Bike advice for novice tourer

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Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 21 Jul 2009, 6:45pm

Chris I can see were you come from but 1 minute difference or 10 for that matter won't be a deciding factor for me. I'm more into the touring side of cycling (whether it being weekends, weeks or long days). Probably for racers or even keen audax riders 45 seconds difference is significant and that's why they will go for a lighter bike. But I need a bike that would take gravel and occasional off roads, potholes and tough hills because that and worst is what you get when you are out there discovering new places on your bike.

As angliatv said (and I know first hand) the bike helps but the rider will probably make a bigger difference given 2 riders and the same bike. I said already that on Sunday I was 20 miles ahead of experienced riders with good expensive bikes while I was on my blessed old bike which is starting to fall apart.

As thirdcrank has pointed out, there are so many options out there these days. Some may have to do with market and marketing, some with improved technology but the bottom line is that whichever event you go to: charity rides, cycling holidays, audax rides you come across riders on all sorts of bikes (even tandems and tri-bikes for that matter) and they all perform and they all get to the finish line and they all have fun. If I were a racer I'd care about 45 secs more or less, about that extra bar of chocolate that would make me heavier and have impact on my time trial, about the lighter frame...but I'm not. I love cycling and if it paid my bills I'd be a courier just to be on my bike all day or if I had the money I would take 1 year off to go round the world on my bike. I love cycling so I just want a bike that will take me to all these places I want to go, last me as long as possible and would carry all my stuff and my ar*se up those hills, I'm not bothered if it takes longer.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to sound patronizing. I still know little about bikes and brakes and gears and tyres and specs. But after reading all your ideas, suggestions, all the expertise and knowledge that you kindly shared with me, reading websites of manufacturers and retailers I arrived to this conclusion that a tourer is my best option. I may change my views eventually because my needs may eventually change too. It's a tough decision, almost as saying who you love more dad or mum?

saudidave
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby saudidave » 21 Jul 2009, 7:41pm

A tourer is the best option - it will do everything well, including carrying the kitchen sink if you have to!

random37
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby random37 » 21 Jul 2009, 8:25pm

saudidave wrote:A tourer is the best option - it will do everything well, including carrying the kitchen sink if you have to!


Dave, you've had your Galaxy for what, six weeks? Before that, you had your old Raleigh, which was nothing like an Audax bike. Really, you should try an Audax bike next, they're wonderful.

Bea, a tourer will do the job. The most common Audax bike is easily the Dawes Galaxy. A little bit overengineered, but never mind, it's an OK bike.

Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 21 Jul 2009, 9:27pm

But Chris, in the Dawes website the Galaxy is classed as a tourer plus it has 32cm tyres, does it still class as an Audax?

Will it make any difference to my riding if the bike I buy is not specifically designed for females? As not many of these bikes we are talking about cater for females. I'm not worried about the saddle size but more about the top tube! It will be my first experience with drop handle bars, is it hard to get use to that?

And I'm going a bit off the topic here but I was thinking that if I won't be spending that much on a Thorn then may be I can take the opportunity of the C2W and together with the bike buy a Garmin 705? My point is: I can't read maps. I've tried (not very hard) and I can't. I don't want that stopping me from taking the roads. If I had a GPS then I could go anywhere I want. And I'm not thinking of going out randomly because I've read this device is still not as good as the car version. My idea is that with so many routes in GPS format I can preload the route I want into the Garmin and set off without risking getting lost (or less chances). Then I have the bike, the gps, I take the second part of the maintenance course to learn to fix a chain and I'm ready to go anywhere and everywhere when ever I want. Wouldn't it be the perfect bargain?

saudidave
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby saudidave » 21 Jul 2009, 11:28pm

chris667 wrote:
saudidave wrote:A tourer is the best option - it will do everything well, including carrying the kitchen sink if you have to!


Dave, you've had your Galaxy for what, six weeks? Before that, you had your old Raleigh, which was nothing like an Audax bike. Really, you should try an Audax bike next, they're wonderful.

Bea, a tourer will do the job. The most common Audax bike is easily the Dawes Galaxy. A little bit overengineered, but never mind, it's an OK bike.


Chris, have you been on the sauce? The first sentence says I should try an Audax bike after my Dawes Galaxy, then the second says the Galaxy is the most common Audax bike..........................

As for the Raleigh being nothing like an audax bike, I would beg to differ, it was very like one!

