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  1. #1
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    I could use some help deciding on bike and parts (I'm new to this)

    My sister is going on a bike tour here in Canada and she has $1000-$1800 CDN to spend on the bike. It will mostly be pavement, but she will also be cycling on some trails. We live within driving distance of Toronto so that's where we'd like to buy the bike. What I'd like some help with is the parts and frame that would suit her needs. I don't know very much about touring bikes so I apologize in advance if I mess up the terminology.

    Some things she wants (but please suggest anything that you think is applicable):
    -steel fork (less vibration then aluminum?)
    -mounts for panniers on front and back
    -drop bars
    -touring or road style frame made of steel
    -canti brakes
    -a good wheel set (700c)
    -a comfortable seat

    Any advice is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions or need more info, just ask

  2. #2
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    I'm not a tourer,I guess some tourers have retired for the evening,they do ride alot I'm sure. Aluminum forks are passee, I only have come to realize this recently, they WERE all the rage ten or so years ago. Steel which is now chromoly, is the choice of most tourers. Steel used to be Hi-tensile, chromoly being the better, not called steel. NOW it IS. Carbon fiber is a very popular choice for modern road bikes, of all frame materials. Traditionally not manditory though,not as in was anyway. Many members of the touring forum have made it plain that carbon fiber can be an option. You have some good criteria,it's complete. It's great to read that drop bars are acceptable and that your price affords plenty of fine choices. T he seat question (issue)is tantamount to the question, "what is the meaning of life". It must be experienced. Here are some sites, the Bianchi site ,though good,has a trick or two; the cyclecroos catagory consists of very costly hi-end cross bikes, one of the bikes is a steel, far less costly choice. Check under steel road bike as well. www.bianchiusa.com perhaps a Canada site may avail itself to you,no matter, you've got to start somewhere. www.jamisbikes.com another winner, Jamis has argueably the coolest simplest site going. Aurora, even the Nova may appeal,no eyelets though perhaps. You have www.fujibikes.com another trick, you need to look under the road then "specialty road" catagory.The Elios resembles the Jamis, it's funny how similar they are. TREK makes a great bike ,the 520 a TRUE tourer, I rode one , tested it acouple times,the bike has it all. In the last place, finding a shop that has some or all of the brands is key. Trek is widely available, a bit more $$ but still in your range GOOD LUCK. Addreesing the femal-specific issue : www.terrybikes.com more pricey,check ther too, Sis may need a smallish frame, that's all. If she's taller than 5'2" for example, I'd say a standard frame will suit, perhaps get'em to swap the stem or a shorter/ higher one. By the way,I just realized the Canada site for Trek exists, it's actually better than the US .

  3. #3
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    Not too far from you, and they speak canadian, eh...

    http://ucycle.com/bikes/item.php?nam...r&cat=urbanite

    Sis might be better off on a surly lht if she's short - LHT uses smaller 26" wheels on sub-54cm frames - that way your toes dont hit the front tire in a sharp turn. 26s are potentially stronger wheel too. Surly lht will have to be bought as frame and built. Complete bikes sold out till fall. Actually the smaller framesets appear to be about sold out too until next (?) container arrives from china.

    Remember to budget $250-500 for racks and panniers.

    Also if you plan to camp, budget $X00 more for tent/tarp. slp bag, cook gear.

    Also need bike clothing. Shoes. Rain gear.

    Bicycle touring is an inexpensive travel/vacation option only if you do it a lot and spread the costs over years of trips.

  4. #4
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    Some things she wants (but please suggest anything that you think is applicable):
    -steel fork (less vibration then aluminum?)

    Most aluminum bikes will have a steel fork. You night look at the Nashbar.com one, it isn't the best frame, but it might be all you could find. Sometimes happens, depending on time constraints.

    -mounts for panniers on front and back

    Specifically you need to eyelets on the reardropout, and at least one on the front. Ideally the front one will have a mid fork mount. Any modern touring specific frame will have this stuff.

    -drop bars

    Good

    -touring or road style frame made of steel

    That is a lot of what is available. The Canondale is also worth considering.

    -canti brakes

    There are a number of good options here. Start your search with whatever the manufacturer specifies on their built bikes. Even if you don't get that exact product, make sure you get a similar geometry, meaning the angle and shape of the brake should be similar.

    -a good wheel set (700c)

    26" is possibly better, and more and more bikes are coming out speced that way. One has to use the road sized rims and tires, not the mountain ones. For smaller riders 26" is a no brainer. While Urbanite doesn't not have 26" wheels on their toruing bike, their commuter is used by a lot of people for touring. They also sell some Surly frames as described. Also Gene Spicer will send you one cheaply from the states.

    -a comfortable seat

    Brooks. There are others, or so I have heard.


