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touring bicycle

Old 04-13-16, 10:38 PM
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touring bicycle

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??
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Old 04-13-16, 10:56 PM
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I bought an $85 touring bike. The only thing I am changing from stock is the brake levers, cause I want the second set of in-line interrupters for city riding and those don't work with old non-aero levers, and of course adding a rack and bags. Well that, and it got a fresh clear coat, because lets face it an $85 touring bike generally is not the prettiest. Granted, some previous owner did change it to bar end shifters, which I'm not yet sold on, but essentially I am treating them as stock since that's how I got the bike.

YMMV, though. No reason you can't work with what you got, if you so choose.

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Old 04-13-16, 11:01 PM
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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??
Because you 're a troll or simply don't know what you want.
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Old 04-13-16, 11:18 PM
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The only 2 standard things on my custom bike are brake cables and bottle bolts.
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Old 04-13-16, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox
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?
That question is more loaded than an off-the-shelf bicycle on heavy unsupported tour!
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Old 04-13-16, 11:29 PM
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It's not just touring bikes. People buy bikes of all makes and models all the time and upgrade parts. Bike manufacturers build bikes with the cheapest parts possible. Not necessarily bad parts, but parts they can get in bulk and make a bike to get it on the market. I prefer frame up builds done by moi. It take me a while, but in the end, I have a bike built with parts I like (can be a slow process). It's not for everybody though. Most just buy a bike, discover they need to upgrade and do it. Doesn't matter if its a $5000, HiPo Carbon Fiber racing bike, or a $500 commuter bike. Upgrades happen. Everybody has their own tastes and flavor their bikes accordingly.
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Old 04-13-16, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox
Personally....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??
buy a universally-acclaimed, dedicated TOURING bicycle, like the LHT, and you won't need to change a thing....'cept maybe your undies occasionally.

i won't bother explaining why different people modify their specific bicycles to carry their specific intended load over their specific anticipated terrain
for the expected duration of their specific planned
tour..........aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand beyoooooond!

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Old 04-13-16, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
buy a universally-acclaimed, dedicated TOURING bicycle, like the LHT, and you won't need to change a thing....'cept maybe your undies occasionally.

i won't bother explaining why different people modify their specific bicycles to carry their specific intended load over their specific anticipated terrain
for the expected duration of their specific planned
tour..........aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand beyoooooond!

a new LHT needs lots of tweaking. It needs a new saddle, new brakes, fenders, water bottles, racks, bell, pannier bags, lights, computer etc etc

a great bike though.
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Old 04-14-16, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by dim
a new LHT needs lots of tweaking. It needs a new saddle, new brakes, fenders, water bottles, racks, bell, pannier bags, lights, computer etc etc
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.
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Old 04-14-16, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by dim
It needs new brakes
Those are pretty meh cantis, but the upgrade isn't critical per se. Unless we want to argue, for instance, that basically every vintage road bike in the world desperately "needs" to have its brakes replaced as well.

a new saddle, fenders, water bottles, racks, bell, pannier bags, lights, computer etc etc
Those are standard switch-outs and additions that arguably shouldn't be counted. Most of them are the same things that could be applied to road bikes, but aren't in the OP's question.
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Old 04-14-16, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by dim
a new LHT needs lots of tweaking. It needs a new saddle, new brakes, fenders, water bottles, racks, bell, pannier bags, lights, computer etc etc

a great bike though.
I'm sorry... you need to change the bell? Did I hear that right? I also didn't know the LHT came with pannier bags, lights or computers.

Or did you mean you need to buy those things to add to the LHT. Which of course you do. I suppose some might want a completely kitted bike off the shelf but then just as many would complain it was kitted with stuff they didn't want.

I consider most of those things to be accessories, in the sense I can take them off one bike and add them to the next. If we accept off the shelf being the bones of the bike ie. add accessories and go, then there are many bikes, new and used, that fall into that category. A trek 520, Specialized awol, some Salsa's and Surly's and others all provide a good base platform that requires little retrofitting. Most early era rigid mtb's also require minimal retro fitting beyond bars perhaps and road tires.

A bike where someone takes one set of perfectly good shifters off and replaces them with another, or swaps out one set of functional stock rims for another set of hand made rims doesn't really fall into that category. That is really just a personal preference sort of thing. OTOH, I had to replace the 7 speed freewheel on one older mtb with a lower geared freewheel because I couldn't climb hills with the former, so that would be a case of a necessary retrofit - the gearing was just too high for loaded touring. I would say swapping out flat bars for either drops or trekking bars, or at least bar ends or perhaps aeros, is another example of a needed retro fit. Other than those examples it's a pretty rare event.

My philosophy is "good enough is good enough". The purpose of a touring bike is to allow someone to tour with it. Most bikes allow that. People who get more into the specs of the bike than the touring have, so to speak, put the cart before the horse though I admit it can be a fun hobby - but not something that is either necessary or deserving complaint about.

