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Old 05-16-10, 10:11 AM   #1
quester
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The Wife Hands Me $5k and says go buy a bike. What to get?

23rd wedding anniversary.

Note that I'm a big guy, 6'2", >250, and I plan on doing the Northern Tier on this bike (in the past I've done the west coast, Blue Ridge Parkway, etc.) My LHT is aging, getting noiser, and shimmies at high speed.

I'd like disc, and I wouldn't mind S&S couplers. I know, this points me towards co-motion. Are their bikes relatively stiff, i.e. for a big guy?

So far, planning to check out rivendell, co-motion, seven, bruce gordon blt-x.
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Old 05-16-10, 10:32 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by quester View Post
23rd wedding anniversary.

Note that I'm a big guy, 6'2", >250, and I plan on doing the Northern Tier on this bike (in the past I've done the west coast, Blue Ridge Parkway, etc.) My LHT is aging, getting noiser, and shimmies at high speed.

I'd like disc, and I wouldn't mind S&S couplers. I know, this points me towards co-motion. Are their bikes relatively stiff, i.e. for a big guy?

So far, planning to check out rivendell, co-motion, seven, bruce gordon blt-x.
Personally, I'd buy a Cannondale T2, replace all the parts with quality stuff that is chosen for it's ruggedness and/or it's ease of fixing on the road, and then spend the rest of the money (around $2000) on the best and lightest touring gear I could find.

Oh, wait. I've already done that

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Frame	Complete bike
Headset	Red Chris King
Front Derailer	Stock
Rear Derailer	XTR
Front wheel	Phil Wood/Mavic
Rear wheel	Phil Wood/Mavic
Handle bar	Salsa Bell lap
Seatpost	Race Face
Saddle	Brooks B17N
Crank	Race Face Turbine
Bottom Bracket	Race Face
Pedals	Shimano 520
Cassette	Sram
Brakes	Pual brakes/moon unit
Stem	Salsa Moto
Levers/shifter	Shimano 105
Rack, rear	Tubus Cargo
Rack, front	Tubus Tara
Tape	Cinelli/Fiz:k
red bits	Purely Custom
Pump	Topeak
Headset spacers	stock
Computer mount	Sigma
Bottle cages	King cages
The only thing I'd like to change about my Cannondale is the crank. An XT mountain bike crank is dead simple to work on and install but the Raceface Turbine crank can take a 20 tooth inner ring so the low is nicer.

The Cannondale is a really good bike for those of us on the...um...larger side. The death wobble you are getting from your LHT is likely from a top tube that is too long and not stiff enough for the weight it is carrying.
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Old 05-16-10, 10:44 AM   #3
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Custom Rivendell!!!
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Old 05-16-10, 10:58 AM   #4
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Co-Motion Americano with couplers. This would be my dream machine. It's available with disc or without. Custom colors and hand built with love in Oregon.

Yep.. that's what I'd do. I don't have this problem(the 5K that is).
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Old 05-16-10, 10:58 AM   #5
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Your wife is awesome.
I've allways wanted a Bruce Gordon rock and road bike.
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Old 05-16-10, 11:10 AM   #6
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Wow, lucky guy!

My advice is pretty lame but here it goes.

I'm learning bikes are a very personal item. Besides, I tend to do things on a budget so I don't really know much about bikes over $1400.

I'd get a bunch of the smallest and lightest stuff I could find as mentioned above. Even then I'd have lots of money leftover!

What I'd look at for gear would be things such as the Thermo-a-Rest NeoAir matress, packs up very small and is about 415g. Sounds like a paper bag when you move though.

Get an expensive sleeping bag rated for whatever you require. The more expensive the bag the smaller it packs.

Then I'd go for an ultralight tent, one of the MSR Hubba Hubba HP's. Or similar / better for you.

I'd replace any clothing you might have been wanting to upgrade or exchange too. Stuff gets old and we tend to get used to it as it ages, new shorts, helmet, pants, gloves, shoes, etc. might just make your ride that much more enjoyable!

