Help to choose
I am completely new here and never done long range touring before. So I need advice on choosing a bike.
Here are my specs . Live in Toronto, Canada. I am 6' tall and weigh 185 lbs, most of it are muscles so I am not overweight. I own Specialized sporty looking hybrid bike and I was cycling nearly every day last summer and started the same thing this year in april. I do 50 to 70 km a day. I really liked it and I think I can start doing some long range touring.
So I went to a few bike shops looking for appropriate bike. Started with Trek 520. This one seemed very uncomfortable to ride, especially when I tried to go uphill standing on pedals (very twitchy). I also tried "Norco kwest touring" bike. That one felt like a glove made for me. The only thing was that it has real crappy brake levers, but the guys assured me that for $90 more they would put really nice ones. I also looked at DeVinci "Caribou 2" with disk frames but unfortunately they did not have frame size suitable for me so I did not try it. It also has an aluminum frame and I read elswhere that it might not be a god choice for touring. There is also Marioni "Turismo extreme". It is more expensive and have yet to find LBS where I can try it.
So I need some suggestions in regards to these bikes and also how important is steel frame and would disk brakes make a real big difference?
Disc brakes are my favorite brakes... Had some on my "specialized sporty-looking hybrid" (a Sirrus Sport Disc) They perform really well, even in the worst of conditions... but they interfere with racks, both front and back. If you go with the DaVinci, check out the Axiom Journey Disc and the Old Man Mountain AC Low Rider, both of which are compatible with disc brakes.
But ultimately, I'd go with a steel bike with cantilever or v-brakes for touring. Steel has a better fatigue resistance and can be fixed should your bike break down somewhere far away from home. Some (including myself) believe it's more comfortable to ride as well - although that is most probably the most subjective of statements.
You might also look into the Surly Long Haul Trucker (which I believe compares advantageously to the Trek 520 - and that's a subjective statement as well) and the Jamis Aurora. I'm sure the Marinoni is a great bike. Spoke with a couple who had some the other day and they loved it.
I don't know the Norco, but if it's suitable for touring and you feel well holding its handlebars, it should be on your short list. After all, nothing is more important (apart from the bike not failing) than being comfortable.
JPMARTINEAY. I don't know the Norco, but if it's suitable for touring and you feel well holding its handlebars, it should be on your short list. After all, nothing is more important (apart from the bike not failing) than being comfortable.
Here's the link for Norco Quest Touring"
Seems to qualify on first glance. Surly's probably very expensive, so is Marioni although tht one looks like a dream.
Originally Posted by kostyap
About the expense of the Surly -- the Surly LHT has a list price (about $950) less than the Norco at $1250.
However, I just looked at the Norco Kwest and that bike is certainly capable of touring. The only problems I see for touring are two: the crank is a road triple with 50/39/30 (usually a low chainring of 26 or 24 is preferred for touring bikes to tackle hills with heavy loads), and the fork did not seem to have mid-fork rack mounts. However, neither of these are serious problems. The crank can be changed, and placing a rack on that fork can be done easily. If the Kwest feels right to you, then that is the one you should get (with the crank exchanged for something maybe in the 46/36/26 range). Lastly, I could not tell the cassette combination -- having a 32 or 34 rear sprocket is helpful for climbing, so check the cassette for gearing and ask for one with 32 or 34 teeth in back.
I could not find Surly for that price in Toronto LBS. Couple of shops offered it to be built for me for much higher price then Norco but even if they've offered it for $950 I'd still have to try it first and I could not find any LBS that have those in stocks.
Gears for Norco: It cames with 11-32 cassette but they'll swap it for 11-34. As for cranks I am planning to have 2: 50-39-30 for 1 day unloaded rides and 46/36/24 for long haul touring. I was also told that it is possible to swap a smaller chain ring to 28 on 50-39-30. If it works then may be I can get away with a single crank.
Also I have some outdoor experience and I think I can get away with very light loads if planned carefully
Take a look at a Rocky Mountain Sherpa 30. Canadian made. Great bike. I know. I own one.
The norco looks fine. I see two potential issues: The gearing which isn't low enough. As Bwgride said, you better swap it to something bigger in the back and smaller in the front. The other issue is the lack of rack mounts on the fork. I can't see too clearly but it seems that the Norco only has the braze-on for the the fenders. As many people mentioned in many threads, Old Man Mountain have a few models that can circumvent that problem.
Originally Posted by kostyap
<rant>The Surly's street price in Montreal is 1200$ - not 950$ as in the US. Seems like at least one bike distributor is pocketing the difference and not updating the price regarding the dollar parity. I imagine the price in Toronto should be relatively similar to that of Montreal. We pay too much for everything up here. Even Arkel products which are made 150km away from Montreal in Sherbrooke (Lennoxville) are less expensive for US customers that for Canadian Customers. I find that a bit insulting.</rant>
The Marinoni is probably more expensive, they usually are. Good bikes though.
Originally Posted by kostyap
I don't know the Norco. A bike shop in my town sells Norco mountain bikes and they're pretty nice. 46/36/24 sounds about perfect for touring. I have a Surly LHT and love it. The Rocky Mountain Sherpa looks great, and the Trek 520 is a classic tourer. The Jamis has gotten good reviews. Also consider the Cannondale touring bikes and the Novara Randonneur from REI. The Fuji tourer also gets good reviews and is low priced. A regular poster on this list swears by his Windsor touring bike. He and two others rode theirs across the country with no problems.
My choice was the LHT, and would buy the Novara in a heartbeat with the 20% off coupon that REI sends every March. I'd also take a close look at the Rocky Mountain. But that's just me.