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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 09-02-12, 11:46 AM   #1
northerntier
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Big guy, got 4k, want to ride across country

I'm thinking nothing would beat a co-motion americano, disc brakes, probably switch chainrings down to 44-22, friction shifters on a derailleur.

I've ridden west coast, a couple other long rides. Did most of them on an LHT (frame crumpled from an accident) and a rohloff thorn nomad mk2. The thorn is awesome, but 1) the rohloff is adding drag. Might be able to fix this, but more importantly 2) gear range is limited . 11-34 and 44-33-22 would give me pretty much the same low end (17.5"), but a 108" high end, as opposed to the thorn's 90.6".

Any other bikes I should consider?

I should add that I have all the other gear, ortlieb and arkel panniers, as well as a bob. Just need a new bike :-).

Thanks,
pete

Last edited by northerntier; 09-02-12 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 09-02-12, 02:58 PM   #2
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Big and tall -> 25 incher. See if you can find a NoS C-dale t-series frame.
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Old 09-02-12, 03:22 PM   #3
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With 4K, you aren't really limited in what you buy. You can go with anything off the rack and still make all the gearing and part swaps you want. You could also go custom with a Rivendell, Waterford, Bob Jackson or even a Zinn (builds lots of customs for really big guys), then build it up yourself with the parts you want. Your budget isn't going to limit you as much as your sensibilities. Do you see your bike simply as a tool, or is it a piece of craftsmanship or art. My personal preference is lugged steel, for the craftsmanship and aesthetic. Given your budget, I would take a frame building class like UBI and walk away with a frame designed and built by me. That is definitely not everybody's cup of tea though.
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Old 09-02-12, 04:11 PM   #4
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Are we talking $4K for just the bike or $4K for bike and the trip?

Buy what makes you happy, but for sure you don't need to spend anywhere near that to cross the US. I know that I did it once on a new $600 bike and again on a used bike that could easily be found for $300-500.

I think that on the TA my total expenses were something like $2500 including daily expenses, airfare, the bike, and most of the gear. So buy a $4k bike if you can afford it and it makes you happy, but if money is at all tight buy something cheaper and save the money for touring expenses.
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Old 09-02-12, 08:11 PM   #5
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No, just for the bike. I went down 2000 miles of the west coast on an LHT and was very happy. However, at this point I want to invest in a bike that will last me for a decade. I'm not interested in pinching pennies on it. My buddies like to compare their BMW's; I have no interest in that.

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Are we talking $4K for just the bike or $4K for bike and the trip?

Buy what makes you happy, but for sure you don't need to spend anywhere near that to cross the US. I know that I did it once on a new $600 bike and again on a used bike that could easily be found for $300-500.

I think that on the TA my total expenses were something like $2500 including daily expenses, airfare, the bike, and most of the gear. So buy a $4k bike if you can afford it and it makes you happy, but if money is at all tight buy something cheaper and save the money for touring expenses.
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Old 09-02-12, 09:28 PM   #6
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Pete: How about a custom Rodriguez UTB? If you don't get S&S couplers, for $4K you can get a real awesome custom bike. I also wanted a versatile bike for touring, randonneuring and venturing off-road. They nailed everything down with a super comfortable ride to top it off. Since you are a big guy, I would suggest investing in the best wheelset you can afford. Here is a report on my UTB, if you're interested.

As far as gearing, I went with a Shimano M590 48/36/26 crankset and swapped the smallest chainring for a 22t. Cassette is a 9 spd 11-34. The combination has proven successful for all kinds of terrain and grades. For loaded touring a very low gearing is key.

