Greetings from Minneapolis,
I'm currently researching the purchase of touring bikes. I am planing to buy the bike sometime in 2010. I have already found a lot of good information out just by reading existing threads! I also apologize in advance for the length of my message, I have several considerations to weigh that I have found through my research to date and would like to hear some opinions.
In 2012, I plan to start an around the world trip by bike. (Hopefully no one laughs at me too much for taking 2 years to plan a trip ) I have a general idea about where I want to bike. My general route would cover Australia, SE Asia, China, Nepal, India, the Middle East (Jordan, Syria, and Turkey), as well Eastern and Western Europe. From Western Europe, I would fly back to the US and cycle across the US to end the trip.
The reason I want to purchase the bike in 2010 is because I'd like to get very familiar with the bike and also ride it on some shorter tours before 2012.
My research has led me to choose between Co-Motion and Seven Cycles. Even though there are other bikes that are just as capable as these two brands, I want the highest quality frames and components for the trip. I want to lessen the risk of major problems when I am in the middle of nowhere. Truth be told, I'd also consider a Thorn Sherpa, but since there's no bike shops in the US (that I can tell) that sells them, I'm sticking with brands that shops near me carry.
1. Must have drop bars and not flat handle bars. My current commuter / trail bike - a trek 7.5fx has flat handle bars. I find myself wanting more positions for hands on longer rides.
2. If I get a bike with 700c tires, I will have to carry a spare wheel.
3. 36 spokes on the wheel is a must
4. Open to Rohloff hubs but not a must. If I go with Rohloffs, I will carry at least 2 of the oil maintenance kits. Really leaning against Rohloffs for this trip due to length of the trip
5. I will probably be pulling a trailer for at least part of the trip - due to needing an adequate water supply.
6. Schwalbe for the tires.
7. I want to be able to enjoy riding the bike when it is not loaded up with gear as well. ( I do plan on returning to a "normal" life after the trip )
Current Bikes I am considering:
Seven Cycles custom touring model.
Thoughts on the Pangea:
The Pangea has the 26" wheels that are more common throughout the world. The Pangea can also fit 3 water bottles. The Rohloff seems interesting but not entirely necessary. I know there are threads that express support for and against the Rohloff system. It also seems that the Pangea is pretty close in terms of the Thorn Sherpa World Tour drop bar spec.
Thoughts on the Americano:
This seems to be Co-Motion's flagship touring bike. It borrows from their tandem bike expertise for the 145mm rear axle. It does take 700c wheel though, so carrying an extra wheel is probably a good idea. Like the Pangea, the americano can hold 3 water bottles. So it looks like the main difference is the wheels and size of the rear axles.
Thoughts on Seven Custom Bike:
This would give me the choice of titanium or steel frame. (Ha, I bet this would be another debate ). Thing is, I could just order the Co-Motion frame and choose my components just like the Seven. Seven does spend a lot time truly custom fitting the bike. I've already talked to the Seven dealer where I live as I wanted to find out more about the process. Titanium would be lighter than steel, but does cost more. Interestingly enough there is one touring model offered by Seven that does accept 26" or 700c tires called the Cafe Racer S. I'm wondering if that specific model would be suitable for loaded touring. One of the disadvantages of Seven is that the Cafe Racer S is the only bike that they classify as "touring" and as capable of taking 26" wheels. So if it wasn't able to handle loaded touring, I'd have to go with a frame that takes 700c wheels.
1. If the Cafe Racer S is deemed acceptable to handle loaded touring, i think that might be a good way to go. Otherwise Seven has no bike that is suitable for touring with 26" wheels.
2. The Co-Motion Pangea is an interesting alternative and would be a great way to bring down costs compared to the Seven bikes.
3. Go with a bike that does not have 26" wheels and carry a spare wheel on the trip.
Any additional thoughts/comments are welcome.
Thanks in advance..