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  1. #1
    Stewie
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    Would you buy a Kona Jake?

    My local bike shop sugested the Jake as an all round good bike and it would be suitable for doing some touring.

    I guess you can put on fenders and a rack.

    Any comment on this bike or suggestions?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Generally speaking I'd go for a real touring bike and use it as my all rounder vs. buying cyclocross bike and using it as a touring bike. A lot of the other uses I have for a bike involve carrying cargo and/or riding long distances comfortably - both of which a touring bike will do well.
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  3. #3
    meep! legot73's Avatar
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    I own a 2006 Jake and commute on it daily when there's no salt/ice on the roads.

    I agree that a touring bike is a very versatile choice, and had the Novara Randonee, Bianchi Volpe, Kona Jake, and Jamis Aurora as my top candidates for a primary commuter with touring ability last year. What I liked about the Jake over the others was the shop it came from and the price. I decided that I will do my touring on it and an older mountain bike conversion vs. buying a proper touring bike for now.

    I've carried up to about 40lbs, and 15-25lbs regularly on a rear rack and panniers, and feel the bike is stable and strong enough to do so. My 10.5US sized feet have no heel strike with medium sized panniers, and the chain stay length is only 1" shorter than a Surly LHT. One easy change I would recommend for touring comfort would be a higher rise stem, which can be swapped back quickly for more aggressive riding. With fenders, I can only fit 28mm tires, and up to 38 without. The stock wheels and hubs have been very strong, and remained true after a year of loaded commuting on bad pavement. While I think you could probably fit 32mm under fenders, good luck getting the wheels mounted. Gearing is no worse than a Trek 520, but should be lower for loaded touring.

    Depending on how much touring vs. other riding the bike will see, you might consider asking the shop to swap the stem and chainrings as part of the deal. I would be equally happy with a full blown touring bike for commuting, but appreciate the extra speed and agility I get with a Jake.
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  4. #4
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    If you are buying a new bike I'd say get a touring bike. If you are like legot73 and already have a cross bike, it will get you touring no problem; you don't NEED to buy a touring bike to tour, and the Jake is a great bike. If you're like me you found an awesome awesome deal on a cross bike even though you are planning to tour on it rather than ride cross, so you're willing to live with its quirks and spend some of the saved money on touring-friendly parts.

    If you have 2 retail bikes in front of you though, I'd probably get the touring bike. They don't have as much sex appeal though, but once you load up any bike with racks and panniers it loses its sex appeal anyways.

  5. #5
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vik
    Generally speaking I'd go for a real touring bike and use it as my all rounder vs. buying cyclocross bike and using it as a touring bike. A lot of the other uses I have for a bike involve carrying cargo and/or riding long distances comfortably - both of which a touring bike will do well.
    I agree. The Jake is short for a touring bike (17" stays). For the price, you can do better. The Rocky Mountain Sherpa 10, Cannondale T800, Trek 520, a built LHT or even the Fuji Touring would be better choices. The CC bikes (I have one) are really only race bikes with wide tires.
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  6. #6
    Stewie
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    touring with a Jake

    Quote Originally Posted by legot73
    I own a 2006 Jake and commute on it daily when there's no salt/ice on the roads.

    I agree that a touring bike is a very versatile choice, and had the Novara Randonee, Bianchi Volpe, Kona Jake, and Jamis Aurora as my top candidates for a primary commuter with touring ability last year. What I liked about the Jake over the others was the shop it came from and the price. I decided that I will do my touring on it and an older mountain bike conversion vs. buying a proper touring bike for now.

    I've carried up to about 40lbs, and 15-25lbs regularly on a rear rack and panniers, and feel the bike is stable and strong enough to do so. My 10.5US sized feet have no heel strike with medium sized panniers, and the chain stay length is only 1" shorter than a Surly LHT. One easy change I would recommend for touring comfort would be a higher rise stem, which can be swapped back quickly for more aggressive riding. With fenders, I can only fit 28mm tires, and up to 38 without. The stock wheels and hubs have been very strong, and remained true after a year of loaded commuting on bad pavement. While I think you could probably fit 32mm under fenders, good luck getting the wheels mounted. Gearing is no worse than a Trek 520, but should be lower for loaded touring.


    Depending on how much touring vs. other riding the bike will see, you might consider asking the shop to swap the stem and chainrings as part of the deal. I would be equally happy with a full blown touring bike for commuting, but appreciate the extra speed and agility I get with a Jake.



    Thanks for the advise, everything helps.

    I am 5' 8" and 150 lbs so I don't know if that makes a differance with the Jake.

    The price looks good.

    I would not just be touring but also pleasure riding around the back roads of my small town some gravel roads also. Maybe some commuting.

    What is the weight if the Jake or does that really matter?

