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Dream Touring Bike

Old 07-28-10, 12:52 PM
  #76  
BengeBoy 
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Originally Posted by foamy View Post
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.....

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.
Well said.

Get the dream bike. Believe it or not, some custom builders actually know a thing or two about bicycles. If this is an important decision, and you're hard to fit, do it.
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Old 07-28-10, 07:24 PM
  #77  
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"The fact that many, many people do just fine with stock frames proves that few people "need" what custom has to offer!"

Right, same thing is probably true about heath care, the fact not everyone is covered or had adequate coverage is clear evidence they didn't need it. Most people don't need an LHT they could get the WalMart bikes Ray Jardine used on one of his tours.

"A $1000+ custom frame that would likely be hard to sell isn't a "low cost" risk!"

Sure it is, first the marginal difference is only 500+ over the LHT frame, they aren't free. Heck 500 bucks really, are we worried about 500 bucks. Can't we at least agree that isn't much money for someone? In the neighbourhood I grew up in our house was 30K, today the same houses are 1.5 millions, 500 bucks isn't what it used to be.

"Really? You get $1000-2000 hair cuts?"

All the time! See where we are though? Talking about dollars when the issue was relying on experts vs. the need to be your own expert. Though I have to say I use clippers and make my own frames. The last one is costing me a fortune!

Last edited by NoReg; 07-28-10 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 07-28-10, 10:18 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by foamy View Post
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.
Just 'cause I love happy endings... AND my curiosity is really, really demanding it...

would you be so kind as to post photos of your dream bike?

Thanks.
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Old 07-28-10, 10:45 PM
  #79  
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to add to the already good points about weight, this makes such a difference on things. I dont know if you have biked with the amount of weight you are proposing, but as you say, you are most likely older than others here. I am in my mid 40s, and the last time I did a long loaded tour was pre-kids, 15 yrs ago (down the west coast of Oregon, Cali)

From my experience of previous long trips, I improved my packing, and reduced reduced reduced, because any time you hit an incline, its a bugger of a job getting the weight uphill. I very much susupect that if I did the same trips now, my knees and legs would suffer much more than when I was in my 20s or around 30 (and I remember very stiff mornings and or ends of days)
All this to say, i very much second putting money into lighter tent, campstove etc etc. My tent I toured with weighed 7 lbs + (a 2 person tent that I had and wasnt going to buy a smaller one) Every lb saved makes sucha diff, so this that and everything that is lighter all adds up.

I very much suggest riding with the anticipated weight of stuff you would like to take, just to get an idea of if it doeable and or to see if it is just too much. Find some hills to try it on too.
Yes, get suggestions for a "dream high quality tour bike", but do think about getting new camping gear.

I cant imagine pulling around 75lbs, I honestly dont know or remmeber how heavy my touring kit was, but I suspect it was around 35-40lbs.

if you do not use these for night riding, I strongly suggest the blinky LED red lights tht attach to your seatpost, I use a white one for forward, they are very very visible to cars.

cheers
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Old 07-29-10, 12:29 AM
  #80  
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That is so hot.

Sort of an intermediate long bike.


Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
And my name will be on the frame...


Arvon World Tourist 1/6
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Old 07-29-10, 01:34 AM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by rjajr View Post
I only have a few requirements for the bike:

1. I do not want to build a bike, so I need at least a near-ready-to-ride bike;
2. It must have a Rohloff Speedhub;
3. It must have a SON dynamo, probably with an Edelux or E3 light, but I am open to suggestions here; the selection of light is very important to me because I will be riding as much at night as in the daytime, maybe more;
4. I want to use 700 wheels.
5. I have a back problem, and so I ride more upright now than when I was younger, so I will need a bike where the handlebar height can be adjsted (or replaced) 6 inches above the seat. I only mention this because I have had to retrofit all of my existing bikes over the years and it has been a real headache for me.
6. 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.
Here are a few of my random thoughts.

2, 3. The Rohloff Speedhub sounds like something nice, but for myself, I wouldn't necessarily make it a requirement. I'd list it as something very nice to have, but there may be other solutions to consider. The dynamo also may or may not be the best option for night riding. For myself, I'd prefer a good, bright system with some sort of rechargeable battery pack. However, there's nothing wrong with the dynamo if that's what you want. In the end, it's your choice. For me, I'd list the dynamo hub as a feature on the wish list, not as a deal breaker.

