Bike advice for novice tourer

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thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Jul 2009, 7:18pm

When somebody has set out their price range, I'd be slow to start advising them to spend more but I think chris667 is going in the right direction. My lbs always mention what they call the "compromises" on a bike - the areas where the manufactures have economised. This tends to be in the anonymous parts of the bike - bearings, spokes, rims, even complete wheels, the chain, handlebars etc. I know I'm always the one going on about inflation, but there might be something to be said for saving up a bit longer if you can. Once somebody has demonstrated that their cycling is not a 5 minute wonder, there's an argumant for ushing the boat out.

Bea
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Joined: 17 Jul 2009, 1:16pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 19 Jul 2009, 9:05pm

I have to say that I'm starting to seriously feel inclined to go for an audax type main reason being that I can see my cycling progressing that way. I'm enjoying the long rides more and more so ideally I'd like to go for one on weekends (for which I may need to alternate my usual Sunday CTC ride with some audax rides). But I still want to do some touring too because travelling is my other passion and I've discovered I can have the best of both worlds on cycling holidays. Initially, probably 3 or 4 long weekends and the odd week-long hol but always using hostels not camping. I do plan the LEJOG and C2C next year but again sleeping in hostels so I'm sure that 2 not heavily loaded panniers will do the job. Hence the penny's started to drop that may be an audax will be a better choice. With still £700/800 budget (and I'm really stretching myself here) the Dawes are out of my league. I think the Ridgeback Horizon is very likely to be my next bike.

I so appreciate all of your responses and taking the time to give your advice. Without the tips I picked up from this discussion I would've certainly bought something I'd regret.

Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 20 Jul 2009, 10:23am

Fresh great news. My employer has decided to drop Halfords and will be using the cycleplus scheme which operates with some LBS! So I hope to have a pre and post sales better experience. I'm still looking at the Ridgeback Horizon but I'm sure the LBS may come up with good suggestions too. And another thing, I may even be able to stretch myself a bit more because honestly the monthly payments are very low.

BTW, I've never been to an Audax ride yet but are female riders welcome? May be it's a stupid question but I met a couple of audax riders and they kinda look down on me when I was head-to-head with them on a ride. It may as well just be a wrong impression I got.

random37
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Joined: 19 Sep 2008, 4:41pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby random37 » 20 Jul 2009, 12:39pm

Now that IS great news. A good LBS should be able to get you the Aravis frame I put the link up to, and you'll be able to choose components to get a complete bike well within your budget.

Bea wrote:BTW, I've never been to an Audax ride yet but are female riders welcome? May be it's a stupid question but I met a couple of audax riders and they kinda look down on me when I was head-to-head with them on a ride. It may as well just be a wrong impression I got.


Of course they are. You're always going to meet nutters, but cycling clubs are generally very welcoming. They're probably annoyed that someone who obviously has natural talent is keeping up with them on a cheap bike. Now that's snobbery! :P

Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 20 Jul 2009, 12:59pm

Chris, I hope I'm not milking your advice now but say if I ask my LBS to put up a bike for me using the frame that you suggested, what about the rest of the bike? Should I trust their choice and let them decide? How does it work?

And yes, I'm definitely milking it now but which of these would you go to:

http://www.crazyhorsebikeworkshop.co.uk/
www.moosecycles.com
www.devercycles.co.uk
www.cycleworx.co.uk

More options (in terms of makes and tailored built) is fantastic but also is doing my head in!

random37
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Joined: 19 Sep 2008, 4:41pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby random37 » 20 Jul 2009, 1:40pm

I've no experience of any of those shops, so I can't say. Looking at the websites, they all sound pretty competent. De Ver looks a bit racing oriented, Crazy Horse and Moose sound competent but a bit biased towards mountain bikes, and Cycleworx sounds interesting but I bet they're expensive! Cycleworx talks about dealing in secondhand bikes, which is generally a good sign for a bike shop.
Can you choose any LBS, or does it have to be one of those? I could suggest a couple outside of London that I suspect will give you a lot more for your money if you're willing to travel.
As for specification, you want plain but well made equipment. Wheels should have 32 or 36 spokes and be handbuilt, anything else is much harder to live with. Definitely don't buy wheels that need special spokes or to go back to the shop for repair. Other components can be cheap, and you can upgrade them as they wear out if you find they aren't doing what you want them too. If you can live with downtube shifters that's at least £100 off the purchase price of your bike, and although they seem weird at first, you'll soon get used to them. The frame and the wheels are the really important bits to get right.

Going back to the Byercycles website, their Retro Tec package of the bike is a good example of the kind of parts you should aim for:

http://www.byercycles.co.uk/bikeprice%2 ... R1008.html

saudidave
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby saudidave » 20 Jul 2009, 1:53pm

If I were you I would think very carefully before buying a bike sourced from components and built by a LBS, unless you have a lot of knowledge or you can be absolutely certain that the LBS of your choice has. There are a lot of incompetent "experts" out there who will give you duff advice. Personally, I would go for a quality, off the shelf bike from a reputable manufacturer like Dawes, Ridgeback, Thorn, etc. You should (in theory) get a relatively well designed bike with well matched components. You'll also get a guarantee that means something, even if the LBS goes out of business in the next 12 months. Whilst I agree you will save money with downtube shifters, I wouldn't reccomend them if you can avoid it. Bar ends are cheap enough and much more user friendly!

random37
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby random37 » 20 Jul 2009, 2:22pm

saudidave wrote:If I were you I would think very carefully before buying a bike sourced from components and built by a LBS, unless you have a lot of knowledge or you can be absolutely certain that the LBS of your choice has. There are a lot of incompetent "experts" out there who will give you duff advice. Personally, I would go for a quality, off the shelf bike from a reputable manufacturer like Dawes, Ridgeback, Thorn, etc. You should (in theory) get a relatively well designed bike with well matched components. You'll also get a guarantee that means something, even if the LBS goes out of business in the next 12 months. Whilst I agree you will save money with downtube shifters, I wouldn't reccomend them if you can avoid it. Bar ends are cheap enough and much more user friendly!