I'm not too sure there is that much real difference in an Audax bike and a tourer really, to all intents and purposes, they are similar beasts give or take the odd rack and a few mm of tyre. As a previous poster commented, we have got too specialised these days. Even in these times of credit crunch lots of folks have several bikes. When I were a lad, you were lucky to have one!

random37
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby random37 » 22 Jul 2009, 8:46am

Bea wrote:But Chris, in the Dawes website the Galaxy is classed as a tourer plus it has 32cm tyres, does it still class as an Audax?

A Galaxy is a tourer, but you could put narrow tyres on it and it wouldn't lose much to an out and out Audax bike. For many years, people only had one bike, and the Dawes Galaxy was the best off the peg general purpose road bike money could buy, lots of people never felt the need to upgrade. I loved both of the Dawes Galaxies I've owned in the past, they were great.

Now, we have more choice. A new off the peg road bike costs nearly as much as a new custom built one, and while it might be adequate, it's not necessarily ideal. If you're sure of the kind of riding you want to do(as I read it, distances but without too much luggage), why not buy one that's designed for exactly that kind of riding, as opposed to general purpose? You need to try both to see what I mean, but this is where a good shop could guide you, rather than getting advice from lots of supposed adults ( :oops: ) squabbling in a forum.

As for bikes specifically to fit women, no, there's arguments about general trends but ultimately, it's got to be the bike that fits, rather than a catch-all. I sold my last Galaxy to a woman, and it fitted her fine, for £300 she got a bargain! There's no reason a man couldn't ride a woman's bike either. Again, you need to try out a few bikes and see what you think.

If you are ever around Reading and you fancy trying out either kind of bike, please feel free to drop me a PM. I have a tourer and something audaxish; you're welcome to have a go on either of them.

Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 22 Jul 2009, 10:12am

Thanks Chris, I'll take your offer and let you know when I'm around Reading. As for the "supposed adults squabbling", why would guys at the LBS have any more or better knowledge that some of you? Besides, I'm sure that if I talk to different LBS or within one shop to different staff I would end up with the same heated debate.

On a more general note I think these days we have more choice in every area and that has a lot to do with the market and consumerism, and whilst it's supposed to make our life better having a wider choice is not always the best thing. Life was simpler and probably nicer when we were young (but then I feel old and grumpy saying that).

fatboy
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby fatboy » 22 Jul 2009, 10:49am

Bea wrote:As for the "supposed adults squabbling", why would guys at the LBS have any more or better knowledge that some of you? Besides, I'm sure that if I talk to different LBS or within one shop to different staff I would end up with the same heated debate.


No they would ask you if you wanted a road bike or a mountain bike :wink: Personally I think that you need to know what you want before going to a bike shop as they tend to sell you what they have and know about rather than the niche product that either a tourer or and audax bike is.

Another question that might help you form your decision. Will you stick exclusively to roads or would you do a bit of path/towpath/track/sustrans route? If you only want to do roads then either an Audax or Tourer would do, otherwise a Tourer would be better; whilst a tourer is hardly an MTB and won't thank you for taking it on the roughest off-road they do handle tracks etc admirably.

A final point is that if you buy an Audax but want to use a rack you'll have to buy one and fit it. If you buy a tourer and don't want a rack you'll have to take it off!

Cheers

Chris
"Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again so is the bicycle puncture repair kit." - Billy Connolly

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angliatv
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Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby angliatv » 22 Jul 2009, 11:12am

Bea, things were simpler because the choice was limited but then leisure cycling back in the day was a pastime not a science. When I was a kid, I used to get a new bike every few years because old one was worn out. It was the 60s and EVERYONE in my street lived on their bikes. It created a fantastic community spirit. It didn't matter how much money your parents had, when you were on bike, everyone was equal. My parents bought my bikes from the Grattan catalogue (no pre-fitting or checking frame size) and within a matter of minutes, riding the streets, the bike was a second skin. As I mentioned in a previous post, cycling is so much more than the bike.

I had a really nasty experience about 2 years ago where I had overworked, consumed too much alcohol over a long period, oversubscribed myself to too many things and wasn't getting much sleep. I was permanently hungover and dog tired. It was a gradual decline and those who were closest to me were very concerned. I continued like this until I hit the wall. Everything changed from there. To put it bluntly, I was physically and mentally broken. Those who have been there will know what it's like. I couldn't leave the house for a week (severe anxiety) but I felt I could start a recovery by starting to cycle. It was my cure and my salvation. Now I rarely drink, rest properly and spend more time with the family. My family cycle with me now and then. They love it too. On the bike, I'm stronger and more focussed. Life's good and cycling makes it better.

