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Beginner touring, how do these bikes look?

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Beginner touring, how do these bikes look?

Old 05-24-13, 08:08 AM
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Beginner touring, how do these bikes look?

Here's my situation: I've been commuting exclusively on a bike for the past 3 years and love it. I've been riding a 1974 schwinn sprint (I think 1974, it's the sprint model with the bent seat post) that sat in my dads garage for 30 years. I've done some simple work on the bike (changing cables, tires, etc), but am very far from an expert. All the hardware on the bike is original, and is showing its age. I recently brought this to my LBS and they kindly suggested that my money might be better spent on something newer. I've been interested in doing some light touring (weekend type trips, etc) for a while, but always ruled it out based on the fact that my bike has been pretty unreliable, and has no support for racks/panniers. So, long story short, I'm on the lookout for a bike that I can use to commute, and take on some light touring. My budget is tight, which I'm sure you hear all the time, so I'm doing my searching on craigslist and the like. I was hoping to get an opinion on these setups. For reference I'm a 5'10.5" male with a 32" in-seam

Surly cross check (I don't see the frame size in the post. This bike, at the posted cost, would be a big stretch on my budget, but I could potentially swing it if this will be a bike I can ride for many many years to come)
https://raleigh.craigslist.org/bik/3743371384.html

Cannondale (This bike has essentially zero information on it. I was hoping someone could help identify it and tell me more about what to expect. The price-point is very managable. I contacted the seller and the only information they had was that the bike was ~8 years old.)
https://raleigh.craigslist.org/bik/3823039691.html

As you can probably tell, I have no idea what I'm looking for. Any advice would be fantastic.

PS. - For those curious about the fate of my vintage sprint, I'm going to use it as a project bike - strip it down to the frame and build it back up. Probably starting with a fixed gear for the simplicity.

Thanks!
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Old 05-24-13, 08:21 AM
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I don't know if you'll find the wheelbase long enough on either of those for heel clearance- especially the Cannondale you posted. Check out the difference in that one versus this one
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Old 05-24-13, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by TimmyJ
Here's my situation: I've been commuting exclusively on a bike for the past 3 years and love it. I've been riding a 1974 schwinn sprint (I think 1974, it's the sprint model with the bent seat post) that sat in my dads garage for 30 years. I've done some simple work on the bike (changing cables, tires, etc), but am very far from an expert. All the hardware on the bike is original, and is showing its age. I recently brought this to my LBS and they kindly suggested that my money might be better spent on something newer. I've been interested in doing some light touring (weekend type trips, etc) for a while, but always ruled it out based on the fact that my bike has been pretty unreliable, and has no support for racks/panniers. So, long story short, I'm on the lookout for a bike that I can use to commute, and take on some light touring. My budget is tight, which I'm sure you hear all the time, so I'm doing my searching on craigslist and the like. I was hoping to get an opinion on these setups. For reference I'm a 5'10.5" male with a 32" in-seam

Surly cross check (I don't see the frame size in the post. This bike, at the posted cost, would be a big stretch on my budget, but I could potentially swing it if this will be a bike I can ride for many many years to come)
https://raleigh.craigslist.org/bik/3743371384.html

Cannondale (This bike has essentially zero information on it. I was hoping someone could help identify it and tell me more about what to expect. The price-point is very managable. I contacted the seller and the only information they had was that the bike was ~8 years old.)
https://raleigh.craigslist.org/bik/3823039691.html

As you can probably tell, I have no idea what I'm looking for. Any advice would be fantastic.

PS. - For those curious about the fate of my vintage sprint, I'm going to use it as a project bike - strip it down to the frame and build it back up. Probably starting with a fixed gear for the simplicity.

Thanks!
There are several things wrong with both bikes. First the Cannondale is a short wheelbase road bike. It's a great bike if you want to go fast and feel the wind in your hair. But as a touring bike, it would suck. It's a sports car and you need a minivan.

The Cross Check is a better touring bike (not perfect but better compared to the Cannondale) but he want's too much for it. You can get a new Cross Check at REI right now for $900. No dings, no broken shifters, no warts. A better touring bike then the Cross Check would be a Surly LHT which you can also get at REI but it's going to $1100. REI also has their house brand Norvara Randonee but I think the LHT is a better touring bike.

If you want a used touring bike, this old Cannondale would be a great touring bike (you're a newbie, click on the blue highlighted text). One of the best touring bikes made and the price is very good.
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Old 05-24-13, 08:39 AM
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Know already about what frame size is best for you?

For reference I'm a 5'10.5" male with a 32" in-seam
yea, but how high a top tube can you straddle .. inseam measurement never includes your feet.
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Old 05-24-13, 08:43 AM
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Are you talking about full bore touring with tent, sleeping bag, etc. or light, credit card type touring. The cross check is great for the latter; the full on touring bikes that others have suggested (Surly LHT and REI Novara Randonee) are better for the former (different geometry). Both are really good choices but the OP tops out at $700 (that's the CL price for the Surly cross check).

Personally with a $700 budget, I'd hunt hard on CL. First, I'd pick up a vintage rigid mtb as a commuter. They're widely available for under $200. That leaves $500 for something good and older and used. If you hunt around, you'll find something that fits you great and does what you want. Plus you'll have two rock solid bikes for different purposes.

