Bike advice for novice tourer

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saudidave
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby saudidave » 21 Jul 2009, 11:21am

Bea wrote: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"?


If you are pedalling a bike correctly with your feet in the right position, I can see no reason why trainers or shoes should give less clearance that "proper" cycling shoes. I would also add that "proper" cycling shoes give you a distinctly better riding experience than trainers, because the soles are stiffer. I've just graduated to a pair of specialised road shoes with spd's after 45 years using trainers and toeclips and I am well pleased with the improvement in comfort and safety. (easier to detach the feet from the pedals compered to toe clips). As I previously stated a Dawes (Horizon or Galaxy), or a Raleigh Royal if you want to go cheaper still, would be excellent choices for a first proper touring bike. Ther is nothing pretentious about wanting the best though and if it's a matter of a few quid a month to get a Galaxy over an Horizon, I'd be going for it!. I have a '94 (I think!) Galaxy that I rebuilt recently and I love it. (http://www.picasaweb.google.co.uk/saudi ... axyrebuild)

Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 21 Jul 2009, 11:36am

Will the day ever come when I'll be able to do something similar with my bike?
On another frustrating note, I hate the ability some people have to curb your enthusiasm so easily. You can't get a Thorn bike via C2W as they are only sold by SJC. So back to square one. I got excited about the Dawes but would you rate them as light tourers?
For some reason the Ridgeback Horizon is now top of my list. But then since I was considering stretching to a Thorn I may as well consider other bikes on a higher price range.

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frank9755
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby frank9755 » 21 Jul 2009, 12:06pm

The main issue to check with the Ridgeback Horizon is whether you are happy that it has low enough gearing for you. I recall it has a compact double with something like a 34T smaller ring, compared to the 28 or 26 which most tourers would have.

I like low gears to I changed the 28 which came on my Super Galaxy for a 24 - now I can get up virtually anything without breaking too much sweat - but you might feel differently. You can change the rings but there are limits.

Other thing is that the Horizon has Sora shifters, which, in my experience, are not quite as nice to use as Tiagra, because the lever is in a different position and also, in my opinion, because the braking is not so sharp.

Freddie
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Freddie » 21 Jul 2009, 12:22pm

My advice would be go for a tourer rather than an audax.

Audax bikes seem to only fit 28mm tyres & mudguards at best. Others will disagree, but IMO these are the skinniest tyres you want to use on anything other than an all-out racer. Also the pressure at which you can run 32/35mm tyres drops quite a lot from 28's (65 rather than 90/95 PSI), which makes things comfier/more stable on bridle paths and poorly maintained roads (many people have the unfortunate habit of pumping all tyres up as hard as possible, mitigating many of the benefits of wider tyres).

The longer chainstays of a tourer make it more stable when carrying loads on a rear rack, less shoe/pannier interfacing.

Ultimately, the versatility of the tourer trumps the slightly more racey audax.

Lastly, go for a bike with a decent frame that does what you want, components can and will get upgraded over time, the frame you're stuck with.

Big T
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Big T » 21 Jul 2009, 12:27pm

I'd also advise going for a tourer - perhaps the Ridgeback Voyage, which can be had from Evans for £699.

I've got a Ridgeback Panorama and can't fault it. It's so comfortable that I can ride all day on it, but I don't find it sluggish. A racing club run recently overtook me on a ride and I easily jumped onto the back of their group. They were doing 22 mph and I wasn't struggling to keep up on the tourer. Mine has 35mm tyres but you can go down to 28mm tyres if you feel you need to.

Plus, I recently rode JOG-LE on it, with 2 fully loaded Ortlieb panniers. I also use it everyday for riding to work.
My JOGLE blog:
http://www.jogler2009.blogspot.com
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saudidave
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby saudidave » 21 Jul 2009, 12:33pm

Bea wrote:Will the day ever come when I'll be able to do something similar with my bike?
On another frustrating note, I hate the ability some people have to curb your enthusiasm so easily. You can't get a Thorn bike via C2W as they are only sold by SJC. So back to square one. I got excited about the Dawes but would you rate them as light tourers?
For some reason the Ridgeback Horizon is now top of my list. But then since I was considering stretching to a Thorn I may as well consider other bikes on a higher price range.


