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Genesis Tour de Fer vs Fuji Tourer.

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Genesis Tour de Fer vs Fuji Tourer.

Old 03-19-16, 03:27 AM
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Loobes
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Genesis Tour de Fer vs Fuji Tourer.

Dear All,

I'm looking to set up a touring bike for the future, with the first goal in mind being a trip from London to Istanbul (Solo and Unsupported in around 40 days). My first port of call is getting a new bike, more suited to the task than my lightweight road bike.

Initially I was set on the Fuji Tourer (599) given it's lower cost and good spec for the money - giving me scope to upgrade bits and pieces like the saddle / tyres / racks. When I was thinking about these upgrades I started to look around and had the idea of buying a Genesis Tour de Fer Frame and building it up myself, over time - spreading the cost of the build and also making a bit more special to myself. I've heard it's quite a heavy bike, but not much else.

Anyone got any experience with either bike?

Cheers
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Old 03-19-16, 03:55 AM
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I'd go with the tour de fer frame for a couple of reasons.

Firstly I don't think a heavier weight in a touring bike is necessarily a bad thing as it implies stiffness, which is always a good think on a bike that is likely to see heavy loads. Also it's apparently Reynolds 725, which is better than your average chromoly ( heat treated, so it's stronger in places where the heat treatment hasn't been destroyed by welding)

Secondly, you get to choose your own component set, which allows for a lot of customization and preference, and you don't end up with shelves full of discarded original parts. And you get to choose (or build) your own wheels which is always a massive bonus in a touring bike. I suggest 36 spokes with DT Swiss Alpine III spokes. Rim could be any heavyset touring specific rim, but I've been very pleased with both Mavic A719 and DT TK540. The TK540 was much easier to build (practically built itself) and seems like a very good touring rim considering what it has endured under my significant weight.

And you get to choose the bling you might want. Compressionless brake housing for example? Maybe a segmented shifter housing? Full housing vs. partial etc etc etc. And what shifter system you want (bar end is boss, but DT and brifter work well too)

There's racks to consider as well. Don't know what rack the fuji touring has, but i'm pretty certain tubus has better stuff, and in various materials such as stainless and titanium if you want to go to that directon. Although chromo has worked well for me and nail polish takes care of any paint cracks and surface rusty spots.

Thirdly, building your own bike is fun and you learn a lot about the tech on the bike. And you learn much more about what spare parts (if any) you might want to take with and which parts are correct for you bike specifically. If you build your own wheels you can order a few extra spokes so you get the correct length and type immediately.

Then there's the little things. When you have to attatch all of the stuff on the bike yourself you can really delve into the details and make it perfect. Use stainless screws for bottle cages but chromo for racks for example? And what strength category of screw? 8.8 or 12.9? Then you can also use loctite for rack and bottle screws, and locknuts for rack screws if necessary. This might seems a bit fiddly, but personally I like to do it this way rather than
A) take out every screw, replace some, keep some and loctite every one or
B) not do anything and notice all of your screws have rattled out in the middle of the Balkan countryside. And of course you don't have any spares when you need them (having ridden with 3 stem bolts was a bit stressful...)

You'll spend a lot more money for a custom build, but then it'll be perfect and it'll be your bike and hopefully you'll never need another. Race bikes and mountain bikes come and go, but touring bikes tend to keep like no other bike as they also double as shopping cargo bikes, commuters, bad weather bikes, winter bikes, etc etc etc.
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Old 03-19-16, 05:28 AM
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If you build up the bike, when something does not work right you have a much better idea on how to fix it and get back underway quickly. But, if your mechanical aptitude is not high, that can be frustrating too. I am a retired engineer that worked in a bike shop before college, so I find building up a bike to be pretty simple, I built up my last five bikes from the frame. If you are not comfortable building the wheels, you can get pre-built wheels. But you should at least know how to true up a wheel if you did not build them. Building your own bike instead of buying it off the shelf is not a big money saver, but I feel that it allows you to get a better mix of components for your needs. For example, almost no off the shelf touring bikes come with a dynohub unless it is a very expensive bike. But as smartphones become a bigger part of our lives, having one for charging the phone can be quite useful.

