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Old 11-16-12, 10:49 AM   #1
chefisaac
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1 step closer!

It's been a slow process to get everything for touring and will be for a little bit. But today was a huge step forward.... I purchased two sets of panniers.... Ortlieb yellow fronts and Ortlieb yellow back panniers. he he he !!!!

Cannot be the 30% REI winter sale!
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Old 11-16-12, 11:28 AM   #2
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Congrats! It's always exciting to get new toys. I bought a complete set of Caradice Super C panniers in September that I still haven't been able to use. Hopefully I will be able to do a short overnighter on Sun and Mon to finally get to try them out.*
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Old 11-16-12, 11:40 AM   #3
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Congrats! It's always exciting to get new toys. I bought a complete set of Caradice Super C panniers in September that I still haven't been able to use. Hopefully I will be able to do a short overnighter on Sun and Mon to finally get to try them out.*
Next step is a touring bike. Looking at a custom made one and found this company in Philly. Came highly regarded by the head mechanic at my shop: http://www.bilenky.com/Midlands_Main_Page.html
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Old 11-16-12, 12:20 PM   #4
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Next step is a touring bike. Looking at a custom made one and found this company in Philly. Came highly regarded by the head mechanic at my shop: http://www.bilenky.com/Midlands_Main_Page.html
Heh. Give yourself a LONG lead time. They took months just to add S&S couplers to my friend's bike. However, they did help me out on the spot several years ago. I needed some bolt holes in a rack enlarged slightly in order to retrofit it to a new bike. Niether Trophy nor Via Bicycle would do it for fear of liability. They thought enlarging the holes would leave to little metal and that the rack would crack and possibly cause an accident. Bilenky came to mind so I took a drive up there one morning. (The place is literally up against the tracks next to an old junk yard in a less than nice area of town.) I told my sob story to one of the guys there. He looked at the rack and opined that there would be plenty of metal left and said "We'll drill holes in anything as long as it's not ours." He did the job, refused to take any money offered me something to eat and gave me a tour of the shop. After insisting that they take some money, the guy said "Give me $9." I looked in my wallet. It contained exactly nine one dollar bills. Before I left, he told me to tell the owner of Via Bicycle that he was a word I cannot use on BF for not wanting to do the job.

Great cast of characters at Bilenky. They used to have a rock band at one time. Maybe they still do. Say hello to Tom for me if you go up there. Former mechanic at Trophy who I hear works there now. Nice guy, and he has done some touring.
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Old 11-16-12, 12:28 PM   #5
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Heh. Give yourself a LONG lead time. They took months just to add S&S couplers to my friend's bike. However, they did help me out on the spot several years ago. I needed some bolt holes in a rack enlarged slightly in order to retrofit it to a new bike. Niether Trophy nor Via Bicycle would do it for fear of liability. They thought enlarging the holes would leave to little metal and that the rack would crack and possibly cause an accident. Bilenky came to mind so I took a drive up there one morning. (The place is literally up against the tracks next to an old junk yard in a less than nice area of town.) I told my sob story to one of the guys there. He looked at the rack and opined that there would be plenty of metal left and said "We'll drill holes in anything as long as it's not ours." He did the job, refused to take any money offered me something to eat and gave me a tour of the shop. After insisting that they take some money, the guy said "Give me $9." I looked in my wallet. It contained exactly nine one dollar bills. Before I left, he told me to tell the owner of Via Bicycle that he was a word I cannot use on BF for not wanting to do the job.

Great cast of characters at Bilenky. They used to have a rock band at one time. Maybe they still do. Say hello to Tom for me if you go up there. Former mechanic at Trophy who I hear works there now. Nice guy, and he has done some touring.
What kind of touring bike do you have?

I talked with them on the phone and the lady was so nice. Stephen, the owner, was out but she helped me out a lot. Will go over there for a visit.

Their bikes seem expensive but I know it is just sticker shock and I know deep down it is worth it vs buying just off the shelf. I think with this touring bike, I need to get it built for me.
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Old 11-16-12, 12:50 PM   #6
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What kind of touring bike do you have?

I talked with them on the phone and the lady was so nice. Stephen, the owner, was out but she helped me out a lot. Will go over there for a visit.

Their bikes seem expensive but I know it is just sticker shock and I know deep down it is worth it vs buying just off the shelf. I think with this touring bike, I need to get it built for me.
I have an LHT. Perfectly suitable for paved and unpaved surfaces. Wouldn't hesitate to ride across the country on it. Saw several people doing so last year. Comes in a wide range of sizes. All sizes available with 26" wheels if you want them. (Smaller sizes only come with 26" wheels.) They even make a disc version. Trophy often has some in stock to try.
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Old 11-16-12, 01:23 PM   #7
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Their bikes seem expensive but I know it is just sticker shock and I know deep down it is worth it vs buying just off the shelf. I think with this touring bike, I need to get it built for me.
Only you can say if it is worth it or not. It isn't to me. I might feel otherwise if I was difficult to fit with an off the shelf bike.

I could probably afford custom, but I happily rode the TransAmerica and several other longish tours on a $599 (delivered) Windsor Touring. I have since very happily ridden the Southern Tier on a 1990-ish Cannondale criterium racing bike (the kind of bike that can probably be found for ~$300). The latter was with a very minimalist packing style, so it may not have worked out as well if carrying more. In neither case were the specifics of the bike itself a huge factor in how much I enjoyed the tours.

FWIW the crit bike was a real conversation starter with former racers crawling out of the woodwork to look at it and comment/ask questions.

If having a custom bike will give you joy, go for it, but you may also be able to happily tour one an inexpensive ride if that suits you.
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Old 11-16-12, 01:57 PM   #8
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Chefisaac: Congrats on the purchase. It's a step in the right direction. Ortlieb panniers are rarely on sale.

Concur that a custom touring bike is not necessary at all. Going custom makes sense if you need a bike for unique body measurements (too tall, too short) and/or want features that are difficult to find on most standard framesets: special wheel size, disc brakes, S&S couplers, IGH, etc.

I am personally very passionate about bikes, love to travel and wanted something special for my 40th birthday. I went with a custom bike. This is my only custom bike in my small stable and most likely the only one I will have for many years. This bike serves me really well for the kind of riding I do: long-distance, loaded touring and once in a while I spice it up with some off-road riding. My full-suspension MTB (for technical singletrack) and my old early 80s touring bike (for commuting/running errands) fill the rest of my cycling needs.
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Old 11-16-12, 03:06 PM   #9
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Yea . define all the parameters that you don't find buying what is on the ready-made market.

If it were I, one thing I found with my 80's SBI Expedition, was a bit of tail wagging the dog,
from the top tube flexing, so the HPM build used their cargo bike double top tubes.

The .75"OD .049 wall 4130 tubes were Mandrel Bent to form the rear triangle as well.

I found a need for a Gusset behind the head tube just out side Killarney Ireland,
so Did a little retreat back to find a welder.

A build combination using an oval tube horizontal on the top tube , vertical for the down tube,
after then seems like another solution. maybe thinner tube wall
so shape does some of the stiffening.

But the 2 side by side top tubes made the frame into a rock solid rig under load.
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