Advice on purchasing a touring bike



blckorder

New Member
Jun 19, 2010
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Hi everybody,

I'm looking to do some extensive loaded touring. I'm currently riding a Specialized Allez; I love it and I've done over 15,000km on it over the past two years with supported tours, commuting and short excursions, but it's just not designed for loaded touring.

I've been looking at bikes in the Surley LHT, Trek 520, Jamis Aurora, etc price range. I'm getting the impression though that, while all of these bikes are pretty awesome, none of them are perfect. I'm trying to figure out which model provides the best starting place for me, acknowledging that I'll probably be replacing/upgrading parts and components over time.

I'm fairly large (6'3"/1.9m and 200lbs/91kg) and I'm a strong cyclist. I recognize that loaded touring is a completely different game than riding an unloaded road bike, but if possible I'd like the ride to keep some of the hare's philosophy rather than going completely tortoise.

Does anybody have advice one which model to select?

Thanks!
 

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
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NE Indiana
All of this which bike stuff is best is personal opinions and choices. There are other choices to consider too, the Kona Sutra and the Bruce Gordon BLT. But you need to ride them all to get a feel for in the comfort area. Either of the three you mentioned plus the ones I mentioned would be great mid price touring bikes, in other words your not going to go wrong on whatever bike you select.

Problem with these mid level bike that you and I mentioned is that your probably going to have to do some upgrades for serious heavy touring.

The number one complaint have been the need for lower gear ratios by swapping out the rear cassette for a 11-34 and the front to 44/32/22.

The next complaint was the racks that some of the bikes came with couldn't handle the weight. The best rack, IMO, is the Axiom Tour de Monde racks for the rear and Tubus Tara for the front. These are very well built and won't break on you mid trip.

Third biggest complaint was the saddle and most tourers use either a Brooks B17 Standard, a few like the Brooks Champion Flyer which is a sprung saddle, while others prefer the Terry Ti Fly. But stay away from gel saddles because even though they feel great going around the block your ashe will hurt like crazy after 40 or more miles.

Then the last biggest compliant is the tires. Schwalbe Marathon Plus are widely recognized in touring circles and Schwalbe has a Marathon 700x35 folding tire that is used as spares; also the Continental Touring is another widely used tire. Both of these tires last longer then other touring tires.

These upgrades can sometimes be done at the time of purchase and the LBS will sometime do the swap with free labor and you pay for any increase in the cost of the part...but you may have to work out that kind of deal.

Sorry about being vague with the which bike to pick, but you need to ride them for about 5 miles each before you buy to make a intelligent decision. A bike I may like you may not, so ride them.
 

GT Fanatic

New Member
Apr 15, 2010
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blckorder said:
Hi everybody,

I'm looking to do some extensive loaded touring. I'm currently riding a Specialized Allez; I love it and I've done over 15,000km on it over the past two years with supported tours, commuting and short excursions, but it's just not designed for loaded touring.

I've been looking at bikes in the Surley LHT, Trek 520, Jamis Aurora, etc price range. I'm getting the impression though that, while all of these bikes are pretty awesome, none of them are perfect. I'm trying to figure out which model provides the best starting place for me, acknowledging that I'll probably be replacing/upgrading parts and components over time.

I'm fairly large (6'3"/1.9m and 200lbs/91kg) and I'm a strong cyclist. I recognize that loaded touring is a completely different game than riding an unloaded road bike, but if possible I'd like the ride to keep some of the hare's philosophy rather than going completely tortoise.

Does anybody have advice one which model to select?

Thanks!

Haven't looked to see if this is the range you're looking at, but I pretty much had my heart set on a Giant Defy 1, which was sporty but had a relaxed geometry. It's a very good bike for the money. It was light, and fit well. I'm 5'11 and required a large frame, so they may run small.

I was ready to pull the trigger on it yesterday, but just couldn't make myself commit due to some sentimental value behind the money I'd be spending.