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what kind of touring bike should I buy?

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what kind of touring bike should I buy?

Old 12-07-12, 06:29 PM
  #1  
bikeberry
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what kind of touring bike should I buy?

Hello everyone!
I'm searching for a quality commuter/touring bike. I want to balance a good bike with something that's a) under $500 b) not that likely to get stolen in Portland.

I've found some nice craigslist and ebay bikes- but I don't know enough about bikes to know if they are worth their price- or if any of the scratches in the pictures could be anything more than cosmetic.

This one is a cannondale sr500- and it appeals to me the most
https://www.ebay.com/itm/121020354405...84.m1438.l2649

and there's a cannondale R900
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Cann...item2325edf428

I also found a red 1993 Nishiki road bike- with all 105 components and recently checked up
https://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/bik/3448494200.html

that seems like the safest bet since it's local and I can go check it out- but I don't know anything about Nishiki..


my main Questions:
1) should I stick with a high end frame- cannondale, trek or specialized?
2) should i get a steel frame bike since i'm just commuting/touring and want this bike to last?
3) would the bikes above accept fenders (I'm in a rainy city)
4) What's the best bang for my buck?

Are there any specific makes or years that i should keep my eye out for??


Thanks for the help!
Ana
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Old 12-07-12, 07:06 PM
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A couple things:

- None of these bikes are touring bikes. Touring bikes have cantilever brakes, triple cranksets, and have room for fatter tires and fenders. All the bikes you posted are road racing bikes with short-reach brakes and no room for real fenders. As such, I would not recommend any of these bikes to be used as a commuter.

- These bikes are radically different sizes. The first thing you need to do is Google bike sizing and figure out what size you need. It's vitally important. How tall are you?

- How far are you riding every day? If it's a couple miles a day you could get by with an old rigid frame MTB that will be lot cheaper than a touring bike and still serve you well. If this bike is to be locked up outside all the time, I would not recommend getting anything too nice as it will really burn if/when it gets stolen. If this bike isn't going to sit outside for long periods of time, go ahead and get something nice.
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Old 12-07-12, 07:12 PM
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I agre for a novice none of the above would make good commuters.

If this fits (and it is more for someone 5'5" to 5'6") get it. The steel frame will ride better, it already has a rack and should have room for fenders.

https://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/bik/3444260395.html

I got nice trek 15speed touring bike rides nice. made in U.S.A . fit some one 5'5''to 5'11'' Call 503 806 7805





If your tall and have a shortish commute this may be a good deal. https://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/bik/3441398470.html

Very nice mostly original Diamondback Apex 21 speed mountain bike. It has a 20" (51cm) frame size with a 31" stand over height. Will fit anyone 5' 6" or taller. I`m 6' 2" and it fits me pretty well.
This bike was top of the line when it was new. It has all Shimano Deore components, Araya rims, Continental tires, and a Serfas gel seat. The tires are good for all terrains and this would make for a nice commuter. Has a rear fender too.
It has brand new cables and was just tuned up and cleaned. Everything works perfectly. Come and take it for a test ride!
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Last edited by Bianchigirll; 12-07-12 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 12-07-12, 09:10 PM
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+1 None of the ones listed are touring bikes.

+1 Depends on your budget, the cheapest option is the good old rigid frame mtb.

+1 Spend some time on google learning about what size is best for you, so you will know what to look for. Note, most sellers get bike size wrong, so be prepared to verify the size yourself, and you will likely waste some gas chasing after bikes that end up being the wrong size. It happens.

At the $500 point, even in a silly high priced market like Portland, you should be able to find something nice, or possibly on ebay, even with the shipping charge. Anything in that price range is a theft magnet (but thieves steal crappy bikes too).

Since you have the budget, I am a big fan of the vintage steel touring bikes. Pretty much every Japanese manufacturer made one or two models, plus US companies like Trek and Schwinn, plus the Europeans, etc. I particularly like Japanese bikes from the 1980s.

