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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 09-01-14, 05:23 AM
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New to Forum

Hello

I've been riding for a while now and have really wanted to do some touring. I'm really glad to have found this site so I can ask all the stupid questions.

So here goes....

What are some of the best brands of touring bikes? I'd love to shop around garage sales, flea markets ect.. but I have no idea what brands to look for.

P.S. as of now I'm riding a trek 3500 mountain bike for the dirt roads around my place, so I know a little about Trek. (been looking at the trek 520 for a touring bike)
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Old 09-01-14, 06:00 AM
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Welcome, Jargo.

I'm not a heavy-duty tourer, but just as a point of advice, in the future, I would avoid asking what's the "best" of anything. Without knowing exactly what your touring plans are (distance, geography, camping vs. hotels, etc.) people are just going to bombard you with lists of their favorite bicycles.

There are people here who start with ultra light bikes and load them with almost nothing to do overnight "credit card" tours, people like myself who use old mountain bikes and carry some panniers on a rack, and people who buy touring-specific bikes that carry tents, stoves, and all types of camping gear. They're all going to want to chime in, so do yourself a favor and follow up your initial post with some more specifics about the type of touring you want to do.

Good luck! Touring (of ANY type) is absolutely the coolest.
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Old 09-01-14, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom

There are people here who start with ultra light bikes and load them with almost nothing to do overnight "credit card" tours...........
Many people use lightweight bikes to do extended tours carrying tents, sleeping bags etc. They are not limited to credit card touring.

Any bike can be a touring bike, but some will be better in certain conditions than others. Read the stickies at the top of the forum page and you will find lists,
pictures and opinions about lots of bikes.

Be aware that you can tour on bikes not specifically called "touring bikes", for example, I pack lightly and ride mostly on roads so I can successfully tour on a Cervelo RS.
If you are starting out a Trek 520 is a great choice.

Last edited by nun; 09-01-14 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 09-01-14, 06:58 AM
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Touring as simple as loading your stuff on your bike and take off.

Met this guy going 2200 miles camping the entire way.



or

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Old 09-01-14, 06:59 AM
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The 'best' touring bike is the one that fits you well, and on which you can ride in reasonable comfort 50 miles/day, after day, after day. Whatever you buy may, probably will, require some 'tweaking' to get it to that point. Pick one from the list and start tweaking.
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Old 09-01-14, 08:31 AM
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+1) you don't need a specialist touring bike to go on a tour, somewhere, on a bicycle .
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Old 09-01-14, 08:31 AM
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I bought a bike looking at fit first and then found out that the Surly Disc Trucker was a touring bike. For me, this bike is solid and has everything (wheels excluded only because I am a large man) needed for an average person to go on a very long tour. There are so many videos and web sites of people using the Surly touring bikes (LHT and Disc Trucker) for all kinds of short to extended tours.
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Old 09-01-14, 09:40 AM
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I didn't save the link but someone posted a link to a full list of touring bikes. Maybe another poster here has it.

In any case, I would pay attention to the crankset and type of shifters. Some have 50/39/30 (teeth) cranksets that are more suitable for credit card touring (too hard for loaded bike on hills). I'd prefer bar-end shifters as well (although I've seen all kinds of mixed messages on the quality on 9 and 10 speed Shimano and Microshift shifters).

EDIT: I haven't seen negative comments on the 8 speed Shimano bar-end shifters though. But it's kind of rare to find 8 speed Shimano Deore (actually STX-RC in 8 speed) or Deore LX.

Last edited by hybridbkrdr; 09-01-14 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 09-01-14, 11:11 PM
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Pretty much what others said! However I do love my Surly Disc Trucker but getting out on any bike is good!

