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  1. #1
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    Your valued opinions of these tourers please

    Hi all, I've been a member for sometime now. This site is a great resource and I want to thank all the helpful posts I've read and learned from. This is my first post and I'd like to ask you touring vets about these tourers I'm currently considering for an upcoming trip in the Pacific Northwest. I commute and ride regularly via bike, and have done a short tour around southern California (3 days) while pulling a trailer on a 80's Japanese-built steel frame - a TON of fun and can't wait to do it again - but didn't pack well and definitely were missing lower gears.

    This time it is going to be a much longer journey - estimating ~1400-1800 miles but spread out over the course of several months. So while the mileage may be high for a newbie, I won't be pressured to go 80+ miles on any given day. I foresee a solid amount of climbing as I'll be going through the Cascades and perhaps even the Canadian Rockies/coastal ranges. No trailer this time, but will have a packed load mainly due to camera equipment.

    I ride on a 58cm Trek roadie and it fits me well.

    Here are the bikes I'm looking at:
    Trek 520 (says 2000 but looks like a '97 or '98 ref. from Bikepedia?): http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lgb...652266656.html
    1997 Cannondale T700: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst...626167369.html
    1993 Cannondale H800: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv...634878325.html

    Comments on suitability, price, and recommendations?

    I'm looking to check out these bikes in person in the coming days. Ideally, I'd like to spend <$600.

    I appreciate your time in advance!

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Not new.. so realistically, Can't help you on condition, that is the value judgement, best done in person.

  3. #3
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    jonathanhlee, Welcome to the forum.

    I'm a Cannondale fan and in order...the T700, 520 and finally the H800. The H800 would make a good flat bar tourer, but is priced high, at least in my market area (Houston). The 520 is a little high, but is also a great tourer and the T700 seller is flexable.

    Brad

    PS Be sure to choose a bike that fits you.
    Last edited by bradtx; 03-05-13 at 04:24 AM. Reason: PS

  4. #4
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    I crossed the country on a '98 T700. I believe it had the same rims as the one pictured. I found them woefully inadequate for my 195 lb. body with a heavy load in panniers. In addtition to breaking spokes right out of the box,, the rear rim eventually developed cracks at the eyelets and had to be replaced. The front rim had to be replaced not long after I finished the tour. It, too, had developed the same cracks. FYI....Bought the bike new at the end of the '98 model year. Discounted it was only $799. $450 for a used bike that old is too much, IMO.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for everyone's replies so far, good opinions and insights.

    I just talked with the owners of the Trek 520 and Cannondale H800. They sound solid but aren't too fond of lowering the price much. The fully kitted out H800 can go for $700, he says. And the 520 probably $560-570.

    Keep your thoughts coming in if you could please. I'll be checking them out in person later today or tomorrow. Cheers all.

  6. #6
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    The T700 is the best of the bunch in my opinion. $470 is high but not too unreasonable. It's geared better than the 520 and a better touring bike. I have a 2003 T800 which is an excellent touring bike and isn't that much different from the T700.

    Look at the bike from the stand point of the frame. Everything else is replaceable.
    Stuart Black
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  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Its like a used car , soon as you drive a new one off the Lot the value drops, [but the payments continue]

  8. #8
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    You are getting some good advice on this thread. Two most important factors, condition of the frame and how well the bike fits. You can't fix a poor fit and you shouldn't have to fix a damaged frame.

    The Trek is steel. Steel bike frames, many times, rust from the inside out. Chk out the frame on this bike if that's the way you go. Since this involves removing the seat post, it gives you an opportunity to see if the seat post can be removed. Maybe more an issue with the aluminum T700. But over time seat posts have been known to weld themselves in place.

    Here's the way to figure out whether the bike is a good deal. Start with the asking price and start adding. That is, adding money for everything that needs to be replaced or upgraded. Bikes in the age range of the T700 and Trek 520 will need driveline components. Could be as simple as a chain or get more complex - maybe a new cassette, bottom bracket, or other components. What kind of shape are the wheels in? How about the tires? Original tires on any of these bikes are done. If not from wear than from dry rot. Chk it all Etc etc etc.

    Go thru each bike make your list of parts that need to be replaced and then add up the cost of the parts. Add labor cost if you aren't doing the fixing yourself. You may be surprized how much the bike is really costing you. Having this number is a powerful tool in negotiations. You want to be reasonable and buying a bike that may need hundreds of dollars in parts and labor just to get it to where it needs to be - not reasonable. The way to deal with an unreasonable seller is very easy - click dialtone.

    IMO, the tour ready price of used bikes this old shouldn't exceed half of what the bike can be bought for new. (tour ready doesn't include aftermarket add ons like panniers, beefier racks etc)
    Last edited by tom cotter; 03-07-13 at 01:22 PM.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    How you know you're on the forums too much:

    You can predict which bike Cyccommute thinks is best before scrolling down to his post

    I agree, pick based on the frame. Though if they are comparable, go for the one that has components that are in better shape, not necessarily higher end. . . though that may go without saying.

  10. #10
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    HMMM, the 520 was taken off CL...

  11. #11
    Senior Member fettsvenska's Avatar
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    I think that the T700 is the better bike but it also looks like it might be a different size than the H800. Hard to tell though. As previously advised, don't sacrifice fit. If you get a bike that doesn't fit, your 1,400 miles are going to feel like 14,000.

  12. #12
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    Thanks everyone! I picked up the Trek 520 - it fits me very well and despite the slightly high price that some of you mentioned, I am happy to have picked it up. It's been raining in southern California (whaaatt?), so I haven't been able to really take it out for a solid ride. From the test run though, it felt solid, and the components feel smooth and shifters notchy - like a new bike. There is a minor ding on the frame, but don't think it's a huge concern (didn't catch this till after I got home!). I ordered a Brooks B17 saddle because of all the raving reviews for touring.

    Things are coming together! Right now I got to figure out which airline to with and what ridiculous charges they have for transporting a bike. I plan to make a new post when I'm about to set off.

    Here it is:


  13. #13
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    Be sure to bring the wheels to a decent shop re-tension and stress relieve all spokes before the tour. You don't want to break spokes in the middle of nowhere. It's also a good idea to repack the hubs and headset. Replace worn parts as needed. Finally, check for chain stretch.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by furballi View Post
    Be sure to bring the wheels to a decent shop re-tension and stress relieve all spokes before the tour. You don't want to break spokes in the middle of nowhere. It's also a good idea to repack the hubs and headset. Replace worn parts as needed. Finally, check for chain stretch.
    +1 It's best to perform an overhaul on a new-to-you bike, in particular when you're going to depend on it.

    Brad

  15. #15
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    Beautiful bike. I have a soft spot for them. I think that is a 1999, I bought my g/f one (used) and it was the same color scheme. My 1998 was green and gold. They have such a great ride.

  16. #16
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    Nice bike, along with the suggestions to go over the bike so you know it. If you're going to be riding on wet roads and want fenders you'll need to move the rack onto the upper eyelets to make room for a rear fender. If you're going fenderless and are thinking of springing for a new rack the Topeak SuperTourist DX is a great value. Being able to remove and attach panniers separate from the top load is a nice feature and the plate will keep your gear from being the fender.

    http://www.topeak.com/products/Racks...tDXTubularRack

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