And that, of course, is where choosing your shop well comes in. You need one that's tuned in to the kind of bike you want to buy, is knowledgeable, and won't rip you off. That's why I haven't recommended any of the shops you've asked about. And personally, as someone who's really interested in bikes (can you tell? :P ) I think the setup of a lot of off-the-peg bikes is not so well thought out. Most new mass produced bikes have machine built wheels, which is not good, and they tend to be too high geared. Wheels and frame are the only really important bits, everything else is trimmings.
An off the peg Thorn (perhaps a Brevet?) would be a good choice for you, they're very well thought out, though it might be a bit more than you wanted to spend.

Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 20 Jul 2009, 2:46pm

I can see where both of you is coming from. Chris, I can tell your passion about bikes Chris but as much as I try to understand my bike honestly it's hard for me to cope with all the specs. I don't think I have the knowledge (of my LBS or bike components) to go for a purpose built bike (which I thought was a better option because it would be tailor made rather than cheaper). So I think that Saudidave is right about staying on the safe side (particularly considering I'm a complete novice at entry level!). I will however take the advice of going for an audax bike because it looks unlikely I will ever carry a tent with me so a light tourer looks more versatile particularly looking at my Sunday CTC/Audaxish rides. There's no way I can take in everything I've read over the weekend but I'm definitely better (or more) informed. I'll go for a Thorn Club Tour or a Ridgeback Horizon both of which appear to make a good entry level bike.

random37
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Joined: 19 Sep 2008, 4:41pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby random37 » 20 Jul 2009, 5:55pm

If you can stretch to a Thorn, it's a good choice. I'd suggest the Brevet as opposed to the Club Tour - it's designed for narrower tyres and less luggage (touring but not camping).
Or the Audax MK3, which is a contender for the best audax bike money can buy, a lot more expensive though.

http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/brevetconical.html

Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 20 Jul 2009, 8:07pm

The Audax MK3 is for very experienced cyclist as per what their own website says plus it's "happier" with up to 8kg of luggage. The Club Tour looks like the perfect mix & match between fastish rides and touring (it looks as they are not supplying the Brevet any more). I have to say I fell in love with the Thorn, for some reason it's very appealing. However, and it's a big however, the price is £1300! Probably via C2W that would amount to about £50 a month I guess which is completely payable but wow wow wow it's a lot of money! I suppose it should pay off by the fact it will last me many years. But the figure is still echoing in my mind! I have to check whether any of the shops in the scheme can supply the Thorn, else, it will have to be a Ridgeback. That said, once you start dreaming Thorn it feels sad to awake to the Ridgeback option.

random37
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby random37 » 20 Jul 2009, 8:55pm

Thorns are great. But the Club Tour is designed for 32mm tyres or wider, which is wider than an Audax bike wants. 28mm is the sweet spot. 4mm isn't a lot, but trust me when I say it makes a huge difference to the amount of energy you expend over a day.

It might be better to go to Bridgewater and actually try them both out to see what I mean.

Bea
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Joined: 17 Jul 2009, 1:16pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 20 Jul 2009, 9:30pm

Having to choose between loading capacity and speed may be I'd go for the former. I enjoy longish rides and that's what is appealing of the Audax rides but if I could go for proper long day rides with CTC I'd go for it. I'm not interested in the racing side (though I can see how addictive it can easily become). What I mean is that I'm not very concerned about those 4mm. And I'd rather have a more pleasant experience when I venture to LEJOG or C2C or be it a European trip. Does it make sense? Ultimately, I've just been cycling for a year so my expertise is limited at its best!

Anyway, I'll have to check whether the Thorn is available via any of the retailers in the scheme. Absolutely no way I could afford it if it's not through C2W.

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Spinners
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Spinners » 21 Jul 2009, 6:46am

chris667 wrote:Or the Audax MK3, which is a contender for the best audax bike money can buy, a lot more expensive though.



The Audax Mk3 is top value! Are you getting confused with the Audax 853?
Cycling UK Life Member

Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 21 Jul 2009, 10:32am

On the Thorn website it says about the MK3 "The Mk3 is aimed at experienced cyclists. Whilst there is plenty of clearance for “larger than average sized feet” wearing “proper” cycling shoes and system pedals (or steel toe clips) there may not be clearance -between “trainers” and the mudguard". And if there's something I'm not is an experienced cyclist.

I'd go for the MK3 otherwise (I changed my mind yet again!) because I realised that my panniers fully loaded wouldn't weigh more that 10kg so that sort of bike should be fine (let alone that I'm lighter than an average male rider).
Bearing this type of bike, what other makes would you consider in a lower price range? I know we should aim for the best but am I not being too pretentious going for such a good bike so soon in my "cycling life"?