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  1. #1
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    Specialized Sirrus for transamerica tour?

    I'm setting out from LA to New York in a couple weeks and haven't had luck finding a used touring bike.
    Time's running low and I don't have much more then $700 to spend.
    Would you advise against using a lower end Specialized Sirrus?
    Can you recommend any other bikes or places to buy one?

  2. #2
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    What is your preferred riding style? Is it on drops or a flat bar? You can use a lot of different bikes for touring. Are you planning on doing it self supported, supported, credit card touring? Look for something with a triple on front and as low as you can find gears on the cassette. Are you going to use a front rack? There are a lot of options out there.
    How old is the Sirrus? What gearing, components, etc...?
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    The Sirrus should be just fine as long as it'll take racks. Add some bar extensions for extra hand positions. Know how to replace a spoke and true the wheel, at least enough to get to the next bike shop. Most stock tires are no good for a long tour. Replace before you leave. I am pleased so far with Maxxis Overdrive, but there are a number of others. Check out Schwable and Continental.
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    I'd strongly suggest getting a bike NOW and break it in because you will break it in on the trip and if you aren't up on some basic adjustments you may find yourself discovering why shops offer a free tuneup. In other words get the bike, put some racks on and go ride on some garbage roads so that if there's anything prone to loosen up you'll discover it this week and not in three weeks. I'd be very surprised you could head out on a new bike and not have something simple need going over. Whether it's a loose brake lever, derailleur adjustment, etc.
    The only reason I would suggest looking at another bike is if you're especially heavy and you need a stronger rear wheel but it should hold up fine for an average sized person and load. There's some very simple stuff worth ensuring, that the screws holding the racks on are secure. The fittings on the panniers are secure and not loose.

    This looks cheaper but I'm not sure if that's something you'd find in an REI shop. http://www.rei.com/product/794876#
    For sense of security I'd rather get a Sirrus that's been on the show room floor and ridden a dozen times than a bike that was pulled out of a box and assembled in one day.

    A bottom of the line Sirrus is better than many bikes people have traveled on epic trips decades ago, what's important is the knowledge between your ears. Keeping the tires inflated, not flying down a hill at 45mph with loaded bags only to discover high speed handling anomalies or loose straps/clothes getting caught in the wheels.

    Just a wild assed guess but I bet that for every person who added gear/weight to their bike during a trip there's a 100 people who sent extra gear home in a box.

    Do add bar ends, you will want a variety of hand positions. You might want to cut the bars 1" shorter on either side.
    Last edited by LeeG; 08-03-10 at 08:46 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudsku View Post
    I'm setting out from LA to New York in a couple weeks and haven't had luck finding a used touring bike.
    Time's running low and I don't have much more then $700 to spend.
    Would you advise against using a lower end Specialized Sirrus?
    Can you recommend any other bikes or places to buy one?
    With a $700 budget choices are limited. That said we rode three Windsor Tourists from Bikes Direct for $599 delivered. They were fine on our Trans America and subsequent tours. I would advise swapping the crank for a Sugino XD600 to get more suitable ratios. That will put you at about $700 or just a bit more.

    I tried to include some detail about the bikes and how they worked out in our trip journal at:
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/staehling2007

    That said the Sirrus could possibly work if you already have it. I wouldn't buy one specifically for the trip though.
    Last edited by staehpj1; 08-03-10 at 08:58 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    How much do you weigh? How much gear will you carry? What kind of wheels does the Sirrus have? The reason I ask is that a fairly common problem amongst tourers is broken spokes. They're a pain, and once they start breaking there may be a series of broken ones in the ensuing days. However, my son weighs 50 lbs. less than I do, and carries less gear. Breaking spokes isn't nearly as much of a concern for him as it is for me.

    Whatever you end up getting, I'd pay attention to the strength of the rear wheel. Find a good mechanic to check it out and assess how suitable it will be for you and your load.

  7. #7
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    By Specialized Sirrus, I'm assuming you mean the aluminum one with flat bars that first came out in the early 2000's. (Earlier Sirrus models were steel frame with drop bars.)
    I commuted daily on one of the flat bar models for eight years and absolutely loved that bike as a commuter. I even thought it would make a decent tourer with its triple crank, triple water bottle mounts, mounts for rear and front low rider racks and ample space for fenders. For my commute, I never used tires wider than 28s, but there should be room to go wider.
    That said, I also think there are some drawbacks for a tour on the scope of the TransAm. I don't believe the flat bars offer enough hand positions for a tour of that length, even with bar extensions. I also had issues with frequent spoke breakage on the rear wheel, even with a light commuting load. (I had the rear wheel rebuilt and that greatly reduced spoke breakage, but that was with loads far less than a cross continental journey would require.)
    The bottom line is I would not generally recommend a Sirrus for a TransAm without some modifications. I believe you will experience more discomfort and equipment problems than if you were using a bike more dedicated to touring. However, you could do worse and people have probably completed such a trip with far less suitable bikes.
    Other forms of transportation grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart. - Iris Murdoch

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    Quote Originally Posted by mthayer View Post
    What is your preferred riding style? Is it on drops or a flat bar? You can use a lot of different bikes for touring. Are you planning on doing it self supported, supported, credit card touring? Look for something with a triple on front and as low as you can find gears on the cassette. Are you going to use a front rack? There are a lot of options out there.
    How old is the Sirrus? What gearing, components, etc...?
    I'd prefer drop down style but have been riding with flat handlebars my whole life. Would the sudden switch lead to back injury? I'm going alone, camping along the way. I was considering a front rack but doesn't seem completely necessary after hearing how much end up being mailed home. I weigh around 135 pounds, to answer a lower thread.

