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  1. #1
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    advice on a new bike

    After realizing how expensive it would be to build up a LHT with the specs I wanted, I've decided to go with either a Trek of Cannondale bike off the shelf. I'm doing a fully loaded cross-country tour from boston to oregon/washington next July/August with a friend of mine.

    We're both 22 years old and just started racing collegiately, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a great climber. I really like the 520, and the fact that it's steel, but I have read a lot about having to swap out the crankset for lower gearing. If i put a 34T cassette on the back do you think that would be low enough with the 30T chainring in the front? I would hate to get stuck mid-climb without any more gears, but I don't like the idea of having to swap out a crankset and possibly a BB and front deraileur. I have never used bar end shifters so I am also a bit hesitant about those, but I am willing to give them a shot because of their reliability and lack of cables.

    My budget allows for the 520 or one of the two Cannondale Tourers (2008 1&2). What are your opinions of these bikes for the type of riding I'll be doing.

    Thanks a lot,
    Andrew

  2. #2
    Steel is Real. markw's Avatar
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    What type of gold plated LHT were you building? If the tour is next July/August, order the LHT F/F and start piecing it. You can build it for way less than the cost of a new 520.

  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw View Post
    What type of gold plated LHT were you building? If the tour is next July/August, order the LHT F/F and start piecing it. You can build it for way less than the cost of a new 520.
    I'll have to disagree. You might be able to build it for less if you have most of the parts or if you have the time and energy to fish at Fleabay but for the most part it's going to be very hard to build an LHT for $1200. Not when the frame alone is $400

    I'd either look for a LHT complete (there may be more of them by spring) or look at the Cannondale Touring 2 which is the equivalent of the T800. It's as good a touring bike as the LHT and a little better than the 520. It will last up just as well as a steel bike and, with a 40 or 50 lb load, the bike is a dream to ride.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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  4. #4
    Steel is Real. markw's Avatar
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    I did mine for about that. Fleabay/craigslist/veldrome swap meet. His tour is in July, which is why I suggested start piecing it together now. Spread that 1200 over a few months, build it like you want it.

    Ha, detailed build... $958

    http://www.wolfenet.org/?p=6

    Of course this is 2004 pricing before component prices went through the roof.

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    As a guy who's built a few frames up...... it's possible to do it pretty cheap, but it takes a lot of time and effort....and often the end result isn't much better or even different than buying an off the shelf bike. Used parts equal a used bike....nothing wrong with that, but lots of folks who do these ultra cheap builds fail to mention half the stuff used.

    As far a getting a good touring bike from a LBS.....Trek, Surly, Cannondale, Fuji, all are quality rides. If you buy from a shop, and your shifter craps out after 2 weeks, the chances are the shop will make it right. With EBAY. well. you're hosed.

    Start with your local REI store, if you have one in the area. Test ride a Randonee...it's a nice bike and the REI return policy is second to none. I like the Cannondales as well. I think the Touring 2 (the old T800 I think?) is a good value. I like Tiagra and Deore LX parts because they are cheaper and yet good quality (07 Tiagra brifters are as good as older Ultegra ones)

    Do a lot of test rides and good luck.

  6. #6
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    I probably should have specified...I can pro-deal the Trek of C'dale and basically get them for half retail. If i built up a LHT with similar components it would cost me about double. Also, what are your thought on me having to swap out out the road triple?

  7. #7
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    Ah, you work in a bike shop? Get the C'Dale and be done with it. You'll love the bike.

    I believe the new 08 520 as outboard berings on the cranks, making switching them out really simple-- lots of MTB cranks that you swap out in minutes. Just lower the FD. I'm guessing that the friction shifting will make any small chainline problems no big deal.

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    So after some more research and thinking, I'm leaning towards the Cannondale Touring 1. I was turned off by the single eyelet on the 520 fork, and I feel better about riding w/ Canti brakes. Having said that, I still have some questions/reservations.

    -Does anyone know what rear rack comes stock on the C'dales? Is this something I'd have to swap out for fully loaded touring?

