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  1. #1
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Touring bike purchase questions

    I'm thinking of getting a touring bike, for touring, sometimes, but mostly riding around town; I'm tired of the limitations of the old MTB. It doesn't have to be that light, although it would be nice, and it has to be able to accommodate racks and full fenders at the same time. And it needs to cost less than $1100. (Good used is okay.) I don't know anything about touring bikes. Any suggestions?
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  2. #2
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    There are several options in that price range. This is a pretty frequent question on this forum, so I would go back and check the archives to find a wealth of info.

    Two good options that are favored around here are the Trek 520 and Surley LHT complete build.

    But that's the tip of the iceberg. I ride a Bianchi Volpe, which is a sort of Touring bike/cyclocross hybrid, and it works well for me. It might be more of the kind of bike that you would favor, as a lot of people look at it more as a light touring bike (though I've used it on heavy tours of thousands of miles). If you will mostly be using your bike as a commuter, a light tourer or a cyclocross bike might fit the bill for you.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  3. #3
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    Help us understand what you find limiting about your current bike. We don't want to recommend bikes that will remind you of it!

  4. #4
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    Check the sticky on this forum. Then do searches on the bikes that are mentioned; they've all been discussed here at length. The short version is that the recommendations you will see in roughly your price range are (sort of in order that they're mentioned here):

    1. Surly LHT
    2. Trek 520
    3. Novara Randonee (from REI)
    4. Jamis Aurora
    5. Windsor Tourist from a place called Bikes Direct.
    6. Bianchi Volpe.
    7. Cannondale Touring.

    I see you're from Seattle. Nobody in Seattle that I know of stocks the Trek 520, so they're tough to find one to ride. Gregg's might have 1 or 2 around, but usually they don't.

    However, Free Range Cycles in Fremont stocks the Surly LHT and the Jamis, though not always in all sizes. The new Counterbalance Cycles bike shop on the Burke Gilman Trail (near U-Village) stocks Surly, too. A number of places in town stock the Bianchi, and of course REI stocks the Randonee.

    If you're not looking to do serious loaded touring, then a cyclocross bike in the same price range might do well, too.

    If you are comfortable buying used, watch Seattle Craigslist -- there are 3 to 4 good used touring bikes that pop up on Craiglist here every week. For $200 to $400 you can find a used mass-market touring bike (Panasonic, Fuji, Univega). $1100 should get you a beautiful used Davidson or Rodriguez if you're willing to wait a few weeks and watch CL.

  5. #5
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    Check the sticky on this forum. Then do searches on the bikes that are mentioned; they've all been discussed here at length. The short version is that the recommendations you will see in roughly your price range are (sort of in order that they're mentioned here):

    1. Surly LHT
    2. Trek 520
    3. Novara Randonee (from REI)
    4. Jamis Aurora
    5. Windsor Tourist from a place called Bikes Direct.
    6. Bianchi Volpe.
    7. Cannondale Touring.

    I see you're from Seattle. Nobody in Seattle that I know of stocks the Trek 520, so they're tough to find one to ride. Gregg's might have 1 or 2 around, but usually they don't.

    However, Free Range Cycles in Fremont stocks the Surly LHT and the Jamis, though not always in all sizes. The new Counterbalance Cycles bike shop on the Burke Gilman Trail (near U-Village) stocks Surly, too. A number of places in town stock the Bianchi, and of course REI stocks the Randonee.

    If you're not looking to do serious loaded touring, then a cyclocross bike in the same price range might do well, too.

    If you are comfortable buying used, watch Seattle Craigslist -- there are 3 to 4 good used touring bikes that pop up on Craiglist here every week. For $200 to $400 you can find a used mass-market touring bike (Panasonic, Fuji, Univega). $1100 should get you a beautiful used Davidson or Rodriguez if you're willing to wait a few weeks and watch CL.
    Thank you. This is very helpful.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  6. #6
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    You might also check the Commuting forum and city/commuting bikes, if that's what you'll be doing most of on them. I don't know much about them, but I don't think city bikes have anything that touring bikes don't or vice versa, but they usually come with 26" tires and flat handlebars.

  7. #7
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    Cyclocross bikes are great commuters and good tourers. Touring bikes are great tourers and good commuters. Take your pick.

    Steve

  8. #8
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Adventure Cycling Magazine has an annual review of touring bikes. Its full of honest evaluations. Good luck in finding a lbs which has a large inventory of touring bikes. Shops I frequented had scant few. I ended up buying it sight on scene. The shop fitted me. Under 1100 dollars. That will probably have to be a Fuji Tourer or a Trek 520? I liked it ok. I got the Fuji. Frame is a well made frame . Just expect a need to upgrade certain components. They are bottom of the line. The Fuji last I knew is under 900 dollars. I saved on my tourer because I spent so much on my road bike. With the useage I put into the tourer bike. I wonder if that choice should have been the other way around.
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living






    ^ Since January 1, 2012

  9. #9
    bicycle tourer Johnrs2117's Avatar
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    I would recommend the REI Safari or Surly LHT, both under $1000 and are good touring bikes designed for rougher roads and smooth roads. I have a LHT that I use a lot on dirt roads as a touring bike. Check out these reviews on the bikes:

    http://www.bicycle-touring-guide.com...g-bicycle.html

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