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Touring bikes: Decisions, decisions

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Touring bikes: Decisions, decisions

Old 08-06-12, 10:16 AM
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dorstour
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Touring bikes: Decisions, decisions

So I'm looking to purchase a touring bike. (Surprise, surprise, right?)

I really like the Terry Coto Donana Tour or Vagabond though I don't know that I'm sure what the differences between the two are besides the price. I see the differences in the specs, but I don't know what they translate into as far as what kind of a ride they'd give me and therefore which I'd want.

I talked to a LBS and they recommended a Surly LHT or a Salsa (I believe it was the Vaya?) both of which would be significantly cheaper than the Terry models. I didn't actually test ride either at the time.

So my question is this: what is it about the Terry models that makes them priced so much higher than the Surly or Salsa or the Trek 520 and do you think it's worth the extra money? Aesthetically, I like the Terry models and I'm all for paying for the quality and durability of a bike that will last me years and years/miles and miles. But slightly less than $4000 in comparison to $1000-1500 makes me hesitate, especially when I see/hear glowing reviews for the cheaper priced models. I want to spend my money wisely. I'm figuring that if I go with something other than the Terry, I'll probably make some adjustments anyway, like changing out the saddle, but even then the price would be drastically lower than the Terrys....

So, thoughts? Opinions?
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Old 08-06-12, 10:19 AM
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Have you had a look at Thorn yet? The Club Tour is quite a nice bicycle.

And yes, of course you'll change the saddle ... most likely anyway. Not too many people stick with the stock saddle.
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Old 08-06-12, 10:20 AM
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http://www.terrybicycles.com/Bicycle...onana-Vagabond

^^ It has road bike gearing...Not Touring gears.

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Old 08-06-12, 10:46 AM
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Nope, I hadn't heard of the Thorn before. See what I mean? So many choices. How do you figure what's best for you? Do you go by a combination of price/specs? Do you pick between the (very) limited options in your local area or special order at least a frame and build it up?

And what makes those road bike gears instead of touring gears?
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Old 08-06-12, 10:48 AM
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The Surly LHT will take you and your gear any where you want to ride.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXcj03dd-r4&lr=1
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Old 08-06-12, 11:04 AM
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Terry has nice smaller bikes for women . that you?

the one you linked to, are 26" wheels. (except her XL size, which is 622 wheel)
capacity for narrow, 1.125"/ 28~32mm tire spec.
Coto-Donana-Tour is built around a US made Waterford steel frame
Made in Wisconsin.


Surly is from Taiwan Where labor cost and overhead is lower..

Id look at smaller 20" wheeled Bike Fridays, too.. Eugene Oregon.
benefit, they stow in a suitcase
to make getting to the trip start cheaper,
in an age of escalating Airline surcharges for boxed bicycles .

come in 8 sizes,, top tube length, main frame being 1 horizontal tube, and masts for seat and handlebars.
the usual seat tube length sizing becomes less useful

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-06-12 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 08-06-12, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by dorstour View Post
How do you figure what's best for you?
Experience. The good news is that it's not a pass/fail issue. Get yourself any properly fit touring bike and let your preferences develop over time.
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Old 08-06-12, 11:14 AM
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My wife's around 5' 2" and has the smallest size Surly LHT, I think 44 cm. It's the best fit she's ever had on a bike. Because the steering tube was left uncut, the handlebars are actually above the saddle height thanks to a stack of spacers. Looks goofy, but works well for her.

