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Which bicycle? Why?

Old 08-21-16, 08:00 AM
  #1  
Squeezebox
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Which bicycle? Why?

So why did you buy the particular touring bicycle you have? I can think of a few reasons.
1) There are a few bicycles that get talked about a lot. So if a lot of other folks have one they must be good.
2) Strictly follow a budget, The top end of my budget is XX amount of money. spend that much.
3) Decided on the qualities of frame and components you want, and particularly searched for a bicycle of that quality.
4) Who cares? Good enough.
I would particularly like to hear from the people who bought a more expensive bicycle and why.
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Old 08-21-16, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
So why did you buy the particular touring bicycle you have? I can think of a few reasons.
1) There are a few bicycles that get talked about a lot. So if a lot of other folks have one they must be good.
2) Strictly follow a budget, The top end of my budget is XX amount of money. spend that much.
3) Decided on the qualities of frame and components you want, and particularly searched for a bicycle of that quality.
4) Who cares? Good enough.
I would particularly like to hear from the people who bought a more expensive bicycle and why.
There are a few bicycles that get talked about a lot. So ... we wanted something completely different.
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Old 08-21-16, 08:19 AM
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Fun thread idea, Squeeze.

I was touring on a Soma Double Cross and bikepacking on a Soma Juice. Mountain bike, road bike, simple stable. I chose both bikes because Soma had me test them out on my site, but they were good bikes so I was glad to have them and didn't wish at all for anything different.

Well, December 2015 rolls around and Surly had that big fatbike purge. The Pugsley Singlespeed was the cheapest bike in the line, and it was over 50% off, and I had a team discount at my LBS, and.... well, I sunk a rent check into a bike I did NOT need. "Well, I can ride it in the snow," I thought. I figured I'd never use it.

Here it is on a quick trip up Mt. Greylock, with a rear derailleur I had laying around. Extra layers in the panniers since the trip down is a different animal from the climb:



I rode it all winter. I commuted on it a few times. People loved it, it started lots of conversations on campus and in town. It drew looks at the bike shop when I parked it outside, with its purple sparkly paint. I was having fun!

I rode it after the snow thawed. Even wrote a couple of blog posts about being surprised that the bike was still fun after the snow melted. I went on a ride with a VERY talented rider, my friend Jonathan, and keeping up with him pushed me and my Pugsley right to the edge of what I was capable of.



Spring rolls on, and I'm riding the fatbike a LOT. Almost exclusively. I still commute on it, too. I switch back to single-speed, then go "dinglespeed" with two cogs. I make a few upgrades. The bike fits me so well. It feels great to ride all day. I love the paint job, the big tires, the fun aspect of it.

Most of all, I find I really enjoy slowing down. The fatbike wants you to take in the sights, cruise around, relax. It's great being slow!

In April, I bought plane tickets to Iceland with my girlfriend for a month-long bike tour. I was planning on taking the Juice, but then pivoted and thought about bringing the Fatbike. I finished up my blog review of the Juice, thanked Soma for the frame, and then rode the Pugsley full-time for the entire month. I didn't want to ride anything else. Plus, I was dreaming of going 29+ with the Pugsley, like a Surly ECR. A world-touring plus bike!

So, in May, after a lot of thinking and a bit of a risk, I sold the Soma Juice, to one of my blog readers. The Pugsley was now my mountain bike.

With the money from the Juice, I upgraded my rear hub to a DT 350, and then built a second set of 29er wheels with Surly's Rabbit Hole rims. I was ready for Iceland, ready for mountain biking, ready for one bike to be my everything bike.



In May, I went on a 102-mile mixed terrain ride with the Pugsley, fully loaded. IT WAS AWESOME! The 29+ wheels rolled not unlike touring tires, and the bike was fun and comfortable. I was so thrilled!

Went to Iceland, and did about 600 miles meandering on F-roads, gravel routes, beaches, singletrack, everything. Kelley and I had the trip of a lifetime and I fell in love with the Pugsley, completely.

Now I'm home, and I'm riding the Pugs full-time. I haven't touched my road bike in close to 3 months.




I really didn't expect to love the Pugsley. I wasn't even sure I should have bought it. Boy, am I glad I did! It's my favorite bike, and I can't wait for many more adventures and years of riding. I have absolutely no will to upgrade or transition to a new bike; if you offered me $10,000 for the bike of my choice, I'd say "No thanks, I'm good!"
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Old 08-21-16, 08:19 AM
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I wanted to build my bike.
I wanted to keep the total cost at a price point where i wouldnt have to wait to buy parts as i decided what i wanted.
I like the research and learning side of cycling. Understanding the capabilities and limits of each components, working to figure out a setup that works best for me while working OK as a whole, etc.


In the process, i determined that your commonly stated advice of 'buy the best you can afford' is terrible.
I could have afforded a bike 7x more expensive than what i spent, but the returns would have been severely diminishing.
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Old 08-21-16, 09:46 AM
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I haven't done a lot of long tours. A few overnight trips off and on. Most have been with my old Colnago road bike.

I did recently pick up a Tricross for gravel, and took it out once overnight, and it wasn't bad.

