Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Touring Bike Help needed!

Notices
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.

Touring Bike Help needed!

Old 07-12-09, 12:21 PM
  #1  
CrossCountry50
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
Touring Bike Help needed!

Hi Everyone,
Next summer I will be riding across the US with a bike tour group. I decided to go with a group this first time around as I have never done anything like this before.

The ride is 100% supported so the amount of gear I will have to carry will be minimal.

I have been looking at the Novara Randonee from REI. Would this be a reasonable choice for a first long distance tour?



Thanks in advance.
 
Old 07-12-09, 12:44 PM
  #2  
Cyclesafe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: San Diego
Posts: 1,435

Bikes: IF steel deluxe 29er tourer

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If I were you, I'd think about the kind of cycling you are likely to do after your tour and whether you're likely to buy more than one bike.

A road bike with a saddle pack for raingear and incidentals is probably the best rig for a supported road tour. I think you can buy a better road bike than the Randonee at the same price point. If you decide only after the trip that you'd like to try unsupported touring, but you still spend more time riding unloaded, you can always get a BOB trailer to use with your road bike.

If you're going to prefer mountain biking, substitute "mountain" for " road" in the paragraph above.

Frankly, I'd only consider getting a purpose-built touring bike only if you plan to do more touring than road cycling and you just don't want a trailer. Or you plan to have more than one bike. People who own touring bikes usually either have more than one bike or they don't care about going fast.
Cyclesafe is offline  
Old 07-12-09, 12:51 PM
  #3  
CrossCountry50
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
Thanks for the feedback. Your point about an alternative style of bike I.E. Mountain Bike is one I am also considering. Living in Idaho there are great rides through the back country etc. where a bike such as the Safari would foot the bill perfectly.

Do you think it would suffice for the cross country ride? Like you indicated, I'm out for the adventure not to set a new land speed record!

 
Old 07-12-09, 01:05 PM
  #4  
canonsue
Just Out for a Ride
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 19
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Dan,
I saw your blog and it said that you already have a mountain bike that you ride. Knowing that, a touring bike could be a good choice. Most of them have a more comfortable ride and can also work great on back roads. (Save the mountain bike for singletrack.) I have a touring bike and a mountain bike. For me. my touring bike (Surly LHT) is also my commuter and every day bike for paved and dirt roads. It is not build for speed, but at this point in my bicycle journey, I am not either.

-Sue
canonsue is offline  
Old 07-12-09, 02:29 PM
  #5  
Cyclebum
Senior Member
 
Cyclebum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NE Tx
Posts: 2,766

Bikes: Tour Easy, Linear USS, Lightening Thunderbolt, custom DF, Raleigh hybrid, Felt time trial

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
As this is a sagged tour, and a long one, I'd get myself a light road bike with a seat post rack. Ride easy and fast with as little gear as possible. If you think the standard road gearing is too high for the climbing, drop it down a bit.

When the tour is finished and you find yourself with the touring bug for sure, consider a LHT.

The Randonee is more suitable for load hauling.

Whatever you get, just make sure it fits you well and has proven puncture resistant tires. I like the Continental Touring Plus.
Cyclebum is offline  
Old 07-12-09, 02:41 PM
  #6  
kayakdiver
ah.... sure.
 
kayakdiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Whidbey Island WA
Posts: 4,107

Bikes: Specialized.... schwinn..... enough to fill my needs..

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If I was doing a supported tour..... I'd jump on my carbon wonder and be gone. Of course I'd ride my sturdier wheels(not race wheels) but that is about it. Large saddlebag would be all that I needed along with a few water bottle cages. What doesn't fit in the saddle bag would go in my jersey pockets. Talk about a fun trip. Be like 40 days of group rides in a row.

So I would go with a light road bike and have a blast. That's just me though. The bike you mentioned above would serve your purpose now and in the future if you wanted to do self supported touring like mentioned already.

You should have a blast.
kayakdiver is offline  
Old 07-12-09, 04:39 PM
  #7  
John Nelson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 537
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I agree with Cyclesafe that you should consider what kind of riding you'll likely do after the tour and take that into account. Almost any bike will work for a supported tour, and with no other input, I'd get a lightweight aluminum entry-level (or perhaps a bit farther up the line if your budget allows it--but not a race bike) road bike from some well-known manufacturer (e.g., Trek, Specialized, Giant, Fuji, Canondale). Try to get a bike with at least 32-spoke wheels (at least on the rear).

A touring bike, such as the one you've listed, is a bit overkill for a supported ride, and you'll be carrying more weight than you need to.

The pockets on your jersey for snacks, camera and a jacket, plus a small saddle-bag for tube repair, should be enough to carry.

