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Is there a touring bike that is actually ready to go right off the shelf?

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Is there a touring bike that is actually ready to go right off the shelf?

Old 05-04-05, 06:54 AM
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I've been perusing the touring forum a bit, as I'm investigating the whole "loaded touring" thing. From what I've seen so far, it seems like there isn't any "touring" bike made that doesn't need some component changes made in order for it to be a better tourer. The main thing I have seen posted is that the stock sizes of the cranks or sprockets (or whatever the technical name for them is) on these tourers aren't quite right for a loaded touring bike. I'm wondering, if this is true, why are the bike manufacturers making these bikes this way? Are they just trying to throw some product out there to a small minority of the consumer base just to get some $$$ from that segment of the market? Or do they just not "get it"? And finally, IS there a bike maker who has "gotten it right" in the touring category as far as gearing, components, and frame?

Just curious.

AJ

Last edited by Irish Gypsy; 05-04-05 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 05-04-05, 07:27 AM
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The best "ready to tour" complete bike in the US is probably
https://www.bgcycles.com/blt.html
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Old 05-04-05, 08:46 AM
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You can buy a trek 520 , jamis. bianchi, cannondale etc..touring bike, bolt on the racks and just go touring like most people do. The primary complaint about most stock touring bikes is the cranks don't have low enough gears for heavy touring loads. But that may be more the fault of Shimano than the individual bike maufacturers. I may be wrong but Shimano's pricing structure may make it difficult for a manufacturer to mix and match parts. In practice many people are able to bargain with the retailer for an even swap to a MTB crank. That said you can ride the ACA transcontinental route self contained with a standard road triple
crank. With the exception of about 20 miles out of the 4000 miles you wont likely need any gear lower than what the stock bike has.

Just like racing weenies ,when tourists aren't touring they are trying to come up with the ultimate bicycle, But many of us go beyond that and make our frames, panniers, lights ,racks, trailers , camping gear, cooking utensils. It isn't that everything commercially available sucks but tourists often are creative people who view the touring experince as a blank canvas and this is just another outlet for that creative energy
In other words we are all a bunch of cheap bastards riding bicycles

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Old 05-04-05, 09:32 AM
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The primary reason is that to put the "right" combination of chainrings (something like a 28-38-48) and sprockets (something like 12-32) usually exceed the specs for the derailler. Even if you go with a mountain bike component like a Deore the 28/32 combination exceeds the maximum. So to be conservative and insure that the bike shifts properly and requires minimum maintenance, manufactures stick to the middle of the road setups. The good news is that most good components work well beyond their specs and can be pushed to setups like those above. Ask your LBS.
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Old 05-04-05, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW
The best "ready to tour" complete bike in the US is probably
https://www.bgcycles.com/blt.html
Bruce Gordon BLT (mentioned above) or BLT-X
Co-motion Americano or NorWester
Bianchi Volpe

geared funny:
Waterford 1900 or T14
Trek X500 or 520
Cannondale T800 or T2000

A lot of folks have good experiences with buying an older unsuspended mountain bike
for touring. Putting on high pressure slick tires, racks, fenders, and extenders on the
flat handlebars makes for a pretty sturdy, reasonably efficient beast of burden.
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Old 05-04-05, 10:16 AM
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There's also the question of what's the "right" gearing combination. Now in my 60s, I tour happily with a 21-gear group that ranges only between 20 and 84 inches, whereas I once toured with ratios that put me at 28-100+. Our sweet-spots vary depending on our fitness, weight, age--and where our personal inclinations lie regarding touring leisurely vs. touring fast. It's hard for manufacturers to please us all, so they probably aim somewhere in the middle. When I bought my tourer, my LBS swapped gearing at no charge, to match what he and I thought appropriate for me at the time.
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Old 05-04-05, 01:44 PM
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When I bought my Safari it was ready to go right off the rack. It has very reasonable gear ratios: 11-30 and 46/36/24 and it's rear rack is plenty durable. I did a short credit card tour on it withen a couple of months with only having changed the saddle. I'm not sure if the current model is as ready to go as it looks like they have changed a lot on it.
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Old 05-04-05, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by scrantr
Bruce Gordon BLT (mentioned above) or BLT-X
Co-motion Americano or NorWester
Bianchi Volpe

