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  1. #1
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    Question regarding best bike?

    Hi everyone,
    I'm a newbie in terms of touring but am looking for a great bike I can use for an upcoming cross country trip this summer. I would ideally like a bike that can handle the wear and tear of a cross country trip but also a bike that I can hopefully use for low key races or triatholons afterwards. That being said, I plan to use a trailer rather than panniers so I don't think I'll need a pure touring bike. My price range is between $900-$1200. I am willing to go a little over but would like to keep it in that range if possible. My frontrunners right now are the Cannondale r500 and r700.(i've used their mountain bikes for years and was very happy with the results) Please give me any advice as to other bikes that would be great for my purposes. I've looked at the Trek520 but found it to be too much of a pure touring bike. Thanks in advance.

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    Consider a cross bike like the jamis nova. Last years leftovers go for $1k with full 105. The bike is reasonably light at 22lbs and has braze ons for a rear rack IIRC...and the frame is 531 steel so it won't beat you up. Touring, racing, club rides...the bike can do it all with a change of tires.

  3. #3
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    There really isn't any such thing. A touring bike is designed completely differently from a road racing bicycle. While a racing bike wants to have very light weight and low rolling resistance, a touring bike has to carry heavy loads at slower speeds where rolling resistance isn't very significant.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/TREK-520-TOURING...QQcmdZViewItem

    Here's something that would work well as a touring bike for a more than reasonable price.

  4. #4
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    I would definitely consider a cyclo-cross bike or a sport touring bike. It's going to be solid enough to get you across the country but nimble enough to enjoy after your tour. Since you're planning to run a trailer, I think that opens up your options considerably. The biggest problem using a "road" bike to tour is loading it up with weight, like panniers in the front and back. Since the bike wasn't designed with that purpose in mind, it quickly turns into a slinky loaded up, and thoroughly unpleasant to ride touring.

    If you think this is a one-time tour, then I'm confident that you'll get more mileage out of a CX bike or sport tourer/club racer. However, if you think you'll continue to take bike tours from time to time, I'd strongly consider a pure touring bike, I think you'd be happier out on the road with a touring bike designed for that very purpose.

    In your price range, two bikes immediately come to mind, the Surly Cross-Check and the Bianchi Volpe. Both are passable touring bikes (the Bianchi more so but the Surly too, if you're pulling a trailer) but are designed to be more nimble, all purpose.

    One thing to consider is gearing. The gearing, cranks, and shifters that you value for touring aren't going to be well-suited for "low key races and triathlons". You might want to setting the bike up for your tour and then change out some of the components after you've finished, to gear-up the bike for long rides & races. For instance, start with bar-end shifters and a trekking crank on your tour, and change it out to road crank gearing and integrated shifters after you've finished. And changing out your rear cassette from a wide touring cassette (11-32 or 11-34t) to something better suited for the road (11-25 or 12-27).

    If you build up the bike with this changeover in mind, I think you could keep your expenses way down. Start with a nashbar trekking crank and relatively inexpensive Shimano LX shifters and derailleurs and switch over to Shimano 105 road stuff when you finish. I'm pretty sure you could keep it under $1200, although you might be close to your top end.
    Last edited by greenstork; 01-26-07 at 08:12 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclintom
    There really isn't any such thing. A touring bike is designed completely differently from a road racing bicycle. While a racing bike wants to have very light weight and low rolling resistance, a touring bike has to carry heavy loads at slower speeds where rolling resistance isn't very significant.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/TREK-520-TOURING...QQcmdZViewItem

    Here's something that would work well as a touring bike for a more than reasonable price.
    If the OP was doing more than one tour or loading the bike with panniers and a rack, then I'd agree with you wholeheartedly. However, it sounds like this bike is going to be used for many more things besides touring, and with the benefit of a trailer. I believe the trailer really changes the game and the OP could get by with a lot less "hefty" of a bike. With a trailer, the chainstays need not be longer, except for ride comfort, and tires could more than makeup for that. And the frame doesn't have to be nearly as sturdy, because the weight of the rider is all the bike will be carrying.

    One thing I will concede is that a purely aggressive road racing bike is ill-suited for touring. The seat is way too high over the bars and the top tube is typically too long, stretching out the rider over the bike. I don't see this as a big concern on some of the CX and sport touring bikes out there, since they're often designed with a more upright riding position in mind. Fork rake/trail is another concern, but again only for road bikes.
    Last edited by greenstork; 01-26-07 at 08:04 PM.

  6. #6
    mousse de chocolat Moose's Avatar
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    How about a good steel framed road bike like the Bianchi Eros or Imola.

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    If I were in this position here is what I would do.

    Pick up a used Trek 520. Go do my tour.

    Turn around and sell it.

    Go buy a traditional road bike.

    I am very impressed in how the 520's tend to hold their value. I wouldn't doubt that you could pick up a used 520, ride it across the country, and then sell it for about what you bought it for.

