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touring bicycle

Old 04-14-16, 07:23 AM
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Squeezebox, Some people are just born with a 'tinker gene'. There is no perfect off-the-shelf bikes available in any bicycling niche, IMHO.

Experience guides what changes are to be made and what needs to be left as is. As I've written many times in the past, I relied upon the experience of this forum when I built my first touring bike. Nearly four years, I think, later worth of personal experiences have proven my touring bikes to be spot on for at least 95% of anything required of them. In other words, they are still not what I consider perfect, but rather good enough and that is all that's needed for me. The only possible change would be to lower the gearing on each, but the more I read from what's written by the ultra light crowd and then follow what's applicable to me, deep low range gearing becomes less of a issue.

Until you go out and use the bike as intended, you really won't know just how 'as is' capable and ready it is for your intended use.

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Old 04-14-16, 08:08 AM
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Customizing. Make it your own. Expressing yourself individuality. Showing off that you're not just a wannabe. Seeking approval. We want ours to be better than everyone elses.

We are perfectionist too...we want to build the perfect bike.
I admit...I have a little OCD. If something is 95% right, I want to make it 100% right.

Why not? Most cyclists can afford 2 grand for a bike...have lots of disposable income. There are worse ways to spend money.

Last edited by mtb_addict; 04-14-16 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 04-14-16, 09:02 AM
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Touring Bike

Originally Posted by Squeezebox
Personally I think it's strange that I can buy a mountain bike of the shelf, or a credit card bicycle right off the shelf. Or cyclo cross. Paris Robais, road bike, and all the others off the shelf.
But why do I have to buy a touring bicycle and then have to change a bunch of stuff on it to get it right? Why not off the shelf??
on 11-2008 I got my 1st Touring Bike a Surly LHT 26in 52cm 2008 and my mom got me my 1st Touring Bike and from 11-2008 to 4-14-2016 I self Custom my Bike parts for
Expedition Bike Touring and Heavy load
since 11-2008 when I gone Homeless by Choice to live my Dreams of Bike Touring and Stealth Bike Camping
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Old 04-14-16, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox
Personally I think it's strange that I can buy a mountain bike of the shelf, or a credit card bicycle right off the shelf. Or cyclo cross. Paris Robais, road bike, and all the others off the shelf.
But why do I have to buy a touring bicycle and then have to change a bunch of stuff on it to get it right? Why not off the shelf??

You are in the wrong Country.. Many Brands selling to the European Market , you can get a Bike complete
and just put your stuff in Panniers and go.

Koga Of NL even has a Build Menu so you can pick thje parts, the company puts it together and ships to your Koga Dealer ..
and adds your name on the frame , too.

Closest you can come to that in the US is Bike Friday Or a Custom bike like Bruce Gordon or Co-Motion , R&E , etc.

US bike dealers get basic Bikes, in a Box packed in The Asian source country, Then Sell you the accessories at Point Of Sale ..


A factory generally buys the parts from a component factory and take what they ship at best price ..

You ride it as Is or do your own small parts substitution.

If You Know what you want ahead of time the shop will make those changes as they make the bike ready , from the carton.


I box up Bikes at the LBS for touring riders that have already crossed the continent , this forum is full of people Obsessing over Hardware minutiae, too much, and touring too seldom.

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-14-16 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 04-14-16, 09:05 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1057015-a.html

8 days ago, you started the exact same thread.

You dont have to change a bunch of stuff to get a touring bike 'right'. You CHOOSE to change the stuff because you WANT different stuff.
Do you not understand the difference between a WANT and a NEED?

I could want into my local Trek LBS and ride out on a 520 in my size(they also sell LHT, but dont have one in my size in stock) today. I could change nothing on it and ride for thousands of miles.
That was last week. The world could have changed since then.
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Old 04-14-16, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by dim
what I was trying to say is a new LHT needs lots of money to upgrade. I have just bought one

it came without pedals, a crappy saddle, no fenders, no racks, no bottles/cages etc etc

these are things that are needed if you want a proper touring bike. I have only recently bought mine,(brand new), and am slowly upgrading it. I expect to pay in excess of 500 on accesories to get it the way I want it. And yes, I use a bell often, as I commute on crowded cycle paths with lots of pedestrians
I get it now. It all depends on the definition of upgrade.

I would want a touring bike to come with less in a sense, but not with stuff I have to replace. The saddle of course being the exception. They have to put something on or the bike would look odd in the store but most people have a personal preference for saddles so it is a given it will be replaced.

