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Old 03-15-05, 05:36 AM   #1
rubenhan
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a recommendation for a bike and pannier for touring

Hi,
I am currently planning a 4 month tour around Australia and NZ, which consists of both offroad and on road. I'm planning to get a new touring bike for this purpose that I would be consistently using in the future for more touring. I have few questions regarding this issue. I'm so sorry for many questions.
1) I looked into folding bicycles by Dahon and Montague since they will be easier to take on flight. But my question is if they are sturdy, speedy, and comfy enough for such an extensive touring?
http://www.dahon.com/zerog.htm
http://www.dahon.com/matrix.htm
http://www.montagueco.com/products.html.
These are my options, and do you guys think that any one of them will be enough? Also, which one do you think I should choose. I'm leaning toward Zero-G personally. Do you think changing the tire to 32c+ is necessary since I will be on off-road?
2) If folding bicycle is just not gonna work then what kind of regular nonfolding bikes do you recommend? Then how would I take it abroad on flight?
3) I'm rather confused by the size of the panniers. I'm planning to carry around 30-45 lbs of gears and foods, and how much cu. ft. is that approximately?
Thank you so much!
Ruben
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Old 03-15-05, 06:23 AM   #2
Bizikleto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubenhan
[snipped...] folding bicycles Dahon and Montague [...snipped...] changing the tire to 32c+ is necessary since I will be on off-road? [...snipped]
Folding bikes are as good and resilient as nonfolding ones, provided that the folding system / mechanism / hinge is good enough. Dahon and Montague really look good. I didn't notice any braze-ons for rack fitting but you may know it or have a solution in mind in case there aren't any. Have you heard of S&SMachine couplings? It is a tool-free splitting rather than folding system. These people mechanize any normal frame to fit their splitting system. They claim that the frame is as stiff as before and that the union itself can be even stronger. Many touring-bike manufacturers sell their frames ready fitted with the S&SMachine couplings for a little fee (see the british Nomad www.sjscycles.com, Orbit, Roberts...) Or you can get your nonfolding rig fitted with it if the tubing is mainly cylindrical.

32mm = 1.26". Hmmm... 'Off-road' is a wide concept and can be very smooth a ride, in which case you'll get away with them, but if your path takes you to pretty bumpy rocky terrain with ultra heavy load, yeah, definitely you'll need thicker, knobby tyres, like >= 1.6" (=40mm).

Good luck in your quest and all the best.

Last edited by Bizikleto; 04-11-05 at 01:08 AM. Reason: Wrong word used: 'studded' changed for 'knobbies'
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Old 03-15-05, 07:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bizikleto
32mm = 1.26". Hmmm... 'Off-road' is a wide concept and can be very smooth a ride, in which case you'll get away with them, but if your path takes you to pretty bumpy rocky terrain with ultra heavy load, yeah, definitely you'll need thicker, studded tyres, like >= 1.6" (=40mm).
Studded? You mean studded as in winter tyres? I don't see any reason to use those, unless you are touring in icy or snowy conditions.

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Old 03-15-05, 08:03 AM   #4
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You are right, I wasn't precise enough: knobbies for muddy conditions. As I said 'off road' is a wide concept, but if there is no asphalt and the ground is not hardly packed, my experience is that chances are that even the slightest dribble/shower can cause unwanted skidding with 35lbs-loaded smooth or shallow threaded slicks. Rubenhan will assess to which extent 'beefy' should go together with 'studded': ground conditions, rain season/likelihood, proportion of asphalt-offroad... or he/she could extend on the journey specs.

All the best to everybody.

Last edited by Bizikleto; 04-11-05 at 01:07 AM. Reason: wrong word used: 'studded' changed for 'knobbies'
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Old 03-15-05, 08:21 AM   #5
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2004 and 2005 Dahon Zero G and Matrix frames have rack braze ons. If you get a 2004 version, you'll need a rack that will work with a disc brake. Try Old Man Mountain. If you get a 2005 version the braze on's have been moved to avoid the disc brake but you'll still need an adjustable rack.

Unless you will be mostly off road, I would recommend touring tires like Schwalbe Marathon's. Mountain bike tires on pavement are not fun.
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Old 03-15-05, 09:05 AM   #6
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I don't know anything about folding bikes per se.... I would say purchase a bike that is appropriate for the riding you will be doing (4 months) rather than for the air travel (4 days). It's not that hard to pack your bike in a box, there are instructions all over the place (google, or lonely planet New Zealand cycling book, which you might already have).

By the way, in NZ use the Peddlers Paradise cycle guidebooks, they are by a local, and are a great resource. I found them online from some store in New Jersey (?).

Happy travels.

