Suitable bike for

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
wannabetourer
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Re: Suitable bike for

Postby wannabetourer » 1 Feb 2011, 2:16pm

Thank you all for your advice and opinions - much appreciated, there is such a wealth of knowledge on here! I would love to be a mechanical tinker, even if just for the name, but alas am useless with anything slightly involving engineering (yes, to me, bicycles come under this category!). I like the look of the Edinburgh bike, a bit far to travel (I am London/Essex based) but always worth a call to find out more. I shall also have a look at the ones suggested that are for sale on the forum. I did consider the idea of fully converting my galaxy, but think I might get lost in a muddle of gear options and all sorts of other technical stuff - so may get an 'off the shelf' bike and make a couple of changes (via a helpful bike mechanic, of course!) Thank you again for all your help, and if there are any other bikes you can suggest which might suit, please do let me know :-) The cheaper end of the Dawes bikes (read: less than £600) look good, but are they..?

MartinBrice
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Re: Suitable bike for

Postby MartinBrice » 2 Feb 2011, 3:18pm

wannabetourer wrote:The cheaper end of the Dawes bikes (read: less than £600) look good, but are they..?

No. that is why they are cheaper. On a tour of several weeks you will have lots of time to realise this.

fatboy
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Re: Suitable bike for

Postby fatboy » 2 Feb 2011, 3:28pm

MartinBrice wrote:
wannabetourer wrote:The cheaper end of the Dawes bikes (read: less than £600) look good, but are they..?

No. that is why they are cheaper. On a tour of several weeks you will have lots of time to realise this.


Hardly fair this! I have a Horizon and it's still going strong after 11000 miles and a couple of tours. They are 8-speed which I personally think is better for touring than 9-speed or higher (my mate's Super Galaxy's 9-speed chain broke a few hundred yards into last summers tour!).

So if you can make one fit you comfortably (which is the same for a bike at any price) they are good (others might be better) and are proper bikes . You can update the bits as you go along. When I wore down the rims I got handbuilt wheels with better hubs and I changed the saddle.
"Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again so is the bicycle puncture repair kit." - Billy Connolly

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3spd
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Re: Suitable bike for

Postby 3spd » 2 Feb 2011, 4:07pm

I think you really need to look at the Raleigh Royal Tourer , steel frame front and rear racks for £400, bargain!
Yes it is dropped bars but a good bike shop should be willing to change this at point of sale for a relatively small fee, my local bike shop said this would be no problem.
My worse day on my bike is better than my best day at work!

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al_yrpal
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Re: Suitable bike for

Postby al_yrpal » 2 Feb 2011, 4:26pm

A different point of view, which meets many of your requirements. It sounds like you have the same attitude as me - "never mind the milage, lets look at these interesting places":

I came from a Dawes Galaxy to this viewtopic.php?f=16&t=36102&hilit=tourer+for+a+song .

Before that I toured extensively on a Dawes Galaxy, before that a MTB with suspension forks, and before that a flimsy road bike. After a lot of experimentation, what I have now is the ultimate touring bike for me.

1. It has the comfy sit up position so you can look around and see things rather than staring at tarmac.
2. It has 26" wheels with nice fat Panaracer Pasela tyres with flexible sidewalls which gives a comfy vibration free ride
3. It has rigid forks - Why ? Because with suspension forks on a tourer you can often get 'bobbing' which is uncomfortable and wastes energy. I always locked the forks out when touring on my MTB. It has Ergon grips and Ergo bar ends which reduce vibration when travelling on bridleways and canal banks. It would probably benefit from Butterfly bars to reduce road shock even further.
4. It as absolutely stable unlike my Dawes or the road bike heavily loaded. I can descend big hills at high speed with absolute confidence (also note the disc brakes - I can stop in any weather in a shorter distance with absolute confidence).
5. It has a gel saddle which absorbs vibration and spreads my weight more evenly avoiding the saddle sores I experienced on various leather saddles . Its easy to get various versions of gel saddles with fat rubber springs too.
6. It has excellent snappy action SRAM MTB gearing, cassette 11/32T, Chainset 42/32/22T 24 gears. Absolutely spot on for touring. .
7. I spent less than £500 overall.

This bike has an aluminium frame and steel forks. It is a very stiff bike. if I could have afforded it I might have bought a flat barred steel Thorn Sherpa, but it was too expensive for me.

Just as a warning my touring bike flies in the face of conventional wisdom on this forum. The root mean squared advice here is buy a steel Dawes Galaxy with rim brakes and a Brooks saddle. But I tried that, found it unsuitable and eventually settled on a converted Halfords (shock horror!!) commuter bike. It suits me.

