First touring bike advice

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
eskidurk
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Joined: 25 Sep 2018, 3:50pm

First touring bike advice

Postby eskidurk » 25 Sep 2018, 4:04pm

Afternoon all,

Newbie here. I'm planning on touring Europe in Spring 2019 - not 100% sure which countries yet but most likely will be Germany, Belgium, Holland & France. I've ridden mountain bikes for the majority of my life so haven't much experience of touring/road bikes - my current bike is definitely not fit for touring purposes.

I will probably be carrying a heavy load as I plan to bring a laptop and camera with me amongst all the necessary camping bits so am looking for a rugged (probably steel framed) bike with lots of storage potential. My budget is £500ish but could probably stretch it a bit for the right bike. This means I'm mostly likely in the market for a second hand bike. It seems as though Dawes Galaxys are highly recommended at this price range and are widely available 2nd hand. I've trawled all the available marketplaces/forums for 2nd hand bikes in my area and have found a couple of potentials:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/372428990782?ViewItem=&item=372428990782#viTabs_0

I'm very tempted by this Dawes Galaxy and it's not too far from where I live. I'm 5'11" so seems like it could be the right size - but I will hopefully check it out soon to see how it rides. The advert says that it is aluminium rather than steel - could that be the case? I was under the impression the older models were all steel. Do people think this looks like a fair price for what I assume to be an early 90s model?

https://www.gumtree.com/p/bicycles/raleigh-rondonneur-touring-bike/1314138694

I'm also interested in this Raleigh Rondonneur. It's a bit further away from me but looks like another recommended tourer and is a decent price. Not sure what year this model is but will call up and ask - would anyone have an idea from the pictures?

I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to buying 2nd hand bikes and don't have any bike expert friends who could come along with me. What are the key things to look out for and ask when I go and check a bike out? Obviously will check for rust and any dents in the frame etc.

Also, would anyone put forward the argument that buying brand new would be a better idea? It's unlikely that I'd be able to get a cycle to work type scheme through my work so would probably have to shell out the whole amount.

Sorry for all the waffle - any advice would be massively appreciated!

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foxyrider
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Re: First touring bike advice

Postby foxyrider » 25 Sep 2018, 4:43pm

The question I always pose is 'why are so many Galaxiy's for sale?' clearly they are not so well loved. I'd look to the Raleigh but it might be worth checking out your local bike recycling people - you might get a bitsa but it will be a goer.

Given your budget s/h is a reasonable idea but it can be a minefield and not as budget conscious as you might hope. First thing to ask is 'why is it for sale', the answer can be quite revealing. It's also worth asking what sort of use it has had - I would steer clear of anything 'only used for commuting' as it will have been hammered!

Things to check
    condition of tyres
    Do the wheels run true, is there any stiction when the rear wheel is freewheeling
    Hold the pedal and try moving side ways - this will reveal any play in the BlackBerry or pedals
    Is the drivetrain clean or caked in oil - a dirty drivetrain can hide all sorts of horrors
    Is the rear mech hanging straight

Obviously stuff like bar tape, cables, tyres can all be readily and easily sorted out. Too often though bikes are sold because they have a serious expensive problem - a trashed drivetrain could give you a bill of £150 in parts alone.

Do try to get a test ride and go through the gears - stuff that works okay in a static situation could be darn right dangerous when under pressure - slipping chain, poorly functioning brakes for example.

If you don't feel up to doing this stuff don't buy s/h from a private seller.

If you make a purchase, even of something that's reasonably straight, get someone who does know bikes to give it a thorough service.

Good luck
Last edited by foxyrider on 25 Sep 2018, 4:48pm, edited 1 time in total.
Convention? what's that then?

Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

whoof
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Re: First touring bike advice

Postby whoof » 25 Sep 2018, 4:51pm

The Dawes is steel and IMO the Raleigh certainly looks in better nick.

Some but not everything to look for in a ssecond hand bike.
1. Has it been crashed into a wall. As a result there may be creases in the top tube or fork.
2. Are the wheels true, spokes tensioned and rims unworn. Spin the wheels and see if the wobble from side to side, gently squeeze the spokes to see if any as loose, put a straight edge ruler against the rim. If they are excessively worn the rim wall won't be flat.
3. Are the bearings worn.
Put on the front brake and rock the bike back and forth. If the headset bearings are worn you will feel it clunk. Lift the front wheeel off the floor and the bars should turn freely without a notch in the straight forward positon.
Put the pedals so they are at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock and try to rock them from side to side (they shouldn't)
Try and move the wheels from side to side, they shouldn't.
4. Try and adjust the height of the saddle and if they have a quill stem the bars. These may have been in place for years and have seized.
5. Don't buy a stolen one. It encourages thieves to steal move of them. How to avoid doing this is another subject.

