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powitte 07-05-10 08:02 PM

Bike recommendation for developing country touring
This is for use in eastern Turkey.

Ideally, I'm looking for something with robust, easily serviceable, widely available parts. This makes me think rigid 26" mountain bike with canti brakes. Problem is, these don't seem to exist new in anything but poor quality wal-mart models. Anyone have recommendations?

zeppinger 07-05-10 08:29 PM

Novara Safari is a good entry level rough stuff touring rig. The Surly Long Haul Trucker also fits that description. If you get much more expensive than that then you get into disk brakes and suspension which will not have many parts available in the Turkey. Also consider a used rigid steel mountain bike and converting it to a touring rig. Works very well!

jabantik00 07-05-10 08:38 PM

does it have to be new? plenty of rigid mtbs on craigslist.

Rowan 07-06-10 02:44 AM

The other option is to wait until you travel to Turkey and make a detour into Europe (England or Germany) and buy then. Trekking bikes over there are, from my understanding, the sort of bike you are looking for and represent much better value than buying anything in North America. Trekking is the description used for touring and their favoured set-up is MTB-based.

The Europeans have been touring for a long, long time, and the set-up you describe is pretty normal for them.

This approach would probably save you travel hassles, at least on the way out, and you would have something to behold when you return to North America.

You'll have to do your own web search on brands and such. But places like Decathlon (French based but with an outlet in England) would probably have something.

zeppinger 07-06-10 05:58 AM

The idea to buy in Europe sounds intriguing but I would still opt to buy in the US. When you get to Europe you are going to be on a time limit and wont be able to do any test runs of the bike. Its very important to take a new bike on as many long rides as you can to get the fit, and components dialed in before you are sure its ready for the big tour. Also if you buy a European branded bike and bring it home you might not be able to get someone to service or warranty it should a problem arise. If you buy from a local LBS you will be starting a relationship that can potentially save you a lot of money down the line with good service and reliable advice.

Northwestrider 07-06-10 11:46 AM

In a previous thread, it was mentioned that a mtb with panniers likely would have heel strick issues. How have others addressed that problem. I have been thinking of converting my mtb for a tour that will begin next year. I'm trying to plan aheard.

Al Downie 07-06-10 12:59 PM

Disk brakes would be fine as long as you buy mechanical (eg: Avid BB7) rather than hydraulic, AND take the rotors off the wheels if you're packing the bike onto a plane. Good pads last for ages, are lighter and smaller than canti blocks, and they don't damage your rims in dirty conditions.

The Tubus Logo rack (and similar) is designed to give plenty of heel clearance - the bag fits on a low rail that extends pretty far back.

Without wishing to blow my own trumpet - this beast served me very well in some very rough conditions, and I can't think of much that I'd change about it if I was going back into the same terrain.

LeeG 07-06-10 01:07 PM

what's wrong with a 26" wheeled LHT? You aren't likely to find a new mtb with 18" chainstays.

axolotl 07-06-10 02:40 PM

How long are you planning on riding in eastern Turkey? I'm not so sure you need anything unusually robust. Have you done some research to find out what the roads are like? would be a good resource for that. I've toured in a bunch of developing countries and the only times when something happened to make my bike unrideable, I was in a developed country. The roads in many developing countries are often a lot better than you might expect, and Turkey isn't among the poorest countries on the planet. However wealth and road quality don't always have a strict correlation. I haven't been to Turkey, but the roads I biked on in Laos were mostly excellent. In Sri Lanka they varied from good to awful. Thailand's roads were quite good. Costa Rica's roads were often pretty bad.

As for buying a bike in western Europe, in the past prices were usually more expensive there than in the US. Yeah the Euro has lost some value in recent months, but it's still worth substantially more versus the US$ than it was 7 or 8 years ago. Value-Added Taxes add quite a bit to the prices in many european countries.

IronMac 07-06-10 04:09 PM

axolotl echoes my sentiments. Where are you going in Turkey and what sort of riding? If it is straight road touring then it should be easy sailing. I've been through Turkey but not Eastern Turkey and the roads there are pretty good. I even bunked one night with a highway construction crew on the road to Ankara.

Here's a pet theory of mine, countries that have to deal with a military situation and have some money, such as Turkey and its Kurdish situation will always build the best road links into such an area. That's one reason why you will find frighteningly straight and well maintained highways in certain parts of the Middle East where the local population may only have a donkey cart.

fantom1 07-07-10 08:29 AM

LHT 26"


Bruce Gordon's offering (if it's still on sale)

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