As an Engineer, even with many years of experience designing all sorts of structures in Aluminium and Steel, I don't have an answer to the aluminium/steel debate. So much depends on geometry and the actual design of the frame which governs the stiffness and vibration performance, ultimately affecting comfort. What I do know is that raw aluminium welds are more susceptible to fatigue cracking than similar welded steel joints, brazed joints or lugged joints. But on a touring bike ridden mainly on normal roads, this is not a problem.

Good luck with your search

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. Make a difference...

albal1
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Re: Suitable bike for

Postby albal1 » 2 Feb 2011, 4:32pm

I am touring on this when re built; Old steel frame Raleigh 1989. Any ideas on what best for gearing ? currently on 48,38,28 front . and 6 spd cassette. Are Rigida wheels ok? seen some from sjs around £280.
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3spd
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Re: Suitable bike for

Postby 3spd » 2 Feb 2011, 5:18pm

If you'd cosider an alloy frame then I can recommend a Ridgeback Velocity, again fitted with steel forks and has rack mounts front and rear.
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b1ke
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Re: Suitable bike for

Postby b1ke » 2 Feb 2011, 8:01pm

the Dawes bikes (read: less than £600) look good, but are they..?

No. that is why they are cheaper. On a tour of several weeks you will have lots of time to realise this.


Me and my girlfriend did a 4500 mile tour of Europe (over 3.5 months) on a second hand Dawes Sardar 2 tandem last year. It cost us £300 on ebay. Superb bike. Even though I don't like aluminium and 9 speed gearing, I was very impressed by the sturdiness of the bike. We had rear wheel issues with broken spokes, although we met another couple on a tandem and their wheels alone had cost them 900 euros and they also had the same issues.

All bikes will have problems, but what's the issue with fixing them/getting them fixed? Europe has plenty of bike shops. If I had £500 to spend I'd expect a lot of bike for that and want it fully set up for touring in with the price. I've just bought a Thorn Sherpa frame (£250) and a donor bike (Specialized Rockhopper (£50)) for parts to build it up. For £300 I hope to have a class machine and a very simple 7 speed, fully rigid, capable bike to tour on. Some people have lots of cash, some people (like me) don't. But cycle touring is very accessible to the working classes, so even us paupers can indulge ourselves. We had 3.5 months of summertime and open roads for £1200 each, plus the 300 quid on the tandem. What's £1500, the price of a Rohloff hub and Chris King headset? I know which I'd prefer to spend my hard earned cash on.

Whatever you end up touring on, enjoy the ride... 8)
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meic
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Re: Suitable bike for

Postby meic » 2 Feb 2011, 8:19pm

albal1 wrote:I am touring on this when re built; Old steel frame Raleigh 1989. Any ideas on what best for gearing ? currently on 48,38,28 front . and 6 spd cassette. Are Rigida wheels ok? seen some from sjs around £280.


I have a very similar bike to that from the same year. One of the Lightweight MTB range.
It is an excellent tourer and workhorse.

That one doesnt appear to have the rack braze-ons that mine does.

Looking at the condition of the frame and it having neither front nor rear braze-ons, is it worth restoring this bike?

I bought my entire bike in good working order 6 years ago for £45. These bikes do not cost what they are worth and can be picked up very cheaply.

Also it seems very disproportionate to spend £280 for a pair of wheels for it when good touring wheels can be had for £100 less and would still be better quality than the frame.

I am not knocking the general idea, my bike has been upgraded by about £500 of quality components but the frame was in a much better condition (when I started).
It will make a good tourer but you could save a lot of time and money by buying a well kept secondhand bike.

Mine had a 6 speed Ultraglide fitted and ultraglides are not available any more in this country unless you hit lucky on Ebay. So new hubs and cassettes could be a problem also the hubs had lousy weather sealing so better to buy new wheels from the start and then pick the number of gears to fit on them.
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nmnm
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Re: Suitable bike for

Postby nmnm » 3 Feb 2011, 6:19pm

Couple of thoughts:

I've had a cheap £20 suspension seatpost (Post Moderne) and a dear £80 one (USE Alien XCR). Neither made much difference. I believe they are good if you are very fat. I say this because the one time I did notice the magic carpet effect was when I was moving house and transporting a heavy rucksack. I was forced to sit with my full weight (plus the rest) on the seat, and yes I could feel the seatpost in this situation. But normally, it simply adds dead weight that might as well be replaced with something more useful like a well padded saddle or bigger tyres (both of which do make big differences).

