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Old 03-20-12, 05:11 PM   #1
B200Pilot
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What to buy: Raleigh Sojourn or Trek 520?

Hi everyone,

This is my first post on this forum and I would very much like to ask for some expertise (non-biased) opinion. I'm fairly new to bike touring, having done only 3 or 4 longer distance trips last year. The longest one was 250 km in one weekend.

At the moment I have a rather cheap Giant Boulder that I have upgraded with new tires and a few extras to make it more of a "touring bike" but it's not living up to what I want it to be. That's probably because it was never meant to be used as a touring bike.

So after trial, error and very little advice I am finally ready to fork out some cash and spend it on a proper touring bike. So, what's my budget? I don't want to spend more than $1500 (CAD or US) before taxes. Here in Canada, that can be anywhere between 5% to 17% extra, I believe

So far, two bikes have caught my eye. One is the Raleigh Sojourn and the other one is the Trek 520. Asking around for pricing at local stores, the Raleigh is about $1320 after tax and the Trek 520 is about $1500 before tax.

Looks wise, I like the Raleigh Sjourn, but the Trek 520 looks nice. Now from an "investment" and "quality" point of view, which one is better? Better for what?

Well here's the plan: This summer I plan on flying to Paris and taking 2 weeks to ride my bike from Paris to Nice. That's about 1000 km, so I think 2 weeks should be enough. Stamina is not an issue here, since I ride my bike at least 20 km every day and am in pretty good shape. What I need is a quality bike that's fairly affordable.

Any advice?

Thank you

EDIT: I should also add, that I have a Bob Yak that I plan to use

Raleigh Sojourn:


Trek 520

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Old 03-20-12, 05:30 PM   #2
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You don't have to limit your choice to touring bikes if you have a BOB Yak and intend to use it.

In fact, buying and riding a dedicated touring bike without adding racks and panniers and then pulling a Yak doesn't really make a lot of sense. Touring bikes are relatively heavy and slow, because they're intended to handle rider+gear load.

It's analogous to buying a huge SUV and towing a little cargo trailer. You can tow a small trailer with any number of motor vehicles - or you could place all the junk in the trailer into the SUV and park the trailer.

Between the two choices above, I'd pick the Trek.

You've noticeably left off the Surly LHT from your starting list of popular, inexpensive touring bikes, about $1300 from numerous souces:

http://www.jensonusa.com/!zjcewwB!v4WFz15pHxzK0g!/Surly-Long-Haul-Trucker-Bike-700C-1?utm_source=FRGL&utm_medium=organic

This will also be available soon, for maybe 50-100 bucks more. I mention it since you show interest in disc brakes:

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/disc_trucker

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Old 03-20-12, 05:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by B200Pilot View Post
Hi everyone,

This is my first post on this forum and I would very much like to ask for some expertise (non-biased) opinion. I'm fairly new to bike touring, having done only 3 or 4 longer distance trips last year. The longest one was 250 km in one weekend.

At the moment I have a rather cheap Giant Boulder that I have upgraded with new tires and a few extras to make it more of a "touring bike" but it's not living up to what I want it to be. That's probably because it was never meant to be used as a touring bike.

So after trial, error and very little advice I am finally ready to fork out some cash and spend it on a proper touring bike. So, what's my budget? I don't want to spend more than $1500 (CAD or US) before taxes. Here in Canada, that can be anywhere between 5% to 17% extra, I believe

So far, two bikes have caught my eye. One is the Raleigh Sojourn and the other one is the Trek 520. Asking around for pricing at local stores, the Raleigh is about $1320 after tax and the Trek 520 is about $1500 before tax.

Looks wise, I like the Raleigh Sjourn, but the Trek 520 looks nice. Now from an "investment" and "quality" point of view, which one is better? Better for what?

Well here's the plan: This summer I plan on flying to Paris and taking 2 weeks to ride my bike from Paris to Nice. That's about 1000 km, so I think 2 weeks should be enough. Stamina is not an issue here, since I ride my bike at least 20 km every day and am in pretty good shape. What I need is a quality bike that's fairly affordable.

Any advice?

Thank you

EDIT: I should also add, that I have a Bob Yak that I plan to use

Raleigh Sojourn:


Trek 520
I don't think you'd go wrong either way; however, one minor niggle I have with the Trek is silly "back scratcher" fenders. Some will fault the Sojourn for touring for the added "Complication" of disk brakes; however, disks seem to be the future and if I were in the market I'd opt for disks and just make sure that I knew how to make field repairs to them. Of the two, the Raliegh speaks to me more.
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Old 03-20-12, 05:48 PM   #4
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Thank you for the reply seeker333,

Great advice indeed. I will def. look into the Surley bike. Looks great. The idea of a touring bike is good for me because 50% of it will be done with my wife. Unfortunately she can't write with a lot of weight, etc on so it'll be up to me to carry most of the load.

The other 50% of the touring I will do on my own and I will probably just use Paniers (no Yak at all). I want to have the option for either set up... besides, the yak is horrible to handle when you're on your own (Thinking of European trains / boats, etc)

You are right though. A touring bike + Bob Yak may be overkill.
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Old 03-20-12, 06:17 PM   #5
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Thank you for the reply seeker333,

Great advice indeed. I will def. look into the Surley bike. Looks great. The idea of a touring bike is good for me because 50% of it will be done with my wife. Unfortunately she can't write with a lot of weight, etc on so it'll be up to me to carry most of the load.

The other 50% of the touring I will do on my own and I will probably just use Paniers (no Yak at all). I want to have the option for either set up... besides, the yak is horrible to handle when you're on your own (Thinking of European trains / boats, etc)

You are right though. A touring bike + Bob Yak may be overkill.

