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Dream Touring Bike

Old 07-27-10, 08:38 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by rjajr View Post
I think that most of the people on this site are proabably a lot younger than me, so you may not understand my thoughts about buying the best bike I can find, regardless of price. I have been sensitive to price all my life; you have to be. But when you get older and you realize that you have less time ahead of you than behind you, you start thinking more reflective about the things you have done, and the things you still want to do. A Rohloff hub and SON dynamo are overkill, but that is point. I would like to have something at least once in my life that I think is the best, just this special gift to myself where I say, look, you can now relax after all these years of working and really enjoy yourself and ride this great bike that you could never have afforded when you were younger. I don't have to skimp on this particular present. Enjoy.
Awesome.
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Old 07-27-10, 08:58 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by rjajr View Post

I think that most of the people on this site are proabably a lot younger than me, so you may not understand my thoughts about buying the best bike I can find, regardless of price. I have been sensitive to price all my life; you have to be.
Consider that the folks you are talking to have probably owned "the best" at one time or another and have discovered through the experience of riding that what was thought of as "the best" often gets redefined by experience. Sure that $5000 custom bike will be the best bike you ever had but after a few trips/a few seasons it turns out you really like a bit more self-steering, or maybe a little less, or maybe another inch of top tube clearance, or maybe smaller/larger tires. Nancyjs comments are pertinent in that respect.

"My comments about trying it out first are just that once you have done it you get a better grasp of what you want. You could buy the perfect bike now and then do it and find out it is not what you really want."

My $.02 is that finding comfortable shoes, shorts or saddle is more important than whether you've got a Rohloff or derailleur drive train. Specialized Phat bar tape with gel liners is especially nice, seriously it's marvelous.

When I had my little shop I had the opportunity to ride "the best" of local builders bikes and "the best" components. I eventually gravitated to "good enough" and "best value" because things would get changed, broken or stolen with regular or heavy use and the fetish or art aspect faded with movement. Peace and gratitude came from having a cheap tube that kept it's pressure for days. The sound of a favorite tire with just the right pressure rolling through dicey terrain.
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Old 07-27-10, 09:41 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by rjajr View Post
I think that most of the people on this site are proabably a lot younger than me, so you may not understand my thoughts about buying the best bike I can find, regardless of price.
A fair number of tourists are on the older side.

Anyway, there is no such thing as "the best bike". There are going to be wide variations in what people suggest and what people suggest might not be "the best" for you. As it turns out, you don't have to spend that much for a bicycle that is very good.

You need to do more work to figure out what you want (or need). I think it would not make any sense to buy an expensive bike without trying it first.

Originally Posted by rjajr View Post
I have been sensitive to price all my life; you have to be. But when you get older and you realize that you have less time ahead of you than behind you, you start thinking more reflective about the things you have done, and the things you still want to do.
You should spend wisely on a bike (no one is suggesting you buy a crap bike) and spend what you save on "things you still want to do".

Originally Posted by rjajr View Post
A Rohloff hub and SON dynamo are overkill, but that is point. I would like to have something at least once in my life that I think is the best, just this special gift to myself where I say, look, you can now relax after all these years of working and really enjoy yourself and ride this great bike that you could never have afforded when you were younger. I don't have to skimp on this particular present. Enjoy.
Ignoring the Rohloff and the Son hub, a custom frame isn't necessarily the "best". Since you "saved up" for this purchase, I gather that you aren't independently wealthy.

Since you are concerned about bicycles being stolen, one advantage a less expensive bicycle is that it is less expensive to replace if it gets stolen or damaged in an accident.

It might make more sense to dial back on your requirements and use the money you save for things like airfare to cool places.

Originally Posted by nancyj View Post
My comments about trying it out first are just that once you have done it you get a better grasp of what you want. You could buy the perfect bike now and then do it and find out it is not what you really want.
This points out the problem with spending too much on something that RJR can't determine what is best for him.