PS It fits her a lot better than her old Terry from the mid 1980s (I''m sure Terry has changed their design since then!).
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Old 08-06-12, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by OldZephyr View Post
My wife's around 5' 2" and has the smallest size Surly LHT, I think 44 cm. It's the best fit she's ever had on a bike. Because the steering tube was left uncut, the handlebars are actually above the saddle height thanks to a stack of spacers. Looks goofy, but works well for her.
You wife is not alone out there. Here is my 5' GF on her smallest-size LHT (cannot remember the actual size either):


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Old 08-06-12, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by dorstour View Post
And what makes those road bike gears instead of touring gears?
If you plan to carry much gear, then getting over hills will be more challenging. So you'll want lower gears. The smallest front chainring should be no larger than the largest rear sprocket and even quite a bit smaller, like maybe 75% of it. So if the largest sprocket in the back has 34 teeth, you might like say 26 teeth on the smallest front chainring.
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Old 08-06-12, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Terry has nice smaller bikes for women . that you?

the one you linked to, are 26" wheels.
capacity for narrow, 1.125"/ 28mm tire spec.
Coto-Donana-Tour is built around a US made Waterford steel frame
Made in Wisconsin
.snip...
That's the big jump in the price differences. Excellent frame.
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Old 08-06-12, 12:23 PM
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If you are considering a Terry, I am assuming you are female. If you are an "average" sized person you might get by with a LHT or a Trek 520. However, the LHT has a long top tube and may not work well for riders with a short torso. Women specific bikes are generally built with shorter top tubes. When looking at a new touring bike for my wife (retirement present) we wanted a bike that would really fit her. She is short, and while her old bike was adequate, it could have been better. Fit is everything on a touring bike. We ended up getting a custom built frame from Co-Motion. http://www.co-motion.com/index.php/singles/cascadia I think the price range for a complete bike, even with a custom build, is similar to the Terry. Just another option.

PS. She has ridden the bike for almost 3 years and really loves it, and has done about 5000 miles of touring on it so far. She even uses it on club rides rather than her lighter road bike.

Last edited by Doug64; 08-06-12 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 08-06-12, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by dorstour View Post
Nope, I hadn't heard of the Thorn before. See what I mean? So many choices. How do you figure what's best for you? Do you go by a combination of price/specs? Do you pick between the (very) limited options in your local area or special order at least a frame and build it up?

And what makes those road bike gears instead of touring gears?
Well, for a start, we wanted a UK brand or a Canadian brand (Marinoni to be specific). We had looked at a Thorn (UK) tandem, but they didn't have quite what we wanted, so we thought that touring bicycles might be nice. On the other hand, I've always like Marinonis and used to have one (it was stolen), so part of me wanted a Marinoni touring bicycle.

Turned out that having a Marinoni frame shipped to us in Australia would cost a fortune, but having the Thorn frame shipped was relatively inexpensive. And so the decision was made.

Then came the decisions about all the components, of course.
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Old 08-06-12, 12:39 PM
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Well, I'm not a shorter woman, around 5'6" or 5'7" so I don't need something specifically smaller oriented. Mostly just wondering if the price of what I like better is justifiable, ya know?

Okay, so what I'm getting here as the primary difference is the Terry models are US made. So if I really feel strongly about supporting the US economy, go for the Terry. If I want something equal in quality but lighter on my budget, go for a Surly? (And/or look into some of the other excellent touring bikes available).

@fietsbob - I've actually wondered about a folding bike as well but figured I should get a full-size for home and a traveling bike for taking on the admittedly rare occasions I'll actually be traveling (at least until kids get a bit older).
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Old 08-06-12, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by dorstour View Post
So I'm looking to purchase a touring bike. (Surprise, surprise, right?)

I really like the Terry Coto Donana Tour or Vagabond though I don't know that I'm sure what the differences between the two are besides the price. I see the differences in the specs, but I don't know what they translate into as far as what kind of a ride they'd give me and therefore which I'd want.

I talked to a LBS and they recommended a Surly LHT or a Salsa (I believe it was the Vaya?) both of which would be significantly cheaper than the Terry models. I didn't actually test ride either at the time.

So my question is this: what is it about the Terry models that makes them priced so much higher than the Surly or Salsa or the Trek 520 and do you think it's worth the extra money? Aesthetically, I like the Terry models and I'm all for paying for the quality and durability of a bike that will last me years and years/miles and miles. But slightly less than $4000 in comparison to $1000-1500 makes me hesitate, especially when I see/hear glowing reviews for the cheaper priced models. I want to spend my money wisely. I'm figuring that if I go with something other than the Terry, I'll probably make some adjustments anyway, like changing out the saddle, but even then the price would be drastically lower than the Terrys....

