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  1. #1
    Senior Member xnihilo's Avatar
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    Tell me about sport-touring bikes...

    I thought I was set to get either a LHT or Cannondale T2. However, I've heard some speak of "sport-touring" bikes like the Gunnar Sport. Who else make bikes in this category? Are they a good compromise between a road and touring bike?
    Educate me

  2. #2
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Independent Fabrications makes the Club Racer. Bilenky makes the Tourlite Sport. Soma has the Smoothie. Co-Motion has the Nor'Wester and Nor'Wester Tour. Lots of others I'm missing. The idea is a bike that's meant to go the distance, and to accommodate useful touring features like racks and fenders, but to be a bit sportier than a heavy duty touring bike. I think of them as a nice compromise if mostly you are not going to carry big loads on the bike, and when you do, the loads are really not-so-big.

    Speedo

  3. #3
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    I think the Bianchi Volpe is considered a sport touring bike. Although I'm a little confused about the difference between a sport touring and a regular touring bike.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I ride a Marinoni Ciclo, which is a sport touring bicycle.

    Sport touring bicycles are sort of a cross between racing geometry and touring geometry. They aren't designed to take the really heavy loads of a touring bicycle, or the wider tires either.

  5. #5
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    Look at the frame geometry specs. You'll find that the "sport" are in fact about half way between a racing and a touring bike -- chainstay length, seat and head tube angles, etc.

    If you're into lightweight touring (max 25-30 lb load) and/or want a road bike designed for slightly better comfort/stability, then these bikes seem like a good choice. I was going to get one myself until I upgraded my road bike and just decided to convert the old one into a touring rig.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Sport touring used to be a popular designation back in the 80's - now not so much. As noted above, you can look at the chainstay length (and also wheelbase) and see the difference. The rule of thumb I have is that chainstays over 17 inches long move into full-touring territory - usually on touring bikes with chainstays of that length you're also going to see the full complement on braze-ons for water bottles, panniers, etc.

    IMO the cyclocross bike has taken the place of "sport touring" as a marketing handle for these "in between" bikes. A number of cyclocross bikes, esp. fitted w/smooth road tires, would occupy this niche between racing and touring.

    Some examples might be: Soma Double-Cross, Surly Crosscheck, Masi Speciale CX, Habenero cyclocross frame...even the new bikesdirect.com ti cyclocross bike is an interesting bike.

    They also make great commuters, too.

    You asked, "are they a good compromise?" I think the answer is clearly "it depends" on the kind of riding you are going to do. For some w/big feet (like me), the shorter chainstays will limit the size of panniers you can use in the rear..you might also have trouble putting panniers on the front.

    But - as noted - for a short, lightly loaded tour, the would be good, and then you have a very practical commuter and a bike for centuries, long rides. etc.

  7. #7
    tgbikes
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    I think of a sport touring bike as a audax bike, the first thing I ck. for is rear rack mounts on the rear and no mid fork ft. mounts. I have a volpe , bianchi EROS & A LHT. My Bianchis are about ten years old. the volpe has full touring brazeons, but the BB is 3/4 in. higher than the other two, once the balance part of your brain takes this in account it is as capable as any other full touring frame, posably better if off road. The LHT's attributes have been worn out in the forms, IT's a great bike but I haven't slept with mine for some time now. The ERos is just more fun to ride, the rack trunk helps with snacks and clothing ,during the day & you just feel like going faster. Both of the Bianchis have brazeons that come and go over the years,
    A child learns what the village teaches!

  8. #8
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    raleigh has a styling sport tourer in the 2009 lineup.... i think it's called the 'clubman' and it's very sexy.

    I have a Soma Smoothie ES (extra smooth) and it is a great sport tourer how I've got it set up. not quite a loaded touring bike?
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  9. #9
    nun
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    The cross bike isn't really that good for loading up because it has a high bottom bracket.

    I think the sport tourer is an excellent way to go as ultralight equipment means that you can have
    all the equipment you need without putting a particularly heavy load on the bike.

    Lots of examples have been given but here's another: Rivendell Rambouillet and the Rivendell AHH

  10. #10
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    I am wondering about the suitability of a Co-Motion Nor'Wester Tour for a big and tall rider. I have no intention to actually do loaded touring but a strong touring frame and longer wheelbase should be able to handle a heavy load be it in the loaded panniers or simply in the heavier rider. Their Americano may be the best choice for a heavy rider but it is a fully dedicated touring bike. Any comments from larger riders of either of these models? Thanks!

  11. #11
    nun
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    It all depends on how heavy and how big you are, just give Co-Motion a call and they'll be happy to advise you.

    Remember, most of the bikes that have been mentioned here are steel and built of reasonably heavy tubes.
    I think you should look at Rivendell's A Homer Hilsen, like many of their bikes it has a stupid name, but its a great bike. Its not as heavy as a full on touring bike, but has long chainstays and the big frames even come with double top tubes. Also there is room for big tires which is often a consideration for heavy riders.

    http://www.rivbike.com/products/list...product=50-650

  12. #12
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    ..perhaps a 'sport tourer' is a relatively relaxed triangle, long chainstayed bike with clearance for larger tires, not setup with canti bosses but calipers, the current 130 mm spacing (or tweener 132.5) versus the more common touring/mountain 135.

    road oriented versus loaded touring.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 09-06-08 at 07:40 AM.

  13. #13
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    The A. Homer Hilsen is only rated to 220 pounds and that would make for a mighty skinny person on a 72cm frame. Equipment on the Co-Motion Nor'Wester Tour model includes: Reynolds 853 frame, Chris King threadless headset, BB - Raceface, Chainrings 46-34-24 triple, Rear Derailleur - Shimano XTR 9 spd., Cassette - Shimano XT 11-34 9 spd., 130mm rear spacing with DT Swiss Onyx hubs with Velocity Dyad rims. Their beefier dedicated touring Americano has the same components but substitutes exclusive tandem tubing and 145mm rear spacing with DT Hugi dishless symmetric hubs with Velocity Dyad rims.

