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  1. #1
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    Thinking of purchasing my first Touring bike - and going INSANE!!!

    In the beginning of my education of bicycles I would hear things like, "Single Speed and Fixed Gear Bicyclesa are just a fad - they don't make many of those frames." What a lie! I finally got a quality Fixed Gear but the choices are staggering!

    The same thing is going through my mind with Touring Bicycles. I've been told that there aren't many touring bicycles made. BS!! I am looking at 5-6 different brands out of probably 15. Basically next summer I want to do some very long tours and need a durable touring bike. Can anyone shed some light on these brands:

    Robert Beckman Design - From what I gather - this is the ultimate touring bicycle ever made and unimprovable by man or god. The only major negative is that they are custom frames and may take a long time to obtain (getting a finished bike in 2006).

    Co-Motion Americano - Looks decent and comes in a wide range of sizes so custom fitting is not a necessity. My LBS is also a dealer.

    Waterford Adventure Cycle - Looks like a good touring bicycle but doesn't appear to have all the doo dads that the RBD or CMA have. It does come in a wide range of sizes w/ custom geometry should I decide on it. My LBS can also get these.

    Any comments would be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    [B]Giant OCR Touring bike.

  3. #3
    Cycling is Self-Therapy pdxcyclist's Avatar
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    You might want to define "very long tours." It is possible to spend too much on a touring bike.

    Also, have you owned a touring bike before? It's easy to get carried away with generally expensive or "bike for a lifetime" advice when you are looking for the first time.

    Based on your experience, you might be ready for a Bruce Gordon, Americano,
    Waterford, Beckman, or many others, based on your riding style, area to be travelled and how much weight on-board.

    If you're just getting started, a less expensive new or used Novara Randonnee, C'dale T700 or T800, Trek 520, or Surley might make more sense.

    Overall, the bike is important, but not as important as the trip. Before spending thousands on the bike, consider how having thousands more for the trip might make a more important difference. On the Oregon Coast, for example, I meet riders doing Canada to Mexico on old Huffy bikes. They're having a great time.

    The bike doesn't make the trip.

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  4. #4
    Virtulized geek MsMittens's Avatar
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    Waterford Adventure Cycle - Looks like a good touring bicycle but doesn't appear to have all the doo dads that the RBD or CMA have. It does come in a wide range of sizes w/ custom geometry should I decide on it. My LBS can also get these.
    I haven't looked at these ones but have been in the same position as you. I did end up looking at -- and have finally decided on -- a Gunnar Rock Tour (Gunnar is a division of Waterford IIRC). I'm going for a custom frame, since it's only a few hundred more than the pre-fab version. Now that all said, what kind of long tours are you going to be doing? Road, within developed nations? Fully loaded, self-supporting? Credit Card? IMO, these make the difference as to the kind of touring bike you should get. I choose the Gunnar because I want to do 3rd world and off-road touring at some point. I may not do it immediately or I may do it next summer (this might be a possibility if I want to get into Algonquin Park based on some maps I've been looking at).

    Personally, and I do think it's correct viewpoint, the ideal is to go custom as the ride is better, particularly for long, long tours. (hence my decision on the Rock Tour) So if you can, perhaps looking more into the custom frame option might be worthwhile.

    Anyways, just to make life more interesting..


    The bike doesn't make the trip.
    Oh it can IMO. My last tour (Nova Scotia/New Brunswick) ended in a minor disaster which required chain replacement, cassette and rear derailleur replacements. And then the rear rack detaching itself from where it was connected to the seat post. Not a fun deal.

  5. #5
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    I plan to do 80-120 miles a day over 5 days. I'm in pain now but I think by next summer I will be able to do it. I looked at the lower cost bikes you mentioned and the Novara Randonnee facinates me. My only gripe with it is Rei looks like a department store. Will other LBS service these bikes?

    The type of riding I will be doing is self supported on pavement.