5. Your back problem will be an issue in finding the right bike for you. Talk to your doctor about what you want to do and ask him the important questions about how the bike should be fit. It's better if you can talk with a chiropractor or a doctor who treats athletes or specializes in sports medicine. The doctor or chiropractor may have some unorthodox ideas, but if they work, then you're going to be in great shape for the tours. Then, work with the bike shop. There are some incredibly creative bike mechanics out there and they can do wonders in making a bike work for you.
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Old 07-29-10, 06:00 AM
  #82  
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As far as the bad back, two surgeries and a nasty infection left me without a disc at L4-L5 (the very bottom one) and I have some words to say regarding lower back issues:

Get a bike which has you riding with at least a somewhat aggressive posture. At first it seems like bolt upright would be good for someone with lower back pain, but it isn't. Upright will compress your entire back, and put loads of pressure on the problem area. An aggressive posture will stretch out your whole spine and make it into a sort of suspension system which will eat up most of the shocks in the road.

I can still ride upright, but not for incredibly long distances... and if your problem is also your lower back, I would definitely recommend you get a properly fitting road bike. Not necessarily racing, but handlebars 6 inches above the saddle is WAY too high.
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Old 07-29-10, 06:51 AM
  #83  
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Leicalad, sure.

Just put the racks on.


As heavy and loaded as it it will ever be. Slimmed down a lot from this.
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Old 07-29-10, 06:59 AM
  #84  
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I agree with Tony S. A lot of back problems come from having the upright human posture when the earlier design was four legs on the ground. A lot of problems go away if you don't try the upright posture. I initially went recumbent. I still wish I had the bike just because it was a fun bike to ride, but it was really impractical for the kind of touring I wanted to do. Very awkward bikes, for instance no way to push mine along beside me when crossing a bride etc... And drivers, people in general went nuts around it. Like when Thomas Stevens rode the penny farthing around the world and got nearly nocked off all the time from over attention.

One thing I did want to mention is that the Rohloff while very nice is a 32 hole hub for the most part and not ideal for 700c. People will tell you how the lessor number of spokes solves all that, but not as completely as having a 26" wheel.
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Old 07-29-10, 07:02 AM
  #85  
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Nice bike!

I would love to try a Rans recumbent, though I wouldn't expect it to displace my conventional bike.
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Old 07-29-10, 07:56 AM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by TonyS View Post
As far as the bad back, two surgeries and a nasty infection left me without a disc at L4-L5 (the very bottom one) and I have some words to say regarding lower back issues:

Get a bike which has you riding with at least a somewhat aggressive posture. At first it seems like bolt upright would be good for someone with lower back pain, but it isn't. Upright will compress your entire back, and put loads of pressure on the problem area. An aggressive posture will stretch out your whole spine and make it into a sort of suspension system which will eat up most of the shocks in the road.

I can still ride upright, but not for incredibly long distances... and if your problem is also your lower back, I would definitely recommend you get a properly fitting road bike. Not necessarily racing, but handlebars 6 inches above the saddle is WAY too high.
I won't presume to say this is true for all riders with all back problems, but...
I know that it is the case for me with issues at L4and L5. I suspect that for most of us with back problems the worst thing we can do is sit bolt upright. That said we do need to ease into the bent forward position starting with what we can manage and gradually changing the posture for a more aggressive one as our body adjusts. Taking it easy and progressing slowly during this period is a very good idea. Working on flexibility and core strength during this process will help as well.

I thought my bicycling days were over when my back problems were at their worst. The doctor I was seeing wanted me to give up bicycling, off road motorcycle racing, and not even think about running. I tried the upright posture thing and almost gave up when that didn't work. Later, I decided he was wrong and gradually eased back into riding in a more aggressive posture. I have since managed to ride coast to coast in comfort with my bars 4-5" below the saddle. I also managed to become a regular trail runner and have run quite a few road races in the 5k to half marathon distances. BTW, I also dumped my old doctors and found doctors who were supportive of these activities.

As far as asking the doctor... I have gotten horrendous advice from various doctors regarding my back and other issues. I don't say to ignore your doctor, but do say that you should find a doctor who is athletic, maybe one who is a cyclist or runner or at least one who is supportive of that type of pursuits.
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Old 07-29-10, 08:03 AM
  #87  
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Wait now! I would NEVER tell someone (or their spouse) to forgo a getting a bike. What I meant to convey is that you get BOTH. The truck needs to have a decent bike rack also. To appease her, she could always get to pick the truck's color. If you really have to work with her, she could pick the colors of the panniers also.

Hope you have some great rides!
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Old 07-29-10, 08:08 AM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by rjajr View Post
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.
This makes me think you haven't had much touring experience - at least not lately. The rest of this is predicated on that, so if I'm wrong, please ignore.

