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Good enough for touring? (help a buyer)

Old 05-14-16, 10:08 AM
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Good enough for touring? (help a buyer)

I've done a lot of research now and I think I'm finally beginning to get a grip on what I need, for this summers touring (my first real long distance).

To make matters simple, I'm considering three different choices, whom of all are in the budget class touring bikes. What I'm looking at is the
  • Dawes Galaxy AL
  • Ridgeback Tour
  • Kona Sutra AL SE (a budget version of the Kona Sutra(?), I won't find any info on the web)

Will there be any difference depending on which I choose?

I'm planning approx 3000 km, 4 week long tour through northern Scandinavia.
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Old 05-14-16, 10:35 AM
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Touring is what you Do, dont over-think what bike exactly is Better , They will all work..

Test ride them, see which frame size Fits best , realizing stem saddle pedals and all that,

can be easily changed at the retail Shop to dial in the fit even better.

& the changes you can do, with the help of your Bike Shop, includes the gearing.
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Old 05-14-16, 10:39 AM
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Or do what budget-challenged tourers do - pick up an 80s rigid MTB and add racks and panniers.

Should work as a touring bike and they can be had for a low cost.
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Old 05-14-16, 11:55 AM
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Most of the people on this forum are from USA, so you might not get many comments on the Dawes or Ridgeback. I do not think I have ever seen either of them.
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Old 05-14-16, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by blakada
I've done a lot of research now and I think I'm finally beginning to get a grip on what I need, for this summers touring (my first real long distance).

To make matters simple, I'm considering three different choices, whom of all are in the budget class touring bikes. What I'm looking at is the
  • Dawes Galaxy AL
  • Ridgeback Tour
  • Kona Sutra AL SE (a budget version of the Kona Sutra(?), I won't find any info on the web)

Will there be any difference depending on which I choose?

I'm planning approx 3000 km, 4 week long tour through northern Scandinavia.
After a quick look at those bikes via google, I'd be most inclined to go with the Kona Sutra. The Ridgeback seems a little pricey for a basic 520 steel touring bike. The Dawes seems like a great deal, but perhaps a little cheaper in component spec than I would prefer. The parts of northern Scandinavia I've seen are pretty hilly, and spending a bit more for a better bike would be worth it IMO.

As others have implied, unless you have a lot of experience, you will be far better off checking these out and testing them at a real bike shop than you would be buying online. Also, the bike shop will know details about the bikes that you might not find in the online specs.

PS here's the Kona specs (in German) if you haven't seen this:

https://www.fahrrad.de/kona-sutra-se-...ow-472085.html
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Old 05-14-16, 03:20 PM
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theres a nice ridgeback on donedeal.ie perfect nick not mine i just spotted it the other day.
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Old 05-15-16, 05:25 AM
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Thank you all for the replies. I feel inclined to post why I'm turning here for help. The problem is basically that there are no proper retailers around the area where I live, and absolutely no one who would ever stock a touring bike of any kind. For me to find shops for that I would have to go to neighboring countries. So I won't be able to try out a bike, and therefore my choice would have to be fairly well thought-out. And yes I know, everything from here on out will always at best be more or less qualified guesses on how the bike will fit me and my needs.

On that ground, I've decided since I anyway have to order a new bike online, I might as well order a bike that is actually prepared for "touring" from the specs. That is why I'm looking on the bikes listed above.

edit: I'm going to take this opportunity to also put forward a new newbie question. I'm planning (as I said before) a 3-4 week trip, on budget AND light weight touring trip. It'll be 100 % asphalt and a lot of up and down. I'm thinking of course about the standard set up with 4 rack bags (front and back), but when I start listing my gear it looks like my total weight is going to be less than 20 kg excluding bike. It might as well be as low as 15 kg. Is that weight low enough to carry back racks only? I'm light myself for my length, 70 kg/186 cm. Might I be allright with only having just one small front rack attached to the handle bar or something like this, or will the back weight be too heavy? The same applies to this question as to my previous one, I know ofc that theory and reality is two different things.

Last edited by blakada; 05-15-16 at 05:48 AM. Reason: new question
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Old 05-15-16, 06:51 AM
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blakada, I would be swayed towards the Kona, although any of the three should be okay. Seems that budget models benefit the most by having their wheels re-tensioned and re-trued.

I have had ~20 kg on the rear of my touring bike. While it worked, I would have rather had the weight spread between the front and rear, in particular when standing while climbing.

