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  1. #1
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    Would this work for a touring bike? (if you speak fluent "bike", please help)

    I'm looking to purchase my touring bike and thought I was all set to go with a Rodriguez, but then found a website that had me thinking about a ti bike. Currently, my bike is a Trek 7300 and it weighs...gulp...32 pounds UNLOADED. It's also a bad fit, but it's sufficient for pounding up and down the local roads.

    I'm still learning bike basics so I don't know squat about various components and what makes one particular part better than another. All I'm really looking for is a basic, reliable touring set-up since anything else will be over my current knowledge level. I'm planning on pulling a Mayacycle trailer (13lbs) with about 50 pounds of gear (less, if I can manage it). I'm also planning on having S&S couplers (couplings?).

    Here's the set up that I've been looking at. Could someone please tell me if this would work and what else I might need? No matter how obvious to you, if you see something, please tell me since I guarantee I'll have missed it. Thanks so much in advance!

    Cheri (technodinosaur)


    Carver Custom Road (Or CX) Titanium Frame (Or Bike)

    A full custom titanium frame for under $1200? Yes, it really is true! The only catch (there always is one, isnt there?) is that you will have to wait 6 weeks. If that is not a problem, go for it. Based in Woolwich Maine, the innovative line of bikes from designer Davis Carver have been well reviewed by websites like Bikeradar, Mtobikes, and Ridemonkey.com and in magazines like Mountain Bike Action, and Dirtrag. Choose from our pull-down menus below to choose your desired combination of geometry and features. If you do not see what you want, just ask: carver has built many unusual customer requested frame designs: double downtube, travel coupling frames, BMX, Rohloff, Belt drive...you get the picture. If you can dream it, chances are they can build it for you. Options that are included in $1199 base retail price: Custom top tube, chainstay and seat tube length. Custom head tube length or extension. Custom Bottom Bracket height. Bent or straight top tube. Your choice of cable routing. Any fork length and offset. Custom Head and Seat tube angles. Vertical or track titanium dropouts. Road brake mounts, Disc mounts, or V brake mounts. Two sets of water bottle bosses. Fender eyelets.

    Sram Apex Rear Derailleur, Front Derailleur, Shifters, Brakes, Cassette, Chain, and Crankset. Vuelta Corsa Pro 2000 gram black wheelset. FSA Omega black handlebar. FSA SL280 black seatpost. FSA OS-190 black 155g stem. Chumba Racing road saddle in black (or white by request) 275g. (The Chumba is Fizik-Aliante-shaped, cromoly railed with kevlar edges and has a tissue-relief channel.) Michelin Orium 23c tires. Ritchey Logic headset in black. Torelli black cork bar-tape (or by request, blue, red, white, yellow or celeste.)

    Frame style: Fully loaded touring geometry (ok, that one I knew)

    Regular or long head tube (I'm a 5'5" female...which is better?)

    Choose brake mount type: road caliper, v brake/cantilever, disc, disc and cantilver (I
    have zero clue. I can repair my current v-brakes, and can learn others, but which
    works best for a bike w/trailer?)

    Choose rack/fender eyelets (ok, that one I can figure out!)

    Choose deraileur hanger type (non-replaceable or replaceable. I'm assuming it's always
    better to be able to replace it?)

    Choose fork (not included) (would a Litespeed Xicon Carbon be ok?)


    I know I'd need to replace the seat for a more (ahem) female-friendly type that I like (personal preference) and get pedals.

  2. #2
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    You're looking at a pretty high end touring bike. $1200 for the frame alone (without fork). Probably over $3000 for a complete build. It'll be a nice bike, for sure. Probably want the regular head tube, disc or v-brake/cantilever mounts, replaceable hanger, and NON-carbon fork (if you plan to have front panniers).

    As for the builder, he's a straight shooter. Owner of Bath Cycle and Ski (aka bikeman.com) and has been in the business for decades. I bought my first touring bike from him, a 1983 Trek 520 (in 1983 ). One of the best bike shops in New England, especially for alternative bikes.

  3. #3
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    have a look a spa cycles in the uk they have there own ti bike for 750 plus fork.
    also van Nicholas ti bike.

