Advice please: touring/audax bike

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by kat, Apr 3, 2003.

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  1. kat

    kat New Member

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    hi - I have been doing all my cycling on a cheapo hybrid, which has so far been pretty good for commuting, touring, day rides etc, but I think it's time to upgrade to a proper tourer.

    The thing is I DON'T want to get the bog-standard variety with drops - prefer a more upright riding position and V-brakes, with butterfly bars or similar. I expect to be doing some fully loaded touring on it, so it needs to be good quality (though not expedition standard exactly), but also day rides and audax's, so not too heavy and tank-like.

    So far have considered a Thorn or an Orbit of some kind, but perhaps Roberts or other custom builders are better?

    Maybe should add I am a girly, so shorter top tube etc is a necessity.

    Any recommendations etc gratefully received.

    kat
     
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  2. Thus spake kat <[email protected]>

    > hi - I have been doing all my cycling on a cheapo hybrid, which has so far been pretty good for
    > commuting, touring, day rides etc, but I think it's time to upgrade to a proper tourer.

    > The thing is I DON'T want to get the bog-standard variety with drops - prefer a more upright
    > riding position and V-brakes, with butterfly bars or similar. I expect to be doing some fully
    > loaded touring on it, so it needs to be good quality (though not expedition standard exactly), but
    > also day rides and audax's, so not too heavy and tank-like.

    > So far have considered a Thorn or an Orbit of some kind, but perhaps Roberts or other custom
    > builders are better?

    You would probably be happy with any of these but I think you should choose something you can get
    from a shop that's not too far from you. That way:

    1) You can talk to a Real Person™
    2) You can get measured up & fitted proprely
    3) You can return for servicing & adjustments

    --
    Helen D. Vecht: [email protected] Edgware.
     
  3. John B

    John B Guest

    kat wrote:

    > hi - I have been doing all my cycling on a cheapo hybrid, which has so far been pretty good for
    > commuting, touring, day rides etc, but I think it's time to upgrade to a proper tourer.
    >
    > The thing is I DON'T want to get the bog-standard variety with drops - prefer a more upright
    > riding position and V-brakes, with butterfly bars or similar. I expect to be doing some fully
    > loaded touring on it, so it needs to be good quality (though not expedition standard exactly), but
    > also day rides and audax's, so not too heavy and tank-like.
    >
    > So far have considered a Thorn or an Orbit of some kind, but perhaps Roberts or other custom
    > builders are better?

    IMO Roberts are quite a lot better and would certainly be able to build a machine to your
    requirements. They built one for my wife almost to the specs you mention (but not the bars) and it
    is superb.

    Their website gives a taster of what they do, but as they only produce custom machines then its
    always best to chat through your detailed requirements with them. http://www.robertscycles.com

    >
    > Maybe should add I am a girly, so shorter top tube etc is a necessity.

    Roberts have a lot of expertise in producing women's bikes.

    John B
     
  4. Arthur Clune

    Arthur Clune Guest

    kat <[email protected]> wrote:

    : The thing is I DON'T want to get the bog-standard variety with drops - prefer a more upright
    : riding position and V-brakes, with butterfly bars or similar. I expect to be doing some fully
    : loaded touring on it, so it

    Have a look at German or Dutch brands. Pretty much all German or Dutch tourers use bikes exactly
    like you describe.

    Arthur

    --
    Arthur Clune http://www.clune.org Power is delightful. Absolute power is absolutely delightful -
    Lord Lester
     
  5. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    kat wrote:
    > hi - I have been doing all my cycling on a cheapo hybrid, which has so far been pretty good for
    > commuting, touring, day rides etc, but I think it's time to upgrade to a proper tourer.
    >
    > The thing is I DON'T want to get the bog-standard variety with drops - prefer a more upright
    > riding position and V-brakes, with butterfly bars or similar.

    Or if you don't want to go down the Galaxy-a-like path you could get a bit more radical and get a
    recumbent tourer, which is what I've done and no regrets at all. For more info on what I have
    (Streetmachine GT) see http://kinetics.org.uk/html/streetmachine.html or
    http://www.bikefix.co.uk/sm.html for web pages from the main UK dealers, either of whom will let you
    try a demo machine, or the manufacturer's site is
    http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkte/sm/gt/index_e.html

    > I expect to be doing some fully loaded touring on it, so it needs to be good quality (though not
    > expedition standard exactly), but also day rides and audax's, so not too heavy and tank-like.