I recommend signing up for one of those supported one-week cross-state tours to get a bit of experience before going cross country.
John Nelson is offline  
Old 07-12-09, 06:41 PM
  #8  
CrossCountry50
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
Thanks so much for the great feedback.
I am going to try and test ride some bikes next week including:
  • Bianchi Volpe
  • Trek 520

Any other suggestions??

Thanks again
 
Old 07-12-09, 07:01 PM
  #9  
kayakdiver
ah.... sure.
 
kayakdiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Whidbey Island WA
Posts: 4,107

Bikes: Specialized.... schwinn..... enough to fill my needs..

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by CrossCountry50 View Post
Thanks so much for the great feedback.
I am going to try and test ride some bikes next week including:
  • Bianchi Volpe
  • Trek 520

Any other suggestions??

Thanks again
Jamis Aurora if you like STI shifters(I do)
kayakdiver is offline  
Old 07-12-09, 07:11 PM
  #10  
prathmann
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bay Area, Calif.
Posts: 7,242
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 659 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
No real need for a touring bike if the tour is fully supported. That's just doing a lot of day rides back-to-back, so I'd get a bike that's well suited for doing day rides. If you wouldn't normally use a rack on a single day ride (and most people don't), then why bother having one on a supported tour?
prathmann is offline  
Old 07-12-09, 09:47 PM
  #11  
TempeRider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Tempe AZ
Posts: 179

Bikes: Mondonico Road, Novaro Randonee Touring

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Well, since I own a Randonee, and have used in for 1 long self supported tour (Portland OR to SF), and have put many more commuting miles on it, I can give an opinion. For reference, I also own a Mondonico race bike. No question, the Mondonico is faster, an more agile... But it's not THAT much faster - just a few %. If I was racing accross the US I would care. On the other hand, for spending day after day in the saddle, the Rando is a lot more comfortable than the Mondonico is faster. My Rando is not quite the same as it is 10-12 years old - RSX components, STI... Very similar, but not exactly the same. It sits out in the sun day after day at work, and other than wear items (tires, tubes, chains, cassettes, bar tape) and a rear rim (my fault) it is original. It has over 10K miles on it.
There are better bikes, but it has been faithful. If I were to replace it though, I might well go with a Trek 520, but I doubt a dealer will have it in stock, so you will have to by sight unseen. I know my local REI does have a Randonee on display.
TempeRider is offline  
Old 07-13-09, 09:54 AM
  #12  
BigBlueToe
Senior Member
 
BigBlueToe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Coast, CA
Posts: 3,392

Bikes: Surly LHT, Specialized Rockhopper, Nashbar Touring (old), Specialized Stumpjumper (older), Nishiki Tourer (model unknown)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I think it all depends on what you're going to do in the future, and how much money you have to spend. It's nice to have different bikes for different purposes, but it's expensive. I have a Surly LHT for fully loaded touring, a Specialized Allez for rides around home and centuries, and a mountain bike. If I was going to take a fully supported tour, I'd take the Allez. It's much lighter and easier to ride. I'd put a light rack on the back to carry rain gear, sandwiches, etc.

If I didn't have these bikes and was considering buying something for my supported cross-country tour, I'd try and anticipate what my future needs might be. If you're ever going to do a tour where you'll want to carry all your own stuff, a full-on touring bike is the way to go, in my opinion. I know a trailer is an option too, but I've toured with a trailer and prefer panniers on my LHT.

The Randonee is supposed to be a good touring bike, but there are others. However, the price, the 20% off coupon that REI offers in the spring, and REI's customer satisfaction policies all make the Randonee attractive.

If you're more likely to just need a bike for weekend rides, centuries, etc., you might consider something lighter - a roaed bike that isn't intended for touring. Maybe a "comfortable" road bike, like a Specialized Roubaix, or a Cannondale Synapse**********

The Safari would suffice for the cross country ride, although I don't know enough about it to say how advisable it would be. I'd consider weight, gear ratios, comfort, etc. But if you're planning on doing lots of riding on dirt roads in Idaho, it might be just the thing.

One warning: the more you get into bicycling, the more likely it is that you won't be satisfied with just one bike. So whatever you end up buying for this cross country trip, you may get the itch for something else later.

Last edited by BigBlueToe; 07-13-09 at 09:58 AM.
BigBlueToe is offline  
Old 07-13-09, 10:16 AM
  #13  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 9,564
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 316 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 35 Posts
For fully supported, I would go with a fairly sporty road bike with lower than normal gearing. Personally I find my road bike extremely comfortable on long rides, much more so than my touring bike. Still the Randonee would do fine.

