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My bike got stolen :( Any touring bike recommendations?

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My bike got stolen :( Any touring bike recommendations?

Old 11-11-10, 11:58 AM
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starla
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My bike got stolen :( Any touring bike recommendations?

So my commuting bike, an '09 Trek Valencia, got stolen a couple of weeks ago. I am currently commuting on my 820, which is fine for a few months. I did like the Valencia quite a bit, but I also know that I want to be able to ride longer distances (after about 15 miles on the V my hands started getting numb) so am hoping to pick up a touring bike next spring. I've been looking at the Trek 520 and the Jamis Aurora, but would be interested in hearing from commuters on what touring bikes they like and why. Any input is appreciated!
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Old 11-11-10, 12:05 PM
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Ask 65er about if you want more info but i plan on taking my 87' kuwahara touring this spring dont know if you care about running 26" wheels or not but most of the kuwahara have really long chain stays and are very stable. As just kind of a test i strapped 110lbs of weights to my rack and rode it around and it did pretty good, mind you i dont pack that much wight when i tour just curious, plus its steel. Just figured i'd give ya my input.
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Old 11-11-10, 12:29 PM
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I love my Long Haul Trucker. When I was looking for a new bike to replace my trusty old commuter (dead from a broken rear dropout), I narrowed it down to the Aurora and the LHT. The Aurora is a nice bike, too. For me, the difference was that the LHT can take larger tires and still have room for fenders. The other difference is that the Aurora has brifters, while the LHT has bar-ends. Initially, this made me lean toward the Aurora, as I had never used bar-ends. Now, I love the bar-ends. You can find endless discussion of this topic on BF, but it's really small potatoes for commuting purposes.

Fit trumps all, though. Make sure you get the right frame size, and spend plenty of time adjusting things until you have it dialed in. Plan on possibly swapping stems and saddles. I even changed my brake levers to smaller ones. Use online fit calculators like wrench-science or similar to get a starting point, and if you don't know how to adjust you stem, the angle of your bars, and the placement of your brake hoods, learn. It's all pretty easy, and requires only a set of allen wrenches and some common sense.

Be wary of judging fit based on a test ride, though. Unless the shop takes a lot of time adjusting things for you, you might judge one bike as fitting better than another because the handlebars and saddle happened to by luck be in the perfect spot for you.

Also, if you have a good shop that you like dealing with, that should carry substantial weigh in your decision, too.
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Old 11-11-10, 01:02 PM
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My 2008 Fuji Touring is the most comfortable bike I've ever ridden. It's not the lightest bike, but just like z90 said, "Fit trumps all."

You can't go wrong with a 520, Aurora or LHT. All are quality bikes.
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Old 11-11-10, 01:03 PM
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Get something different: https://www.handsomecycles.com/index.php?s=geometry

I've been eyeballing the Devil model which has the same geometry as the famous Bridgestone XO-1. Only comes in 3 sizes though which tells you how small a company Handsome is. Cost a little less than the Surly LHT framset at $375. The 58cm is still available. Worth looking into.

I happen to came across this brand from a craigslist posting. Too bad it doesn't come in my size and take 26" wheels. :-( The She-Devil could work for me. Still it has 700c wheels.

Everyone and their mothers have the Trek 520, Auora and LHT. Personally I would love to ride something a tad different.

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Old 11-11-10, 01:07 PM
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I like my Aurora for commuting and light touring. Fast and strong enough for my everyday needs. True, LHT can take bigger tires, which I appreciate more now than I thought I would when I purchased the Aurora, thought I've never ridden a LHT. I got fenders on my Aurora no problem.
I considered the Trek 520 but I didn't like the local shops that push Trek products. I found a shop that I liked, that had an Aurora in stock that was close enough to my size, and went with that bike. To be honest, I bought it to ride and to beat up to figure out if I was committed to cycling. Still undecided on that point, but I'm much happier with the Aurora than I was with my Trek 7300 FX.
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Old 11-11-10, 01:16 PM
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Definitely give yourself some time to look around. Also, test ride as many bikes as you can. Touring has been done on a lot of different bikes so don't limit yourself to much. I have a LHT myself, but I test rode the Cannondale T2, Jamis Aurora, and Trek 520. I also considered some Cross bikes. Many posters rave about the CrossCheck as a good all arounder. My LBS had one customer tour or their Specialized TriCross.

