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Noob in distress

Old 12-14-03, 05:31 AM
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Noob in distress

My wife and I recently moved to Switzerland and we want to buy bikes so we can go on long trips and explore the country. The problem is I have no idea what bike I should be looking for. I have read many posts in this forum discussing different bikes, but since I know very little I feel more confused now than when I started.
At first choosing a bike seemed simple. I was going for a hybrid. Now after reading the posts it seems like a touring would be the better choice, but if I go for a touring, should I get a Trek 520 (seen that one mentoined a lot here) or a Cannondale T800 or something else I dont know of yet.
Can you please come with some sugestions that will help me choose a good bike. We intend to use it for weekend riding and on longer camping trips during the holidays so it should have a reasonable load baring capability. My ambision is to cycle through the alps, will that rule out the Trek 520 unless we modify the gear ratios? The bike will also serve as my daily transporter from and to work. What are the main points I should consider when choosing between a hybrid our a tourer? My wife is conserned that she will get a sore neck with the low swept position of a tourer. I can't imagine this be a problem but please correct me if I am wrong, I will be in big trouble if I get 2 tourers and she starts complainging about the ride position
And a final point I have looked at prices and I have decided that the price of the 2 Cannondale T800's is the upper limit of our budget.

Thank you for your patience...
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Old 12-14-03, 08:08 AM
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I have the 520. I had the cranks replaced at time of purchase. It came with Shimano 105 cranks with 52/42/30 rings. It now has a Deore LX crank with 44/32/22 rings.

The rear rack is weak. I put it on another bike and it eventually broke under light use. My 520 now has a Jannd Expedition rack on it.

I've used the bike for day rides up to 100 miles.

If you buy one, try to get the upgrades you want at the time of purchase. My LBS did not charge for the crank switch. The stock tires may not be tough enough for loaded touring. I use Continental Top Touring instead.

I paid $1000 (US) for my 520. I had also looked at the T800 and it was several hundred dollars more.

So, if you buy one:

1) Switch out the crank - you won't need to replace derailers.
2) Upgrade the rack
3) Upgrade the tires
4) Consider getting a saddle and pedals of your own choice.

This might cost you a little extra, depending on the value of the upgrades. My shop will give me credit for the items I'm replacing so that the upgrade is a little cheaper (at the time of puchase). I did # 1 and 4 at the time of purchase and it didn't cost me anything.
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Old 12-14-03, 08:33 AM
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Hi,
Europe makes a lot of fine bikes, I would pick one of them.
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Old 12-14-03, 09:28 AM
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What European makes should I consider? I don't really know any.
What makes a touring bike so much more expensive than a Hybrid? I s it the frame and better components in general?
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Old 12-14-03, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by kkarstad
What European makes should I consider? I don't really know any.
What makes a touring bike so much more expensive than a Hybrid? I s it the frame and better components in general?
You have Koga-Miyata in the Netherlands who makes great touring bikes, You also have Thorn , Dawes and a host of others in Great Britain. Bianchi is yet another from Italy

The frame on a touring bike generally will have longer chainstays and a extra pound of frame weight. The componets are usually better. Hybrids have shorter chainstays and may cause panniers to be too close to your heals especially in small frame sizes. If your wife is uncomfortable with the drop bars you can always get a hi-rise stem or a different handlebar.

If the US dollar keeps dropping in value the Cannondale may be a good value.

If I was in switzerland and looking for a touring/commuter bike I would be very interested in Koga-Miyata 's "Traveler"

rick

Last edited by Cyclist0094; 12-14-03 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 12-14-03, 11:03 AM
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Hi,
the Brits make a ton of touring style bikes in various flavors. They are reasonably priced, and a good value. I am sure there are plenty of other choices.
Personally, I would want to bring home something you wouldn't see back in the States. I like that idea. One thing I like about the Brit bikes is that you can get them loaded to the gills; which can save a lot of money. I would also want the best quality of steel I could find. This will not only save weight, it should give a better ride. What an opportunity, I'm jealous.
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Old 12-14-03, 05:06 PM
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Villiger of Switzerland makes very nice bikes - look at the so-called "Trekking" bikes - similar to hybrid but built for longer-distance riding. An excellent German bike (if available) is VSF Fahrradmanufaktur.
I agree about Koga-Miyata - also very nice stuff!

https://www.villigerbikes.ch/
https://www.fahrradmanufaktur.de/
https://www.koga.com/de/index.asp?file=/de/clothing.asp
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Old 12-15-03, 07:10 AM
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British touring bikes (Thorn, Dawes, Orbit) are excellent, but the exchange rate may make them expensive.
There is a distiction between light tourers (very sporty), club tourers ( general purpose/occasional long tours) and expedition bikes (round the world style). I like the British style club tourer, typified by the Dawes Galaxy.
Bianchi make a fairly good one. What do your local bike shops stock?
As far as position, many smaller sized bikes can be quite long. You dont have to ride the drop-bars of a tourer in a stretched out racing position. Many UK tourers use them quite high and close to the saddle compared to racing cyclists.
For Alpine touring, you are best with MTB style gearing. It is adaquate for everyday commuting, but a bit under-geared for athletic fast day rides.