  4. #4
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    I am not all that familiar with Ti bikes, but it seems to me, that for the price, you would easily get a very nice custom frame/bike made that would be that absolute perfect fit for you. Though some people do tour with carbon forks, it seems to me to be a bit counterintuitive for touring. Balancing the load between the front and rear of the bike makes for a more pleasant ride in my experience, especially when carrying gear for longer tours. Personally, I like all the qualities of steel bikes made of good tubing. They are light weight, provide a comfortable ride, plenty of strength, and can be repaired if need be in most locales. Though I am no expert, I think the longer head tube would be better for a somewhat small framed bike that would fit you.

    For the kind of money you are planning to spend, my choice would be to go with either a very nice lugged, steel bike that is available, or get a custom made one. Whatever you do, it is great to see you headed for a very nice touring bike!
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
    T.J.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for your replies! It's good to know that either ti or a Rodriguez steel would work. I'm looking at a ti because I realized that the cost of a Rodriguez UTB with travel options isn't that much cheaper than the ti I was looking at. This is going to be a combination birthday/Valentine's Day/Anniversary/Christmas/midlife crisis present to myself, so I'm trying to do it right without needing to rob a bank.

    I should have been clearer. I'll be pulling a trailer (I'm a klutz and have scraped face on tarmac when my bike was loaded) with very little on the bike itself (handlebar bag, seat bag for munchies, small tools, etc). Since I live in Mexico, the bike will be purchased for pickup a few days before my tour. Hence, my slightly neurotic obsession to get the best I can at a price that will still allow me to eat!

    Cheri

  6. #6
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    okay then according to neil guntin on this forum a guy who knows what he on about ,he reckons co motion tourer is probable the best touring bike on the planet .so threat yourself well you deserve it.

  7. #7
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    Where are you going to tour? BTW, I am not a klutz and I too have hit the tarmac with my face a number of times, both riding and running. Sounds like you are going to have a very happy birthday/Valentines Day/post Xmas/Anniversary, and midlife!
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dengidog View Post
    I'm looking to purchase my touring bike and thought I was all set to go with a Rodriguez,
    Given that you are just starting out, I'd strongly recommend that you give Rodriguez another thought. They are very thoughtful people; nice to deal with; and they build great touring bike. They also have extensive experience fitting women and seem to have a particularly strong following among women riders.

    Unless you want to spend a lot of time learning how to speak fluent "bike," as you put it, I'd put myself in their hands.

    Nothing against the builder you recommend, but since you mentioned Rodriguez I thought I would reinforce your choice.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I would caution anyone against spending too much money on a first touring bike when they don't have much experience (any?) If this doesn't apply to you, my apologies. Interpret this as a general caution to a generic newbie. When I say too much money, I'm talking about over $2000. Something like custom titanium with S&S couplers.

    I would also recommend spending a good amount of money for a good first touring bike. Sound like a dichotomy? Lemme 'splain.

    Having the right rig is very important when you're carrying a big load on a long tour. You need comfort, handling, the ability to climb hills, the ability to stop, the ability to attach racks, maybe three water bottles, etc. Some people like to tour on a bike with an internal-gear rear hub, like a Rohloff. Some people like butterfly bars, while some like drops. Etc. What is the perfect bike for you may be a dog in my book. It's personal.

    So, if you've got the money and you're never toured, my suggestion would be to buy a good, solid, reputable, mainstream tourer. Something "safe." Like a Surly LHT, a Trek 520, a Cannondale tourer, etc. $1000-1500 will get a nice bike, and there are even cheaper options (Windsor, etc.) You may fall in love, but you may not. Either way, you'd have a bike that would get you through your first tour in good shape, and get you thinking. "What do I want for my next tourer?"

    One nice thing about touring bikes is that they hold their value. If you buy a "mainstream" one, you can sell it used for a good price. So if you decide the bike you have is no longer suitable and you want to move up, you'll be able to recoup much of the original investment. (60%? 70%? More?)

    I always carry a notebook on tours and take notes about things like:
    • What do I wish I had brought?
    • What did I bring that I ended up not using?
    • What would I change about my rig before the next tour?

    This would be very valuable when designing that custom titanium beauty you may want.

    All of this is based on the assumption that one has the money for this. If not, there are tons of threads about finding a bike to tour on without spending too much.

  10. #10
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    Wow and thanks to all of you! You've given me a tremendous number of points to consider before making such an important decision. The bottom line seems to be that both bikes will work, but now I have to figure out which one will work better for my particular situation.

