tourer that's fun to ride unladen

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johnrph
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Joined: 13 Aug 2014, 8:41pm

tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby johnrph » 13 Aug 2014, 8:53pm

I'm looking to replace my 15 year old Dawes Galaxy that was stolen. Nice though it would be to have a stable of machines, I'm limited to just one, and this will spend most of the time doing some commuting, long day runs unladen, with maybe 3 weeks a year on camping trips to Europe and North America.

So I don't need an expedition bike, but am considering the Surly LHT, the Dawes Galaxy Classic, The Ridgeback Panorama or the Kona Sutra. All of them have their enthusiasts, and they are rated for their load-carrying abilities, but what are they like for 60 mile day runs with no load?

I found that my old Galaxy fulfilled the different roles OK, but don't know how the different frame shape will change the feel of it, and can't find a bike shop with one in stock for me to try.

Anyway, any thoughts or experience would be welcome.

Brucey
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby Brucey » 13 Aug 2014, 10:03pm

you don't say where you are but maybe there is a dealer near you perhaps?

How much load does the bike carry? (You plus luggage)

What kind of size frame are you looking at?

Was your old Dawes in OS tubing?

cheers
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patpalloon
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby patpalloon » 13 Aug 2014, 10:11pm

I love my Dawes Super Galaxy (2012), and Spa Cycles are selling them for just £890 at the moment. It's reasonably quick, but not as fast as a dedicated road bike. You can always put some skinnier tyres on them for faster unloaded riding.
I feel sure that the genius that did this, didn't even feel a thud as he drove by.

reohn2
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby reohn2 » 13 Aug 2014, 10:34pm

Take a look at the Salsa Vaya,you'd need rack(s) and mudguards though as they don't come fitted,but they're one great touring bike.
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CREPELLO
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby CREPELLO » 13 Aug 2014, 10:38pm

Modern dedicated touring bikes tend to have stiffer frames. That's great for loaded touring, but doesn't exactly make the bike 'fun' to ride unloaded. The temptation is to put lighter, narrower tyres on it to quicken things, but this IME only makes for a more unforgiving ride.

It's all about compromise and if your day rides are only 60 miles, then with wide and light tyres you'll get a reasonably willing bike that's comfortably to ride.

But if you're able to lighten your load when touring, then you could buy an audax bike that will give a livelier ride. And it will still do the weekly shop. But bear in mind that gearing will be a touch higher than most dedicated tourers and they'll usually only take up to 28mm tyres (if that).

sreten
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby sreten » 13 Aug 2014, 11:04pm

Hi,

So just get a nice bike and pump up the tyres a little for laden touring.

Audax / randonneur bikes take much bigger than 28mm, up to ~ 40mm.

http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/TYVIRNDHYP ... lding-tyre

rgds, sreten.

LollyKat
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby LollyKat » 13 Aug 2014, 11:26pm

A friend has a Condor Heritage that he is really pleased with, both laden and unladen.

Valbrona
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby Valbrona » 14 Aug 2014, 2:16am

But aren't all tourers fun to ride unladen? I believe the Surly LHT comes as a frame only allowing you to spec it as you like, I believe there's also a disc version, and I believe there is also a 26" wheeled version if you are small. And Surly also do not entirely dissimilar bikes that might be more fun to ride, so to speak.
Last edited by Valbrona on 14 Aug 2014, 1:23pm, edited 1 time in total.
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johnrph
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby johnrph » 14 Aug 2014, 9:04am

Thanks for all your help. I live in Bristol and can find Galaxies and Super Galaxies to test ride, but no Classics. They seemed OK. I tour with rear panniers and a bar bag, so no huge loads, but I like using canal paths and tracks from time to time.

Before my Galaxy I had an audax that I toured with twice. I had many broken spokes and the gear ratios weren't perfect, (but it was a 13 week trip that ended up in Algeria and Morocco) but it was more fun for the 95% of time when I was riding unladen.

The Surly LHT without discs is top of my list at the moment with Galaxy Classic 2nd. Very different frame geometry, and the Surly is more similar in shape to my old Galaxy with a nearly horizontal top tube. That's probably the crux of my problem.....I'm an old traditionalist who can't really see the benefits of such a raked angle.

johnrph
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby johnrph » 14 Aug 2014, 9:09am

Sorry Brucey, I never answered your questions. My luggage would be 15 to 20 kilos, and I'm 80 kilos. Frame size I need is a 54 to 56. My old Galaxy didn't have OS tubing.