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-27-10 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 07-27-10, 09:55 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
Sure that $5000 custom bike will be the best bike you ever had but after a few trips/a few seasons it turns out you really like a bit more self-steering, or maybe a little less, or maybe another inch of top tube clearance, or maybe smaller/larger tires. Nancyjs comments are pertinent in that respect.

"My comments about trying it out first are just that once you have done it you get a better grasp of what you want. You could buy the perfect bike now and then do it and find out it is not what you really want."
Yes, your preferences may change with experience. This is pretty common. That is, you might want/need to replace that "best bike for the rest of my life". If you spend lots of money on something that you can't afford to replace, you might be less than happy with that "best" bike. (Things like the Rolhoff and Son hub could be moved to another bike.)

Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
When I had my little shop I had the opportunity to ride "the best" of local builders bikes and "the best" components. I eventually gravitated to "good enough" and "best value" because things would get changed, broken or stolen with regular or heavy use and the fetish or art aspect faded with movement. Peace and gratitude came from having a cheap tube that kept it's pressure for days. The sound of a favorite tire with just the right pressure rolling through dicey terrain.
Yes. I don't think many people realize that particularly-expensive things can be a curse. Expensive things, in various ways, often reduce your options.

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-27-10 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 07-27-10, 10:09 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
Apparently the OP does have money to throw around and wants a very specific dream bike which is why I suggested a custom builder. The big advantage is it allows you to describe what you really want and have it built without compromise. If you can find a stock frame that provides exactly what you want that will of course be cheaper and a great idea.
Since he "saved up" for it, it appears that he's not independently wealthy. That is, he doesn't have "money to throw around". He doesn't appear to have enough experience to know "what he really wants".

Originally Posted by vik View Post
The OP wants a road touring bike with the features above...the Karate Monkey can be built up in that specification. Particularly since it has horizontal dropouts to tension the Rohloff chain. It also has all the brazeons you really need for a touring bike to mount racks/fenders, etc... The KM is a low cost steel off the shelf frame that is very versatile. The LHT would be an even better choice except I don't like the Rohloff install on that bike.

I've never been a fan of the Salsa Fargo and it isn't a great road touring bike once you load up the front end. I definitely wouldn't recommend it for the OP's needs.
Interesting. It's hard to say whether that one person's experience with the Fargo is representative. (The OP is looking for a road tourer, so the Fargo isn't appropriate anyway.)

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-27-10 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 07-27-10, 10:11 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
Originally Posted by njkayaker
Crazy overkill (but interesting).
not my money, wouldn't you like one?
If somebody gave it to me, maybe. Otherwise, I think I'd rather spend a month in Indonesia.
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Old 07-27-10, 10:13 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post

Arvon World Tourist 1/6
I wonder how that bike would be for normal (unloaded) riding around.
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Old 07-27-10, 10:28 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
I wonder how that bike would be for normal (unloaded) riding around.
I got a surprise once riding a Kona Ute with no rear load across wet metal grates, ZIP, it was slippery.
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Old 07-27-10, 10:29 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
I wonder how that bike would be for normal (unloaded) riding around.
It is a very nice bike to ride unloaded... the extra wheelbase un-weights the rear wheel so it spins up very quickly and it handles very well.
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Old 07-27-10, 10:46 AM
  #60  
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Rjajr, just to be responsive to your initial request for finding the best bike what bikes have you had in the past and what did you like/dislike about them? I understand some of your component preferences but you might reconsider your preference for 700C and simply leave that criteria open after trying various tire/wheel combinations. You'd be surprised how comfortable and easy riding some 26"x1.5-2.0 road tires are and those size wheels might get you closer to your criteria for comfort/weight carrying or stability depending on your proportions. This is something a custom builder could advise on.
One of the things I went through with the the couple custom bikes I had made was that I requested a particular handling or design attribute I discovered something else in the handling envelope that was sacrificed. After forty years of cycling with about a dozen "high end" bikes, two custom bikes, and a shop full of whatever had air in the tires I now have a Surly Cross-Check and Surly LHT with 26" wheels for heavy loads. They're both "the best" for me now. Especially after I wrapped the top tube with cloth tape so I don't care about locking it up against metal poles where it'll slide, and that Phat bar tape. Oh, and since I got a wider Specialized Avatar gel seat. Don't forget the big 2" Crane brass bell. It's also the best.