Last edited by Chris Pringle; 09-02-12 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 09-03-12, 04:39 AM   #7
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No, just for the bike. I went down 2000 miles of the west coast on an LHT and was very happy. However, at this point I want to invest in a bike that will last me for a decade. I'm not interested in pinching pennies on it. My buddies like to compare their BMW's; I have no interest in that.
a limited production or custom bike won't last any longer than the LHT. If you're looking for something different than the LHT can you articulate it?
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Old 09-03-12, 05:24 AM   #8
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a limited production or custom bike won't last any longer than the LHT. If you're looking for something different than the LHT can you articulate it?
I disagree. A Co-Motion or thorn frame is built stronger and will last longer than an LHT, especially for a big guy. A Phil Wood hub should last forever. And not only last forever, but be so good I shouldn't (not saying won't) feel the need to upgrade it.
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Old 09-03-12, 06:01 AM   #9
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northerntier, Have you looked at the Bruce Gordon bicycles? Exceptional quality with many years of catering to the tourer.

Brad

http://www.bgcycles.com/index.html
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Old 09-03-12, 08:14 AM   #10
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If you like your Nomad but not so much the Rohloff, then the Thorn Sherpa is certainly worth consideration!
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Old 09-03-12, 08:24 AM   #11
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I disagree. A Co-Motion or thorn frame is built stronger and will last longer than an LHT, especially for a big guy. A Phil Wood hub should last forever. And not only last forever, but be so good I shouldn't (not saying won't) feel the need to upgrade it.
You broke your LHT in an accident, same can happen with a Co-motion. If a LHT isn't able to carry your weight and gear comfortably then sure something beefier would be desirable but you didn't give the impression the LHT was inadequate for the load. I could see a lot of reasons for something other than 700c LHT from a handling standpoint.

For a touring bike I think of the mundane kind of damage that can happen to top tubes if the bike falls over and hits something. What gauge of tubing does the Americano have midtube compared to the LHT?

Last edited by LeeG; 09-03-12 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 09-03-12, 10:18 AM   #12
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A Phil Wood hub should last forever. And not only last forever, but be so good I shouldn't (not saying won't) feel the need to upgrade it.
Phil Wood is a good hub, but I've had two of them break down.
First one January 8th 2002 in New Zealand: http://www.mvermeulen.com/oneyear/Journal/january01.htm
Second one December 5th 2007 in Thailand: http://china.bikerussia.com/2007/12/...e-breaks-down/

Phil Wood replaced the mechanism in both cases. I had more than 10,000 loaded touring miles on each when they went and I'll buy again. However, the expectation that they last forever isn't true in my experience.
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Old 09-03-12, 12:00 PM   #13
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One thing about custom bikes is that based on the dimensions and weight of the client plus the purpose for the bike, a good builder will estimate the correct tubing gauge and/or quality. Unlike a Surly LHT or similar off-the-rack touring bikes in which all bikes use the same standard tubing, this is normally not set in stone for a custom bike builder at the level of Co-Motion. For example, when I had my Rodriguez touring bike built, they used Reynolds 725 for most of the frame, True Temper's Platinum OX tubing for the seatstays and Tange "tandem quality" for the fork that was spec'd for disc brakes. The result is a bike that rides really well both unloaded (randonneuring, gravel grinding) or heavily laded (touring.)

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Old 09-03-12, 12:32 PM   #14
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+1, Add Petaluma's Bruce Gordon to the builders list ..

his bike frames and his pannier racks are excellent.

I got a set of his racks over 25 years ago and changed bikes under them..


A different sort, cross town from CoMo. is bike friday,
that Eugene company makes a travel-Touring bike
Designed to partially fold and knock down to fit in a suitcase

so to bypass the special handling fees
that bikes in boxes are charged, by most air carriers.

My commuter now is one of their Pocket Llamas, a great build.
Rohloff disc Brakes SON dyno hub, thudbuster seatpost..

It can go with me on holidays too. easier
than the 700c wheel touring rig I used on several long overseas tours.

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-03-12 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 09-03-12, 03:51 PM   #15
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If it was my money I would get a custom frame with beautiful lug work.
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Old 09-03-12, 04:58 PM   #16
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If it was my money I would get a custom frame with beautiful lug work.
I'd want 6mm bosses for racks, beefy but curved fork, bottle opener...
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Old 09-03-12, 05:06 PM   #17
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Rivendell bikes are nice. They make big ones too.
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