prefer steel myself). But you should try it out before excluding them.

A 1000 British pounds translates to something like $1800 US dollars. For that price, you can get a great bike.

Will this be a supported or self-supported tour?

For loaded touring, the two standards that everyone throws around are the Trek 520 and Fuji Touring. Burley makes several appropriate models. A lot of people buy a Surly Crosscheck or LHT and build up a bike. Another build it yourself brand around here is Soma. If you start the ride in San Francisco, you can find a ready-made Soma at a shop in the city.

If this is going to be a supported tour and you generally do club rides, you might want to consider something more like a sport-tourer. I ride an older Jamis Nova with touring tires. It is still quick; I can load up the rear rack; and it has a comfortable geometry. If you look up cyclocross bikes, you will find many that fits this description. Just make sure that it comes with a triple crank up front and that you can put fat tires--say something like 37mm--on the bike.
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Old 07-17-06, 02:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invisiblehand
A 1000 British pounds translates to something like $1800 US dollars. For that price, you can get a great bike.
Yeah, except it's not, tis the evil of living in the UK (I used to). For general reference 1USD=1GBP in purchasing power. There's a little margin, which may mean he has about $1200 USD. When I lived in the UK, I did not have to pay customs on many items (legally due to my visa status) and it was often much cheaper to have items overnighted to the UK than buy them in the UK (bikes are not one of them, computer HW is one).
I'd look at the 520, but I'm biased. You'll probably need to upgfrade the wheels for heavy touring.
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Old 07-17-06, 03:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by nm+
Yeah, except it's not, tis the evil of living in the UK (I used to). For general reference 1USD=1GBP in purchasing power. There's a little margin, which may mean he has about $1200 USD.
Really? That is interesting. Now that you mention it, the Cannondale in the link is about 900 GBP. At a local shop (citybikes.com), you can find the same bike for about $900-1000. Is it taxes?

So I guess he should convert his 1000 GBP, travel to the US, and buy the bike here. After 3000+ miles of use, he can claim it was bought used, and pay much less in taxes when he brings it back to the UK.
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Old 07-17-06, 03:16 PM   #7
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It's partly due to taxes, and partly due to the fact that we in the UK are, sadly, less productive and efficient than you in the United States - consequently consumer goods and services tend to be more expensive (the most expensive country in the world apart from Sweden and Switzerland, if I'm not mistaken!).

Thanks for the advice above everyone, I'll have a look into the aluminium/steel debate.

As for buying one in America - sounds very tempting, although this is a trip I'll be doing next spring and I want to get some training miles done on the bike before then. Moreover, the one I'm currently using is a 100 mountain bike that's about 10 years old! I need a decent pair of wheels soon, and I figure the best thing to do is make the big purchase sooner rather than later.
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Old 07-17-06, 03:53 PM   #8
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Sorry to be bombarding you with yet more questions. I've read on this forum that only idiots pay full retail price. So how does one go about getting a discount, and how much can one expect to save?
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Old 07-17-06, 04:25 PM   #9
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At least in the US, on big producer bikes, retail is double wholesale (On boutique builders the markup can be much less). You negotate, like buying a car.
They key is to find the bike in stock. If you order, you will most likely have to pay retail.
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Old 07-17-06, 04:28 PM   #10
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I too was looking for a new touring bike just about a month ago, and I used the Bike Forum search-engine in this (touring) section to start my research. There are many threads on this topic, not only about steel vs. aluminum, but also which brands and components to buy (or to not buy). In the end, I was able to narrow my choices down to 2 or 3 bikes, and then my bike was fixed, so I don't need to buy one afterall (I love my bike, I am very grateful). You can also search other sections. The steel vs. aluminum issue appears for all types of bikes.

Good luck.

P.S. Steel is dreamy.
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Old 07-17-06, 11:37 PM   #11
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Mercian might have what you are looking for, or you can order a Surly LHT frame and fork online from Germany. The German place has the cheapest price I could find in Europe for the LHT. Shipping was very reasonable as well. I picked one up and I'm very happy with it.

Mercian - http://www.merciancycles.com/

German site for LHT - http://www.bike-components.de/catalo...da481ee0948c8e
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Old 07-18-06, 03:56 AM   #12
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If you are in the UK try HEWITTCHEVIOT Bikes http://www.hewittcheviot.co.uk/

They make an excellent touring bike CHEVIOT 26 (26 In wheels 1 1/8 headset) Quality components
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Old 07-18-06, 10:09 AM   #13
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The Hewitt referenced below looks like an interesting bike.

Here, bikes generally go on sale at the end of the cycling season. There is a risk that what you want will be unavailable. If cost is a real issue, then getting a used bike and putting a little work into it will get you the best buy. From what I recall of other threads on the topic--paying full retail--that is the main strategy.

Here in the states, the market for used bicycles is large and most transactions occur on Craigslist. There is a Craigslist for London, but it isn't clear how well the locals support it.

To follow up on an earlier post, it appears that I badly estimated your budget; i.e., $1800. If you are looking for a good budget tourer, I would point you towards the Fuji Touring, Bianchi Volpe, or the Jamis Aurora. They are all less than $900. You will have some extra money for accessories. I have read posts where cyclists successfully mail-ordered a Windsor Touring bike. Apparently, it is identical to the Fuji Touring. On Bikesdirect.com it sells for $600 including the rear rack. Perhaps there is something analogous in the UK.
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