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Dream Touring Bike

Old 07-26-10, 03:10 AM
  #1  
rjajr
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Dream Touring Bike

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.

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.)

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.

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.
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Old 07-26-10, 03:45 AM
  #2  
nancyj
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Just a question - the 41lbs local and 75lbs long seem like a lot of weight to be carrying, particularly since it does not include tent, poles, and sleeping bag. Any way that can be shaved down? I imagine, among your other requirements, that could add serious constraints.
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Old 07-26-10, 05:04 AM
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ezdoesit
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Originally Posted by nancyj View Post
Just a question - the 41lbs local and 75lbs long seem like a lot of weight to be carrying, particularly since it does not include tent, poles, and sleeping bag. Any way that can be shaved down? I imagine, among your other requirements, that could add serious constraints.
+1
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Old 07-26-10, 05:11 AM
  #4  
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i was going to suggest the thorn exp all that you wish for and more in bucket's but problem 599 wheels ahh.
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Old 07-26-10, 05:51 AM
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"This weight does not include tent, poles and sleeping bag."

The poles are light enough now that we don't mention them. That is a ton of weight without all the camping gear. You should read the BF archives about touring gear.
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Old 07-26-10, 05:58 AM
  #6  
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Check out Koga-Miyata--they can make you a bike with the SON and Rohloff hubs. They offer a steel frame w/700c wheels. It will not be cheap. Go to their website and browse the "Signature" options.
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Old 07-26-10, 06:31 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by nancyj View Post
Just a question - the 41lbs local and 75lbs long seem like a lot of weight to be carrying, particularly since it does not include tent, poles, and sleeping bag. Any way that can be shaved down? I imagine, among your other requirements, that could add serious constraints.
+2 That is way too much weight. Unless you are carrying something very specific - one guy is talking about rock climbing gear right now, or a musical instrument, etc. - you can easily get the load weight down to the 30-40 range including all camping gear. Maybe your camping gear is from a long time ago? A tent should weigh less than 4 pounds, a stove less than a pound, pots/pans should be titanium or aluminum and weigh a fraction of a pound, clothing should be synthetic (no jeans! no sweatshirt!) or down, be limited to one or two sets of bike clothes and one set of off bike clothes - shoot, for FL/AZ/NM you barely need any warm clothing. A sleeping bag weighs 1-4 pounds, a sleeping mat less than a pound.

Go over to www.crazyguyonabike.com and look at some packing lists. Take some of the money you were going to spend on an expensive bike and spend it on high quality light weight camping gear. shop at REI (www.rei.com) not walmart, kmart, big five or any camping shop for hunters or car campers. look for "backpacking" gear. For racks and panniers, try www.thetouringstore.com.

For trips in the US and other 1st world countries, the Rohloff hub & dynamo are overkill. Your comment about sand roads leads me to think you are not going to be crossing Africa, maybe just going to France or Australia or something like that, in the future.

Tour bikes are like pickup trucks - you want to be able to lean it against a pole, let it get rained on, drop it a few times, throw a load of groceries in it... and not have to worry about a few scratches.

Putting together a fantasy bike with the best and most of everything is fun on paper, but then when you take it for a ride you may find it owns you more than you own it. If you're worried about theft, paint damage, dents etc on tour, and your bike weighs so much you can barely get it over a freeway overpass, you're not going to enjoy the tour as much as you would on a more lightly loaded, less fancy bike. Living in Florida, perhaps you don't realize the huge effect extra weight has on how hard it is to ride - AZ and NM are not flat, and in my experience, the hillier somewhere is the better the touring is - so you want to set yourself up to enjoy the hills, not avoid them.

I would investigate the Surly Long Haul Trucker and Trek 520, as the current standard 700c wheel tour bikes. These are both reasonable quality bikes, highly functional for what you want to do, not expensive. When you pick the one you want, you can work with your bike shop to swap out any parts you want to change -- have them start with a bike with an un-cut steerer tube, add a high-rise stem, swap out to mountain bike gears for easier pedaling, etc. If you do that when you order, it's less hassle and less money than a later retrofit.

