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  1. #1
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    Getting a new bike, some touring questions...

    I've been wanting to do some touring for a while now, starting out with short 'weekend trips' and moving up to several hundred mile trips eventually, so nothing really demanding. I would also love to have a decent road bike [the bikes in my sig are the bikes that are mine, in our garage we have a number of other bikes spanning from old Motobecanes to an unconventional Klein -but those are not mine and I really don't want to be riding them because of that and other reasons, plus there is always the N+1 rule to consider. Must be careful not to break the rules, right?]

    Since I have been commuting on my Dawes -11miles each way usually- sometimes with a heavy load, sometimes very minimal load, I would like to aim for a medium-light load with touring. I really want to avoid going the route of a full touring bike because I would load it up with useless junk and it would weigh 100+lbs in no time, and going ultra light is not that attractive to me as I like a bit of comfort when camping and cooking/ eating and am fine with hauling it.


    700c
    What I have been thinking was to get a decent road bike [$0-1000+ for the bike itself -not including add-ons like bags and stuff. I've been looking at new $800-1000 bikes, with discounts later in the year/ soon they would be closer to $600-900], the problem is most don't have rear rack mounts [and rear racks on road bikes have heal strike on my size 12's, plus the weight sits a bit high], and they usually have carbon forks. I think If I get a road bike like that I can replace the front fork with a steel one that has low-rider mounts and add a decent front rack [one with a 'top' so I can put things like a duffel bag with random stuff and a sleeping bag/ blanket and mat on there], then panniers in the front as low riders for normal stuff [the lower center of gravity should help], and if that isn't enough a medium sized saddle bag could be attached to the seatpost.


    I have never ridden with front rack/ panniers so I don't know how viable it is to tour like that, and how that would change the handling [it should just 'dampen' the steering, right? and the lower center of gravity should help handling compared to rear rack/ panniers]. I also have not ridden on a 'cheap' aluminum road frame, is the ride difference going to factor into it with a medium front load, me, and maybe a saddle bag; and would there be any conceivable issue with switching the fork out that I wouldn't know about?
    I plan to go to a LBS today to test ride a few Fuji's and whatever else they have, but a few minutes around a parking lot does not equate to a few miles of riding, let alone a tour. Would steel be the way to go, or should the [cheaper] aluminum road frames do fine in terms of feel/ ride with a front load?



    Off-road options:

    And how could I not consider the Salsa bikes like the the Fargo -I don't want to rule out off-road touring and trails, who wants to breathe exhaust all day? I could probably use my K2 for that if I upgraded it a bit [I'm already planning on overhauling it so I can do winter commuting on it -new tires, new disc brake pads, new chain, saddle, maybe a new bar and some other stuff] and I have a halfway decent rear rack for it, plus it has disc brakes...

    And while I could get a front rack for the Fargo, the viability of traveling off-road with panniers could be, shall I say, questionable... So I may need to keep it to handle bar bags, seat bags, or maybe a trunk bag on a front/ rear rack stuff stacked on the rack. I think it could work almost as well, though panniers could be a viable option as well.

    The problem with the off-roaders is they wouldn't be as sporty/ fast on the road as a decent road bike because of the geometry and gears, and to a small extent the tires. But then again they can go off pavement without throwing a fit.




    I realize I'm talking about two ends of the spectrum above, I'm really just overwhelmed with the options out there and am looking for advice on a bike primarily for medium length/ weight touring [mostly road for starters; but road and unpaved would be nice in the future], and secondarily for riding around/ with friends/ ect as my Dawes is ok, but with one gear option it can be a bit hard on me when the wind or hills show up unexpectedly, and with me sustainable speed is capped to 22-24 and max sprint is just over 30... Ideally I would get a Salsa Fargo and a road bike, but the Fargo's price is already a bit more than I want to spend exactly... my spec's are: 160lbs, 6ft tall and size 12 or 13 wide shoes, 32.5" inseam if I remember right.