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Old 07-27-10, 11:24 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
It is a very nice bike to ride unloaded... the extra wheelbase un-weights the rear wheel so it spins up very quickly and it handles very well.
I'm going to say that I'm not quite convinced that it would be many people's preference (for rides of any sort of length)! (I certainly would have trouble fitting inside my car!)

(It is interesting.)

I manage to use my one "normal" touring bike from loaded tours on gravel to long fairly fast/hilly group rides.
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Old 07-27-10, 04:31 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by rjajr View Post
I will be retiring next year. As a special gift to myself, I am going to buy the best road touring bike I can find. I have been good about saving for this bicycle over the years, so I have the money to buy whatever I want.
Why not take a look at some of the exotic steel bikes, like those made from Reynolds 953, or titanium, or carbon fiber touring bikes (Koga-Miyata offers touring bikes in carbon fiber)?

Originally Posted by rjajr View Post
I plan to travel three states, initially - Florida, New Mexico & Arizona - on good roads only. (I now live in Fliorida and off-road biking in sand has cured me of ever wanting to go off-road ever again. And, at my age, a fall is more serious now than when I was younger, as I have recently found out. I just cannot pick up the bike and hop back on like I used to.)
There are some great recumbent trikes on the market now. They make falls much less likely.

Not all off-road riding is like this. Many routes have harder surfaces; riding on them would be very different from the experiences you've had with sand.

Originally Posted by rjajr View Post
1. I do not want to build a bike, so I need at least a near-ready-to-ride bike.
Maybe find someone you can work with well, who has a lot of experience building up bikes?

A good wheel build is one of the best things you can do for a touring bike.

Originally Posted by rjajr View Post
I have two carry kits: one is 41 pounds for local trips, and the other is 75 pounds for longer trips. This weight does not include tent, poles and sleeping bag.

I have not kept up with the new technology over the years like as I should have, so I am hoping that some of you out there can help me save some time and effort in finding the right bike.

Any help wil be greatly appreciated.
Ultralight gear has come a long way in recent years. You could save a lot of weight by going with lightweight versions of everything you will be carrying.

You don't have to scrimp on necessities -- you can have everything you need to keep warm and dry, sleep and eat well, etc., and still carry lighter weight versions of everything you will be carrying.

You will appreciate having less weight. It makes a huge difference in hilly or mountainous terrain.

Last edited by Niles H.; 07-27-10 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 07-27-10, 07:06 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
I'm going to say that I'm not quite convinced that it would be many people's preference (for rides of any sort of length)! (I certainly would have trouble fitting inside my car!)

(It is interesting.)

I manage to use my one "normal" touring bike from loaded tours on gravel to long fairly fast/hilly group rides.
It would not fit inside your car... it has a 60 inch wheelbase.

And the bike is designed for rides of extended length... some of these bikes have traveled around the world.

First time I rode one was amazed at how fast the bike was but then, it is not as heavy as it looks and what is behind you does not affect your aerodynamics that much, and being able to un-weight the rear wheel and achieve perfect front / rear balance makes it a great climber.

It is also extremely stiff and would not be as nice a ride on high psi slicks.
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Old 07-27-10, 09:08 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
It would not fit inside your car... it has a 60 inch wheelbase.
Yes. That would make it not a good choice for me.

Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
And the bike is designed for rides of extended length... some of these bikes have traveled around the world.
Loaded or unloaded? I wonder how preferable it would be for long unloaded rides.