    The Sirrus would be brand new aside from any tuning I did which would most likely be with used parts.
    I came across an ad on craigs list however for a 2007 Schwinn Letour GSX
    http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lgb...877782736.html
    Would this be a better bet?

    Thank you everybody for being so extremely helpful. This is all truly helping immensely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dudsku View Post
    I'd prefer drop down style but have been riding with flat handlebars my whole life. Would the sudden switch lead to back injury? I'm going alone, camping along the way. I was considering a front rack but doesn't seem completely necessary after hearing how much end up being mailed home. I weigh around 135 pounds, to answer a lower thread.

    The Sirrus would be brand new aside from any tuning I did which would most likely be with used parts.
    I came across an ad on craigs list however for a 2007 Schwinn Letour GSX
    http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lgb...877782736.html
    Would this be a better bet?

    Thank you everybody for being so extremely helpful. This is all truly helping immensely.
    oh man, 135lbs means this bike and wheels will last. No, no back injury but you need more hand positions than a straight bar. There's nothing wrong with a front rack even if you're not carrying tons of gear. Basically the idea is to move some weight forwards and keeping it low. Check out the small racks that you might tie a compression sack onto. Personally I wouldn't go for the Schwinn just so you've got the warranty of a new bike. The wheels on the Schwinn aren't what I'd want for a cross country ride although they might hold up with your weight and gear.

  10. #10
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    I plan on touring on my sirrus, although not across the continent, not yet at least. I already put drops and bar-ends on it, so I'm most of the way there already.

  11. #11
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    I have toured on a Sirrus, nowhere near as far as you're going to go though. The bike performed well, I had front and back panniers on it, 36 touring tires, added bar ends wrapped in bar tape for more hand positions.

  12. #12
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudsku View Post
    I'm setting out from LA to New York in a couple weeks and haven't had luck finding a used touring bike.
    Time's running low and I don't have much more then $700 to spend.
    Would you advise against using a lower end Specialized Sirrus?
    Can you recommend any other bikes or places to buy one?
    A 2000 to 2010 Sirrus would do fine as a tourer. It can also be be converted to drop bars without too much trouble.

    The '89 to mid 90's Sirrus would be a little iffy. In the '90's the Sirrus went from a pure race machine to Sport tourer and started having more relaxed geometry and a set of braze-ons for a rack; however, I'm not sure you'd be able to run both racks and fenders.

    As for '87 to '89 only with a trailer.
    Riding 19 Years of Specialized Sirrus Tradition.
    Live in Houston? Come to http://bicyclecommutehouston.blogspot.com/
    1988 Specialized Sirrus, 1989 Alpine Monitor Pass MTB, 2007 Specialized Sirrus 700C hybrid, 2007 Schwinn Town & Country trike, 1970 "Resto-Improved" Raleigh 20, 1970 "WIP" Raleigh 20, and 1980 "WIP" Schwinn Town & Country trike

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    I went with the Schwinn

  14. #14
    Senior Member Wheelmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucille View Post
    I have toured on a Sirrus, nowhere near as far as you're going to go though. The bike performed well, I had front and back panniers on it, 36 touring tires, added bar ends wrapped in bar tape for more hand positions.
    I was looking at a Sirrus (just online) today and it appears it's not set up to accommodate front panniers. What year was yours? I'm looking at 2011's, so maybe they're different now? Did you have to do anything special to get front panniers to work on it? Do you have any pictures of it? What year is your Sirrus? Thanks Lucille!

  15. #15
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelmonkey View Post
    I was looking at a Sirrus (just online) today and it appears it's not set up to accommodate front panniers. What year was yours? I'm looking at 2011's, so maybe they're different now? Did you have to do anything special to get front panniers to work on it? Do you have any pictures of it? What year is your Sirrus? Thanks Lucille!
    I just looked at the 2001 Sport and it still has midmount braze-on for a front rack.
    Last edited by Sirrus Rider; 02-18-11 at 09:04 PM. Reason: content
    Riding 19 Years of Specialized Sirrus Tradition.
    Live in Houston? Come to http://bicyclecommutehouston.blogspot.com/
    1988 Specialized Sirrus, 1989 Alpine Monitor Pass MTB, 2007 Specialized Sirrus 700C hybrid, 2007 Schwinn Town & Country trike, 1970 "Resto-Improved" Raleigh 20, 1970 "WIP" Raleigh 20, and 1980 "WIP" Schwinn Town & Country trike

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