Brad
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Old 05-15-16, 07:13 AM
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Go Kona. Additionally, you can truly tour on anything:

https://vimeo.com/100740937
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Old 05-15-16, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by blakada
edit: I'm going to take this opportunity to also put forward a new newbie question. I'm planning (as I said before) a 3-4 week trip, on budget AND light weight touring trip. It'll be 100 % asphalt and a lot of up and down. I'm thinking of course about the standard set up with 4 rack bags (front and back), but when I start listing my gear it looks like my total weight is going to be less than 20 kg excluding bike. It might as well be as low as 15 kg. Is that weight low enough to carry back racks only? I'm light myself for my length, 70 kg/186 cm. Might I be allright with only having just one small front rack attached to the handle bar or something like this, or will the back weight be too heavy? The same applies to this question as to my previous one, I know ofc that theory and reality is two different things.
hi there, are you British? I assumed so because of the Dawes and Ridgeback references.

so as to your question about weight on the back only, I have been touring since about '89 and would just say right off that 15 to 20kg is a pretty typical total weight that you will end up having, some people can go with less, some people unfortunately put more, but for me personally, keeping it to about 40lbs or so has always been my goal, and is in fact what works best for me, either 25 years ago or now that I am in my early 50s.

With that rough estimate of 40lbs (I'm shying away from 15kg because with extra food and water its easy to get much closer to 20kg than 15) I would suggest strongly with going with front and rear bags. Having even 15kg 33lbs on a rear rack only is a bit much from my experience. I have toured with about 25lbs+ or 12-13kg on a rear rack and on that particular bike, it worked fine but that bike is a very sturdy tough bike and it handled well with that weight, but I wouldnt want to go any higher than that.
The thing is that there are lots of variables here with a rear only load, the specific bike, the rear rack, how your panniers are on the bike position wise, how strong your rear wheel is, how much you weigh, the width of your tires, how rough the roads are.......all or some of these factors could very well end up giving you an wonky ill handling bike that wobbles, or broken spokes on the rear wheel , or whatever--so for these reasons, having front and back panniers means a better balanced bike, less stress on the rear wheel, and more spare space in panniers for food, or some bulky clothing or sleeping bag that you may need for cool or cold or rainy days/nights etc in Scandinavia.

purely from a "more balanced ride" angle, it is much nicer with four panniers, and especially if you will be on gravel-this is my experience anyway.

re your bike choices, having lower gearing is always a plus, there is no way around this. Riding in hilly areas with anywhere in the 15-20kg load range, you will appreciate lower gearing no matter your fitness, and since you have not toured yet, lower is better.

get back to us with links to the specific bikes if you would like to look at the specs of the bikes, and or list along with the links, the specifics of the front back gearing of each bike.

ps, I have a German friend with whom I did some tours with in France, he has biked in Scandinavia and has mentioned to me that it is beautiful but can be tough, hilly. Although he may have chosen more far off routes than paved stuff, I don't recall.
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Old 05-15-16, 07:33 AM
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The bike is going to handle noticeably better with front and rear racks than just rear racks if carry around 20 kg. It will also be less stress on the rear wheel. That's a pretty normal weight.
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Old 05-15-16, 07:44 AM
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Ok, thank you all for the replies once again, much appreciated.

For the links to the bikes, see

Ridgeback Tour 2016
https://www.evanscycles.com/ridgebac...-bike-EV258091

Dawes Galaxy AL 2016 (big negative here then, no mount for normal front rack)
https://www.evanscycles.com/dawes-ga...-bike-EV274349

Jamis Aurora 2016
https://www.evanscycles.com/jamis-au...-bike-EV245097

Kona Sutra SE AL
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kona-Trekki.../dp/B01F6H3QBG
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Old 05-15-16, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by blakada
edit: I'm going to take this opportunity to also put forward a new newbie question. I'm planning (as I said before) a 3-4 week trip, on budget AND light weight touring trip. It'll be 100 % asphalt and a lot of up and down. I'm thinking of course about the standard set up with 4 rack bags (front and back), but when I start listing my gear it looks like my total weight is going to be less than 20 kg excluding bike. It might as well be as low as 15 kg. Is that weight low enough to carry back racks only? I'm light myself for my length, 70 kg/186 cm. Might I be allright with only having just one small front rack attached to the handle bar or something like this, or will the back weight be too heavy? The same applies to this question as to my previous one, I know ofc that theory and reality is two different things.
If you keep your gear weight down to 15kg, I'd think something 10kg in back and 5kg in a big front bag is totally realistic. That's what I would do. My current bike is set up with an old fashioned type handlebar bag which sits on a front rack. That gets the front weight down a little lower without needing front panniers. There is something to be said for modern click mount stuff though. It's quick cheap and easy, and probably good enough.