    -D

  8. #8
    George Krpan
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    Yep, cyclocross. It's really not much different than a road bike in geometry and weight. The only real differences are cantilevers instead of calipers and a lot more room in the frame for fat tires.
    I visited the Jamis site and was impressed by the more expensive of their two models.
    It is really good looking and weighs a scant 18 lbs. It costs $2500. The cheaper one weighs 22 lbs.
    The more expensive one is aluminum, the cheaper one is steel.
    22 lbs. would be considered heavy by today's roadies but I don't think I would have any trouble keeping up on it. And, that sweet steel ride. To be fair aluminum bikes aren't what they use to be. They ride much better now and it's hard to argue about an 18 lb. bike.
    Of course, you know, Cannondale has three cyclocross models in it's current lineup.

  9. #9
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Soma Smoothie ES. If you're not intending to actually WIN the races, but just finish respectable. This bike is relaxed, and can be quite fast, and will take a big tire and stout wheels.

    I've got the same type of advice like greenstork....

    build up as a touring bike, long cage mtn derailleur, 9 speed mtn cassette, road triple downsized to as low as you can go, perhaps; stout set of wheels for the tour.

    change bike with new stem, new road derailler, put road rings back, or new double, and new cassette....light set of wheels for training and racing. new bike.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    I not want to steal this thread but I kind of have the same problem. I'm looking for a frame, I want it for club rides/training, the odd not so serious triathlon och a month a year for loaded touring with rear and front panniers.

    Though I have another problem: I live in Sweden. (There are no bikes here!!) I have to look for bike stuff in England (frames) and Germany (components).

    The Smoothie ES seems like a good frame for me, and it's available here. But it's 360!!! With shipping that's over $800.

    I have looked at the Bob Jackson World Tour and the Thorn Club Tour. How are those frames for racing? All the Audax type of frames I've looked at only have clearence for 700x28 tyres maximum.

    The Surly LHT is actually available in Sweden here, but is the LHT really usable for racing purpuses?

    Please help!

  11. #11
    ROM 6:23 flipped4bikes's Avatar
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    Specialized Tricross Comp.
    Every time we let a vehicle pass there is a little bit of compromise. But compromise allows the city to function and allows cyclists to function in the city. The trick is not to eliminate compromise but to learn how to work safely within it.

    --Robert Hurst

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipped4bikes
    Specialized Tricross Comp.
    Yes! It seems to be a very good frame on that bike!

    But complete bikes are never speced the way you want. I really just want a frame and build it up my self, and then change some components for the tour.

  13. #13
    Senior Member eric von zipper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipped4bikes
    Specialized Tricross Comp.
    One of the bike shops here has one of these...camo (olive) paint job. V. cool bike. I'd love to have one.
    Last edited by eric von zipper; 01-29-07 at 11:32 AM.
    Surly Cross Check, Thorn Sherpa

  14. #14
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    thanks

    Thanks for everyone's help so far. I really appreciate it. I'm leaning towards one of the Cannondale Cyclocross bikes as of now. It seems to fit my purposes best.

  15. #15
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    One if you're not going to carry too much......


    http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/07/c...el-7RAY3T.html


    C'Dale's latest light touring bike. Not as stout as some of the steel rides reccomended, but it's a lighter alu road bike feel. It will take rear panniers and has a laid back comfy ride... lower gears than a 'cross bike, not as twitchy as the racing bikes.

    Otherwise get a Soma or Surly-- heavier, slower, but much stronger and longer lasting.

  16. #16
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    two bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Materna
    Hi everyone,
    I'm a newbie in terms of touring but am looking for a great bike I can use for an upcoming cross country trip this summer. I would ideally like a bike that can handle the wear and tear of a cross country trip but also a bike that I can hopefully use for low key races or triatholons afterwards. That being said, I plan to use a trailer rather than panniers so I don't think I'll need a pure touring bike. My price range is between $900-$1200. I am willing to go a little over but would like to keep it in that range if possible. My frontrunners right now are the Cannondale r500 and r700.(i've used their mountain bikes for years and was very happy with the results) Please give me any advice as to other bikes that would be great for my purposes. I've looked at the Trek520 but found it to be too much of a pure touring bike. Thanks in advance.
    Sounds like you need a Audax style bike. Light load carrying capacity, fenderable, made from durable repairable steel, not fatigue crack prone aluminum. I'd buy the Surly Cross check complete if $900 is around your budget. You can fit 40mm tires on this bike for rough roads, skinny 25mm for racing if you are lightweight, it has good clearance for fenders (you'll appreciate these eventually) and a longish wheel base for comfort. If you get into serious triatholon racing get a serious bike, otherwise don't worry whether the Surly will work, it will. The Surly can be a great cross bike, commuter, tour bike etc. Just like they advertise it as!!! A better utilitarian bike does not exist for so little money and such good quality.
    Actually, buy the Long Haul Trucker.....it has better gearing and the name says it all. Later, buy a race bike if you plan to race. Otherwise the LHT can do nearly everything, commute, loaded touring, centuries, light trail rides, probalby cyclocross although you might find it, 5 pounds too heavy, charity rides, errands, basically a solid comfortable, durabile, utilitarian machine whos frame you'll be able to ride and so will your grandchildren.
    Last edited by charles vail; 01-31-07 at 12:15 AM.

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