Of course there are advantages and disadvantages to each style of bike. You just have to weigh what factors are important to you. For example if you like speed followed by utility you might look at the Cross bikes. If you like a comfortable workhorse with loads of options you might want to consider touring bikes.
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Old 11-11-10, 01:19 PM
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Thanks 531phile now I want a new commuter bike....Anyone need a gently used Trek 3700?
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Old 11-11-10, 02:39 PM
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Love my Surly LHT too.

I used Rivendell's fit scheme, which generally gets people riding the largest frame possible that still allows 1" crotch clearance....this keeps you from having to jack the handlebars so much to get them level/above the saddle. Contrast this with racer-fit, which is basically the exact opposite -- and IMO sucks for 90% of the riders out there.
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Old 11-11-10, 02:42 PM
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I'm quite pleased with my SOMA Saga.
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Old 11-11-10, 03:09 PM
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I looked at the Surly LHT on their web site. I think I'd have to go to Austin to try one out, and I'm still in the research phase right now. The only thing I question on that bike is the 700c wheel set isn't available on the smaller frames. I thought one of the advantages of a road bike over a mountain bike was the larger wheel? I'm a total touring bike newb, so I appreciate any clarification on that.
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Old 11-11-10, 03:37 PM
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My friend that tours with me originally had the 700c LHT, he recently traded it in for the 26" model, i think its preference his reason was a lot of the rides we go on are on forest service roads and there wasn't a lot of knobbies he could find that work on some of those rides. And the last one we went on i think he got a little jealous of the ample traction i was getting with my 26" x 2.3" tires compared to his 700 x 32
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Old 11-11-10, 04:08 PM
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I have a 56cm 26" LHT and love it. It may not be a road bike bit it fast enough and a very comfortable bike whether it's loaded for a tour, with groceries, work clothes or nothing at all. It was origionally Blue velvet but I had it powdercoated twice...long story.
Steel is real!
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Old 11-11-10, 05:39 PM
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Nashbar Touring Frame has been just fine for me. Its a great deal, especially if you're like me and just have random parts laying around.



If you were to build it up from scratch with brand new parts the value of the frame diminishes.
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Old 11-11-10, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by MMACH 5 View Post
My 2008 Fuji Touring is the most comfortable bike I've ever ridden. It's not the lightest bike, but just like z90 said, "Fit trumps all."

You can't go wrong with a 520, Aurora or LHT. All are quality bikes.
+1 for the Fuji 2008 Turing Bike
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Old 11-11-10, 11:51 PM
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I've had two Auroras and a LHT.

My first Aurora was a 2001, which I bought as a frame and fork in 2005 and built with odds and ends I had laying around, along with some parts from a mid-80s Shimano groupset that a friend gave me. It was a superb bike - reasonably light, compliant enough to be be very comfortable, and had a sporty feel to it without giving up stability. I commuted on it, I rode centuries and weekend rides on it, and I enjoyed every minute of it. One thing I never did, though, was loaded touring - ironically, it would have been a bit of a poor choice of a bike for that, mostly because the 2001 Aurora had calipers instead of cantilevers, and the calipers I had were old and crappy. AFAIK all other years of Aurora have cantis, FWIW.

In 2009 my Aurora cracked a dropout. Jamis replaced the frame under warranty - this impressed me, considering it was an eight year old bike, I wasn't the original owner, and it was obvious that I'd done a custom build of it. They supplied me with a 2008 Aurora Elite frame - it's slightly more aggressive geometry than the standard Aurora (although still pretty relaxed), and made from Reynolds 631 with a carbon fork (the standard Aurora is 520 with a chromoly fork). It was built largely with the parts from the older Jamis - I of course had to switch to cantis, and I did a few other upgrades at the time. It was, again, a beautifully sporty, comfortable bike, although I never quite felt the magic on it the way I did with the older Aurora. I suspect that the frame was a bit stiffer (thus costing me a bit of compliance, and making the ride slightly harsher), and while the geometry was more relaxed than a race bike, it didn't seem to have the ethereal quality that the older Aurora had - light, comfortable, and stable is a wonderful combination, and it just didn't quite nail it for me. Still, it was a very nice bike, and I enjoyed it a great deal.

Last July I had a rather sudden encounter with a pothole deep enough to bring my front wheel to a sudden stop, and one of the results of that was a bent frame. I don't mean it was slightly tweaked - I mean it was so bent that the front wheel was against the down tube. While part of me wants to write it off as the result of a violent get-off, I actually crashed my first Aurora once in a similar (but even more violent) manner, completely destroying the original fork in the process, and yet didn't manage to so much as tweak the frame, which leads me to the conclusion that the 520 tubeset on the first Aurora was stronger.