    I know that since I'm new at this that plonking down the equivalent of all of my Xmas presents until I croak is a bit....hmmm...naive?...but because of where I live, this is going to be a one shot deal (not to mention that I want to be able to eat). Hubby is being very supportive, but I don't think he'd feel too happy if I buy one bike and then turn around in a few years and say I want to upgrade. On the other hand, if I spend a lot of money on something that I don't like or use...

    I've heard very good things about Rodriguez and that's why I'm interested in their UTB bike. I also got a very nice e-mail from the Adrenaline company answering my questions about their products and that has me drooling, too. Aarrrrgggh!

    Geez, what to do. Well, tomorrow I'm going to plunk my buns on my Trek and go tear up (at a very slow pace) some of the hills around here and think about what all of you have said and suggested. I love riding my bike. Things always seem so much clearer when I pedal away.

    Jeff: Thanks so much. You gave me exactly the info I needed. Although I'm using a trailer, I didn't know that about carbon forks.
    Ciufalon: I'm going to do a diagonal trip (Seattle - Jacksonville). I'm not exaggerating about being a klutz. My poor body has all sorts of interesting scars from dumb things that I've done (my poor middle finger, right hand got smooshed by two bowling balls and then smooshed again between two boulders in our garden. It now looks a bit like a spade, but at least I still have it!)
    Antokelly: The co-motion is gorgeous!
    Benge: Everything you said is exactly why I had originally settled on Rodriguez. I've heard nothing but good about them and the bikes make me drool.
    BigBlue: I think you're 100% right w/all that you said, but unfortunately I pretty much have to make this a one shot deal. Of course, things could change in the future, but I'm looking for something that will be well made, will last at least as long as I can pedal, and will weigh less than my mooseasaurus Trek (32 pounds!!!!) I never even thought about resale, but that's a very valid point and would make upgrading a little less painful should I ever get to that point (I'll be buying LOTS of lotto tickets on my trip! lol).

    Again, thank you, thank you, thank you!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dengidog View Post
    I should have been clearer. I'll be pulling a trailer (I'm a klutz and have scraped face on tarmac when my bike was loaded) with very little on the bike itself (handlebar bag, seat bag for munchies, small tools, etc).
    You don't need any kind of special bike to pull most bike trailers. Certainly not a custom touring bike.

    I understand if you just want (and can afford) a nice bike, but strictly speaking, you don't need it for a trailer.

    I agree with another poster, that it's a good idea to learn more about actual touring bike needs before spending a lot and possibly making a mistake.

    Good luck with your tour (having fun with it is more important than whatever bike you use).

    BTW - those Davis Carter Ti frames are made in China, which explains their low cost relative to American made Ti frames.
    Last edited by seeker333; 01-23-11 at 01:21 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Cheri,
    There are a number of good suggestions in the posts above. IMO- Fit and gearing are probably the two factors that can make or break a tour. Whatever you decide, make sure you get a good fitting which uses a lot of factors to determine frame size and geometry. I'm not sure how you will do this in Mexico. Also , decide on the gearing you want, so it can be factored into the build. My wife has a custom built Co Motion, and the water bottle bosses on the seat tube needed to be moved from the "normal" placement to allow the use of a mountain bike crankset. We live about 45 minutes from their shop and we spent a lot of time measuring and looking at options.

    That brings me back to Big Blue Toe's suggestion. My wife has several thousand touring miles and has gone through 2 other touring bike before she got the Co Motion frame as a retirement present from me. She is short, and finding bikes that fit really well has always been a problem. She knows bikes and knew what components she wanted me to use building it. There is a lot of merit in riding an off the shelf bike (if it fits) until you know what you like and don't like. Then when you do get that custom bike it is something you want, not something someone else thinks you should have.

    Each component was picked with a lot of discussion and TLC.


    A month later!
    Last edited by Doug64; 01-24-11 at 10:42 PM.

  13. #13
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    UPDATE: Yes, it's really taken me this long to see the obvious! I took everything everyone said into consideration because I really respect all of you and the time you took to give me advice. The winner is....(drumroll)...Rodriguez! The overriding factor is that I'll be able to work with them step-by-step to make sure that the bike will be a good fit and suited for my particular needs. Long distance fitting isn't the best way to go, but my location limits me. Since this is going to be a one-off, I wanted to get it right...hence the willingness to spend more than would normally be needed. I know that nearly any bike can be used on a tour, but after riding a really bad fit (recommended by LBS in the States several years ago)...well, it was time to try to get it right.

    Many thanks to all of you!!!