    My Options:
    1) new road bike [probably aluminum, also I'd add wide-ish tires eventually] plus after market steel fork and some touring gear for it + minor winter update to my K2
    2) new Fargo or similar mountainbike/ touring machine and a very small amount of extra stuff [its a bit expensive] + minor winter update to my K2
    3) basically #1 but with several hundred more in the K2 later down the line
    4) ***write in an option***

    With option 3: I love the idea of using my K2 as a off-road touring bike, and maybe a remodel budget of $400 wouldn't be too bad, plus I could use most of the gear from my road touring bike. But I don't know how it would fare as a off-road touring bike [though riding it into the ground would be a much more dignified life for it than just sitting there]. With option 2: I don't know how a Fargo would fare as a road touring bike [probably, not as fast/ nimble on roads as a road bike would be] and as a geared bike riding with friends on the road it won't fare as well.
    I ride my bikes...

  2. #2
    nun
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    You could do a lot worse than a Bianchi Volpe. It's got all the rack mounts you need, good tire clearance, new is only just over $1k, but I bet you can find a deal

    http://www.bianchiusa.com/bikes/road/steel/volpe/

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    Thanks for the reply, that is just the sort of thing I've been looking for, I'll have to ride out to one of the dealers and try it out this weekend!

    To throw a wrench in the spokes as it were: I did test ride a few bikes yesterday, and the one I liked the most was a 2010 [though they claimed 2011, and I doubt it] Fuji Cross Pro bike at a clearance of $1,300 [I could maybe talk them down to $1200 or even $1100 or lower if I can think up a good reason], it rode smooth and the SRAM Rival brifters felt leaps and bounds better and more refined than the 105's and Tiagras, though it did have the 'bump' where the shifter meets the bar at the top [could be corrected for], and the brake levers actually felt usable unlike the weird shape and orientation on the Shimano stuff... I will need to test ride some more bikes, and most certainly consider cost of the bike and extras it needs, but I don't really see spending comparable money on a bike with Shimano brifters as I plan to use this bike a lot and want to enjoy it; and 'upgrading' them on a bike that doesn't come with them would be really cost preventive. It had a carbon fork, but the back did have the rack mount hardware which would allow for a normal touring setup. The specs are here http://2010.fujibikes.com/Specialty/.../CrossPro.aspx


    EDIT: From what I see the advantage to something like the cyclecross style is it can double as my on road and off-road light touring bike [would probably replace the fork before doing a significant amount though. It does have a slightly longer chainstay than most bikes at 430mm], and it is agile/ fast enough to be a decent road bike [though, I think wide slicks would be called for]. One thing that is a downside/ upside is that it has a compact double on the crank which limits my low end and high end slightly, but it makes using and adjusting the shifter a lot easier as its just two positions.
    Last edited by Agent 9; 09-19-12 at 04:42 PM.
    I ride my bikes...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Yes, definitely look at more cyclocross bikes. Plenty of them come with fender/rack mounts. Many come with steel forks that are probably better for touring. Check out the Surly Cross Check, which should be available at local shops in your area.

    I have two BikesDirect cross bikes - a Fantom CXX and a Fantom CX frame/fork built up with components I took from another bike. I like both of them a lot, and they were very affordable.

    I used to have a 2005 Bianchi Volpe, which I also liked a lot. Don't know how much the model has changed since then. The geometry of mine was basically cyclocross, but the ride was cushier than my present bikes.
    Last edited by Spld cyclist; 09-19-12 at 06:17 PM.

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    There is no compromise with a compact double if you don't need a gear lower than 27"

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    A9, The Fuji is a nice bike, but I vote for the Volpe as via my older daughter I've years of living with one. I've rebuilt into more of a roadie for her, but it's quite off road capable and it looks from the photo that mid mounts have been added to the fork.

    Brad

  7. #7
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    OP, is there some reason you're not looking at touring bikes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent 9 View Post
    I've been wanting to do some touring for a while now, starting out with short 'weekend trips' and moving up to several hundred mile trips eventually, so nothing really demanding. I would also love to have a decent road bike [the bikes in my sig are the bikes that are mine, in our garage we have a number of other bikes spanning from old Motobecanes to an unconventional Klein -but those are not mine and I really don't want to be riding them because of that and other reasons, plus there is always the N+1 rule to consider. Must be careful not to break the rules, right?]

