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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 02-21-10, 11:06 PM   #1
SyntaxJO
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Buying a Bike to Train On

I am very interested in long term bike touring with a mountain bike or some hybrid. My first extended ride I plan to ride all the way down the Baja peninsula. I understand the cost involved - so before I get into the full blown gear setup I was thinking of buying something ultra cheap to make sure it wasn't a faze. This way I could ride around town - take weekend rides - get into shape - and then know that I was still interested.

The problem is that the cheapo bikes for around 200$ are too small for me - I'm 6'1. Then as I get into bikes that are more my size they're approaching 400$. And when it's at around 400 it seems I may as well just spend the extra money and buy what I want.

So, now I'm thinking used. Anyone have suggestions for something I could get used that would be at a lower price point so I can get training?
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Old 02-21-10, 11:10 PM   #2
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An older rigid (meaning no suspension) mountain bike makes sense for touring-type applications if you add some slick tires. They're usually pretty cheap on Craigslist. You probably want something with a 20" frame or more. If you post up a few from your local craigslist people can tell you if they're suitable and worth the price.
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Old 02-21-10, 11:10 PM   #3
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tons of used bikes on Craigslist, all sizes.

Craigslist.org

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I am very interested in long term bike touring with a mountain bike or some hybrid. My first extended ride I plan to ride all the way down the Baja peninsula. I understand the cost involved - so before I get into the full blown gear setup I was thinking of buying something ultra cheap to make sure it wasn't a faze. This way I could ride around town - take weekend rides - get into shape - and then know that I was still interested.

The problem is that the cheapo bikes for around 200$ are too small for me - I'm 6'1. Then as I get into bikes that are more my size they're approaching 400$. And when it's at around 400 it seems I may as well just spend the extra money and buy what I want.

So, now I'm thinking used. Anyone have suggestions for something I could get used that would be at a lower price point so I can get training?
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Old 02-21-10, 11:32 PM   #4
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An older rigid (meaning no suspension) mountain bike makes sense for touring-type applications
Is there any other reason to get a rigid bike other than the fact that you can mount storage on it?
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Old 02-21-10, 11:40 PM   #5
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suspension is necessary for jumps/bumps in mountain biking, for touring it will only make
your pedaling harder(by dampening some of your energy) and add weight to your ride.

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Is there any other reason to get a rigid bike other than the fact that you can mount storage on it?
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Old 02-22-10, 06:21 AM   #6
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Personally I'd just get something nice. You will be more encouraged to ride that way. For me that would be a sporty road bike, unless I was actually ready to tour. I know some folks are happy doing all their riding on a touring bike, but riding a fast/light bike is a real joy IMO.

That said pretty much any bike that fits would suffice for what you propose doing initially.

One other thing... Liking to ride and liking to tour are two different things. You may really like riding around town and not care for weeks or months on the road or vice versa. I know that I in the last two years I didn't ride very much when not on tour, preferring to trail run. Still I love life on the road for a few weeks or months a year. Last year the bulk of my riding was a Spring tour. This year it will probably be my Summer tour on the Sierra Cascades route.
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Old 02-22-10, 08:09 AM   #7
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Like what staephj1 mentioned... Just buy a bike that fits and see how it goes first.
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Old 02-22-10, 08:51 AM   #8
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Most people end up with at least two bikes anyway. Why not plan on that from the start? I know that a lot of people don't do it this way, but I'd suggest you ride for a couple of years before starting to tour. That will build up a lot of skills in riding and maintenance that you'll need for the tour. Contrary to some opinions, there's a lot more to safe riding than what you remember from riding as a kid.
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Old 02-22-10, 09:03 AM   #9
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Most people end up with at least two bikes anyway. Why not plan on that from the start? I know that a lot of people don't do it this way, but I'd suggest you ride for a couple of years before starting to tour. That will build up a lot of skills in riding and maintenance that you'll need for the tour. Contrary to some opinions, there's a lot more to safe riding than what you remember from riding as a kid.
Only 2?
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Old 02-22-10, 01:27 PM   #10
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It is a pleasure to ride a quality bicycle that fits one's body. A bike that is too small, has worn-out components, is not set up properly, or is otherwise not quite right, might be fine for short local rides. But it won't any fun when you spend four, six, or more hours per day in the saddle.

If you use an ill-fitted or uncomfortable bike for "training," you might gain a little in the way of cardio-vascular conditioning, but not much else.

To best prepare for bike touring, get the right bike, and train on it.

(I have two well-fitted touring bicycles, and I use them for everything.)

By the way, not everybody is inclined to train before a trip. Maybe I should, but I usually don't!
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Old 02-22-10, 09:42 PM   #11
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I rode a bicycle as a kid but then didn't touch one for about 15 years. For some reason I started thinking about riding again and ended-up looking at the beautiful, clean, shiny Huffy bicycles at the local K-Mart. Within twelve months of paying my $150 (I think), the wheels were rusty and numerous parts had broken. I cut that bicycle up with a hacksaw and put it in the rubbish bin. I didn't ride it much because it was uncomfortable, cumbersome and just horrible to ride. Five kilometres on that bike felt like 50!

It's a small miracle I stayed interested in bikes after that horrible, heavy contraption. I went to my LBS and paid around $700 (in 1998) for something comparatively decent. I only regret not buying that bike sooner. A few small parts have needed replacing through normal wear-and-tear but nothing has actually broken.

Supermarket bikes have improved in quality since 1997 but I think you'd be better off spending the money on a reasonably good second-hand bicycle. In my state, the second hand bicycle market is so small, that second hand really isn't an option. Get something you enjoy and love to ride on. Perhaps a few months, a year or two down the track you can convert it to a touring bike. Perhaps you'll buy a second bike; or trade it in. But at least you won't have lost your interest in riding because of a horrible bicycle.
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Old 02-23-10, 10:33 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Personally I'd just get something nice. You will be more encouraged to ride that way.
I agree, as long as you enjoy riding it. If it's not a pleasure to hop on and go somewhere, you won't, and that will be the end of it.
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Old 02-23-10, 01:51 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone - this is valuable and conflicting advice I think I would really just ride the thing for a month only and then upgrade to the beast. I was afraid I would get responses in the flavor of "Buy what you need for when you're touring now instead of later" - sounds like a good idea as well - but I wouldn't know where to start. I went to this bike shop and had a relatively bad experience with a guy who was about to sell me a bike that was too small - told me he liked this one better out of the two and then the next day said he liked THAT one better out of the two - I need to get some real education about things - for what it's worth I have found a used 20" framed bike that I'm going to go look at right now. Says he bought it 4 years ago used - he has tons of bikes - and says that it's in good shape. $125 mongoose (not from Target):
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv...605329821.html

thanks for all your help - I thought I would be turned off by the whole "shopping" experience - but I'm still thumpin on this.
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