Brucey
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby Brucey » 14 Aug 2014, 9:30am

johnrph wrote:
The Surly LHT without discs is top of my list at the moment with Galaxy Classic 2nd. Very different frame geometry, and the Surly is more similar in shape to my old Galaxy with a nearly horizontal top tube. That's probably the crux of my problem.....I'm an old traditionalist who can't really see the benefits of such a raked angle.


I know what you mean. But then again, unless you need a short reach and like your handlebars low, you can nearly always go up a frame size or two (they are not very much longer in the top tube/reach if you look at the specs) if the amount of seat post sticking out bothers you.

Galaxies that were built in standard sized tubing are likely going to be noticeably more springy than those in larger dia tubing (i.e. most of the current ones). Those needing to lug a load on a large sized frame welcome this but those who don't carry a load on a smaller frame size might not so much. My guess is that for the loads you envisage, on that frame size, you would still be OK on a slightly lighter built frame when loaded and that this might make for a more involving ride when unloaded.

So I'd go for a lighter frame with slightly heavier built wheels (rather than the converse), and then choose tyres to suit. If you strike the right balance you will have a reliable bike that will do everything you need and won't ride like a plank when unloaded.

If you go for a stiffer frame then you can still have a fairly comfy ride if you use wide tyres, but the frame will feel a little dead when unloaded. This is fine, (some people don't even notice the difference) but wouldn't be my first choice.

cheers
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Bicycler
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby Bicycler » 14 Aug 2014, 11:29am

The Surly Cross Check is the LHT's slimmed down cousin. Ignore the 'cross' title and it's really more like a touring bike. All the braze ons and suitable clearance for wide tyres with guards. Like the LHT it can be built up from a frame. I've met a couple doing LEJOG with one carrying more than you plan on doing. Worth a look?

OnYourRight
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby OnYourRight » 14 Aug 2014, 12:16pm

Dawes still makes so-called Audax bikes: the Clubman and Century SE (same frame with different components).

I have a Clubman and generally like it. Check the geometry (PDF) suits you though; the frame is fairly long and the seat tube is on the steep side, especially if you hope to fit a Brooks saddle. It’s designed first and foremost for riding quickly.

Although the Clubman isn’t as stiff as some aluminium or carbon bikes I’ve ridden, it is considerably stiffer than a classic lightweight steel bike from decades ago. But maybe that would be a decent half-way house for you?

I’ve enjoyed day trips on mine with minimal luggage, and I see no reason it wouldn’t work just as well for reasonably light touring with rear panniers. Certainly I intend to do that with mine in the future.

Stripped of mudguards/saddlebag/rack, it’s a real racer. On the downside, I doubt it would accept tyres wider than 28 mm.

PH
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby PH » 14 Aug 2014, 12:38pm

johnrph wrote:Before my Galaxy I had an audax that I toured with twice. I had many broken spokes and the gear ratios weren't perfect, (but it was a 13 week trip that ended up in Algeria and Morocco) but it was more fun for the 95% of time when I was riding unladen.


The wrong spokes and gearing are easily avoided when choosing your new bike. What was the audax bike like to tour on apart from that? There's your answer :wink:
Thorns audax bike is advertised as being suitable for 20kg of rear luggage, which probably applies to most steel audax frames, unless you're off round the world, 20kg is more than enough capacity for me. The only trouble with touring on an audax bike is the restriction on tyre size, the Surly Cross Check mentioned above would give you the slightly lighter frame and larger tyres, and there's a few other bikes in the same sort of mold.
My Hewitt tourer is a pleasure to ride unladen, but then it's the largest size and I'm 95kg, so that might not be too helpfull. The Surly LHT did feel tike a tank in comparison, though a very comfy tank, I wouldn't choose it for a lot of unloaded riding.

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andrew_s
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Re: tourer that's fun to ride unladen

Postby andrew_s » 14 Aug 2014, 2:23pm

I use a Thorn Audax (Mark 1) for both touring and day rides, and it does fine.
The forks have low-rider bosses on, and if you are taking camping gear it's best to use them and spread the load rather than pile it all on the back. If you do overload the back, getting out of the saddle is a bit disconcerting until you've got used to the frame flex.

For a general purpose touring frame, the biggest limitation is that it is limited to 28mm tyres (or 32mm without mudguards), which means that gravel roads or tracks can be slow going if the surface is loose and/or rocky.