So, I hope this didn't sound harsh, I didn't mean to step all over your dreams - I think you can have many great tours in front of you, but you're setting yourself up to be unhappy, and I think it would be a good idea for you to give this stuff some thought.
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Old 07-26-10, 06:33 AM
  #8  
valygrl
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Why are you planning to ride at night?
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Old 07-26-10, 07:01 AM
  #9  
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Riding at night, I'd suggest a battery auxillary light that you can charge during the day. Even though the E3 is bright I'm guessing your night vision isn't as good as when you were younger and descents require LOTs of light. Kicking on an extra 600lumens when needed wouldn't hurt.
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Old 07-26-10, 07:10 AM
  #10  
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Nice first post OP.
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Old 07-26-10, 07:24 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
Tour bikes are like pickup trucks - you want to be able to lean it against a pole, let it get rained on, drop it a few times, throw a load of groceries in it... and not have to worry about a few scratches.
true, but there's a reason people buy Mercedes and not Toyotas, they can afford it. I've had custom bikes and enjoyed the ownership but they didn't perform better than production bikes, only different and in one case worse. If I had an extra $3000 I'd get a custom fillet brazed bike, and make it look like a beat up Surly with custom dings and chipped paint and tubes wrapped with cloth tape.
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Old 07-26-10, 07:55 AM
  #12  
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Congrats on making it through the rat maze!

+1 on the kit weight, especially with out the shelter/sleeping items.

A Co-Motion Americano Co-Pilot Rohloff could be done. Depending on your needs/desires, you may or may not want disc brakes (NOT trying to start a flame-fest). If not, a custom one would need to be done.

Peter White Cycles has a real nice section on lighting on his website including actual samples of light beams.

While I know very little about them, you might research recumbent trikes due to your back problems. Greenspeed supposedly makes really nice ones.

Wishing you wonderful tours!
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Old 07-26-10, 08:09 AM
  #13  
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rjar, I sure hope you don't take the posts the wrong way. I know when I first came here I felt a bit insulted that my 80s state of the art custom tandem was not as good as todays $2k stock tandem but........I took what they said, did my research, and I will be darned if they were not right. So the 80s tandem is getting fixed to be local knockabout but not going to be a money pit...but I must admit it was a bit painful to here those things.

Maybe you have already done the research and local touring and this is exactly what you want to take. I will say that breakdowns can be a part of touring no matter how you cut it, and the Rohloff hub may fail you in the middle of nowhere and not be able to be cobbled together as might a bike with a lesser system.

Recumbant design may be another option for you - but that is not speaking from experience - to me the main thing that has changed that I would do if I started loaded touring again would be to get a bike with disk brakes and fatter tires a shorter top tube (I am a woman) and hehehe a TRIPLE crank (not too many people had those back then) as well as rack braze ons. {I had/have an old Paramount)

I am a bit curious about the night touring. Other than seeing lots of eyes shining back at you and staying cooler, what is the attraction? To me the best part of touring was being immersed in the environment and surrounded by it on all sides. IF all you see is the road ahead it seems it could get real boring. I was not an agressive touring person even when younger. 40-60 miles all done before lunch (and the heat of the day) with the rest of the day to explore at my destination was "all good".

Something I do want to do again when I retire.......well below is another "option" that is more upright. The thought of sitting in an upright position on a standard seat for hours on end sounds very painful to me. With flags and lighting you could be visible.

http://www.ransbikes.com/Bikegallery.htm#
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Old 07-26-10, 08:35 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
true, but there's a reason people buy Mercedes and not Toyotas, they can afford it. I've had custom bikes and enjoyed the ownership but they didn't perform better than production bikes, only different and in one case worse. If I had an extra $3000 I'd get a custom fillet brazed bike, and make it look like a beat up Surly with custom dings and chipped paint and tubes wrapped with cloth tape.
I've gone on a climbing road trip in a BMW 323ci, it sucked. My Tacoma works better. The bimmer was more fun to drive unloaded, though. I'm loving this analogy!
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Old 07-26-10, 08:45 AM
  #15  
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If you have the cash and inclination, take a look at Bruce Gordon's offerings. Someone mentioned Co-Motion as well. Two very solid, high-buzz builder/manufacturers.
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Old 07-26-10, 09:02 AM
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But maybe RJAJR wants a 1-ton Dually Crew Cab diesel with a low-end gear ratio with leather interior, a 200 gallon auxillary fuel tank, and a massive light bar instead of a compact pickup . I have owned both a pickup and an BMW M3. Both do what they are designed to do but if I could get an M3 pickup, THAT would be fun.
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Old 07-26-10, 09:10 AM
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I would put "Black Sheep" bikes on your short list. Go to the website and look under "dream" and "out of step" model sections. Look at the S-Cargo and Long Tail models. A custom combination of these two bikes is what you seek ? Should cost around $8k. Go ahead spend and enjoy, youv'e earned it.