The problem with second hand bikes is that you can't be sure when a good one will come up. I bought a good condition Surly LHT this year for £500 but I'd been looking for 2 years. There was a Kona Sutra with very little use that has just sold near me for £400.

whoof
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Re: First touring bike advice

Postby whoof » 25 Sep 2018, 4:55pm

foxyrider wrote:Hold the pedal and try moving side ways - this will reveal any play in the BlackBerry or pedals


Is this an autocorrect? I asked a builder the other day for a quote for my 'bewitched', which had been 'new kitchen' until a tablet have other ideas.

slowster
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Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

Re: First touring bike advice

Postby slowster » 26 Sep 2018, 11:03am

In aiming to spend less on a bike by buying second hand, you need to be careful that you don't end up spending a great deal more than a new bike might cost because of a need to replace worn out and unsuitable parts. Similarly you want to avoid a high risk of breakdown occurring mid-tour when you are in the middle of nowhere, resulting in an expensive trip getting you and your bike to a bike shop where you could be faced with an expensive bill.

Things that would concern me about the Galaxy and bikes of a similar age:

- You don't know how well it has been looked after. A bit of surface rust could be nothing to worry about and to be expected for a bike of that age. What you would probably not be able to see or check is rust inside the frame, especially the chain stays. Thicker gauge tubes were/are generally used for touring bikes like the Galaxy, so if rusting does occur it can take a very long time to eat through enough of the tube to become a problem, but if the bike has had a hard life and been used to commute on salty roads in winter, then it might be a real risk. If you were buying the bike to use for general local riding and commuting, finding one day that the chainstay had cracked might be no big deal, and you might even be able to get it repaired by a local framebuilder. On tour might be a very different matter, and the extra weight and stress of loaded touring will probably expose any weakness in the frame.

- The hub spacing is most probably 126mm, and the bikes are therefore probably fitted with freewheels rather than a cassette and modern 130mm or 135mm freehubs. Freewheel hub axles are more likely to break than the stronger Shimano cassette freehub design, and again heavy loaded touring use is probably when that is more likely to happen. I suspect that the wheels are not in good enough condition anyway for use for loaded touring. You could get the rear of the frame re-set to 130mm or 135mm to accept the newer standard hubs and get new wheels, but once you start doing that, the cost will probably soon start to make the bike look like much less of a bargain.

- I suspect that even if the basic frame were OK and the wheels were sorted out, you would have to spend quite a bit on money on other parts and bits and pieces, which would add up. Incidentally the rear rack on the Dawes looks like it might not be ideal with very heavy pannier loads: the rear struts are not triangulated and I suspect it might be prone to sway a bit compared with the better modern racks.

Frankly, for what it is the Galaxy looks way overpriced. For that sort of money I would rather buy a new hybrid from Decathlon and tour on that. It might not be ideal, but I would have more confidence in it and if anything did go wrong with it on tour, the parts are modern and easily replaced (https://www.decathlon.co.uk/C-376962-hybrid-and-touring-bikes#product_8405477)

If you can stretch your budget, Spa have some demo bikes for sale, including a 54cm and 57cm tourer (you would almost certainly be one of those two sizes), both for £850. These bikes will be very well specc'd with quality components, and also very well built (not least the handbuilt wheels) and assembled, and perfect for your requirements.

https://www.spacycles.co.uk/smsimg/exde ... st18v4.pdf
Last edited by slowster on 26 Sep 2018, 12:13pm, edited 3 times in total.

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pjclinch
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Re: First touring bike advice

Postby pjclinch » 26 Sep 2018, 11:04am

eskidurk wrote:I've ridden mountain bikes for the majority of my life so haven't much experience of touring/road bikes - my current bike is definitely not fit for touring purposes.