(A few) people, who appear to know what they are doing, seem to like these really-long bicycles for loaded touring.

Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
First time I rode one was amazed at how fast the bike was but then, it is not as heavy as it looks and what is behind you does not affect your aerodynamics that much, and being able to un-weight the rear wheel and achieve perfect front / rear balance makes it a great climber.
I'm not too surprised that you think it's fast enough.

I'd like to try one.
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Old 07-27-10, 11:00 PM
  #65  
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- I wonder how that bike would be for normal (unloaded) riding around.

No better than it should be. Somewhere I read that Arvon got this design from riding his tandem after he had dropped a buddy off, and found he preferred it. Arvon did race or club ride or something, so he has some kind of platform for comparison. He does build frames after all. The only real negative would be weight, and it won`t be that heavy relative to any meaningful use. A few pounds just doesn`t factor into my needs so long as the bike is excellent at some level. I weigh 2.7 times what my wife does, my thighs are the size of her waist nearly, so I am getting a sweet deal on frame weight even at a few pound here or there.

Arvon does do S&S couplers, I first saw his older stuff on their website. So you could put it into your car just so long as it isn`t a smart car or something.

- You need to do more work to figure out what you want (or need). I think it would not make any sense to buy an expensive bike without trying it first.

So true, but it does end up that way for most people. At one point the venerable LHT was a build it out yourself product (hardly ever heard about the QBP version at that time). I bought my last stock touring bike from having ridden a bike that was set up totally different, though on the same frame, so it was a different ride when I actually got mine, though I ended up pretty happy with it.

- Sure that $5000 custom bike will be the best bike you ever had but after a few trips/a few seasons it turns out you really like a bit more self-steering, or maybe a little less, or maybe another inch of top tube clearance, or maybe smaller/larger tires. Nancyjs comments are pertinent in that respect.

Custom just doens`t have to be that expensive. Custom frames start well below 1000, and slightly above that level there is lots of choice. The LHT is almost half that, or nearly the same as the cheapest frame I heard about. Yet there are tons of threads on here about so and so buying an LHT, then a BF, then a Dummy, etc... (not to mention all the other bikes they may have) many people are serial abusers, never getting out of the LBS gutter but spending tons on bikes. I really don`t think the guy who buys legacy quality components and switches the odd custom frame, really needs to take crap on the subject of his budget. I go to one of my LBS`s and see large rotating racks of cookie cutter MTBS two levels of them. Many costing 4K, and this is just some suburban shop, nothing noteworthy. You coulda got a Mariposa for that!

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Old 07-27-10, 11:27 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
No better than it should be. Somewhere I read that Arvon got this design from riding his tandem after he had dropped a buddy off, and found he preferred it. Arvon did race or club ride or something, so he has some kind of platform for comparison. He does build frames after all.
Do you own one? Have you ridden one? Have you ridden anything similar?

Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
The only real negative would be weight, and it won`t be that heavy relative to any meaningful use. A few pounds just doesn`t factor into my needs so long as the bike is excellent at some level. I weigh 2.7 times what my wife does, my thighs are the size of her waist nearly, so I am getting a sweet deal on frame weight even at a few pound here or there.
Are you buying one? Weight is overrated but you are confusing here.

Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
Arvon does do S&S couplers
At about the cost of a LHT frame set!

Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
Custom just doens`t have to be that expensive. Custom frames start well below 1000, and slightly above that level there is lots of choice.
"Custom" isn't really the concern. It's the expense. (I got a quite reasonable non-custom complete touring bike for not much more than $1000.)

The real concern is that what people are suggesting are all over the place! The OP only wants one magic bike and people are suggesting all sorts of really different bikes.

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-27-10 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 07-27-10, 11:42 PM
  #67  
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- At about the cost of a LHT frame set!