A Dawes Horizon or Galaxy is more than capable for "light touring" or heavy touring come to that. Don't be fooled in to thinking that they aren't up to it. I've just got rid of a Raleigh Granada which in it's day would have been the equivalent of a Dawes Horizon; basic 531 frame, I'd upgraded it to 14 indexed gears and it had relatively basic alloy wheels (Weinemann rims & Maillard hubs). It served me well for over 20 years and it was perfectly capable of long tours if you wanted that. The Galaxy I've replaced it with is better, but I wouldn't say the leap is Quantum. It's a bit more responsive, the gears are a bit lower, the ratios are a bit better, the brakes are a bit (well a lot really) better etc. It's all a bit!

Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 21 Jul 2009, 1:03pm

Thank you all so much for your input which is invaluable for someone like me with virtually no knowledge. I can tell you that as fascinating as it can be it can also be overwhelming to take in so many names, specs, etc so your feedback helps a lot. What I can tell after a crash and intensive course over the last 4/5days is that basically

*a tourer is heavier than an audax bike. But if I'm not gonna join a racing club and my interest is just taking long rides for the fun of being hours on my bike then having a rather sluggish bike shouldn't bother me. Plus, I can put 28m tyres on a tourer but I can't put 32m tyres on an audax. I've seen people on my 1 week along the Danube with road bikes and they didn't have any prob despite the horrendous state of the roads and the gravel at times so ultimately you can ride with any bike in any terrain (just as in the old times when there was just one bike!) but then you want to take care of your bike and put it through the less poss strain.

*an audax bike (or light tourer) would feel comfy with up to 8/10kg. That should be ok with me (last time I went on a 1 week hols and my 3 piece pannier came as hand luggage. But then, the tourer would give me the extra weight allowance if needed) and won't have me struggling up those hills or against the heavy winds when loaded.

I think that this could be an endless and passionate discussion and we could find pros and cons for each bike. I've been mutating from audax to tourer 100 times in 48hs.

Either Ridgeback Panorama/Voyage/Horizon or Dawes Horizon/Galaxy should be good options. I know that the price range is rather wide between them so it will be a matter of making up my mind about it. But they all seem to be good stuff likely to last many years and I really like the idea of having a bike for a long time and eventually start upgrading it rather than buying a new bike altogether.

fatboy
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby fatboy » 21 Jul 2009, 1:32pm

Bea wrote:*a tourer is heavier than an audax bike. But if I'm not gonna join a racing club and my interest is just taking long rides for the fun of being hours on my bike then having a rather sluggish bike shouldn't bother me. Plus, I can put 28m tyres on a tourer but I can't put 32m tyres on an audax.


A couple of points. You say that you've got a not-known-brand hybrid - moving to a "sluggish" tourer will feel like having a rocket stuffed up your bottom! When I got my Dawes Horizon I had exactly that experience! Secondly tourer wheels are a bit wide for 28mm to work well. 32mm is generally considered to be the narrowest tyre that works well.

Whatever you choose I'm sure that you'll enjoy it!
"Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again so is the bicycle puncture repair kit." - Billy Connolly

saudidave
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby saudidave » 21 Jul 2009, 1:42pm

Bea, The weight difference between an Audax bike and a tourer is diddly squat. We are talking grams, not kilograms. Furthermore, when riding it you will not notice any difference at all. Finally, none of the Dawes or Ridgebacks you have listed will be at all sluggish and as fatboy says they will feel somewhat thoroughbred after what you are used to. They might be a little more sedate than a bike with racing geometry, but trust me, sluggish they are not.

Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 21 Jul 2009, 1:55pm

ahahahahahah fatboy you made me laugh! And I think you are spot on, because coming from where I come (I have checked thoroughly and no brand on my bike but a sticker saying something about built up, the only thing on the frame reads 18 speed) I'm sure anything will feel amazing! Some of the things that I've read on this and other forums are so so so technical that only the very expert and experienced cyclists can appreciate the difference between certain features. I.e.: different weight between audax and tourer which I thought it was kilos rather than grams. Besides as I've never had a racing bike -yet- then I won't know what I'm missing, will I?

It's been quite a stressful experience trying to come up with which bike to buy. For me, even via C2W it's an important lump of money I'll be spending so I didn't want to make a wrong/impulsive/snob decision. Therefore it's very comforting (and reassuring!) to know that whichever of those bikes I chose I will be making a good choice.

Freddie
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Freddie » 21 Jul 2009, 2:44pm

Bea, the difference between a touring frame and audax frame may be at worst 2 lb's, usually rather less if they're both steel.

The point I'm trying to make is the tourer can become an audax bike with 25mm/28mm tyres and the removal of the rear rack, it can also carry some shopping, go off-road (used to be called rough stuff, prior to mountain biking), do a bit of cyclo-cross racing and of course a fully loaded tour.

The tourer does all these things well, the audax bike does audax and to a lesser extent racing very well, but the rest of it worse (in some cases far worse) than a tourer.

I think someone in your position will appreciate the versatility of a tourer far more readily than the slight advantage, in certain circumstances of the audax bike.

Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 21 Jul 2009, 2:59pm

Yes Freddie, I got your point and less well put that's what I meant. Novices like me probably won't even change tyres if going on a long ride. For people like me whether this piece of clothing makes my ride less aerodynamic, or that helmet makes me go less faster, or if I could gain 1 minute if I suppress those holes...that attention to detail and speed and performance is not for us. I'm yet to learn how to fix my chain if it brakes (mind you I took a basic maintenance course and I will go for an intermediate one soon but that said I also ventured to the Taf Trail in Wales with my no-make bike, no waterproof gear and without knowing how to fix a puncture!).

I've been convinced. Either the Dawes or Ridgeback will be.

thirdcrank
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby thirdcrank » 21 Jul 2009, 4:09pm

Bea

One of the things that your thread has highlighted is the way bikes have become more specialised in recent years so we are discussing small shades of differece between touring bikes (which nowadays can be subdivided into safari types and those you might ride for a few days YHA) - 'Audax' etc. Not so long ago people used one bike for everything. There was once a competition in the comic (currently known as Cycling Weekly) to design a touring bike. One of the winners just wrote 'last year's racing bike with saddlebag and mudguards' (or words to that effect.)

Perhaps as we all get that bit poorer we may go back to making do. It's right that the condition of the rider makes a lot more difference than the bike (it was TdeF Grand Prix de la Montagne winner Robert Millar who pointed out that most of us carry more than the weight of a bike around our middles :oops: ) Frequent changes in equipment such as the escalation in numbers of sprockets have made it harder to buy a bike to last, but up to a certain point, the more you shell out, the more you get in terms of quality. Take your time and look around.

random37
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby random37 » 21 Jul 2009, 4:26pm

Your choice.
But if you went to a custom builder and said what you said to us, they would build you a lightweight which would have caliper brakes and 28mm tyres. Being, I'd guess, quite light and not carrying a lot of luggage, you'd get more advantage from a lighter frame than a heavier rider would.
And while it's true that you'll go faster on the Dawes/Ridgeback, you'll go further and easier with the lighter bike. You really have to try a few out for a long ride to see what I mean, but the difference certainly adds up.

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angliatv
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby angliatv » 21 Jul 2009, 5:03pm

I rode the same route ( 9 flat miles - Bristol to Bath path) on two consecutive days with identical weather on two different bikes. First day on a Giant SCR2 - a nippy ally/carbon number and on the second day, on my '97 steel framed Dawes Galaxy. The Galaxy time was 45 seconds faster than the Giant! I had to text a friend and as he said, 'On a good day, you can fly on anything. The bike is almost immaterial. It's really about YOU not the machine'. Wise words indeed.