    (Great bike, Doug!)

  14. #14
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    good stuff dengidog make sure you post some photos of your dream machine,
    btw consider getting slick tires if your pulling a trailer (on the bike that is) maxxis do a great slick available from chainreaction cycles .
    anyway very best of Irish luck, ride safe and be seen.

  15. #15
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    I am looking forward to seeing your new ride as well. Hope to hear about your tour also.
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
    T.J.

  16. #16
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    titanium is overspending, for a touring bike..
    [save the money and eat out at restaurants, along the way, more often]

    Rodriguez of Seattle is an experienced Frame builder,
    good choice,
    how you sort out a proper sized frame is between you and the builder,
    they certainly have the ability to kit you out properly.

    [going to their site .. they have an extensive data input
    on the size of the rider's body proportions.]
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-07-11 at 11:46 AM.

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    "on this forum a guy who knows what he on about ,he reckons co motion tourer is probable the best touring bike on the planet ."

    You have to read the whole story: he has bought the wrong bike more often than not.

    I don't seem much advantage to Ti in this space, After I had bought a set of Paul Moon Units, I might get around to thinking of Ti. I see near zero to negative points for Ti on a touring bike. Seems as though every quarter someone has a great deal they have to bend themselves out of shape for because there is a Ti bike they could get for cheap. However, I can see your point, if you don't weigh 220 every pound off the bike would help. I also think not hauling a trailer would help, but that is a preference many people have.

    Neil's experience dealing with custom builders and various bikes, and briefly going all frame builder, is instructive. As BBT says it can be an expensive lesson. But then all bikes are pretty cheap compared to other upper end sports, so there isn't any harm in starting off custom just so long as your expectations aren't unreasonable.

    No Brooks saddle?

    You have the perfect list of components I have never heard of, so I can't be much help. I have two bikes in prep at the moment, and all the parts are in the can, pretty much:

    Paul neo reto brakes

    Dirt Drop handle bars

    B17 seat, from old bike,

    Thompson straight post

    White industry hubs, wheelsmith spokes, and velocity rims in 700C 40 spoke

    LX derailleurs, there is probably someting better out there, but i have had a good run with them.

    Sugino cranks

    or

    Rohloff 32 spoke, White hubs, and wheelsmith spokes 26" wheels, White Eno cranks
    Last edited by NoReg; 02-05-11 at 12:27 PM.

  18. #18
    Crazyguyonabike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
    "on this forum a guy who knows what he on about ,he reckons co motion tourer is probable the best touring bike on the planet ."

    You have to read the whole story: he has bought the wrong bike more often than not.
    So you're implying that I don't know what I'm talking about, simply because I've tried to share my experiences in trying to find the right touring bike for myself? Wow, that's really obnoxious.

    Life is a learning process. Experience consists of being willing to make mistakes, and learning from them. With each bike I've tried out, I've learned a bit more about what makes a good touring bike, and what works for me.

    To summarise "the whole story" then - touring bikes I have owned:

    0. Carlton Cobra - 1986, used on my first tour, from Lands End to Perth in the UK. Not really a tourer, but it did the job without any problems as I recall. Just had a rear rack, went via hostels.
    1. Raleigh Royale - 1990, stolen from my flat in Edinburgh. Nice bike, as I recall, but didn't get the chance to do much loaded touring on it.
    2. Raleigh Randonneur - 1998, used on my TransAm, developed a heavy shimmy.
    3. Bruce Gordon Rock n Road - 2003, used on my Pedaling to the Mall tour, wrong size, slight shimmy.
    4. Novara Safari - 2007, I liked it on test rides around the parking lot, and Forest Park. Eventually found out that it sometimes shimmied under load. Lots of frame flex.
    5. Surly Long Haul Trucker - 2007, sold after comparison with Safari, probably a mistake since I was comparing the bikes without loads.
    6. Salsa Fargo - 2009. turned out to shimmy for me when loaded up
    7. Co-Motion Americano - 2010, bingo - first touring bike I've owned that doesn't shimmy under load - rock solid, only downside is that I can only fit 700x35 tires, but I've learned to be ok with that. My current bike, and a keeper.
    8. Rocky Mountain Sherpa 10 - excellent bike, nothing wrong with it, no shimmy, but slightly too long in the top tube for me (compared to the custom built Americano), recently sold to pay for a couple of Hilleberg tents.

