Buying a budget touring bike

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
alexlawriewood
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Buying a budget touring bike

Postby alexlawriewood » 17 Jun 2012, 3:21pm

Hi all,

I finally learnt to cycle at the age of 22 last year, and then went on to get a slightly-too-small low-end Claud Butler hybrid, which I happily rode around all over the place until it was nicked last week from outside my house. Anyway, as such, I'm now on the market for a new bike. And since I'm really very keen to do some proper distances (around the UK, France, Benelux), the idea of a touring bike seems very appealing.

Anyway, that's the background, so I really liked the last Claud Butler I had, and it seems a Claud Butler Regent could fit neatly into my budget (under £500). I've trawled the Internet and only found good things said about them, really, but very little mention of them overall. Does anyone have any reason to think it'd be a bad move, any bad experiences? Or anything I absolutely must consider when shopping like this? I've had a good look around and seen a couple of other bikes at a bit above this price, but I was really happy with the last Claud Butler, so I'm fairly set at the moment...

Cheers!
Alex

alpgirl
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Joined: 30 May 2012, 10:22pm

Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby alpgirl » 18 Jun 2012, 9:44pm

Noticed this earlier. Has good reviews.
http://www.ashcycles.com/site/raleigh-royal-tourer

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Alex L
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Location: Staffordshire

Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby Alex L » 18 Jun 2012, 10:27pm

At the high end but still technically under £500:

http://www.edinburghbicycle.com/product ... ring-bikes

fatboy
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Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby fatboy » 19 Jun 2012, 8:20am

alpgirl wrote:Noticed this earlier. Has good reviews.
http://www.ashcycles.com/site/raleigh-royal-tourer


CJ's review of this was not good. I'd steer clear personally. The Edinburgh Bike came out OK and the Dawes Vantage (a bit more) came out really well.
"Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again so is the bicycle puncture repair kit." - Billy Connolly

fatboy
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Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby fatboy » 19 Jun 2012, 8:26am

Looking at the Regent spec it's a bit overgeared for a tourer (but you're 22 so may not need the low gears that us old-farts might need!) but could be lowered quite easily. Tyres don't look to be special but these could be changed when they wear out. Wheels are only 32 spoke (typically 36 spoke for a tourer) but if you are not too heavy and don't plan to carry too much they should be alright. As with most budget bikes the rear rack isn't anything special.

I'm sure that someone will come on and tell you this as well as me but a good second hand bike maybe bought off someone from here may well be a lot better.
"Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again so is the bicycle puncture repair kit." - Billy Connolly

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Alex L
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Location: Staffordshire

Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby Alex L » 19 Jun 2012, 10:07pm

Saying that, keep an eye out for a good used bike. You can get a good used super galaxy etc for under your budget, which will also give you a bit spare for some decent tyres or or whatever you might want to upgrade.

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s1965c
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Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby s1965c » 20 Jun 2012, 12:47pm

I can speak from experience, as I have one. Luckily, I required a 48cm model, so got a 2008 model from bikesheduk.com for £400 (they're also my LBS).

It's a perfectly OK touring bike, not as good as my Thorn, but it was only a quarter of the price.

Gearing on mine goes down to 27 inches, so is a little on the high side for steep loaded climbs, but I've only had to get off and push once. My wheels are 36 spokers, so check the spec on the one you're looking at - 32 spokes aren't brilliant for lugging loads. The tyres it comes with look uninspiring, but they've never punctured, wear well and give a smooth ride. I've replaced mine with Marathons, and didn't notice a big difference in ride quality or handling. The rear rack hasn't given me any cause for concern even when loaded up.

I like the Sora "button" style gear shifters over Tiagra style "double lever" changers on my tourers, and the ones on the Regent have been just fine. I hardly ever ride on the drops though.

The standard saddle and the cheapo pedals supplied are both fairly awful, but I fitted by B17 and DMR V12 flatties on arrival so didn't have to endure them at all.

Overall, it does what I want it to for not much money.
Last edited by s1965c on 20 Jun 2012, 12:57pm, edited 1 time in total.
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700c
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Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby 700c » 20 Jun 2012, 12:48pm

New bikes at about £500, are decent.

