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  1. #1
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    Need Help Choosing A Bicycle!

    Ok so here's the deal. I've got a one week vacation and weekends to do some bicycle "touring" (due to a full time job). My current dream is to carry a Hennessey hammock (I already own), as few clothes as possible, lots of water, a little food, perhaps a few electronics etc. I'm gearing to do stealth camping as it will be the cheapest but I have no bicycle to do this.

    The bike I desire has the following:

    -Steel Frame Only
    -Steel Fenders (Or braze ons to add steel fenders)
    -Triple Chainring
    -Mountain Bicycle Gearing
    -Braze ons for front and back racks (preferably already included w/ bike)
    -Drop Handlebars *without* combination brake/shifters
    -Pedals and Kickstand included in bike price desirable
    -Prefer a black or green bicycle color (but does not have to be)

    What are the *cheapest* bicycles I can do this on without breaking the bank? (In my case breaking the bank means spending more than $1200 on the bike)

    Some facts about me:

    5'9'' 150 pounds 36'' pants seam

    If you need more information let me know. Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beardedbikerboy View Post
    Ok so here's the deal. I've got a one week vacation and weekends to do some bicycle "touring" (due to a full time job). My current dream is to carry a Hennessey hammock (I already own), as few clothes as possible, lots of water, a little food, perhaps a few electronics etc. I'm gearing to do stealth camping as it will be the cheapest but I have no bicycle to do this.

    The bike I desire has the following:

    -Steel Frame Only
    -Steel Fenders (Or braze ons to add steel fenders)
    -Triple Chainring
    -Mountain Bicycle Gearing
    -Braze ons for front and back racks (preferably already included w/ bike)
    -Drop Handlebars *without* combination brake/shifters
    -Pedals and Kickstand included in bike price desirable
    -Prefer a black or green bicycle color (but does not have to be)

    What are the *cheapest* bicycles I can do this on without breaking the bank? (In my case breaking the bank means spending more than $1200 on the bike)

    Some facts about me:

    5'9'' 150 pounds 36'' pants seam

    If you need more information let me know. Thanks in advance for any help you can give!
    Picky, picky, picky Just about any production touring bike would fit most of your wants for about that price. Surly LHT...the Kool-aid of choice for most people...runs around $1100 without racks and bags. A Fuji Touring is about the same price but the LHT is a better value.

    Masi is making touring bikes that a slightly more then the LHT. While a nice frame and having the advantage that it isn't an LHT, it does have some warts. Gearing is all wrong for a touring bike, the brakes aren't cantilevers and the parts spec isn't the best for wide gearing. The gearing can be fixed and parts can be replaced. The brakes, however, aren't changeable. Cantilevers give you better clearance for fenders and tires. They used to be superior in stopping ability too. However, dual pivot calipers are a far better brake than the old single pivot brakes that cantis were compared too. It's probably a nonissue.

    The Raleigh Sojourn is another bike to look at. REI carries them. I have heard, however, that the Sojourn is rather heavy even for touring bike and the gearing is a little high for a touring bike.

    The Rocky Mountain Sherpa (10 or 30) is another fine...and oft overlooked...choice for touring bikes.

    Since you are dead set on steel I won't mention the most excellent Cannondale T2 even though it's every bit as good as the LHT, lighter, stiffer, has a much better warranty, and a longer touring pedigree than any of the above mentioned bikes. But I won't mention any of that

    There are other, lesser, touring bikes out there...

    • Trek 520 - to expensive
    • Cross bikes - a race horse tied to a plow
    • Jamis Aurora - go find the thread on the Jamis and wade through all the junk that's posted there...some of it mine...for the reasons I consider it to be in the lower tier of touring bikes.
    • REI Randonee - are they still made? About the same as the Jamis.
    • REI Safari - not a bad bike but it is heavy and only comes in flat bar.


    There are a lot of flat bar bikes out there that would be suitable, and similar to the above lesser touring bike...perhaps even better...but they have the added expense of conversion. Drop bars, levers and bar end shifters could add $150 to $300 depending on what you need for the conversion. They do tend to start a little lower in price, however.
    Stuart Black
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  3. #3
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    I would add the new Tr-101 from KHS. It seems like you are looking for an "out of the box" touring bike rather than buying a basic bike and getting the racks and such separately. The KHS comes with everything you need, you might want to lower the gearing a bit but its not bad. If you are really on a budget the Windsor Tourist from www.bikesdirect.com is a great value, proven reliable, and exact clone of the more expensive fuji touring bike. It even comes with a rear rack, but it kinda sucks Anyways lots of good suggestions already but dont be intimidated by buying all the bells and whistles on your own as they are often cheaper when sold separately.

  4. #4
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    Your original post almost perfectly described the Surly LHT. Even down to the color
    I know its not as cool anymore because everyone is buying them, but they are buying them for a very good reason. They work extremely well for long distance cycling right off the shelf. Ultra versatile, reliable, and fun to ride.
    Ride.
    Enjoy.
    Repeat.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce Enns's Avatar
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    I'll go out on a limb here and suggest buying a nice clean vintage touring bike. Building it up to your spec's would be satisfying in itself and the bike would most likely gain in value as time goes on.

    I'd look at Trek 520, 620, 720's, Miyata 1000's and 615's. Fuji and many other brands offered very good bikes that still perform admirably and in my opinon as good if not better than the new bikes.

    I still need to work on my gearing and add a set of fenders but I'll have well less than 1200.00 invested in my Miyata 1000.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Brewster
    1981 Miyata 1000, 1984 Bridgestone 500, 1985 Trek 400

  6. #6
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    That is a LOVELY Miyata. I wish it were mine.

    Just for a visual comparison, with the racks, fenders and saddle I have about $1400 into this LHT. Everything is stock, it is only about two months old. You could go with far less expensive racks and DIY some panniers/luggage and be set for right around your 1200 budget.



    Last edited by crawdaddio; 04-25-09 at 04:37 PM.
    Ride.
    Enjoy.
    Repeat.

  7. #7
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    take a look at the kona sutra, it's got disc brakes if you like that. (mounts for other brakes are there)

    meets all your requirements except pedals and . . . kickstand? really? if you tour at all, you can't expect them to throw in a touring quality kickstand, and you can't use one of the single peg ones or you'll mess up your frame.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bruce Enns's Avatar
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    crawdaddio, you've also got an awesome set of wheels A buyer would do well having either bike to tour on. Heck I'd love to have a few of each.
    Brewster
    1981 Miyata 1000, 1984 Bridgestone 500, 1985 Trek 400

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