    Since I have been commuting on my Dawes -11miles each way usually- sometimes with a heavy load, sometimes very minimal load, I would like to aim for a medium-light load with touring. I really want to avoid going the route of a full touring bike because I would load it up with useless junk and it would weigh 100+lbs in no time, and going ultra light is not that attractive to me as I like a bit of comfort when camping and cooking/ eating and am fine with hauling it.


    700c
    What I have been thinking was to get a decent road bike [$0-1000+ for the bike itself -not including add-ons like bags and stuff. I've been looking at new $800-1000 bikes, with discounts later in the year/ soon they would be closer to $600-900], the problem is most don't have rear rack mounts [and rear racks on road bikes have heal strike on my size 12's, plus the weight sits a bit high], and they usually have carbon forks. I think If I get a road bike like that I can replace the front fork with a steel one that has low-rider mounts and add a decent front rack [one with a 'top' so I can put things like a duffel bag with random stuff and a sleeping bag/ blanket and mat on there], then panniers in the front as low riders for normal stuff [the lower center of gravity should help], and if that isn't enough a medium sized saddle bag could be attached to the seatpost.


    I have never ridden with front rack/ panniers so I don't know how viable it is to tour like that, and how that would change the handling [it should just 'dampen' the steering, right? and the lower center of gravity should help handling compared to rear rack/ panniers]. I also have not ridden on a 'cheap' aluminum road frame, is the ride difference going to factor into it with a medium front load, me, and maybe a saddle bag; and would there be any conceivable issue with switching the fork out that I wouldn't know about?
    I plan to go to a LBS today to test ride a few Fuji's and whatever else they have, but a few minutes around a parking lot does not equate to a few miles of riding, let alone a tour. Would steel be the way to go, or should the [cheaper] aluminum road frames do fine in terms of feel/ ride with a front load?



    Off-road options:

    And how could I not consider the Salsa bikes like the the Fargo -I don't want to rule out off-road touring and trails, who wants to breathe exhaust all day? I could probably use my K2 for that if I upgraded it a bit [I'm already planning on overhauling it so I can do winter commuting on it -new tires, new disc brake pads, new chain, saddle, maybe a new bar and some other stuff] and I have a halfway decent rear rack for it, plus it has disc brakes...

    And while I could get a front rack for the Fargo, the viability of traveling off-road with panniers could be, shall I say, questionable... So I may need to keep it to handle bar bags, seat bags, or maybe a trunk bag on a front/ rear rack stuff stacked on the rack. I think it could work almost as well, though panniers could be a viable option as well.

    The problem with the off-roaders is they wouldn't be as sporty/ fast on the road as a decent road bike because of the geometry and gears, and to a small extent the tires. But then again they can go off pavement without throwing a fit.




    I realize I'm talking about two ends of the spectrum above, I'm really just overwhelmed with the options out there and am looking for advice on a bike primarily for medium length/ weight touring [mostly road for starters; but road and unpaved would be nice in the future], and secondarily for riding around/ with friends/ ect as my Dawes is ok, but with one gear option it can be a bit hard on me when the wind or hills show up unexpectedly, and with me sustainable speed is capped to 22-24 and max sprint is just over 30... Ideally I would get a Salsa Fargo and a road bike, but the Fargo's price is already a bit more than I want to spend exactly... my spec's are: 160lbs, 6ft tall and size 12 or 13 wide shoes, 32.5" inseam if I remember right.