    I will check out the other bikes that was mentioned.

    Anyways how would you define a touring bike? I guess weight is not an issue with a touring bike?

  7. #7
    Senior Member ldesfor1@ithaca's Avatar
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    hey, just to throw a wrench in your works, i would put the surly crosscheck on your list. i own a LHT and it is wonderful for touring, but i really didnt enjoy riding it for commuting. it felt slow, sluggish and not much fun. i recently got the crosscheck and think if feels a lot livelier, even though the weight difference is negligible. plus, the crosscheck can go with road or mtn. hubs, fixed or single speed and an internal gear hub which is what i am running now. the highter BB allows for more trail riding and i am confident in it's ability to tour, especially because i keep most of my weight on the front fork via lowrider.
    that said, your low weight should allow a cross bike to work great for you (just makesure you can get a really comfy position on it, this is more important than anything else.)
    gearing should be touring oriented, not cyclocross oriented. i run 46 36 26 crank with whatever size cassette you want with a mtb derraileur for versatility. this will give you versatility, as CX gearing will be frustratingly high on tour.
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  8. #8
    meep! legot73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    I agree. The Jake is short for a touring bike (17" stays). For the price, you can do better. The Rocky Mountain Sherpa 10, Cannondale T800, Trek 520, a built LHT or even the Fuji Touring would be better choices. The CC bikes (I have one) are really only race bikes with wide tires.
    You might be thinking of the Jake The Snake at around $1,100, which is the range of the bikes mentioned above. The Jake retails at $800, and I got one for $720. It has heavier tubing, triple cranks, and a mostly Sora drivetrain vs. the JTS race weight tubing, double cranks, and full 105.

    If I could have had any of the bikes above for $800 or less, I would have.
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  9. #9
    Slowpoach
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    My LBS steered me away from a Jake the Snake due to the lighter frame (racing), but felt the Jake (unavailable, so I can't comment 1st hand) could take my 92kg + 15-20kg gear.

  10. #10
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by legot73
    You might be thinking of the Jake The Snake at around $1,100, which is the range of the bikes mentioned above. The Jake retails at $800, and I got one for $720. It has heavier tubing, triple cranks, and a mostly Sora drivetrain vs. the JTS race weight tubing, double cranks, and full 105.

    If I could have had any of the bikes above for $800 or less, I would have.
    You're right. The Kona site isn't the easiest to find stuff on and the names are similar. But the rest of what I said still holds. The Fuji Touring is only a little more and the Jamis Aurora isn't that much more. The REI Randonee is right in there too. Remember, these bikes are built to take a beating and most of them will easily last for 20 years. I have a 24 year old touring bike that would still be serviceable if I hadn't stripped the parts off for other bikes. Over that period of time, a couple of hundred dollars difference really isn't that much
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  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sourdough
    Anyways how would you define a touring bike? I guess weight is not an issue with a touring bike?
    Relaxed geometry and very long wheel base. The quickest way to check is to look at the space behind the seat tube and the rear wheel. If you can put 3 or 4 fingers in there (700C wheels), it's probably a touring bike, 2 fingers and it's more racing oriented, one finger and you're in race land. Look at the pictures below and pay particular attention to the space behind the seat tube.

    Touring bike, 18"+ chainstays



    Not touring bike, around 17"



    If you look carefully at the angle from the top tube to the head tube on both bikes you can see that the Cannondale is just a little more relaxed which makes it steer a little slower. The difference is small but noticeable. The top tube on the orange bike is about a half inch longer too. On a race bike the differences are even bigger.
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  12. #12
    Stewie
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    touring bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Relaxed geometry and very long wheel base. The quickest way to check is to look at the space behind the seat tube and the rear wheel. If you can put 3 or 4 fingers in there (700C wheels), it's probably a touring bike, 2 fingers and it's more racing oriented, one finger and you're in race land. Look at the pictures below and pay particular attention to the space behind the seat tube.

    Touring bike, 18"+ chainstays



    Not touring bike, around 17"



    If you look carefully at the angle from the top tube to the head tube on both bikes you can see that the Cannondale is just a little more relaxed which makes it steer a little slower. The difference is small but noticeable. The top tube on the orange bike is about a half inch longer too. On a race bike the differences are even bigger.



    Thanks for helping me learn the differance what a touring bike is.

    Believe it or not I thought all bikes with drop down bars were sort of touring bikes.

    What does it mean by relaxed geometry on touring bikes, just a longer wheel base? Does that mean the bike is more comfortable to ride?

    Also what is the disadvantage of short chain stays?

    Would the Jake be esaier to handle going through towns and rough roads than a touring bike?

    What is meant by a "slack" front tube?

    thanks

  13. #13
    Senior Member MichiganMike's Avatar
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    I didn't start the thread but you sure won me over. Went out today and bought a T800.