The pedals are another area of personal preference. Some people like cleated shoes while others prefer normal street wear. Others prefer toe clips or wide platforms. The compromise would be a catch all dual purpose pedal but that could be more expensive and would give some half of what they want and half of what they will never use.

Some people prefer front and back racks, others back only others front only. Some may go the bike packing route. Adding a certain rack system would lead some to have to replace components.

Bottle cages seem standard but there again, some people want a certain style, like perhaps the Salsa everything, or just a certain material like carbon, Al. plastic etc... They may even want specific colours either to match the bike or the rack system.

Fenders I would not want stock either. What if one runs skinny tires and complains there is too much clearance. The next runs fat tires and complains there is not enough. The third complains because they wanted the hammered metal look etc...

As you say, you want to spend L500 adding things to your personal bike. The other side of the coin (pun intended) is that you pay L500 more for the bike from the store, with all that stuff on it, and still want to "upgrade" parts because they aren't exactly what you want. At least this way you get what you want without the replacement.
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Old 04-14-16, 09:23 AM
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I haven't monkeyed much with my Trek 520.
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Old 04-14-16, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by PDKL45
While they may not have the highest rated components, that is more often a strength than a weakness in a touring bike. Components that are widely available, relatively cheap and moderately tough are better on a bike that you are going to ride into the unknown. Often parts that are a generation or two old, widely understood by mechanics and stocked in their shops are going to serve you better while off the beaten path than newer stuff that may need to be ordered specially, sometimes from a foreign country.
Originally Posted by Squeezebox
Somebody above mentioned using mid-range components, so they can be swapped out easier than the high range stuff. I've always been an advocate of buy the best you can afford, But if you break down in the middle of no-where mid range just might be better. I will try to back off of my pissy attitude and try to accept that mid range is probably the best way to go.
Right On! Oh sorry! That's Ride On!!!
OK, serious question: as you move up on the component range, from mid-range to high end, what are you actually getting in benefit? It was always my understanding that as you moved up, you were generally sacrificing durability for weight, and the higher end stuff, while more precise with some less slop and tighter tolerances, required more fiddling to keep in proper tune. Is that a fair understanding, or am I wrong in that?

Non-serious addition to a non-serious thread: as to why people swap out far more on a touring bike than any other bike, it is simply because there are far more parts on a touring bike to swap out than any other bike.
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Old 04-14-16, 10:10 AM
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I have had a similar debate regarding scuba gear over the years.

Some people try to optimize their gear so that they have the best (read expensive), seemingly most reliable components available in an attempt to avoid failures. This seems to make sense conventionally but what I find is that they sometimes become overly fearful and less likely to be able to cope with those failures should they occur - often feeling the need to scrub a dive or entire trip. They begin to believe they need things to be "perfect" in order to do the activity. OTOH, I subscribe to the notion of accepting failures as an anticipated part of the activity and put my eggs in the being able to cope with sub optimal conditions category.

Bikes are the same way. You can have the most advanced, fancy systems in the world but if you can't fix them, or find parts easily, in some way they become a problem rather than an enhancement. That is why loaded touring tends towards simple and durable at the slight expense of performance. You may get there an hour later but it's better than not getting there at all.

Rather than buying fancier components why not buy tools and learn to service the components one already has. That would provide a far greater benefit on tour IMO.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 04-14-16 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 04-14-16, 10:28 AM
  #35  
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If you are customizing your bike by adding accessories, that is normal and should be budgeted into any bike purchase. If you are replacing new components that came with the bike, then perhaps you bought the wrong bike.
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Old 04-14-16, 10:37 AM
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I kept my old motobecane touring bike stock for almost 30 years. and did plenty of touring on it. Same seat, same pedals, same everything. It was only when my body really started changing that I needed to change things on the bike. On my newer touring bike, VO Campeur, I built it up from the frame with components that I had on hand from another bike. I don't know if they're ideal, but they work for me, and I will probably not change them. I bought a 15 year NOS Trek 520 for my son, and he rode it loaded completely stock. I only added a low-rider rack to it.