Check out cycling GPS units, perhaps one of those has been on your wish list and you've forgotten about it.

Replace any of those smallish items that you might think are on their last legs, or over the years have been improved upon to be lighter or better in a way you think is worth the upgrade. Small items add up as shopping list gets longer. I swear it's the small items that I always leave me looking at a reciept wondering where all the money went!

Maybe get an extra tire or two and some replacement parts so in a couple months if a tire blows you don't have to tell your wife that you spent another sum of money on a new one.

When you get your bike built get it with one of those fancy hubs that are also a generator. I'd love one of these. Something to look at maybe.

Set aside another sum for trip emergencies if you think that's a good idea, might not be something you need to worry about though.

And finally, if it was my wife I'd have to spend some of it on her even though it was a gift! I bet she'd like another nice dinner or a weekend at a B&B!

Then with what's left, get the bike.

Good luck!
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Old 05-16-10, 11:38 AM   #7
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If I had this 5K problem, I'd splurge on this and have it with S+S couplers. For now, I will make do with my LHT.
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Old 05-16-10, 11:49 AM   #8
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I'm jealous ! Does your wife have a sister ?
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Old 05-16-10, 12:14 PM   #9
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If you weigh more than 250 lbs, and have $5k to spend, and you like disk and S&S, then I would certainly point you in the direction of the Co-Motion Americano (that, or the 26" Pangea). It's like that bike was made for you. I recently got one myself (in exactly that configuration - S&S, disks), and it is a really awesome machine. The only thing to be aware of is the tire clearance - mine cannot take anything bigger than about 700x35. I tried a 700x40 Schwalbe Marathon XR, and it was ok everywhere except for between the chainstays down by the bottom bracket. This is not exactly a "problem" with the bike - I knew what I wanted (the strongest touring bike out there) and that's exactly what I got: The monster chainstays are part of what makes the bike what it is. I have to admit I was a little disappointed that I couldn't fit 40mm; but if you're ok with the max tire being about a 35mm, then this is definitely the bike for you. If you do want bigger tires then you can talk to Dwan Shepard - I believe they can tweak things to make slightly larger clearance if you let them know beforehand, but there are always compromises when you do that. Dwan can fill you in on what they can do there.

After realizing I couldn't fit anything bigger than 700x35, I got a little depressed and was going to sell the Americano to free up the cash so I could purchase a Rocky Mountain Sherpa that I found in my local bike shop in my size. That too is an awesome bike - not quite as stiff as the Americano, but no problems with shimmy (I did a loaded test ride) and it's pretty much a 29er with stacks of tire clearance (up to 700x50). I find that I really like big tires for smoothing out the rougher roads and trails. However, I eventually decided to keep the Americano after all and just eat the debt that will arise from having both - it's just too nice a bike, and it was custom built for me. And now (even though the credit card bill looks more and more scary) I'm glad I decided to keep it. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with that bike, and 700x35 should be plenty enough for a road tourer, really. I'll maybe use the Sherpa for rougher stuff and keep the Americano for the road trips like the one you're planning.

By the way, if you do get it, then the "Champagne" color is really nice. Also, go for the Tubus Nova on the front, and the Tubus Cosmo on the rear. I initially had a Tubus Tara on the front, and found there were issues with fitting it which meant you had to take off the quick release skewer in order to remove the wheel. But just yesterday I got a Tubus Nova from Wiggle in the UK, and it fits PERFECTLY, no problem at all, and the top rail is also completely level. I am thrilled. The Nova seems to have a couple more options than the Tara in terms of how you fit the top bar (two possible holes you can attach it to on the hoop). Also, the silver color of the stainless steel on that and the Cosmo goes with the champagne color really nicely. The Cosmo is, I think, an even better rack than the venerable Cargo. It's stainless, so will never rust. And there are two rails for mounting the panniers - the top rail, and one slightly lower down. You can use either, because they are vertically in line. Also, the top platform is larger than the Cargo. More expensive, but very, very nice racks.