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Old 04-14-16, 01:06 AM
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In my opinion upgrading is half the fun of it. If you have the money and time to do it that is. I'm in the middle of a frame upgrade on my touring. Yes you read that right, a frame upgrade. I've upgraded nearly everything else to fit what I want the bike to be and do. However, the frame I started with wasn't belt capable and could not have a 'shudder' Kickstand. New frame gives me both of those abilities along with a slightly lighter and much stronger frame.

Shawn
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Old 04-14-16, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet
I'm sorry... you need to change the bell? Did I hear that right? I also didn't know the LHT came with pannier bags, lights or computers.

Or did you mean you need to buy those things to add to the LHT. Which of course you do. I suppose some might want a completely kitted bike off the shelf but then just as many would complain it was kitted with stuff they didn't want.

I consider most of those things to be accessories, in the sense I can take them off one bike and add them to the next. If we accept off the shelf being the bones of the bike ie. add accessories and go, then there are many bikes, new and used, that fall into that category. A trek 520, Specialized awol, some Salsa's and Surly's and others all provide a good base platform that requires little retrofitting. Most early era rigid mtb's also require minimal retro fitting beyond bars perhaps and road tires.

A bike where someone takes one set of perfectly good shifters off and replaces them with another, or swaps out one set of functional stock rims for another set of hand made rims doesn't really fall into that category. That is really just a personal preference sort of thing. OTOH, I had to replace the 7 speed freewheel on one older mtb with a lower geared freewheel because I couldn't climb hills with the former, so that would be a case of a necessary retrofit - the gearing was just too high for loaded touring. I would say swapping out flat bars for either drops or trekking bars, or at least bar ends or perhaps aeros, is another example of a needed retro fit. Other than those examples it's a pretty rare event.

My philosophy is "good enough is good enough". The purpose of a touring bike is to allow someone to tour with it. Most bikes allow that. People who get more into the specs of the bike than the touring have, so to speak, put the cart before the horse though I admit it can be a fun hobby - but not something that is either necessary or deserving complaint about.
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
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Old 04-14-16, 02:31 AM
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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.
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Old 04-14-16, 02:41 AM
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I think there are specific touring bike designs out there that are close to what they are advertised to be. Fuji Touring and Trek 520 are/have been among those in for the long haul.

My first "proper" touring bike was a Fuji Touring. It came with a rear rack, braze-ons for fenders, and front rack, and a reasonable saddle, plus Tiagra triple by nine shifters. This was back at the turn of the century. It served me extremely well, but after not too long, the priority change-out was the road crankset for an MTB crankset.

It was a pretty standard move in the day, but the reason why these Shimano-equipped bikes were issued with road cranks was that Shimano couldn't be bothered to come up with a front derailleur that would cope with the MTB triple crankset (the go-to fix was to put on a Tiagra triple derailleur).

But while the Fuji was good, I felt I could do better when it come time to replace it. So I ordered Thorn Club Tour frames and built them up with exactly what I considered to be ideal touring bikes. Significantly, nothing has been changed on them since they were commissioned.

Of course, those builds came after achieving extensive experience with other bikes, including long distances on randonnees and tours, and riding in various places around the world that included a lot of hills and road conditions.
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Old 04-14-16, 02:43 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.
I was still writing my response when you posted this. I agree because you have distilled down the issues very nicely.
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Old 04-14-16, 03:02 AM
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Best answer I've heard in a long time.
Maybe I need to adjust my touring attitude.
Thanks!!
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Old 04-14-16, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
buy a universally-acclaimed, dedicated TOURING bicycle, like the LHT, and you won't need to change a thing....'cept maybe your undies occasionally.

i won't bother explaining why different people modify their specific bicycles to carry their specific intended load over their specific anticipated terrain
for the expected duration of their specific planned
tour..........aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand beyoooooond!

Undies???
I borrow them from the lady next door!
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Old 04-14-16, 04:53 AM
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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.
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Old 04-14-16, 05:19 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??
If you are changing things on a bike you just purchased, then the bike wasn't right for you in the first place or is flawed & not worth purchasing. An example, if I were to purchase a Trek 920, then started to change the brakes and shifters and cables, then it is clear that that bike was flawed. Same with the wheels, buying a low end bike gets you low spoke count wheels, which is a flawed bike.
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Old 04-14-16, 05:42 AM
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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.

ooops posted twice sorry.
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Old 04-14-16, 05:47 AM
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In my mind, changing parts on a new bike is normal. Who doesn't replace the saddle and pedals? Why would you want the bike to come with factory fenders when the mfg. does not know the width of tire you are using? Tires...I had them switch those out before it left the front door of the LBS. Racks...I'll choose my own along with the bottle cages. Stems...if you didn't change that out, maybe your bike doesn't fit you as well as it should (or the shop was too lazy to fit you properly).

I'm real sure fulltime tourists spend much more time riding than most; they have a reason to be pretty picky about things. Some of those things may not be so obvious until the bike has been ridden X amount of miles.

I'm newish to bicycle touring; this is just the way I look at it. Bikes evolve. Change is good...sometimes.
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Old 04-14-16, 05:58 AM
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Old 04-14-16, 07:18 AM
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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!!!
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Old 04-14-16, 07:21 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??
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.
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