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I just cannot seem to decide between a road bike and touring bike... Thoughts?

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I just cannot seem to decide between a road bike and touring bike... Thoughts?

Old 07-09-11, 09:09 PM
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CyberPunk
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I just cannot seem to decide between a road bike and touring bike... Thoughts?

I love long distance riding. Today I rode 50+ miles on my dad's crappy comfort bike. Hate sitting upright nearly the whole ride. I envy the road bikes that whiz by me with seemingly little effort from the cyclist. However, I know road bikes are generally uncomfortable over long distances. But I love how sleek, light, and fast they are, although I don't know if I could do a century ride on one (I plan on doing one next month), or a longer ride. I'm not a racer, nor will I ever get the spandex suits I see hardcore cyclists wearing, but I ride my bike a decent amount (minimum 45 miles/week + a lot more on the weekends), so I would like something light and fast but also comfy. What's a decent compromise? What should I be looking at? I'm willing to spend between $700-$1000 on a new bike as well if that helps narrow things down. But at the moment the most important thing to me is deciding between what KIND of bike to get.
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Old 07-09-11, 09:12 PM
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jsutkeepspining
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hey thanks for mentioning me in the title

and road bikes arn't uncomfortable.
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Old 07-09-11, 09:19 PM
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1) No problem.

2) I am admittedly new to the biking scene. I bike a fair amount, but I don't even have my own bike. I ride my dad's Motobecane Jubilee Deluxe. As you might imagine, it's not really cut out for long distance riding. lol I just always assumed road bikes would be tough on you after an all-day cycling affair. I'm ignorant about that sort of thing. But my question still stands.
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Old 07-09-11, 09:26 PM
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Takes some time and miles to get in shape for long rides.
Get a road bike.
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Old 07-09-11, 09:34 PM
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A road bike that fits will be your best companion for rides where you don't plan on carrying a lot of gear. If you want to travel for extended days with everything you need with you, go tour bike.
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Old 07-09-11, 10:23 PM
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In general a touring bike will be more versatile than a typical road bike. Put high-pressure narrow slicks on it and it'll be almost as fast as a dedicated road bike. Probably not enough to notice unless a difference of a few seconds will keep you off the podium.

OTOH, it'll have the clearance needed for some wider tires if you decide to ride some gravel trails/roads or just have a lot of potholes to navigate. And it'll have the space and fittings for regular fenders if you decide to ride in rainy conditions. Plus of course, the option of adding racks and bags for carrying things - whether camping gear or this week's groceries. A cross bike is also a good choice for this kind of versatility.
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Old 07-10-11, 01:48 AM
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Standard BF answer - get a cross bike. With skinny tires, it works pretty much as a road bike. With fatter tires, you can tour with it.

Make sure you get a general-purpose cross bike - they usually have mounts for fenders and racks. Race-oriented cross bikes dont.
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Old 07-10-11, 02:10 AM
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Get a touring bike.
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Old 07-10-11, 04:44 AM
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Take some long test rides on all the types mentioned above. Not just around the block. Some shops will let you try their bikes for a day or two. If you can't perceive a difference in performance get the one that is cheaper. If all you've been riding has been a "comfort bike" you may not have the flexibility required to be comfortable on a road bike with the handlebars positioned well below the saddle height yet. But, there are comfort road bikes with longer head tubes that allow a more upright position with the option to use the drops for a more aerodynamic position when you are ready. There are so many issues, the best solution is to find the right bike shop. In my experience it helped going during the weekday when they were less busy and more likely to spend time finding the correct fit.

I think it's a little like choosing skis. If you put a novice skier on a set of high performance race skis they will be miserable. The expert skier will never be happy on a pair of beginner skis. You need to match the equipment with the level of fitness and ability. How long will that novice skier be happy on beginner skis? Maybe forever or maybe not even one season.

Be warned. Cycling can be hazardous to your financial health. And a disclaimer: I own five bicycles.
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Old 07-10-11, 05:05 AM
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Cyclocross bikes may well be an answer to your dilemma on which bike to get. The link is to my answer for a quick and sporty bike bike that will tour. The Specialized Secteur is a snappy and quick performer that is fun to ride, will take up to 28mm tires, and has mount points for a rear rack. http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...Id=0&gold_ses= I recently got panniers for mine and although I've not yet toured with it, I did load the bike with 20 lbs. of gear for a test run. The bike handles fine with that weight. This is a very versatile bike.
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Old 07-10-11, 05:35 AM
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The biggest factor in comfort will be the width of your tires. Touring and cyclocross bikes allow for wider tires than a racing bike. But touring bikes are built for stability with a heavy load of panniers/racks, etc. so have a longer wheelbase and they aren't as fast as a racing bike. Certainly close enough for your needs, though.