If you pay any attention at all to the touring forum, you quickly realize that people who tour are of all different ages and abilities, from young teenagers to people in their 80's. Additionally, there are people from many different geographic, and more importantly, different topographic areas. There are different styles of touring, from off road to credit card to ultra light. Given that touring in its totality is a niche market, you cannot expect a company to be able to satisfy a large group of buyers with any single build. As stated in other posts, Surly, Fuji, Trek, Salsa, Thorn, and may others do a pretty good job of getting most things right for loaded touring at a reasonable price. And I haven't even mentioned recumbents and trikes commonly used for touring.

If there was only one way to tour, and everyone was in the same physical shape, there would very little to discuss on this forum. What troubles me is when people make recommendations and suggestions about bikes that they like as if their suggestion is applicable to all bicycle tourists. There simply is no perfect touring bike, despite what the glossy ads say.
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Old 04-14-16, 11:01 AM
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Certainly not perfect for everyone all the time no mater where they will go.
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Old 04-14-16, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by PDKL45
It's a pretty loaded question, but what about the Kona Sutra, the Fuji Touring, the Trek 520, and a lot of European brands, like the Genesis Tour De Fer or the Ridgeback Expedition? Some, like the Fuji and the Trek, you may like to put fenders on, but with a lot of them, you could throw a couple of bags on them and cycle away within an hour or two of your purchase.

While they may not have the highest rated components, that is more often a strength than a weakness in a touring bike. Components that are widely available, relatively cheap and moderately tough are better on a bike that you are going to ride into the unknown. Often parts that are a generation or two old, widely understood by mechanics and stocked in their shops are going to serve you better while off the beaten path than newer stuff that may need to be ordered specially, sometimes from a foreign country.
This pretty much sums it up. I would ask who said you need to change any component? For some OEM components work just fine and are happy with their bike right off the shelf. Others find a specific need certain components do not meet, others find fun and pleasure in making the bike their own by swapping stuff out, so changing components is the answer. I do not think what you are asking is limited to touring bikes, some riders swap components out on all styles of bikes.
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Old 04-14-16, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox
Somebody above mentioned using mid-range components, so they can be swapped out easier than the high range stuff. I've always been an advocate of buy the best you can afford, But if you break down in the middle of no-where mid range just might be better. I will try to back off of my pissy attitude and try to accept that mid range is probably the best way to go.
Right On! Oh sorry! That's Ride On!!!
In terms of swapping things out, I don't see how it would matter as long as you stay within the compatibility realm you want. For instance, if you're deciding between 5800 105, Ultegra 6800, and Dura Ace 9000, your choice will have no effect on which components you can compatibly swap in later.

Originally Posted by jefnvk
OK, serious question: as you move up on the component range, from mid-range to high end, what are you actually getting in benefit? It was always my understanding that as you moved up, you were generally sacrificing durability for weight, and the higher end stuff, while more precise with some less slop and tighter tolerances, required more fiddling to keep in proper tune. Is that a fair understanding, or am I wrong in that?
Higher-end components are lighter because they're made of fancier materials and have much better build quality. For sprockets in some transitions this might mean reduced longevity (i.e. if a steel cog is switched for an aluminum one), but for most stuff higher-end parts are very tough. FD-9000 versus FD-5800 is a good example of a top-end component just being better in every way.

Less slop if anything means less fiddling to keep in tune, since it needs more error before offsets start randomly causing issues.

Last edited by HTupolev; 04-14-16 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 04-14-16, 12:46 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
you failed to grasp the pebble, grasshopper!

never having ridden an LHT, nor having seen one in the flesh, i can assure
you the bike is ready to go out of the box. sure, you can change the saddle
and pedals....that's normal for any bike.

but there's no need to change the brakes or gearing or upgrade the
wheels; they are perfectly suited to the majority of touring that tourists tour.

but adding new parts (fenders, bottles, bell, panniers etc) is not changing
the essential essence of the bike.....you're just bolting on stuff.
before buying a bike, always read the reviews and comments from people who own the bike. Many say the brakes are toss. I have not ridden with the bike fully loaded yet, but if I do find that the brakes are bad, I will try Kool Stop Salmon pads, and if that does not sort the problem, I will change the brakes like many others have

Gears are fine. This is what mine looked like when it was delivered (it needs lots to get it tour ready):



this is what you get in the UK for 1 100.00 (approx $1 550.00 USD) ....

