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Speedy lightweight touring bike?

Old 10-25-11, 08:38 PM
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Speedy lightweight touring bike?

I know, bikes aren't speedy, only their riders.... and touring isn't so much about speed. But truth is I enjoy biking fast. And, my wife has purchased a lightweight bike that I need to keep up with! An Electra Ticino, not exactly a racing bike, but she whizzes along amazingly fast.
I'm looking for a bike that I can occasionally take on short tours to local parks, and probably going as light as possible. Most of the time I will just use it recreationally or for commuting. Randonneuring bikes seem to fit the bill, though I would never attempt a 600K ride. Budget $1200 or so.

These come to mind:
Surly Cross Check
Bianchi Volpe
Salsa Casserrol- not available here in Memphis.
Raleigh Clubman- geared more like a road bike, but nice option.
Soma ES- not sure how much custom build would run, I would pay LBS.

Any others you would suggest?

I'm not 100 percent sure about my bike size, I did use the Competitive Cyclist calculator, it recommends a 57cm top tube, and 60cm c-c seat tube. I"m 6'-3", so most shops don't have bikes my size. I have large size 14 feet. So if I get a bike with a short chainstay, heel clearance may/may not be an issue depending on rack setup. This weekend I'll go to REI in Nashville and try the bikes they have there: Novara Randonee, Verita, and Safari. I hope this will help me dial in my size.



I did search this and other forums. I couldn't find much on light touring bikes really.

Last edited by mello velo; 10-25-11 at 09:34 PM. Reason: edit
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Old 10-25-11, 08:55 PM
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What you need is a "sport touring bike". For a light tour, you need to mount a rear rack and panniers, I suppose. Plenty of bikes have those.

Bikes Direct offers the Fantom CX cyclocross bike with a triple for $579.

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cross_cx3.htm

That looks like it should fit the bill for you, and they offer it in up to a 64cm size.

Here are their pics of the bike set up like I imagine you would

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...3_racknfender/

Since you say you would tour with a light load, you should be able to get by with a rear rack and panniers. Maybe a handlebar bag too?
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Old 10-25-11, 09:00 PM
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..up you budget if you want Better.
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in Colorado.
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Old 10-25-11, 09:00 PM
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How much "stuff" do you want/need to carry? How often will you (actually) carry that much stuff? Also, don't assume that a rear rack is the only way to carry items. I commute on what is described as a "rear-biased" touring bike, but I much prefer the handling with front panniers and low-riders over a rear rack (with the same panniers).

When people say "touring bike," it leaves a lot open to interpretation.
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Old 10-25-11, 09:11 PM
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Thanks Schwinnrider- I had not seen that one yet. Ya- sport touring is what I want. I would like to work with a LBS ideally. The shops near me carry:
Trek, Kona, Bianchi, Raleigh, Surly, KHS.
Within 90 miles, Jamis, Fuji.
200 miles, REI, Novara bikes.

I've ridden a Surly Cross Check, Kona Sutra, Raleigh Sojourn, Surly LHT, none in my size though. I liked all these, liked the sojourn actually the most I think. The Surly's were heavily loaded when I tried them, so not sure how they will feel unloaded.

Last edited by mello velo; 10-25-11 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 10-25-11, 09:15 PM
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I was kind of thinking of a light bicycle as well. Someone told me in the road forum that a road bike wouldn't be too comfortable over long distances and another person said he toured all over and thought a road bike was a nice relief from a touring bike. So who knows, but I'm pretty sure aluminium frames are lighter than steel frames. There's always the Nashbar touring frameset.
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Old 10-25-11, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by MileHighMark
How much "stuff" do you want/need to carry? How often will you (actually) carry that much stuff?
Commute 2x per week: will carry change of clothes, may pick up groceries.
Camping: 4 x per year: I will likely be going to a State Park, 20 miles away or so. Could be carrying 3 person tent, sleeping bags and pads, lightweight cooking stove, change of clothes, water, food, repair tools- my wife can help.
I am a landscape painter. If I go painting, I will carry boxes for wet canvas panels, canvas panels, oil paints, tripod, easel, camera, etc.- this could be 2x per month. I can fit all of this gear in a medium size backpack.
Recreational: I am interested in getting a trailer to pull my 50 lb dog. He is elderly, and I do not like leaving him at home too much. Would just tow him to local park 2 miles away- then park and walk.

Last edited by mello velo; 10-25-11 at 09:24 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 10-25-11, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
..up you budget if you want Better.
Rene Herse, now built by Boulder Bikes, all handmade for the Brevet rider,
in Colorado.
I couldn't justify extra cost.

Last edited by mello velo; 10-25-11 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 10-25-11, 09:39 PM
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Here's a bad photo of my commuter:


I commute 3x week (22-24 miles/day) with 10-15 pounds of "stuff." Part of my route includes dirt roads/trails, which it handles just fine (as long as it's not too muddy). The bike is no lightweight (30 pounds), but that's because it's equipped with fenders, dynohub lighting, front low-riders (stainless steel), and very sturdy wheels (36h rear). I tend to think of it as a car replacement.