  6. #6
    Cycling is Self-Therapy pdxcyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lobo
    I plan to do 80-120 miles a day over 5 days. I'm in pain now but I think by next summer I will be able to do it. I looked at the lower cost bikes you mentioned and the Novara Randonnee facinates me. My only gripe with it is Rei looks like a department store. Will other LBS service these bikes?

    The type of riding I will be doing is self supported on pavement.
    My wife and I owed a pair of Randonees for years, and did many tours on them. The parts are all Shimano, and other shops were happy to work on them. Don't be fooled too much by the department store looks of REI-- sometimes they have the best bike mechanics in a given area, and I've had good service done by them.

    One plus for us concerning the Randonne bikes-- as our first touring bikes, they cost only $550 year end on a year end sale (usually in the wiinter months). REI is well known for big mark downs at the end of the year to clear out this year's models. That left us plenty of funds for some week long tours like the CAM tour and motel trips on our own. (Consider doing an organized multi-day tour in your area to get started-- they can be incredibly fun.) Also, since the bikes weren't "made of gold," we didn't worry about using them hard, getting them wet, and leaving them sit outside our tents, etc. They held up well.

    Looking over the specs of the current Randonne, I'm not a big fan of Tiagra level components, but it would be a cheap upgrade to take the rear derailleur to an LX or XT, and later on you can upgrade the BB and wheels/hubs to anything you like. I might also swap out the adjustable stem after I knew what postion I really liked. There's nothing on the bike that's going to wear out on your first year of touring, unless you do a lot more than you plan.

    Also, have them look for a 2004 model for you. They'll normally reduce the price, sometimes significantly, and ship it in from any of their stores around the country for you to test ride. (On that note, don't buy any bike that doesn't fit or test ride well, and try to test ride at least two other touring bikes before deciding.)

    2005 Randonne Specs.

    Frame Reynolds 520 cro-moly
    Fork Cro-moly
    Crankset Shimano Tiagra (52/42/30)
    Shifters Shimano R500
    Brakes Shimano R550 Cantilever
    Brake levers Shimano R500
    Front derailleur Shimano Tiagra
    Rear derailleur Shimano Tiagra
    Head set Ritchey Scuzzy Logic
    Bottom bracket Shimano
    Rear cog SRAM 11/28 x 8-spd
    Front hub Shimano Tiagra
    Rims Mavic A319S
    Tires Vittoria Randonneur 700x32
    Spokes Stainless steel
    Stem Ritchey angle adjust
    Handlebar Ritchey BioMax
    Seat post Ritchey Comp V2
    Saddle Selle Royal Lookin
    Pedals Platform w/toe clip
    Chain Shimano HG73
    Last edited by pdxcyclist; 12-11-04 at 12:03 PM.

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  7. #7
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    I some experince with all three bikes and any of them should be a good touring bike, The Waterford and the Como are very much alike in terms of construction and basic geometry
    A good friend has the Como. the only complaint he has (and I agree) is the 73 deg head angle w short fork rake makes the steering feel slighty skittish at low speed when the front is loaded with panniers. But the frame feels solid as a rock and durable

    I rode a Waterford on a weekend tour a couple of years ago. It rode really well but The top tube (~58 cm)was a bit short for my taste on the 62 cm I rode and had been compensated for with a longer stem. I don't like long stems on touring bikes if I am going to have front panniers, it moves the center of gravity too far forward and makes the rear end twitchy on bumpy roads ( I'm getting chicken in my older age). I rode the Waterford over two mountain passes ( notches and gaps we call them) it climbed and decended really well. I went down the back side of Smugglers Notch in Vermont at over 50mph at one point. If you are buying based on curb appeal the lugwork and paint on the waterford is the winner.