add decent fenders, saddle (yes, the saddle is bad), racks, pannier bags and you can add another 500 ($700 USD) to the price. I think I will be spending more than 500 on upgrades. I just bought a Gilles Berthoud Aravis saddle for 168 and have ordered 2 Cleen Canteen waterbottles with cages for 70 .... my pedals were over 30, my velo orange stainless steels fenders were 70, and decent Carradice panniers cost 120 etc etc

but I will tweak it to the way I want it
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Old 04-14-16, 01:05 PM
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These are not "upgrades." The saddle and pedals are the exception, but as stated above, is usually normal for any bike.
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Old 04-14-16, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by antokelly
Squeezebox your a great candidate for buying just frameset and building your own bike u would never be happy with off the peg bike, i'm not having a go at u im a bit like that meself.
mind you a custom build will probably cost twice as much but your getting exactly what you want.
Some of us, namely my own self, simply didn't know exactly what we (I) wanted when we (I) started. I looked at my bike the other day and realized the only original parts left are the frame, brakes and front wheel... I would have replaced the front wheel, too, but I had to cut back somewhere. Next time, I will likely just buy a frame, and re-purpose some of those spare parts I've accumulated somehow.

Originally Posted by alan s
If you are customizing your bike by adding accessories, that is normal and should be budgeted into any bike purchase. If you are replacing new components that came with the bike, then perhaps you bought the wrong bike.
Ouch. OTOH, I really like the frame, brakes and front wheel that are original.

Last edited by DeadGrandpa; 04-14-16 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 04-14-16, 03:29 PM
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The bike I bought and used on my trip last year I only added on a front fender and a rack, otherwise I didn't change a thing. Yeah, I did put on the tires I like but I would do that with any bike since none of them come with the tires I routinely use.
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Old 04-14-16, 03:32 PM
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I am failing to grasp this thread's concept. Everyone needs to start somewhere... and buying a bike is step one to riding a bike.

There is not "one touring bike to rule them all."

There are only riders which use the equipment they have and use it well... or those that have no clue what they want and don't know why they chose anything. But after time, they will learn to use what they have, evaluate what they like and don't like, then update their setup accordingly. Eventually it gets to the point where so many setup configurations have occurred that it is better to start with a clean slate; being a new bike or frame or build it from the ground up.

As of this moment, there are a number of $1500-$2000 capable touring bicycles. If you have panniers and equipment, they are good to go out of the box. But if you really know what you are looking for and what works for you, some of these may not be the best option. But everyone needs to start somewhere...
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Old 04-14-16, 03:43 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by MixedRider
I am failing to grasp this thread's concept. Everyone needs to start somewhere... and buying a bike is step one to riding a bike.

There is not "one touring bike to rule them all."

There are only riders which use the equipment they have and use it well... or those that have no clue what they want and don't know why they chose anything. But after time, they will learn to use what they have, evaluate what they like and don't like, then update their setup accordingly. Eventually it gets to the point where so many setup configurations have occurred that it is better to start with a clean slate; being a new bike or frame or build it from the ground up.

As of this moment, there are a number of $1500-$2000 capable touring bicycles. If you have panniers and equipment, they are good to go out of the box. But if you really know what you are looking for and what works for you, some of these may not be the best option. But everyone needs to start somewhere...
and thats why I chose a Surly LHT .... would have liked the one with disk brakes, but I got mine at a good price .... perfect fit and the colour I wanted. I can get a new surly front fork that can accomodate disk brakes up front if the need arises.... it's a bike to keep and I don't mind splashing out money to customise it the way I like...

mine has the 26 inch wheels, but rides like a cadillac.... no Strava records will ever be broken, but that's not what I wanted it for. I looked at several touring bikes and my final shortlist was between the LHT and the Koga world traveller-s ... a lot more money than the LHT (I used to own a Koga Miyata road champ and they are great bikes)


... but the Surly appealed to me more.... mine will be a good bike once I have customised it

Last edited by dim; 04-14-16 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 04-14-16, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by bradtx
Squeezebox, Some people are just born with a 'tinker gene'.
I have it. The very first bike I toured on, I took apart before leaving. That was a mistake, because my uneducated tinkering caused a major rear hub failure. But I learned a huge amount from that and other experiences with that bike, a basic hybrid I bought as my first-ever bike back in 1997.

Oddly, the Fuji Touring that I mentioned in an earlier post in this thread was subject to a major tinker very late in its active life. I was never happy with the way it tracked whether loaded or unloaded. I had to concentrate all the time to maintain a line. I finally figured out it was the unicrown fork and its geometry (this after more than 60,000km of riding). I replaced it with a Surly fork, and the bike is now much better to ride, although others take precedence these days.