Many people tour successfuly on better quality hybrid bikes. They seem to take panniers without heel interference. As long as the bikes fit you OK, and have a bare minimum of quality, you should be OK.
The Canondale is an Al frame. There is no problem with reliability, but it is quite stiff tubing, and is better used for a large size. Smaller sized 'dales can be overly stiff and a bit harsh.
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Old 12-16-03, 02:43 AM
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Thanks for the adice so far guys. i have checked out the bikes you mention and I have made a list of bikes that I fancy. Will you have a look and comment please. They are quite different bikes so I am not exectly comparing apples with apples. But I will apreciate your comments anyhow. I am not sure whether I should get a "Trekking" bike or a "Tourer".
Here are the bikes:

Koga-Miyate Randonneur or traveller
Dawes super or ultra galaxy
Dawes Kara-Kum
Orbit Romany of the Elite series (Straight or drop handle bars?)
Thorn Club tour 700c
Villiger Cabonga

Regarding the bikes above, some of them are a lot more expensive than others what exactly am I paying so much more for and what difference does it make in terms of enjoyment on the road.

There are a few expressions I am unfamiliar with.
Chromium molybdenum frame
Reynolds *** frame
equipment levels, LX, XT, etc.
Shimano Deore

I would apreciate if someone can explain these for me.
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Old 12-16-03, 11:25 AM
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Hi Kkarstad. Looks like an exellent list of cycles you have chosen all of which should match your purpose.
I can fully recommend the Thorn bikes,used by many experienced tourers... Obviously costs are down to quality componentry plus weight to strenght factor,the old saying,"you only get what you pay for" comes to mind.
Again the lx, tx. Deore are the grades of quality in the derailiuer/groupo sets.
Check out Reynolds web site for an interpritation of the code,nu`r frames. Roughly. although i`m no expert it refers to the breaking strenght and weght of specific materils,ie aluminium or steel....
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Old 12-18-03, 03:12 PM
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I ride a dawes super galaxy, steel frame,
unbelieveably confortable, handles perfectly fully
loaded. I use it every day as a cimmuter and is perfect
for this as well. You can get a Super Galaxy for round
about £200 off list price (around £650), includes racks, guards
STI shifters, cracking saddle etc. I think steel is essential
in a tourer, you nee all the help you can get when stuck
in the saddle all day.
Check the cyclingplus forum for more opinions.

www.belfastandbeyond.com
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Old 12-20-03, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by kkarstad
Regarding the bikes above, some of them are a lot more expensive than others what exactly am I paying so much more for and what difference does it make in terms of enjoyment on the road.

There are a few expressions I am unfamiliar with.
Chromium molybdenum frame
Reynolds *** frame
equipment levels, LX, XT, etc.
Shimano Deore

I would apreciate if someone can explain these for me.
I'm no "expert," but these I can help out with.

The "chromoly" frame means that chromium molybdenum is the steel alloy used to make the frame. It is an inexpensive, mid-grade alloy that is very reliable. I have a chromoly road bike from the 1980s that rides very comfortably.

Reynolds is a manufacturer of different grades of steel used in the frame. The most common numbers I've seen are 520 and 853, and the 853 is a more expensive grade that allows manufacturers to use thinner tubing to lighten the frame. I have a bike made of each grade, and both bikes are suitable for your purposes.

Deore is a particular line of components put out for mountain bikes, and the LX, XT, etc. are different quality gruppos in that line. On my mountain bike, I have Deore LX, the more inexpensive, somewhat heavier componentry. The XT is a better one, but either will be fine for touring. The higher end ones will tend to be more durable, because of their manufacturing quality, but I've never had any critical problems with cheaper ones.

I'm planning a European trip this summer, and have been doing research to see if my bikes are adequate. If you get a touring-specific bike, it'll be fine. Just get mountain bike gearing if you plan to tour.
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