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  1. #1
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    Simple and Reliable Touring Bikes - Inexpensive, too.

    I am looking for a solid yet inexpensive touring bike.
    I tried to visit the GT Peace URL posted in another thread and the picture does not load in IE or Opera. I wonder why website builders have to be so clever.

    Are there any bikes I should look at which are similar to the REI Novarra models?
    I don't want disk brakes, front or rear shocks or anything else that could break down. I don't like threadless stems too, but may not have a choice there.
    I really love lugged frames and restored a Fuji from the 80s but find that my heels hit the panniers and the 2 chain rings don't provide enough low gear to steep climb hills.

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    Windsor Tourist gets suggested a lot as a low-budget tourer.

    Front or rear shocks you wouldn't want anyway unless you're touring off-road on rough terrain, in which case a front one is probably a good idea. In that case you should learn how to repair one, obviously, but for most people it's not necessary...

    Disc brakes though...let me take a minute to recommend them. They work WAY better than rim brakes in wet and dirty conditions and whether for mountain biking or rainy road/street riding, I am personally never going back to rim brakes. Yeah they may be a bit heavier, but I don't believe they are any more prone to breaking down than rim brakes. In any case, if you're going on tour, you should know how to fix all major/common problems on your bike, and that goes for whatever type of brakes you're using. If you tour with rim brakes you have to learn to repair those; if disc brakes, then those. I'd say try them out and you might change your mind...

  3. #3
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I built up this Windsor Tourist with the object of keeping cost low. It won't fit 700x40 tires like the Surly LHT, 700x38 is the largest tire that will easily fit with fenders. The Windsor Tourist is a popular touring design that can be taken on long tours. It also can hold-up to gravel tow paths and other routes that are not paved.

    I changed the crankset to provide 48, 36 & 22t chainrings. The stock crank is not ideal for touring.



    The Nashbar touring bike uses the same made-in-China, Fuji frame as the Windsor Tourist. It comes with a 3x10 Shimano 105 drivetrain for about the same money;

    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_10000_202613
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak08820 View Post
    I don't want disk brakes, front or rear shocks or anything else that could break down.
    Everything breaks down eventually.

    If you want 20 year old technology, look for a 20 year old touring bike, spend the $ updating parts of it.... thats the cheapest route I can think of.

  5. #5
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak08820 View Post
    I am looking for a solid yet inexpensive touring bike.
    I tried to visit the GT Peace URL posted in another thread and the picture does not load in IE or Opera.
    Performance sells this bike: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...03_-1___400319
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
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  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    You can make older bikes, Ala those UJB, more reliable by doing the work up front..
    New bearings , cables, housing, chains , and so forth. before you begin your tour.

    Added Bonus: if something breaks you have a clue as to how to fix it.


    And now, back to the shopping channel..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-28-12 at 10:56 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak08820 View Post
    Are there any bikes I should look at which are similar to the REI Novarra models?
    Don't miss out on the 20% discount being offered right now. It applies to REI brand bikes.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cycleheimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by positron View Post
    If you want 20 year old technology, look for a 20 year old touring bike, spend the $ updating parts of it.... thats the cheapest route I can think of.
    This is a list of older touring bike models, just in case you were interested in going that route. It can give you the model names to keep an eye out for.

    Bridgestone RB-T-; Bridgestone T-500;Bridgestone T-700;Centurion Pro Tour;Fuji Touring Series IV;Fuji Touring Series V
    Kuwahara Caravan;
    Lotus Eclair;Lotus Odyssey;Miyata 610;Miyata 1000;Nishiki Continental;Nishiki Cresta GT;Nishiki International;
    Nishiki Riviera GT;Nishiki Seral;Novara Randonee;Panasonic PT-3500; Panasonic PT-5000;Panasonic Pro Touring;Panasonic Touring Deluxe;
    Raleigh Alyeska;Raleigh Kodiak;Raleigh Portage;Raleigh Super Tourer;
    RaleighTouring 18;Schwinn Paramount P15-9 Tourer;Schwinn Passage;
    Schwinn Voyageur/Voyageur SP;Specialized Expedition;Takara Overland;Trek 520;Trek 620;Trek 720;Univega Gran Tourismo;Univega Specialisima;
    Bike-A-Holic

  9. #9
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Simple, dependable, inexpensive

    Which two do you want?

