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  1. #1
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    Choosing a touring bike

    Hi,
    I'm planning a bike trip from Poland to Spain this summer and I need a new bike for this. Now I don't have any technical experience with touring so I'd like to get some recommendations. Here are some facts:
    * I'm mostly riding on asphalt, but sometimes I have to take an off-road route
    * My speed is 25-30 km/h
    * I ride 80-100 km daily
    * My budget is about $1400 (and I'm salvaging the pedals [Tioga Surefoot] from my old bike unless there's a reason not to)
    * The bike will be later used for Polish roads which are full of holes so take that into account
    I'd like to know what should I look at when choosing a bike. I'm going to read the sticky meanwhile and I'm waiting your suggestions and perhaps requests for more info.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    The most popular bike in this forum is the Surly LHT. It is a U.S. design manufactured in Taiwan. I don't know how easy is to get those in Poland. You may pay a real premium for them in Europe which I don't believe is worth paying since there are fantastic European touring bikes. I recently met a German couple touring in some "Intec" bikes. I don't know much about them but they loved them. I believe they said they were Zcech bikes, but most literature I find seems to be in German. So, maybe it's a German company manufacturing in the Zcech Republic? It has more of a mountain bike geometry which continental Europeans prefer anyway. Here you go. The M01 is the model.

    http://www.radladen-hoenig.de/index....ec-produkte-42

  3. #3
    Senior Member ijsbrand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anuxer View Post
    Hi,
    * My speed is 25-30 km/h
    * I ride 80-100 km daily
    You'd be a very fast touring cyclist if you made more than a 15 km/h average on a given day. It's not just cycling you know. It's finding a nice route, buying food, eating food, and finding a good place to sleep as well. However, 80 to 100 kilometer sounds a manageable distance.

    Depending on where you live -- Europe or elsewhere -- the options for good touring bikes differ.

    In Europe, a decent choice would be something like the German VSF Fahrradmanufaktur TX-400 XT. Thorn in Britain makes good bikes. Or you could be adventurous and make a bicycle yourself, and order parts from the German bike sites; a LHT could be assembled then for about your budget.

    However, you can tour on almost any bike you can ride for hours comfortably. And you will only know after a couple of trips what you want exactly from a touring bike.

    So, I'd say: buy a second hand old fashioned steel rigid mountain bike. Turn that into a tourer. And spend the majority of your budget on good panniers and lightweight equipment.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    +1, as above, 26" wheel as a type may be better on largely unpaved roads..

  5. #5
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Fit is First, especially for long days in the saddle. Once past that, 26" wheels and wide tires for the conditions you describe. Then gearing appropriate to the terrain you anticipate. The rest is all a matter of personal preference.

    For someone who commutes frequently and tours infrequently, two different bikes would be highly desirable. If that's not possible, best
    to configure the bike primarily for commuting, but modifiable for touring.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  6. #6
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    I have no idea what bikes are available in Poland but if I was that fast I'd be younger, riding with light gear, no panniers and no need for a heavy touring bike. But I'm guessing that's your unloaded speed without gear. Start with an honest assessment of the load you intend on carrying. What is your size and use for the bike 80% of the time?

  7. #7
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    Okay, as for the speed, it's my speed on the road. I make frequent stops and factoring that, the average speed would be about 20 km/h. And that's my speed with my sacks loaded with three days' worth of clothes and water.

    And the bike will be used exclusively for touring, just for shorter, 2-3 day trips after the Spain trip. I'll be using my hybrid for commuting.

  8. #8
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    I have taken my stock LHT on some pretty rough, unpaved roads with full loads and it has performed great, and I am a big guy. I also commute on it in a city where riding many streets is like mountain biking. Comes in a wide variety of sizes. Unless you are getting one of the smaller sizes, you can get 26" or 700c wheels. has all the mounts for fenders, racks and three bottles. The only think I have changed is the seat post. On my first LHT (it was eventually stolen), the seat post teeth wore out after about a year and the seat would not stay level.

