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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 07-17-06, 10:20 AM   #1
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Real life bikes?

Yesterday I tuned up a neighbor's bike for him--- a Fuji Touring bike, 3-4 years old. He thought that he might want to go on a bike tour when he bought the bike, but he has never got around to it yet. However, he does ride the bike quite a bit around the 'hood and has done 3 organized century rides this summer.

He loves his bike and rides it, so I guess that's all that matters.

After changing the cables and lubing everything, I took the Fuji out for a little test ride of 5 miles or so. The bike has a road triple (52-42-30?) and shorter chain stays than many touring bikes. the Fuji Touring seems kind of stuck in the 80's-- this bike isn't the the dedicated touring bike some newer designs are-- not that isn't a good thing. They bike handles really well unloaded-- much better than some touring models. And the gearing is great for commuting/century riding/friendly club rides.

For a long tour, with big climbs, and weeks in the saddle-- I'd rather have a Surly LHT or even a Bruce Gordon-- bikes made for big classic tours. But the Fuji would totally smoke those bikes on a club ride and would be great for a short tour without major climbs. And it handles in city traffic very well, something that's really needed for commuting.

In full disclosure, I owned several *light touring* bikes in the 80's (Panasonic and Univega) and rode/loved them to death. I see way too much specialization in the bike industry today--- downhill MTBs, ultralight racers, dedicated touring. For many riders, and all newbies, I see a classic all arounder-- a old school light touring bike, as the best choice.

I'd like to hear from owners of the all-arounder class-- like the Surly Crosscheck, Bianchi Volpe, Cannondale RS bikes, Kogswell, ect... What do you like about your bikes? What problems have you had on tour? Why did you pick your bike over the the others?

I'd like nothing more than to drop out of the rat race, buy a full boat touring bike, and ride for the next couple years, but real life is kind of getting in the way. To me, the light touring bike is the real life bike. Something I can use all year AND manage to get out an tour with a couple of weeks.
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Old 07-17-06, 12:59 PM   #2
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Its not like you can't use a tourer for other things.
My 520 is also my road bike, though i use thinner tires and lighter wheels. Works fine.
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Old 07-17-06, 02:31 PM   #3
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I love my IF Club Racer for just the reasons that you mention. It handles better unloaded than a bike with longer chain stays, it's faster than a heavier bike, and it still packs enough weight and loaded touring to make it a great touring bike. I ride it all year long as my commuter, and use it in the winter as my cyclocross bike.
That said, I also own a track bike, a mountain bike, a road racing bike, and an around town cruiser (though not a beach style cruiser). If I had my way I'd probably have a dedicated 'cross bike as well. So, I guess you could say that I'm all for all-around bikes as long as they do what I want them to, but I'll take specialization any day. And I just like bikes.
You have to ride the bike that fits what you use it for best. I'm not going to downhill on my XC mountain bike, and I'm certainly not going to try and peddle one of those bohemeths up a mountain.
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Old 07-17-06, 03:03 PM   #4
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Your point of the REAL LIFE BIKE is an interesting one to me since I only own one bike: an '02 Giant Boulder SE MTB. I've raised the stem, switched out the seat, added this & that so that it is about 'maxed out' in its transformations. But since it is my only bike, it is the one I ride in all situations, it is my REAL BIKE. Haven't ridden a century on it yet but rode 56 miles last weekend. Haven't toured on it yet but we're planning one next year so I'll add racks & panniers. I'm going to keep outfitting that Giant to do whatever riding I want or need to do. Having 5 bikes is too complex for me: but then my riding finesse doesn't equal most of the contributors to these forums. Historically cyclists seemed to do pretty well on just one bike - when I was a kid I only had one bike & it served for every purpose. The contemporary materialist compulsion to satisfy technological one-up-manship and specialization for every conceivable type of ride is remarkable and not really why I ride at all. Altho I'll confess to desiring a Surly Crosscheck if I had the funds to buy one - it seems to be a REAL BIKE. But I'm also a believer in the quality of pets that one can find at the local animal shelter, too.
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Old 07-17-06, 08:31 PM   #5
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I have lots of bikes and will probably have more. They are all alittle different. Some of my custom tourers $$$ riding know different than those I built up for $650, but I love them all the same. That's why they call them moving art. Just take on the road and enjoy!!
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Old 07-18-06, 08:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by nm+
Its not like you can't use a tourer for other things.
My 520 is also my road bike, though i use thinner tires and lighter wheels. Works fine.

My 520 is a tourer, commuter, brevet bike, grocery store errand bike, fire road/dirt trail bike, etc. However, to the OP's point, the 520 also comes with a 52/42/30 road triple, which certainly adds to its ability to hang with others on a fast weekend ride. It would probably be a little less fun if I switched into a touring triple.
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Old 07-19-06, 10:46 PM   #7
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Great discussion for the touring forum. I ride an old (1985) Trek 630 touring bike, and, I love it. It's my commuter, grocery, and other errands bike, plus my training bike (extra weight helps add to the effort). BUT, it definitely feels much more comfortable with weight on the frame. I am seriously considering getting a Soma DoubleCross or something similar for the everything bike, keep my dear old Trek for the long hauls. I'm extremely practical and economical wrt bikes, thus, not yet committed to the investment, and I have to admit, I am emotionally attatched to the old girl. However, I'm not sure a 21 year old bike will last another 21 years.
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