After that crash, I replaced the frame with a LHT, which I built up with most of the parts from the second Aurora. I added WTB Mountain Road bars, swapped from bar ends to brifters, and did a few other upgrades along the way, but most of the components on my LHT were bolted to my '01 Aurora. It's a wonderful bike, although I don't think it quite captures the magic that my first Aurora had - it's incredibly stable (more than either Aurora) and very comfortable, but a bit harsher over rough pavement (which I attribute to a heavier tubeset) and it lacks some of the sporty feel that both of my Auroras had. I ride it just as fast, but when I get on it hard it just doesn't seem to have the same snap that the Auroras had. However, the more I ride it, the more I like it; maybe by next summer it will replace my '01 Aurora as my favorite among the bikes I've owned. It's close now, and I like it more and more as I continue to add miles to it. I doubt I've put more than a thousand miles or so on it so far, and by the time I've got 5k on it I expect I will have reached and understanding with it.



In 2009
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Old 11-12-10, 08:53 AM
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Nice write-up aley. It squares with my intitial impressions of the LHT and the Aurora. The Aurora has a bit more 'roadie/gofast' spirit. The Long Haul Trucker is aptly named. Simple, bombproof. I feel like mine just wants to keep on rolling, and I can't wait to tour on it.
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Old 11-12-10, 09:36 AM
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No personal experience here, but I've read good things about the Kona Sutra. (And I just generally like Kona.)
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Old 11-12-10, 04:23 PM
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Ok, haven't actually tried either bike, but I'm really liking both the Kona Sutra and the Kona ***** Inc. I have a superficial preference for the ***** overall (better components and I am not super crazy about the sloping TT on the Sutra), but I've been reading that fitting a rear rack is difficult? Does anyone have any experience? I travel light; only carry a trunk bag when I commute. I use a Topeak Explorer MTX rack. Not planning on using the bike for super loaded touring. I am interested in eventually riding a century.
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Old 11-12-10, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by z90 View Post
Nice write-up aley. It squares with my intitial impressions of the LHT and the Aurora. The Aurora has a bit more 'roadie/gofast' spirit. The Long Haul Trucker is aptly named. Simple, bombproof. I feel like mine just wants to keep on rolling, and I can't wait to tour on it.
I had the same feeling when I test rode a built up LHT... I couldn't help but wonder if the long stays were the reason for the "lack of snap." Frankly on a loaded touring bike that is an OK feeling as you won't want loaded panniers becoming part of your ride feel. But for a commuter, you might want that "snap."
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Old 11-12-10, 06:10 PM
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Thumbs up for a Sutra... disc brakes and it's way more nimble for a touring rig, nearer to cyclo-cross... it is heavy though but, heavy is good, heavy is reliable.

The ***** tonk would be nice also, but no touring on that...

Lack of brifters is the only downside for the sutra in traffic. You can always buy them - an easy upgrade.
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Old 11-12-10, 06:15 PM
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If a 55, 57 or 59 would fit your there is a pretty good online deal on 2009 Auroras from this online seller. $700 shipped.
https://www.bicyclebananasstore.com/2...a09_aurora.htm
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Old 11-12-10, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
I had the same feeling when I test rode a built up LHT... I couldn't help but wonder if the long stays were the reason for the "lack of snap." Frankly on a loaded touring bike that is an OK feeling as you won't want loaded panniers becoming part of your ride feel. But for a commuter, you might want that "snap."
For me, I love it as a commuter. There are a lot of potholes, badly installed road grates, and other similar hazards on my commute, and reasonably heavy traffic. On my fat tires, with that stable geometry, I have total confidence that I can roll through stuff if I have to. I can get cranking when I need to, too. I think a lot of the feel of the bike is due to the fat tires.
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Old 11-12-10, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by sonatageek View Post
If a 55, 57 or 59 would fit your there is a pretty good online deal on 2009 Auroras from this online seller. $700 shipped.
https://www.bicyclebananasstore.com/2...a09_aurora.htm
That seems like a lot of bike for the money. Nice.
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Old 11-13-10, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by starla View Post
So my commuting bike, an '09 Trek Valencia, got stolen a couple of weeks ago. I am currently commuting on my 820, which is fine for a few months. I did like the Valencia quite a bit, but I also know that I want to be able to ride longer distances (after about 15 miles on the V my hands started getting numb) so am hoping to pick up a touring bike next spring. I've been looking at the Trek 520 and the Jamis Aurora, but would be interested in hearing from commuters on what touring bikes they like and why. Any input is appreciated!
Surly LHT. Not fancy, but high quality. It's a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for. It's kind of a bicycle version of an old Volvo: boxy, but good.
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