    The Beckman I am most familar with is the Expedition 26 of which I made a copy of
    I am assuming you are looking at an Odyssey since that would be in the same league as the Waterford and Como. My only experience with the Odyssey was a 3 block ride on one. Most notable about was it came with a lighting syatem already installed (with braze-ons). It rode well but you can't tell much about a bike in 3 blocks. By looks I did note the front end was down more in the classic touring style with a slack head angle and a rakish fork which improves slow speed handling. It is also a lugged frame like the Waterford but is not as detailed
    Beckman's reknown comes from his 26" expedition bikes and his panniers
    But is Beckman the best?? . There are a number of custom builders that can build as a good of a bike quicker and for less. What sets Beckman apart is that he does the whole package custom,frame racks, panniers and lights. his bikes work well because everything on the bike is compatible with the other componets.

    If I were to chose from the 3, I would probaly want the Beckman because of the intergrated systems/ but if I were in a hurry I would go for the Co-motion and ask them to either slacken the head angle or increase the rake a bit to improve the slow speed handling. The waterford is only in 3rd place because I like a stiffer frame.


    There is no best touring bike in the world, it hasn't been invented yet. Hans Stucke ( http://www.bikechina.com/ct-heinzstucke1z.html )who has toured the world the last 30 years on a 3 speed may have a different opinion than the guy at a cycling magazine who does a 3 day tour once every 5 years and writes about it. He will in turn probaly have a different opinion than someone like I who builds his own touring frames and thinks the world is doomed now that Reynolds no longer draws 531ST tubing You have to decide for yourself what the best bike will be.

    A custom builder I like is Tom Teasdale in Iowa, he has built top end bikes for a lot of diffrent brands along with his own label. He will build you anything you want to just about any spec you want . I know probaly 6 people who have his bikes. He built a touring Tandem for some friends that is the best riding tandem I have ever been on. This guy will built you a custom frame for well under a G. http://www.tetcycles.com/Frames/Road...g/touring.html

    Check out Koga-Miyata for an off-the-shelf touring bike that has everything that the Beckman has. Don't let the aluminum frame scare you off. I tried a 26" world traveler at BikeNY and the frame is very thick and sturdy. The world traveler has been around for probaly 25 years and has been all ridden over the globe. Koga-Miyata went to the aluminum frame a couple of years ago. My only gripe is they shortened the chainstays 2 cm on the 26" when they went to aluminum, If I were buying a serious touring bike off the shelf this would probaly be at the top of the list http://usa.koga.com/
    Last edited by Dannihilator; 12-11-04 at 08:43 PM. Reason: Removed the one link, lead to something disgusting.

  8. #8
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    WOW!! A tour on a 3 speed? Crazy!

    On the other hand I really do like internal gear hubs. Doing some searches I see some debate on the Rohloff not being as efficient as a derailer but for 3 and maybe a 5 speed it should be pretty close...

    The thing about the Koga is that it doesn't look over built. The Beckham comes with 48 and 40 spoke wheels while the Koga only comes with 36. I've also been a victim to frame failure in the past with aluminum so I don't know if I can muster the courage to go that route.

    I'll keep investigating this but after reading those journals it has really peaked my interest in internal gear hubs again..

  9. #9
    I ride my bike Revtor's Avatar
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    anyone else get a disturbing pic pop up when hitting the crazyguyonabike link in Velonomads last post???
    holymoly.. it links to w ww.goat . .

    maybe there is something (virus) on my computer????

    BEWARE THAT LINK!!
    ~Steve

    ~Stv

  10. #10
    Senior Member bentbaggerlen's Avatar
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    Thats what you get for riding without a seat.....
    Bentbaggerlen
    "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." - Arthur Conan Doyle

  11. #11
    don d.
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    Quite frankly, I don't know why everyone doesn't ride a Mercian.

  12. #12
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I test rode a Waterford Adventure cycle once. It fit surprisingly well. My experience was the opposite of the other guy. It has a fairly long wheelbase, and felt rock solid. Since it's a custom job, his problem was unique to that situation.