BTW: My personal opinion is that a self supported trip is quite doable by a beginner and more fun than a group tour. If you are picking a supported group tour because you really want a supported group tour then great, but if you are only doing it because you are nervous about going self supported I'd advise giving self supported a bit more thought. Three of us did it with no prior touring experience and greatly enjoyed it.
__________________
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 07-13-09, 10:51 AM
  #14  
kayakdiver
ah.... sure.
 
kayakdiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Whidbey Island WA
Posts: 4,107

Bikes: Specialized.... schwinn..... enough to fill my needs..

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Op... Think of it as 50 group rides in a row. Do you ride with a group now? That is the reason I mentioned above I would take my roadie on such a tour. It really is the same. Now if you want to do the self supported stuff later.................... forget this bit.

Then it's a matter of a somewhat sporty touring bike or a heavy touring bike.

That's about it.
kayakdiver is offline  
Old 07-13-09, 11:13 AM
  #15  
njkayaker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 11,369
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1965 Post(s)
Liked 86 Times in 62 Posts
Originally Posted by CrossCountry50 View Post
Hi Everyone,
Next summer I will be riding across the US with a bike tour group. I decided to go with a group this first time around as I have never done anything like this before.

The ride is 100% supported so the amount of gear I will have to carry will be minimal.

I have been looking at the Novara Randonee from REI. Would this be a reasonable choice for a first long distance tour?



Thanks in advance.
A touring bike is made to carry a load. You are not carrying a load.

How many miles are you planning on riding a day?

It's unlikely that you'd want a mountain bike for this ride. It would work (no doubt, people have done it) but if a touring bike is "bad", a mountain bike will be "worse".

Assuming you are riding a fair amount of distance each day, you want a bicycle that is going to be comfortable for many long days. For many people, touring bicycles work fine for this (even if they are not carrying a load).
njkayaker is offline  
Old 07-13-09, 11:40 AM
  #16  
neilfein
Senior Member
 
neilfein's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Highland Park, NJ, USA
Posts: 3,797

Bikes: "Hildy", a Novara Randonee touring bike; a 16-speed Bike Friday Tikit; and a Specialized Stumpjumper frame-based built-up MTB, now serving as the kid-carrier, grocery-getter.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
As much as I love my Randonee, I'd agree that it's not suited for this application - distance riding with minimal gear. Without a load, the bike isn't quite as stable.

That said, I've taken my Randonee on long rides with and without gear, on dirt, mud, snow, ice, and gravel, and it handled well for all of them. It's an excellent all-around bike.

If you're going to be doing a lot of off-road riding, you might look into an LHT with 26" tires or perhaps the Novara Safari. Has anyone taken either of these off-road a lot?
__________________
Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

My bands:

Last edited by neilfein; 07-13-09 at 11:44 AM.
neilfein is offline  
Old 07-13-09, 03:04 PM
  #17  
Doug64
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 5,654
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 825 Post(s)
Liked 100 Times in 68 Posts
A lot of good nformation in the above posts.

I have used my Trek 1000 for a loaded tourer, centuries and ride it almost every day. I also have a "fast" roadbike, and a Volpe that is rigged for long hauls. I got the Volpe to replace the Trek for a self contained cross country ride in 2007. Up until that time the "light" Trek did just fine.

I think I'd come down with the folks that are advocating light and faster. It might br good to put 25mm or 28mm tires if they will fit. You will also need to think about fenders or not. Some "road" bike are a hassle getting fenders to fit. We use 28mm for all our touring,which is the advantage of a "touring" bike. You can even go larger for a more comfortable ride. Gearing on touring bikes is usually a little more user friendly. I just put 44/32/22 cranks 11-34 rear cassette) on our bikes in anticipation for the Pacific Coast ride this September. Most road bikes have a 52/42/30 triple crank with an 11-26 (27max) rear. Unloaded this is probably OK, but even my Trek has been oufitted with a 48/36/26 crankset and an 11-34 rear cassette. How well do you climb hills?

Click thumbnail for larger image

Trek 1000...............................Bianchi Volpe
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
1625 copy.jpg (99.5 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg
Bianchi.jpg (104.0 KB, 24 views)
Doug64 is offline  
Old 07-13-09, 03:32 PM
  #18  
njkayaker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 11,369
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1965 Post(s)
Liked 86 Times in 62 Posts
Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
As much as I love my Randonee, I'd agree that it's not suited for this application - distance riding with minimal gear. Without a load, the bike isn't quite as stable.
That's interesting (and unusual). Typically, adding weight (to the rear) makes any bike less stable. Adding weight to a racing bike makes it too unstable (much too twitchy to ride for long distances). Adding weight to a touring bike makes it stable enough (but less stable).

