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bargain hunting newbie

Old 10-21-10, 05:38 AM
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bargain hunting newbie

Hi folks. I've been lurking around this board for a while and enjoying it -- and the quality of the posts -- very much.
I'm hoping the helpful posters here will be able to advise me on the choice of a touring bike, which I would use for shopping, commuting, overnight trips and the occasional modest tour. The bike shops here have a very limited range of touring rigs, but I've found a few candidates in stock at various reputable stores. I'm hoping to grab a season-end deal on one of the following:
KHS TR-101
DeVinci Caribou 1
Jamis Aurora
Raleigh Sojourn.
All would be available for a test drive, I think, and all seem to be available in a suitable size. Any favorites? Anything here to avoid?
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Old 10-21-10, 08:17 AM
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As all can be test ridden, ride them all for as much as the dealers will let you. Then go with the one that you're most comfortable with. Long hours in the saddle mean the bike better fit you really well if you're going to get the most fun out of your tour. Fit is First. The components should be a secondary consideration, and with mileage and experience, will all likely be replaced anyway.

Last edited by Cyclebum; 10-21-10 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 10-21-10, 10:20 AM
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Hi marmot and welcome,

In order to help you better, let us know the following information:
1. Your overall budget, roughly, to start with
2. What equipment you already have: current bike(s), racks, panniers, etc that may be used
3. What type of touring you want to do: fully self-contained, supported, credit card touring, etc
4. Your intended touring for your next season: geography, routes, length in days, whether on or off road
5. Your body build, general condition and any special needs or physical limitations

All the bikes you mention are possibly ok for touring under different circumstances. It all depends on how you intend to use them, how heavy you are, how much you are carrying, etc.

My 2 cents: like cyclebum says - fit is first. Don't go for price alone because you are "married" to your bike on a long tour. And bikes are cheaper than chiropractors no matter what. Have you also visited crazyguyonabike.com and looked at the journals already? Great resource also.

Tell us about your experience level. Have you done any touring already, even just overniters, etc.?

Again, welcome to this fun place.
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Old 10-21-10, 07:46 PM
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Hi again, and thanks for the replies.
In answer to your queries, safariofthe mind:
1. Budget is limited. I may be able to free up $800 or so, which is why I'm looking at season-end clearouts and considering a couple of bikes that come fully outfitted: TR-101, Sojourn and Aurora.
2. I have a Specialized Expedition Sport, a good, basic comfort hybrid, outfitted with a decent rack and midsized rear panniers. I also own some ultralight camping gear, so I'm covered for sleeping accommodations, pretty much.
3. & 4. I want the bike as an all-round ride, good for commuting, errands, shopping and all-day jaunts in and out of town. I'm not contemplating any long, unsupported tours. I'm more interested in weekenders, inn-to-inn tours, and trips to and from our cottage, which is about 30 miles from home. Around here, routes range from dead flat to gently rolling, to very hilly. I'm a fan of the flatter parts, and prefer rail trails and back roads -- paved and gravel -- to highways and city streets.
5. I'm 5'11", about 185, in decent shape and sound health. I'm 60 years old, so that's a limitation, I guess.
I have yet to do any real touring. Sightseeing yes, touring no. I now have the free time to tour, something I've been thinking about for quite some time. I love to ride, and I love my current bike, which has helped to transform me from a 260-pound couch spud into a fairly lean, fit and active codger. I am planning some trial runs using my current bike, but I believe a touring rig would suit my plans -- and even my current needs -- better.
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Old 10-21-10, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by marmot
3. & 4. I want the bike as an all-round ride, good for commuting, errands, shopping and all-day jaunts in and out of town. I'm not contemplating any long, unsupported tours. I'm more interested in weekenders, inn-to-inn tours, and trips to and from our cottage, which is about 30 miles from home. Around here, routes range from dead flat to gently rolling, to very hilly. I'm a fan of the flatter parts, and prefer rail trails and back roads -- paved and gravel -- to highways and city streets.
...
I have yet to do any real touring. Sightseeing yes, touring no. I now have the free time to tour, something I've been thinking about for quite some time. I love to ride, and I love my current bike, which has helped to transform me from a 260-pound couch spud into a fairly lean, fit and active codger. I am planning some trial runs using my current bike, but I believe a touring rig would suit my plans -- and even my current needs -- better.
Excellent. You'll get quite a few opinions on this forum based on the information you've given us.

First of all, 60 and healthy basically means no limitations given what you want to do. Once you make sure the gearing has a low enough granny gear, you'd be fine with any of these bikes. Since you don't intend to do extended self-supported touring at this time, if I were you, I'd stay with the hybrid and invest the 800 dollars on
1) a better saddle, Brooks or WTB recommended, and a blinkie light for the back
2) good road tires like Marathons
3) good fenders and racks (Tubus recommended)
4) water resistant panniers, Ortlieb recommended
5) a good rain cape and booties for when the whether gets nasty; a reflective vest
6) if there's money left over, a good GPS and a trekking handlebar

The rational here is that 800 is really not enough to get both a good new touring bike and to outfit fit it well. Your bike is adequate for short jaunts and all this equipment will transfer to your next bike when you are ready monetarily. A good basic purpose built touring bike is 900 to 2000 USD, with the iconic Surly LHT going for about 1200 with tax give or take. Then you have to "dress it."

You should not postpone touring because you don't have the "right" bike. Instead, focus on safety and comfort and the all-important fit. And remember to leave a little cash to actually tour with! Plus, after you do a couple of tours, you'll have a clearer idea of which of these bikes you'd like on your next trip.