    Pretty difficult to maximize three variables at a time.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  10. #10
    Senior Lurker, mostly. DW99's Avatar
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    Is the Fuji that you have a Touring or what ever touring bike they had in the 80's? Would like to see a picture of that if it is. The reason I ask is to bring to mind chainstay length and heel strike. Some of the ones mentioned above, the chainstays are 440 mm. That is what my Fuji Touring is and for me that is long enough, but may not be for you. I suppose that could be overcome with the right rear rack though. Good luck in your search!
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    He said okay, you're ugly too." -Rodney Dangerfield

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    How inexpensive? Reliable is a function of your knowledge about bike care, how the bike was assembled and components.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DW99 View Post
    Is the Fuji that you have a Touring or what ever touring bike they had in the 80's? Would like to see a picture of that if it is. The reason I ask is to bring to mind chainstay length and heel strike. Some of the ones mentioned above, the chainstays are 440 mm. That is what my Fuji Touring is and for me that is long enough, but may not be for you. I suppose that could be overcome with the right rear rack though. Good luck in your search!
    My Fuji is a Fuji Supreme, not the touring kind which makes the heel strike problem ever present.! It is difficult to find old touring bikes in good condition in this area (Central NJ) where CL sellers ask for hundred s of dollars for old Schwinn ten speed bikes.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    How inexpensive? Reliable is a function of your knowledge about bike care, how the bike was assembled and components.
    Under $1K sounds reasonable for a well made bike. I am not the kind that will ride a $3+K bike with a log on every square inch.

  14. #14
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak08820 View Post
    but find that my heels hit the panniers and the 2 chain rings don't provide enough low gear to steep climb hills.
    Just some food for thought...

    If you wanted to you might be able to get your existing bike to work for you. This is more likely to work well if you are travelling lighter rather than heavier. I have gotten to where I prefer a road bike to my touring bike if going with either light or ultralight packing styles.

    Two rings can provide low gearing especially if you are willing to give up the top end of the range. I went with 39/26 chain rings on my last tour and was very happy with the combo. I did that by using a triple with the outer ring removed. It worked out very well for me.

    Heels striking the panniers can usually be avoided by using smallish panniers, by moving the panniers back, or by using taller thinner panniers.

    Last tour since I was packing really light I decided to use an old 1990 Cannondale crit bike rather than my touring bike. It was a 2400 mile tour with camping and cooking gear, but an ultralight packing style. It turns out that I greatly enjoyed the light responsive bike and was glad I left the touring bike home.

    OTOH, if you want an inexpensive touring bike, I have been happy with the Windsor Touring.

  15. #15
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    700x38 is the largest tire that will easily fit with fenders
    I am surprised you managed to fit 38mm tires and fenders. Mine didn't seem like there was all that much extra room with 32mm tires and fenders.

  16. #16
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak08820 View Post
    My Fuji is a Fuji Supreme, not the touring kind which makes the heel strike problem ever present.! It is difficult to find old touring bikes in good condition in this area (Central NJ) where CL sellers ask for hundred s of dollars for old Schwinn ten speed bikes.
    From the pictures that came up when I googled it, the supreme does not look like the chain stays are much if any shorter than some of the touring bikes on the market. So if you need longer stays be sure to measure and compare. On the other hand, you might find that with some tweaking of the setup the supreme may work OK.

  17. #17
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I am surprised you managed to fit 38mm tires and fenders. Mine didn't seem like there was all that much extra room with 32mm tires and fenders.
    Yes, 700x38 is possible. The tires in the photo are Schwalbe Marathon Cross in the 700x38 size. These are mounted on 24mm wide Velocity Dyad rims. Schwalbe tires are closer to true size than some other makers.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I went with 39/26 chain rings on my last tour and was very happy with the combo.
    Now that's a surprise. I figured you probably used a triple road gear, speedster that you are. What was your spin rate on the flats? Did you find yourself spinning out much?
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  19. #19
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I am really not that much of a speedster except when there is a particularly appealing stretch of road (I like to hammer a bit on some types of rolling hills) or a dangerous one I want to finish fast.

    I didn't have a cyclo-computer with a cadence function and never counted my cadence on the trip, so I am not sure what my cadence was, but it seemed to not be way high even on stretches where we went fairly fast (like 18-22). I did not find myself running out of gear once I adjusted to the range.

    While I did some faster stretches when I felt like, most of the time I was in the 12-16 mph range on the flats.

    I could briefly spin up to a pretty fast clip to outrun a dog or to quickly build speed at the top of a descent, but never tried to pedal for longish stretches at above the low 20 mph range.