  14. #14
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post

    I have a Soma Smoothie ES (extra smooth) and it is a great sport tourer how I've got it set up. not quite a loaded touring bike?
    Bek, love your Smoothie, but curious if you ever looked at a Double Cross. I'm thinking about building a DC up and it seems on paper anyway that it shouldn't have any trouble fully loaded for my average size clogs. Your thoughts?

  15. #15
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    Sport-touring bikes were kind of the rage in the '80s, and yes, as mentioned above, 'cross bikes have taken much of their market share. Along with fast street-wise hybrids like the Trek FX bikes.

    But honestly, you want an old style sport-touring bike! (unless you want to race or do loaded touring) The bike pictured above, the Soma Smoothie ES, is heck of bike. Salsa also makes the Casseroll, and Surly has the Pacer. Pick up on of these 3 frames and it's possible to build a nice bike for between $1000-$2000 US.

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Machak, my Marinoni Ciclo, was born in 2003 ... and is called a Sport Touring bicycle, so they are still around. They haven't been replaced by cross bikes.

    And yes, they are also known as Audax bicycles or Randonneuring bicycles.

  17. #17
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exploring View Post
    I am wondering about the suitability of a Co-Motion Nor'Wester Tour for a big and tall rider. I have no intention to actually do loaded touring but a strong touring frame and longer wheelbase should be able to handle a heavy load be it in the loaded panniers or simply in the heavier rider. Their Americano may be the best choice for a heavy rider but it is a fully dedicated touring bike. Any comments from larger riders of either of these models? Thanks!
    You should also be aware that Co-Motion makes a special model for riders over 250 lbs, called the Mazama.

    http://www.co-motion.com/single_bikes/mazama.html

    Given their heritage in tandems, they're pretty familiar with making sturdy frames/wheels. Their Americano touring bike is built like a truck.

  18. #18
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Machak, my Marinoni Ciclo, was born in 2003 ... and is called a Sport Touring bicycle, so they are still around. They haven't been replaced by cross bikes.
    I agree that cyclocross bikes aren't really a direct replacement for sport touring bikes.

    I just mean as a marketing idea / sales pitch -- Back in the 80's, lots of the makers called their bikes "sport tourers." Their catalogs would feature racing bikes, maybe a couple of touring bikes, and then a line of "sport tourers."

    I personally just don't see that phrase being used that much these days -- I think folks on this board may know what an audax or rando bike is, but when I look at manufacturer websites or go into a bike shop the marketing "handle" they are using for in-between bikes seems to be "cyclocross."


    In addition to Co-Motion, Rodriguez makes full-out tourers but also a couple of bikes that would be sport tourers. They have a new model called the Rainier that would fit that bill...

    www.rodcycle.com
    Last edited by BengeBoy; 09-06-08 at 01:45 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    A Bilenky Tourlite is a fine sport tourer.

    Last edited by foamy; 09-06-08 at 01:38 PM.
    None.

  20. #20
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by exploring View Post
    The A. Homer Hilsen is only rated to 220 pounds and that would make for a mighty skinny person on a 72cm frame.
    That 220lb limit is on trails, and manufacturers are always conservative when it comes to the quoted max
    loads for a bike. Lugged steel is probably the best for a heavy rider as the joints are strong and if the frame
    fails it probably won't be in a catastrophic manner.

    I'm 200lbs and I tour on both my Rambouillet and Quickbeam with about 30lbs of gear and both bikes handle beautifully. If you're a heavy rider and want a comfortable bike I'd look at the Hilsen or the Saluki. The Rambouillet would be my first choice, but they aren't making those frames at the moment.

  21. #21
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    I consider my Surly Pacer a sport touring bike. It's very comfortable and stable for long rides. It handles rough roads great. I have put my commuter panniers on it (it has a rack on it) and it handles them fine.

    I've never done a tour on it, but it would be excellent for a credit card or light tour.

    If I ever decide to upgrade to a better quality steel frame, I'll probably get a Gunnar Sport. We have a bunch of Gunnar bikes in our stable (4). And 3 Surly bikes....

    ...not that the Pacer is bad....I ride it and think, maybe I don't need to upgrade yet....it rides so nice....
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  22. #22
    Sloth Box
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    I have a Soma DoubleCross that I built up as a touring bike -- and not necessarily just for light touring. The heaviest total loaded bike weight I've tried on it was ~100lbs (bike + racks & bags + food & water) --- it handled just fine.

    The Double Cross has front and back brazeons for racks and clearance for large tires (at least 38cm). I think the only thing on it not "typical" of a heavy touring bike is the slightly shorter chainstay length (more like a normal road bike).

    That said, with the right rack and pannier combination you can avoid heelstrike... I have a Tubus Logo rack on the back (has extra mounting position for moving bags further to the rear) and Ortlieb bags w/ the clips adjusted fully rearward, and don't have any heelstrike.

    It rides quite smoothly when heavily loaded, even on steep/fast descents. I tried a different steel "light touring / audax" bike with lighter loads, and had serious shimmy issues on descents... the Double Cross is vastly better in this regard. Overall, I couldn't be happier with it.

    I picked a Double Cross figuring that if I ever wanted to take it out "traditional" road biking it would be able to make the conversion more easily than a heavy-touring-specific frame. That said, I use it in its touring setup all the time... can't be bothered to ever take the racks or heavy touring wheels off... I think I just prefer the casual touring-tortoise pace


    Sam

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