    My Options:
    1) new road bike [probably aluminum, also I'd add wide-ish tires eventually] plus after market steel fork and some touring gear for it + minor winter update to my K2
    2) new Fargo or similar mountainbike/ touring machine and a very small amount of extra stuff [its a bit expensive] + minor winter update to my K2
    3) basically #1 but with several hundred more in the K2 later down the line
    4) ***write in an option***

    With option 3: I love the idea of using my K2 as a off-road touring bike, and maybe a remodel budget of $400 wouldn't be too bad, plus I could use most of the gear from my road touring bike. But I don't know how it would fare as a off-road touring bike [though riding it into the ground would be a much more dignified life for it than just sitting there]. With option 2: I don't know how a Fargo would fare as a road touring bike [probably, not as fast/ nimble on roads as a road bike would be] and as a geared bike riding with friends on the road it won't fare as well.
    You may want a rando bike that will take fat tires, probably up to 700x40c would be fine. Don't consider a pure cross bike because they are only designed for racing and portaging, not longer type riding. And their construction means their tubes are less beefed up for panniers which can affect ride quality and handling.

    A rando dirt bike which are on some cross bikes with braze-ons for pannier racks mean that the bike's geometry is designed to handle the load. There is a reason why they don't put braze-ons on race bikes.

    I was in your situation earlier this year when my only off-road touring rig got destroyed. It was a full suspension MTB. I got a Masi Speciale CX because it has braze-ons for front and rear racks. The front braze-ons on a traditional curved trail fork is somewhat done right to give you a lower CG on the front panniers with Tubus or Salsa Low Rider racks, stable steering with no death shimmy syndrome due to front gyroscopic effects at high speeds. If you try to bolt on something like the OMM front rack on a non braze-on front rack, it will put the front panniers center of gravity (CG) much high and will effect steering. I choose the Masi due to the fact that the fitting is exactly the same as my Trek with the exception that it is 1 inch shorter and 1.5inch higher on the handlebar which is a typical cross bike fitting geometry. The Masi is slightly slower than my Trek carbon bike on group rides, and this is due to the heavier 700x38c Schwalbe Marathon Pluses I have on.

    I considered the Salsa Fargo myself, but unfortunately, the frame in the smallest size is too big for me.

    You can go down to a 25" gear with a 11-36SLX rear cassette and Deore modification. To get even lower, replace the front with something like a Rene Herse double crankset from Compass Cycles (Jan Heine) and you can get super low on the smaller ring. This Masi in this current package now is lighter than the Surly, Soma, Raleigh and Kona Sutra trucks that are being championed now. My friend who has a Kona Sutra was shocked to lift my bike up with pannier racks and it felt heck of lot lighter than his Sutra.
    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)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're looking for a "gravel grinder" bike... A combo of road (rando)/cross/light touring/MTB bike. It's a growing niche, but still relatively small. Surly and Salsa (definitely the latter) are currently pretty much the only few brands (both under QBP) that produce these kind of bikes somewhat inexpensively. The rest are custom or small builders. Here are few other options that might be of your interest:

    * Salsa Casseroll - They just discontinued it this summer, so I bet you can pick one right now at a really nice price.
    * Rawland Nordavinden - Will need to build it from the frameset up. Will need to stretch your budget to build one complete.
    * Black Mountain Cycles - Same as above but less expensive frameset (very nice, too!)

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the replies guys!

    Alright, an update... I have been in need of a geared 'road' bike for some time now, and would love to be able to tour on it lightly [not a great load] but primarily it will be a road and trails bike for commuting and riding for fun. I want to get it ASAP so I can get used to it and start doing a few short weekend tours with family/ friends before it turns to winter. Of all the bikes I've tried I really liked the Cyclocross bikes the most as they feel a lot like road bikes with just a few properties of mountain bikes tossed in for good measure.