While I can understand others suggestions for cheaper rides that will get the job done that doesn't seem to be what YOU want. Hope this helps.
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Old 07-26-10, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by TulsaJohn View Post
But maybe RJAJR wants a 1-ton Dually Crew Cab diesel with a low-end gear ratio with leather interior, a 200 gallon auxillary fuel tank, and a massive light bar instead of a compact pickup . I have owned both a pickup and an BMW M3. Both do what they are designed to do but if I could get an M3 pickup, THAT would be fun.
ok,ok, a Ford Ranchero on the outside but a Honda on the inside?
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Old 07-26-10, 09:31 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
true, but there's a reason people buy Mercedes and not Toyotas, they can afford it.
Not always. Many people buy cars they cannot afford. Or with money that could be used more effectively in other ways.

Many people are seduced by an idea of a magic bicycle.

Originally Posted by rjajr View Post
I am going to buy the best road touring bike I can find.
Looking for a magic bicycle.
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Old 07-26-10, 09:51 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by rjajr View Post
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..
This seems to me to be the toughest requirement -- I don't think the Surly LHT, Trek 520, Americano or Bruce Gordon (at least in standard configurations) are going to meet this requirements without some sort of stem extender or something.

I think you are looking at a custom frame if this is a firm requirement. You'd likely end up with a bike with a pretty dramatic slope in the top tube and head-tube extension over the top tube as well.

I know that both of the custom builders in Seattle could meet your requirements -- Rodriguez (www.rodcycle.com) and Davidson (URL in my signature line). Both have experience working with riders who have specific fit issues.

Frame + fork under $2,000; the rest is up to you.
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Old 07-26-10, 10:26 AM
  #21  
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Perfect tour bike

NICE plans rarjr. Almost exactly the bike I want to build soon. Rohloff bikes don't need fixing/adjusting. You can change spokes without even removing the wheel. ( oops only without disc brakes)
Get disc brakes on the rear, for sure, also.
I've looked at all kinds of bikes online and would say that the frame you want likely does not exist, especially the part about the high Hbars. Only a sloping TT will accomodate such.
Find a not so busy/popular/expensive builder.
I agree about wanting to see the scenery in daylight, but it gets dark by 8:00 down there.
I would like to see a starry night sky, once in a while.
Get the dynohub, they are not just for lights.
41 lbs on a tour bike should be little problem. Maybe the other 30 lbs could be on a 1 wheel trailer.

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 07-26-10 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 07-26-10, 10:52 AM
  #22  
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I think that a bolt upright position is not the best thing for most back problems. Shocks get transmitted right up the spine. A more horizontal spine is in a better position to handle the shocks.

That said, if you want/need a very upright position, bars with a lot of rise might be an option. On the Trans America we met a guy with some bars that looked a little like something off of a 1970 "sting ray bike". The bars probably had 8-12 inches of rise. He was very happy with them and was near completing the Trans America Route making excellent mileage the whole way. Not my cup of tea, but maybe an option?
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Old 07-26-10, 10:58 AM
  #23  
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How about a HP Velotechnic Grasshopper , it's a fully suspended recumbent that has a folding hinge, to take up less space when required. like into your room
would certainly help the back issue..

you can order them to be assembled with the German SRM components,
Schmidt, Rohloff, Magura
http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/index_e.html


Co Motion Americano can be built to measure in Eugene Oregon for your needs too
http://www.co-motion.com/single_bike...ikes_tour.html

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Old 07-26-10, 11:04 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post


Looking for a magic bicycle.
I bought a Lippy touring frame in 1979. Gorgeous red/orange bike made out of 531 with custom racks front and back, extra 5mm braze ons on the fork crowns and blades. Set up for 27"wheels. Perfect for 145lb rider plus 40lbs of gear although I rode with about 25lbs. It was great on smooth roads and over dirt roads. I rode it from Utah to Colorado to watch the 1980 Coors race.
Only problem is that it had a heinous shimmy above 25mph that required clamping my knees on the top tube. Which wasn't the end of the world since I wasn't going to be pedaling faster than 25mph but it's not an attribute I wanted in a touring bike and didn't have in any of my other bikes to that time. It's nice to have some time pedaling at high speed down a hill or shake a leg and stretch ones body without worrying about the wobblewobblewobbleWOBBLEWOBBLE.

Getting enthused about a particular tire is cheaper and has more opportunity for altering the riding experience and fit the conditions than the investment/expectations in the magic bicycle.
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Old 07-26-10, 11:07 AM
  #25  
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FWIW, I second exploring the recumbent option, especially if you happen to have the financial wherewithal.

It's my understanding that internal hubs are more common on recumbents than diamond-frame bikes. Also, I'd expect that if you get a trike, you can pile on the pounds with less of an impact on handling or drag. The position may also benefit your back.

Also, it looks like most of the places you'll be going are flat, so you'll get the full aero benefit of the recumbent.
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