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  1. #1
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    Newbie needs an expert advice on two bikes, et al.

    Hello everyone!
    I'm relatively new here, I've been doing a lot of reading and researching about picking up a new touring bike, and I'm really having trouble picking out which one is right for me.

    I've only had a little experience touring, pretty much on a whim in college I took a two day touring trip on a cheapo 50 dollar bike and I had such a great time that I decided that maybe this is a hobby I could get into a little more seriously. At the moment I know very little other than what I've read on the internet, which is synonymous with "not much, really."

    I have visited a few LBS here in Austin and I had a hard time shaking the feeling that they smelled fresh meat and were trying to load me up with a super fancy bike that was more than I needed right now. One cycle shop tried to convince me that to start I should drop 2 grand on some crazy cannondale with bells and whistles and all manner of hooplah. I mean, if this is the way to go, I am willing to do it. But, I really don't think it's necessary.

    Anyway, I decided for my first bike I might be better off looking on Craig's List and picking out something used that I could push around at least so I can start learning what I like and dislike and things like that.

    So with that preface, I present to you two seemingly noble steeds for my pauper's bum.

    The first is the one that seemed closest to what the LBS was recommending. It's a cannondale T200 in really great shape with Panniers and a travel computer for 1100.

    here's a pic:


    The other is a little less expensive, branded as a beginner touring bike (hey, thats me!) labeled just as a "Bianchi Hybrid" that's only 650, and comes with a rear rack and panniers, extra tires and whatnot.


    Any sort of advice would be helpful, even if it's some of that metaphysical "there is no spoon" kind of advice that doesn't really mean anything to you until it's too late.

    Edit: Oh yeah some other information. The cost isn't THAT much of a factor if the Cannondale is worth it. Similarly, advice along the lines of "for that kind of money you could get [bike x] that would be much better" is more than valid and part of me is undecided because I could probably swing a Randonee or a LHT for the same price range. Anyway, I know this question seems like one of those "do the research for me" kinds of things, but I don't even know what to think much less look for. Thanks again!
    Last edited by HSmith; 05-24-08 at 01:30 AM.

  2. #2
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    If you want to do some serious riding, I never recommend used bikes unless you know what you want and what to look for. You usually get what you pay for (despite all the people in this forum who seem to have found their dream bikes in a garbage dumpster). If it's a touring bike you want, it's pretty hard to beat something like a Trek 520. Do yourself a favour and get a proper bike right from the start. Expect to pay in the 1000-1500 range, if it's a touring bike like the 520. You can get some very nice more entry-level road sport bikes for less, though.

  3. #3
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    totally agree with longfemur,if you have the money buy new but hey have another look at that cannondale take note of what kind of gear is on it ,have a good look at the chain is it sitting smuge on all the cogs ,if the chain is bad so to is the drivetrain like gears/chainset,take a careful look at the frame not so much scrapes more dents

  4. #4
    There's a biking season? yohannrjm's Avatar
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    Those bikes seem a little on the expensive side for used touring bikes.

    When you plan to spend a lot of time in the saddle over several days, I'd go with fit being the most important aspect.

    For my money, if you can find a Surly dealer in your vicinity, go get yourself a Long Haul Trucker. It is about the price of the Cannondale (but without the accessories). If you're touring much, you'll be needing a GPS unit, so the computer becomes less important. Anyway, you can get one for about $30. The panniers and rack are more expensive, but you could maybe get away with a saddlebag to start off with, and build up as your needs change.

    Of course, if you know the bike size for you already, you could always buy the LHT online. Cheaper.

    Just my two cents.

  5. #5
    Senior Member reiffert's Avatar
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    Cannondale T2000? That price isn't too bad if all the bits are in good condition. Bikeshop should give some sort of warrenty and should have made sure everything is in good working order. And help fit you.

  6. #6
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    Fit is the most important thing - make sure you know what size you need before you buy. you can tweak it a little with different length stem, but it needs to be the right basic size. You can get a professional bike fit at a store and they can tell you what size you should be looking for. I would start shopping with that piece of information. worth paying for if you need to.

    Also, the handlebar style can be a very strong personal preference - for me i really need drop bars, other people like flat bars better. it would be useful to think about those things before you buy.

    good luck with you shopping!
    ...

  7. #7
    Year-round cyclist
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    Fit is important. The Cannondale would definitely be a better choice for a touring bike, with its drop bars. But a lot depends on fits (don't buy a bike that doesn't fit you properly).

    Assuming the saddle is at the proper height for you, I would recommend buying a stem with a 45 degree angle (and shorter reach if necessary) so that you would be able to raise your bars to saddle level. Not as aerodynamic, but much better for touring and commuting.

    Pricewise, the LHT can be bought new for less than 1000 $ from online and physical retailers, so a lot depends on the accessories you get.
    The picture isn't great, but Tubus racks and Old Man Mountain racks cost 100 $ each, whereas Blackburn racks cost 15-20 $ each. The rear rack could either be a Tubus or the older Blackburn EX-2, whereas the front could be a Blackburn Lowrider knockoff (15 $) or an Old Man MOuntain.
    Panniers could be Axiom which are good but not outstanding. In other words, if you put lots of books or tools, don't expect them to last 20 years. A set of four decent large panniers plus handlebar bag will cost you anything from 150 $ (MEC and maybe REI housebrands) to 500 $ (Arkel and Ortlieb).
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  8. #8
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    I'm a huge believer in used bikes if you know what you're doing.

    However, if you're not careful in evaluating the purchase, and if you can't do most of the required maintenance/refurb work on your own, you will quickly spend any "savings" on a used bike paying the LBS to do the wrenching for you.

    Of the two bikes above, I wouldn't spend any time looking at the Bianchi at that price. I would carefully evaluate the Cannondale.

    You can look up for yourself what the retail price of a new Cannondale touring bike is. Then compare the T2000 and its components against the new retail price. You should also understand the brand name and new retail price of all of the accessories shown in the photo.

    Then, you have to evaluate its condition and understand whether you need to subtract the cost of changing out some of the following "wear" items:
    - cost of new tires
    - cost of new tubes
    - cost of new brake and derailleur cables
    - cost of new chain
    - cost of a hub, bottom bracket and headset overhaul if you can't do that on your own and if the bike has been ridden much.
    - cost to true up the wheels if they're not true

    From that, take another 30% to 40% off the price of a new bike.

    That's what the Cannondale is "worth." IMHO $1100 seems a bit high, but if it's in nearly new condition and the racks and panniers are a good name brand you're within negotiating range.

    Just remember that you can get a perfectly fine touring bike new -- the Surly LHT -- for a little over $900, though you'll then need to add the racks and panniers you show in the photo.

    And, of course, all this is only after you have figured out: does it fit?
    Last edited by BengeBoy; 05-24-08 at 12:36 PM.

  9. #9
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    Thank you very much! I found this thread very enlightening. After reading your posts and exercising a little google-fu, I think you are right. For 1100 I could just buy myself a new bike, have it professionally fit, and buy the panniers and accessories as I need them.

    Hopefully I won't get railroaded as much at the bike shops now that I have a better understanding of what I am looking for and what I should spend. The LHT seems to be very popular, and the price is right in my range. I will head down to the local bike store today to talk with some of the people who work there. Maybe I can avoid sounding like a total nincompoop.

    Thanks again, you guys are awesome.

    -H

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