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Old 02-04-08, 12:36 PM   #1
1-track-mind
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Hybrids, a poor man's touring bike ?

If you are looking to spend $500 on bike to pull a bob trailer, hybrids with a few mods look like an attractive option. Can anyone comment on whether these are a viable short trip touring bike ?
The Iron Horse adventure LX looks great except for the sus fork, but it's cheap enough to swap out.
Not many hybrids with rigid front forks. Any other besides the Trek SU 2.0 ?

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Old 02-04-08, 01:06 PM   #2
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Hi, we have beenusing hybrids for all our tours without any problems. I have a used Gazelle Playa and my wife bought a Trek 7.2 FX. Check out our page for more details.
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Old 02-04-08, 02:01 PM   #3
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A hybrid is a good alternative to purchasing a purpose built touring bike. I converted a mid 90's Specialized CrossRoads into a touring bike. People I have toured with think it's a real touring bike. There shocked when I tell them it's an old hybrid I purchased in a thrift store for $5 and then upgraded it with touring equipment.
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Old 02-04-08, 02:09 PM   #4
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Before I got my LHT I did a good bit of touring (as long as 6 days) on my Trek Multitrack 700 ($300). Worked fine. See the attached picture.
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Old 02-04-08, 03:10 PM   #5
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I use a Trek 7200 with suspension fork as a touring bike. I did have to replace rear wheel after the rim cracked, but that was more due to my weight and riding it on gravel roads than anything to do with touring.
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Old 02-04-08, 03:28 PM   #6
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This started life as a 1992 Specialized Crossroads Trail LX:

It's quite comfortable and compliant, a joy to ride.
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Old 02-04-08, 03:31 PM   #7
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I'm digging around a bit today and ran across an '01 Bianchi Advantage. All steel back then, with mtb gearing and 36 hole rims. Any thoughts ?
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Old 02-04-08, 03:45 PM   #8
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My Marin San Rafael has a locking front suspension. I only unlock it when I leave the road. If you find something like that, a front suspension might not be as much as a downside. I haven't taken it touring, so I can't speak to how it holds up over time, but it seems to do the job commuting, and I've taken some longer day-trips on it.

One thing I've noticed with mine, that you may want to watch out for in other hybrids, is heel strike with panniers. If you're using a trailer, that may not be an issue, or if you're using low-profile panniers. I haven't tried touring-size panniers. The fold out panniers on my trunk bag are fine, but my "grocery bag" style panniers can be a pain. Livable, but a pain, none-the-less.

Also I find that I put a lot of strain on my rear tire. A lot of this I can attribute to my weight and riding style, and the fact that my front rack holds very little weight, so when I am carrying anything, it's usually on the rear rack, but I wonder, too, if part of it is because of the hybrid geometry which forces my rack load and much of my own weight to rest on the rear tire.

That's not to discourage you from using a hybrid, and some, or maybe all of these issues would be mitigated by using a trailer rather than a rear rack, but it's something to consider when selecting a bike.
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Old 02-04-08, 04:07 PM   #9
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You can use almost anything for a short trip, IMO, as long as the gearing is decent.

Hybrids are fine, they usually come with fairly low gearing and wide tires. Definitely use bar-ends or swap out for butterfly / trekking bars.
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Old 02-04-08, 04:56 PM   #10
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If you're already looking to spend $500, why not spend a little more and get a real touring bike like a Novara Randonee? Sometimes these go on sale for $750. You also might be able to find a used Trek 520.
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Old 02-04-08, 05:12 PM   #11
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Hybrids can be great touring bikes. I know a couple of people who bought two hybrids with front suspension and toured all over the world. They were so happy when they got back about the front suspension, they did lots of rough roads and cobblestones. They were much more comfortable than the others wih out the suspension. It's slower and heavier, but some don't mind.
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Old 02-04-08, 05:30 PM   #12
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Hybrids can be great touring bikes. I know a couple of people who bought two hybrids with front suspension and toured all over the world. They were so happy when they got back about the front suspension, they did lots of rough roads and cobblestones. They were much more comfortable than the others wih out the suspension. It's slower and heavier, but some don't mind.
You wouldn't happen to know what kind of shocks, would you ?
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Old 02-04-08, 06:07 PM   #13
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If you are looking to spend $500 on bike to pull a bob trailer, hybrids with a few mods look like an attractive option. Can anyone comment on whether these are a viable short trip touring bike ?
Almost anything except perhaps for a road bike is adequate for touring. Comfort is what is the most important in choosing a bike, more than gearing and any other technical issue you can think of.

I spend about $125 on my Walmart bicycle. Never had one fail me yet.