So, thoughts? Opinions?
Terry Coto Donana Tour is designed for loaded touring with a more upright riding geometry (the bar drops and reach shows as well as the picture) vs the Vagabond which is essentially a sports touring bike setup with higher gears and lower riding geometry. Both of them are not really considered touring bikes as the chainstays length is about 41 to 42cm, similar to a cross bike which you can buy at considerably cheaper.

The question is, do you really need woman specific frames? Terry bikes work really well with petite women (small caucasian women or Asian women) and they are well known for that. Another outfit that custom design and fit women really well is Sweet Pea Bicycles based in Oregon, USA. Her lust and love models are really well made. Lust is cheaper than love which can easily go over $5000 with S&S couplers and Ultegra group.

Now comes to the price. Salsa and Surly stuff are basically brands of QBP (Quality Bicycle Parts) and the reason they are able to offer these bikes at low prices is due to the frames being made in Asia (cheap labour) as well as their immense buying power which lowers their wholesale cost to these bikes. Taiwan made steel and alloy frames are just as well made as North Americans, except maybe at the detailing level. But then, you're paying for a work of art. Art has infinite value on which depends on how much you are willing to pay for it!

Here's the deal. There is no right or wrong which bikes are the best value. The most important thing is fit. I can see a challenge there with the Salsa Vaya as it has an abnormally long top tube; not ideal for petite women. The LHT, however, is a better bet with smaller sizes using smaller 26" wheels. If Terry fits you better than all the bikes mentioned, then pay Terry's price. But if you can fit a LHT, but like to be known as top cat in your neighbourhood by owning the most expensive bike like someone drives a Mercedes Benz or a Ferrari, then get a Terry. Many people who buy a Mercedes Benz or a Porsche, Lexus etc.. can do just as well with a Honda or Toyota, but in the economy, it's also good to show who's still top dog or top feline and not effected by the current recession.
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Old 08-06-12, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by dorstour View Post
Okay, so what I'm getting here as the primary difference is the Terry models are US made. So if I really feel strongly about supporting the US economy, go for the Terry. If I want something equal in quality but lighter on my budget, go for a Surly? (And/or look into some of the other excellent touring bikes available).
It's all about the global economy now ... especially if you plan to travel.

And as for folding bicycles, we considered them, but the ones we wanted were quite difficult to get in Australia. We could have gone to see some, so see if we really wanted them, but would have had to travel from just north of Melbourne to Canberra to do so, and we just couldn't justify the trip.

However, having started on our Round-the-World tour, we're now thinking that folding bicycles might have been a good option after all. There have been many places where they probably would have been more convenient. So if you're thinking of travelling using a variety of transportation methods (i.e. train, bus, airplane, and cycling), have a look at folding bicycles.
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Old 08-06-12, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by dorstour View Post
So if I really feel strongly about supporting the US economy, go for the Terry.
Co-Motion bikes are made in the USA - in Oregon. They are very fine bikes indeed. Worth considering if you are looking at bikes in the Terry price range.

Here are a couple ladies with their Co-Motion Americano bikes, whom I met on the Erie Canal ride in July:

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Old 08-06-12, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by dorstour View Post
snip...Okay, so what I'm getting here as the primary difference is the Terry models are US made. So if I really feel strongly about supporting the US economy, go for the Terry. If I want something equal in quality but lighter on my budget, go for a Surly? snip...
They are not equal in quality. The Terry/Waterford is better steel (OS2, with double butting) and construction and I would expect; lighter.
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Old 08-06-12, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by dorstour View Post
...Mostly just wondering if the price of what I like better is justifiable, ya know? Okay, so what I'm getting here as the primary difference is the Terry models are US made. So if I really feel strongly about supporting the US economy, go for the Terry. If I want something equal in quality but lighter on my budget, go for a Surly?...
The price is somewhat justifiable if you consider you're getting a Waterford frameset ($1500-2200) and Velocity wheelset ($400-700) plus another ~$1,000 in pretty good quality components.

