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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 09-26-08, 01:19 PM   #1
antokelly
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best t/bike on the planet ,

what would you folk think is the best touring bike on the planet,is there a builder out there that lay's claim to this title im sure there must be.you see a lot of this thing going on with car's /motorbikes and such like. the cycling business is hugh there is a lot of competition in road bikes like trek/colnargo.look./all the big names turning out fantastis bikes every year trying to compete for the top spot, so what about our bikes is there one bike you would give your left toe to own .
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Old 09-26-08, 02:23 PM   #2
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I researched these bikes quite a bit recently. I think the Co-Motion Americano is the best for road touring. For an on and off road expedition bike, I think you would have to consider Thorn's expedition bike with Rohloff. I am currently building a bike spec'd very similar to the Americano for a fraction of the cost though.
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Old 09-26-08, 02:31 PM   #3
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Mine is.
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Old 09-26-08, 03:14 PM   #4
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very good truman very good ,i have a thorn and while it's a great even brilliant tourer i woulden't say it was the best but great bikes thorn's up there with the best,dont know much about co motion but if you say so letdicefly.
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Old 09-26-08, 03:15 PM   #5
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Mine is.
I agree with you, there are so many great bikes out there and personal preference is such a big factor that it's impossible to come up with just one. Of course my favourite touring bike is my Rivendell Rambouillet, with Velocity Dyad rims on White Ind mountain bike hubs. It's a sport tourer rather than a tourer, but it has good tyre clearance and the miles go by quickly. Here is a list of bikes that come to mind.

Rivendell Rambouillet, AHH, Atlantis, Saluki, Bleriot (all good for touring)
Co-Motion Americano, Nor'wester
Bilenky Touring, Tourlite
Waterford Adventure Cycle and Sport Tourer
Thorn, Raven and variants (for expedition touring)
Mercian King of Mercia
Independent Fabrications Club Racer and Steel Independence
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Old 09-26-08, 03:39 PM   #6
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so nun what gave your rivendell the edge over all the others.great list btw
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Old 09-26-08, 04:44 PM   #7
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There is no "best" tourer, since different people tour in different ways.

Custom Bike X that costs $7,000 might be "the best" for someone with no budget limitations. But $1000 will often get you a touring bike that is every bit as good. Also, a light sport touring bike may be "the best" for a credit card tourer, or a folding bike for a frequent flyer, or a $300 hybrid for someone without much disposable income.

I prefer to focus on some general principles.... Good components, low gearing, rugged frame, can take wide tires and fenders, strong wheels, rack mounts, long chainstays, stable handling, can handle loads well, and perhaps most importantly, fits properly. Lots of bikes happen to fit that description.
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Old 09-26-08, 05:31 PM   #8
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Do not forget Bruce Gordon on your list of possible best touring bike builders.
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Old 09-26-08, 06:03 PM   #9
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so nun what gave your rivendell the edge over all the others.great list btw
In the end, big factors were price and delivery.

I wanted a good looking lugged sport touring bike, as I pack lightly, that I could get a 28 or 32 mm tyre on. I liked the look of the Rambouillet and Rivendell had a frame in my size that had a small paint chip, so I got it for $200 off. I got some wheels built up and gathered the parts and a month later I put it together. I use it for long or short day rides and touring. I usually carry between 20lbs or 30lbs on it and it performs fantastically.
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Old 09-26-08, 06:08 PM   #10
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very good truman very good ,i have a thorn and while it's a great even brilliant tourer i woulden't say it was the best but great bikes thorn's up there with the best,dont know much about co motion but if you say so letdicefly.
He was referring to Thorns custom bikes EXP, EXXP, EXPR that are hand made in the UK to order starting at $2800 for a frame/fork. I think your referring to the Thorn Sherpa [frame/fork = $730] which is mass produced in Taiwan and is on par with the Surly LHT.

For expedition touring bikes I think Thorn is certainly one of the top choices.
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Old 09-26-08, 10:18 PM   #11
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Do not forget Bruce Gordon on your list of possible best touring bike builders.
Nor should you forget production bikes like Cannondale, LHT, Rocky Mountain Sherpa, etc. Even though they don't cost the same as the other bikes listed, they aren't dogs either.

Also add Vanilla Bicycles to the list. Stunning!
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Old 09-27-08, 01:48 PM   #12
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I'm pretty much in love with Cannondale's European tourers. The Rohloff equipped model is my dream machine. I wish they were offered in the US. Paying for one to be shipped from Europe is outrageous with our horrible exchange rate (thanks GW).
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Old 09-27-08, 02:03 PM   #13
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Nor should you forget production bikes like Cannondale, LHT, Rocky Mountain Sherpa, etc. Even though they don't cost the same as the other bikes listed, they aren't dogs either.

Also add Vanilla Bicycles to the list. Stunning!
+1 On bikes like these.
I own a Sherpa and will most likely buy a Cannnondale to compliment it.
At this point in my life I have no problem with spending double, or triple what these bikes cost.
But given the current build quality, I see no need to.
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Old 09-27-08, 02:43 PM   #14
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Koga Miyata does a highly rated Al world tourer, Rohloff style like the Cannondale.

There are a heap of smaller UK framebuilders who can rustle up the perfect bike if you know what you want. Rohloff have links to another heap of German builders and I have seen a couple of French builders (inc. Routens of Grenoble) who are experienced at providing custom touring/expedition bikes.
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Old 09-27-08, 06:21 PM   #15
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A custom-built touring bicycle.
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Old 09-27-08, 06:49 PM   #16
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I have also heard really good things about the Koga line . . . especially the Worldtraveler. It looks nice, but I prefer a steel ride for touring, and the Kogas are pretty expensive.
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Old 09-27-08, 07:29 PM   #17
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I like the look of Thorn...and I'm sure Waterford's are nice...as are the rest...