    20km/hr sounds about right. When I crossed the country with a group of people we often joked about how many of our cyclometers would show an avergage speed of 12.4 mph at the end of the day. Guess it's all the stopping.

    BTW...Where in Spain? Many years ago I spent 7 weeks touring Andalucia.

  9. #9
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Are you based in Poland? if so I'd be pretty surprised if a Surly LHT is readily available, I've never seen one in the UK or, as far as I can remember, on mainland Europe. I have seen them in the States and I don't think they have anything particularly distinctive abut them that you couldn't find in a local bike. The Germans, in particular, have a variety of firms making trekking and touring bikes, you might like a look at some of those. Fahrrad Manufaktur have a particularly good reputation, I believe.

    The first thing to decide is the style of bike you want to ride. Drop bars or flat bars? Then consider how much gear you want to carry. If you're using panniers - I'd recommend that you do - you'll want to make sure the chain stays are long enough for you to put the panniers on and pedal without striking them with your heels. This will in turn contribute to your getting a bike with a slightly longer wheelbase than your hybrid. The weight of gear, and the terrain you'll encounter, will also influence how robust a frame and other components you'll need. If you're carrying 50lbs of gear into fairly rugged or remote places you might want a heavy-duty expedition tourer that will not flex under the load, has strong wheels and is unlikely to break. If you travel light and mostly on paved roads you might want something a bit sportier. Finally, do you want derailleur gears or internal hub gears? I like the latter for touring, but opinions differ.

    Complicated, isn't it? If I were you I'd find myself a decent bike shop and talk to them about these issues. Then when you have sorted out in your mind the style of machine you want you can start looking at what is most readily obtainable where you are. Of course you can source from anywhere, online, if shipping costs aren't an issue.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Or take the Train to Germany where there will be many shops
    with a wide selection of bikes,
    then bring it home to start your trip.

  11. #11
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    Okay then, I'll visit some local bike shops and perhaps take a trip to Germany.
    I've got another question -- is there something (not obvious) I should avoid in a touring bike?

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    So I've been to some bike stores and one thing bothers me. What I've been recommended in every single one is different from a typical touring bike popular here. Here I see bikes with large frames with narrow pipes, no suspension, and drop handlebars, while the bikes here all have suspension, massive frames, and flat handlebar. What's the deal with it?

    Here are two example bikes available without much fuss:
    http://www.cube.eu/en/tour/gts/delhi/
    http://www.kross.pl/en/2012/trekking/trans-arctica

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Pipes? I, for one, cannot guess what pipes you mean.. Motorcycles have exhaust pipes .


    the Delhi is a 700c wheel bike , seems OK,as does the other one.. I didn't see tire size listed.
    go for a test ride and see if the fit is comfortable enough to ride all day long.

    Suspension fork does not seem important, but is OK, since it will cost more to change it out.

    US brand names are, perhaps, just not sold over the entire world ..

    so what people in other countries have access to, wont apply.
    don't worry too much over that .

    Have the seller show you some repair basics,, Puncture repair,
    replacing a broken spoke in the back wheel..
    cable replacement..the basics.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-27-12 at 04:11 PM.

  14. #14
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    I mean the pipes that compose the frame. Sorry, I don't know the proper term.

    I'm mostly interested about your opinion on the first bike because I could take a test ride tomorrow and get it relatively cheap.

    As for the suspension fork, I'm just concerned that it's an extra 1,5kg I might not need.

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Then Inquire about how much it will cost to replace it.


    If you choose to save the money [your 2~3 water bottles full of H2O is a Kg i'd guess.]
    You can add front luggageonto the fork Tubus Smarti mounts
    on the axle and the bosses where the brakes are fitted
    Tubus Swing rack fits the fork crown and braces to the upper side of the headset.
    so the fork will still Up and Down. without any added mass.

    You get a complete bike with rack, dynohub powered lights and mudguards..
    US buyers often have to Buy that stuff at the point of sale and pay more ..

