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HELP! purchasing first touring bike -too many to choose from

Old 07-27-09, 10:56 PM
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starkicker
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HELP! purchasing first touring bike -too many to choose from

Help Me please!

Up until this point I have been a dedicated mountain biker, but I have decided that I want to start touring (starting out for weekends and possibly going across canada at some point soon). I have been looking into the following bikes, but can't decide between them... any comments, suggestions, advice would be MUCH APPRECIATED!

i've somewhat narrowed it down to 4...

Treck 520
Cannondale touring 2
Rockey Mountain Sherpa 30
Specialized Tricross Sport
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Old 07-28-09, 12:07 AM
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I was in the same boat about a month ago. I ended up buying a Surly LHT and could not be any happier. I have put about 400 miles on it so far and have had no problems.
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Old 07-28-09, 12:37 AM
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Guys, there's a Sticky in this, the Touring forum, that covers this thoroughly.
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=558172
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Old 07-28-09, 09:51 AM
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Of the bikes that you list, I've owned and ridden the trek 520 and the tricross sport. I prefer the tricross. Simply put, I think that the tricross handles better.
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Old 07-28-09, 10:22 AM
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thanks guys for throwing in a fifth! i haven't actually come across that one in my travells yet.... i'll have to hunt it down.

I just wish I could one stop shop and be able to compare and ride all the bikes right beside/right after one another. that would make things so much easier, yet i have yet to go into a shop where they carried even two of the above mentioned bikes in my size (...and i went to 14 different bike stores yesterday!!!)

i really like the feel of the tricross but am a little worried about the durability of the frame for long hauls and its longevity... should i be?

does anyone have any experience with the rockey mountain? i haven't found anyone who can tell me much about it....
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Old 07-28-09, 02:36 PM
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Many in our cycling club use the Marinoni Turismo built in Montreal. After 5 years of bicycle touring in Europe, Ontario, Quebec and northeastern USA its still going strong.
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Old 07-28-09, 02:39 PM
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Good site

Here's a site that will be really helpful if you're just getting interested in touring:

http://www.biketoledo.net

It's got some fairly good information on touring bikes, but a lot more on touring beyond that.
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Old 07-28-09, 03:07 PM
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Remember, you don't have to find the "best" one, only one that is good enough. Find one that meets your requirements and then stop looking and buy it. I would say that you can't go wrong with either a Trek 520 or a Surly LHT. Both are extremely popular. Of course, there are a few dozen other ones that will work well too.

If you need a tie-breaker, buy one that is well supported by your closest and best and most helpful bike shop. Don't let yourself get talked into something they happen to have on their floor that doesn't meet your needs.
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Old 07-28-09, 03:15 PM
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A huge help for me was to buy the panniers I wanted and then try them (loaded) on the bikes I wanted to buy. This quickly weeded things down to two contenders and I was able to make my choice based on other factors (price, store after sale service, etc.).
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Old 07-28-09, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by starkicker View Post
i really like the feel of the tricross but am a little worried about the durability of the frame for long hauls and its longevity... should i be?
I wouldn't be concerned about the durability of that frame. I've ridden that bike everywhere I've ridden my mountain bike and haven't had any problems. I've abused it by racing 'cross and the frame is still as good as new.
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Old 07-28-09, 05:24 PM
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last year I was in the same boat and ended up with the Surly LHT. I have it totally set up for touring with front and rear racks, Ortlieb panniers, Ortlieb handle bar bag, Woody's fenders, Brooks saddle and leather bar tape to match the honey colored saddle. I have been riding for over 30 years and for me the LHT is one of my favorite bikes of all time.
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Old 07-28-09, 10:07 PM
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Fantastic advice... I thank you all.

I came across this article that I thought I'd post for others who find themselves in a similar situation...

http://www.adventurecycling.org/reso...sGuide2009.pdf


I've been researching the Surly LHT and it really does sound great, but i'd have to basically purchase it sight unseen and untested, which is kind of scary..... but everything is started to blurr together right about now anyways... and I basically only have 2 more days to make a decision before heading back home to the middle of nowhere, far far away from any bike shop.....
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Old 07-28-09, 10:15 PM
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Salsa Fargo, since you're from a MTB background.

Otherwise, the Rocky Mountain is a great bike. It's Reynolds 853 tubing.... can't go wrong with that.

The LHT is a good bike too, but I don't like it. Below 56cm, you have to use 26" wheels.
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Old 07-29-09, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by PlatyPius View Post
The LHT is a good bike too, but I don't like it. Below 56cm, you have to use 26" wheels.
I have a 62cm LHT so I have 700c wheels. However, I wouldn't be dissuaded by the use of 26" wheels on the smaller models. In fact, on balance, I'd say it's a plus. 26" wheels are inherently a bit stronger, and if you are touring outside of the U. S. 26" wheels are more common. I know I've seen a lot of Europeans touring in the U. S. on 26" wheels. If you put street tires on them there's not that much difference anyway.