I'm planning my next 3 day trip in September, hopefully. 2 days of about 130 miles, and one day of 90 miles or so. And 2 days of camping.

It is doubtful I'd go with a custom touring build. So... out of my current bikes, I'd love to do Carbon Fiber, but don't trust racks on the CF bike, so between the Tricross and Colnago Super... it will probably be the Colnago Super.
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Old 08-21-16, 10:23 AM
  #6  
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Back In 1985 I bought a Specialized Expedition, they had a Japan company doing the work ,

fitted it with Bruce Gordon's racks , And Robert Beckmans Bags ...


back then they were Co Operating, now they are competing.
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Old 08-21-16, 10:23 AM
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I got back into touring in 2007 after a 25 year hiatus (career & raising kids). I quickly made the decision to by a Safari because of its rock solid nature and my long time trust in REI products. The bicycle served me well for my first post-hiatus tour but I noticed a few personal niggling points: twist shifters, butterfly bars, frame design/style. After reading great feedback on Surly's Long Haul Trucker and liking the looks of several builds, I decided to sell my Safari and build a custom LHT.



A few tours later I upgraded to an new LHT frame, with S&S couplers:



I do consider myself a Surly fan for touring bikes not because of some cultish-fandom but by my own real-world 20,000 miles of touring experience.

Last edited by BigAura; 08-21-16 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 08-21-16, 11:31 AM
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I keep frames a long time thus I've only owned three touring bikes over the past 48 years. Each frame was built by a individual frame builder. A 1968 WB Hurlow ($65), a 1982 Bill Vetter ($400) and my current ride... a 1994 Bruce Gordon.

When I bought the BG Rock & Road I was looking for a dirt road capable touring bike with 700c wheels that would accommodate fairly wide tires. The marketing terms of "gravel grinder" and "29er" had not yet been invented. The BG was one of the few bikes available that met these requirements. Most of the other dirt machines were 26" mountain bikes with flat bars. With fresh powdercoat and updated parts it is as fine a bike as it was 22 years ago. Worth every bit of the $1105 I paid for the frame and racks in 1994.

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Old 08-21-16, 11:42 AM
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Beyond a certain point it's not about the bike. I toured in the '70s on a pretty basic ten-speed and dreamed of a better bike. In the '80s I toured on that better bike and it was just as much work. Tried again this summer after a long hiatus on a different-but-similar bike and it was even more work. For me, it's touring when young that makes the difference, not the bike. I can afford now to buy any bicycle I want and am retired with the time to use it, but am happy with the bikes I have for the purpose of touring.
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Old 08-21-16, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
So why did you buy the particular touring bicycle you have? I can think of a few reasons.
1) There are a few bicycles that get talked about a lot. So if a lot of other folks have one they must be good.
2) Strictly follow a budget, The top end of my budget is XX amount of money. spend that much.
3) Decided on the qualities of frame and components you want, and particularly searched for a bicycle of that quality.
4) Who cares? Good enough.
I would particularly like to hear from the people who bought a more expensive bicycle and why.
Number two for me. I will not spend more than $750 on bike. Not that I'm buying a new bike anytime soon. My ~20 year old bike works just fine.
Btw. I'm writing this from Issoudun France, 8 weeks into my tour. I can't see how spending more money would have made the trip more enjoyable.
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Old 08-21-16, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Beyond a certain point it's not about the bike. I toured in the '70s on a pretty basic ten-speed and dreamed of a better bike. In the '80s I toured on that better bike and it was just as much work. Tried again this summer after a long hiatus on a different-but-similar bike and it was even more work. For me, it's touring when young that makes the difference, not the bike. I can afford now to buy any bicycle I want and am retired with the time to use it, but am happy with the bikes I have for the purpose of touring.
It might have been more enjoyable. My touring bicycle is much nicer to ride than my around town.
Why the $750 limit.

Last edited by Squeezebox; 08-21-16 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 08-21-16, 01:17 PM
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i bought the Thorn Sherpa because of the reputation thorn have i wasn't disappointed great bike except i could not get on with 599 wheels next up was the thorn audax super bike but to big for me sold that also, i'm on a carbon bike these days fantastic machine. if i were to buy another bike it would be the Thorn club tour probably ultegra 6800 groupset .
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Old 08-21-16, 01:26 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Beyond a certain point it's not about the bike. I toured in the '70s on a pretty basic ten-speed and dreamed of a better bike. In the '80s I toured on that better bike and it was just as much work. Tried again this summer after a long hiatus on a different-but-similar bike and it was even more work. For me, it's touring when young that makes the difference, not the bike. I can afford now to buy any bicycle I want and am retired with the time to use it, but am happy with the bikes I have for the purpose of touring.
Diminishing returns is a definitive reality. A $10K bicycle is not twice as good as a $5K bicycle. A Co-motion is definitely better than an LHT though. A more expensive bicycle is built from better materials, better workmanship, tighter specs. It will be lighter, stronger, and more durable. Better enough to justify the extra money? That's as individual decision.
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Old 08-21-16, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
Diminishing returns is a definitive reality. A $10K bicycle is not twice as good as a $5K bicycle. A Co-motion is definitely better than an LHT though. A more expensive bicycle is built from better materials, better workmanship, tighter specs. It will be lighter, stronger, and more durable. Better enough to justify the extra money? That's as individual decision.
It's also nice when the bike gets out of the way. Either by being simple (older bike with time-tested components, uncomplicated design) or by being very reliable (expensive modern bike with over-built components). If your 20 year old bike is reliable and you can enjoy your tour, mission accomplished.
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Old 08-21-16, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I wanted to build my bike.
I wanted to keep the total cost at a price point where i wouldnt have to wait to buy parts as i decided what i wanted.
I like the research and learning side of cycling. Understanding the capabilities and limits of each components, working to figure out a setup that works best for me while working OK as a whole, etc.