But as long is it fits you, I think the modest Surly LHT is as good as any bike out there...
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Old 09-27-08, 11:51 PM   #18
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100% happy with my Thorn Rohloff model, I believe it is probably up there with the best but I can't be sure as I haven't ridden every single brand and model of touring bike.
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Old 09-28-08, 05:44 AM   #19
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I think it is whatever you are riding when you are on the best tour. Once you reach a threshold where the bike is adequate it really makes no difference in the overall experience. The touring experience is probably the same on a $700 bikes as on a $5000 bike as far as I can tell.

The exception is where a custom bike is required for proper fit.
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Old 09-28-08, 06:16 AM   #20
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I own a Sherpa and will most likely buy a Cannnondale to compliment it.
What does the Cannondale do/have that the Rocky Mountain Sherpa doesn't?

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I think it is whatever you are riding when you are on the best tour. Once you reach a threshold where the bike is adequate it really makes no difference in the overall experience. The touring experience is probably the same on a $700 bikes as on a $5000 bike as far as I can tell.
The exception is where a custom bike is required for proper fit.
Agreed. But people like to spend crazy money on things! There's a significant advantage in lower replace cost.

The LHT/RM Sherpa/Cannondale/etc are the "best" because are cheap and because they allow mere mortals to tour just as well as people with $5000 bicycles.

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Old 09-28-08, 09:49 AM   #21
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emm some great choice's but nobody has said such a bike would take some beating.i have no idea myself i ride the thorn sherpa all decked out in a great groopset shimano xt /sun rhyno wheels/tubus racks /ortlieb panniers ,but what im woundering what difference would i feel on say a top custom build with top end gear like phil wood,chris king,and the like .when the new pinerrello prince came out first with all the crazy shape folks and stays ,i overheard the agent talking to the local bike shop owner about the preformance of this model ,in his words he told him you would have to ride this bike long hours day after day to notice any difference basically a great bike for the pro's,so what im saying or trying to say that should be the main difference in off the rack tourers and top end custom ,the custom bike should come into it's own a long tour the quality should shine through no matter what the terrain ok nuff said..oh bye the way i cant mention the agent's name in case he sue's me for listining in but i can tell he was a former tour de france stage winner and won a classis as well.so he should know what he's talking about.
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Old 09-28-08, 09:54 AM   #22
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emm some great choice's but nobody has said such a bike would take some beating.i have no idea myself i ride the thorn sherpa all decked out in a great groopset shimano xt /sun rhyno wheels/tubus racks /ortlieb panniers ,but what im woundering what difference would i feel on say a top custom build with top end gear like phil wood,chris king,and the like .when the new pinerrello prince came out first with all the crazy shape folks and stays ,i overheard the agent talking to the local bike shop owner about the preformance of this model ,in his words he told him you would have to ride this bike long hours day after day to notice any difference basically a great bike for the pro's,so what im saying or trying to say that should be the main difference in off the rack tourers and top end custom ,the custom bike should come into it's own a long tour the quality should shine through no matter what the terrain ok nuff said..oh bye the way i cant mention the agent's name in case he sue's me for listining in but i can tell he was a former tour de france stage winner and won a classis as well.so he should know what he's talking about.
???? This is too hard to follow.
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Old 09-28-08, 10:58 AM   #23
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Surly LHT.....really. It might be the best touring bike ever made.

I'm not a huge fan of the stock rims, but all the other parts are very good. It's steel frame is very stiff and weighs, oh, I don't know, a pound more than a $3000 custom frame.

Other than having a stronger theadless headset, 9 speeds and a stronger rear hub design, the LHT is pretty much the same as touring bikes from the 70's and 80's. Classic, simple and at around a $1000, the best value in the industry.
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Old 09-28-08, 11:54 AM   #24
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emm some great choice's but nobody has said such a bike would take some beating.i have no idea myself i ride the thorn sherpa all decked out in a great groopset shimano xt /sun rhyno wheels/tubus racks /ortlieb panniers ,but what im woundering what difference would i feel on say a top custom build with top end gear like phil wood,chris king,and the like .
Price and performance are not the same thing when talking about touring bikes, components and equipment. Chris King and Phil Wood are not necessarily better choices than a Shimano square taper BB/crank and some LX/XT hubs. The analysis should be on what the part adds to the bike and how durable/easily repaired it is. A $25 Shimano square taper BB has a lot going for it in those terms although it's a plain jane item. FSA Orbit XLII headset is an excellent choice for a touring bike and not particularly expensive when compared to a Chris King product.

If you compare the Thorn Sherpa frame to Thorn's custom bikes you get the following differences:
- thicker larger diameter tubing
- stronger stiffer fork
- 6mm oversized braze ons
- uber long chasinstays and long wheelbase

If you are riding with a very heavy load on rough roads all of this makes a considerable difference. If you are lightly loaded on excellent roads there may be no practical advantage to the high end Thorn.
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Old 09-28-08, 12:28 PM   #25
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thank's vic lot's of excellent points there ,any touring i'll be doing will be on smooth tarmac ,dont get me wrong i think my sherpa is brilliant i have no intention of changing it but when you see so many models of bikes out there is does make you wonder ,anyhow thanks
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