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Car-Freeand Touring?

Old 07-15-08, 03:45 PM
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Car-Freeand Touring?

Hello everyone! I have recently become car-free and am loving it! I know this is not the car-free forum but I would like to begin to do some serious touring in the near future and would like to purchase a bike for that purpose. I have done some short tours already and know that I enjoy it. However, I live in a very small appartment and only have room for one bike... I would like a touring bike that would work well around town for commuting and running errands as well as for touring. I have a couple of decision to make, STI or Bar end? Sti seems a lot better in the city and for general commuting but Bar ends are more reliable for those time when you are out in the middle of nowhere.... Brakes, V or cantilever? Does anyone use their touring bike for primary commuter too and what kind is it? I currently have a Giant FRC3 that is great around town but I sometimes commute up to 30 miles a day two or three days a week which is pushing the limits of a hybrid i feel, any thoughts? I MIGHT be able to make room for both these bikes but I am not sure jsut yet. Basically, what kind of bike would you guys recommend for my second bike ever that would be good for BOTH touring and living car free? Thanks a lot!
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Old 07-15-08, 04:07 PM
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I think that if I could really truly have only one bike, it would be a 1990ish rigid mountain bike, canti brakes, and bar end shifting (obviously with new bars too).
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Old 07-15-08, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger
Hello everyone! I have recently become car-free and am loving it! I know this is not the car-free forum but I would like to begin to do some serious touring in the near future and would like to purchase a bike for that purpose. I have done some short tours already and know that I enjoy it. However, I live in a very small appartment and only have room for one bike... I would like a touring bike that would work well around town for commuting and running errands as well as for touring. I have a couple of decision to make, STI or Bar end? Sti seems a lot better in the city and for general commuting but Bar ends are more reliable for those time when you are out in the middle of nowhere.... Brakes, V or cantilever? Does anyone use their touring bike for primary commuter too and what kind is it? I currently have a Giant FRC3 that is great around town but I sometimes commute up to 30 miles a day two or three days a week which is pushing the limits of a hybrid i feel, any thoughts? I MIGHT be able to make room for both these bikes but I am not sure jsut yet. Basically, what kind of bike would you guys recommend for my second bike ever that would be good for BOTH touring and living car free? Thanks a lot!
Cannondale T2. The T1 is more expensive but not necessarily a better bike. The Cannondales are nimble without a load and tough enough for just about anything you could throw at them.

Others that come to mind but I don't have experience with are Bruce Gordon, Gunnar RockTour, or the Co-Motion series.
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Old 07-15-08, 05:16 PM
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One item to note: unless there's really good public transportation in your area, relying exclusively on one bike is not a great idea. Sooner or later, it's going to break or otherwise make itself unavailable to you at some point, most likely when you really need it.

And for what it's worth, a free-standing two-bike rack doesn't take up that much more room than a single bike.

Anyway.... Lots of overlap between commuting and touring bikes. Both benefit from fenders, wide robust tires, racks, and a somewhat upright position.

Some folks really like their hybrids; you can go a long way on one with a few upgrades. At a minimum, get bar-ends or preferably upgrade to trekking bars. Consider getting a Brooks saddle as well; no guarantees they will be perfect for you, but they do seem to work well for most tourists. If you're comfortable with the Giant, I'd at least keep it as your backup / commuter bike.

As to a good all-rounder, the bike I picked for that was the Surly Cross-Check; Binachi Volpe is very similar. Comfortable frame, very robust, not ridiculously expensive, bar-end shifters, room for fenders and wide tires, canti brakes. The higher BB makes it a little better for any off-road or really crappy roads, too. I'd get the LBS to change the gearing right out the bat to at least a triple and a wider cassette.
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Old 07-15-08, 06:45 PM
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My touring / anything bike set up:

Surly Long Haul Trucker
Brooks Champion Flyer Saddle
Shimano Downtube shifters
Nitto Noodle Bars
Panaracer Pasela 700x35mm tires
Shimano Cantilever brakes


I have found this set up great for everyday riding and touring. This is my go to bike if I want to go on a long ride, or just around the block.
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Old 07-15-08, 08:16 PM
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i do not believe that you only have room for 1 bike. there is always room to squeeze "just one more" in.
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Old 07-15-08, 11:34 PM
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This....With a good Wheelset (36 Spoke,handbuilt) Gearing,Lighting System,Tires and Racks of your choice.....Is BOMBproof!

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Old 07-16-08, 12:40 AM
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After several years on an old hybrid (actually, a hard-tail MTB with road tires), I switched to a touring bike (Surly LHT), and have been very happy with it. It's stable, fairly fast, comfortable, carries a lot of weight easily, and has components that can take a beating. I recently took it on a 200 mile tour, and it performed flawlessly. Around town, I've come to appreciate the bar-end shifters, especially the friction gear feature. Indexed gears are nice, but, given enough bumps, they get out of adjustment, at which point they're basically just a pain in the ass.
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Old 07-16-08, 12:44 AM
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I really like the LHT but I am still not sure if I will like the 26 inch wheels that I would have to get because of my size which is a 52. Others have told me that I wont notice a difference but the Surly dealer in my area is an idiot and can not, apparently, get one in my size in so that I can ride it and potentially buy it! Look els where or wait for the moron at the bike shop?
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Old 07-16-08, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger
I really like the LHT but I am still not sure if I will like the 26 inch wheels that I would have to get because of my size which is a 52. Others have told me that I wont notice a difference but the Surly dealer in my area is an idiot and can not, apparently, get one in my size in so that I can ride it and potentially buy it! Look els where or wait for the moron at the bike shop?
The 26" wheel will make no difference. In fact, it would be the preferable wheelset for a touring bike of any size. The shorter spoke length makes for a stronger wheel and the availability of 26" tires out in the hinterlands is higher than 700C. Don't let the wheel size put you off, especially if you need that size bike.
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Old 07-16-08, 11:42 AM
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The great thing about touring bikes is that they also make fantastic commuter bikes.
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Old 07-16-08, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
One item to note: unless there's really good public transportation in your area, relying exclusively on one bike is not a great idea. Sooner or later, it's going to break or otherwise make itself unavailable to you at some point, most likely when you really need it.
Even if you have great public transit, who wants to ride the bus when you could be on a bike? ;-)

If space is a problem, a folder would probably make a good backup bike.
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Old 07-16-08, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
The 26" wheel will make no difference. In fact, it would be the preferable wheelset for a touring bike of any size. The shorter spoke length makes for a stronger wheel and the availability of 26" tires out in the hinterlands is higher than 700C. Don't let the wheel size put you off, especially if you need that size bike.
+1
Thats what I was going to say! I had a touring bike with 26" wheels. A friend (?) talked me out of it after I rebuilt a Specialized CrossRoads and fitted it for touring. I would just as soon have the old bike with the 26" wheels. Just go ahead and get the Surly LHT with the 26" wheels and be happy.
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