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Drop Bar Bikes are Likely Not My Bag. What Touring Bikes can I get in the USA?

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Drop Bar Bikes are Likely Not My Bag. What Touring Bikes can I get in the USA?

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Old 08-04-12, 01:11 PM
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djkenny
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Drop Bar Bikes are Likely Not My Bag. What Touring Bikes can I get in the USA?

Been shopping around. Debating on modifying my 1999 Hybrid GT Nomad Flat Bar Bike with more hand positions, maybe trekking bars. The bike feels a little short, I get some neck and back pain. But I like riding it better than the Surly bikes I recently rode.

I tried to ride various size Surly LHT bikes (52cm, 56cm... I *think* I am a 54cm so I will look at those too). I was thinking "I could" put different bars and stem, maybe a trekking bar like the Koga World tourist has. Butterfly bars look interesting to me.

Or crap... "GET" a Koga Miyata World Tourist?
Any shops in Oregon that carry those style touring bikes?? So I could actually ride one and see if it is a better match for me? I have a bad back from a car accident and just can't see myself on a LHT or the like. Unless they modified with a different set up.

It seems we are limited in the USA to what REI has, The Trek 520, or Surly LHT. Why is there so little choices here?

The Novarra Safari. I am going to take one for a test ride. They seem almost like a more affordable alternative to the World Tourist.

Thanks for any ideas.

Anything else outside the drop-bar style I might look at?
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Old 08-04-12, 01:28 PM
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I had the same problem with my flatbar Giant FCR3. I ended up getting a trekking bar from Nashbar for about $25 including some bar tape. Definitely better than the flat bar-Aero bar combo I had going before. May be worth a shot if you are happy with your current bike aside from the bars.
I'm still thinking about getting a different bike for longer rides. I think its something in the compact geometry of my bike, its fine up to about 20 miles or so but after that I get neck, back and wrist pain.
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Old 08-04-12, 02:16 PM
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Drops are the only way to go for me. But I respect your decision. If you are new to this though, you may find as many of us have, that the first impression a bike or technology makes is not the one that counts. That is the kind of thing that sells padded wide seats, gear ratios that are too high, etc... If you are going to do some serious touring at whatever level you are at, then it is the second fifty of the day, loaded, that determines what works and what doesn't. It is the relentless wind, when it comes up. What feels good on a test ride is often misleading. But your mileage may vary.

At the end of a long day, I am still comfortable, but it is a little relative. I am probably also feeling a few aches and pains that are worse than anything I felt on any test bike I have ever ridden, and discounted as too uncomfortable. But the key for me is I can get on the bike day after day, and each day is as good or better than the last. I stay comfortable over a long period of time.
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Old 08-04-12, 02:24 PM
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[QUOTE=MassiveD;14566734]Drops are the only way to go for me. But I respect your decision. If you are new to this though, you may find as many of us have, that the first impression a bike or technology makes is not the one that counts. That is the kind of thing that sells padded wide seats, gear ratios that are too high, etc... If you are going to do some serious touring at whatever level you are at, then it is the second fifty of the day, loaded, that determines what works and what doesn't. It is the relentless wind, when it comes up. What feels good on a test ride is o]

I get what you are saying. There is odd misconceptions of what comfort really is, or how to get there. Those fat comfy seats are great likely for 3 mile rides.

I just was not feeling stable. I did not like have brakes where they were, only lower. I know I would need to add some upper bar brakes for upright riding on a drop bar bike, more options, especially on the street in the city.
Even in the supposed "natural position" of holding the bars I disliked the drops a lot.

Some folks seem to have a raised bar on Surly LHT, that might work too.

I was too low on my Breezer Uptown 8 (A VERy upright bike compared to a Surly LHT)... so that says enough. Added a quick and dirty neck extender, raising me like 4 inches... WAY better now.

I don't do drop. I just am not that guy. LOVE riding, have done some 40 mile rides comfortably enough on the GT I have. Over time I have been having increased neck and upper back issues. I think my body is just changing.
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Old 08-04-12, 02:37 PM
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Salsa Fargo looks interesting. The bigger tires and the geometry appears more relaxed. Some smooth tires like Schwalbe Marathons? The Recumbent might be an option to explore as well. http://www.biketoledo.net/pages/touringbikes.html

The Surly Troll appears MTB in geometry. http://www.pushingthepedals.com/2011...loff-speedhub/

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Old 08-04-12, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by djkenny View Post
Been shopping around. Debating on modifying my 1999 Hybrid GT Nomad Flat Bar Bike with more hand positions, maybe trekking bars. The bike feels a little short, I get some neck and back pain. But I like riding it better than the Surly bikes I recently rode.