    I think the thing to do is to settle on a budget. Then we could talk seriously about the bikes within that price range. Seems odd to be talking about bikes under a grand at the same time we are discussing bikes that are 2-3 grand. For a cheap touring bike, I like the 520. That's it. There are many others (Mikado makes a couple, btw). In the midrange, the Burley Vagabond is a new model very much worth looking into. You can save money by going 7 speed. It's chepaer, and more durable, and more reliable.
    I discovered just a couple days ago former Postie rider Mike Barry makes custom bikes, and gorgeous touring bikes, at Bicycle Specialities. French style touring frames with modern metal. A little less 'beef', a little more grace and elan than, say, an Adventure Cycle. Sounds awesome.

  13. #13
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    I've read that phrase in a couple posts on the touring forum: "by going 7 speed it's more durable and more reliable" are you referring to a shimano nexus/s-ram 7 internal gear hub or what type of triple are you talking about? If you are not talking about internal gear hubs what makes a 7 speed (derailer?) more reliable/durable?

  14. #14
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revtor
    anyone else get a disturbing pic pop up when hitting the crazyguyonabike link in Velonomads last post???
    holymoly.. it links to w ww.goat . .

    maybe there is something (virus) on my computer????

    BEWARE THAT LINK!!
    ~Steve

    ~Stv
    That was weird! I ran a scan on my computer and it didn't show up, Looks like the moderator took care of it.
    It might be a problem at CGOAB.

  15. #15
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    funny how you get responses you'd never expect. The old 21 speed gearing is what I meant. My Sis rides one of my old bikes.
    It just seems to go on forever. With good parts, the shifting is ok.
    The chain is beefier, the rings thicker, and has fewer parts to go wrong. This is some kind of Golden Age for bikes. I am sure Beckman makes great touring bikes, but so do a dozen other companies. Some of the differences boil down to style. I'd like to see some actual innovation. Oversized bottom brackets would be a real improvement. Small companies don't have the resources.
    Larger companies like Trek seem content to crank out the 520 unchanged year after year.

    You didn't answer my question. If budget isn't an issue, I'd pick
    a company with a good rep for touring that also works with Ti.
    I'd like to see a full blown tourer made with Ti. I imagine Litespeed could do it, but a custom from them will cost a pretty penny.

  16. #16
    X-Large Member Istanbul_Tea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by late
    I discovered just a couple days ago former Postie rider Mike Barry makes custom bikes, and gorgeous touring bikes, at Bicycle Specialities. French style touring frames with modern metal. A little less 'beef', a little more grace and elan than, say, an Adventure Cycle. Sounds awesome.
    Actually that's almost correct... his dad builds bicycles.

    To add to this thread... there's a guy in Minnesota who builds custom touring cycles too. His name is Bob Brown and he built me this-


  17. #17
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    hey istanbul, donīt you worried about your bike getting stolen? many people think the color of LHT is quite ugly, but i think itīs ok and besides if someone thinks the bike is not his taste then he will probably leave it alone. nevertheless, iīm getting paranoid about people trying to steal my new bike(the frame is still in the air).

  18. #18
    X-Large Member Istanbul_Tea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schumius
    hey istanbul, donīt you worried about your bike getting stolen? many people think the color of LHT is quite ugly, but i think itīs ok and besides if someone thinks the bike is not his taste then he will probably leave it alone. nevertheless, iīm getting paranoid about people trying to steal my new bike(the frame is still in the air).
    Why freak over the small stuff? Vandals, thieves, etc have their agenda... I have mine. Mine is to enjoy and have fun.

    The way I see it is-if I take the proper measures no one will steal my cycle because I'll either be on it or it will be locked up nearby... everybody wins then- I keep my cycle, the thieves don't get it and they move on and get someone elses instead.
    Just kidding, naturally.

  19. #19
    Virtulized geek MsMittens's Avatar
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    Istanbul, I need to ask: why the double rack system at the front? I have to admit never seeing anything like this. Double up on pannier placement?