  14. #14
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    Its probably easiest to explain geometry with some extreme examples:


    This is a panasonic track bike with as 'aggressive' or 'tight' geometry as you can get. Its used for short intense races around a smooth wooden oval. The main tubes of the frame are (almost) perpendicular with the ground. This is great for power transmission and steering, but it take all the road vibrations and bumps and puts them right up your butt. You will get tired and sore riding a bike like this quite quickly, esecially on the road. They kind of steer like a shopping cart; they can make sharp turns in little space and are quite jittery at low speeds. They are stable at high speeds.


    This is a cruiser bike with 'relaxed' or 'slack' geometry. It is ridden around at low speeds for fun and comfort. Speed and performance are not an issue. See how the main tubes are quite horizontal to the ground? This takes the forces of the road and spreads them across the bike rather than directing them straight up your butt. They steer kind of like a boat; nice and smooth, but it takes more space to turn. They tend to be stable at low speeds, but get more jittery at high speeds.

    These are terrible analogies but I am trying to get the general concept across.
    in general:
    The more vertical the seat tube, the more power transmission and road vibrations (high powered ass hatchet)

    The more vertical the head tube, the sharper and more responsive the steering, and more jitteriness at lower speeds.

    The shorter the wheelbase, the better turning characteristics, but the less clearance you have between your toes and the front wheel and your heels and the pannier bags, which can be a major issue with touring bikes.

    Hope this helps a bit. There is lots of writing on this kind of thing online.
    Last edited by Shiznaz; 02-01-07 at 03:28 PM.

  15. #15
    meep! legot73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sourdough
    Thanks for helping me learn the differance what a touring bike is.

    Believe it or not I thought all bikes with drop down bars were sort of touring bikes.

    What does it mean by relaxed geometry on touring bikes, just a longer wheel base? Does that mean the bike is more comfortable to ride?

    Also what is the disadvantage of short chain stays?

    Would the Jake be esaier to handle going through towns and rough roads than a touring bike?

    What is meant by a "slack" front tube?

    thanks
    Relaxed geometry means that the lengths and angles of the main triangle in the frame put your body in a more upright position, which is comfortable for longer periods (most people). Racing bikes are arranged to put your upper body in a more aerodynamic position, and leverage additional large muscle groups (not just for sitting any more!) in your pedal stroke.

    Short chain stays. Since you often carry panniers on touring rides, the longer chain stays provide greater potential distance between the heels of your feet and your luggage while pedalling. Although you could just set the bags back further, the weight is more stable at or in front of the rear axle. Long chain stays also increase the overall wheelbase of the bike, which can improve comfort on rough surfaces since the difference between front and back wheel positions is proportionally less during changes.

    A "slack" front tube refers to the angle of the steer tube that your fork goes through. There are two factors that primarily affect steering behavior of a bicycle: rake and trail. Rake is the angle of the pivot point that turns the front wheel, and trail is the distance between that pivot point (imaginary line from steer tube to ground) and the actual contact point of the tire. Steering a bike is essentially a controlled fall in physics terms, and the longer that distance (trail) is, the more leverage a turning action has on the tire contact point for corrections, and the more leverage the position of the contact point has against the movement of the pivot point, which translates to a stable tracking position of the front tire. Decreasing the distance has the opposite effect. The angle (rake) and distance between pivot and contact (trail, modified by the frontward bend of the fork) work together, and the ratio of the two is as important as either of the actual measurements. Extremes of either don't produce the desired effect. Try riding a bmx bike with the front wheel turned backward to see what a shortened trail does to an the rake sometime.

    Factors like this make individual bicycles more or less suitable for use in touring. All bicycles are potentially capable of carrying you and a load for long distances, but will have different performance characteristics in doing so. The handle bars are a matter of personal preference, but multiple hand positions tend to be helpful over long periods in the saddle.

    If you're still reading this, you probably have an unusual appetite for this sort of detail and might want to find The Physics of Bicycling from MIT Press. Otherwise, just visit a info packed site like www.sheldonbrown.com.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Would you use cycling shoes for running?
    Check out Co-Motion Americano, a 'real' touring bike.

  17. #17
    Stewie
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    bike geometry

    Quote Originally Posted by Shiznaz
    Its probably easiest to explain geometry with some extreme examples:


    This is a panasonic track bike with as 'aggressive' or 'tight' geometry as you can get. Its used for short intense races around a smooth wooden oval. The main tubes of the frame are (almost) perpendicular with the ground. This is great for power transmission and steering, but it take all the road vibrations and bumps and puts them right up your butt. You will get tired and sore riding a bike like this quite quickly, esecially on the road. They kind of steer like a shopping cart; they can make sharp turns in little space and are quite jittery at low speeds. They are stable at high speeds.