Just do not make it look too nice, you do not want it to be stolen when you get to Eastern Europe. With the refugee migrant crisis in SE Europe right now, that might be an area where bike theft could be a concern. I would not even trust my old rusty errand bike in that region right now.

I know your question was which bike, sorry I did not answer that question.
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Old 03-19-16, 09:15 AM
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If cost is an issue, purchasing the complete Fuji bike will likely be cheaper than building your frame up from scratch, unless you have a lot of spare parts lying around.
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Old 03-19-16, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
If cost is an issue, purchasing the complete Fuji bike will likely be cheaper than building your frame up from scratch, unless you have a lot of spare parts lying around.
+ 1. This is an apples to oranges comparison. The genesis tour de fer is over 2x the price of the fuji when purchased as a complete bike and designed as an expedition level tourer,

Tour de Fer 20 | Genesis Bikes

The fuji is a road touring bike and is probably the best value out there in a touring model.

These 2 bikes are different so a lot depends on what the OP wants and how much he (or she) wants to spend.
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Old 03-19-16, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
+ 1. This is an apples to oranges comparison. The genesis tour de fer is over 2x the price of the fuji when purchased as a complete bike and designed as an expedition level tourer,

Tour de Fer 20 | Genesis Bikes

The fuji is a road touring bike and is probably the best value out there in a touring model.

These 2 bikes are different so a lot depends on what the OP wants and how much he (or she) wants to spend.
But if you look at the Tour de fer 10, which is lower spec (including generic 4130 instead of Reynolds 725) the price points are much closer.

Genesis make good bikes that represent excellent value for money. I agree, however, that these are very different bikes. If the OP wants to build up the Genesis frame as a drop-bar bike similar in style to the Fuji, he's going to have to be careful about sizing.
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Old 03-19-16, 07:48 PM
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I would second what ElCruxio said with the knowledge building up your bike might take a while. It is worth it in the end especially if you work at a shop and can get discounts. Some choices might be harder to make but if you do your research you can come up with a great build. I learned a lot more about bikes building my own and I have pretty much everything I want on it (with a few minor exceptions due to budgetary concerns or difficulty sourcing parts but not many)

If you want to see my build kit I am happy to share that and give you pointers. Hopefully soon (maybe even this upcoming week?) I will have my new baby done, finally after way too long and can post pictures.

Reynolds steel is way better than whatever generic 4130 Chromo tubing that Surly, Fuji (Fudgey), and others use, especially the 720 and above. My tourer is 720 and my vintage road machine is 531 and I might build up a Nature Boy 853 from All City this year if money works out.
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Old 03-20-16, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Reynolds steel is way better than whatever generic 4130 Chromo tubing that Surly, Fuji (Fudgey), and others use, especially the 720 and above. My tourer is 720 and my vintage road machine is 531 and I might build up a Nature Boy 853 from All City this year if money works out.
What does "better" mean to you, in this context. The differences between (say) 725 and "generic" 4130 are pretty small, as I understand it. The main advantage of the more expensive tubing means you can build as strong a bike while shedding a bit of weight, that's all. If that's not important - and to many tourists, it isn't - there's no special reason to regard the 4130 frame as inferior.
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Old 03-20-16, 02:32 AM
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The only difference between Reynolds 725 and 4130 is that the 725 is heat treated. The chemical composition is the same, but molecular structure in parts of the tube unaffected by welding / brazing is not.

Reynolds does then have steels that are completely different from 4130, such as 853 and their stainless lines.

I can't find any information on Reynolds 720, but if it existed it's likely also 4130 with heat treating or specialities in the tubesets.

Reynolds 531 is one of their older lines of steels with very similiar charasteristics to 4130. Not 100% sure about this, but 4130 kinda replaced the 531 as it slightly superior.