  20. #20
    X-Large Member Istanbul_Tea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsMittens
    Istanbul, I need to ask: why the double rack system at the front? I have to admit never seeing anything like this. Double up on pannier placement?
    Very few companies make low profile lowriders that also have a shelf. The few that do are made from aluminum (which I didn't want), another makes theirs from cro-mo but it is high profile and carries the panniers too high, a third that also makes theirs in cro-mo is low profile but heavy and extremely difficult to find.

    If I had to go shelf-less I knew I wanted 'independent' lowrider racks over lowriders that 'connect'. Enter the Tubus Duo versus something like the Tara or BG... (by 'independent' I mean designs that don't have the connecting arm that goes over the front wheel).

    I was disappointed though because in the end, I knew I still wanted some specific things in one design... a low profile lowrider made from cro-mo with a shelf at the least possible weight.

    Bob Brown (the framebuilder who did my cycle) took that, thought about it and suggested a Best Of Both Worlds scenario... take the Tubus Duo's which are cro-mo, relatively lightweight and don't use a connecting arm... marry them with a NOS Blackburn Mtn bike rack that has a shelf, weighs next to nothing because it's aluminum (which wouldn't be an issue as the Blackburn would never see that much weight being placed on it anyway) but would gain me more lateral rigidity thus allowing for more stability under load.

    When all was said and done I got a front rack that is 1 part cro-mo where I need the strength and 1 part aluminum where I want the stiffness & weight savings, allows for loaded front panniers that are carried in a low profile, uses a shelf as a 'connecting arm' between the 2 sides which also nets me a gain in lateral rigidity through the use of a very lightweight aluminum shelf that also offers me some additional space for light objects like a sleeping bag, stuff sacks, etc.

    Hopefully all that made sense?

  21. #21
    Virtulized geek MsMittens's Avatar
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    Not wanting to spend too much time on this but wouldn't it make sense to have this stuff on the back? Most of the tourers I've seen, including a few world wide ones, have tent, sleeping bag, sleep mat and tent ground sheet on the back. What other items would you be bringing with you that would require more room on the front?

  22. #22
    X-Large Member Istanbul_Tea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsMittens
    Not wanting to spend too much time on this but wouldn't it make sense to have this stuff on the back? Most of the tourers I've seen, including a few world wide ones, have tent, sleeping bag, sleep mat and tent ground sheet on the back. What other items would you be bringing with you that would require more room on the front?
    Specifically I will be strapping a laptop, rolled in a Thermarest, in a dry sack to the rack.

  23. #23
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Here is a low quality picture of my Waterford adventure bike loaded. Jandd racks, front bags low. My tent/thermarest are on the rear platform, my sleeping bag is on the front platform. Splitting the weight works very well for me.

    Location: a very nice rest stop along the Romanian frontier.

  24. #24
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeeTL
    Really? That's a pretty strong endorsement!

    I haven't read much about them here, but what I have has been glowing. I imagine the exchange rate isn't helping them sell bikes in the U.S. these days...
    Mercian makes quite affordable (even with bad exchange rates) custom steel road and touring bikes in the UK. They've been around since 1946 making bikes essentially the same way, either fillet brazed or lugged. Even their modern racer with carbon stays is fillet brazed 853 steel in the main triangle.

    The service is great, the people are easy to work with and the paint jobs are terrific. My road bike is a Mercian.

  25. #25
    Immoderator KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    I recommend getting an older bike with touring geometry to see if you like it, unless you're made of money. The only thing worse than not owning a custom bicycle is owning one and letting it gather cobwebs in the basement! Seriously, there are tons of inexpensive tourers from the eighties to see if it's really your bag without blowing 3 grand on a custom you may not like. If you are made of money, you could buy me a Bob Brown for Christmas, for all my helpful suggestions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bikeforums
    Your rights end where another poster's feelings begin.

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