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Touring Vs. Cross bikes: Trying to decide

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Touring Vs. Cross bikes: Trying to decide

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Old 03-26-08, 12:37 PM
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cosmo23
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Touring Vs. Cross bikes: Trying to decide

I'm going to be buying a bike next week, but beyond that knowledge, I'm confused. I ultimately want to do some loaded distance touring, but that may be a year or two off. In the mean time, I'll be using the bike for road rides, grocery hauling, and maybe some kid-in-cart hauling too. I'm trying to decide whether a cyclocross style bike will be so much better at everything else that I can live with its drawbacks for future touring. Also, I have an REI 20% off certificate, as well as a friend who can get a deal on certain Voodoo bikes, so currently my top choices are:

Touring:
Novarra Randonee (760 with discount)
Surly LHT (about 1000 from my LBS)

Cross:
Voodoo Wazoo (960 with friend's discount)
Surly Cross Check (1000)

I've also looked at the Bianchi Volpe and Jamis Aurora.


Suggestions? Especially info on whether a Cross bike is going to be a lot more FUN in general than a turing bike around town etc. and whether anyne has happily toured on a cross bike. . .

Thanks!
Mitchell
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Old 03-26-08, 12:50 PM
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These are marketing categories. A comfortable bike that you love from either category trumps an uncomfortable bike that you don't love from either category, no matter whether you're touring or riding around town.

Ride any bike you're considering, and don't buy it if you don't feel yourself falling in love.
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Old 03-26-08, 01:08 PM
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Nuff said.
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Old 03-26-08, 01:26 PM
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Thanks for the responses. I get that these are marketing categories; on the other hand, there are differences in geometry, handling, speed, stability, etc etc that are the reason why bikes get put in one category ad not another. So, for example, a cross bike may feel great around town--but on a 1000 mile tour, is it going to be tiring to ride or feel squirrelly under load? And for those who ride something like the LHT, how is it when NOT touring--does it feel agile and relatively quick, or heavy and slow?
Also, I'd love to hear from anybody who has ridden a voodoo, as 'd have to buy that one without riding first...
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Old 03-26-08, 01:31 PM
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My commute is 25 miles in each direction. I normally ride the touring bike, but sometimes take the cross bike or the road bike. Difference in average speed between the road bike and the touring bike over that distance is 1-2mph, tops. If you gotta have just one bike and want to do loaded touring, get a decent touring bike. The longer wheelbase and chainstays, plus the lower gearing will pay dividends on those loaded tours and won't affect your performance much unloaded.
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Old 03-26-08, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by cosmo23 View Post
I'm going to be buying a bike next week, but beyond that knowledge, I'm confused. I ultimately want to do some loaded distance touring, but that may be a year or two off.

Although Loaded Touring Bikes and CycloCross Bikes share some features - they are 2 entirely different frames.

A Loaded Touring Bike has long chainstays, heavier tubing, lower bottom bracket height.
A Cyclo Cross Bike has relatively short chainstays, lighter tubing, and a high bottom bracket.

Regards,
Bruce Gordon
Bruce Gordon Cycles
www.bgcycles.com
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Old 03-26-08, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cosmo23 View Post
I
Suggestions? Especially info on whether a Cross bike is going to be a lot more FUN in general than a turing bike around town etc.
Bikes tend to be fun. My current bike is not very well suited to my usual riding, and I still love riding it. I can give you a laundry list of what all is wrong with it, but it still makes me grin like a kid. So, I wouldn't worry much about fun.

I *would* worry about things like cargo capacity and comfort. It's pretty easy to need 50lbs of groceries a week for 2 people (or more!), and if you can't carry it on your bike, it'll be damn annoying. You may also need to carry bulky items on a grocery getter. I'm pretty sure the average tourist will never need to haul a 12 pack of paper towels and a 24 pack of toilet paper . What makes a bike comfortable for you in city traffic may not suit on a long tour... or it may be perfect. Test rides will help you figure these things out.
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Old 03-26-08, 03:28 PM
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While I love my CrossCheck if I were shopping around for a do-all bike today I'd probably look at the LHT before the CC. Why? Longer chainstays give you better clearance for panniers, and if you're going to do some serious touring you'll probably have a set of them on the back of your bike. I ended up getting the Arkel XM-28 pannier to use on the rear of my CC. My heal barely clears the bag, but it does. It may be an issue with a larger set of panniers.

Other than that, the CC has been in many ways my favorite bike of all time. Simply wonderful!

Best of luck on your hunt.
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Old 03-26-08, 03:30 PM
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This isn't a suggestion of what you should get...

... but $960 is a smoking deal on the Wazoo, unless the spec is absolutely horrible.
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Old 03-26-08, 03:41 PM
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Why would a cyclocross bike be better than a touring bike at everything but touring? It's a racing bike...
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Old 03-26-08, 03:42 PM
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to trailer kid(s) you'll want a *low* end to your gearing, esp. if you have hills, or if you feed them and they grow.
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Old 03-26-08, 03:53 PM
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Thanks for all the responses! I guess it comes down to riding things, and figuring out whether I need a dedicated touring bike or can get by with light touring on a CC.