    I don't think I have ever bought the "wrong" bike - they've all been valid choices as touring bikes, but I admit I have made the mistake of not testing the bike fully loaded before putting down cash. This is something that you can only learn through bitter experience, and I try to pass along that experience to others so they can avoid making the same expensive mistakes. I think many people think that if you can stand over the bike, and it feels ok pedaling around the store parking lot, then it must be ok. They don't realize that bikes handle completely differently once you load them up with a full touring load in front and rear panniers.

    For whatever reason, the touring bikes I've owned have often had a tendency to develop shimmy. I personally think this is due to a combination of the frames not being stiff enough (with the possible exception of the Bruce Gordon), and the fact that none of them really fit me properly until the Americano (fit was definitely a problem with the Bruce Gordon). As everyone knows, shimmy has many different causes - frame flex, resonant frequency, rider position, load position, fork rake and trail, wheel and tire imperfections etc - but I think that for me, the combination of the stiffer frame and better fit of the Americano has tamed the shimmy beast. This sort of insight can only be gained through experience, which means trying out different options. If you're lucky and find the right bike first time, then good for you - but I wasn't so lucky.

    I think it's a little dickish to insult someone because they have been open with trying to help others through recounting their own experiences.

    Neil
    Last edited by NeilGunton; 02-05-11 at 01:33 PM. Reason: speling

  19. #19
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dengidog View Post
    The overriding factor is that I'll be able to work with them step-by-step to make sure that the bike will be a good fit and suited for my particular needs. Long distance fitting isn't the best way to go, but my location limits me. Since this is going to be a one-off, I wanted to get it right...hence the willingness to spend more than would normally be needed. I know that nearly any bike can be used on a tour, but after riding a really bad fit (recommended by LBS in the States several years ago)...well, it was time to try to get it right.
    Good choice. You mentioned a lot of good choices above, but since you are doing this long-distance it's great that you chose a places where the bike fitter, "bike shop" and custom-bike maker are all basically the same place (the frame shop is in the basement at R&E Cycles.

    www.rodcycle.com.

  20. #20
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I have 20+ year old Bruce Gordon made Pannier racks that are still fine.
    so I'll put in a good word on those.. , Bruce is in Petaluma California.

    Never shimmied , but a overly flexible main triangle
    has done some gentle swaying with the rear rack load flexing
    the top tube, with every stroke ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-05-11 at 02:26 PM.

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    "I think it's a little dickish to insult someone because they have been open with trying to help others through recounting their own experiences."

    I don't think I did that, I just responded to the earlier comment that your judgment in such maters is a paragon upon which all can rely. I'm reeling slightly at the thought that having the right geometry in the Co-motion, you then went out and landed another bike that didn't fit. That's a gift.

    But dickish, yeah, you're right. My apologies, and thanks for your service. CGOAB is awesome!

  22. #22
    Crazyguyonabike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
    I don't think I did that, I just responded to the earlier comment that your judgment in such maters is a paragon upon which all can rely. I'm reeling slightly at the thought that having the right geometry in the Co-motion, you then went out and landed another bike that didn't fit. That's a gift.
    I got the Rocky Mountain Sherpa 10 because it was just sitting there in a local bike shop, looked like it was about my size, and it had awesome tire clearance - you can mount 700x50mm tires, which is pretty unusual for a touring bike. After my experience with the Salsa Fargo, I had been turned on to the 29er concept, and the Sherpa kinda skates the edges of that world. So I was curious, and got the bike to try it out and play around with it. Also, at that time I was admittedly feeling bummed out because I had just discovered that the Americano wouldn't take anything bigger than 700x35, so I was tempted. Then, after a lot more riding, and comparing the two directly side by side, I found that the Americano did have enough of an advantage in terms of fit to make me forgive the tire clearance issue.

    You only get this type of experience by putting your money where your mouth is and being willing to play around and experiment. and that's exactly what I do. And I do not see it as a weakness, frankly. That's how you find things out.

    Neil

  23. #23
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    lads lads cool it don't go falling out over a bloody bike for god's sake .

  24. #24
    Crazyguyonabike
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    Quote Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
    lads lads cool it don't go falling out over a bloody bike for god's sake .
    Sorry, I don't want to derail the thread - but Peterpan1 went out of his way to say I don't know what I'm talking about, so I'm just responding to that. He's made comments about me before, and I just get tired of this crap.

  25. #25
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    fair comment Neil really don't know where he got the idea that you don't know what your talking about.

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