When I want to go "fast" (in quotes because it's all relative), I have another bike that doesn't have fenders, racks, or lighting.
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Old 10-25-11, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by MileHighMark
Here's a bad photo of my commuter:


I commute 3x week (22-24 miles/day) with 10-15 pounds of "stuff." Part of my route includes dirt roads/trails, which it handles just fine (as long as it's not too muddy). The bike is no lightweight (30 pounds), but that's because it's equipped with fenders, dynohub lighting, front low-riders (stainless steel), and very sturdy wheels (36h rear). I tend to think of it as a car replacement.

When I want to go "fast" (in quotes because it's all relative), I have another bike that doesn't have fenders, racks, or lighting.
Very cool.
How much do you imagine a build on one of these would be by a LBS?
I got a LBS to compare building up a Surly CC from scratch with triple crank, silvered out, dynamo hub, etc., vs. working with complete. He said he could take the complete bike and change things out more inexpensively.
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Old 10-25-11, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mello velo
Very cool.
How much do you imagine a build on one of these would be by a LBS?
I got a LBS to compare building up a Surly CC from scratch with triple crank, silvered out, dynamo hub, etc., vs. working with complete. He said he could take the complete bike and change things out more inexpensively.
Buying a complete is always the most cost-effective way to go because the manufacturers get such good pricing on components. Retail on my commuter's frame is $500, but you can find them for around $400 pretty easily. To be completely honest, though, I think the LHT is a better deal.
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Old 10-25-11, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by MileHighMark
Here's a bad photo of my commuter:
*cool photo of a bike*

I commute 3x week (22-24 miles/day) with 10-15 pounds of "stuff." Part of my route includes dirt roads/trails, which it handles just fine (as long as it's not too muddy). The bike is no lightweight (30 pounds), but that's because it's equipped with fenders, dynohub lighting, front low-riders (stainless steel), and very sturdy wheels (36h rear). I tend to think of it as a car replacement.

When I want to go "fast" (in quotes because it's all relative), I have another bike that doesn't have fenders, racks, or lighting.
Care to comment on the lighting? The drag of the dynamo hub and the beam from the light?
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Old 10-25-11, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr
Care to comment on the lighting? The drag of the dynamo hub and the beam from the light?
I don't notice the drag when the light is on. I've ridden the bike with two front wheels where the only difference was the hub. Never felt any discernible difference between the two. Of course, if the bike was 10 pounds lighter, and I wasn't carrying 10-15 pounds and panniers, AND I wasn't running 32-35mm tires, then maybe I could notice the difference.

The beam is fine. My route is a mix of pitch-black, suburban, and dirt road riding. It works fine as long as I'm going fast enough to keep the light fully powered. When I'm going too slow, I rely on a Planet Bike 2W or Princeton Tec EOS to "fill in" for the dimmed Lumotec.
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Old 10-25-11, 10:08 PM
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There were some Cannondale aluminum touring frames made in the 90's i have read about. You might want to look into those if you see any used ie on craigslist in your area.
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Old 10-25-11, 10:43 PM
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If you want a speedy lightweight touring bike, first get speedy, lightweight gear. If you want the maximum of speedy lightweight-ness first, round up all the gear you're actually going to need, and then pare down everything unnecessary, sub out heavier things, and figure out what you can live without. Once you have the bare essentials down, find a bag system that fits them all.

Painners are the standard because they work really well for loads of varying sizes, but they aren't ideal for all circumstances. If your load is really light, you can ditch the panniers, and the racks too and use a 'bike-packing' style setup, with a handlebar bag, a frame bag and a saddlebag. This does allow you to save a substantial amount of weight over racks and panniers, and it makes your bike 'speedier.' Just about any bike can take this kind of a load and still ride properly, so you can use a nice speedy, lightweight road bike (that is set up for long distance comfort) and be happy.

Panniers are a good middle ground, they don't weigh too much, allow a lot of flexibility, and you can use just about any number imaginable between two and six (if you get creative). However, by this weight class, bikes benefit from certain special features that make them less speedy and light weight. They often use heavier tubing to reduce flex and have longer wheelbases to 'increase stability' which means 'decrease responsiveness.' This might not be the best choice if your idea of 'light and speedy' comes from the world of road bikes, but it can still be done.

Trailers are interesting, they can be used on just about any bike, allowing you to carry a heavy load on what would otherwise be a sprightly and nimble bike. However, they do tend to weigh a good bit by themselves; in fact, the weight of an empty trailer can be as much as the total load of someone going very light.

From what you posted, you have some weight you can shed easily, but it might be hard to keep all the luxuries you want and still be light and speedy. A standard touring bike should be more than capable of doing everything you want of it though, and it will only be as slow as the rider.
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Old 10-26-11, 12:02 AM
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I would go with one the sports touring bikes, like the ones you listed. These can handle your commuting needs well. I would then use the trailer for the camping and hobby trips, and to take the dog, too.