What I'm saying is, cycling should be a joy and you should chose the bike that makes you feel good. The spec of this and that and the weight saving of A verses B can get in the way of just sitting on a few bikes and doing a short test ride. It becomes clear pretty quickly what suits. Try to project forward a few years and imagine what kind of riding you'd like to be doing (if it's different from what you're doing today) and keep that in mind. If I was allowed the space, I would have hundreds of the things but as it stands, I have the Galaxy, the SCR2 and a lovely GT mountain bike. It covers most options, and if as a 10 ten year old, I'd known by 44, I owned THREE bikes, I would'nt have believed it! How posh is that?!

Anyway, good luck in your quest and keep us posted.

Ed

random37
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby random37 » 22 Jul 2009, 11:48am

Bea wrote:Thanks Chris, I'll take your offer and let you know when I'm around Reading. As for the "supposed adults squabbling", why would guys at the LBS have any more or better knowledge that some of you? Besides, I'm sure that if I talk to different LBS or within one shop to different staff I would end up with the same heated debate.

On a more general note I think these days we have more choice in every area and that has a lot to do with the market and consumerism, and whilst it's supposed to make our life better having a wider choice is not always the best thing. Life was simpler and probably nicer when we were young (but then I feel old and grumpy saying that).


Sadly, there's only a couple of shops that really understand the kind of cycling that non-competitive road cyclists are interested in. Almost none of them are in London. :(

The choice was always there to the enthusiast, but generally a good shop should guide beginners to the right thing, not necessarily the one that makes the most profit. Unfortunately, there's no money in it. Getting everything bundled by a manufacturer is good, it saves money, but by definition you won't get exactly the right thing, because everyone is different. You might get something adequate, yes, but that's not necessarily the best, and you'll never know how much better the right thing is.

You wouldn't get a heated debate like this in real life! We're all normal, reasonable people the rest of the time. :P

Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 22 Jul 2009, 12:01pm

But I didn't mean it in a derogatory sense. On the contrary, I think that this debate is useful and necessary (to separate wheat from chaff) and encouraging (it certainly did encourage me to research about different bikes, tyres, manufacturers, etc). I'd much rather go to a bike shop and get some guy passionate about what he is selling and not trying to rip me off when they sell me a product or a service as it has happened to me. I live in London and probably that makes things worse but to be honest I rely more on the advice I can get here than what I will get from any of the LBS I go to. Probably I've just had bad experiences but they were enough to make me understand that I'd rather self-teach myself about maintenance and about what I want and need from a bike than seek for their advice.

Big T
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Big T » 22 Jul 2009, 12:51pm

Whilst there are women specific road bikes from the likes of Specialised, Trek and Bianchi, nobody makes a women specific touring (or audax) bike.

Women generally have longer legs and shorter torsoes, so Women specific bikes have shorter top tubes. You may find that you are too stretched out on a mens touring bike, but you can fit a shorter stem, which will go a long way towards solving the problem. The other thing that women need is a wider saddle, to support their wider pelvis (specifically the sit bones), so when buying your bike, ask for a womens saddle to be put on it.

My wife bought a Dawes Horizon and had these 2 modifications done and it fits her fine. She's 5ft 6in and has the 48cm model, but if you are smaller, there is a 43cm model available.
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Bea
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 22 Jul 2009, 1:12pm

Trevor, it's funny that there are few women specific touring bikes since I believe that an interesting proportion of female cyclist are up for touring. Dawes has one with a butterfly handlebar which is not very appealing. I will probably need to change the saddle but I'll see. I read your blog and you went for a Ridgeback while your wife went for the Dawes, any reasons?

I'll keep you posted about the bike I get. I've made my mind it will be either a Ridgeback Voyage or a Dawes Horizon/Galaxy. It will depend honestly on what the LBS can source me as they don't sell any of them but they told me they could get it for me. However, I have to wait a couple of weeks until the C2W opens.

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frank9755
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby frank9755 » 22 Jul 2009, 6:41pm

I'm sure you won't regret any of those! If you do get the chance to sit on one for fit first, it might help you to decide.
My experience is that the Ridgeback frame has a slightly shorter top tube - the Dawes one is slightly on the long side.

When I was getting my Ridgeback Voyage via Halfords CtoW I didn't know what size to get, so I called Madison (who own Ridgeback) and I got put through to the guy who designed the bike - which impressed me. He asked me a few questions and told me what size to get, and he was right!

nikruth
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Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby nikruth » 22 Jul 2009, 7:07pm

Hi BEA,
Ive gone for the Dawes Horison..there is so much out there.Im afraid I am no expert as my experience is similar to yours.Ive ben following the threads and my decision has been based on the recommendations the Harizon gets and if I were to stretch to the Galaxy price I would pay the extra and go for a Thorn or Roberts .One other thing the Dawes has going for it is its second hand value !Good luck.