Spend some time getting educated on vintage touring bikes, and also rigid frame mtbs set up as commuters/road bikes. I started a thread a couple of months back on drop bar conversions of MTBs, lots of nice ones posted by members on there. The beauty of a vintage rigid frame MTB, is not only are they much cheaper (around here, touring bikes run 3 to 4X what a nice rigid frame MTB will cost), they are designed to handle a wide variety of tires, are rack and fender ready, etc. They really make nice commuters, and are less likely to get stolen as vintage touring bikes are like gold (still, mtbs get stolen every day).

I have had quite a few nice vintage steel frame touring bikes over the years. Right now, I have settled in on a 1984 Trek 620. I have owned a 1983 Trek 620 (not nearly as nice a bike, design changed quite a bit in one year). So its not just the brand or even the model. The actual year matters, and most sellers don't get that right either.

The solution, focus on the condition, component grade, and design features, not brand or model.

Last edited by wrk101; 12-08-12 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 12-07-12, 09:40 PM
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Since you have the budget, I am a big fan of the vintage steel touring bikes. Pretty much every Japanese manufacturer made one or two models, plus US companies like Trek and Schwinn, plus the Europeans, etc. I particularly like Japanese bikes from the 1980s.
+1 80's steel frame touring bikes should be within your budget and make great commuter bikes you should be able to find one in $300 price range which would leave some room in your budget for basic overhaul and some goodies like fenders, rack and lights which you really want on a commuter. I like the treks for ride quality but some of the Japanese are really great values and underated.
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Old 12-07-12, 09:56 PM
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- my bad on the bike style (told you I was a rookie!) I pretty much plugged in the formula "54 cm road bike" on all searches (very educated).

- I've looked at a bike sizing chart before and since I'm 5"6, I've been searching for a 54cm... All three of the bikes I posted claim to be 54 cm but I guess I don't know the intricacies of what else to look for to make sure they would fit? Could you possibly explain further how to tell good bike sizing online?

- Probably riding under 10 miles on a typical day-- but I would like to get a bike that I can also take day rides on. I want something light, fast and smooth- with good components (shimano 105 or higher preferably- just because that's what bike shop experts have told me is most important) so I hadn't even considered mountain bike frames (they seem to run heavier..) If I were to go this route (in hopes that it wouldn't get stolen or would just be cheaper) would I just search for road bike converted MTB??

thanks for the advice!
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Old 12-07-12, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by zukahn1 View Post
+1 80's steel frame touring bikes should be within your budget and make great commuter bikes you should be able to find one in $300 price range which would leave some room in your budget for basic overhaul and some goodies like fenders, rack and lights which you really want on a commuter. I like the treks for ride quality but some of the Japanese are really great values and underated.
Can you tell me what kinds of European and Japanese bikes to look for? and what makes of Trek or Schwinn?

Thanks again!
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Old 12-07-12, 10:01 PM
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https://www.ebay.com/itm/Trek-1420-Al...item2a26bc2947

how's this bike?
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Old 12-07-12, 10:11 PM
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bikeberry, I too am new and searching for a bike. Here is a website I was recommended and helped A LOT

mytenspeeds.com

1-2hr of your time educating, it will help you to be much more informative in your decision making.

Sizing is the most important thing as well.
https://www.ebicycles.com/article/bi...ze-charts.html

They have a size calculator, based on your hieght and inseam to determine the ideal bike frame size for you.

I am 5'10 with a 30 inseam - my bike size is 54cm. You are smaller than me, so please confirm your size.

good luck and happy hunting
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Old 12-07-12, 10:19 PM
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also the website mytenspeeds.com will break down everything for you - from type of frame (steel, alluminium, carbon, etc) and what preference they are made for.

As for Japanese - the only one I know and I am hunting is a Miyata.
There is also Nishiki, however those are tricky from what I've read.
The Nashiki made for the US/Euro is of better quality and workmanship vs the one made for the Japanese.
I don't know who the builder were for the US/Euro but Nashiki had Kujiwara (or something like that) make for the japanese which was of lower end.