    This is a cruiser bike with 'relaxed' or 'slack' geometry. It is ridden around at low speeds for fun and comfort. Speed and performance are not an issue. See how the main tubes are quite horizontal to the ground? This takes the forces of the road and spreads them across the bike rather than directing them straight up your butt. They steer kind of like a boat; nice and smooth, but it takes more space to turn. They tend to be stable at low speeds, but get more jittery at high speeds.

    These are terrible analogies but I am trying to get the general concept across.
    in general:
    The more vertical the seat tube, the more power transmission and road vibrations (high powered ass hatchet)

    The more vertical the head tube, the sharper and more responsive the steering, and more jitteriness at lower speeds.

    The shorter the wheelbase, the better turning characteristics, but the less clearance you have between your toes and the front wheel and your heels and the pannier bags, which can be a major issue with touring bikes.

    Hope this helps a bit. There is lots of writing on this kind of thing online.




    Thanks so much for the information everybody. This really helps.

    So I guess the more relaxed geometry the better the comfort?

    But I guess you have to sacrifice a little but of the nimble handling for this relax fit?

    So how does Mountian bikes fit into this geometry the scheme of things.

    Thanks again

  18. #18
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sourdough
    Thanks so much for the information everybody. This really helps.

    So I guess the more relaxed geometry the better the comfort?

    But I guess you have to sacrifice a little but of the nimble handling for this relax fit?

    So how does Mountian bikes fit into this geometry the scheme of things.

    Thanks again
    You've got it. You can go overboard like the two examples given above and the difference between a nimble bike and a more stable bike can be pretty small. I mean one degree in the head angle is huge!

    Mountain bikes tend to be more towards the relaxed end of the spectrum. In the beginning, mountain bikes had 69 degree head angles which was almost too slack. The wheels tended to flop from side-to-side on climbs but when you came down something, it was smooth sailing...relatively In the middle 90's the trend was towards 71 to 73 degree head angles. The bikes did much better on climbs but were downright scary on downhills

    Then shocks changed everything. The motion of the shock changes the head angle constantly. And the longer the shock, the more relaxed the angle has to be because as the shock moves downward in it's travel, the head angle steepens. If you start too steep, you'll end too steep. And now shocks have adjustable travel which changes things again. You don't want to be in the short travel on a steep downhill...not unless you have a spare pair of shorts with you
    Stuart Black
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  19. #19
    Stewie
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    Very helpful

    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    You've got it. You can go overboard like the two examples given above and the difference between a nimble bike and a more stable bike can be pretty small. I mean one degree in the head angle is huge!

    Mountain bikes tend to be more towards the relaxed end of the spectrum. In the beginning, mountain bikes had 69 degree head angles which was almost too slack. The wheels tended to flop from side-to-side on climbs but when you came down something, it was smooth sailing...relatively In the middle 90's the trend was towards 71 to 73 degree head angles. The bikes did much better on climbs but were downright scary on downhills

    Then shocks changed everything. The motion of the shock changes the head angle constantly. And the longer the shock, the more relaxed the angle has to be because as the shock moves downward in it's travel, the head angle steepens. If you start too steep, you'll end too steep. And now shocks have adjustable travel which changes things again. You don't want to be in the short travel on a steep downhill...not unless you have a spare pair of shorts with you

    I have to say this forum has been so helpful and everybody is so patience with my questions.

    I think if one has the money they need to buy about at least 3 bikes to cover the various riding conditions.

    I am going from a Specialized Expedition which is really more of a comfort mountian bike. Some people may not even use the word mountian bike.

    I rented a bike a hybred in Germany and biked across Austria along the Danube to Vienna on a paved bike path all the way. I think hybreds try to be an all purpose bikes. That trip got my interest in touring.

    So I will check out some of the touring bikes you guys mentioned are try them out.

    I still think I will need a MTB for some of the trails. I am thinking of a 29er for that as the bigger tires are appealing for speed on the paved roads.

    Thanks again!

  20. #20
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    ^^^

    The Surly LHT can take quite large tires, 42mm with fenders and 45mm without.

    http://www.surlybikes.com/longhaul.html

  21. #21
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    The Jamis Aurora is a nice fit (I've really been pushing it lately, this is going to be like a copy of my post in another thread ). It's a touring bike, but if you look at it, there is only a slight angle to the top tube. It can be a nice compromise between a too-relaxed touring bike and a too-uncomfortable cyclocross bike:


    That said, if the Jake feels good, go for it. I thought about buying one but the geometry just didn't feel great on me. A lot of the time buying a bike is like buying a pair of running shoes: those 150 dollar nikes might feel a lot cruddier than the 60 dollar brooks, just because of how your feet are shaped.

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