    Bikes ship bare, Often.. then customer picks the other parts .
    Accessory sales add ons keep the place open, and wages paid,

    I see they fit Magura's HS 22 Brakes on.. I found my Magura Hydro stop brakes
    to be the best rim brake I've owned..

    to fix a puncture the one with the lever comes off to remove the tire.
    pressure balance hose keeps it from going anywhere..

    when you refit it, make sure the pad hits the rim square.

    pick up a couple spare brake shoes.. I like the Red compound ones
    they come with the Black compound stock.
    they are a sealed closed system, so nothing really to do
    other than snap in brake pads as they wear down.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-27-12 at 06:22 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by anuxer View Post
    I mean the pipes that compose the frame. Sorry, I don't know the proper term.
    Ah… tubes!

  17. #17
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    I I like to see what other people are riding, and I conducted a not very scientific survey while cycling in Germany. I looked at the next 100 "touring" bikes that passed me, and put them into a category. I can't quite remember the exact numbers but it seemed like about 97% of the bikes had flat bars, and a lot with suspension forks. Only about 3% had drop bars. Flat bars seemed to be the norm for touring cyclists in most of the European countries we rode through.

    I also think that a lot of the European "trekking" bikes have aluminum frames, which generally have larger tubing than steel frame tubing.

    This is the biggest bike shop I've ever been in. I did not see any drop bars in their Trekking section. However, I did not look very hard because I was looking for pannier parts.




  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Aluminum serves better in the technique of Hydro-forming..
    guessing some what, but fluids do not compress..
    so a pattern for the external shape is made, and the roughly formed tube is inserted

    And the pressure from the fluid, under extreme pressure expands the metal into the form.

    I served in the US Navy on Nuclear, (they don't make any other sort, any more) Submarines.

    and believe me, the fluid pressures, at depth, are immense .

    Just ask the next of kin of the Thresher , Scorpion and the Kursk crews, about that.

  19. #19
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    It's true that most German tourers have flat bars. Drop handlebars on touring bikes seem to be predominantly a British preference, as far as Europe is concerned.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by anuxer View Post
    Hi,
    I'm planning a bike trip from Poland to Spain this summer and I need a new bike for this. Now I don't have any technical experience with touring so I'd like to get some recommendations. Here are some facts:
    * I'm mostly riding on asphalt, but sometimes I have to take an off-road route
    * My speed is 25-30 km/h
    * I ride 80-100 km daily
    * My budget is about $1400 (and I'm salvaging the pedals [Tioga Surefoot] from my old bike unless there's a reason not to)
    * The bike will be later used for Polish roads which are full of holes so take that into account
    I'd like to know what should I look at when choosing a bike. I'm going to read the sticky meanwhile and I'm waiting your suggestions and perhaps requests for more info.
    Are you talking about $1400 Zloty or US dollars?

    What's stopping you from not riding your current bike and rather invest in an ExtraWheel trailer (really wicked and awesome design) that's made in Poland (your backyard) for a lot less than what you want to pay for a new bike that you either need to import from the USA or the Euro zone.

    With this trailer, you can go on and off-road (especially beneficial with single tracks) plus makes your whole bike and trailer pretty streamlined which is a benefit if you want to go FAST. Traditional rack and panniers system make your bike a parachute creating a lot of drag. I think you also like to ride fast too.. Checkout Extrawheel website for more details.
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
    Masi Speciale CX touring bike
    Dahon Mu SL (performance hybrid road bike)
    Dahon Speed Duo (slow poker shopper or coffee getter bike)

  21. #21
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    Most Euro tourists ride their everyday hybrid bike and manage just fine.
    The main modifications you may want are some trekking or butterfly style bars for extra handholds and some quality tyres. Trekking bars work with hybrid/mtb brake and gear controls and are much easier to operate with V brakes, MTB gearing and bar bags.
    German trekking bikes tend to very high tech with hydraulic brakes.
    If you dont like your suspension forks you can replace them with some cromoly steel hybrid forks. I think Kona Project forks are the usual replacement but check that you can fit a front luggage rack if you need it. If you are travelling as light as you can, you only need a rear rack.
    Invest in a good rack like Tubus Cargo.

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