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3 questions from a newbie

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3 questions from a newbie


Old 06-10-05, 06:56 AM
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3 questions from a newbie

i'm a new tourer and i'd like to ask a couple of questions
a)why touring bikes don't (usually) come with suspended forks?
b)what are the pros and cons of sti,bar end,top tube shifters?
c)i live in a really humid city.should i go for alu or should i stick to steel?
thanks in advance
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Old 06-10-05, 07:25 AM
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a) a bike with a suspension requieres more energy to pedal. the more flexible the bike the more energy required. so if your going to be riding all day you'll be less tired on a none suspension bike. also a front would probably mean a heavier bike, again more energy required. it can also be a bit tuffer to find front racks. since most touring is done on roads most manufacturers probably feel suspension is unnecassary. and lastly it's one more thing that can go wrong with the bike.
all that being said plenty of people use bikes with front suspension for touring and theres nothing wrong with doing it.

b)if sti shifters break while your in the middle of nowhere they can be harder to fix or rig up so you can get to your next destination. i guess a pro of sti is they shift nicer. a lot of people like bar end or downtube just because they're easier to fix on the road i think. you'll find often people make equiptment choices based ease of fixing if they have a problem. so it may depend on where your touring. going aorund the world where bike shops may be few and far between, or a 2 week tour from your front door where if you really have a prob you can just call someone for help.

c)either steel or aluminum is probably just fine, i'd choose whichever you prefer. as long as you take proper care you don't really have to worry about steel rusting. 2 reasons why people prefer steel. possibly more comforatable. and if you were to get a crack in your frame it would be easier to find someone who can wield steel then aluminum. again one of those out in the middle of nowhere situations and probably doesn't apply to the avarage tourer.

people tour on all kinds of bikes. best bet is to use the bike you currently have as long as you can put racks on it, and try a couple of weekend tours. that way you can find what you like or dislike and choose a bike from there. you'll see all kinds of opinions, but it really is a personal thing, that will be based on how you ride, where you tour, how long you're on going to be on the road, how often you tour, how much equiptment you want to carry, and what makes you comforatable.

have fun, and keep us updated on how it's going for you
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Old 06-10-05, 09:53 AM
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I think shaharidan answered your questions brilliantly. I will just leave it at that.
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Old 06-10-05, 10:08 AM
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The main point of failure for STI is not the lever but the rear mech. It is easy to get a stick caught, or rough handling at an airport. You may not be able to get a fancy 9 speed replacement mech but if you have some kind of friction overide then even a cheap steel shimano SIS rear mech can be operated. I always carry a spare downtube friction lever for that reason.
Bar end shifter are better placed than DT ones for shifting on fast descents and tracks.

The best Al touring bike is from cannondale. It has a solid reputation for reliability but is extra-stiff and is best as a big guy's bike. In the smaller sizes it may seem a little harsh.

The issue of repairability is often raised with steel frames, but in reality you are unlikely to find a qualified frame-builder who is able to do an on-the-spot repair. If you are doing extended touring in less developed countries, then a heavy duty steel frame will be repairable, but a modern lightweight would be wrecked by agricultural welding.
One real advantage of steel is that you can adapt the bike after purchase with the addition of extra braze-ons or changing the axle spacing.

The common theme for al these issues is mechanical failure:
1. Does it fail?
2. If it does, can I still ride?
3. If not, can I repair it?
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