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Old 01-09-09, 11:06 PM   #1
Agentbolt
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How soon before a tour should you purchase the new bike?

How long should you own a new bike before taking it out on a tour? I'm doing a ~3500 mile tour in Mid-August, so how long beforehand should I purchase the bike? Obviously I want to get it early enough to get a lot of miles on it (both to get used to it and to make sure everything's broken in) but I don't want to get it say, today, and 8 months from now the brakes and deraileurs and stuff need to be replaced because they're worn out.

I have an old hybrid bike that I'm using in the meantime for training purposes.

Any ideas?
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Old 01-09-09, 11:09 PM   #2
valygrl
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ASAP - leave plenty of time to get it dialed in. Don't worry, you're not going to wear it out. Just take it to the shop a couple weeks before you go on your big trip to check for chain wear, check the tires, you're good to go.
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Old 01-09-09, 11:23 PM   #3
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Yes, get it now.

If your brakes and derailleur wear out in 8 months, you'll want to know so you can replace them with something half-way decent! Most things on your bicycle should last for a long time. I've got about 50,000 km on my derailleurs, and don't have to replace them yet. Same with my brakes. If you have to replace anything, it might be small things like brake pads, cables, maybe a chain, tires, etc. ... inexpensive, regular-maintenance stuff.
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Old 01-10-09, 01:18 AM   #4
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Yes, get it now.

If your brakes and derailleur wear out in 8 months, you'll want to know so you can replace them with something half-way decent! Most things on your bicycle should last for a long time. I've got about 50,000 km on my derailleurs, and don't have to replace them yet. Same with my brakes. If you have to replace anything, it might be small things like brake pads, cables, maybe a chain, tires, etc. ... inexpensive, regular-maintenance stuff.
Ok, cool. I wasn't aware what the usual lifetime is for a decent quality bike's components. Thanks.
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Old 01-10-09, 05:48 AM   #5
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Get it now. Riding hours on a bike that doesn't fit you .... >SHUDDER!<
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Old 01-10-09, 11:27 AM   #6
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I agree that there's no reason to wait. Nothing of quality should wear out. There may be some tweaking to do - sliding the saddle fore or aft, raising or lowering the seatpost, even swapping out the stem if the fit doesn't feel right. I've found that tiny adjustments to these things matter, and the only way to get them dialed in is to keep trying different adjustments. I usually end up stopping a lot during rides to get out my multi-tool and adjust something a tiny bit. It's very satisfying when you feel you're really close to getting it perfect, but I wouldn't want to be going through all of that tweaking on a tour. When I'm on tour I usually have lots of miles to travel during a day and plenty of stops to make anyway. I don't want to be stopping every few miles to make an adjustment to my bike's fit. Better to get those out of the way long before the tour begins, as much as possible.

Saddle comfort is another issue. It has been hard for me to get saddles that are comfortable all day. They might feel great for the first 25 miles, but after riding 50+ miles day after day, any discomfort can become serious. It's best to try and deal with this before going on tour. (Of course, you could just get a Brooks B-17 now and the chances are you'd like it, based on the percentage of positive reports people on this forum have given. I'm not 100% satisfied with mine, but haven't found anything better after several tries.)

Another hassle might be cable stretch. Have you ever put a new set of strings on a guitar? They stretch terribly initially and you have to keep re-tuning them. Over time they stretch less and you don't have to tune as often. When you first put cables on a bike they tend to stretch, so you have to make fairly frequent adjustments. Best to get those out of the way before you start your tour. Of course, the odds are you may still have to make some adjustments during the tour, so it would be good to know how to do this. It's pretty easy.

Lastly, spoke tension can change when wheels are new. When my local mechanic builds me wheels, he tensions them, then tells me to come back after a month of riding and he'll re-tension them. If you have a brand new bike this might be a problem. I'd prefer to get a new touring bike, ride it awhile (including with a load,) then take it to a good mechanic to get the tensioning and truing checked before leaving on tour. There may be no problems at all, but it's a good feeling to hear that from someone who's a better wheel mechanic than I am.
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Old 01-10-09, 11:36 AM   #7
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Get it now and don't worry about parts wearing out. You need time on the bike to get the fit dialed in. That often takes several weeks if not months. Then you need the bike to get settled in, specially cables. Brake and deraileur cables continue to stretch and require adjustments for up to a 1,000 miles.

Brake pads will last a long, long time. The only thing you might need to replace are tires. Racing type tires amy last 1,500 to 2,500 miles depenmding upon the specific tire, you size and weight, and riding style. Touring tires will generally last longer.
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Old 01-10-09, 11:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agentbolt View Post
How long should you own a new bike before taking it out on a tour? I'm doing a ~3500 mile tour in Mid-August, so how long beforehand should I purchase the bike? Obviously I want to get it early enough to get a lot of miles on it (both to get used to it and to make sure everything's broken in) but I don't want to get it say, today, and 8 months from now the brakes and deraileurs and stuff need to be replaced because they're worn out.

I have an old hybrid bike that I'm using in the meantime for training purposes.

Any ideas?
Wow, that's some tour!
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Old 01-10-09, 11:41 AM   #9
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I'd say the same, don't delay getting it, even if you don't put miles on it and it sits in your house, at least you've made the commitment. If the pads are crap to begin with they'll need to be replaced at some point during the ride, but you will be able to bring just about everything stock with you and then carry a replacement chain, some pads, and tires with you for the trip. Sounds like you have a long ride ahead of you, perhaps cross-continental? What do you have planned?
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Old 01-12-09, 04:05 PM   #10
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+100, buy it now, as long as you are dialed in on size, model, equipment, etc.

By tour time, you will know your bike very well.
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Old 01-12-09, 04:32 PM   #11
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I had to replace my bike a week before a long tour, and I was very, very lucky in what I got. Get the bike now and spend time riding it and tweaking it.
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Old 01-12-09, 04:40 PM   #12
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Yes, get it now.
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Old 01-12-09, 04:56 PM   #13
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Well, what are you waiting for?
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Old 01-12-09, 05:32 PM   #14
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Bike was purchased, thanks guys.

Now ya'll can come to the "How to upgrade components on a Trek 7.3FX for touring" thread to yell at me
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Old 01-13-09, 12:01 AM   #15
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Yes. Put at least 500 miles on the new bike before committing to the long tour. At least in my experience, there are always problems with a new bike that take about that long to iron out.
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Old 01-13-09, 02:20 AM   #16
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I'm happy to hear you didn't do like we just did... I just got back from a quick trip to Austin to buy a bike for my son - and we'll load it up tomorrow. Honestly, he took one quick trip around the REI parking lot before I bought it, and the next time he gets on the bike it'll be all loaded up and he'll pedal it across the border to Mexico! Crazy, I know... (We normally wouldn't do this, but he outgrew his old bike, so we had to get a bigger one for him...)
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Old 01-13-09, 02:52 AM   #17
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Hi,

7 days before was my closest time I got a new bike. But I have a dealer which is confident. I cycled 15 km before the tour started.

Thomas
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