You will be totally fine riding a hybrid on a tour.
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Old 02-04-08, 06:11 PM   #14
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If you're already looking to spend $500, why not spend a little more and get a real touring bike like a Novara Randonee? Sometimes these go on sale for $750. You also might be able to find a used Trek 520.
Well, that's a good question. There are a couple of reasons.
1)Can't find a stock "touring bike" with quality rims and low enough gearing under 1k.
Low enough gearing for me is MTB gearing.
2)Touring is a very small percentage of my total annual bike riding (1-2 weeks), so it's hard to justify putting alot of $ into it. I already shot my wad on a new road bike and MTB during the last 2 years.
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Old 02-04-08, 09:05 PM   #15
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Mine served me well and will do so into the future I imagine. I had spoke problems due to inadequate wheels, but I got a quality wheel and hub on the back now. Go for a great saddle, an alternate hand position (I prefer aero bars to bar ends), and if you can, get rid of the suspension shock and go rigid steel and you are good to go. My wife also pulls a trailer on her once a year tour on her hybrid/comfort bike. She is good for 50-60 miles a day.

Here is a link to my Oregon coast journal from last summer and the evolution of my low cost hybrid to tour ready beast.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p..._id=56401&v=2K
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Old 02-05-08, 08:00 AM   #16
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You wouldn't happen to know what kind of shocks, would you ?
I can find out, I can't remember. They were mid to entry level hybrids with the factory suspension. The two people first came looking for touring bikes, the only thing at that location was the Fuji touring bike, a good bike. But they did not want to spend that much. I sold them to them last year when I was minding the store at my friends bike shop. He will remember, since they came back later for tune ups and were so happy. I'll ask him. There are many bikes similar that would do the job nicely.
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Old 02-05-08, 08:05 AM   #17
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I can find out, I can't remember. They were mid to entry level hybrids with the factory suspension.
Thanks, I'd also be interested if they had a lockout.
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Old 02-05-08, 08:09 AM   #18
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OK, I won't see him until Thursday or Friday. He will remember more details about the trip too.
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Old 02-05-08, 08:13 AM   #19
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Mine served me well and will do so into the future I imagine. I had spoke problems due to inadequate wheels, but I got a quality wheel and hub on the back now.

Here is a link to my Oregon coast journal from last summer and the evolution of my low cost hybrid to tour ready beast.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p..._id=56401&v=2K
Nice trip. Definitely on my short list of places to tour.
What kind of wheel and hub did you go with ?
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Old 02-05-08, 02:35 PM   #20
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Nice trip. Definitely on my short list of places to tour.
What kind of wheel and hub did you go with ?

Well, I went with what I could find on tour. In a bike shop in Florence Oregon, after 3 broken spokes they only had a few choices of wheels as it was late in the season, so I got a Bontrager rear wheel (not sure which one) and a Shimano hub. But this wheel is double wall construction with eyelets. Don't go with anything less. This wheel also only has 32 spokes, and I would prefer 36 but had to go with what I could find. It has served me for almost 1000 miles since, some of that with loads. When my wife goes with me on her first self contained tour, she is getting a hand built rear wheel before we go.
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Old 02-05-08, 03:09 PM   #21
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If you're already looking to spend $500, why not spend a little more and get a real touring bike like a Novara Randonee? Sometimes these go on sale for $750. You also might be able to find a used Trek 520.
+1 - the Novara Safari MSRP $849 is only $679 with the 20% coupons that come out a few times each year. It comes with touring gearing, trekking bars and a rear rack.
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Old 02-05-08, 04:14 PM   #22
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I think the biggest Safari is 20". My current MTB that I use for touring is 20" and way too small.
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Old 02-07-08, 06:14 PM   #23
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Thanks, I'd also be interested if they had a lockout.
Here's what we remember.

Bad news first- they have a blog or a website that tells all about this and we can't remember it, or the names. Sorry! A guy and a girl in their early 20's.

They both had entry level Diamondback Hybrids 2005 model year. Equal to about the new Raleigh Detour 3.0. They probably had sr suntour hybrid forks. No lockout. They finally sold the bikes when they had about 30,000 miles on them. They had steel frames. I think they had to bend back a derailleur hanger along the way.
They toured Japan, rode from Mexico down to Brazil, From Washington up to Alaska, and toured India.
They were headed for Tibet The last we heard. That's all we know. As I said before they were thrilled to have a little suspension, not a lot, just enough. They did a lot of rough roads.
I think the guy rode across the country on something a like an old gaspipe steel Schwinn 10 speed, a few years earlier.

If I saw a photo of them on the internet I would remember them. The girl anyway !
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Old 02-08-08, 10:16 AM   #24
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Those old crossroads look great for touring. They look nothing like the new ones.
I'm intrigued by the new globe. Looks more like a touring bike than some touring bikes...if you swap out the handlebars.
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Old 02-08-08, 11:22 AM   #25
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This started life as a 1992 Specialized Crossroads Trail LX:

It's quite comfortable and compliant, a joy to ride.

Whoa. What kind of shifters are those?
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