Enjoy.
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Old 10-22-10, 05:06 AM
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Just as a point of reference, if you decide you like the Jamis Aurora -- I just picked one up (new 2009) from this shop out west for $650 (took some wrangling to get down to that price -- they are listed on the site at $699 -- still a great price). Should have the bike on Monday. They have them in 55, 57 and 59cm.
https://www.bicyclebananasstore.com/2...a09_aurora.htm
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Old 10-22-10, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by sonatageek
Just as a point of reference, if you decide you like the Jamis Aurora -- I just picked one up (new 2009) from this shop out west for $650 (took some wrangling to get down to that price -- they are listed on the site at $699 -- still a great price). Should have the bike on Monday. They have them in 55, 57 and 59cm.
https://www.bicyclebananasstore.com/2...a09_aurora.htm
Wow, that's a heck of a deal you got there. The Aurora is a thousand-dollar item here. My hope is that a local shop will be willing to cut me a somewhat similar deal on one of the bikes on my list. Being in Canada, I'd have to pay shipping, duty and brokerage fees if I ordered from the States, so I think an LBS is probably still my best bet.
safrariofthemind: Point well taken on outfitting my old bike. I already have some of the stuff you mention. I'm thinking I can outfit a new bike from some of the stuff I already have. I believe I'm ready to "graduate" to a tourer anyway.
One question. Would proper touring tires make a big difference in the efficiency of my current bike? It has fat, hemispherical comfort tires now.

Last edited by marmot; 10-22-10 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 10-22-10, 10:01 AM
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Welcome marmot! That's really too bad you didn't post a couple of weeks ago. There was a bike show in Toronto last weekend, and they did have some bikes and accessories at very good prices, if you didn't mind the trip.
Good luck with your search, as mentioned, ride all of the bikes and see which feels the most comfortable. I was considering at Jamis Aurora when I was looking for a touring bike, and it is a beauty. What turned me off was that the short wheelbase, I was worried I would be kicking my panniers with every pedal stroke. So that's something to remember about as well.

As per tires for your existing bike, I put Continental touring tires 700x32 on my Specialized Sirrus and toured on it. Continental makes very nice tires, and MEC has them in stock. https://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...34374302693841

To save money, check MEC for things like clothing, reflectors, lights, fenders, tubes, bells etc. I would probably get better quality racks that they offer though.
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Old 11-23-10, 08:11 AM
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Here's what I got

Don't you hate threads where somebody asks advice on a purchase or route and then never posts the outcome of the search? Well, this isn't one of those.
I was looking for a touring bike to use as an all-round ride for commuting, errands, shopping, day trips, overnighters and trips to the cottage. I was hoping for a year-end bargain and budgeting $800. As it turned out, that wasn't happening: The few dedicated tourers available in town were all much more costly than that.
But I did get a new bike. It's a Kona Dew Drop, a drop-bar hybrid/commuter/light tourer. I got it on sale for $700 Cdn. I'm adding cross levers for added riding comfort, bringing the total, with taxes, to just over my $800 goal. Looks like the rear rack from my old bike will work with the new bike's disc brakes, so there's a cost averted, and my daughter has given me a brand-new set of fenders that didn't work on her bike.
So, I'm not about to cross continents on this rig, but it seems excellent for what I really intend to do. It hauls cargo better than a road bike and hauls @ss better than an MTB. Works for me, and it's really a hoot to ride, coming from a crappy mountain bike and then a big, cushy comfort hybrid. Thanks to all who contributed advice.
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Old 11-23-10, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by safariofthemind
Since you don't intend to do extended self-supported touring at this time, if I were you, I'd stay with the hybrid and invest the 800 dollars on
1) a better saddle, Brooks or WTB recommended, and a blinkie light for the back
2) good road tires like Marathons
3) good fenders and racks (Tubus recommended)
4) water resistant panniers, Ortlieb recommended
5) a good rain cape and booties for when the whether gets nasty; a reflective vest
6) if there's money left over, a good GPS and a trekking handlebar
Just wanted to say that this stuff is personal preference, but especially if the budget is limited, I disagree with much of that. I'll present my preferences just as another viewpoint to consider. I am not saying one way is right and the other wrong, but merely that this stuff is definitely not a slam dunk.

1. Try the saddle that came with the bike for at least a few hundred miles. I've been quite satisfied with the one that came standard on my windsor on a few longish tours including a coast to coast one. Yes a blinkie is a must, but I have been satisfied with ones purchased on sale at Nashbar or Performance for $5.99 so they really don't impact the budget.
2. I would use the tires that came on the bike until you wear them out. Then decide what you want to replace them. Personally when replacing them I find ride feel and weight as important or more important than flat resistance. Fixing a flat once in a while just isn't a big deal.
3. Fenders yes and racks, but I wouldn't splurge on Tubus if your budget is limited. A Blackburn EX-1 can often be found on sale for a very good price and it is plenty adequate. Similarly I like the low-rider clones from Performance or Nashbar quite well and when on sale they are dirt cheap. After a Trans America and some other longish tours I am still happy with them.
4. On panniers... I like waterproof ones with one big compartment and then organize stuff in big ziplocks. The cheap ones from Nashbar and Performance have worked out well for me and my TA companions. I am happy enough with them that I have no desire to upgrade. That said some people prefer ones with multiple compartments that would require a different choice, watch the weight on some of these. Some of them like Arkel are awfully heavy. For fenders I like the Planet Bike Hardcores pretty well.
5. I use a inexpensive coated nylon jacket with a snug neck (so water doesn't run down it). For wet feet I just chose shoes that don't absorb much water and socks that I find reasonably comfortable when. If winter touring neoprene shoe covers might make sense, but I have never wished for them on any of my tours.
6. I never run without a GPS, I sail with one, I hike with one, I kayak with one. That said I don't bother with it on tour, preferring to leave it home. Also I personally consider a trekking bar to be a big step down from drop bars.
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