    So before pacificcyclist even responded I had been looking at the Masi; after thinking it over a lot I've just about decided on getting a Masi Speciale CX [2011, seems barely touched, size 56 -I'm riding a 58 on my SST and it is a tad large] from a LBS. It is a nice steel framed 'cyclocross' bike with rear and front rack mounts, is pretty light, and has decent Tigira components, decent looking wheel set to start on, $1100 I think it was for the bike, a bit high I think but then again its hard to find a decent steel 'touring' bike that doesn't drive like a truck or cost a lot more, or with the bike shop being over 20miles from me. I was thinking that as a first road riding/ touring/ trail riding bike it will be a good starting point for me and I can go from there in a year or two [by then I'll probably have my mountain bike overhauled for winter riding and more off-road type touring in spring/ summer anyways]


    So, should I go for the Masi and get some gear with the saved money? I've been thinking about switching to clip less peddles and may try that at the LBS, I also need to get new cycling gloves/ shorts/ jersey/ ect... I have a new cycle computer on its way in with some other odds and ends, and I have lights and some other bike stuff, plus most of the useful tools; and I will be building a custom rear and maybe front rack to accommodate the bags I'll use -at least to test and see how it goes. Anything else?
    Unless I'm missing something, the Masi has the versatility to be a decent steel road bike [albeit a tad heavy], should be able to handle mild trail/ off road use, and be used as a light to medium load road tourer.

    The plan is whatever I get I will leave it mostly stock for a few weeks while I commute on it and do a few weekend tours, then see what I would want to change and add/ replace.


    This has a quick run-down of the specs http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...e#.UGVB3VHt-nD
    I ride my bikes...

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    For the benefit of those that might read this thread in the future I'll give an update to this thread.

    I had a little money down on a cross bike [after taxes its total was just over $1000], but I decided it was really just going to be a road bike with slightly larger tires for me, and thus it wouldn't offer me much more than what I already had in one way or another. Since this was a few weeks after I thought I'd be buying a bike I had more money to spend, so I went and got a Surly Necromancer Pugsley from a local bike shop and a set of barely used Black Floyd 'slicks' from ebay [average rolling speed is 16-20mph with them, and they roll quite well]; I also have a Windsor Fens road bike on its way in [I know its a Bikes Direct bike, but $700 for a mostly 105 equipped bike is great and leaves money to upgrade some stuff and customize it some, if not just totally swap the frame and wheels out and have a really fancy mostly 105 equipped road warrior for a nice price]


    One is a monster truck of a steel bike with awesome tires and mounts galore, while the other is an aluminum road bike with rear rack mounts and some decent components. I could have gone any number of ways but I think increasing my budget to get only a 'decent' road bike [Fens with some upgraded things] and an awesome pure fun bike [Pugsley] is the best I could have done, especially with winter on its way [Now I want there to be some snow!!!] It would be awesome to do a winter overnight tour or similar.


    My Pugs on its first day, its now been a bit over a week and it has 80miles I put on it in the mud and on pavement, It should work great for touring off main roads, or slower traditional touring.

    It will never be that clean again!
    I ride my bikes...

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    Whoa, dude the backlash is crazy in this thread.

    Pugsley s cool.

    Heavy touring is not a 100 pounds deal. I would put it closer to 40 pounds, plus whatever food or water you need for more than normal spacings of re-supply. Of course it can be any number, but 40 will get you all the basic gear, tools, spares, etc... You can start to cut stuff in half, toothbrushes; tarp no lower tent; top of sleeping bag no bottom; torso half of pad, no leg section; and so forth... Under the right conditions, and with the right experience, these can be better options, and they will take your weight well down.

    Since almost all bikes can be used for some aspect of touring, it is not surprising that cross bikes please their share of riders. That said, it is a bit of a myth that there is some particular fit there. Cross is a pretty special discipline, and I don't know of any designers who would choose that form if they were starting with a blank sheet of paper. There is a trend, I am told, back to a more road like geometry in cross bikes, with the realization that many courses do not need the high BBs that have been popular. However whether this thinking will filter into the dusty designs that are executed in steel with rack mounts is anyone's guess, and that is just one feature that is not ideal.

  13. #13
    Senior Member TiBikeGuy's Avatar
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    http://recklesscognition.wordpress.c...e-touring-1-2/

    If you want Aluminium frame, you could go for the Cannondale t1 touring bike, Made in USA with long chainstays (good for rear panniers heal clearence) and the fork has eyelets for front racks and fenders. I don't see this model in their current catalog, but some bike shops may still have them in their inventory.