The info on comparative speed from Chipcom is very helpful; Bruce, your bikes are beautiful, but unfortunately my budget would only allow me to get a unicycle...

HardyWeinburg, I've tried not feeding the children, but they managed to get into the cupboards anyway, and have now reached a combined 80 pounds, so perhaps the XT rear hub on the LHT is the answer...


Originally Posted by justinb View Post
This isn't a suggestion of what you should get...

... but $960 is a smoking deal on the Wazoo, unless the spec is absolutely horrible.
Here's the specs on the complete Voodoo direct from BTI:

BTI part #: VD-8176
vendor part #: WAZOO COMPLETE 56CM
brakes: Avid Shorty 4 cantilever
chain: Shimano HG53
crankset: FSA Omega MegaExo Compact
size: 56cm
f derail: Shimano FD-4503
shift/brake levers: Tiagra STI
r derail: Shimano Tiagra
pedals: Xpedo SL CrMo
color: bottle blue
cassette: Shimano HG70 12-25 9sp

Classic, smooth riding CrMo steel Cross bike, also great for Touring and Commuting (see frame section for more detailed frame information)
Fork: Voodoo Evo Carbon Cross fork with brake studs and IS disc brake tabs
Steering: FSA Orbit X headset, Ritchey drop bar, Ritchey stem, FSA cork tape
Seating: WTB Rocket V Comp saddle, Ritchey seatpost
Wheels: Alex EXA rims, A-Class disc hubs, SS black spokes, WTB CrossWolf Comp 700x32c tires
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Old 03-26-08, 04:01 PM
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The Randonee is a much better deal than the LHT, even at MSRP.

The Randonee frame has higher quality tubing, a butted headtube, and all the same brazeons as the LHT including spoke holders, dual rack eyelets on the frame and fork, lowrider brazeons on the fork.

It has much better brakes-Shimano R550 as opposed to the LHT's Tektro Oryx.

The wheels on the Randonee use Mavic A319's, the LHT, Alex, although the LHT has XT hubs as opposed to the Randonees LX, not a big difference here.


The Randonee's shifters are worth much more than the LHT's barend shifters. You can always add bar end shifters and sell the brifters if you don't like them, or use them for something else.

The Randonee comes with a rack too. The difference in price between the two at the sale price means that you have another 250 bucks or so to spend on bags and other stuff.
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Old 03-26-08, 05:10 PM
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I vote for the Surly Crosscheck.

My Jamis Aurora tourer/foul weather commuter and my Soma Double Cross cyclocross/fair weather commuter differ by about 2 cm in wheelbase/chainstay length and millimeters everywhere else. I love both but if I had to choose just one it would without a doubt be the Soma.

I'm comfortable doing short, weekend tours with the Soma with a medium duty rack and about 40 lbs. of gear. With a better rack and stronger wheels, I'm willing to bet I'd be comfortable with 50 lbs. for a week. I suspect the Crosscheck would be almost identical in its load carrying capacity.

The Aurora is relatively light for a touring bike at 29 lbs. (five pounds heavier than the Soma in its touring config) but handles like a tank. I ride both with friends on racing bikes all the time to get a better workout and the Soma corners "well enough" but the Aurora plows through corners like a river barge.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 03-26-08, 05:28 PM
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Hmm. Seems the Wazoo is no longer made with 853. I guess the deal isn't as great as I thought (only 12% or so below MSRP).

Anyway, it's probably the least utilitarian of the options you posted anyway. I just like the sliding dropouts.
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Old 03-26-08, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by justinb View Post
Hmm. Seems the Wazoo is no longer made with 853. I guess the deal isn't as great as I thought (only 12% or so below MSRP).

Anyway, it's probably the least utilitarian of the options you posted anyway. I just like the sliding dropouts.


I think that MSRP is for the fixed gear bike, at 1099, while the full-geared bike spec's out at 1359 or something like that. Anyone know what their black magic cromo is?
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Old 03-26-08, 06:32 PM
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Go get the Randonee and be happy. Unlike all the other bikes you listed, you can take it back if you don't like it. But don't worry, you will like it. Everybody I know who has one loves bike!
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Old 03-27-08, 10:42 AM
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If you ever plan on touring, get a touring bike. It will handle most other jobs fine, but you'll really be glad to have one if you load it up and go touring.

I have an LHT and love it. But if I was in the market today, the Randonee with the 20% discount (Hurry; March is almost over!) would seal the deal. For the price difference between that and the LHT you could buy a lot of touring stuff - panniers, a front rack, stove, tent.....there's a lot of stuff to buy for loaded touring.
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Old 03-27-08, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
to trailer kid(s) you'll want a *low* end to your gearing, esp. if you have hills, or if you feed them and they grow.
+1

If you go with a touring bike and pull a kids trailer, install some cyclocross style in-line brake levers. I have a Randonee and prefer a flat bar bike for towing my kids.
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