Anna (jealous!!!)
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Old 03-15-05, 09:43 AM   #7
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It is std practice to take bikes by air. You dont need to compromise the bike with a folding design. Folding bikes are heavier, less stiff and have more bits to break. The only "takedown" bike that is regularly used for expedition touring is the UK-made Moulton. S&S couplings have a good reputation and are a solution to breaking down a bike, esp a tandem, but this is not a problem for flights.
The archetypal expedition bike is the Thorn XPD (sjscycles.com) or the Bruce Gordon BLT-X. These are touring bikes with drop bars and racks but 26" MTb wheels and MTB gearing and are setup to handle heavy loads. Any bike you ride should resemble the main features of this bike, even if details (like the handlebar design) are different.
You need a solid rack system such as the BG or Tubus
Touring tyres such as Continental Top Touring or Schwalbe Marathon are good for mixed road/trail riding.
For panniers, large ones at the back, and if you are camping, small ones at the front, will distrinute your load. Arkel, Ortleib, Carradice, Vaude are some respected manufacturers.
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Old 03-15-05, 03:23 PM   #8
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One thing that I am always wondering is, if I get a nonfolding bike, and I pack it for the flight. After I land, where do I put the box or the bag for the later usage?
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Old 03-15-05, 03:24 PM   #9
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oh btw, anyone can give me good bicycle internet shop in the US with some recommendation on which bike to buy?
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Old 03-16-05, 02:50 AM   #10
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I did some research and I found out that cannondale t800 and Trek 520 are good touring bikes for my budget. My question would be if I pack this for a flight when I come back how can I get it packed again?
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Old 03-16-05, 03:28 AM   #11
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also, where can I find which frame size fits 5ft 10 inch?
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Old 03-16-05, 06:33 AM   #12
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Its not that hard to pack a bike in a box and if you are going on a four month tour on and off road in Australia, it would seem that you should have that kind of mechanical knowledge. I can't answer any other quesions, but it would seem that learning how to fix your bike would be usefull. Taking a bike apart is part of that basic knowledge. All you have to do is take the wheels off, take the stem/handlebar off, take the pedals off, take the seatpost off and know how it fits best in the box.
Good Luck,
Scott
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Old 03-16-05, 09:08 AM   #13
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throw them away, or you can store them somewhere, like the place you stay for the first night (hostel, hotel, etc) or if you have a friend there then it should not be a problem. normally you can get the box for free at bike shops.

as to frame, for 5"10 i would guess a 56cm.

26 x 2.1 tires are hell when riding on paved road. no reason to use them even part of your trip is offroad, 1.95 is the widest i would use. i'm doing the outback this summer and i'm going with 1.75 front and 1.95 rear.
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Old 03-16-05, 07:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubenhan
I did some research and I found out that cannondale t800 and Trek 520 are good touring bikes for my budget. My question would be if I pack this for a flight when I come back how can I get it packed again?
My wife & I bought "body bags" from Ground Effect which are NZ based. They fold up to an A4 size which we carry in one of our panniers. Then all you need to find is some cardboard and/or nespaper to act as padding just prior to packing. We also use a bit of bubble wrap for the important bits which we carry with us.
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Old 03-17-05, 05:58 AM   #15
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Don't know where your budget breakpoint is, but have you considered the new Ritchey Break Away Cross? - www.ritcheylogic.com

Tom, at GVHbikes.com, once they reopen (they closed due to Gary's death this month, but promise to reopen - I would expect very soon, but you could e-mail and ask), could build you a very nice touring bike on that frame with your choice of components.

Another option to consider from GVH would be the Gary V traveller - custom made CroMo frame. Gary had told me they framebuilder would make it with S&S couplings for $300 more.

Both options would run about $1300-ish for the frame and fork, I think, which is better by far than most other available S&S frames. You could get into a full Ultegra 9spd triple machine for ~$2200-ish, probably a bit less for 105.

Another one to check out that I seriously considered before ordering a BreakAway from Gary is the "Ultimate Touring Bike" by Rodriguez - http://www.rodcycle.com/w2specs.html
prices for his bikes run in the $2100-3200 range, but you end up buying an S&S suitcase separately (up to $300 more).

Hope these help.
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Old 03-17-05, 06:10 AM   #16
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OK - saw the rest of the thread, that you are probably looking at a lower price. However, if you're planning to go with a national brand as such, I'd recommend that the best place you can find out which frame fits you is an LBS.

A good place if you want to do your own research on sizing - www.wrenchscience.com

Storing the bag - major airports (though not many US ones, I think, post-9/11) have luggage storage places, but for 4 months?

You can pack in a standard bike box you can likely get for free from the LBS you buy your bike from. Toss the box or (better) give it to an LBS at your destination. 4 months later, pick up another box from the same store and go home. For maybe $30 or less, the stores will likely disassemble/reassemble your bike and pack it for you. But that means about $120 for a 2-way trip. Better option would be to spend about $30-ish or less on a basic set of quality tools (you'll need a pedal wrench, and set of allen wrenches - for the latter, a multitool like you want to have for your ride anyhow will suffice), and ask the shop you buy from to show you how to do it yourself.
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Old 03-17-05, 06:22 AM   #17
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Fuji make a good value tourer if the Bruce Gordon is out of your budget.
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Old 03-17-05, 11:40 AM   #18
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ummmm, you might want to slow down a little. you seem pretty new to bicycling
in general, if you're asking what frame size will fit you. give us an idea of your
experience level in cycling/camping/backpacking.
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Old 03-17-05, 10:52 PM   #19
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I am new to touring. You are right about that saddlesores. But not all cyclists know their frame size on top of their heads if they are just casual users. When I bought my first bike, I just went and asked them for the best one that will fit me for my commuting purpose and for my budget, and they gave me the bike. btw thank you for your concern though. I appreciate that.
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Old 03-17-05, 10:56 PM   #20
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btw I decided to get cannondale t800, I guess folding bicycles will be bye bye. Thanks everyone!
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