In the process, i determined that your commonly stated advice of 'buy the best you can afford' is terrible.
I could have afforded a bike 7x more expensive than what i spent, but the returns would have been severely diminishing.
This is my perspective too.

I enjoy riding bikes and have done so as a pastime, as a commuter and as a job. But as much as I like riding them I also enjoy wrenching on them. It's a hobby that doesn't cost much (compared to a Harley) but gives me hours of decompression time in my garage working on "projects".

My last touring bike was a 87ish Raleigh mtb I got for free and built up using mostly free parts. It was on the heavy side but strong and let me go where I wanted to go. One day, perusing the thrift store for "project" material, I spotted a Marin mtb with a seat I was after but when I picked it up (the bike) I thought "Wow, that's light!" so I bought it for $55.

Back home I stripped it to the frame and repainted it in a colour pattern I wanted to try doing. Noting it had almost the same dimensions as my Raleigh (2" longer top tube) I decided to swap over my touring components (racks, fenders, trekking bars) to it as well. Replaced the BB and shifters and rebuild the rest, it having decent mid range parts already. A little while ago I noted the rims seemed to be worn and replaced them with Alex DM18's. Bought a Brooks Cambium saddle and Marathon Plus tires. In the future I will probably upgradethe rear rack and add a handlebar roll to my frame bag setup for a light fast loaded tourer.

So.. for a bit more than $500 I have a pretty good Chromoly touring bike with pretty good components that I have put together myself. I think I will enjoy touring with it as much as I have enjoyed stripping, painting and building it.

Happiness is not wanting what others think is valuable. It's finding value in what you have. For a bike to give me enjoyment both on and off tour is all I am after. So I would have to add a #5 to your list: Most important thing is that I have built it up myself and feel a personal connection towards it. Price not that important.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 08-21-16 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 08-21-16, 03:37 PM
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I bought a 2008 Surly LHT in 26"
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Old 08-21-16, 03:54 PM
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Let me guess- bought it out of a storage unit in Oceanside CA? I've got my eye on a Trek 920 abandoned on the Katy Trail. Great condition aside from the collapsed wheel.
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Old 08-21-16, 05:05 PM
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I couldn't get my Schwinn Le Tour III boxed up comfortably under a 50# airline imposed weight limit, didn't want anything that I'd cry over if it got stolen, and my Miyata was the first thing that popped up on Craigslist in my size and dirt cheap to alleviate the prior concern.

That is pretty much the extent of my reasoning.
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Old 08-21-16, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post

I do consider myself a Surly fan for touring bikes not because of some cultish-fandom but by my own real-world 20,000 miles of touring experience.
C'mon, the cultish fandom is the best part!
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Old 08-21-16, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
C'mon, the cultish fandom is the best part!
It is true that nobody in a cult believes they're in a cult, so maybe I am in a cult, hmmmm.
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Old 08-21-16, 07:24 PM
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I'm having a mid-life crisis.
Bicycle vs. Porche. BICYCLE WINS!
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Old 08-21-16, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
It's also nice when the bike gets out of the way. Either by being simple (older bike with time-tested components, uncomplicated design) or by being very reliable (expensive modern bike with over-built components). If your 20 year old bike is reliable and you can enjoy your tour, mission accomplished.
Well said, the bike disappears and you're connected to motion.
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Old 08-21-16, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
I'm having a mid-life crisis.
Bicycle vs. Porche. BICYCLE WINS!
At least the bike is more reliable :/
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Old 08-21-16, 08:03 PM
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cracked both chainstays on my diamondback touring-mtb.
at the time, only found one large frame online in all of
china......a 23" bmc ac01 alpenchallenge, dusty and scratched
from a few years of hanging around a bike shop or warehouse.
frame cost under $100.....counterfeit copy???
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Old 08-21-16, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
It might have been more enjoyable. My touring bicycle is much nicer to ride than my around town.
Why the $750 limit.
Before I had a bike shop in the 80's I had a price per component limit of $50, tires, rims, brakes, etc. I could afford more but enjoyed finding deals and unique parts. Getting expensive gear just seemed presumptuous. The old racers in their late 30's and 40's weren't slower because they had economical gear, they could toast me before I got fast. Touring was always a place where bling and fetishism of gear didn't belong like racing. You want to ride, so ride. You want to ride for days with camping gear, so do it. You put air in the tires, get on and ride. My 36lb around town coaster brake 3 spd with 2.35" tires is perfect.
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