geared funny:
Waterford 1900 or T14
Trek X500 or 520
Cannondale T800 or T2000
The Cannondales are 48/36/26 with an 11-34 cassette. What's wrong with that gearing? Maybe a 24 instead of the 26 but that's just nitpicking. That it doesn't come with a front rack is more problematic but I like the Tubus racks better anyway.

The Gordon is a bit low on the high range for my taste.

The Co-motion bikes have a 46 instead of a 48 but that again would be a taste thing. The $3500 price tag is a bit steep.

The gearing on the Volpe might be okay but the geometry is wrong for a touring bike.


I would agree that the gearing on the Trek is too high for touring but not for noodling around town.

But, in the end, gearing is an individual thing. You might not like, or need, a low gear in the 18" range nor a high gear over 100" but some of us like, or need, just that kind of gearing. For my local rides if I didn't have a gear that was in the 18", I wouldn't have knees by the time I topped out on Loveland Pass. On the other hand, I'd be spun out of gears in the first 100 yards on the downhill side without a 100+" gear.
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Old 05-04-05, 02:17 PM
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Sure. You can get a Bike Friday from a participating dealer with decent components.

If you're looking for ultegra or something like that, it doesn't seem to be ready to wear type of componenets.

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Old 05-04-05, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
Sure. You can get a Bike Friday from a participating dealer with decent components.

If you're looking for ultegra or something like that, it doesn't seem to be ready to wear type of componenets.

Koffee
Koffee, Do you tour on the Bike Friday?
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Old 05-04-05, 02:34 PM
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You bet I do.

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Old 05-04-05, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
You bet I do.

Koffee
Ok I just looked at one on thier web page. Where do you mount panniers? The page in thier catalog with racks and panniers is blank on my PC, I am not trying to be funny.
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Old 05-04-05, 05:36 PM
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My bike, a Peugeot Alpin Pro (Procycle made), came with 22-32-42 chainings, 11-28 7s cassette, bar-end shifters and all the needed braze-ons. I didn't know zip about touring bikes back then. The only way I could recognize one was by the mid-fork eyelets and three bottle braze-ons. I saw that and it fitted so I bought it for 700$ CAD which was 450$ USD at the time. I thought I had a good deal but it's only by reading all the posts here about stock bikes not being tour-ready that I realized how lucky I was. The color is even the one I would choose for a custom bike (well, very close). I had to change the fork after a crash though.

Anyway, not sure I'm answering the question... just an occasion to say I like my bike.
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Old 05-04-05, 11:27 PM
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To answer the question... Koga Myata bikes are tour ready, including racks, bungee cords, bottles, pump and lights. Just add panniers and luggage.

From one of the big companies, the 2005 Cannondales come with decent gearing for touring.
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Old 05-04-05, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by oknups
Ok I just looked at one on thier web page. Where do you mount panniers? The page in thier catalog with racks and panniers is blank on my PC, I am not trying to be funny.
There are eyelets on the bike so you can have a rack, but you really have to be mindful of the fact that the rack is smaller. So your panniers are smaller.

I have the suitcase that converts to a trailer, so I would use the trailer before I'd use the panniers. The panniers I used for my Specialized Sirrus are too big for the Bike Friday.

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Old 05-05-05, 04:12 AM
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Co-motion and Waterford are both custom frame makers. Usually you buy the frame (stock or custom) and your LBS builds up the bike using your choice of components. The thread is about "off-the-shelf" models, not custom builds which are invariably more expensive and better suited to your individual needs.
In the UK we have a number of OTS bike makers such as Thorn, Orbit and Dawes who sell good value, well-specced touring bikes.

