Page 1 of 2

Advice needed: want to buy a touring bike

Posted: 3 Apr 2007, 7:27pm
by green goddess
I'm looking to buy a touring bike. My budget is around £800 and initially the bike is for a 2 week trip in scotland. I'm used to riding an upright bike, so find the whole dropped handlebar thing difficult to get used to. I'm going to be cycling 30-40 miles a day. I've been looking at the Condor touring bike, the Heritage, and had a go earlier today but it felt weird given the fact the frame was the wrong size.
I'm a 5'6" woman if that makes any difference!
Any help and advice would be really appreciated.


Posted: 3 Apr 2007, 7:30pm
by green goddess
If the two week trip is a success I plan to do longer more testing trips. It's going to be mostly used on road, though there is a pipe dream to cycle a very mountainous and badly surfaced road in the Himalayas...

Posted: 3 Apr 2007, 7:46pm
by reohn2
Have you looked a SJS cycles Thorn Sherpa,Its available in drop bar or flat/butterfly bar styles and has a 14day money back offer.
SJS are very 'woman friendly' too.You can change spec to suit you saddle etc.their 'site is,

Posted: 3 Apr 2007, 9:58pm
by dodger
Butterfly bars are good for giving a variety of hand/wrist positions and are more upright than drops. I find mine the best design for me rather than straights or drops so well worth a try.

Posted: 4 Apr 2007, 10:54am
by green goddess
That's really useful, thanks. I'll look into both sjs and butterfly bars.


Posted: 4 Apr 2007, 1:29pm
by peter236uk
I have just brought an dawes audax they some galaxy's for sale i saved a load of money used to have a dawes galaxy great bike

Posted: 4 Apr 2007, 4:06pm
by georgew
It's important for a woman to have a top tube which is shorter than a man's bike. The Sherpa, in that it offers a range of sizes does offer a good chance of buying one that fits and Thorn is particularly good at equipping the bikes it sell with the appropriate crank length, bar width etc.

Posted: 8 Apr 2007, 1:25am
by Cyclefrance
If I were you I'd use about 50% of your budget on the bike and then the rest making sure you have the bike adapted to suit your needs. If you are worried about drop bars then have a look at the Trek hybrid FX range - for about £400 you can get the aluminium-framed model with discs which are better for off-road travel on muddier turf.

With the rest of your money think about fixing front and rear pannier racks (better balance and saves enduring the high centre of gravity that comes with carrying a back-pack) plus decent front and rear bags. Then there's a sensible saddle to consider - I use a Specialised Body Geometry as it removes all chafing and permits more hours each day on the road as a result. Tyres - if you want low resistance on-road coupled with reasonable off-road capability then something like the Specialised Armadillo All Condition range are a good bet. You want to get good breathable clothing - and don't forget when buying waterproofs to get wrap around 'boots' togo over your shoes (the rain drips off legins straight into your shoes otherwise). A cycling computer is a must, and you may even want to consider a basic sat-nav (I use a Garmin eTrek which, used in conjunction with a map, has saved me a good few miles of heading in the wrong direction!). The Cyclaire bicycle pump is also a good buy at £20 being both compact and efficient. I'm sure there are other items to buy (like contoured maps which can easily eat up £20 to £30 without much effort), so even if you do go for something more expensive in the bike range, it's worthwhile to keep a tidy sum aside for extras like the ones I have mentioned.

Posted: 8 Apr 2007, 4:58pm
by diapason
I ride a Thorn Brevet and have changed the drops for a butterfly bar as I've got a duff right arm after an RTA. The bar makes a tremendous difference and is very comfortable. I bought my Thorn secondhand from my LBS in Wellington (Somerset not NZ!), but in all the dealings I've had with SJSC, I've found them very helpful.

(BTW - I'm a 5'5" (decrepit) bloke :oops: )

Posted: 9 Apr 2007, 8:55am
by stof
If you're looking at Thorn bikes, consider their 'comfort bars'. They're basically just a riser bar, but are well designed for long distance comfort, stability and control. I've ridden with butterflies in the past, but they never felt as secure and responsive as straight bars, especially off-road.

You can also fit Amoeba bar-ends just inside your grips with the comfort bars (a standard Thorn set up so they'll know what I mean!), which gives you a really useful 'tuck' position which is fairly aerodynamic in a headwind and gives you a change of position.

For distant, off-road touring I'd personally want a steel-frame. More comfortable and more reliable IMHO. I'd also be wary of disc brakes. They're fine if you have good ones and know what you're doing, but they're not as straight-forward as v-brakes. I have toured with discs and had trouble finding spares for a hydraulic even in London! (the part needed ordering from Germany). When I replaced with a mechanical (Shimano) just to keep the bike going the stopping power was no better than a good disc set up... Eitherway, bear in mind that you will need a couple of extra tools if using discs.

Posted: 9 Apr 2007, 6:14pm
by Tony
Dawes have just reintroduced the Aardar alu-framed 26"wheel expedition-style bike. It is fitted for conversion to discs if you want, and for some strange reason it now has straight bars.
A nice bike with drops.

Posted: 9 Apr 2007, 7:39pm
by Si
Tony wrote:Dawes have just reintroduced the Aardar alu-framed 26"wheel expedition-style bike. It is fitted for conversion to discs if you want, and for some strange reason it now has straight bars.
A nice bike with drops.

That's curious - the pic I saw didn't have disc mounts on it - perhaps I saw some sort of proto-type? Anyhoo, just a personal opinion but I'd not bother with the new Alu Sardar while one can still puchase the old steel, drop bar Sardar for a reasonable price.

Posted: 5 Jun 2007, 1:04pm
by montmorency
Cyclefrance wrote: A cycling computer is a must,

Why, as a matter of interest?


Re:Touring Bike

Posted: 7 Jun 2007, 7:26pm
by alibenbow67
Hi there

I bought my bike,a Dawes Super Galaxy for £699 from Spa Cycles in Harrogate (via their website).This was about £400 less than the usual retail price I think. I have done several tours in Scotland on it,covering similar distances to those you have in mind. I'm 5ft 4 and found this bike really comfortable to ride,though I wasn't sure about the drop handles at first either! My frame size is either 49cm or 51cm.

Save some money for a set of Ortleib panniers if you can.They have kept my camping gear bone dry on many a trip to The Highlands and Islands!


Posted: 8 Jun 2007, 11:50am
by Cyclefrance
montmorency wrote:
Cyclefrance wrote: A cycling computer is a must,

Why, as a matter of interest?


Basic but valid info in respect of distance covered and mph averaged. I've found the distance travelled info helpful on the too many occasions when (pre satnav) my map-reading has resulted in me taking a wrong turn - distance check saved me pedalling too far along the wrong road. Average mph capability/achievable is useful when planning/deciding on next objective. I find this relatively inexpensive item (you can pick up a basic info unit for around Pds20) provides valuable info and therefore takes the unit above a 'nice-to-have' status.