The ideal touring setup is a very individualized thing. What I would consider near-perfect may have many flaws from someone else's viewpoint. My suggestion would be to buy an off-the-rack touring bike (there are lots of excellent choices) and tour for awhile. While on tour, write down pros and cons of what you have, and start to make a list of what you would want on the ideal bike. When you have a pretty clear idea, then consider dropping the bucks for a custom rig. You can always sell the first bike for a good price - good touring bikes hold their value well. It might be harder to sell a custom than an off-the-rack, if the custom involves choices which aren't mainstream.
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Old 07-29-10, 09:15 AM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
This makes me think you haven't had much touring experience - at least not lately. The rest of this is predicated on that, so if I'm wrong, please ignore.

The ideal touring setup is a very individualized thing. What I would consider near-perfect may have many flaws from someone else's viewpoint. My suggestion would be to buy an off-the-rack touring bike (there are lots of excellent choices) and tour for awhile. While on tour, write down pros and cons of what you have, and start to make a list of what you would want on the ideal bike. When you have a pretty clear idea, then consider dropping the bucks for a custom rig. You can always sell the first bike for a good price - good touring bikes hold their value well. It might be harder to sell a custom than an off-the-rack, if the custom involves choices which aren't mainstream.
Bingo. Yep. I used more words to suggest that earlier, but you said it more clearly.
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Old 07-29-10, 09:28 AM
  #90  
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The fun of touring is the adventure and freedom of it. Part of that is not worrying about the bike. I'd:

Buy a LHT with a great build.
Go for baroque on the things that actually can make a tour nicer (clothes, tent, etc.)

Buy a custom steel or Ti roadie for cruising around town, and let that be the high $ item.

Of course, if I was Sheik of Saudi Arabia I'd probably have a copy of the Bruce Gordon bike from this year's NAHBs for touring
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Old 07-29-10, 10:42 AM
  #91  
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What an interesting thread. You asked for advice and you got a bundle. It's interesting how many people want to talk you out of a custom frame, and the reasoning behind it. I agree that it is a risk because you really can't test ride one before deciding. I have 7 bikes, two are custom, and they are the two bikes I ride the most. They are comfortable, they handle well, and do what I ask of them. Both were a risk, but well worth it.
I too have been building a dream touring bike, but it isn't a custom. It's an 80's Specialized Expedition. Only money issues have kept me from finishing the build and off the road. To each his own. Listen to the advice, then do what makes you happy. You deserve it. Then enjoy your tour. Even if you only do one tour on it, it will have been worth it because you will have achieved your dream.
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Old 07-29-10, 12:06 PM
  #92  
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get the rohloff and the son dynohub (the 20R model)

you will not regret these decisions at all. The frame is less important, but i would get bilenky to build a custom
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Old 07-29-10, 07:41 PM
  #93  
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I have two custom tourers, one of which was built specifically for the Rohloff. They are both wonderful, but both extremely different in ride quality despite being customized to me, my body dimensions, and to my rather similar demands between the two.

I'm sure it's been said here, but if you buy a custom, before you even make call number 1 to the builder, make sure to educate yourself, and take the necessary time to do it. Build your dream bike in your mind before you do anything, and be damned thorough about it. It's a major decision, and the end product is only going to be as good as your concept. That's the point of a custom. This absolutely includes all component choices you intend, not just the frame. As for the frame itself, there are so many choices to make, so many choices that could have been made and yet aren't on the ordering sheet, and so many things you might do differently later on and might regret, etcetera...

Here's the way my experience has gone so far:

2005 Mercian King of Mercia tourer

Okay, this is my best bike, maybe the best bike I've ever seen according to my own tastes, the dream, etcetera... The concept was two-fold: I wanted a bicycle that would split the difference between being both aesthetically beyond gorgeous and functionally beyond practical. After research, I decided I wanted it low-maintenance too, so I made the decision to have sealed bearing everything, highest quality components, and a Rohloff hub. One good thing about Rohloff is that it really is at its best on a frame that is built for it. I had mine built with the sliding dropouts instead of the eccentric bottom bracket, and chose the OEM Rohloff hub with the internal gear mech. All I have to say about the Rohloff is that it is incredible once you break it in.