There is another aspect that to me (and it may only be me) is important as a tinkerer. There is a bit of my soul in the bikes that I modify or build from scratch, and I have kept them even though they aren't used that often, such as the Fuji. I have had many other bikes, including a small hire fleet, but those that I have sold have not been modified so much or were built up from scratch with a frame only, so therefore didn't have much soul in them.

I suppose if those bikes were eligible for sale, I would strip them back down to a frame and keep the bits to go on a new one.

Oh and the nicest riding bike out of them all has been, for a long time, an old Shogun 400 lugged steel frame that I picked up for nothing at a local rubbish dump, and that I spent $400 on building with nice wheels and hubs and bullhorn bars. I've toured in Europe with it, done a full year of centuries a month, and it's still a bike I thoroughly enjoy riding.
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Old 04-14-16, 04:29 PM
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There are many different bicycle luggage racks and there are a few different thicknesses of rack tubing. Then there are different mounting systems amongst panniers/saddlebags. also, many bicycling tourists (or bicyclists in general) have particular wants in a saddle. Ditto for tire width which in turn affects fender width. Therefore many manufacturers put on a relatively inexpensive saddle which can be swapped out either at the point of sale at the time of sale or later when the rider is more sure of their needs/wants. i think this is why most bikes touring bikes don't come with racks and panniers/saddlebags.

I know that years ago if I bought a bike at a local bicycle shop and bought the racks, panniers and any other accessories at the same time, I ould get up to 25% off those items and usually have them installed free.

In short the reason most touring bikes aren't ready to tour with out of the box is because bicyclists are individuals with individual needs or wants and sometimes those needs or wants are unique.

Cheers
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Old 04-14-16, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by dim
and thats why I chose a Surly LHT .... would have liked the one with disk brakes, but I got mine at a good price .... perfect fit and the colour I wanted. I can get a new surly front fork that can accomodate disk brakes up front if the need arises.... it's a bike to keep and I don't mind splashing out money to customise it the way I like...

mine has the 26 inch wheels, but rides like a cadillac.... no Strava records will ever be broken, but that's not what I wanted it for. I looked at several touring bikes and my final shortlist was between the LHT and the Koga world traveller-s ... a lot more money than the LHT (I used to own a Koga Miyata road champ and they are great bikes)


... but the Surly appealed to me more.... mine will be a good bike once I have customised it
That's the second time this week I have come across this reference to an LHT. The first was a young New Jersey woman doing a tour of my home state, Tasmania. She was actually riding a Salsa 29er with all touring gear on board, including a single-sided fork rack with a dry bag attached.

We got discussing the bikes, and she said she had previously owned an LHT, and it rode like a Cadillac, but her touring aspirations were now more directed to off-road and gravel riding, hence the switch to the Salsa... the LHT simply wouldn't have taken the big tyres she wanted and wouldn't have been as lively as she wanted for handling single-track.
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Old 04-14-16, 06:42 PM
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If you're in Australia, Rowan, have you seen the Vivente bikes? In terms of touring bikes ready to ride straight away, the Deccan is hard to beat.

Deccan - World Randonneur
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Old 04-14-16, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by dim
before buying a bike, always read the reviews and comments from people who own the bike. Many say the brakes are toss. I have not ridden with the bike fully loaded yet, but if I do find that the brakes are bad, I will try Kool Stop Salmon pads, and if that does not sort the problem, I will change the brakes like many others have...
Originally Posted by dim
and thats why I chose a Surly LHT .... would have liked the one with disk brakes, but I got mine at a good price .... perfect fit and the colour I wanted. I can get a new surly front fork that can accomodate disk brakes up front if the need arises.... it's a bike to keep and I don't mind splashing out money to customise it the way I like...
well, your particular situation doesn't apply here. the brand bike you wanted was
available in the configuration you wanted..........but due to price, you CHOOSED not
to purchase that one. there would be no need to change out the brakes or the
fork or the hubs in your case.

OP is in a similar situation. for six months (or more) prior to purchase he extolled
the virtues of the 920 while pooping on the LHT as an inferior unpolished turd.
he was fixated on the quasi-mercenary look and ignored any and all advice. he
knew before spending two freakin' grand of borrowed money that he'd need to
replace the brakes and gears and shifters, and i don't know how much else. he
knew the wheels were crap, but instead of heeding advice, posted links to an
exotic prototype $30,000 tandem hand-built by underpants gnomes.
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