Last edited by MichaelW; 05-05-05 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 05-05-05, 08:10 AM
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a lot depends on the kind of shape your in, where you plan to tour, and how much stuff you plan to carry. if your going to be mostly on flat land or your in good shape most of the big name companies off the shelf stuff is probably fine.
i had my tour bike built up with mountian bike gearing becuse i had read a lot of the same stuff you've read and was worried i'd have a hard time climbing on a loaded bike.
last year i did a 3 week tour that involved a large amount of climbing. at the begining of the trip i struggled some even in my lowest gears, by the end of the trip i was hardly using the small chain ring at all. so it really depends a lot on several factors.

also a lot of shops will change the gearing free of charge. and since chances are they won't have the bike you want in your size in the shop anyway it's not as big a deal.
ive never seen a trek 520 at all in any of the shops around here, so its not like i could walk in and get it off the shelf.
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Old 05-05-05, 08:43 AM
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Burley sells a ready-to-tour bike with racks and a Brooks B-17 stock, the tough thing would be to find one to test ride.

One thing I think is certain, regardless of whatever bike you buy, you are going to change SOMETHING.
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Old 05-05-05, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by scrantr
geared funny:
Cannondale T800 or T2000
I think my '05 T800 with 48/36/26 up front and 11-34 in the rear is a great touring setup. That's out of the box. Even the '04s had 48/38/28 which is very good as well.
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Old 05-05-05, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by gordons9
I think my '05 T800 with 48/36/26 up front and 11-34 in the rear is a great touring setup. That's out of the box. Even the '04s had 48/38/28 which is very good as well.
gordons9 and cyccommute are correct. The Cannondale bikes have hadd a reasonable crank setup since the '02 bikes came out. Apologies offerred for the misinformation. Now if I could just get my Flickstand to fit that humongous downtube...
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Old 05-06-05, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by scrantr
gordons9 and cyccommute are correct. The Cannondale bikes have hadd a reasonable crank setup since the '02 bikes came out. Apologies offerred for the misinformation. Now if I could just get my Flickstand to fit that humongous downtube...
I bow to you and offer the crown of Retrogrouchness to you, sir. A Flickstand? You are truly the Retrogrouch King!

Long live the King!
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Old 05-06-05, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
Burley sells a ready-to-tour bike with racks and a Brooks B-17 stock, the tough thing would be to find one to test ride.

One thing I think is certain, regardless of whatever bike you buy, you are going to change SOMETHING.

Isn't that half the fun of owning a bicycle? I have bikes that have the seat collar as the only orginial piece of equipment...I think.
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Old 05-07-05, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by velonomad

Just like racing weenies ,when tourists aren't touring they are trying to come up with the ultimate bicycle, But many of us go beyond that and make our frames, panniers, lights ,racks, trailers , camping gear, cooking utensils. It isn't that everything commercially available sucks but tourists often are creative people who view the touring experince as a blank canvas and this is just another outlet for that creative energy
In other words we are all a bunch of cheap bastards riding bicycles
This is worth quoting!
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Old 05-13-05, 10:00 AM
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Ahhh!

You're the first mention of the Koga from Holland. Are you riding one? I'm seriously looking at these but find very little buzz. Any other riders, evaluations?

Thanks,

Tim
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Old 05-13-05, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Timonabike
Ahhh!

You're the first mention of the Koga from Holland. Are you riding one? I'm seriously looking at these but find very little buzz. Any other riders, evaluations?

Thanks,

Tim
There was a Koga dealer at the bike show in New Jersey and I was impressed to say the least. Everything on the 26' inch model was top of the line including the tires! Those bikes were beautiful to look at and costly to say the least. They weren't lightweights but I suspect the bike was around 25 - 27 pounds. Then again, these are touring bikes right?

They were made of al instead of steel but it didn't feel bad when I test rode one. Replaceable derailuer hanger, hub lights, even a built in lock! Eventhing about those bikes impressed me and were classy.
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