Here's the list of stuff I put on it. It is notable that the list comprises parts from 7 different countries. This is almost everything:

USA: Paul Neo Retro brakes, Paul Touring Canti brakes, Cane Creek SC-5 brake levers, Chris King headset, Phil Wood bottom bracket, Phil Wood low-flange front hub, Velo Orange retro bottle cages
Germany: Rohloff speedhub, Wippermann chain, Tubus Logo rear rack, Tubus Tara front rack, Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires
England: Mercian King of Mercia frame, Brooks saddle
Japan: Nitto 'Dream' handlebar, Nitto Technomic Deluxe stem, Nitto 'Crystal Fellow' seatpost, Shimano SPD pedals, Honjo 'Le Paeon' fenders
Italy: Campagnolo Chorus crankset
France: Mavic A719 rims (32 hole, as per Rohloff)
Switzerland: DT Swiss double butted spokes

Here's what it looks like:

Unladen


Laden



Everything about this bike was visualized in my mind beforehand save the fenders.

Changes I would have made: If you want higher handlebars, the place to start with is an oversized headtube, ala Rivendell. (I think the Surly LHT does this also but I'm too lazy to check). I'm fine with my current head tube, but making it oversized gives more flexibility if you *do* want to set the bars higher. I also would have gone with the 'Vincitore' model and its fancy lugs, but that is purely aesthetic.

2006 Bike Friday New World Tourist

Not much to say here. I needed a quick bike for a trip through Thailand, and I felt a folder would be perfect. I mostly went with their base suggested components, with not too many frills. As a custom everything went well enough and is a damned comfy and solid bicycle that withstood a long, long trip with a good friend. It's in its suitcase now, or I'd supply the parts to that one too, but I don't consider the "custom" aspect of this bike quite like what I did with the above bike.

Here's what it looks like.



Bottom line: I'm very, very happy with having made the decision on both of these. They are wonderful instruments of bicycling pleasure, and I recommend a custom dream bike to all men and women of action and variety. That said, and I'll just say it again, make sure you know what you're getting before you get it. Iron out all the details you can. Make decisions that best suit the meaning of what you're buying.

And I highly recommend Mercian as a builder, by the way. Wonderful quality and aesthetics, and maximum choice over what they do with it, all for the fairest price you can get in this type of bicycle.

Good luck!
-Matthew
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Old 07-29-10, 08:31 PM
  #94  
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Alekhine,

Thank you for the great story AND for all the details on that beautiful Mercian. It's a stunner!
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Old 07-29-10, 08:51 PM
  #95  
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" It's interesting how many people want to talk you out of a custom frame, and the reasoning behind it."

Just the fact he wants a touring bike in 700c with Rohloff would tilt me to a custom frame if possible. That just isn't a stock, ride it first so you know what you are getting item. We have one really good touring shop locally, 10 million people live within easy range of it. One Rohloff hub in the store, and it could be the same one not sold in like 5 years.

What about this kind of deal:

http://www.truenorthcycles.com/2008/...t-bar-touring/
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Old 07-29-10, 10:58 PM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by LeicaLad View Post
Alekhine,

Thank you for the great story AND for all the details on that beautiful Mercian. It's a stunner!
My pleasure! And thanks! Love this bike greatly.
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Old 07-30-10, 01:25 AM
  #97  
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I am curious about the 14 speed internal hub. How , or rather, how well does it work? Do they shift nicely, do you have to stop pedalling, pedal backwards like the old 60s or 70s 3 speeds (which I remember not working all that well as a kid) What sort of range does it have, related to gear inches or lets say a 28front 30 rear?

am curious because 2 summers back while in France (rental car, not bike) I met an older German tourer and his bike had this, my first time seeing and I was rather intrigued. He did tell me it was pricey but I forget the cost. But boy, so much less daily or thereabouts maintenance.

cheers
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Old 07-30-10, 01:53 AM
  #98  
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I always suggest to wannabe bike tourists to consult with Adventure Cycling..
Great Magazine that covers all topics related to cycle touring. Whether it be where to ride or what to ride. Comb through their publications archives.. Usually the April Issue deals with touring bike reviews.. Great magazine. Great organization.. A private association so I have more trust in their reviews than any glossy commercial bike magazine.
http://www.adventurecycling.org/
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Old 07-30-10, 02:45 AM
  #99  
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Thumbs up. My first tour was a bikecentennial (before it became adventure cycling) tour in the late 70s and I wish I had not later dropped out but I joined back then and recall learning a lot on that tour that I used on some later trips...the tour was a mix of newbies like me, and seasoned tourists along with our leader.
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Old 07-30-10, 03:00 AM
  #100  
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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.
+2

That's a big part of my reasoning when I went whole hog on the Rohloff and SON combo. It's my money, I worked hard for it and I wanted something that would last for the rest of my life.
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