    -Is it possible to put a smaller chainring than 30T on a shimano road triple?

    -Does anyone have experience w/ the IRD 10-speed mountain cassettes? I have heard that they do not shift as smoothly as shimano, but it's nice to have the extra gear.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  9. #9
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw View Post
    I did mine for about that. Fleabay/craigslist/veldrome swap meet. His tour is in July, which is why I suggested start piecing it together now. Spread that 1200 over a few months, build it like you want it.

    Ha, detailed build... $958

    http://www.wolfenet.org/?p=6

    Of course this is 2004 pricing before component prices went through the roof.
    Read just a little higher in that post. Total cost (in 2004 dollars) was $1298. He got back $340 for stuff he sold back on Fleabay. Can't expect that to happen every time. $1300 for his bike is more then you pay for the Cannondale or 520. And, to be fair, you have to add in shipping (probably close to an additional 10%), taxes (say 7%) and a whole lot of driving around to find the parts (let's be generous and add another 10%)...but it's probably more. That brings the price to around $1650. We can subtract the taxes because he'd have to pay that anyway bring the price down to $1540. Which is closer to the price of the Cannondale Touring 1. But I think the Touring 2 is a better bike

    And in current dollars, the price could be substantially higher. As I've said before, building a bike is fun and rewarding. It is seldom cheaper then buy a complete bike.
    Stuart Black
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    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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  10. #10
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    I'm not a big fan of 10 speed chains for touring, too weak IMHO. Also 10 speed drivetrains are more touchy when they get a lot of road gunk in them. The extra gear isn't going to make any difference either-- I think the high/low is 11/32 on both the 9 and 10 speed cassettes, so the range is the same.

    Yes, you can take off the 30 thooth chainring and go with something smaller (26 I think). But who knows what it will do to your shifting? Shimano doesn't engineer it's road drivetrains to take such a huge drop to the small chainring. Switching changerings on a Trek 520 isn't such a big deal because it has friction shifting on the frount derailer.

    Overall, the Cannondale 2 is a better touring bike. Less bling, but better thought out.

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grantman18 View Post
    So after some more research and thinking, I'm leaning towards the Cannondale Touring 1. I was turned off by the single eyelet on the 520 fork, and I feel better about riding w/ Canti brakes. Having said that, I still have some questions/reservations.

    -Does anyone know what rear rack comes stock on the C'dales? Is this something I'd have to swap out for fully loaded touring?

    -Is it possible to put a smaller chainring than 30T on a shimano road triple?

    -Does anyone have experience w/ the IRD 10-speed mountain cassettes? I have heard that they do not shift as smoothly as shimano, but it's nice to have the extra gear.

    Thanks,
    Andrew
    You can probably only get a 24 on the road triple and that might be problematic (I've had some issues in the past). Personally, I think the Touring 2 is a better spec. 9 speed 11-34 cassettes are readily available and fairly cheap and the crank on the 2 can go down to a 22. The IRD 10 speed cassette is a aftermarket unit and isn't that available...or cheap
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  12. #12
    Got an old Peugeot kipibenkipod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grantman18 View Post
    I probably should have specified...I can pro-deal the Trek of C'dale and basically get them for half retail. If i built up a LHT with similar components it would cost me about double. Also, what are your thought on me having to swap out out the road triple?
    So why you considering the LHT? The Trek and the Canondial are very good bikes. Don't decide which to buy because you will have to change crank!
    I would say, buy the Canondial because they are specked better then the Trek for loaded touring. If you wish to use the bike not just loaded, you can consider the Trek.
    As for the crank, you will get it for half price, so buy a touring crank and auction the new crank that you took off. You will get more then you paid.
    On the bike I feel like a conqueror ;)
    4 months touring trip from England to Spain http://www.underadometent.com

  13. #13
    domestique squeakywheel's Avatar
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    You'll never win on price building it from scratch unless you garage sale find the frame. Even then it's iffy. You build from scratch because it's a hobby or because you want to select the specific components cause you're picky or odd sized.

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