I don't personally understand people bashing 4130 as it's actually really, really good for bicycle use. It's inexpensive and strong and even though there are stronger steels out there, it can make a perfectly good strong lively frame that does not weigh a ton. I mean sure, if I had the choice my touring bike would be made from 853 oversize zone butted tubing, but the way things are going with the LHT, I doubt I'll get another anytime soon. I may even learn to live with the idea that I have a rear rim brake, which may force me to swap rims periodically, rather than wait that they crack on tour.
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Old 03-20-16, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post


Reynolds 531 is one of their older lines of steels with very similiar charasteristics to 4130. Not 100% sure about this, but 4130 kinda replaced the 531 as it slightly superior.
No, that isn't right. 531 was/is a manganese alloy, I think, and it wasn't phased out because it was inferior to 4130 but because the newer alloys have a higher tensile strength, so can go even lighter. But 531 frames were/are lighter than equivalent 4130 frames with equivalent thickness of tubing. That's my understanding, anyway.

I mean sure, if I had the choice my touring bike would be made from 853 oversize zone butted tubing, but the way things are going with the LHT, I doubt I'll get another anytime soon. I may even learn to live with the idea that I have a rear rim brake, which may force me to swap rims periodically, rather than wait that they crack on tour.
If you build a tourer out of 853, you'd better make the stays and forks out of something a bit heavier if you want to put panniers on them, I'd have thought. I have a custom road frame in Columbus Spirit, and I certainly wouldn't feel confident about the seat and chainstays with 30 lbs on a rack...

I largely agree with you about 4130, though. The clever people in here who do frame building and metallurgy tell me that if they built me a bike out of 4130 and one out of 853 that was the same weight, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference in the ride. I believe them.
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Old 03-20-16, 04:03 AM
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Wikipedia tells us the 531 was phased out by 4130 because chromoly was easier to weld, while the charasteristics were very similiar.

It's actually true that if one made a frame from 853 and 4130 and the frames were the same weight, one could not tell the difference, especially if the tube dimensions were the same. The hardened quality could maybe have some effect in stiffness, but the real difference would be in durability.

If I were to get the 853 frame I would of course use 9/6/9/1.1 butting as it's MTB level stuff and compareably to chormoly butting in terms of tube thickness and diameter. The reason I'd go with 853 is not weight savings but ultimate strength, which would be significantly higher than with ordinary chromo. One could even ask, whether anyone would need a frame that is so strong. But honestly, it's unlikely I'll break the LHT any time soon so there may never be a need for me to upgrade the frame for something more durable.
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Old 03-20-16, 04:04 AM
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Loobes, If you are looking to use drop handle bars, go with the Fuji. Flat bar or trekking bars, go with the Genesis. Either way pick what fits you best.

I like drop bars, but I'd be very tempted to buy the Genesis linked above. It is well enough equipped with items you'll need that prior to your tour you can fine tune the cockpit and basically adapt to riding a non roadie. I do enjoy building a bicycle frame set from the ground up to my specifications, but there should be some foundation to make good parts selections.

Brad
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Old 03-20-16, 05:23 AM
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I would go with the Fuji, an excellent bike. Of course you can spend more money, but to what end? I can guarantee you your trip will be just as enjoyable on the Fuji than on any other bike, not only that you'll have more money to spend on important things like beer.
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Old 03-20-16, 07:51 AM
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I believe there's a big difference in tensile strength with heat treating. A few people on the framebuilder forum can post charts about it.
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Old 03-20-16, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
I believe there's a big difference in tensile strength with heat treating. A few people on the framebuilder forum can post charts about it.
No need to go bother the framebuilders when the answer is just one short google search away

4130 tensile strength 700-900MPa
725 heat treated 4130 1080-1280Mpa

So there's roughly 30% difference in strength, but keep in mind, this is only on the areas of the tube completely unaffected by the welding / brazing process. It does not take all that much heat to ruin a heat treat, but with decent heat sinks the effect can be effectively localized to tube ends, where the tube is thicker and stronger anyways.

