In January 2008 I will be going on a 3.5 month touring trip through Chile and Argentina, including the remote southern areas (Patagonia). Knowing this, the local bike shop recommended the 2008 Kona: Jake the Snake, which from my own research appears to be a highly regarded bike. They did say that I would have to get a second fork (steel) to allow the attachment of a rack for panniers. But now that I have been conversing with some serious bike travelers, I am beginning to realize that I have to make quite a few modifications:
- A mega-range cassette for climbing those mountains, esp. since I will be heavy with my gear.
- A "granny" chain ring, for the same purpose. Problem is that the crank only allows for 2 rings (36 & 46 teeth come with the bike).
- As mentioned above, change the forks to steel ones.
- Perhaps even change the seat post to a steel one, for durability and reduce the risk of breakage if it gets somehow damaged. Also more comfortable.
On top of that, since I will be going to "not first-world" countries, if I have a problem with my frame no one will be able to repair (weld) the aluminum frame. Steel frames are much easier to work with. On top of that they are more forgiving for those long, bumpy rides.
So what do you think? In my situation, did I buy the wrong bike? I just got it and haven't really rode it, so I think that they would be open minded to exchanging it for a similar priced bike. So if that is the case, which bike(s) would your recommend for my situation?
Yes, I should have come here before i bought the bike to do my homework, but i just found out bikeforums.net exists.
I would appreciate all sincere comments. Please keep in mind that I am a "newbie" to bicycle touring.
Thanks in advance,