My wife loves her Trek FX. Looks like a rigid fork mountain bike but has road wheels. More upright geometry and wider tires make it very comfortable on the road and suitable for light trails. It's also quite fast but on very long rides the mountain bike handlebars just aren't comfortable.
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Old 07-10-11, 06:20 AM
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Surly Cross Check
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Old 07-10-11, 09:19 AM
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Ha, so there you go. All over the board. Guess you'll have to get out and ride a few and see for yourself. I think fit on any of these bikes would be the real concern for longer rides.
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Old 07-10-11, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
Standard BF answer - get a cross bike. With skinny tires, it works pretty much as a road bike. With fatter tires, you can tour with it.

Make sure you get a general-purpose cross bike - they usually have mounts for fenders and racks. Race-oriented cross bikes dont.
This. Also, you can take a look at my cross bike outfitted for light touring by going to the link in my sig.
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Old 07-10-11, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
Standard BF answer - get a cross bike. With skinny tires, it works pretty much as a road bike. With fatter tires, you can tour with it.

Make sure you get a general-purpose cross bike - they usually have mounts for fenders and racks. Race-oriented cross bikes dont.
This.

Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
Surly Cross Check
And that. Best of both worlds.
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Old 07-10-11, 10:34 AM
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I will say that comfort comes far more from proper fit then the actual bike. For example I have my road bike (A more aggressive geometry one at that) dialed in perfectly. When I rode my cousins road bike the other day( a more relaxed geometry style bike) I was uncomfortable after like 4 miles. Get a bike that you enjoy and then slowly tweak the setup until it is perfect. You can get comfortable on almost any bike. Some people like a more relaxed geometry like a touring bike and Others like something more aggressive like a crit bike.
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Old 07-10-11, 10:38 AM
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get both. you can always find a cheap older touring bike or cross bike with braze ons.
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Old 07-10-11, 11:22 AM
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I was in a somewhat similar position. I ended up splitting the difference...sort of...with a Soma Smoothie ES (now just called ES). This is a steel road bike, but with geometry intended to make it comfortable for long periods of time, not twitchy and aggressive the way race-oriented bikes might be. Love it, and it's appropriate for light touring too. Probably a little out of your price range to build new (frame is about 400), however, unless you're able to get some parts and labor very cheap or free.

Here's some stuff to consider, which haven't been brought up, with touring bike vs. a bike you could go out on a group ride with and keep up with the paceline---

-shifter type- If you want to keep up in group ride situations it's pretty advantageous, though not necessary, to have STI-type brake lever/shifters, as opposed to down-tube or bar-end shifters like many touring bikes have.

-wheels- A big part of the reason touring or cross bikes feel slower is that you need heavier wheels for loaded touring. If you want to do both with the same bike, having a heavy touring set of wheels PLUS and lighter, aerodynamic set of wheels for road riding, might be a good compromise.

-gearing- I ended up getting SRAM Rival 2x10 drivetrain. Good for road riding, but some tough going with cargo. If I'd been a little more honest with myself I might have gone with a shimano triple up front (however sram has some nice design features I value) and I'd suggest a triple for you too.

As other have said, make sure you have room for somewhat fat tires, mounts for rear rack, etc (though companies like Axiom and Old Man Mtn make racks that don't require these). If you want a dual purpose bike between zipping around on day trips plus some loaded touring, I'd rec the cross bike over the touring bike, as the lighter cross frame will handle a lot better when not loaded.

Have fun!
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Old 07-10-11, 11:39 AM
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Sounds like a test ride of a Roubaix is up your alley
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Old 07-10-11, 11:44 AM
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If I could keep only one of my bikes it would be the tourer, for the reasons stated above. Versatile, load- carrying, comfort over big distances. Road bikes that fit aren't uncomfortable, but a tourer is a more relaxed set-up. So if you can only have one, and you aren't planning to race, a light tourer would be a great choice.