Welcome by the way, if you ever have questions feel free to ask, I need more excuses to check back in. Sometimes after work I get lazy and don't want to go foruming.
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Old 09-05-14, 05:05 AM
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Thanks for all the advice. As for the type of touring, I'd like a bike that will handle anything I throw at it. I want to do some short trips for starting but my dream is to go coast to coast one day. I'm a big guy, (almost 6ft and 208 lbs) but most importantly for bike sizing I have big feet. (size 13 shoe) I've read that it's important to get a touring bike if you have big feet so your load wont be in the way of your pedal stroke. So far the brands that have made the list are Trek, Surly, and cannondale. Another issue that I've been wondering about is availability of parts. I don't want to get a bike that is hard to get parts for. I know from experience that owning a common item pays off in the end. (example owning a ford verses a BMW, try getting a BMW fixed, ugh)
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Old 09-05-14, 05:36 AM
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You might be surprised at what you have would work.
The gearing looks just right to go over mountain passes with a load.
Your big feet with a rack and panniers? You will have to answer that yourself.
If the suspension locks out that is a plus. Otherwise, maybe just replace the fork.
On a long tour your hands might need more positions so a modification with a new trekking bar might help or just some bar-ends.
I went from Mexico to Canada on something like this bike (15 years ago). I only have size 9 feet, though.
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Old 09-05-14, 05:45 AM
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Big feet, rear panniers and short chainstays don't mix well.

It is almost impossible to give advice w/o knowing your budget but the 520 is a winner and probably nothing better at that price point plus it has long chainstays. It is set for long distance, loaded touring. I would only have the wheel tensions checked and have some miles on them before embarking on a journey. Of course, hand built wheels can add a margin of reliability but factory wheels can also be good but they would have to prove themselves to me before taking a real jaunt.
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Old 09-05-14, 06:44 AM
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Just remember that touring doesn't mean you need panniers. I've gone to a frame bag, handlebar bag and seat bag. You could mount a rear rack and just strap a drybag on the top. Many ways to use the bike you've got, especially since it appears you want to do some off road riding.

Here is an example of one of many softbag makers:
Revelate Designs LLC
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Old 09-05-14, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by jargo432
Hello

I've been riding for a while now and have really wanted to do some touring. I'm really glad to have found this site so I can ask all the stupid questions.

So here goes....

What are some of the best brands of touring bikes? I'd love to shop around garage sales, flea markets ect.. but I have no idea what brands to look for.

P.S. as of now I'm riding a trek 3500 mountain bike for the dirt roads around my place, so I know a little about Trek. (been looking at the trek 520 for a touring bike)

Shame on everyone for avoiding the question! Let me make a list of my favorite do-anything touring bikes:

Surly Long Haul Trucker
Surly Troll
Salsa Vaya
Salsa Fargo
Bianchi Volpe
Jamis Aurora
Novara Safari
Raleigh Port Townsend
Velo Orange Campeur
Velo Orange Carmargue
Soma Saga
Soma Wolverine
New Albion Privateer

All of these are about the same price, $1,000-2,000

There are also some wicked mountain bikes for off-road touring, which means dirt roads and trails as well as roads:

Surly Ogre
Surly ECR
Salsa El Mariachi
Soma Juice

There are light touring bikes that are less burly, but faster and more fun. Any cyclocross bike is a good example, but check out:

Soma Grand Randonneur
Soma Double Cross
Surly CrossCheck
All-City Space Horse
All-City Macho Man
Salsa Warbird
Raleigh Roper

When in doubt, here are the traits of a good touring bicycle:

Frame material: Steel or Titanium
Wheel Clearance: At least 28c tires, preferably 35-40c tires
Geometry: Upright, not racing
Mount Points for extra water bottles, racks, and fenders
Long wheelbase for mounting panniers (Raleigh Roper fails this)
Parts: Shimano or Sram. Both are very widely available.


Of course, many bikes that are NOT touring bikes work great. My girlfriend tours on a 1990's steel hardtail mountain bike that fits every one of the above preferences.

Feel free to point questions my way and check out my site for more advice.

Last edited by mdilthey; 09-05-14 at 07:01 AM.
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