    I highly recommend Urbane Cyclist, and their Urbanite Touring bike (fit permitting). The fork has been upgraded since I bought mine, the old fork was fine but it was more a X-cross fork than touring. Very nice bike frame. the built bike will come in well within your budget. 1000-1300 probably. You can substitute your own gear in a build. If you have cranks and brakes, they will leave those off, if you know what you are doing. They build excellent touring wheels. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, even a lot of competent shops do not understand touring stuff, or the demands on our wheels.

    The only thing you can't really trust most bike shops with is fit. Fit is a very difficult issue, because it means loosing sales to shops that are less scrupulous, and telling customers a truth they often don't want to hear. So your task is to get smart about fit. Run her bod through some online, particularly French fit, calculators. Measure up some bikes she currently rides and is comfortable with. Understand how the numbers for those bikes might represent on a touring frame, for instance if here current bike has a dropped top tube vs. one that is parallel to the ground on a touring bike.

    One tremendous frame that is not to bad to import from the UK is the Thorn, possibly the best touring product right now, lots more fit options for one thing, all 26" wheels. There isn't any magic in these frames they are all fairly similar, but Thorn probably has the custom cutting edge captured best of any production company right now. A lot of the others are using very old fashioned frame formulas. New Thorns show up on ebay at very attractive prices, from time to time.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    One tremendous frame that is not to bad to import from the UK is the Thorn, possibly the best touring product right now, lots more fit options for one thing, all 26" wheels. There isn't any magic in these frames they are all fairly similar, but Thorn probably has the custom cutting edge captured best of any production company right now. A lot of the others are using very old fashioned frame formulas. New Thorns show up on ebay at very attractive prices, from time to time.
    I like Thorn frames too.

    Be aware that Thorn sells 2 type of bike frames:

    1. fillet brazed in england by thorn with choice of paint color upgrades - 699 GBP and up - really nice frames, the quality they're known for - Nomad, XTC - sadly they appear to be phasing these out and moving towards the fairly common bike importer/assembler business, selling only chinese frames

    2. tig welded in china by contractor with powdercoat finish - 400-450 GBP - Sherpa, Raven, Club Tour - like expensive surly LHTs with a few more braze-ons

    Although the tig welded frames will work fine, the fillet brazed frames are the ones you really want. Fillet brazing is strong and looks great. Thorn does not clearly state the chinese origin of the lower cost frames in its website or pdf catalogs.

    Thorns are very nice, but also fairly expensive (like rivendell,waterford). May not fit OPs stated budget - by my calculation a sherpa (cheapest) costs ~900 CAD. Urbanite or Surly is better fit.
    Last edited by seeker333; 05-30-07 at 04:04 AM.

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  7. #7
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    Koga has a good reputation. Marinoni does also. Never owned either. I wouldn't call 43 a long stay, but it might work fine with smaller feet. I would like to try out a carbon fork on a touring bike some day, but I wouldn't put all my eggs in that basket.

    "Although the tig welded frames will work fine, the fillet brazed frames are the ones you really want. Fillet brazing is strong and looks great."

    Personally I think that describes TIG also, and in the OP price range it is pretty likely to be a tig frame.

    "Thorn does not clearly state the chinese origin of the lower cost frames in its website or pdf catalogs."

    Us is required to state country origin going back a long way, most other coutries didn't get into that kind of thing. In most countries you just can't live with the domestic country as your only supplier.

  8. #8
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    Hey everyone. Thank you very much for all the responses. My sister is tall (5'11"), so a standard frame is preferable for her. She's actually going into Urbanite tomorrow to look at the LHT and a few others. She did more research today while I was at work, but I'll show her all of what you guys wrote so she can be well imformed. I was also looking at the Brooks saddles. She didn't think buying a good seat would be that important but I convinced her it would be quite important as that's the part that she'll be sitting on all day long. I was thinking of the Brooks B18 Lady.

  9. #9
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    Urbane has a variety of Brooks saddles. I got my B17 there, I subsequently bought one from Nashbar where it was very much cheaper. Urbane gave me a great package deal including the seat, so I am not complaining just saying for pure parts there are options.

    Seat is a very important part. I find regular bike seats perfectly comfortable for most recreational riding or comuting.

    But spinning in the saddle all day is a different mater. Of course you need proper cycling lowers be they pants or shorts.

    Your sister might get by with a 56 or 54 Urbanite. I'm a 33" inseem, and a little stretched on the 58.

  10. #10
    Pedalpower clayface's Avatar
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    Actually, Thorn do declare in their catalogues (PDF or printed format) that their bikes are handbuilt in Taiwan.
    http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/thornpd...urBroHiRes.pdf
    Last edited by clayface; 05-31-07 at 09:36 AM.
    Roberto

    Thorn Club Tour

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    I highly recommend Urbane Cyclist, and their Urbanite Touring bike (fit permitting). The fork has been upgraded since I bought mine, the old fork was fine but it was more a X-cross fork than touring. Very nice bike frame. the built bike will come in well within your budget. 1000-1300 probably. You can substitute your own gear in a build. If you have cranks and brakes, they will leave those off, if you know what you are doing. They build excellent touring wheels. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, even a lot of competent shops do not understand touring stuff, or the demands on our wheels.
    that is a good looking bike and you can pritty much set it up the way you want it with the gears you want the group you want... bar end shifters or sti... and reasonable too... hmmm wonder how far toronto is from Kentucky.....