    The SMGT *is* built like a tank, but OTOH it's incredibly comfortable and with its superior
    aerodynamics to a flat bar upright you're not catching quite so much drag, so it's swings and
    roundabouts on effort of riding. And it carries luggage better than any other bike I've ever used,
    with the ability to put heavy stuff under the rider right between the two wheels where handling is
    hardly affected at all. When I say "comfortable" I mean a whole different league to even the most
    comfortable saddle on an upright. And no weight on your arms and wrists, which means the only
    fatigue you ever get is in your legs. You really have to experience it to believe how much
    difference it can make, especially over long rides.

    > Maybe should add I am a girly, so shorter top tube etc is a necessity.

    Not if you don't have a diamond frame, of course! The Streetmachine adjusts by moving the boom
    where the crank mounts in and out, so you just shorten the bike to your own size. HPVel list rider
    sizes as from
    ca. 1.64m to ca. 2m.

    It's not cheap, but OTOH not really much (if any) more than a "proper" conventional tourer with the
    same level of equipment. The manufacturer has thought through a tourer's needs quite well and offer
    a good range of standard options including racks, Rohloff speedhub rather than the usual 27 speed
    Deore derailleurs, Schmidt SON/B&M dynohub lighting, a range of seat sizes, fairings, etc. etc. My
    uses are mainly day rides and heavy shopping with the odd longer tour, and I've yet to see any bike
    I wish I'd bought instead (aside from the same thing with a Rohloff and maybe hydraulic discs,
    another factory option though the standard V brakes work very well).

    HPVel's Speedmachine is lower, lighter and faster (better aero as well as lighter) but will only
    take two panniers rather than 4, and they can't fit under the rider for optimum weight distribution.
    But if you're happy with two panniers it may be the better option for Audax. You can find more on it
    with a few clicks at all 3 websites I've given you.

    HP Velotechnik aren't the only game in town, of course. Futurecycles will happily let you play on
    Optimas, etc., and Bikefix and Kinetics have other flavours too, though note that you need to look
    for touring recumbents specifically: quite a few 'bent models would be hopeless for the job.

    You will, of course, have to become an Evil Agent of the Dark Side if you get one, but at least
    you'll be depraved in an extraordinarily comfortable chair with full suspension and a heads-up view
    of where you're actually going...

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  6. In message <[email protected]>, Arthur Clune <[email protected]> writes
    >Have a look at German or Dutch brands. Pretty much all German or Dutch tourers use bikes exactly
    >like you describe.

    Yes, and it's evident that most Germans (the ones I've seen on these bikes, anyway) don't go very
    far on them.

    If a cheapo hybrid isn't good enough then what's wrong with an expensive one?
    --
    Michael MacClancy
     
  7. J-P.S

    J-P.S Guest

    On 3 Apr 2003 23:00:17 +0950, kat scrawled: ) audax's

    Some mistake, surely; toujours 'audaces'.

    J-P
    --
    If you try to imagine something like a gay version of Cheers where they serve consecrated tawny Port
    rather than beer, you'll be almost there, except that St. ****'s is not so churchy.
     
  8. Kit Wolf

    Kit Wolf Guest

    I was shy to evangelise for the dark-side, but I'll second what Pete's just written. I'm very happy
    riding a recumbent - I use mine for everything from shopping in town, to rides of 150 miles at a
    stretch (solo; I haven't tried Audax yet though I think to doing long distances with company). I
    find it supremely comfortable, no slower than my old tourer, and I haven't found traffic to be a
    problem, though I would say you have to be more assertive riding a 'bent.

    There are some disadvantages like price, they're more difficult to transport or carry up spiral
    staircases, and money and mobile phones fall out of your pockets (this is _not_ why people smile so
    much when you ride past).

    It may sound a little radical, but I would consider them seriously: my requirements of a bike were
    very similar to yours.

    Kit

    On Thu, 03 Apr 2003 15:52:04 +0100, Peter Clinch wrote:

    > kat wrote:
    >> hi - I have been doing all my cycling on a cheapo hybrid, which has so far been pretty good for
    >> commuting, touring, day rides etc, but I think it's time to upgrade to a proper tourer.
    >>
    >> The thing is I DON'T want to get the bog-standard variety with drops - prefer a more upright
    >> riding position and V-brakes, with butterfly bars or similar.
    >
    > Or if you don't want to go down the Galaxy-a-like path you could get a bit more radical and get a
    > recumbent tourer, which is what I've done and no regrets at all. For more info on what I have
    > (Streetmachine GT) see http://kinetics.org.uk/html/streetmachine.html or
    > http://www.bikefix.co.uk/sm.html for web pages from the main UK dealers, either of whom will let
    > you try a demo machine, or the manufacturer's site is
    > http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkte/sm/gt/index_e.html
    >
    > > I expect to be doing some fully loaded touring on it, so it
    >> needs to be good quality (though not expedition standard exactly), but also day rides and
    >> audax's, so not too heavy and tank-like.
    >
    > The SMGT *is* built like a tank, but OTOH it's incredibly comfortable and with its superior
    > aerodynamics to a flat bar upright you're not catching quite so much drag, so it's swings and
    > roundabouts on effort of riding. And it carries luggage better than any other bike I've ever used,
    > with the ability to put heavy stuff under the rider right between the two wheels where handling is
    > hardly affected at all. When I say "comfortable" I mean a whole different league to even the most
    > comfortable saddle on an upright. And no weight on your arms and wrists, which means the only
    > fatigue you ever get is in your legs. You really have to experience it to believe how much
    > difference it can make, especially over long rides.
    >
    >> Maybe should add I am a girly, so shorter top tube etc is a necessity.
    >
    > Not if you don't have a diamond frame, of course! The Streetmachine adjusts by moving the boom
    > where the crank mounts in and out, so you just shorten the bike to your own size. HPVel list rider
    > sizes as from
    > ca. 1.64m to ca. 2m.
    >
    > It's not cheap, but OTOH not really much (if any) more than a "proper" conventional tourer with
    > the same level of equipment. The manufacturer has thought through a tourer's needs quite well and
    > offer a good range of standard options including racks, Rohloff speedhub rather than the usual 27
    > speed Deore derailleurs, Schmidt SON/B&M dynohub lighting, a range of seat sizes, fairings, etc.
    > etc. My uses are mainly day rides and heavy shopping with the odd longer tour, and I've yet to see
    > any bike I wish I'd bought instead (aside from the same thing with a Rohloff and maybe hydraulic
    > discs, another factory option though the standard V brakes work very well).
    >
    > HPVel's Speedmachine is lower, lighter and faster (better aero as well as lighter) but will only
    > take two panniers rather than 4, and they can't fit under the rider for optimum weight
    > distribution. But if you're happy with two panniers it may be the better option for Audax. You can
    > find more on it with a few clicks at all 3 websites I've given you.
    >
    > HP Velotechnik aren't the only game in town, of course. Futurecycles will happily let you play on
    > Optimas, etc., and Bikefix and Kinetics have other flavours too, though note that you need to look
    > for touring recumbents specifically: quite a few 'bent models would be hopeless for the job.
    >
    > You will, of course, have to become an Evil Agent of the Dark Side if you get one, but at least
    > you'll be depraved in an extraordinarily comfortable chair with full suspension and a heads-up
    > view of where you're actually going...
    >
    > Pete.
     
  9. John B

    John B Guest

    Kit Wolf wrote:

    > I was shy to evangelise for the dark-side, but I'll second what Pete's just written. I'm very
    > happy riding a recumbent - I use mine for everything....

    I won't quite agree because three wheels are even better and your recumbent grin will be twice
    as wide ;-)

    John B
     
  10. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Kit Wolf wrote:

    > There are some disadvantages like price, they're more difficult to transport or carry up spiral
    > staircases, and money and mobile phones fa=
    ll
    > out of your pockets (this is _not_ why people smile so much when you ri=
    de
    > past).

    Price is certainly a barrier for a basic bike (a goodish hybrid is=20 available at =A3200, entry
    level 'bents start at about 3 times that), but=
    =20
    when you're in the world of serious tourers the gap really isn't so big. =

    In fact a custom built upright can easily come in at far more than a=20 Streetmachine.

    I'd agree about the stairs: if I still stayed in a tenement above ground =

    floor I wouldn't own the Streetmachine as it's far too unwieldy to carry =

    any sort of distance.

    Haven't had the pocket problems, but then I use trousers with zip=20 pockets or have stuff travel
    in the panniers. For a long distance ride=20 you'd be a bit daft to put a moby in a trouser
    pocket, I think!

    Pete. --=20 Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics,
    Ninewells Hospital Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  11. Kit Wolf

    Kit Wolf Guest

    On Fri, 04 Apr 2003 09:04:23 +0100, Peter Clinch wrote:

    > Kit Wolf wrote:
    >
    >> There are some disadvantages like price, they're more difficult to transport or carry up spiral
    >> staircases, and money and mobile phones fall out of your pockets (this is _not_ why people smile
    >> so much when you ride past).
    >
    > Price is certainly a barrier for a basic bike (a goodish hybrid is available at £200, entry level
    > 'bents start at about 3 times that), but when you're in the world of serious tourers the gap
    > really isn't so big. In fact a custom built upright can easily come in at far more than a
    > Streetmachine.
    >
    > I'd agree about the stairs: if I still stayed in a tenement above ground floor I wouldn't own the
    > Streetmachine as it's far too unwieldy to carry any sort of distance.
    >
    > Haven't had the pocket problems, but then I use trousers with zip pockets or have stuff travel
    > in the panniers. For a long distance ride you'd be a bit daft to put a moby in a trouser pocket,
    > I think!