Sports touring bikes can be fun and fast enough for fitness riding when unloaded, but they don't carry heavy loads over longer distances well. However, a sports bike pulling a trailer over moderate distances should be an ideal way to camp and enjoy local amenities. Just be sure to have a triple on the bike, that will make towing easier.

Sport/touring bikes were common during the 80's;



My CX bike does what you are looking to do;

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Last edited by Barrettscv; 10-26-11 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 10-26-11, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr
There's always the Nashbar touring frameset.
My touring bike is based on Nashbar's double-butted aluminum touring frame. I think it's around 23lbs with all components, handlebar bag mount and Bagman QR attached, but without any luggage or water bottles. At that weight, it's only a tad slower than my 17lb road bike over most flat to rolling routes...
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Old 10-26-11, 01:34 AM
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I currently have a Jamis Ventura Sport; it's certainly light, and I use it for commuting. It can easily carry a load of groceries from the store, and I've used it for a couple short tours. While I'm currently looking at either a Nashbar steel touring frame or a LHT for more serious touring, the Jamis Ventura is a nice bike, and if light touring is what you're after, I'd recommend it. I don't have an actual weight, but right now with front and rear racks, lock, pump, and (empty) panniers, I can lift the whole thing clear over my head with one hand. (to get it into the back yard, I have to hoist it up over the garbage cans)
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Old 10-26-11, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by mello velo
I have large size 14 feet. So if I get a bike with a short chainstay, heel clearance may/may not be an issue depending on rack setup.
.
If you carry panniers on the front the heel clearance isn't an issue either. I've got a Cross-Check and it handles badly with panniers on the rear rack but fine on the front.
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Old 10-26-11, 07:38 AM
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Didn't Litespeed used to make a titanium touring bike?
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Old 10-26-11, 08:24 AM
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Is the triple crank on the Volpe a significant difference to the double on the Cross Check?
If my calcs are right (newbie here):
gear inches on Volpe range from 27-112
CC gear inches: 30-117
There aren't many hills in Memphis really, and not for a long way from here in Arkansas. Mississippi has one hill I think.
I think the Volpe is slightly lighter.
I can get the Cross check with fenders added though for same price as Volpe.
I don't know if one has better components or not, maybe one of you would know.
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Old 10-26-11, 08:37 AM
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Why can't you just order a Casseroll on-line or through your bike shop? It's not like they won't sell a bike to someone who lives in Memphis. I bought a Casseroll frame/fork through my LBS last spring and built it up with parts from another bike. It is one of the nicest riding frames I have ever owned and it's as fast as my other road bikes when comparably equipped (that is, without fenders, racks, seatbags, etc.).
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Old 10-26-11, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mello velo
Is the triple crank on the Volpe a significant difference to the double on the Cross Check?
If my calcs are right (newbie here):
gear inches on Volpe range from 27-112
CC gear inches: 30-117
There aren't many hills in Memphis really, and not for a long way from here in Arkansas. Mississippi has one hill I think.
I think the Volpe is slightly lighter.
I can get the Cross check with fenders added though for same price as Volpe.
I don't know if one has better components or not, maybe one of you would know.
I get the same gearing range that you calculated.

Is this a 2011 Volpe? Those are 3x9. The 2012 Volpe is a 3x10, with a bigger range. This chart is for the 2012 Volpe v 2012 Surly;



The range is about the same. The Volpe has fewer gaps. the 39t middle ring on the Volpe is a great range for most cycling in flat regions, while the 30t small chain ring will be good for towing up hills.

I would say that the 2011 Volpe and Cross Check are equal in terms of quality. The 2011 Volpe with the 3x10 Tiagra is an upgrade over both 2011 bikes.
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Last edited by Barrettscv; 10-26-11 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 10-26-11, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
..up you budget if you want Better.
Rene Herse, now built by Boulder Bikes, all handmade for the Brevet rider,
in Colorado.
Wouldn't that me more like "triple your budget" or "quadruple your budget"?

The original poster had a budget of $1200. I can see advising someone to increase their budge by a couple of hundred dollars, but advising someone to triple their budget doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If someone posts a budget, they are likely facing financial constraints.
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Old 10-26-11, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mello velo
Is the triple crank on the Volpe a significant difference to the double on the Cross Check?
If my calcs are right (newbie here):
gear inches on Volpe range from 27-112
CC gear inches: 30-117
There aren't many hills in Memphis really, and not for a long way from here in Arkansas. Mississippi has one hill I think.
I think the Volpe is slightly lighter.
I can get the Cross check with fenders added though for same price as Volpe.
I don't know if one has better components or not, maybe one of you would know.
Run the two drivetrains through Sheldon Brown's calculater. You might find more gear ratios/gear inches in the most often used selections with the triple.

Brad

PS Barrett beat me to it.
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