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  1. #1
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    advice on touring bikes

    I'm a college student who's looking to get into some light loaded touring this summer. Nothing too serious, just weekend trips and maybe a week-long trip or two. Additionally, I like to do training rides during the week, so I'm looking for a versatile bike that will be fast during the week when I want to ride fast, and be able to carry a load on the weekends. I've found info on these forums on the Bianchi Volpe, Trek 520, Fuji Touring, Cannondale t800, etc, but my understanding is that these are more dedicated tourers, and might not work out so well for me during the week. At my LBS, I've found a good deal on an 07 Redline conquest for 800, but I cannot find much information on how this bike would work for touring. Does anybody out there own one/use it for touring? I've heard it's a bit of a harsh ride, but I'll judge for myself when I test it out tomorrow. Any advice would be extremely helpful

  2. #2
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Bianchi Volpe is a good choice...I'd test ride one and use it as your benchmark to judge others.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  3. #3
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    any advice on which components (if any) on the conquest/volpe are crap and should be traded or replaced?

  4. #4
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    trek 520 - inexpensive - bulletproof, trek dealers (parts availability while touring) everywhere.
    2009 Custom TI Frame Road Bike, all 2007 Campy Record, Campy Euros Wheelset
    2009 Custom TI Frame touring Bike. S&S couplers, XTR Drivetrain. LOW granny.
    2009 Performance Bicycles TI (by Lynsky) road frame, 7900 DA, 7950 DA Compact Crank, Light Niobium Rim Wheels

  5. #5
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nateborn View Post
    any advice on which components (if any) on the conquest/volpe are crap and should be traded or replaced?
    How about listing them?

  6. #6
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    Volpe:
    Headset
    VP AheadSet, 1-1/8" threadless
    Handlebar
    Bianchi alloy
    Stem
    Bianchi alloy, 15
    Brakes/Levers
    Cane Creek SCX-5 cantilevers / Shimano Tiagra STI
    Crankset
    Sugino XD500T, 28/38/48T
    Bottom Bracket
    Cartridge
    Chain
    SRAM
    Cassette
    SRAM, 11/32T 9spd
    Pedals
    Wellgo clipless, 2-sided
    Wheels
    Shimano Tiagra hubs, WTB DX23 rims
    Tires
    WTB All Terrainasaurus, 700x32C
    Derailleurs, r/f
    Shimano Deore 9spd / Shimano Tiagra 28.6mm
    Shifters
    Shimano Tiagra 9spd STI
    Saddle
    Bianchi Velo; Women's saddle on 44cm
    Seatpost
    Bianchi alloy, 27.2mm

    Redline conquest:
    FRAME 6061 double butted alloy w disc tabs 130mm spacing
    FORK U6 alloy with alloy steerer
    HEADSET Steel threadless 26.8mm
    F.DERAIL Shimano Tiara 31.8mm
    R.DERAIL Shimano 105 short cage
    SHIFTERS shimano Tiara
    CRANKSET FSA Compact Cross 36 x 46T
    BB FSA 68mmx110mm square taper
    CASSETTE Shimano HG 50 12-25T 9 speed
    PEDALS Shimano M505 clipless
    WHEELSET Ritchey Comp Road 20H frt 24H rear, 14 gauge stainless
    TIRES Maxis raze 700x35WB
    BRAKE Tektro Orvx 992 Canti
    BRAKE LVR Tektro RL 726
    BAR Ritchey Biomax Pro II 25.8mm
    STEM Ritchey Road Comp
    SADDLE Redline
    POST Ritchey 27.2 x 300mm

  7. #7
    JRA. BikEthan's Avatar
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    +1 on the Trek 520 I've been test riding dedicated touring bikes lately and this one felt the most like a road bike. If you want a faster position you can get a size smaller than recommended for touring which will put the handlebars a little lower (heck you could probably just flip the stem over). Good luck!

  8. #8
    JRA. BikEthan's Avatar
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    Off hand it looks like they both have reasonably solid components spec. I don't know how big you are (or how hard you are on your equipment) but I'm leery of low spoke count wheels (I'm a clyde 6' 2" 230lbs). Personally I'd be leaning towards the Volpe but thats me and my preference for steel. Also something to consider if you're planning on doing any winter riding is the option for disc brakes on the Conquest (at least if you're somewhere where it gets cold enough to get icy on a regular basis otherwise this is a non-issue).

  9. #9
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Thanks, Nateborn.

    I own a Trek 520 but wouldn't necessarily recommend it for your purposes -- you say you are interested in commuting and training, and "lighter duty" (not expedition-length) touring -- and I think the Bianchi and Conquest might be a little more to your liking. (BTW, I really like my Trek, but it is a bit of a tank, and I have other, lighter bikes to ride).