Though, adding weight low on the fork tends to make things more stable.
njkayaker is offline  
Old 07-13-09, 06:18 PM
  #19  
CrossCountry50
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
Tagged: Thread(s)
Quoted: Post(s)
WOW! I was out this afternoon test riding a couple of bikes and come back to all this great feedback!

Well, I took the Bianchi Volpe for a ride and really found it to be a great bike! The salesperson said it was his personal choice for the type of ride I am doing and for versatility for future rides.

I also rode the Specialized Tricross Sport Triple and it was a nice bike as well but quite a bit more expensive.

I am leaning towards the Bianchi but plan to test ride some Treks and Cannodales this week. As well as the 2 bikes from REI.

Thanks again for all the info.!
 
Old 07-13-09, 08:01 PM
  #20  
neilfein
Senior Member
 
neilfein's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Highland Park, NJ, USA
Posts: 3,797

Bikes: "Hildy", a Novara Randonee touring bike; a 16-speed Bike Friday Tikit; and a Specialized Stumpjumper frame-based built-up MTB, now serving as the kid-carrier, grocery-getter.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
That's interesting (and unusual). Typically, adding weight (to the rear) makes any bike less stable. Adding weight to a racing bike makes it too unstable (much too twitchy to ride for long distances). Adding weight to a touring bike makes it stable enough (but less stable).

Though, adding weight low on the fork tends to make things more stable.
I'd agree that distributing the weight evenly is best, but even panniers on just the front or even just the rear makes the Randonee more stable. A heavy trunk rack or camping roll on the rear rack, however, makes the bike top-heavy and destabilizes it. YMMV, of course, but I've read the same elsewhere on this forum about other touring bikes. (Not repurposed MTB frames, but frames designed for loads.)
__________________
Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

My bands:
neilfein is offline  
Old 07-14-09, 11:44 AM
  #21  
njkayaker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 11,369
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1965 Post(s)
Liked 86 Times in 62 Posts
Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
I'd agree that distributing the weight evenly is best, but even panniers on just the front or even just the rear makes the Randonee more stable. A heavy trunk rack or camping roll on the rear rack, however, makes the bike top-heavy and destabilizes it. YMMV, of course, but I've read the same elsewhere on this forum about other touring bikes. (Not repurposed MTB frames, but frames designed for loads.)
Where the weight is being added does have different effects. But weight added to the same place is going to have the same basic effect whether it's a touring or racing bicycle.

Adding a load to the top of the rack will destabilize any bike. This effect is likely going to be worse for a racing bike than it would be for a touring bike (and your Randonee). The Randonee would have to be quite odd for this not to be the case.
njkayaker is offline  
Old 07-14-09, 01:49 PM
  #22  
BengeBoy 
Senior Member
 
BengeBoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 6,940

Bikes: 2014 Pivot Mach 5.7 MTB, 2009 Chris Boedeker custom, 1988 Tommasini Prestige, 2007 Bill Davidson custom; 1988 Specialized Stumpjumper

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'd look at a Salsa Casserroll for the ride you'e doing.

You don't need an all-out touring bike.
BengeBoy is offline  
Old 07-14-09, 09:44 PM
  #23  
TempeRider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Tempe AZ
Posts: 179

Bikes: Mondonico Road, Novaro Randonee Touring

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
the comment above about tires is a good point. I'd also recomend 28 mm tires. That likely will be the most significant comfort item. I have 32 mm on my bike, but that may be over kill for what you are doing.

Neilfein does have a valid point on stability. My Randonee is a bit front end light unloaded, and becomes rock solid stable with some front weight. But, I don't think it's enough an issue to be a deciding factor.

The fender comments are valid too. And few road bikes take fenders anymore. In my case I commute with my Randonee with fenders, even here in the Arizona desert... 'cause when we do get summer PM thunderstorms it rains hard and I don't like brown stripes on my back
TempeRider is offline  
Old 07-15-09, 05:18 AM
  #24  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 9,564
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 316 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 35 Posts
Originally Posted by TempeRider View Post
I'd also recomend 28 mm tires.
I'd consider 25 mm tires. Some even do loaded touring on them.
__________________
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 07-15-09, 02:42 PM
  #25  
njkayaker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 11,369
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1965 Post(s)
Liked 86 Times in 62 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I'd consider 25 mm tires. Some even do loaded touring on them.
I used to do loaded touring on 25mm tires. I'd have to say there aren't many good reasons to do that if you can run wider!
njkayaker is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.