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  1. #1
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    Bike for my voyage: Lack of choices beyond Cannondale

    Okay, so my first thread at the forum received a lot of replies, for which I am still very thankful. You helped me a lot.

    I still intend for this voyage to happen. I will bike through Asia in its latitudal entirety. Time of departure is likely to be in three or four months.

    Having returned to my home town (Kristiansand, Norway), I am currently working (or "playing", haha) in a kindergarten, trying to earn the money I will need for my adventure. I've already earned an amount which would suffice for a Cannondale Touring Classic bike. I am still a big bike newbie, but I'd heard they make great touring bikes, and various people I talked to confirmed this. Cannondale seems to be the only brand manufacturing touring bikes which is available in any of the bike shops in my home town, and further, "Touring Classic" seems to be the only conventional touring bike they're distributing in Europe. I thought, "why bother looking around more... it must be a very good bike; I can afford it, and it can be delivered to me in a week... besides I don't seem to have many other choices". I was just about to order it on Saturday, and I am actually expecting a phone call from the bike guy in a local sports shop tomorrow, regarding sizing of the bike.

    But I did some research recently, and while there seems not to be much written about the Touring Classic, what is written is not all good. Supposedly the chain is very prone to snapping, and the gear ratio (30-39-52 crank) is all wrong for the purpose. They say this 10speed thing is a curse. I am entirely unqualified--as I know nothing about bikes yet--to be judging from what I've heard, but this criticism just got me thinking: Is this the bike right bike to buy? I started looking around for other bikes available in Norway. While I never found a touring bike listed on any Norwegian distributor's page, Fuji, Jamis and Trek each appear to have their Norwegian distributor (selling their bikes in shops somewhere else in the country).

    I also considered Thorn Sherpa. It seems like I can, to some extent, customize it myself, and probably also have it shipped to Norway. However, with upgrades it would easily be 1000, another 150 shipping (shipping cost of a used bicycle which I put in my basket at sjscycles.co.uk), and finally there would be a ****load of taxes I'd have to pay for importing it. All in all, I would probably end up paying more for Thorn Sherpa than Cannondale Touring Classic (1340)... but maybe not... if I will have to make adjustments and costly changes of parts to the Cannondale. Will I?

    The advantage of buying the Cannondale is that I will have a local shop to help me out when/if something goes wrong in its first months of use here in my home town. It seems a whole lot more complicated with a bike purchased in Oslo or shipped to me from a distributor in the UK. Do you think this is an important factor?

    I have considered building my own bike (I'd have to learn it), but I probably won't because it will end up being more expensive. I've considered getting a used bike, and, well, I would still like to, but I would have to find one very soon, it would need to be good, it would need to be my size, and it would need to be shipped to Norway, or be here already. I don't think I will find such a used bike very easily.

    Yes, and this is a quite important factor: Time. I will need a bike soon. Why? (1) I am currently commuting almost every day on a poor bike. (2) I intend to do some shorter tours before embarking on the big one. (3) I would need to get to know my bike beforehand, and learn how to take care of it (before leaving).

    Please propose other alternatives if you see any good ones. I guess the easiest for me would be to order the Cannondale Touring Classic, so please tell me if you think this is a good idea.

    And by the way, regarding time: Do you know in how long time I could have a Thorn Sherpa?

    I am highly grateful for any thoughts you may share with me.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DukeArcher's Avatar
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    I work for Thorn, the current build time is 3 1/2 weeks, and shipping to Norway about 1 week, so roughly 4 1/2 weeks. Is Norway part of the EU? If not you don't have to pay Vat, and you can deduct 17.5% off the listed price. Also, those 'upgrades' in the order form are just the most popular options. You can add anything we sell to your bike build.

  3. #3
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    Wow, very useful information. Thanks a lot. No, Norway is not really a part of the EU (but of EFTA). Can I still deduct 17,5% from the price? Why have I never been able to do this when ordering books, DVDs or music from the UK before?