Those are my opinions; others' might vary.
  • I think the LHT is a great tourer. It's heavy, but strong.
  • The Cannondale tourers have been around for a long time. I would trust them. I think they're lighter than the LHT.
  • The Trek 520 has also been around for a long time. I've heard people say that the gearing is a little high for touring, but I've also heard that the newer models have addressed this.
  • I've heard excellent reports about the Rocky Mountain Sherpa.
  • I've also heard excellent reviews of the Jamis Aurora.
  • For a little more money, Bruce Gordon has been making premium tourers for a long time, as has Rivendell.
  • Fuji makes a suitable tourer for a low price. So does Windsor.
  • The Co-Motion Americano is another premium tourer with good reviews.
  • Some other models are the Thorn and Miyata.
  • Don't forget the Novara Randonee, especially if you can wait until REI has their yearly 20% off sale.
Good luck in your search. I know it's hard to settle on one bike, especially if you don't have the opportunity to test-ride it, but there are some really good bikes out there, so I'm guessing that in the end you'll find something you're very happy with.
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Old 07-29-09, 02:38 PM
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big blue toe you forgot to mention the dawes ultra galaxy.my friend just bought one a very nice bike and light.
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Old 07-29-09, 03:02 PM
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There's a long thread on the Rocky Mountain Sherpa 30 here.

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Old 07-29-09, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
Don't forget the Novara Randonee, especially if you can wait until REI has their yearly 20% off sale.
Most of REI's 20% off sales (which are usually done quarterly) exclude bikes. Nevertheless, REI has occasional 15% off sales on bikes.
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Old 07-30-09, 01:20 AM
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I'm another one of the 20+ year mountain bikers who decided to get a touring bike (this year). Had an LHT fitted by a shop very well known for their fittings.

Couldn't be happier.

Making final tweaks to the bike now (Modolo trekking bars, dynohub, etc.), and lovin' every mile on this bicycle.
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Old 07-30-09, 02:15 AM
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When I was searching for a touring bike, my problem is so few shops have that many models to choose from.. Floor space is consumed by road or Mountain bikes.. I ended up buying it site unseen. Luckily It turned out ok... / The best source I found for touring bike reviews.. Adventure Cycling. I think their magazine review is available on line.. (I subscribe to Adventure Cycling.. )Their speciality is touring.. Since they are not a glossy magazine, I think you'll find their touring bike reviews honest.
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Old 08-04-09, 03:09 PM
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again, thanks all for your advice. it was a tough choice, but in the end i went with the rockey mountain sherpa and so far caouldn't be happier..... i'll be heading out on my first loaded trip next week, but in the meantime i've been putting on the km's to get ourselves aquained. the LHT sounded pretty sweet, but i just couldn't do it without trying it out first, and regardless i have no regret with my purchase. its a pretty solid bike. i just randomly stumbled upon this forum while doing some reserach, but now hopefully i can oficially 'join your club' ... WOOOOOOO!
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Old 08-04-09, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by starkicker View Post
does anyone have any experience with the rocky mountain? i haven't found anyone who can tell me much about it....
It's very nice. It worked fine for the GAP/C&O and and it works fine for day rides. It seems like it is a fairly efficient frame.

Originally Posted by starkicker View Post
Trek 520
Cannondale touring 2
Rockey Mountain Sherpa 30
Specialized Tricross Sport
[Surley LHT]
The Tricross is a somewhat different type of bike than the others. It's a bit out of the mainstream for touring but some one here is using a Tricross for touring in Asia. It's a good bike too.

You won't really go wrong with any of them.

====================

Originally Posted by starkicker View Post
again, thanks all for your advice. it was a tough choice, but in the end i went with the rockey mountain sherpa and so far caouldn't be happier.....
It's a solid choice! It's what all the cool people ride!

Last edited by njkayaker; 08-04-09 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 08-04-09, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by starkicker View Post
again, thanks all for your advice. it was a tough choice, but in the end i went with the rockey mountain sherpa and so far caouldn't be happier..... i'll be heading out on my first loaded trip next week, but in the meantime i've been putting on the km's to get ourselves aquained. the LHT sounded pretty sweet, but i just couldn't do it without trying it out first, and regardless i have no regret with my purchase. its a pretty solid bike. i just randomly stumbled upon this forum while doing some reserach, but now hopefully i can oficially 'join your club' ... WOOOOOOO!
Glad to hear it! I'm planning on getting a Sherpa myself soon.
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Old 08-05-09, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
Most of REI's 20% off sales (which are usually done quarterly) exclude bikes. Nevertheless, REI has occasional 15% off sales on bikes.
This always comes up. I've never researched it, but I think the correct answer is that the 20% off coupon applies to Novara bikes, but not the other brands.

Anyone?
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Old 08-05-09, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by starkicker View Post
again, thanks all for your advice. it was a tough choice, but in the end i went with the rockey mountain sherpa and so far caouldn't be happier..... i'll be heading out on my first loaded trip next week, but in the meantime i've been putting on the km's to get ourselves aquained. the LHT sounded pretty sweet, but i just couldn't do it without trying it out first, and regardless i have no regret with my purchase. its a pretty solid bike. i just randomly stumbled upon this forum while doing some reserach, but now hopefully i can oficially 'join your club' ... WOOOOOOO!
I hope you'll report back after you've had the bike awhile and taken it on some tours. I'm intrigued. It looks like a great bike to me. Have fun!
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Old 08-05-09, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
This always comes up. I've never researched it, but I think the correct answer is that the 20% off coupon applies to Novara bikes, but not the other brands.
I have read the fine print on one of those coupons before, and I believe your "correct" answer is "incorrect". I guess we'll just have to wait for the next deal to come up to check again.
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