But lets also keep in mind that 4130 steel is not weak by any measure. A quick calculation shows that a 31.8mm thick tube midsection with 0.6mm wall thickness can withstand a tensile force of over 4000 kilograms before snapping. So you could hang 2 SUV's from a tube like that.

Ok, sure there's fatigue and shear and all that but it'll still withstand about 1000kg of shear force before even going into fatigue levels.
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Old 03-20-16, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
What does "better" mean to you, in this context. The differences between (say) 725 and "generic" 4130 are pretty small, as I understand it. The main advantage of the more expensive tubing means you can build as strong a bike while shedding a bit of weight, that's all. If that's not important - and to many tourists, it isn't - there's no special reason to regard the 4130 frame as inferior.
Stronger and lighter is a better. If you can eliminate weight without sacrificing strength or comfort probably most people would want to do that. I know some tourists say "I don't care so much about weight" but if we all had our choice I am sure we would go lighter if possible. If you had a very large budget for just the bike and accessories (minus your non-bike touring gear) I am sure you would look to shed weight and get more quality stuff if you weren't making sacrifices. Who wouldn't want a custom built touring bike or one from a higher end builder if money was not an issue?

I like Reynolds because they have been around for a while and are quite well established as making some quality tubes. It isn't to say generic 4130 is unusable or complete crap or anything like that just that I dig Reynolds more.
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Old 03-20-16, 10:43 AM
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give us some numbers. if the tubing will build up reasonable
equivalently strong frames.

what's the weight difference for a standard size,
and what's the cost difference?

i want to know the trade off. is it worth maybe
$200 to save 3 ounces? no, not for me.
would i pay $20 to save a pound? sure, why not.
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Old 03-20-16, 11:10 AM
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It wouldn't be all that difficult to just count how much metal goes into a frame as all the information can be found online. Butting, wall thickness, butting placement, tube thickness etc etc. Take a generic steel weight per cubic cm value and add that to the frame.

Sure, weight matters to an extent, but then again getting a lighter steel touring frame also usually does not mean stiffer. Actually, it's likely that the lighter steel frame is less stiff. So with better steel grades I'd go for more durability, not actual weight savings. Especially in the frame, because come now, the frame is like 1% of the whole rider / gear combo, and it's also the most important part.

Also, saying chromo is not unusable or completely crap really doesn't do it justice. It really is much better than people give it credit for, but many people seem to link it HiTen, which also isn't bad, but starts to be in the region 'not great'

Even you, Veganbikes use generic 4130 in your bikes, but it's heat treated so it can be called reynolds 725. Exactly the same chemical composition, to a tee. It's not way better, it's slightly better.
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Old 03-20-16, 11:23 AM
  #19  
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Tour de Fer 20 | Genesis Bikes

none even sold here this is Not the UK

Hauling Panniers on a overly light frame will be rather flexing , may introduce handling problems.

Thorn Bikes from SJS Cycles is another UK source for a Made to be a touring bike Frame-sets
They have a Lot more Frame Sizes and Proportions than most Companies
Though they, as is Common Now, have a source in Taiwan Making and exporting them to that company,

I expect the ones you mention are Imported Too..

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Old 04-15-17, 03:19 PM
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I think with touring bikes the advantages of 725 over butted 4130 are really small.
Generally the 725 frame may not be stronger at all but simply lighter due to less material.
As mentioned the weight savings on a frame might be about 200g or under half a pound which is easily saved in ways likely cheaper and more effective such as tire choice or other componennts.
Secondly, if the tubing is thicker it should be stiffer, something not really wanted on any other type of bikes but touring. Granted the diameter plays a bigger role but it would still be a stiffer frame all else being equal and likely about the same strength especially is you considerr the 4130 frame would likely have a thicker butting which would make it even stronger at the most critical junctions.
To get an accurate feel for what is stronger or lighter you really need to know the exact geometries of the tubing.
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