  20. #20
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Check into some of the hybrid bikes.

    They tend to be more affordable, more relaxed, more comfortable, and more likely to already have low gearing. Stick a pair of bar-ends or a trekking bar on it, and you're all set for hand positions.

    Something like the Specialized Sirrus is around $600, the Trek FX 7.3 is around $700.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post

    Two rings can provide low gearing especially if you are willing to give up the top end of the range. I went with 39/26 chain rings on my last tour and was very happy with the combo. I did that by using a triple with the outer ring removed. It worked out very well for me.
    note: only possible on some cranksets (like your 110-74 triple).

    many older bikes have 130+ BCD cranks which limit the gearing to the higher end. Maybe a 30 on the smaller ring...

    that said, a new sugino triple crankset is under a hundred bucks with rings. And the right rack and pannier combo can make the heelstrike issue go away,
    what bags do you use? can you move them back? if you move them back too much behind the rear axle, youll want to have weight upfront to balance the bike - front pans.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak08820 View Post
    Under $1K sounds reasonable for a well made bike. I am not the kind that will ride a $3+K bike with a log on every square inch.
    agree, is there anything unique about your needs? ie. especially heavy and carrying lots of weight or do you only need a bike that's going to be used for touring 20% of the time or lightly loaded?

    It is unfortunate the market for drop bar touring bikes is upwards of $1200 unless you're looking at BikesDirect or REI Safari. If I was looking for max bang for the buck in a heavy load carrier that could take fat 700c tires and wasn't set on drop bars or had levers and bars in the wings the Novara Buzz looks appealing at $600. With 20% off that would be appealing.

    http://www.rei.com/product/808781/novara-buzz-bike-2012

  23. #23
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    That is a good find. It needs fenders and a rack ata minimum. Actually, I have found that I am never comfortable with drop bars as I grew up riding the only kind of bikes available in India, which are the somewhat British/French design S/S utility bikes. I restored a Fuji Supreme and added Raleigh M-20 bars to that.
    The REI Marin Bridgewayhttp://www.rei.com/product/825678/ma...eway-bike-2012 looks similar with the fenders and rack and Vittoria tires. Frame is Alum.
    Last edited by ak08820; 03-28-12 at 07:58 AM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by positron View Post
    And the right rack and pannier combo can make the heelstrike issue go away,
    what bags do you use? can you move them back? if you move them back too much behind the rear axle, youll want to have weight upfront to balance the bike - front pans.
    That reminds me... Front only panniers can be a pretty good option if not going too heavy. Maybe carry the tent on top of a rear rack if you want a bit of weight in the back or are short on capacity in the front panniers. I did that on my Pacific Coast tour and was very happy with the setup.

  25. #25
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak08820 View Post
    I am looking for a solid yet inexpensive touring bike.
    I tried to visit the GT Peace URL posted in another thread and the picture does not load in IE or Opera. I wonder why website builders have to be so clever.

    Are there any bikes I should look at which are similar to the REI Novarra models?
    I don't want disk brakes, front or rear shocks or anything else that could break down. I don't like threadless stems too, but may not have a choice there.
    I really love lugged frames and restored a Fuji from the 80s but find that my heels hit the panniers and the 2 chain rings don't provide enough low gear to steep climb hills.
    I can't load the GT picture either. However, looking at the part spec (I don't see any geometry details), I can't say that I'm too impressed. The crank is geared too high for a touring bike and they don't even list the cassette. The price isn't all that impressive either.

    The REI Randonee is okay but not as cheap as the Peace tour. A Surly LHT complete is outstanding and, I think, the best mass produced touring bike around. Same price as the Randonee...about $1200. The Windsor Tourist is a Fuji Tour in drag but it's got shorter chainstays than the Surly. If you have heel strike problems, the Surly will solve that problem handily while the Windsor and the Randonee might not.

    On a side note: Threadless is far better than threaded. It's not prone to loosening like threaded is and it's easier to adjust and install. If you want to change a stem for any reason, it's a 30 second operation that requires only one tool.

    Disc brakes? Meh. They work. They aren't way better than rims since in wet conditions, the brakes are the limiting factor but the tire adhesion is. The technique you use for braking has more of an influence on braking power than the mechanism in any condition. They do make rack and fender mounting more complicated. They also aren't particularly delicate but they are sensitive to set up since there's not much clearance between the pad and the rotor.
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