The bike you describe, sub £500, flat bars, upright riding position, sounds like a "hybrid" or an "urban mtb" bike. Many of us have owned early 90s mountain bikes from new, replacing worn out parts with better stuff, ending up with bikes that are strong, stable, great for touring if you like a fairly upright position. Oddly, by the time you've upgraded all the bits on an early 90s mtb, it's stronger and better at load carrying than a Galaxy (IMHO), and often about 3 pounds lighter (so you can take more gear or fear the hills less, your choice). You say you don't want a mechanical project. Luckily you can now buy such bikes new.

So, for example, there's the £350 Edinburgh Bicycle Revolution Courier Classic Disc - there's probably a non-disc version coming along in a few weeks also.

Or the 2010 Revolution Courier 27 which weighs 27 lbs because although it has a tough as nails frame, it has full deore gear on it. For £400.

There are a few Edinb. Bike shops in England now but if that's too far (they do mail order too) you'll find similar options in local shops if you use the catch phrase "urban mtb".

I hesitate to point you toward the Halfords but they have the whole Kona Dew range (starts at £350). Kona is a good brand, and the Dew model has an upright riding position, an alu frame (lifetime warranty) and looks nice to me. You can wheel up and test ride these probably. Bit of fun! Much like the Ridgeback that someone mentioned, the Dew would cope fine with a rack.

Halfords also has an Apollo urban mtb bike at £250ish (down from £350ish). You could take that for a quick spin too, just for fun and to gain sizing expertise..

One other thing, if you plan to stay in hostels or cheap hotels (which can be v cheap in France) I'd think twice before lugging 10kg of camping gear along. Paying for the hotel / hostel is paying to not have to carry all that weight for no reason. You can always have each hotel phone ahead to help you book that next hotel each day.

dejavu
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Re: Suitable bike for

Postby dejavu » 4 Feb 2011, 12:05pm

Like yourself, I acquired a second hand Dawes Galaxy last year specifically for cycling down the Danube through Gemany, Austria & Hungary. I couldn't get used to the riding position & found the head down position, especially using the drops was uncomfortable & made my back ache. I toyed with fitting butterfly bars & visited my local bike shop with this in mind. The bike man who naturally enough was also a very keen cyclist, told me that due to a back injury he had suffered some years ago, he had fitted an extendable & adjustable handlebar stem to his road bike, which had dramatically improved his comfort by providing a more upright cycling position.
He suggested I try a similar remedy before splashing out money on buying & fitting butterfly bars. He fitted an adjustable stem to my bike there & then for about £15 which has done the trick. I subsequently completed my trip along the Danube without any problems.

One thing I still don't like though is using the brakes from the drops position. I didn't have to do that on the Danube trip cos there weren't any steep hills, but on the occasions when I do need to get more leverage & power to the brakes by using the drop position I always feel uncomfortable. I seem to struggle to get my hand to reach the levers properly & end up with a couple of fingers just about gripping the levers & my nose almost pressed against the bars.

I'm glad I made the change though & think it was £15 well spent. Luckily I can cope with braking on most hills from the hoods position. :)

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Robert
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Re: Suitable bike for

Postby Robert » 4 Feb 2011, 9:00pm

fatboy wrote:
MartinBrice wrote:
wannabetourer wrote:The cheaper end of the Dawes bikes (read: less than £600) look good, but are they..?

No. that is why they are cheaper. On a tour of several weeks you will have lots of time to realise this.


Hardly fair this! I have a Horizon and it's still going strong after 11000 miles and a couple of tours. They are 8-speed which I personally think is better for touring than 9-speed or higher (my mate's Super Galaxy's 9-speed chain broke a few hundred yards into last summers tour!).

So if you can make one fit you comfortably (which is the same for a bike at any price) they are good (others might be better) and are proper bikes . You can update the bits as you go along. When I wore down the rims I got handbuilt wheels with better hubs and I changed the saddle.


Like B1ke we've toured for the last three summers on a low end Dawes tandem. A Dawes Discovery Twin that we bought new for £650 about five or six years ago. None of the problems we've had have been because it was cheap. We had our first spoke breakage this autumn and the only other problem we had was when the rear bottom bracket came loose. We're pondering tarting it up with new wheels and disc brakes this year.

wannabetourer
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Re: Suitable bike for

Postby wannabetourer » 5 Feb 2011, 2:05pm

So many considerations to make! I think I am definitely a sit up and beg girl, but not confident enough to do an MTB conversion - though love what can be done with a Halfords MTB! The cheaper end of the Dawes bikes are calling me...as is the Trek T30; it's aluminium but until I go on a RTW tour I may as well get something cheaper and then upgrade when my biking gets serious!! I do really like the look of the bikes from Edinburgh too, and may make a trip up there to take a look. In an ideal world, I would get a Kona Sutra; but this is purely based on looks alone!