    Ta!

    I had no problems doing so for about 1/2 a year, then I bought a new pair of walking trousers that
    were made of a slipperier material and had shallower pockets. Luckily I was on the way to the
    Orange shop to get a "free" upgrade to a 5210 that straps round my wrist and has a bouncable case.
    Very nerdy.
    >
    > Pete.
     
  12. Andy Welch

    Andy Welch Guest

    On 3-Apr-2003, "Kit Wolf" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > There are some disadvantages like price,

    Actually, even this isn't as clear cut as it may seem at first. Certainly the sticker price of a new
    bent will usually be higher than an equivalently equipped upright. But on the plus side they hold
    their value much better. I'm just getting back into uprights and am amazed at how quickly they loose
    value. An immaculate bike only ridden for 50-100 miles can struggle to fetch half the original
    price, less if the manufacturer has introduced some minor (and often irrelevant) tweak to the spec
    in the mean time. On the other hand I bought my StreetMachine for £1250 and two years and around
    3000 miles later I sold it for £850 with no trouble.

    So, if you are the sort of person who changes bikes on a regular basis a bent may actually work
    out cheaper!

    Cheers,

    Andy
     
  13. kat

    kat New Member

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    thanks for all the ideas. The idea of a getting a recumbent is interesting, but I think I have to rule it out on terms of impracticality (wouldn't be able to get it down the stairs and round the corners into my flat), and I think it would be too scarey in London traffic.

    Does anyone have any views on the Thorn Club Tour - good value? versus a Roberts tourer of some kind?
     
  14. dannyfrankszzz

    dannyfrankszzz New Member

    Joined:
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    I was looking for something similar myself a couple of months ago and after lots of agonising I finally opted for a Ribble 7005 Audax/Winter. Their website address is http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/frames.php
    You choose a frame that you want and then you choose the parts that you want to add to the bike. It's nice and racy but can also handle touring. Good luck.
     
  15. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    kat wrote:
    > thanks for all the ideas. The idea of a getting a recumbent is interesting, but I think I have to
    > rule it out on terms of impracticality (wouldn't be able to get it down the stairs and round the
    > corners into my flat), and I think it would be too scarey in London traffic.

    Could well be right about negotiating the stairs, though go and have words with Bikefix: they're in
    Bloomsbury, so clearly aren't averse to riding 'bents around the Smoke. Note that the Streetmachine
    seat is about the same height as a typical car seat, so you're quite visible, making eye contact
    with drivers is actually easier and I find in practice I actually get given rather more room than on
    an upright. Since I think Bikefix will let you borrow a demo machine you can try it out on your
    stairs to check if it is or isn't a goer there.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  16. kat <[email protected]> wrote in message news:

    > Does anyone have any views on the Thorn Club Tour - good value? versus a Roberts tourer of
    > some kind?

    I can only go on my recent experience of buying a bike from SJS - very disappointing - poorish
    service from some of the staff & several problems with the bike they delivered. When I complained,
    Robin Thorn called me up & we had a one-sided conversation where he basically churned out a load of
    BS & told me how wonderful his company & products were.

    I'm still looking and am going to check out Roberts, Condor and Paul Hewitt.
     
  17. On Fri, 04 Apr 2003 05:10:24 -0500, kat wrote:

    > Does anyone have any views on the Thorn Club Tour - good value? versus a Roberts tourer of
    > some kind?

    Is it possible to go wrong with a Chas Roberts tourer? I'm of the impression that the Thorns are
    good production bikes, but Chas Roberts is one of a very small handful of custom builders with a
    world-wide reputation.
     
  18. On Thu, 03 Apr 2003 08:10:17 -0500, kat wrote:

    > The thing is I DON'T want to get the bog-standard variety with drops - prefer a more upright
    > riding position and V-brakes, with butterfly bars or similar. I expect to be doing some fully
    > loaded touring on it, so it needs to be good quality (though not expedition standard exactly), but
    > also day rides and audax's, so not too heavy and tank-like.

    Moulton APB? Think about it.
     
  19. Paul Luton

    Paul Luton Guest

    In message <[email protected]> kat <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Does anyone have any views on the Thorn Club Tour - good value? versus a Roberts tourer of
    > some kind?
    >
    Got a Thorn Club Tour last summer - very happy with it so far.

    --
    CTC Right to Ride Representative for Richmond upon Thames
     
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