Cross bikes are also versatile. Probably marginally more off-road potential than the tourer, but less good at toting baggage if you really want to tour. Either would be a good choice, and despite what the roadies tell you (I'm one) there are lots of people riding around on high-priced lightweight road bikes who'd be happier, and pretty much as fast, on a cross or a tourer.
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Old 07-10-11, 11:55 AM
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You will be riding in spandex soon enough. Everything in cycling is designed for a purpose and cycling shorts have a very important purpose. Do you see yourself loading up with panniers and camping/touring. If not then get a road bike. I have a touring bike and for long 50-100 mile day rides I vastly prefer my fast and responsive road bike. The only reason to have a touring bike is multi-day tours loaded up with gear.
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Old 07-10-11, 05:05 PM
  #22  
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Nashar touring fork $49.00
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes//Produc...2_511246_-1___
Nashbar touring frame $99.00
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes//Produc...2_511239_-1___
Shimano Deore LX trekking (touring) groupset (crankset, rear derailleur, front derailleur, shifters, brake levers, brakes, cassette, chain) as low as 271.21 euro (depending on which options you choose); with shipping to North America (means you don't pay European VAT tax) is $368.33 US dollars (the exchange rate fluctuates)
http://www.bike24.com/p29129.html
WTB Freedom Ryder 23 rims 36 hole $18.45 (times two = $36.90) (I put the link here from eBikestop for people who want to order from Canada, shipping for large items is cheaper from eBikestop last time I ordered)
http://www.ebikestop.com/freedom_ryd...rim-RM2241.php
Shimano Tiagra rear hub 36 hole $27.89
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=414678
Shimano Tiagra front hub 36 hole $19.84
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=407883
(I haven't chosen that yet, you can look below why)
Velox rim strip $1.83 (times two = $3.66)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=432533
Dimension spoke protector $3.00
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=419815
Sunlite wheel reflectors $2.49
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...oducts_id=5777
DT Swiss Champion 14g (2.0mm) spokes
for rear wheel
(I measured both hub and rim and used two sizing calculators for that rim and rear hub and chose 287mm and 289mm spokes, 18 of each length)
287mm $0.43 (times 18 = $7.74)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=32422
289mm $0.51 (times 18 = $9.18)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=32640
for front wheel using this calculator http://lenni.info/edd/ says it's 290mm both sides
290mm $0.51 (times 36 = $18.36)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=32638
DT Swiss Champion 12mm, 2.0mm brass nipples $0.26 (times 72 = $18.72)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=32619
Dimension chainstay protector clear $5.95
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=501118
Origin8 classique sport seatpost 27.2mm x 300mm silver $26.08
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=509738
Origin8 seatpost clamp 31.8mm gold $5.99
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=431892
Origin8 headset spacers 1-1/8" (ten x 10mm) silver $6.20
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=431892
Origin8 headset threadless 1-1/8" gold $31.99
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=431753
Origin8 stem threadless 1-1/8" 25.4mm silver $21.99
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=431946
Origin8 handlebars 625mm long 25.4mm clamp 40mm high silver $19.80
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=431636
Black Ops platform pedals clear $14.99
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=432203
WTB Freedom Relax saddle light brown $36.98
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=433923
Dimension hand-stiched leather grips light brown $14.88
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=408543
Continental tubes 700x28-47mm Presta $6.26 (times two = $12.52) (or the thicker Michelin tubes)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=424089
Continental TourRide tires 700x37mm $26.96 (times two = $53.92) (or Michelin Tracker tires) (you can also get these in cream color with reflective strips from bikexperts.com in Germany if you ask them)
http://www.amazon.com/Continental-To.../dp/B0013DZGVG
Well, here the total without the shipping cost for amazon.com, niagaracycle and eBikestop and cost of assembly is $915.40
Sunlite bottle cages $1.99 (times two if you want $3.98)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=12697
Sunlite Tec HD tourer rack $24.99 (these were actually all silver when they arrived)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=430988
Axiom Rainrunner trekk reflex 700c fenders $54.00
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=426889
Avenir Softside City panniers $42.56
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=507460
Trek Lime bell $7.99 (you can click on additional views to see the 8 colors, I would choose white)
http://store.trekbikes.com/jump.jsp?...ProductID=1439
Civia two leg kickstand $27.00 (right now I'm not sure what the top plate model means yet)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=710999
Halo hex key skewers $15.00
http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...s.php?id=12529
Cateye Strada cycling computer CD-RD100 $21.51 (this one is the black on sale but I've seen the white on sale before)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=13708
The total at this point would be $1112.43
Kryptonite Kryptolock Value Series 2 (make sure to grease the mechanism inside) $32.16
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=30504
Giro Hex helmet $67.95 (depends on size, color)
http://www.amazon.com/Giro-Mountain-...6885571&sr=8-2
Dimension eyeglass mirror $10.50
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=411405
Fox Racing gloves $21.95
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=702678
Bellwether rain jacket $119.99
http://www.amazon.com/Bellwether-201...888369&sr=1-44
Bellwether AquaNo pants $60.39
http://www.amazon.com/Bellwether-Aqu...6895452&sr=8-3
The total at this point would be $1425.37
If you chose to go with a dynamo front hub and front and rear dynamo lights, this could be a choice
Busch&Muller D'Toplight Plus rear dynamo light 17 euro
http://www.bike-x-perts.com/en/produ...ucts_id/133927
Busch&Muller Lumotec Lyt Plus 25 lux front light for dynamo hub 24 euro
http://www.bike-x-perts.com/en/produ...ucts_id/359500
(you could also choose the IQ Cyo 60 lux front light but that's 64 euro)
http://www.bike-x-perts.com/en/produ...ucts_id/359497
Shimano DH-3N72 dynamo hub 58 euro (actually, I wanted to choose the Deore LX model for this message but the spoke calculator did not include this one, I can only measure it once I order it)
http://www.bike-x-perts.com/en/produ...ucts_id/242167
(The spokes for this would be 283mm both sides with the WTB Freedom Ryder 23 rim)
DT Swiss Champion 283mm spokes $0.49 each (times 36 = $17.64)
http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?id=92390
So, if you chose a dynamo hub 58 euro, front light 24 euro, rear light 17 euro (plus the 283mm spokes minus the 290mm spokes and Tiagra front hub), it would be $1539.26 without the shipping from bikexperts
I'm a little surprised I did all this work. But, please tell me if I missed any bike parts.
You can always use the frame sizing calculator at ColoradoCyclists.

If you wanted to do high mileage, check out this frame. Even if it's from Germany, I find it's a cool one compared to the selection of frames in North America (like the Soma, Salsa, Surly whatever).
Intec Trekking steel frame T7:
http://www.bike-x-perts.com/en/produ...ucts_id/461739
I think a mixte frame can give you the advantage of allowing you to put your feet on the ground more safely if you go off-road (like on a steep grassy hill if you know what I mean).

Bikeman has a bunch of touring frames though:
http://www.bikeman.com/Touring_Frames.html

Again, with higher mileage, instead of the Shimano Tiagra hubs I put on the list, I'd choose either Shimano XT or 105 hubs and Velocity rims instead of the WTB Freedom Ryder 23 rims.

You could also save money with the Deore 590 trekking group.

Last edited by hybridbkrdr; 07-10-11 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 10-19-11, 03:08 PM
  #23  
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If you are only going to have one bike, a touring bike is your best bet. Apart from being heavier, they do everything a recreational road bike can do. Plus, they can take fenders if you end up riding in rain or commuting, you can add a rack if you want to carry stuff. Unless you are doing pacelines or racing, no need to have a full-on road bike.
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Old 10-19-11, 04:31 PM
  #24  
trek2.3bike
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I spent 5 weeks touring in Europe last summer. I used a 2-year old aluminium framed Trek 1.5 with a rear rack and panniers. No more than 50# in the 3-compartment panniers and MNT 10# in the handlebar bag will carry all your stuff and some purchases. The bike rode like a road bike and didn't burp at the load. It will take fenders and comes with 25mm tires, looks like 28 will fit. BTW, I bought it in the UK on Ebay for $400 and left it with a friend on the Continent for next summer's touring.
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Old 10-19-11, 04:50 PM
  #25  
datlas 
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If you are going to be doing non-touring but long road rides, get a road bike.

If you are truly going to be doing touring (with packs etc) get a touring bike.

Most important, make sure it fits you properly. You can ride a road bike >100 miles/day without major discomfort.

You certainly can get a decent road bike + basic accessories for the budget amount you stated.
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