http://waterfordbikes.com/w/

http://www.velocityusa.com/

Both are highly reputable bike brands, made in USA. Velocity makes their own rims in FL (they originated in Australia). Waterford used to make Schwinn's top of the line (Paramount) bike frames, going back 20+ years. Velocity (and Mavic) rims are the preferred brand of wheelbuilders for about 10 years now.

You're probably getting $3,000 worth of bike parts (assembled) for Terry's $3,500 price.

The Terry "tour" model is the better choice of the two for touring, due to lower gearing, a result of the 22-32-44 MTB crank and 11-34 cassette.

Neither Terry touring model is strictly a touring frame IMO, as they both have short road bike length chainstays (41.5/42.0 cm). Longer chainstays (CS) mean your feet are further away from bags carried on the rear. So-called "heel-strike" is a common problem when short CS, large bags, and large shoes are combined.

A Surly LHT is $2,000 cheaper than a Terry, and for most people this simple fact would end all deliberation.

http://www.terrybicycles.com/Semi-Cu...cycle-Geometry

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/long_haul_trucker

For about the same price as a LHT, there is a new disc-brake Surly model called the Disc Trucker, it is geometrically identical to the LHT, only difference component-wise is brakes, hubs and brake levers.

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/disc_trucker

Last edited by seeker333; 08-06-12 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 08-06-12, 02:03 PM
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Thanks for all your replies! You are a very helpful group. Still not sure how I'll decide between all the wonderful bikes available, but at least now I feel I can make a little more informed decision. And, of course, I now know of even more options out there. :-P
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Old 08-06-12, 03:33 PM
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@fietsbob - I've actually wondered about a folding bike as well but figured I should get a full-size for home and a traveling bike for taking on the admittedly rare occasions I'll actually be traveling (at least until kids get a bit older).
Bike fridays 20" wheel bikes are not really 'folding bikes', per se
[to fold frequently ] they have travel in mind..
though they do have 1 major hinge behind the BB, to shorten the frame
enough to fit in the shipping/ suit case , they also require dismantling somewhat.

I've been using my Friday as my main commuting rig throughout the Winter
has my favorite bits schmidt dyno hub front rohloff hub rear disc brakes on both.

stuff goes in 2 front panniers .. any more and I pull out my Trailer..

There are shorter Top tube dimensions on well designed Women's bikes ,
because torsos& arms are generally a shorter proportion
of the height .. legs a longer one..
so as to avoid a too stretched out posture on the bike..

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-06-12 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 08-07-12, 12:14 AM
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I did the South island of New Zealand on a Salsa Fargo and loved it. Fully loaded with all my stuff (and a bunch of my wife's) doing 10-12 hour days and never had a single issue. Back and neck all good. The bike was purchased new at the time for somewhere near $900-950. Good luck!
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Old 08-07-12, 11:50 AM
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Coopster I was just thinking about a Fargo. I just finished mine and I really like the upright riding postion. I dont have enough long days in the saddle on the Fargo to really make any definite decisions but it's much more comfortable then my Origin-8. Hoping for more ride time this week. Just pick the right size TreeFort speced a Medium for me I was surprised but it's on the money.
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Old 08-08-12, 07:37 AM
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See if you can look at and test ride a Salsa Vaya. These are very nice bikes for the money. Surly's tend to have long top tubes and short head tubes, which is fine if that's what works for you, but poses problems if you prefer a more upright position. In contrast, Vayas have shorter top tubes and longer head tubes. If you don't mind buying a frame and having it built up, the Soma Saga is a great frame for a great price.
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Old 08-08-12, 08:59 AM
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Add panniers and ride!!!!!!!!!!!!
http://www.konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=sutra
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