    I have a Cannondale H600 hybrid, and I can say they make really good quality frames. Had mine since '93 and it is still going places...

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    Nun recommended a Bianchi earlier; http://www.bianchiusa.com/bikes/road/steel/volpe/

    Having read all your post I now agree with that recommendation as it meets all your requirements that are clearly stated. No way to know if any of the rest of the ramblings amounts to a must do requirement for you or not. Your call there. I would want it with flat bars and brifters... and given that, there are several bikes on bikes direct site that fit for less money

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    For a little breakdown of why I went the way I did: months ago I was looking at full on touring bikes, but their heavier frames, and gearing are not as nice for fast light weight cycling with friends on the road [though they can handle some rougher roads thanks to their wider tires and strong wheels], and as I didn't want a bike to use only for touring I went looking at cyclocross bikes as they offered a lot of a 'road bike' geometry and build with the ability to take wider tires and still a decnet load. I had money down on a Masi Speciale CX but when I went back to the LBS to try it again there were three assembled Pugsley monsters just begging to be tested, and tested they were! The Masi didn't stand a chance between it being pricy, not the greatest of components, and its handling, so I decided to not get the Masi, instead I decided two dedicated bikes [one for off road and one for on road riding] instead of one that was only ok at both [but tending to the on-road side]

    I just let the money sit for a few weeks while I thought on it all, then I decided and got a Necromancer Pugs for the capability [fun winter riding on top of everything else] and the sheer fun it is. When fat bikes are involved nothing seems to matter except having fun, 'Rationality' and 'budget' go out the window and you are left with few worries and a bundle of fun [Its impossible to understand unless you have test ridden one a lot or own one]

    As for the Bikes Direct bike, I had the Pugs as an off-road bike so I needed a full on road bike and I decided after dropping about $2000 on the Pugs that I'd rather get a more conservative road bike that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg, which left Bikes Direct as the only real option as I wasn't going to buy used for my main road bike, and LBS prices are high for the amount of bike you get [Sora components SUCK in a big way, Tiagra is alright but the 105 parts are a tick above them -but bikes with above Sora grade components are expensive]. I decided on the Fens because it is a mostly 105 bike with decent stock wheels, rear rack capable, decent ~20lb weight, plus it was normally $800 and is 'on sale' for $700 shipped.
    I am only entertaining the idea of a new frame and wheels now, if the stock provides a decent ride I will ride the snot out of the frame and wheel set until they either brake or my needs/wants change and I get a frame or wheels to suit them.


    As for the touring I plan to do on the bikes, most likely it will be pretty light weight touring with mostly water and ready made food [or campfire food], camping gear, and a change of cloths and maybe spare shoes, then whatever is needed for my bike; so lightweight to ultra lightweight... but if I decide to do a fully loaded tour I think I'd use a trailer of some kind.



    Ultimately, for me, having two bikes should work out better: for one I live car as car free as possible and if I trashed one bike toruing [or riding it on the road or offroad] then I would be left with my old K2 and single speed, until it was fixed; with two decent bikes If one is out of service for a bit it isn't too big a deal. The problem is the money spent to get those two bikes [I ended up selling a few computers I had around -breaking old habits to fund my bike hobby ]



    I really did, and do, appreciate all the recommendations given to me here, and from what everyone else has posted on this forum and others in the past, and I thought hard on all of them. But things like a local LBS carrying them, age of parts [I found I didn't like the way some shifters worked], grade of parts, usability, versatility, price value [a lot of bikes seemed to be a bit high in price for the components and frames that are nothing really special; then add tax to that cost as well], and some other things...
    Certainly there are better bikes out there than what I'm getting and have [I'm sure no matter what I get that would always be true], in the end though as long as I ride a well functioning bike and have fun doing so that is all that matters.

    Thanks for everyone's help, and for being awesome. I'll post some of my findings in the Touring section after I do some riding on the bikes so it could maybe help some, or at least be entertaining!
    I ride my bikes...

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