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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 10-19-03, 12:17 AM   #1
FLYBYU
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What would be a good touring bike?

Recently I've been doing some longer rides and a few weekend tours, for next year I want to do some longer tours. I'm looking for a touring bike that I can mount both front and rear racks on. I'm looking for something between $1000 and $1500Canadian, weight's not an issue, I just want a good strong frame with good quality components, I will probably redo the spokes on the wheels so they will be strong. I'm looking at the Fuji Touring right now and really like it, has anyone had and experiance with this particular bike?
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Old 10-19-03, 04:49 AM   #2
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I don't have experience with the Fuji, but the Trek 520 is a good, ready-to-ride touring bike with the features you want and I believe that it's within your price range too.

As you said, upgrading to mega-strong wheels is always a good idea (in my opinion).

Take your time in making your choice and get what's right for you!

John
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Old 10-19-03, 04:54 AM   #3
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I test rode a Giant touring bike a few months ago, and it was very good. The long wheel base made it very smooth over a rough street where I tested it. Disc brakes, aluminum frame, plenty of braze-ons, 27 speeds, heavy duty wheels. The LBS was asking around $1100 U.S. for it. I almost bought it, but then my dauther joined a sorority, and there went my new bike.
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Old 10-19-03, 05:34 AM   #4
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Hi,
there are a number of companies making bicycles in Canada. LL Bean imports it's Mikado from Canada. The advantage there is that they would be making a bike for someone like you for conditions like where you're living. You might want to test ride a couple of those.
http://www.mikadobicycles.ca/en/Sportif_bikes.asp?id=16
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Old 10-19-03, 11:29 AM   #5
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Thanks for the link. I've looked at the Giant touring bike and I like it but I don't like the aluminum frame, I think aluminum frames are good for sporting bikes like my Cannondale but I would like a steel frame for a touring bike. I've also looked at the Cannondale t800 but yet again it's aluminum. The first thing I would do if I got one of these bikes is cut all the stock spokes out, most stock wheels are fine for just playing around on, but if you plan on packing weight (I weigh 220lbs) you want a stronger wheel. Also most stock wheels are machine made, so they are not properly stress-relieved and tensioned and manufacturers usually use cheap spokes in their wheels. I've looked at the Trek 520, it's a nice bike $1650Canadian, the Fuji is $1200 and has basically the same type of frame, plus the Fuji has STI shifters, I know that is bad for touring but I love them so I would like them on my bike. Also the Fuji has a threaded headset which I would perfer for touring.
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Old 10-19-03, 01:01 PM   #6
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You can buy a decent touring frame and perhaps build your own 36 or even 40 spoked wheels using tandem rims. Just a thought....

George
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Old 10-19-03, 07:26 PM   #7
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No experience with the Fuji, hust with the Trek 520 -- which I like.

However, the stock gearing on any of those bikes is way too high, as it uses an 11-32 or 11-34 cassette with 52-42-30 chainrings. Either have the crankset swapped for a compact drive or have the chainrings replaced by something like 48-36-24 if you really want to tour. By discussing these issues at time of purchase, you might get rings "exchanged".

Regards
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Old 10-19-03, 08:17 PM   #8
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The Fuji is a good bike. So are the Trek, the two Cannondale tourers, and most of the other touring bikes I've seen. Generally, in this market, you get what you pay for, and the makers are aware that this is a niche market in which the buyers are quite knowledgeable.

The main trouble spots with factory-built touring bikes, IMO, are these:

1. Gearing. Most of these bikes have road triples combined with MTB rear drivetrain parts. Depending on the load you plan to carry and the severity of the hills you'll encounter, you may find the gearing isn't low enough. The Giant is particularly silly in this regard, with its very high roadbike gearing. It's very important to discuss gearing with the bike shop, and negotiate the price of changing parts as part of the deal.

2. Wheels. Machine built wheels are rarely properly tensioned and the spokes are rarely stress-relieved. Such wheels will likely fail prematurely. A good bike shop understands this, and has a master wheelbuilder who will tension, true, and stress-relieve the wheels by hand before the bike is ever ridden. If this is done, any decent 36-spoke touring wheel will last indefinitely. If not, even the best parts can leave you in the middle of nowhere with an unrideable wheel.

3. Handlebar position. Depending on your proportions and the bike's frame size, you may need to ask that your bike's steering tube be left uncut, and/or that a stem with more rise be installed, so that the bars can be positioned at about the same height as the saddle. It's not an issue for everyone, but if it is for you it's very difficult compensate for a steerer that's been cut too short.

There are other choices -- frame material, shifter type (STI vs bar-end), number of bottle cage mounts, etc. -- but these are matters of preference.

The overriding concern with any road bike is, of course, fit. Any bike on which you expect to spend hundreds of hours a week must fit perfectly. Touring bikes tend to have fairly standard, conservative, and surprisingly similar geometries, but they don't all come in identical sizes. A good bike shop experienced in fitting bikes for endurance riders is an invaluable resource for this reason, and for help with making the custom changes (stem rise and reach, bar width, gearing) that many riders will require.

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Old 10-19-03, 11:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Clark

2. Wheels. Machine built wheels are rarely properly tensioned and the spokes are rarely stress-relieved. Such wheels will likely fail prematurely. A good bike shop understands this, and has a master wheelbuilder who will tension, true, and stress-relieve the wheels by hand before the bike is ever ridden. If this is done, any decent 36-spoke touring wheel will last indefinitely. If not, even the best parts can leave you in the middle of nowhere with an unrideable wheel.

