Just went to the Nashbar site looking to buy a touring frame for $200 and found out they're out of them and don't know when/if they're getting more. I was *really* hoping to get a touring frame for around $200. Are there any other choices? I know the LHT frame is going for $400 and that may have to do, but I love to find a decent frame for $200. Does anybody know where I might find one?
Look at Ebay for mid 80's or newer touring bikes to be used for the frame...
I got a nice lugged Columbus steel frame that way for under $150... locally... Almost new!
It is a 1986 Schwinn Voyageur. The rest of the bike became parts for other projects when I upgraded it to modern components. After the LBS built it up, I corrected the the shop owner, who thought that it had never been built up.
Of course, you need to search and be patient, and lucky.
I'm kinda fond of the Nasbar offering, but it isn't as good a frame as the LHT or other similar chromo frames like the urbanite etc... I don't think the workmanship is as good judging by the welds that appeared on an example here and had blown right through. The BB is also about 1" higher than high. I wish they would do a better job at holding their place, since they have had a touring frame for decades now. So in other words, by the time you build it out and hit the road, and get the bill for the bigger picture, and resell, you will probably be happier if you went for the Surly.
I bought the Surly LHT frame and built it up. It's a great bike. The uncut steerer tube was a bonus, because I'm tall and wanted my bars as high as my saddle. However, building it up myself was quite a bit more expensive than the price of an LHT complete, especially when you add in the cost of the tools I bought!
Say what you will, that it is tough to beat. That's less than a frame and wheelset alone in most cases.
FWIW: I love mine. It was quite adequate for this past Summer's TransAmerica once the gearing was swapped by installing a Sugino XD600 crank ($80). I did also use a better rack (Blackburn ex-1), but one of our group used the stock one and was OK.