    Do you know about shipping costs, DukeArcher? Is it 150 as I supposed?

    If I can subtract 17,5% VAT, Thorn Sherpa is a realistic option. But do I want it? Or would Cannondale be a better option? Opinions appreciated.

  4. #4
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    Can you take a trip to the UK to pick the bike up?

  5. #5
    Senior Member DuckFat's Avatar
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    Why not just buy the frame from Thorne and then build it up at your local bike shop with parts you can get there? That way you can pick exactly what you want.

  6. #6
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    The Smokester: Yes, theoretically, but I guess that would be even more expensive.

    DuckFat: I cannot pick what I want because my money are very limited. I don't know how much more expensive it normally is building a bike from frame, but I fear it will be an even bigger difference in Norway. At least the bike guy in the sports shop claimed that bike parts were extra expensive in Norway, and that it would be significantly cheaper buying a manufactured bike. But I would like to do it, really. I just happen to know nothing about bikes, and it sounds kind of risky building my own expensive bike (with no quality guarantee) for a trip through Europe and Asia.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by snusmumriken View Post
    The Smokester: Yes, theoretically, but I guess that would be even more expensive.

    DuckFat: I cannot pick what I want because my money are very limited. I don't know how much more expensive it normally is building a bike from frame, but I fear it will be an even bigger difference in Norway. At least the bike guy in the sports shop claimed that bike parts were extra expensive in Norway, and that it would be significantly cheaper buying a manufactured bike. But I would like to do it, really. I just happen to know nothing about bikes, and it sounds kind of risky building my own expensive bike (with no quality guarantee) for a trip through Europe and Asia.
    Yes, You would need to go to the UK separately (like for business or a visit or start your tour there) and the bike would just be added in.

    How about considering a used bicycle? I think there must be many people who bought a touring bike and then really didn't use it to the fullest extend. Trick is to find one in your size.

  8. #8
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    I will consider it, but I still think it would be to expensive going to the UK seperately. It could be okay to start my tour there, but the thing is, I need my bike soon, for commuting, and especially to get to know it and to make any necessary changes.

    I am considering a used bicycle, and I am looking for one (in Norway). I just haven't found a single touring bike for sale yet, and chances are small that when I eventually find one, two or three, they will be high quality and my size. But I will keep looking.

    Anyway, my newest idea: I have no idea why I didn't hear about Stevens Bikes until today. It's a German bike manufacturer, and they make some bikes suitable for touring. The one I am looking at, Stevens Sovereign Lite XT, has one very positive review in German. If any of you read German, I would highly appreaciate if you could make a short summary. And to all those (anybody but me it seems) who know what the specs of a good touring bike looks like, feel free to take a look at the specs for this bike and tell me what's good and what's not. This bike would be cheaper than Thorn Sherpa (including shipping and taxes) and Cannondale Touring Classic. I could hitchhike down to Kiel or Hamburg (not far from the border) and bike back. What do you think?

  9. #9
    Slowpoach
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    I would have thought the 26" (mountainbike-size) wheels on the Thorn Sherpa or Raven (or Cannondale Touring Ultra) would be better for cycling in Asia (but only based on hearsay, I've never done it other than Vietnam).

    The cannondale is a good frame but you would definitely want to change the gears. My 2006 T800 came with a much more suitable gearing, I don't know why they would have changed. Can your dealer get a 2007 T800 or T2000? Otherwise consider the Touting Ultra.

    Germany and France and the Netherlands have good touring bike manufacturers too eg Fahrdmanufactur (I think) and Koga-Miyata. Shipping might be a bit cheaper than UK.

    Your bike shop could still put together the bike for you and service it, obviously you will pay them to do so.

    It dosen't sound to me like the stock Cannondale bike you are looking at is the best bike for the trip you have in mind. On the other hand a Sherpa or a Raven (or a Koga World Traveller) would be perfect.

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