Myself and a few friends have decided to bike accross europe this summer and i was looking for some advice on getting a touring bike. (as i'm guessing my €120 realagh will not do the trick)
I was looking to spend about €500 on it. Would i be better going for a better bike at a higher cost? the problem is that i'm almost 2m tall and 120kg so buying a bike at the best of times is fun. i can guess that with paniers (sorry, new word and cant spell) that it's going to have to be some bike to take me.
1 mtb converted for commuting (actually, collecting dust in the garage), a LHT with "durable components"
i spent around €314 on my mtb for touring, i bought her in spain so it might be more expensive in other countries. she´s got very casual parts and she´s not steel, but we toured several time and haven´t had too much problem.
i would say you don´t spend too much money this time on the bike because you might not know if you´ll like it or not. if you do then that´s good, if you don´t then it doesn´t hurt that much. but be sure to get a frame that has braze-ons for racks.
I did a tour of S Ireland in a Raleigh Pioneer rental bike.
I know plenty of people who tour on low end bikes. The Raleigh is about the lowest grade that is usable, and I would have no problem using one again. What style of bike is yours (MTB, hybrid?).
Work out the cost of the upgrades to make your bike more reliable:
There are some components which could be usefully upgraded. The bottom bracket should be exchanged for a Shimano UN52 (standard, reliable cartridge).
The wheels should be checked and tuned by a good bike shop. Make sure you have good kevlar-banded touring tyres (Continental Top Touring, Schwalbe Marathon).
You find that rear panneirs are enough. I have a cheap copy of a Blackburn rack that is very good. There are ways to fit a front pannier if you dont have the threaded eyelets halfway up your fork blades.
Start the tour with new chain and good quality brake blocks.
Compare this with the cost of a fully kitted out new tour-worthy bike. Depending on the country, this may be called a trecking or hybrid or touring bike. Giant and Treck are two companies that are found everywhere , but smaller no-name brands are often better value.