Bike advice for novice tourer

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
Big T
Posts: 2105
Joined: 16 Jul 2007, 1:44pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Big T » 23 Jul 2009, 12:26pm

Bea wrote: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.

It came down to cost and availability. I bought mine through the CTW scheme and it just so happened that my LBS had a Ridgeback Panorama in my size in stock and they also do the CTW scheme, so I went for it. I'd also been looking at the Dawes Super Galaxy, but I couldn't find one as cheap as the Ridgeback.

My wife was limited to £500, as her employer doesn't do CTW, but they do give an interest free loan of up to £500. We went to Spa Cycles in Harrogate and she tried out an Horizon and a Kara-Kum, but she preferred the Horizon and they put a shorter stem and a ladies saddle on it for her (2008 Horizon was £460 at Spa, but they've sold out of the 2008 ones now). Great sevice from Spa, as they let you test ride the bikes and will make changes for you, but probably a bit too far for you to travel.
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Joined: 16 Jul 2009, 2:31pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Pax » 1 Aug 2009, 9:26am

Over fifty years of touring I´ve come to one or two conclusions on buying bikes that I would like to share.

1 If you are going to tour, buy a touring bike.

2 A decent steel (CroMoly) frame is essential, nothing else feels right.

3 Try several bikes before you buy, if the bike shop wont let you, go elsewhere. GBP 500 is a lot of
money, bike fever can make you forget this!

4 Ignore all hype about makes. All decent steel bikes are hand built, each one is different, buy one that
feels right to you. A frame custom made by a famous British frame builder from the very finest
steel may feel better than one made in Taiwan from bog standard CroMo, maybe, but spending
an extra GBP500 without knowing doesn´t make too much sense. Try before you buy!

5 Don´t worry too much about the spec, I have cycled thousands of miles on cheap/middling spec and
never been badly let down, except once, heading south from the top of the Pyrenees, if you are buying a
cheap bike bin the brakes and fit the best you can afford.
Also a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Supremes
(tyres) for puncture free bum soothing wonderfulness.

Posts: 22
Joined: 17 Jul 2009, 1:16pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 1 Aug 2009, 10:03am

Thanks Pax for sharing your experience. Yes, the bike will be for touring (in fact my hybrid will continue to do the commute as I won't risk having my new bike stolen) but then you can't go touring every single weekend so sometimes it will be just about doing long rides. But what's in my mind is to get into more and more touring and the idea of a 3/6/12 months career break in a couple of years is also starting to build up...obviously to go touring!
I've also noticed people cycle/tour with all sort of bikes, so I guess all would do the job only that ones will do your ride more pleasant and trouble free than others.
The advice I got in this forum has been invaluable not only in terms of advice but also learning stuff about my bike (not that I've been able to take everything in).
This was all part of my homework as the scheme opens in a couple of weeks but I've checked bikes available in the participant shops and I made up my mind to buy a Ridgeback, but not sure whether horizon or voyage yet as I want to add other extras to the deal (gear, gps, accessories) to make the most of the discount.

Frank, thanks for your tip it's very useful since the cycle shops in the scheme don't stock Ridgeback but can get it for me so I won't be able to try it and/or check the right frame size.