I tried to ride various size Surly LHT bikes (52cm, 56cm... I *think* I am a 54cm so I will look at those too). I was thinking "I could" put different bars and stem, maybe a trekking bar like the Koga World tourist has. Butterfly bars look interesting to me.

Or crap... "GET" a Koga Miyata World Tourist?
Any shops in Oregon that carry those style touring bikes?? So I could actually ride one and see if it is a better match for me? I have a bad back from a car accident and just can't see myself on a LHT or the like. Unless they modified with a different set up.

It seems we are limited in the USA to what REI has, The Trek 520, or Surly LHT. Why is there so little choices here?

The Novarra Safari. I am going to take one for a test ride. They seem almost like a more affordable alternative to the World Tourist.

Thanks for any ideas.

Anything else outside the drop-bar style I might look at?
Citybikes Annex at SE Ankeny last time I was there had a few Jamis Coda Sport for sale. Reynolds steel and flat bar in all sizes and not a bad bike. They also have Surly LHTs as well, but I don't like their fitting myself.
Universal Cycles has some Salsa bikes you can take a look at by it seemed they had sold out a lot of the sizes of their popular series!
If you don't mind Bianchi, Lakeside Bicycles in Lake Oswego sell them with flat bars (hybrids) plus they throw in bike fitting as well.

Ultimately, it's not the drop bars that may cause to be uncomfortable but rather the length of the top tube. If you have back problems with disc problems, you might not be receptive to a stretched riding position with a lot of these drop bar bikes will ultimately put you into. You want a more upright bike with perhaps a suspension seatpost thrown in.

Don't limit yourself to REI, though the downtown Portland store is well stocked and the one in Tualatin is kind of small.

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Old 08-04-12, 03:23 PM
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There are a lot of choices when it comes to configuring a bike to meet an individuals needs. Regardless of which brand or style you choose my advice would be to spend a little extra money and be professionally fit on the bike. I'm not talking about the sales guy looking at you ride the bike and make a couple of adjustments. It should take about an hour or so to go through the measurements and put you on a trainer to evaluate your peddling efficiency, cleat position, saddle height and fore /aft position. When they are finished you should get a print out of all your measurements and settings. I was sceptical at first I thought I have been riding for over 40 years I know how to set up a bike but after a real fitting I have never been more comfortable and now I have a guide for setting up any new addition to the fleet.
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Old 08-04-12, 04:13 PM
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Very good point. I was thinking of doing that on a possible bike, like a Surly LHT that could be modified with stems and bars. Or, on my bike, that also could be modified too. Those measurements will work on any bike, even if the one I do the fit on is not the ideal size? We could find that out in the process I suppose?
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Old 08-04-12, 06:32 PM
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http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/f-hunqapillar.htm - not sure how you could test ride a Rivendell... but aren't they in California? Not too too far!
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Old 08-04-12, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by djkenny View Post
Very good point. I was thinking of doing that on a possible bike, like a Surly LHT that could be modified with stems and bars. Or, on my bike, that also could be modified too. Those measurements will work on any bike, even if the one I do the fit on is not the ideal size? We could find that out in the process I suppose?
Thats what I did, I got fitted on my road bike and then transferred the measurements to all the other bikes since then and it has worked out well for everything from my full on Tri bike to my LHT or 29er.
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Old 08-04-12, 10:48 PM
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djkenny, If you can mount a carrier on the GT try a set of trekking bars and perhaps a different stem length (to better fit the trekking bar) if needed on your present bike. The suspension seatpost and suspension fork maybe desireable features for your back issues and worth keeping.

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Old 08-05-12, 07:51 AM
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Definitely I would think about bikes you like, and then thinking about modifying the bars. Choosing a bike based on the bars will limit your choices and still won't expose you to all the different bars available. I run Albatross bars on my LHT, and I love them. Switched from trekking bars which had more hand positions, but the a-bars have the hand position I like best. Takes a longer stem, for sure, and any change from stock bars will come with its own problems in terms of reach and shifter and brake compatibility. Still, being willing to deal with those compatibility issues means being able to choose from a huge variety of bars and bikes.
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Old 08-05-12, 10:45 AM
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If you are sure you will not want to switch back to drops, I'd recommend you go for a good-quality hybrid, and put some bar-ends on it.