RichC
I agree with Rich about the handlebars and the gears. Ask to have the 105/Tiagra/whatever setup on the Fuji or the 520 replaced with mtb gearing. I wouldn't go to the trouble of getting an uncut steerer, though. Just get a stem with rise on it, like a mtb stem, if you need it.

As far as the wheels go, I would go further. Don't just have them retensioned. Get new spokes put in them. Trek doesn't use branded spokes, though they are 14 guage. Have the LBS put Wheelsmith spokes into the wheel. Otherwise sometime before 5000 mi you'll be popping spokes like kernels in a pan of Jiffy Pop.

Someone I know has had frame troubles on a new 520. Problems with cracks on the bottom bracket shell. Trek replaced on warranty, but who wants to deal with that on a tour? This is just one case, though, as the 520 deservedly has a great reputation as a reliable tourer.
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Old 10-20-03, 05:01 AM   #10
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I will but new spokes in myself, I had to do that with the Trek mountain bike I'm currently using for light touring, obviously it wouldn't take me (220lbs) and about 25-30lbs of stuff very far with the stock wheels. I'm using DT stainless spokes right now, they are 15 gauge with brass nipples haven't had a problem yet.
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Old 10-20-03, 06:09 AM   #11
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I'd go for a strong frame (preferably not auminium which I think is too harsh and won't stand up to mishandling as well as steel), strong wheels with reliable hubs, and low gears. See the previous posts for some advice.

If you look at Inoplanetyanins posts on his cross country trip, you'll be inspired to see that Mikhail completed 3600 miles on a bike which was very inexpensive. Basically as long as you can pedal it, you can tour it.
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Old 10-20-03, 07:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by late
Hi,
there are a number of companies making bicycles in Canada. LL Bean imports it's Mikado from Canada. The advantage there is that they would be making a bike for someone like you for conditions like where you're living. You might want to test ride a couple of those.
http://www.mikadobicycles.ca/en/Sportif_bikes.asp?id=16

I ride a Mikado "De Champlain" that I got for 400 CND$ new (except for a scratch on the frame, that's why I got it so cheap), and I love it! I find it very comfortable and nice to me. Mikado has quite a lot of different touring bike, and they don't seem to be too expensive.
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Old 10-20-03, 09:47 PM   #13
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Do you order the Mikado bikes through mail order, or form a LBS?
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Old 10-22-03, 07:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLYBYU
Do you order the Mikado bikes through mail order, or form a LBS?
I was really lucky, I got it at the Bike Show at Exhibition place in Toronto last fall. I think this year's one was last week. They have really good deals. There is also another one in the spring. The bike actually came from a LBS somewhere in Toronto. Are you in Toronto? I can dig out their name ad address if you're interested.
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Old 10-22-03, 01:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLYBYU
Recently I've been doing some longer rides and a few weekend tours, for next year I want to do some longer tours. I'm looking for a touring bike that I can mount both front and rear racks on. I'm looking for something between $1000 and $1500Canadian, weight's not an issue, I just want a good strong frame with good quality components, I will probably redo the spokes on the wheels so they will be strong. I'm looking at the Fuji Touring right now and really like it, has anyone had and experiance with this particular bike?

Trek 520 without a doubt. 1100 bucks or so. Rode one two years ago cross country pulling a BOB. No problems at all. Get a Trek 520
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Old 10-22-03, 01:41 PM   #16
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Don't know about the newer models, mine is from late 80's but my Trek "Sirrus" 520 has more than 10,000 happy miles on it. All the components are original and still work to this day with only routine maintenance. Had to replace the handlebar tape, have gel on it now, had to replace the tires and brake pads, but even the chain is still original, a little cleaning and maintenance goes a LONG way. When I recomimisioned it this year, I took it to the LBS, and they said not to even worry about the cables since they aren't frayed and still function fine (they could have sold me cables easily, and I may still replace them). That's a reliable bike! I love that bike, the second love of my life, first was an old Raliegh. Just don't let my DW find out she was #3.
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Old 10-22-03, 03:33 PM   #17
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Unfortantly I live in Saskatoon
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Old 11-19-03, 11:52 AM   #18
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Take a look at the Jamis Aurora. Good value. Rather it had bar end shifters though. 2003 had quill stem, not sure about the 2004. Reynolds 520 chromoly frame.
Buy from a dealer you trust, and be sure the bike fits YOU.

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Old 11-19-03, 06:59 PM   #19
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Does anyone have any experience with the Giant OCR Touring (or any of their 'compact road' bikes)? I'm looking for a new touring bike for a tour that I'm planning for next summer, and I was thinking that I wanted disc brakes. I've never ridden one of their bikes before (and obviously I would test ride one) but I was wondering what people thought of them. Also, any other disc break touring bike suggestions (also, any other bikes that could be pressed into service as a tourer with a trailer.)
Thanks.
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Old 11-19-03, 08:25 PM   #20
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Repairing disc brakes on a tour might present a problem.
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Old 11-19-03, 08:54 PM   #21
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I actually like the quill stem, because it is more adjustable and on a touring bike the weight of a quill stem would be negligble. I said that I seen a fully loaded Trek 520 at the bike shop today for $1500 Canadian, I was tempted, still I think I like the Fuji better, it has more spokes in the wheels too, 36 vs 32 I believe.
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Old 11-20-03, 10:44 AM   #22
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My husband has a Devinci Destination which sells for $1200 Cnd and I have the Devinci Caribou which sells for $1600--these are the regular prices and sometimes you can find a sale as we did. They are both touring bikes made in Canada and we love them. However, they are aluminum.
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