I think hauling a yak in Europe will be a headache for the exact reasons you mentioned (Trains, boats, barges).
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Old 03-20-12, 07:02 PM   #6
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Raleigh has a better rear rack , proper mud guards and a Leather saddle ..
..
the 520 by having a bit lower gear crankset climbs with your stuff better.
But have V brakes ... lighter , though stopping can take a little aluminum
off the rims each time the brakes are applied.. when they are wet and dirty..

but components are a bunch of parts , they can be changed , racks upgraded ,
mudguards bought, cranksets, and stems and handlebars changed , etc.

go test ride both..

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Old 03-20-12, 09:14 PM   #7
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B299Piolet, The Trek has a well deserved reputation as a premier touring bike. The Sojourn is still building a reputation and which, as far as I know has been well regarded. The Raleigh doesn't seem to have mid fork rack mounts, but there are front racks available configured to use the drop outs. While another subject open for debate, I think disk brakes are going to be more common for touring bikes in the future.

There are many other touring bikes available, but I give the Raleigh the nod of the two you listed by just a slight amount. Whichever fits best should be the winner.

Brad
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Old 03-20-12, 09:39 PM   #8
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Lots of Notingham produced Raleigh bikes pedaled all over the world .
but I think the current R'USA comes out of the Bike building companies on Taiwan now

the people doing the work, there are proud of the TIG filler bead
they lay down all day for weeks on end. most likely..
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Old 03-20-12, 11:04 PM   #9
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Traveling with a trailer, when not actually riding, is going to be difficult. Getting in and out of the airport with the boxed bikes, luggage and trailer would be a real challenge. The easiest way to get out of Paris on a bike is to hop the train to the outskirts of the city and start riding from there. That is the way the locals do it. The main part of Paris is relatively bike friendly, but the suburbs are not. Getting on a train at the Paris Station, Gare de Lyon, is a scramble with just panniers. A trailer would really make it a challenge. Actually, I'm not sure you will be allowed to take a bike with a trailer on most trains. They are not set up to handle them. Even in some airports and in train stations taking you bike down an escalator may be necessary to get to the lower platforms or baggage area. It would really be fun with a trailer. My bike, a 58cm LHT, would not fit in most elevators.

My wife rode across the US using just a pair of Ortlieb Front Packers, handlebar bag, and a small rack pack on her rack. She carried all of her camping gear, and whatever she needed for 11 weeks. Her total gear weight was between 20-25 lbs without water. If you are not camping 15-20 lbs would be all your wife would have to carry. I carried the tent, stove, utensils, tools, spare, etc; which made the total weight for me between 35-40 lbs.

If at all possible, I'd recommend trying to use just panniers, especially if you are not camping.

Nebraska- Note the small panniers. Sleeping bag, therm-a-rest, running shoes and stuffable pillow are in rack pack on top.


Sorry for going off on a tangent.

Either bike will do just fine. The LHT is also a good bike. Fit is probably the most important thing. If you can ride the bikes you are considering, and make the decision based on fit and feel rather than looks; you will really enjoy the comfort on those long days. The type of brakes won't really matter if you are not comfortable on the bike.

My LHT setup, Pont de Art, Paris.



Enjoy your ride.

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Old 03-20-12, 11:43 PM   #10
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Don't forget about the Novara (REI) Randonee. And if you're an REI member, you probably have a 20% off coupon in the mail right now which puts the cost of the bike well under a grand, quite a bargain. And it comes stock with the stump-puller 22-32 gearing.



And if you're handy with bike setup and don't need a LBS to hold your hand, I think you can make the case that the Windor Tourist - at $600 from Bikes Direct - might be the best value.



- Mark
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Old 03-22-12, 09:07 PM   #11
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B299Piolet, The Trek has a well deserved reputation as a premier touring bike. The Sojourn is still building a reputation and which, as far as I know has been well regarded. The Raleigh doesn't seem to have mid fork rack mounts, but there are front racks available configured to use the drop outs. While another subject open for debate, I think disk brakes are going to be more common for touring bikes in the future.

There are many other touring bikes available, but I give the Raleigh the nod of the two you listed by just a slight amount. Whichever fits best should be the winner.

Brad
The Tubus Tara on my Sojourn disagrees with your assertion that it doesn't have mid-fork braze-ons. ;-)
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Old 03-23-12, 05:58 AM   #12
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The Tubus Tara on my Sojourn disagrees with your assertion that it doesn't have mid-fork braze-ons. ;-)
That's nice to know, I just couldn't make them out in the photo.

Brad
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Old 03-24-12, 07:21 AM   #13
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Thank you for your replies everyone. The Surly LHT has been growing on me, but it just so happened that I went to a store the other day and found the a 2010 Raleigh Sojourn for 1000. It's brand new, but it's the 2010 model. "So what?" I say. It's still a great bike in my opinion. The price is very attractive as well... about $1100 including taxes.

What do you think? Good deal or not?








I saw the bike comes with a B17 saddle. Is that the "famed" one that everyone has been talking about? I should add: What do you guys think of the tires?
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Old 03-24-12, 01:16 PM   #14
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Thank you for your replies everyone. The Surly LHT has been growing on me, but it just so happened that I went to a store the other day and found the a 2010 Raleigh Sojourn for 1000. It's brand new, but it's the 2010 model. "So what?" I say. It's still a great bike in my opinion. The price is very attractive as well... about $1100 including taxes.

What do you think? Good deal or not?








I saw the bike comes with a B17 saddle. Is that the "famed" one that everyone has been talking about? I should add: What do you guys think of the tires?
I say Ride like you stole it!
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Old 03-24-12, 03:15 PM   #15
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so the verdict is in! I am the new owner of a raleigh sojourn!
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