Or what I saw that lady with the slushy cup full of toonies drop on video poker in an hour! People are going to spend the money on something, why not spend money on good stuff rather than junk. To some the $460 an LHT costs is unbelieveably expensive compared to the cost of a Walmart bike or the 60 buck special my wife used to tour on before I corrupted her. To others LHTs are pretty trashy. They work great in the eyes of many, just like my wifes salvation army special`worked great for her. But there isn`t a single part in an LHT you can`t improve. It`s a cheap overseas frame with great marketing and design savy behind it. Just think how good it would be if it was carefully made, or custom made. I absolutely can`t afford a custom lifestyle, but shoes, suits and bikes are a good starting point, and you could probably live that life for the upgrades on the average pickup truck these days.
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Old 07-27-10, 11:48 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
- At about the cost of a LHT frame set!


Or what I saw that lady with the slushy cup full of toonies drop on video poker in an hour! People are going to spend the money on something, why not spend money on good stuff rather than junk. To some the $460 an LHT costs is unbelieveably expensive compared to the cost of a Walmart bike or the 60 buck special my wife used to tour on before I corrupted her. To others LHTs are pretty trashy. They work great in the eyes of many, just like my wifes salvation army special`worked great for her. But there isn`t a single part in an LHT you can`t improve. It`s a cheap overseas frame with great marketing and design savy behind it. Just think how good it would be if it was carefully made, or custom made. I absolutely can`t afford a custom lifestyle, but shoes, suits and bikes are a good starting point, and you could probably live that life for the upgrades on the average pickup truck these days.
???

Sometimes, late night posting isn't such a good idea! (You generally make more sense than this!)
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Old 07-27-10, 11:53 PM
  #69  
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What part don`t you get:

- Some people have lots of money to waste either on everything or certain things;
- LHT is not the perfect frame;
- Custom is no longer widely valued in the west while really expensive T-shirts, sponsored athletic shoes, etc.. are
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Old 07-28-10, 08:35 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
- Some people have lots of money to waste either on everything or certain things;
So what?

Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
- LHT is not the perfect frame;
I never said that it was. It's just an example. Anyway, no frame is perfect and the original poster needs to do more work himself to figure out what frame is best for him.

Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
- Custom is no longer widely valued in the west while really expensive T-shirts, sponsored athletic shoes, etc.. are
There is nothing wrong with custom. If you have a particular need that only going custom can provide, that's one thing. If you don't, it's a luxury.

If the OP had experience and was clear about what he wants, custom might make more sense. Since he's not experienced and clear about what he wants, he might be disappointed in an expensive custom bike recommended by random strangers on the internet.

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Old 07-28-10, 08:48 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
If the OP had experience and was clear about what he wants, custom might make more sense. Since he's not experienced and clear about what he wants, he might be disappointed in an expensive custom bike recommended by random strangers on the internet.
The OP is building a dream bike... we're dreaming with him.

I can see things from both sides as there are a number of off the peg bikes I am very fond of (The LHT is one of them) and can also see the appeal in going custom.

We are all strangers here.
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Old 07-28-10, 08:54 AM
  #72  
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rjajr— I was in your situation. I had gotten to a point where I wanted to tour (the Trans Am, specifically) and I wanted to treat myself. I own a few bicycles (some of which, I actually paid for), but I wanted what some others have termed the "magic" bike, so I set out to get it. I've raised a family (successfully, I might add—in spite of every mistake I could make) and I wanted to treat myself. It's a small enough thing, a bicycle. It's not a Harley, a speed boat, a Porsche or a real big ticket item. It's just a bike. Go ahead and do it.

You have a list of "must haves" for your bike. So did I. I wanted it to be comfortable for touring and day long rides. I wanted it to be as light as possible. I didn't want an RV, I wanted a Cadillac Sport Tourer, something that was just capable of fully-loaded touring, but would ride like a comfortable go-fastee when not loaded up—which will be 95% of it's riding life. I wanted, if not top-tier components, then the next closest gruppo and I wanted it to look good. Touring was/is only going to be a short while, riding happily ever after on a made-for-me bike is still going on.