Everyone has their own style and preferences, but for me front and rear panniers for 3-4 weeks is overkill.
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Old 05-15-16, 08:43 AM
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my new touring weight is 5kg
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Old 05-15-16, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine
There is something to be said for modern click mount stuff though. It's quick cheap and easy, and probably good enough.

Everyone has their own style and preferences, but for me front and rear panniers for 3-4 weeks is overkill.
Thank you, do you have any examples of good handlebar bags?
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Old 05-15-16, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by blakada
Thank you, do you have any examples of good handlebar bags?
I have an Ostrich F106 for my Peugeot. That bike which is basically set up as a weekend camper.

The Lone Peak Alta looks like a good modern style bag with a quick release handlebar mount. Reminds me of an updated version of typical 80s type bags like my old Cannondale, minus the bungee cords... I'll probably pick up one of those soon.

These bags are both around 10l capacity.
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Old 05-15-16, 01:31 PM
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I have never used an Ortlieb handlebar bag, but know people that do and they like them.

Different bikes handle differently, some bikes will handle a handlebar bag without problem, others do not like much weight in a handlebar bag.

Even if my handlebar bag was causing handling issues when I have too much weight in it, I still would always use it for a bike tour. I keep all my valuables in it and when I go in a restaurant or grocery store, the handlebar bag goes with me. I really like the convenience of it.

I do not regularly look at this forum, but they might have more comments on the bikes you are looking at: Cycling UK Forum ? Index page
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Old 05-15-16, 02:51 PM
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A couple more:

The Arkel big handlebar bag looks good. It's pricey but it's big and waterproof.

Also look at the Carradice Carradry. It looks like it should be holding a bowling ball for a retired persons bowling club, but sort of charming nonetheless. Nice low price.

There are many brands of randonneur style front bags intended to mount on a front rack, but they tend to be pricey.

I think most currently fashionable handlebar bags are small and intended to hold a few personal effects and be used in conjunction with front panniers.

Last edited by Salamandrine; 05-15-16 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 05-15-16, 03:21 PM
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Jamis or Kona.

Id lean Jamis, but thats purely based on steel v aluminum. Both would probably be great.
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Old 05-15-16, 04:51 PM
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I do like the looks of that Jamis. The Kona rack worries me a little.
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Old 05-21-16, 05:48 AM
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I just wanted to update since everyone here came with great advice and help in my decision to buy a new touring bike. After much researching, and after looking at several bike shops (which of course didn't stock any touring bikes), a used Kona Sutra (the real one), model 2012, appeared in a city not so far from where I live. The bike had before I bought it made a trip from Vancouver to Alaska, so it as some history, which is really nice. I got it for approx USD 650, and with a lot of new parts. Will still have to look it over before I go on tour this summer.

Thanks again for the advice folks! Cycle safe.
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Old 05-21-16, 06:19 AM
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a 2012 Sutra is a great find, they are good solid touring bikes, take care of it properly and it will last you a good long time. Now you can look into panniers and racks etc, start doing some planning and accumulating of camping gear etc etc and begin doing some riding with it on your bike.
I would suggest getting out as much as you can with a load on the bike, so you begin to get used to the extra weight, and the more you ride, the fitter you will be.
This will also give you an idea of how the gearing works for you riding on hilly roads, if you find that lower gearing would be a help, it is often possible to easily change out the small chainring at the front, the smallest one is often called the "granny" gear, I don't recall the specs of the Sutra exactly, but it is probably a 26t on the front, and at the back your largest gear is probably a 32 or 34t.

glad you were able to find this, enjoy riding.
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Old 05-21-16, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by blakada
I just wanted to update since everyone here came with great advice and help in my decision to buy a new touring bike. After much researching, and after looking at several bike shops (which of course didn't stock any touring bikes), a used Kona Sutra (the real one), model 2012, appeared in a city not so far from where I live. The bike had before I bought it made a trip from Vancouver to Alaska, so it as some history, which is really nice. I got it for approx USD 650, and with a lot of new parts. Will still have to look it over before I go on tour this summer.

Thanks again for the advice folks! Cycle safe.
any photos.
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Old 05-21-16, 10:35 AM
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blakada, Congrats on your purchase. Be sure to overhaul the bike to assure yourself that it is in good working order for your upcoming tour.

Brad
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