    I looked at the Bianchi before buying my Trek and liked it. I was going to swap out the seat, and change the stock knobby tires to slicker street tires, and leave the rest alone.

    I do know that lots of folks here in Seattle like the Redline Conquest as an all-round bike, a cyclocross bike, and a commuter, so it has a good reputation.

    The biggest differences I would see are:
    - Bianchi is a triple, not a double crankset (I like triples for the kind of use you're talking about)
    - Bianchi is steel, Redline is aluminum.

    On paper I'd go for the Bianchi but the most important thing is to test ride them both, and get comfortable with the shop and the deal you're getting. Buy the one that fits you best.

    BTW, I think both frames are of sufficient quality that down the road you could continue to upgrade either as you refined your riding preferences. For example, if you ever wanted to take a really serious, loaded tour, stronger wheels would be a reasonable upgrade for either one.

  10. #10
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    BikEthan and BengeBoy: Thanks for your advice. I'm a rather lean 5'10 160, so I'm thinking I won't be too rough on an aluminum frame; plus I'm from Minnesota, so having the disc brakes in the winter would be a nice feature. So I guess I'm leaning towards the Conquest. I'll take them both out for a spin tomorrow and let you know what I decide.... Thanks again!

  11. #11
    JRA. BikEthan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nateborn View Post
    BikEthan and BengeBoy: Thanks for your advice. I'm a rather lean 5'10 160, so I'm thinking I won't be too rough on an aluminum frame; plus I'm from Minnesota, so having the disc brakes in the winter would be a nice feature. So I guess I'm leaning towards the Conquest. I'll take them both out for a spin tomorrow and let you know what I decide.... Thanks again!
    No problem! My preference for steel has more to do with comfort than durability. In my experience steel frames give a less harsh ride than aluminum. That being said if you're going to be doing winter riding in Minnesota I'd say as long as the Conquest feels good when you're riding it it's a win!

  12. #12
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Also look at the Surly LHT Complete. That has become THE bike for commuters around here.
    Your friendly, local, minor god of information.

  13. #13
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by late View Post
    Also look at the Surly LHT Complete. That has become THE bike for commuters around here.
    OP said: "but my understanding is that these are more dedicated tourers, and might not work out so well for me during the week"

    I'm thinking the LHT falls definitively into that category. Long wheel base, bar-end shifters, dead giveaway. The LHT's a heavy tourer, much like those mentioned in the OP. I doubt it's much given to spriteliness.
    Last edited by foamy; 02-22-08 at 11:33 AM.
    None.

  14. #14
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    As a loyal 520 owner, that's why I steered him away from the 520 as well. Though I like the bike, I frequently covet the (lighter) Conquest that parks in the bike rack near mine at work...

  15. #15
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I guess it comes down to whether it would be better to have a bike designed for touring that you also ride fast on training rides, or a bike designed for fast training rides that you also take on tour. I can't tell you which would suit you better.

    I like touring and do it regularly, so my road bike is a tourer - a Surly LHT. It's supposed to be a great touring bike (I got it last fall and haven't taken it on tour yet.) It makes a good all-around, ride-on-the-weekends bike, but it isn't very fast, partly because it's a little heavy, but mostly because the gears are intended for touring. They'll be great for pedaling a heavy load up a long mountain pass, but unloaded on the flat with a little bit of a tailwind, I run out of high gear too soon. If I put a bigger chainring on it for those rides it would be fine, but then I'd have to change back before a tour. Maybe I'll get around to it one of these days. It's very comfortable, and the weight doesn't bother me much.

    If I had a bike intended for fast training rides I'd worry that it wasn't suitable for touring. My worries would be that the frame wasn't strong enough and something might break; the wheels wouldn't be strong and I'd break spokes; the frame would be whippy and the bike would start to shimmy when going fast with a load; the bike wouldn't be comfortable enough for riding long hours, day after successive day; there likely wouldn't be suitable places to attach racks; there wouldn't be enough clearance for wider tires and/or fenders; the chainstays would be too short and my heels would hit my rear panniers.

    Like I said, I love to tour and try to take one good tour each summer. I've had mechanical breakdowns and other problems when I used to tour on less worthy bikes. I'm glad I bought my LHT. I don't mind putting up with its shortcomings around home. You might have a different opinion.

    When my family budget allows me to buy another bike, I'm going to buy something really light and fast - probably all carbon. I'll even try and resist the urge to put a rack on it. For now, my LHT will be my road bike.

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