Edit: here are some examples, https://raleigh.craigslist.org/bik/3825278898.html (great, great price even if you have to sink some money into the bike but it will be gone soon)
https://raleigh.craigslist.org/bik/3790542345.html
https://raleigh.craigslist.org/bik/3824635088.html (for $60 and a rigid fork, I'd pick this one up pretty fast as well).

You get the idea. Buy a cheap mtb preferably with a rigid fork and then hunt around for that perfect vintage road bike.

Last edited by bikemig; 05-24-13 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 05-24-13, 09:02 AM
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Thanks for all the tips guys! The cannondale that several people posted links to looks great. I just contacted the seller and will hopefully be checking it out next week. It looks like it will make for a great commuter as well. bikemig, out of curiosity, why would you recommend the mountain bike as a commuter?
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Old 05-24-13, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by TimmyJ
Thanks for all the tips guys! The cannondale that several people posted links to looks great. I just contacted the seller and will hopefully be checking it out next week. It looks like it will make for a great commuter as well. bikemig, out of curiosity, why would you recommend the mountain bike as a commuter?
Timmy: absolutely. There is probably no better commuter than an old school mtb with a rigid fork. There are a lot of these bikes out there and many are in good condition as they were not ridden off road. Fat tires are great for commuting esp. if you swap out to some slicks. There is plenty of room for fenders and a rack as well. Plus if it gets stolen, you are not out of pocket a lot of money. My best CL buy is probably this 1989 Stumpjumper comp with a full Deore XT gruppo at $125:

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Old 05-24-13, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
Timmy: absolutely. There is probably no better commuter than an old school mtb with a rigid fork. There are a lot of these bikes out there and many are in good condition as they were not ridden off road. Fat tires are great for commuting esp. if you swap out to some slicks. There is plenty of room for fenders and a rack as well. Plus if it gets stolen, you are not out of pocket a lot of money. My best CL buy is probably this 1989 Stumpjumper comp with a full Deore XT gruppo at $125:

The same could be said about the older hybrids. The advantage is they already have 700c tires. I agree the flexibility of the old rigid mtb's is great from a tire perspective and most are really tough bikes and will take a lot of abuse.
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Old 05-24-13, 01:09 PM
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There are lots of satisfied customers from Bikes Direct:

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm

REI is having a sale. They offer great CS and an unusually lenient return policy:

https://www.rei.com/category/4500003_Bicycles
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Old 05-24-13, 01:09 PM
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I don't see why you couldn't do some weekend trips on the bike you have,if you wanted.I would use it if that was all I had and didn't have alot of money too spend.It isn't the lightest bike in the world,but the frames built like a tank.

An older mountain bike or full on touring bike would handle better but you can do alot of weekend bike trips for $1000.

If it was me,I'd fix that bike and ride it,while I saved my money for something better.You would also have a better idea of what you really want when the time comes.Plus you'll get some wrench time on something that won't cost alot to fix if you screw up.

Not trying to talk you out of a nicer bike,but you don't HAVE to have anything different....you can make it work for weekend warrior duties if need be.

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Old 05-24-13, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by scozim
The same could be said about the older hybrids. The advantage is they already have 700c tires. I agree the flexibility of the old rigid mtb's is great from a tire perspective and most are really tough bikes and will take a lot of abuse.
Hard to find an old hybrid with as nice as quality parts and frames as a top end vintage mtb, though. Insofar as wheel size is concerned, I prefer 26 inch wheels slightly over 700 for commuting (and touring) but that's highly debatable.
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Old 05-26-13, 09:55 PM
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Hi Guys, I just bought a 2012 fuji touring bike today from my LBS for $900. I did not like the fact that i was not told what the model was. Cos I later realized I could have gotten a 2013 model for about the same cost. The LBS guy was even telling me i just bough the last of his best selling bikes. I think i paid too much for this bike. I want to know if there is a huge difference between the 12 and 13 models. Cheers
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Old 05-26-13, 10:43 PM
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OP, I just found out today that the early 90s Trek 750/790 had nice double butted true temper cromoly frames and the same measurements and geometry as the Trek touring 520, but since they were equiped with flat bars and sold as "hybrids", they tend to sell for Much cheaper than the early 90s 520s. You might be able to find one of those for ~$50 and then have the rest of your budget to spend on upgrading it to drop bars and nicer parts. If you were planning on spending $700, you could buy a Nice package deal group-set for $500 and have a pretty sweet bike.

The late 80s/early 90s ridged MTB option that bikemig pointed out seems very popular and seems to work great too. Some of them even have the mid-fork braze-on for front racks and long chain stays so that your heals don't hit the rear panniers. They obviously had the idea of hauling gear in mind when they made those bikes.

Thanks again for the advise in my C&V thread, bikemig.
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Old 05-28-13, 06:40 PM
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Happy to say I just picked up that ATX 770 that bikemig pointed out to me (for 40 bucks I figured I couldn't go wrong)! Anyways, everything on the bike looks like it has been reasonably well maintained. Looks like it has mostly Shimano Deore LX group-set, with the exception of a Deore DX (I guess this was pretty uncommon) rear derailer. The only thing I have no idea how to judge is the front suspension - planning on taking her to the LBS tomorrow morning for a once over to make sure she'll ride for years to come. I might pick up some slicks too as it will be mostly a commuter bike. Although, this kind of makes me want to get out on some mountains....

So, thanks again for all the input. Let me know if you can think of any worthwhile upgrades, after all the rest of my budget is burning a hole in my pocket
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