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Old 05-23-11, 07:59 AM   #1
ddyoungbsu
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Best bike on a budget for a cross-country ride?

Next year, around this time, I plan on a doing a 2-month, cross country ride from San Diego to Virginia Beach. Currently, the bike I have is an entry level 1983 Motobecane Mirage Sport that I have been training on for the past 2 years. However, I do not think it would be a good option to take across the country. I am looking to spend about $1000-$1500 on a bike within the next year, so what would be maybe the best overall option for this type of ride on this type of budget? Or do I need to maybe think about spending a little more?
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Old 05-23-11, 08:09 AM   #2
trafficcasauras
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that sounds like a really comfortable bicycle. sounds like you like it, and people wouldn't want to steal it. peace of mind.
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Old 05-23-11, 08:17 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ddyoungbsu View Post
Next year, around this time, I plan on a doing a 2-month, cross country ride from San Diego to Virginia Beach. Currently, the bike I have is an entry level 1983 Motobecane Mirage Sport that I have been training on for the past 2 years. However, I do not think it would be a good option to take across the country. I am looking to spend about $1000-$1500 on a bike within the next year, so what would be maybe the best overall option for this type of ride on this type of budget? Or do I need to maybe think about spending a little more?
If you want to go with the crowd, an LHT complete will do the job very well at the low end of your range. If you go a little outside of your range ($1700), you can get a Bruce Gordon BLT with his build package. Both would do the job very well, however I'd give the edge to the Gordon because it comes with racks that you'd have to buy for the LHT. As I noted in another post, the racks cost $350 retail. Since you'd have to buy something for the LHT anyway, the price of the bikes is much closer.
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Old 05-23-11, 10:45 AM   #4
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$1000-$1500, if you're planning on carrying lots of stuff then a dedicated touring bike is worth it. If you're light and not planning on carrying a lot you could use the Mirage Sport with front low riders and the rest piled on a rear rack. If the wheels are original I'd consider replacing the rear.
With a $1500 budget "best" will vary according to your preferences more than the bike.
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Old 05-23-11, 11:10 AM   #5
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FWIW, I don't consider $1000-$1500 to be a budget bike. We spent $599 and were pretty happy with our bikes once we swapped the crank ($80 Sugino XD600) to get better gearing. We have done a Trans America and some other longish tours with them. If I wanted to spend more it would probably be on more bullet proof wheels.

I am not sure if many would agree, but... my belief is that what bike I ride will have little effect on the overall touring experience unless it is either a poor fit or very unsuitable.

You might get better advice if folks knew more about how much you will be carrying.
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Old 05-23-11, 11:56 AM   #6
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$1000- $1500, all up or just for the bike? Outfitting a bike will take some dough. Rack, panniers, or a trailer all cost$$$. Figure on racks and bags adding $500 to $700 to your cost. Just like anything else in life there are low cost options. Usually, you get what you pay for, and out in the middle of nowhere there may not be anyone to throw your money at to fix a problem created by poor quality. So, on equipping the bike, better quality and the higher cost that comes with it, usually the rule.

As for the bike, LHT and BLT are great bikes. Hard to go wrong with either, so that's solid advice. As is the cost comparison. Another option is to find an older touring bike, bring it up to spec, and off you go. For half the price of those brand new machines you've got a bike that can comfortably and reliably carry you on your journey.

There was a book written about four or five years ago, "Beyond the Divide" ( I think?) where the author dragged his unused for 20 years touring bike out of the basement, fixed and replaced what needed fixing and then rode it for something like 4000 miles. Did he have some issues? Yeah, but even new bikes are gonna have some issues. No one rides 4000 miles without something falling off. Well usually.

BTW, that old bike was a 1985 Trek 520, another staple of the touring community.

Last edited by tom cotter; 05-23-11 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 05-23-11, 02:27 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the input! I should also add this: the tour will have a trailer that carries all of our gear and equipment, so fortunately it will just be me and the bike. It seems as though many say I should just upgrade the bike I currently have and go with it. I really am a newbie when it comes to bike knowledge as well, so what may be some good upgrades to shoot for if I am just using a factory 83 Mirage Sport, sans the racks and equipment carrying devices?
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Old 05-23-11, 03:52 PM   #8
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I should also add this: the tour will have a trailer that carries all of our gear and equipment, so fortunately it will just be me and the bike.
That makes a big difference. I would definitely not use a bike designed for fully loaded touring in that case.
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Old 05-23-11, 04:25 PM   #9
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If you're using a trailer, you have a lot more options.

I'm a bit partial to cross bikes, since they share many features with touring bikes but are more of an all-rounder and a bit zippier than a dedicated touring bike. However, you could also go with a "plush" road bike (e.g. Specialized Roubaix, Cdale Synapse) as long as the gearing is appropriate and the tires are wide enough for your liking.

So, I'd test a few bikes, and make the deciding factor what you plan to use the bike for after the tour.
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Old 05-23-11, 04:48 PM   #10
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Pulling a trailer with all the stuff in it? a bike with disc brakes.
ALA, Redline conquest classic, Trek Portland , the trailer will push you down hill ..

I just got a Bike Friday Pocket Llama, disc brakes , I have 2 different trailers .

the Burly is using 20" wheels , a pair of Drum Brake front hubs could be fitted.
to have trailer brakes..
older Burly's have a hoop all the way around the outside,
their axles supported from both sides.
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Old 05-23-11, 05:34 PM   #11
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A lot of cyclists made it across the country in the 1970's and early 80's on bikes that were like your Moto; before dedicated touring bikes were readily available. I've met touring cyclists on old 3 speed bikes who were just as happy as someone on $2,000 bike.

The one change I would suggest is the crank and chainrings. I would go with something like a 46-34 tooth set up with a double, or 48-36-26 for a triple. I don't think the stock crank on your bike accepts smaller chainrings, so you should check to see if it is possible.
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Old 05-23-11, 07:28 PM   #12
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I don't think the OP meant that they were pulling a trailer but there is a car with a trailer to carry all the necessary equipment, a supported tour.

If you like your older bike then I wouldn't do anything but make sure that you have proper gearing for the ride.
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Old 05-24-11, 07:55 AM   #13
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I don't think the OP meant that they were pulling a trailer but there is a car with a trailer to carry all the necessary equipment, a supported tour.

If you like your older bike then I wouldn't do anything but make sure that you have proper gearing for the ride.
1. That's exactly what he meant:

"...the tour will have a trailer that carries all of our gear and equipment, so fortunately it will just be me and the bike."

"...if I am just using a factory 83 Mirage Sport, sans the racks and equipment carrying devices?"

2. Agreed.
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Old 05-24-11, 08:54 AM   #14
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honestly I bikes from Portland Oregon to Los Angles California and back (3200 miles round trip) on a bike that I picked up at goodwill for like 30-40 USD. It really just depends on your comfort level with the bike your ridding. If I was you I would take the money you have saved nag just overhall your current bike. And then you'll have more money to spend on your trip. For example I would redo the baringings, cables, brakes, new chain, re-true the wheels or replace them, inspect for rust or broken welds, replace the pedles or make sure the baringings for the peddles can stand going that long, also make sure you examen the cassette and crank for ware and tare (I would replace them), and so on and so forth. With all of that you would be looking at maybe 300 USD. with a few things I forgot at this moment it might run up to 400USD.

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