Most hybrids will work very well for touring: Wide tires, low gearing, rack mounts, comfortable setup. Most use v-brakes, which have good stopping power. They're also usually much more affordable than bikes with drops.

The Specialized Sirrus Sport costs around $650, which is nearly half the cost of a Surly LHT. Even if you choose to upgrade a few parts, it's a much more affordable option.
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Old 08-05-12, 10:53 AM
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Or crap... "GET" a Koga Miyata World Tourist?
Any shops in Oregon that carry those style touring bikes??

I have one I got in 08, an '04 WTR a 54-55 size.. you could come out to the coast and test ride mine..

But Sales Wise Koga opted out of competing with all the Asian imports , coming across the pacific.
last dealers around DC and Chicago perhaps in Santa Barbara Cal..

Flying into Shiphol and taking a Bus a few KM to the nearest dealer is a modest adventure ,
now that the Web will let you sort out the Signature build list .. then Fly with your Panniers
and tour Benelux countries, a week or so..

I got my bike 3rd hand from someone in NC.
it came with trekking bars, wallbike in NOLA
had an alternate butterfly trekking bar set
another Koga-ITM collaboration,
So i swapped them in,
the standard, ITM 'freetime', now lives on my BikeFriday
pocket Llama, (got with another R'off hub)

Trekking bars are fine alternatives to either drop or mountain bars.
and starting with a MTB type bar-bike,
no new control levers need be bought.
Why is there so little choices here?

miserly holidays is part of it.. 2 weeks vs 4-6 weeks paid in the EU.
and weak infrastructure to get the train or ferry to the trip start..

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Old 08-15-12, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
If you are sure you will not want to switch back to drops, I'd recommend you go for a good-quality hybrid, and put some bar-ends on it.

Most hybrids will work very well for touring: Wide tires, low gearing, rack mounts, comfortable setup. Most use v-brakes, which have good stopping power. They're also usually much more affordable than bikes with drops.

The Specialized Sirrus Sport costs around $650, which is nearly half the cost of a Surly LHT. Even if you choose to upgrade a few parts, it's a much more affordable option.
Sounds great. However, I already have a pretty solid Hybrid chrome moly frame bike. The 99' GT Nomad. I am thinking I should play with it a bit, take it on a shorter tours, and then access what I really need to do, if the 17" frame is big enough (especially long enough) and if the bike is all around fit for a long haul tour.
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Old 08-15-12, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
djkenny, If you can mount a carrier on the GT try a set of trekking bars and perhaps a different stem length (to better fit the trekking bar) if needed on your present bike. The suspension seatpost and suspension fork maybe desireable features for your back issues and worth keeping.

Brad
All very good ideas, Brad. I will take them into account. I am trying Albatross copies first, from Bontrager since they are inexpensive and seem to put me in a natural position. I will see if the position works on a trip or two, as well as if there is sufficient hand placement options. The suspension seat post sounds interesting. Maybe a Kalloy? I know we have those at the shop I work at/sales.
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Old 08-15-12, 02:10 PM
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Here it is after adding a Bontrager type of Albatross bar.
The flat bar was making my shoulders come up, very unnatural position. This, so far, feels quite a bit better!

Now to look into a a front rack that will work with this bike. It has braze ons.
Since I have Backpacker plus Ortieb Large R Panniers anyway, I will get a set for the front. Any idea what the pros and cons are of small or larger bags on the front fork? I might want a medium size pair.

New brake and gear cables, cleaned up the drivetrain and rims... ready for adventure!
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Old 08-15-12, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim Kukula View Post
http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/f-hunqapillar.htm - not sure how you could test ride a Rivendell... but aren't they in California? Not too too far!
I had an LHT until I upgraded to a Riv Hunqapillar, they are incredibly comfortable and much more responsive. You might also look at their new Bosco Bars. I am going to put a pair on the Hunq. I use them on another bike now and they are much better than Albatross or Trekking bars.



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Old 08-16-12, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim Kukula View Post
http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/f-hunqapillar.htm - not sure how you could test ride a Rivendell... but aren't they in California? Not too too far!
I love what I see from Riv. I am not a wealthy guy. But... I think, one day, whether it is Riv or another builder... I will have a custom fit bike made. Likely my mid-life crisis bike. Or, after winning the Lotto... or some inheritance from a distant relative I never met.
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Old 08-17-12, 02:48 PM
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Take a look at a Soma Saga, or the new Velo-Orange Campeur. Also since you are in the northwest, take a look at what Co-Motion has.
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