If you're not used to drop bars you need to be aware that they take some getting used to, and not everyone actually likes them. Also, to make a MTB (at least a hardtail or old rigid) fit for touring is usually a case of change the tyres and put a rack on, and especially if you're comfortable with and on the bike that's a cheap and effective solution.
I'm not saying drop bars are bad, I'm just pointing out they're not especially necessary, and if you look at e.g. German touring bikes they tend not to bother: there's a lot of culture and fashion in there, and there are other ways to do the job effectively. Augment flats with bars ends, or replace with butterfly bars, and you have a lot more brake and gear options than an old drop-bar tourer.

eskidurk wrote:I will probably be carrying a heavy load as I plan to bring a laptop and camera with me amongst all the necessary camping bits so am looking for a rugged (probably steel framed) bike with lots of storage potential.


Much tosh is talked about frame materials IMHO. You can make great frames out of steel or aluminium alloy and you can make indifferent frames out of steel or aluminium alloy. Think how many aluminium MTBs are out there regularly getting bashed on trails and it's pretty clear you don't need steel to be rugged. While theoretically steel frames are repairable, when my EBC Country steel framed tourer broke a weld at the head tube (it wasn't doing anything Monster, btw) it was just replaced by EBC despite being out of warranty by a few years, and if you break a weld in the middle of nowhere best of luck finding a handy welding shop...

As has been said on other threads, what you really need to go touring is the will to go touring. Over the years people will have done any tour most of might do on vastly inferior equipment and had a great time. I'd get used to touring locally with what you've got and let that inform you what you'll need for the big tour you have in mind.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

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foxyrider
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Re: First touring bike advice

Postby foxyrider » 26 Sep 2018, 8:45pm

whoof wrote:
foxyrider wrote:Hold the pedal and try moving side ways - this will reveal any play in the BlackBerry or pedals


Is this an autocorrect? I asked a builder the other day for a quote for my 'bewitched', which had been 'new kitchen' until a tablet have other ideas.


Sorry, yes it is supposed to be BB - ie bottom bracket!
Convention? what's that then?

Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

MrsHJ
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Re: First touring bike advice

Postby MrsHJ » 27 Sep 2018, 10:25am

My first touring bike was just my bike. It was a generic Raleigh hybrid and was fine.

Next bike was an orbit gold medal. I was speedy on that and it happily did audax rides and cycle camping tours but I also had a bit of a problem with the fit on my upper back. Anyway the orbit was a bit specialised for general running round and towing kids bikes so I added on a Kona Dr Dew. That’s their asphalt bike range -mine’s 12 years old but there are similar ones in the current Dew range from Kona.

I ended up finding that more comfortable than the orbit especially on family tours so I’ve been touring on that for the last few years and I’ve got into the habit of using it although I still have the orbit and should do something with it.

I’ve been pricing up a thorn nomad with rohloff for my next tour but having spent some cash on the dr dew to upgrade it a bit I’m just leaning to keeping that going. The spa cycles bike mentioned above would be in a similar vein of serious touring fully equipped bike to a thorn. The galaxy or randonneur would also be fine and designed to do the job.

I’m not saying you should get what I have - just illustrating the range of approaches for touring.

eskidurk
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Joined: 25 Sep 2018, 3:50pm

Re: First touring bike advice

Postby eskidurk » 28 Sep 2018, 2:45pm

Thank you all for your thorough responses - totally unexpected and massively appreciated!

I swerved the Dawes and went to look at the Raleigh. I followed your advice on checking the bike's condition and it seems to be in fantastic shape. The guy selling it said it hadn't been ridden an awful lot in recent years and had been kept in a garage (out of the cold) and I believe him. There are a couple of tiny spots of rust in places but otherwise it seems like a real bargain, especially with the pannier racks/bags. I imagine the brakes need looking at having been out of action for so long - but he said everything had been recently serviced before putting on gumtree.

I've really enjoyed commuting on it to work the last couple of days and feel like it's a comfortable fit!

@pgclinch: You're right it does feel a bit strange using drop bars but I feel like I'm getting used to them already along with the bar-end shifters. My MTB (Whyte 901) isn't in fantastic condition and could do with a service and a few new bits - so it would have probably ended up costing upwards of £300 to get it in a good condition. Adding to that the cost of bikepacking bags or racks it would have cost considerably more for me to go that route.

Once again, thank you all for the advice!

MrsHJ
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Re: First touring bike advice

Postby MrsHJ » 28 Sep 2018, 3:21pm

Sounds great, keep us updated on your first tour.