(and I just learned that today! I may still be wrong, I hope not)

but be patient. I honestly believe, because the holiday is around the corner, there will be some crazy deals popping up on craigslist, looking for extra money, willing to part their bikes lower than expected during negotiation.
Atleast that is what this Naive guy believes.
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Old 12-07-12, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeberry View Post
It's nice, but despite the seller's listing this is NOT a touring bike and there's no way you'll fit real fenders on it.

As far as fit, 54cm sounds about right at your height. As wrk101 pointed out, sellers ALWAYS get the size wrong. I don't know why, but no one knows how to measure a bike. When you go to look at a bike, bring a tape measure and verify the size by measuring the seat tube from the center of the crank to the top of the top tube (or the center of the top tube, depending on how you want to measure.)
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Old 12-07-12, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeberry View Post
Can you tell me what kinds of European and Japanese bikes to look for? and what makes of Trek or Schwinn?

Thanks again!
Some of the Japaneses makers that made nice touring bikes are Univega, Miyata and Nishiki, also nearly every Japanese maker offered at least one higher end touring Model. As for the Treks most of there touring models ended in 20 with the higher model numbers typical indicating higher bike level. The ones to look for in your price range are the 420 and 520. The following website gives agood over view of Treks steel frame bikes.

https://vintage-trek.com/index.htm
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Old 12-08-12, 01:07 AM
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You should call on this one ASAP, may be gone already. Trek, vintage, your size, touring, looks in great shape, priced very right.

(Edit: actually might be a tad small - but not by much, unless you're all leg.)

Suntour rear dťrailleur to match will cost like $30, and you don't have to do it right away or ever.

https://portland.craigslist.org/wsc/bik/3456367077.html

Now - you said you want a bike that won't get stolen. Mistake. ANY BIKE CAN BE STOLEN. Especially in Portland. The only bike that thieves won't want will be such a POS that you wouldn't ride it, and even then some meth-head will steal it. So, whatever you get, you must lock it with a good U-lock, to a solid bike rack or similar metal thing, in a public and busy spot. Never use a cable as your primary lock - a cable is only good to wrap around the front wheel as an extra measure. And never leave a bike outside overnight - doesn't matter how securely you lock it, or if it is on your porch or in your backyard. Any lock can be cut in a few minutes with a battery powered saw or grinder, many don't even need that. Come 2 am, your bike is history.

Last edited by jyl; 12-08-12 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 12-10-12, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Noverbiker View Post

Sizing is the most important thing as well.
https://www.ebicycles.com/article/bi...ze-charts.html

They have a size calculator, based on your hieght and inseam to determine the ideal bike frame size for you.

I am 5'10 with a 30 inseam - my bike size is 54cm. You are smaller than me, so please confirm your size.

good luck and happy hunting

I'm 5'6- almost 5'7, with a 32 in in seam... I used the website you suggested and I think 54 is my ideal size too! I'm not sure how that works since we are such different heights but i guess our legs are similar!
Thank you for the mytenspeeds site! it's a great intro!

and to everyone else- thank you! I'm now looking for Trek touring models ending in 20 and have my tape measure to bring to any craigslist finds! (a few lessons learned)
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Old 12-11-12, 08:55 AM
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There are so many late 70s/early-to-mid 80s Japanese bikes that could fit the bill, too. I'm familiar with the Fuji line - the models you might spy are:

Fuji America
Fuji Touring Series (III, IV, or V)
Fuji Saratoga


I've also worked on a Univega Gran Tourissmo that would've been perfect for you.

All of these can be found for WAY less than your budget - leaving headroom for new tires, brake pads, cables, and miscellaneous parts. Maybe a saddle to your liking...

There are also "modern" steel tourers that are fairly popular: Fuji Touring, Trek 520 (not the earlier lugged model). You might find one complete and ready to ride (a few years old) at your price point.
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