Okay, so basically I've done several tours in Ontario on junky entry level roadbikes, the longest of which was about 1000km. I started touring on an old Eaton Road King that I got at a garage sale for $10. The 1000k tour was on a virtually identical ccm road bike that I got for $100 off craigslist. I've noticed that these bikes pretty much start to disentegrate around the 1500k mark, and require some extra investment just to get them that far. (new wheels mostly)
Anyway, this summer I want to bike to BC. My friend and I are planning to go fully loaded from Toronto to the west coast and I think it would be extremely unwise to attempt this on one of these sub-par bicycles. I don't know a whole lot about touring bikes, but I know some of the things to keep your eyes open for, such as longer chainstays, front fork eyelets and the general frame geometry.
I've heard a lot of good things about the Surly Long Haul Trucker, but I've also heard that it's overkill for most tours. The real issue with that bike is I can not for the life of me find a used one in Ontario. I found a couple retailers that are stocking them for about $1600 plus tax, and to be honest that's way more than I'm comfortable spending. The most I'm willing to spend is probably around the $900 mark. So it seems I'm gonna have to use something a little less ideal than the LHT.
I have an ad up on craigslist asking for a "long haul trucker or similar touring bike" and I got a reply from someone with a surly crosschek. I check the surly site and it says right in their description that this is "not a touring bike per se, but will handle lighter touring loads." It looks to me like more of a touring bike than 95% of other road bikes though. Would this be a bad decision on my part to grab this?
There's a catch too, this is part of the email he sent me:
"I don't have any wheels, or a group, but the frame, fork, headset (cane creek), cranks (bontrager double), bottom bracket (pretty generic), a generic post, a choice of old saddles, a 120mm Ritchey Stem, Some 44 wide bars Ritchey or FSA, and some Tektro cantilivers that need new pads are yours for a decent offer. Around $300ish..
Things are in good shape."
I don't know much about parts, maybe someone with a little more experience could tell me if this is a suitable touring bike and how much it would cost me to make it one.
I dunno, I'm just something of a noob, but I dearly love bicycle touring and i trust the folks on this forum more than any retailer or LBS or craigslist guy. (You're not trying to make money off me.)
Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated.