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Sorry, need more help finding a good touring bike.

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Sorry, need more help finding a good touring bike.

Old 07-10-15, 03:56 PM
  #1  
cyber.snow
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Sorry, need more help finding a good touring bike.

I thought I was down to two choices...the seemingly king of touring bikes, the Surly Disc Trucker and the much cheaper REI special Safari. So I went out and rode both bikes. The safari felt good but I was really turned off by the fact that the lines to the rear brakes and shifter ran down the top of the center bar and visions of jumping off and getting pinched in the wrong placed danced through my head. I asked the REI rep if there was some kind of protector for that and he didn't know of any solutions. So off to another bike shop and I took the 52cm LHT for a spin. The stand over height was good but it felt like I was really reaching out to the handlebars. NOt sure I would like that on a really long ride. I ride a felt V85 in 54 and it fits fine but it is definitely not a touring bike. So I am off looking for good alternatives. I do want disc brakes and my budget is ~$1,500.00. I liked the Trek 920, it was built like a tank but was out of my budget range. Any other suggestions?
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Old 07-10-15, 04:13 PM
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Sacramento has Trek dealers , the 520 is a solid reliable frame and fork fitted with the latest parts .

stems and all that parts are easily swapped by the dealer , before you take it home .

dont be foolish.. they use the parts that came in the carton, but they all can be changed ..



Surly sells , to many dealers , they just have to have a QBP account 26" wheel LHT is a good bike for the boonies



You may be too fearful to leave town let alone tour thru Grizzly Bear country from Alaska.

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Old 07-10-15, 04:19 PM
  #3  
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It might help if you explain what tours or type of touring your interested in. I see your posts mentioning credit card tours and the ALCAN highway.
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Old 07-10-15, 04:36 PM
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good points, and yes I am a little afraid of camping across Canada unarmed. But, the ALCAN will not happen before April/May 2017 and it may end up being a trip where I drive my jeep and bring the bike along. Yes, that is wimping out...LOL

But for now, am trying to extend my rides and start doing overnighters. Since I don't have any lightweight gear and am still building stamina, will start doing credit card camping. Not sure where to start, but know I need a different set up for a bike. Am riding a Felt V85 bike now that has 105 road stuff on it but was told by several folks that I need to be thinking of a lower geared bike that is more set up for carrying more weight that 30-40 lbs, if I ever want to start camping. I can't afford to buy a stable of bikes so am selling all my old bikes and trying to get into a touring bike that I will ride mostly on the road, maybe down a path or two in a camp ground or a bike trail. I do want disc brakes after a narrow miss on a wet icy road in Switzerland. So bottom line, a bike that is much better than I am now and will give me the inspiration to grow into it and actually get to the point of being able to do much longer trips. Plan will be to build up the stamina for the rest of the Summer and start extending my trips this fall and even do some credit card camping along the cascades or sierras over the winter. Hope that helps.
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Old 07-10-15, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
I thought I was down to two choices...the seemingly king of touring bikes, the Surly Disc Trucker and the much cheaper REI special Safari. So I went out and rode both bikes. The safari felt good but I was really turned off by the fact that the lines to the rear brakes and shifter ran down the top of the center bar and visions of jumping off and getting pinched in the wrong placed danced through my head.
That's a really silly thing to be concerned about. Really.

Some other choices:

- Jamis Aurora Elite
- Kona Sutra
- Raleigh Sojurn

Then frames from Soma.

Finding touring bikes to test ride is a *****, especially with local shops that don't see much sales in this style of bike. It might help to do a fitting at an LBS so you know what dimensions and sizes to be looking at.
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Old 07-10-15, 07:11 PM
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I have taken a close look at all the suggested bikes. I can't seem to find much information on the Raleigh Sojurn, no geometry listed and called two bike shops that are supposed to carry Raleigh and no one answered. Will try again tomorrow. One interesting thing though. I did buy my sister a bike from a Trek dealer, same one that I bought my Felt from. We started talking about touring bikes and he said he could get me a Trek 520 disc for $1,299. Is that a fair price? Will go by tomorrow and check out the sizing on the bike but it looks like I will stay with the 54 as my Felt fits like a glove. (after a few modifications). What do people think of the SMT TK seat for touring?
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Old 07-10-15, 08:35 PM
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I dint understand the worry about a cable running the length of the top tube. It's a couple cables...they don't have razors on em and ththeyove a couple of centimeters at most due to tension.
I've ridden bikes with the cables placed there and never thought twice once riding. If I need to jump off a bike, there is 0 chance I get pinched by cables that can move laterally.

Anyways, here is an option.
Disc brakes, great components, slack geometry, can hahandlwider tires. http://www.amazon.com/Diamondback-Bi.../dp/B00OHD6N9S

It sells at rei, performance, and other places too.
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Old 07-10-15, 08:59 PM
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After seeing that at least 2 of you don't think the cables on the top are an issue, I will go back and give the Safari a good testing. Other than the cables, it looked like a great bike for the money. As for the diamondback, it is very similar to my current ride which is a Felt V85...love the bike and ride it every chance I get. But looking for an equipment truck to do a little bike camping.
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Old 07-10-15, 09:27 PM
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Cybersnow, You're afraid to cycle across canada unarmed. The animals up here are more afraid of you than you are of them. Yes, we have lots of wild life here but as long as you leave respectful space between you and them, they will just ignore you or run away. If you are too close, or too aggressive towards them, then they might attack you. The main thing is to give respect to the animals and leave plenty of space between you and them. as for the types of bicycle, well Im checking them out too, so thanks to everyone, i will continue to do more research on what types of bike fits my buget and is suitable for touring.

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Old 07-10-15, 10:10 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
After seeing that at least 2 of you don't think the cables on the top are an issue, I will go back and give the Safari a good testing. Other than the cables, it looked like a great bike for the money. As for the diamondback, it is very similar to my current ride which is a Felt V85...love the bike and ride it every chance I get. But looking for an equipment truck to do a little bike camping.
What you plan on doing doesn't really require a touring bike, and be aware that touring geometry sits you more upright, which means you are going to be generating most if not all of your power with your legs only.

You might be better off looking at a do-everything type of bike rather than a dedicated touring bike.

In your price range and given that you have a Trek dealer nearby, I would suggest you look at the Trek Crossrip LTD.

It can do light touring if you put the right rack on it (extended backwards to make up for the shorter chainstays on cyclocross bikes as compared with touring bikes)
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Old 07-10-15, 10:15 PM
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I would stick with the Surly DT and get a new stem for it if that is your only issue. Stem length is going to be different for everyone and if you like the bike minus that issue it is something simply solved. A new stem will set you back $40 on the lower end and usually $200 on the higher end. You can get all sorts of stems from ones with a higher/lower rise to ones that are fully adjustable to all sorts of different lengths and so long as you get the right one for your clamp diameter you are going to be all right.

A stock production bike will never fit most people just right and you will always have to do some tweaking but usually that tweaking is reasonably cheap or can be more expensive if you choose to get higher end components. A cheaper Dimension stem will do the job just fine but a Thomson stem is going be lighter, probably last longer and look a little nicer, is all.
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Old 07-10-15, 10:25 PM
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If you are going back to rei then try out the Mazama. It's disc like you want and is set for ooffroding which is apparently important to what you want to do.


No harm in riding the Randonee too. It's a solidly spec'd touring bike with wheels that are made to handle packed weights and comfortable geometry.
No disc brakes, but the cantis work well. They aren't spongy, at least not when I rode the latest model.
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Old 07-10-15, 10:26 PM
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If your not sure about bikes and gear and touring, why not grow into it slowly.
Consider getting a much lower geared cassette from a mountain bike (probably chain/rear derailleur to suit) and a trailer that instead of buying panniers, you can throw a pack on.
Have a look at the Carry Freedom Y-frame range:
https://vimeo.com/109179910

Just a thought.
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Old 07-10-15, 10:27 PM
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Being afraid to cycle across Canada unarmed was more of a joke. Spent almost 2 years as a lone trail rider up in the Sierra Nevadas, prior to being drafted in the 60s. Found that what you say is so true, trick is to never act aggressive towards an animal that might be put into a fight or flee situation. After over 36 years in the military, on 6 continents, never had problems with the 4 legged creatures, now 2 legged was a different story.

I did go back and look at the Safari...think I will pass as it is more for off road trekking and I don't think I am up for that. Will stick with more of a touring bike. I looked at the Crossrip when I bought the V85. V85 was better equipped, fit better and was several hundred dollars cheaper. V85 would do for most credit card touring, but am thinking about camping. Guess I need to go spend a little time comparing the Trek 520 disc with the Surly DT and spend a little more time in the saddle on both of them. You are right about the stem being an easy thing to change. When I bought my V85 was changing from a hybrid where I sat up almost straight so I used a stem extension and a variable stem. It worked great and as I built up core strength the stem extension went away and then the variable stem was replaced with a fixed stem. Have both in my box of bike stuff, so plan on playing a little with the set up until I get used to the bike. I live right next to some very hilly country and will start riding with a group of folks that all ride touring bikes of some kind or another with Trek 520 and Surly LHT being the top two I see a lot.
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Old 07-11-15, 08:11 AM
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How about Bruce Gordon's Made in Petaluma Cal Touring bikes ?,

from Sacto you can drive there in a day and get it all custom fit and drive back ..



Amtrak to Bay Area and BART across to SF and a Bus to Petaluma and Santa Rosa if you want to not drive .

Or to pick it up and ride it back Home.

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-11-15 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 07-11-15, 11:22 AM
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While the BG bike might be about double what my budget is, I will give them a call on Monday and see what they say about coming up for a fitting.

Since you seem to know the area well, can you suggest any good resources of places to ride? I can do a lot of single day trips in the Sacramento area, but have no idea where to start doing two and three day trips. I am willing to drive up to Oregon, if that is my best bet but hate to lose 2 days driving time for a two day ride...if that makes sense.
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Old 07-11-15, 11:46 AM
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A suggestion:
It sounds like you are worrying about some trivial things and also making this all a way bigger deal than it needs to be. Why not just take the bike you have and do some touring? Then you can make decisions about gear and bike upgrades from a more informed position. You may find that you don't need the upgrades you now think you do or that what you need is entirely different than you think.

Touring is really way more about the riding than it is about the bike.
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Old 07-11-15, 01:16 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
I thought I was down to two choices...the seemingly king of touring bikes, the Surly Disc Trucker and the much cheaper REI special Safari. So I went out and rode both bikes. The safari felt good but I was really turned off by the fact that the lines to the rear brakes and shifter ran down the top of the center bar and visions of jumping off and getting pinched in the wrong placed danced through my head. I asked the REI rep if there was some kind of protector for that and he didn't know of any solutions....
If you really were that concerned about the cables, you could run full length housing under the top tube instead. But, the cables are normally under tension and it would ve very difficult to accidently get anything including fingers stuck under the cables. On one of my bikes, every cable uses full length housing to keep dirt and mud out of the cables.

I agree with veganbikes that a stem is easily changed.
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Old 07-11-15, 01:41 PM
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You are right about making a bigger problem out of something that is pretty trivia, sorry about that. After all the searching and studying, (I am an aerospace design engineer by trade and am a big consumer of data, facts and specs), I have decided that I will go out and find the right size Trek 520 Disc. Unfortunately it will still be a while before I can start doing any serious riding as my wife is terminally ill and I am her 24/7 caretaker, not complaining but my bike riding, working out, etc continues on hold for now. The best I can do is start planning for something fun that I can look forward to when this is all over. Anyway, I will try not to ask any more stupid questions.
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Old 07-11-15, 02:06 PM
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Nothing is better than a bike that fits
. he is a Master Craftsman .

I can understand your wanting some distraction(here) from your Home Hospice situation . best wishes on that.

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Old 07-11-15, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
Unfortunately it will still be a while before I can start doing any serious riding as my wife is terminally ill and I am her 24/7 caretaker, not complaining but my bike riding, working out, etc continues on hold for now.
I hope your wife can manage at least some level of comfort through her remaining time. She is fortunate to have you. My hat is off to you.

Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
The best I can do is start planning for something fun that I can look forward to when this is all over. Anyway, I will try not to ask any more stupid questions.
In that case, planning and tinkering with bike and gear choices may be a pleasant diversion and a bit of a mental escape in a difficult situation. When that situation is over, I hope your subsequent touring provides you with some happy times.
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Old 07-11-15, 02:13 PM
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Thanks, just wanted you to know that my brain is out there on the road but my heart needs to stay here and do what needs to be done.
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Old 07-11-15, 02:55 PM
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My old Colnago has the sheathed rear brake along the top tube. It never gave me problems. It uses clamps. For a while it was on the side, but I centered it about a decade ago.

I've ridden other bikes with bare cables along the TT... also never any problems.

Internal cable routing looks sweet... but perhaps for touring, the simplicity of accessible cables would be a benefit.

I agree with others. You are putting an awful lot of thought into the perfect touring bike.

I'd encourage you to either use what you have, or find a cheap Craigslist Special. Put a few days on the road, then decide what you do or don't like about the bike.
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Old 07-11-15, 06:03 PM
  #24  
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Cyber, I am so sorry to hear about your wife and situation and can only say we can help and give as much advice as is useful to you. Obviously only you will know when it's a good time to get away for a few days.

On one hand I would be tempted to say shove on a rear rack and some panniers and go do some credit card touring, if for no other reason then A) You have a decent bike for that purpose and B) It'll give you some sense of what touring is about.

I think you need to figure out about how many miles you want to do in a 3/4 day, how well you handle hills, then maybe look at a road map and pick a destination. Then use Google Maps to help pick a route. You don't have to pick the perfect route and sometimes screwing up and getting on the 6 lane freeway teaches you about route planning. The idea is to just go.

The concept of buying a full blown tourer is a good one as they can be adapted to about any use, except maybe downhill mt. bike racing. It also becomes a "someday" goal to look forward to, for when things get better in your life.

One idea for fit of a tourer would be to replicate the fit of the Felt with the idea of having the handlebar at seat level. That's kind of a starting point for sport and touring bikes. If your Felt has zero drop and has its h-bar at seat level now, then write down the dimensions - middle of seat to middle of stem (reach), h-bar drop if any, etc.. My Tomasso carbon racer has the same reach as my Miyata tourer - 68cm, with the carbon h-bar about an inch below the seat. My Soma Smoothie has the same drop and reach as my tourer and all the bikes, after decades of tinkering with position, area effect for me. It's not that hard to set all this up, just a stem change usually.

Best of luck with your search.
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Old 07-11-15, 10:57 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
... I was really turned off by the fact that the lines to the rear brakes and shifter ran down the top of the center bar and visions of jumping off and getting pinched in the wrong placed danced through my head.
I had this on my cyclo-cross bike. Makes shouldering the bike a lot easier. Never had a problem "getting pinched".

However, the TREK MTB I'm converting into a touring bike had the rear brake cable running the length of the top tube. I didn't like the idea of having an exposed cable, so I cut off the cable stop and filed it down smooth before getting the frame powder coated.

After getting it back, you can't even notice the cable stop was even there.

Anyways, I bought some NOS Dia-Compe cable clamps to hold the cable housing on the top tube. Much better.
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