Oh, and incidentally, I'm finding that the Nova seems to be much more compatible with the rotating cam-lock mounting system on my Arkel GT18 panniers.

Here are some pics of my bike, from back when I first got it with the original Tara and Cargo racks. I haven't taken pics of the Nova and Cosmo yet, but I can certainly try to do that if anybody's interested.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/forum...ested=0#152781

I'd highly recommend the Americano - if you want to know more about Co-Motion, I wrote an article about my visit to their factory:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/co-motion-visit

I should note that Co-Motion gave me a "pro-deal" discount on my bike in return for an ad on crazyguyonabike. However I can assure you that I don't shill for anybody, the good things I say about them are honest opinions, freely given. I still had to pay a few thousand for my bike, so I put my money where my mouth is, and I'm happy I went with Co-Motion. They really know their stuff when it comes to building bikes - take a look at the factory tour article to get an idea of their operation, it's quite impressive. At some point I'll be getting a Pangea from them too (the 26" version of the Americano), but my bank account will be on life support for the foreseeable future, so that'll have to wait.

Neil
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Old 05-16-10, 12:21 PM   #10
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Congrats. All of my purchases are made on a rather open budget model. This doesn't need to change the focus. At least it doesn't do so for me. In any case, on top of what's been mentioned I'd at least add Thorn to what you are considering. The Rocky Mountain Sherpa is a fantastic frameset as well that handles big loads and keeps everything tight enough that I can hop out of the saddle at any time and not feel like I'm riding a noodle.
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Old 05-16-10, 01:00 PM   #11
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That's a lot of scratch for a touring bike. Post some pictures when you make your decision!
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Old 05-16-10, 01:02 PM   #12
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tout terrain silkroad, set up with drop bars.
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Old 05-16-10, 01:17 PM   #13
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Would be terribly hard to go wrong with a custom Co-Motion Americano. I have a custom Nor'wester Tour from them. I find it plenty stiff, but I only weigh 155.
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Old 05-16-10, 01:18 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Kurious Oranj View Post
If I had this 5K problem, I'd splurge on this and have it with S+S couplers. For now, I will make do with my LHT.
Yep, this is the one I keep coming back to, so far.
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Old 05-16-10, 01:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by NeilGunton View Post
If you weigh more than 250 lbs, and have $5k to spend, and you like disk and S&S, then I would certainly point you in the direction of the Co-Motion Americano (that, or the 26" Pangea). It's like that bike was made for you. I recently got one myself (in exactly that configuration - S&S, disks), and it is a really awesome machine. The only thing to be aware of is the tire clearance - mine cannot take anything bigger than about 700x35. I tried a 700x40 Schwalbe Marathon XR, and it was ok everywhere except for between the chainstays down by the bottom bracket. This is not exactly a "problem" with the bike -
This would definitely be a problem; I usually tour on 42-45 on the back. However, the Pangea comes stock w/ 2.1" tires (equiv of 52 cm), and probably would be a bit tougher than the americano, so that's the direction I'm leaning.
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Old 05-16-10, 01:55 PM   #16
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This would definitely be a problem; I usually tour on 42-45 on the back. However, the Pangea comes stock w/ 2.1" tires (equiv of 52 cm), and probably would be a bit tougher than the americano, so that's the direction I'm leaning.

First of all , lots of builders can install S&S couplers, don't let that worry you. That said, since you want the option of wide tires, I'd lean towards a Rivendell Bombadil, Hunqapillar or Atlantis and specify them installed. Yes, they do this, they just don't advertise it. The frames fit different, the Bombadil and Hunq with a longer TT. All can take up to 2.3" tires in 700c, I can't see you riding 26" on a large bike. I don't know of any other such frames that can take wide 700c tires that's not a 29er. Salsa's a 29er w/discs, and I would never ride a straight blade fork. These take rim brakes only, if that matters.