I ended up going to a well known builder that I could drive to. I didn't want to have the bike shipped to me, I wanted to pick it up, ready to ride. So I contacted him, told him what I was looking for and he delivered. Big time. And it didn't cost that much. There are off the rack bikes that cost three times as much. In the grand scheme of things, a custom bike is not that big a deal, but I still derive a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure from it. Go get that dream bike. Oh, don't skimp on the paint. If you're going custom, spend a bill or two more and get a paint job that you really like—it's worth it.

Last edited by foamy; 07-28-10 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 07-28-10, 09:33 AM
  #73  
NoReg
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"If you don't, it's a luxury."

Prosperity consciouness allert! Are we concerned he will stand out among other members of the worker's collective? But more seriously everyone needs what custom has to offer, the real decision being made isn't whether there is anyone out there who can beat an off the peg frame custom, it is usually economics.

"If the OP had experience and was clear about what he wants, custom might make more sense."

I do agree with you, there can be a risk that clients will change perspective after they get a frame, but it is a relatively low cost risk. Getting the right frame is also the job of the framebuilder, possibly the main job. When I go to get my hair cut, I don't need to know what the styles are or what tools are best, or where to start, or I can do it myself with one of those combs with a razor blade.

"Since he's not experienced and clear about what he wants, he might be disappointed in an expensive custom bike recommended by random strangers on the internet."

The key isn't to get it because someone says so, the key is to get a frame from a frame builder he can rely on. He might get there from the internet, but once he has the person building the frame he should hand the job over to that person, if he wants to go this route.`

"So what?"

Exactly, so let's leave the priceline approach to William Shatner.
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Old 07-28-10, 10:27 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
But more seriously everyone needs what custom has to offer, the real decision being made isn't whether there is anyone out there who can beat an off the peg frame custom, it is usually economics.
The fact that many, many people do just fine with stock frames proves that few people "need" what custom has to offer!

Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
I do agree with you, there can be a risk that clients will change perspective after they get a frame, but it is a relatively low cost risk.
A $1000+ custom frame that would likely be hard to sell isn't a "low cost" risk!

Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
When I go to get my hair cut, I don't need to know what the styles are or what tools are best, or where to start, or I can do it myself with one of those combs with a razor blade.
Really? You get $1000-2000 hair cuts?

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-28-10 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 07-28-10, 12:41 PM
  #75  
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RE HANDLEBAR:

I have shoulder problems that limit my reach and dictate an upright position. After years of discomfort, I recently gave up my road bike and got a hybrid. I installed an upright, swept-back handlebar. It has about 1.5" of rise and comes back about 8".

This setup is unbelievably comfortable. Granted, it's not aerodynamic, but I don't care because I can ride much longer without pain. I'm happy with the efficiency---for hill climbing I grab in front of the brakes.

I know I will be the lone dissenter in saying this, but there are 3 things that, combined, will give you a comfortable upright position: a hybrid rather than road frame; an upright bar with some rise; and a back-swept bar.

An efficient and areodynamic position is all well and good, until it impacts comfort excessively. The easiest way to get the right balance between comfort and efficiency, in my opinion, is to start with the frame that comes closest to your desired position.

You CAN get an upright position on a road bike: by starting with a small frame, adding a tall stem, etc. I did that once. The result was goofy looking and never worked.

As for the extra hand positions on a road bike, I find that when I am correctly balanced on my seat and everything is set up right, I'm happy with just one hand position, the right one: with the wrist at its natural angle to the body, not too much weight on the hands, and a wide ergonomic grip to support the hand.

My "dream bike" (Jamis Coda Sport) cost just $650, including all the modifications required by the handlebar switch and mountain gears. It's a dream to ride and I can't wait to use it for touring. (I did add better tires.)
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