  12. #12
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    I have a few new questions.
    1)What is the ideal angle for your arms to be. Is it 90 degrees? If the angle was greater than 90 degrees could one just bend forward more to correct the arm angle?
    2)Are frame sizes consistent....Is the 56" LHT the same size and fit as a 56" Fuji? If all other parts were the same on the two frames would they basically be the same bike when it comes to fit.

    The reason I ask is because some salesman was telling my sister that the 54" Fuji (complete stock package) is large for it's size and that it would probably be just a big as a 56" LHT (complete stock package). It sounded to me like that guy was just trying to make a sale.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snark42
    I have a few new questions.
    1)What is the ideal angle for your arms to be. Is it 90 degrees? If the angle was greater than 90 degrees could one just bend forward more to correct the arm angle?
    2)Are frame sizes consistent....Is the 56" LHT the same size and fit as a 56" Fuji? If all other parts were the same on the two frames would they basically be the same bike when it comes to fit.

    The reason I ask is because some salesman was telling my sister that the 54" Fuji (complete stock package) is large for it's size and that it would probably be just a big as a 56" LHT (complete stock package). It sounded to me like that guy was just trying to make a sale.
    it is true that some packages are a little differant than others but a 54cm should be really close to another 54 cm since they are both measured the same way from the bottom bracket to the seat tube. so a 54cm lht should fit similar to a 54cm fuji. the differances will be in how they handle and weight and groups and angles of tubes... and in some cases what they are made of... as for your arm posistion i am not sure what you mean the ideal posistion for your arms is going to be more of a question of rider comfort. you dont want your arms to far in front of you because your back will be bent to much and your weight will be more in the shoulders and to close to you your weight will be more in your hands... on my road bike my arms are just a bit past 90 degrees when i am on my brake hoods. that is comfortable for me. the best thing to do is find an lbs that uses a fit kit to figure out what size bike she needs and then fits it to her like a glove even then she will have to make a few adjustmens for comfort... it sounds like he wanted to make a sale to me too.. i hope that helps... but find an lbs who fits their bikes to the rider

  14. #14
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    Thank you. That does help. She's going back tomorrow to get properly fitted.

  15. #15
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    If you haven't already seen it, this is from the Surly site, on fitting their bikes:

    http://www.surlybikes.com/spew17.html

    When I got my LHT, I was all ready to get a 56, when I had the unecpected opportunity to ride a 58...I ended up going with the 58, and I'm really thankful that I did. I realize that it's getting pretty hard to find LHT frames at the moment, but if at all possible, your sister should test ride different frame sizes.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Highcyclist
    Good link. I was going to attempt explanation earlier but too tired. From link:

    Long ago, bicycles were all shaped pretty much the same. That’s not true anymore. Also, frames are measured differently. Some companies measure from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the top tube/seat tube junction. (also known as C-C) That’s a pretty good way of doing things, but doesn’t really take into account differences in tubing diameter which would make a steel 54cm bike “shorter” than an aluminum 54cm since aluminum tubes tend to larger in diameter.

    Other frame manufacturers measure from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube – like the point where you actually insert the seat post. (Call it C-T) This baffles us because if two frames had the exact same geometries and tube lengths, but one had more material sticking up above the top tube, the frame would be “larger” even though it would ride the same as its “smaller” compadre. Weird.

    We measure our frames from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube/top tube junction. (Uh oh, call this oneC-T too)
    _________________________________

    Re. Fuji vs Surly, I think the OP has it backwards - a 56cm Fuji should be approximately same size seat-tube-wise as a 54cm Surly. Fuji measures c-t-top of seat tube (second paragraph of link); Surly measures c-t-top of top tube (third paragraph). Salesman was correct that frames are about same size. Also, Surly sold out of LHT in sizes <56cm for next few months, thus the need to steer customer towards Fuji.

    I understand your sister's suspicion; men tend to misrepresent sizes to women.

    You can work around less than optimum frame size with seatposts and stems, but you're better off getting the right size. If you can't get the desired size in new, tell your sis to consider something cheap or used for the first tour, then sell it later and replace with superior equipment after she's had opportunity to learn more about bike and her bicycling comfort requirements. Its really unlikely that you're going to buy/build a whole bike from scratch and be completely satisfied with the frame, stem, saddle, bars, crank length, shoes etc anyway.

    Getting to the optimum fitting bicycle is an empirical process which requires many cycles of ride/evaluate, adjust, then repeat.

    Good luck on the bike hunt. Unfortunately, this is bad time to shop for bikes (good ones sold, buyer in weak position to negotiate favorable pricing). Worse time to shop for LHTs - they run out in May, don't restock till August/September.

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