Riv also has a superbe wheelbuilder. The only thing else to say is get longer cranks, you likely need at least 180mm. DaVinci, TA Carmina/Vega to name a few triples.

None of these will be wippy, trust me. These are no LHT!

my 2 sense ....

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Old 05-16-10, 02:03 PM   #17
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23rd wedding anniversary.
I'd like disc, and I wouldn't mind S&S couplers. I know, this points me towards co-motion. Are their bikes relatively stiff, i.e. for a big guy?
I don't qualify as "big" or "guy", but I rode my Norwester last summer and over-packed her. Me (124 lbs) and the bike and gear (106 lbs) -- I learned to live without stuff and dropped the bike weight, but will say that it was a good ride, even though that model is considered a light tourer. I stopped by CoMotion to say Hi and check out the new stuff during my journey and LOVED the look of their new Pangea. If I had to replace my bike (and had the money) that's what I'd buy. If at all possible, ride one -- and load it up to test it out.

Couplers are fabulous; you can have them added to other bikes. And if you fly with Southwest Airlines, the bike in the box ranks as "standard luggage" -- SWAir bags fly free -- money saved is money earned so worth considering if you plan to fly with your bike.
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Old 05-16-10, 02:11 PM   #18
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Here are some pics of my bike, from back when I first got it with the original Tara and Cargo racks. I haven't taken pics of the Nova and Cosmo yet, but I can certainly try to do that if anybody's interested.
Neil
Neil, I'd love to see pics with your new racks; I'm in same situ... thanks.
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Old 05-16-10, 02:14 PM   #19
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This would definitely be a problem; I usually tour on 42-45 on the back. However, the Pangea comes stock w/ 2.1" tires (equiv of 52 cm), and probably would be a bit tougher than the americano, so that's the direction I'm leaning.
Yup, that would make sense. I have to admit that if I had been aware of the tire clearance issue before I got the Americano, then that probably would have been enough to tilt me toward the Pangea. No toe overlap, and the 26" wheels will also be stronger than 700C, all other things being equal (though perhaps a little slower on the road - but that's a whole other debate). Bigger tires are nice - they add the capability of going on rougher trails without so much risk of trashing your rims, and also add a suspension effect on rough roads (and, in my experience, the best roads for touring are the back roads, and the back roads are rarely well maintained).

All that being true, I'm still seduced by my Americano. It's a fine, fine bike.

Good luck, let us know what you decide on...

Neil
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Old 05-16-10, 02:27 PM   #20
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So, now that you have your bike sorted out - what did you get her ??
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Old 05-16-10, 02:29 PM   #21
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Which one?

This one:


20100403_nyc_bikehome_0001-Edit..jpg


20100403_nyc_bikehome_0006-Edit..jpg


20100403_nyc_bikeh.jpg


20100403_nyc_bikehome_0004-Edit-2..jpg
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Old 05-16-10, 03:19 PM   #22
NeilGunton
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Neil, I'd love to see pics with your new racks; I'm in same situ... thanks.
Ok, here you go (scroll down a bit past the text for the pics):

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/forum...ested=0#167916

Neil
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Old 05-16-10, 03:34 PM   #23
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really take a look at bilenky too. Amazing builder. how custom do you want

http://www.bilenky.com/black_dlx_midlands.html

cool tandem/solo bike:

http://www.bilenky.com/black_conv._tandem.html
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Old 05-16-10, 03:45 PM   #24
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There are a lot of great custom builders and Bilenky is certainly one of them. That's one shop that can and will do anything for you.
Here's one example: http://www.pbase.com/canyonlands/ima...34822/original


http://www.bilenky.com/Home.html
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Old 05-16-10, 03:57 PM   #25
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You have a good woman there... if I had 5k to spend on a bike I'd be looking to having one of these built for me.

Because I work with the builder I get a really good deal and one should always shop locally whenever possible.

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