But you can get so much more by buying 2nd hand.

pioneer
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Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby pioneer » 20 Jun 2012, 6:00pm

I bought a Regent last Feb. Have now done nearly 2,000 miles on it. I did lower the gearing by dint of 48,38 and 26 tooth chainrings in place of the 52,42,30 it came with. Also, changed the saddle and pedals for bits I had in stock. And yes, the tyres don't seem great. But... no punctures yet and the bike is VERY COMFORTABLE. All in all, I'm chuffed to bits with it. As a bargain/basic touring bike, it punches well above it's weight. :D

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gaz
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Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby gaz » 20 Jun 2012, 9:24pm

700c wrote:New bikes at about £500, are decent.

But you can get so much more by buying 2nd hand.


Image
Cost me all of £52.17 a little more than a year ago, although I've upgraded it a bit since :wink: . I'd guess it's still under £150 all told.
Image

There's something about a new bike though.
There'll be tarmac over, the white cliffs of Dover ...

scottg
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Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby scottg » 21 Jun 2012, 8:39pm

gaz wrote:There's something about a new bike though.


I now think about all the bits that will be changed within 6 months
of buying a new bike. For a tourist, who is supposed to be able to
take a bike to bits by the road side with nothing but set of hex
keys and a rock, there is something to be said for buying used
and rebuilding it to suit.

For the record, Claude Butler went out of business in 1957,
It would be nice if current owner put his own name on the d/t.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-AG
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pioneer
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Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby pioneer » 21 Jun 2012, 8:51pm

True, but badge engineering in the cycle business is still rife.

What I forgot to say about the Regent is this. You get:
a good beefy frame, double wall and eyeletted rims, bosses on the forks for a lowrider rack, extra brake levers on the flat bit of the bars, three sets of bottle bosses, a sturdy rear rack and quality mudguards, basic but reliable Shimano transmission.

I had no particular liking for modern Claud Butler's. Indeed, the Regent, Dawes Vantage, EBC Country, are all much of a muchness. And quite possibly share exactly the same frame. But the Regent is well thought out (apart from the too high gearing) and very well put together. I wasn't even buying a new bike. Just happened to walk into the shop as the closing down signs went up and that was that.

alexlawriewood
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Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby alexlawriewood » 22 Jun 2012, 5:39pm

Wow, thanks for the great response, wasn't expecting such detail, or to find anyone who had them (judging by the dearth of reviews out there).

I'm a big fan of buying expensive things old: musical instruments, motorbikes, etc. Only thing is having the time to wait, and being able to find something reasonably local/quite exceptional and far away. How did you get yours, gaz? eBay? The other thing is that you're never quite sure what you want the first time. So I'm a little of the mindset that you have to just jump in at the deep end the first time, at least to some extent. Good to see all the positive comments if I do go for the CB, though.

PS: tougher gearing = more exercise, right? :D as long as it's not so bad you stop and fall over.

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cycleruk
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Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby cycleruk » 22 Jun 2012, 7:48pm

alexlawriewood wrote:PS: tougher gearing = more exercise, right? :D as long as it's not so bad you stop and fall over.

Wrong, not on a tourer.
Getting off or struggling in a hilly terrain is no fun. :cry:
Even on the flat against a strong headwind will need lowish gears, especially with full luggage.
Much easier to sit and twiddle up hills than standing on the pedals with the bags swinging the bike from side to side.
You'll never know if you don't try it.

dhk
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Re: Buying a budget touring bike

Postby dhk » 23 Jun 2012, 7:39pm

Hi,

joining in a bit late on this one, but I also have a Regent, which I got new in 2010.

For the price, I'm pretty pleased with it, only niggles would be:

- gearing a little on the high side, as has been mentioned by others
- I found the bars a bit low and quite a stretch, on an otherwise good fit, but that was resolved after a bit of faffing with getting the right insert
- original tyres looked poor quality, but to be fair lasted for about 2000 or so miles with only 1 puncture, until I got round to changing them for Marathon's.

Dave