First Time Buyer Looking For Sub-$400 Touring Bikes

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by TheRaptorFence, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. TheRaptorFence

    TheRaptorFence New Member

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    Hello, first time on these forums. My wife and I recently started touring, did 1100 miles of California coast from San Fransisco to San Diego and across to Phoenix. We did it all on a couple of hybrid Trek Seven-Two's. It was fantastic and we want to get more into touring.

    So, question is: what are some good entry-level long haul truckers (preferably) or road bikes $400 or under to start doing so? Would like some quality, so I am willing to go to $500 but that's tough on our budget. Also needs to be something where we can haul saddlebags adequately on, and preferably needs to be able to take the weather. Used bikes are fine, so you can also name-drop some $600-$700 bikes to keep an eye out in used bike shops for. Just make sure to point out the difference bet

    -TheRaptorFence
     
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  2. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Used.

    These days, less than $400 doesn't even buy you a new 7.2 FX hybrid. What you're looking for is a road bike with a longer wheelbase, eyelets for mounting racks, a triple-cog crankset, and a long-cage rear derailleur to handle the wide range gearing. Bikes that can do touring duty are the Specialized Tricross Sport, Trek's 520, and Bianchi's Volpe.
     
  3. Nukuhiva

    Nukuhiva Member

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    Lucky for you, Americans tend to throw bikes away if they get a flat or the chain wears out. Yard sales, thrift shops, flea markets, even dumpsters and perhaps the side of the road are all good places find sub-$500 bikes, even free ones, if you're lucky. Especially if you're the touriste-routier type or a bike commuter, it makes absolutely no sense to shell out more than that for a bicycle.
     
  4. bianchinut

    bianchinut New Member

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    I have to agree with Nukuhiva. Used is going to be your best bet for finding a decent quality bike in that price range. Are you looking more towards carrying everything with you or credit card touring? If you need to carry everything, a quality mountain bike from the '90s with rack mounts would work well. If you are looking for credit card touring, any comfortable road bike will work. Either way, I suggest you go with a steel frame. It will way more but will be more comfortable and durable.
     
  5. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    As others have suggested, you've established a really tight budget ...

    FWIW. IMO, you really do not need to buy new-or-different bikes ...

    Originally, a Hybrid bike was a Touring bike which had FLAT (MTB) handlebars instead of DROP (Road) handlebars + a sloping (again, MTB) top tube instead of a horizontal top tube ... with the optional handicap of a Suspension front fork coming later ...

    If your bikes happen to have Suspension forks then you simply need to replace them with Rigid forks which you can typically get from eBay which were take-offs from new bikes for LESS THAN $50 ...

    Tandem bike riders will often have the dealer replace the steel fork which comes with their new bike with a Carbon Fiber fork before the bike is built up ...

    Some Tandem forks have cantilever brake bosses & some have disc brake mounts ... some may have both.

    OR, if your bikes have Suspension front forks AND if you like them, then you do not have to replace them.


    A pair of Campagnolo shifters can be mated to MOST Shimano drivetrains ... the cost will vary between $100 (used, in good condition ... just a little more for new pair of Campagnolo Veloce on eBay) to $400+ for a pair of fancy-schmancy, Super-Duper Record shifters.
    [​IMG]
    Add a set of Drop handlebars + tape & cables/housing for $50 +/- ...

    Add another $20-to-$50 for each pair of either Mini-V-Brake calipers or Cantilever brake calipers.

    So, figure $200-to-$300 + some DIY time on your part & your Hybrid bikes return to their roots and become Touring bikes ...

    If you come across a couple of frames which you prefer, later, then you can simply move the majority of the components over from your updated Treks.

    FYI. This 90s vintage, steel framed bike [GIANT "Nutra"] began as a Hybrid/"Sports-Touring" bike with FLAT handlebars ...
    [​IMG]

    Despite the skinny tires shown, above, the frame & fork can accommodate ridiculously large 700x52 (29er) tires when fenders are not mounted.

    Because MY "Hybrid" is older, its fork has a 1" steerer instead of a 1 1/8" steerer -- I moved the original, 1" threaded, Rigid fork to another bike.
     
  6. Mr645

    Mr645 New Member

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    Close to your budget, maybe look for something on sale or a discount code. Since it's new, you will eve some money on maintaince and you won't have any parts to replace right off the bat.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/02fuji/fuji_touring.htm
     
  7. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I read your post that you will be touring and know the route you'll be taking but how often will you be touring? If you're only planning on doing just this one long tour or short weekend rides then the Bikes Direct bike the poster showed will work if you want a new bike. But if you plan on frequent long tours you need to either up the ante for a new bike considerably to around a $700 or buy a really nice high end touring bike used which can be had all day long for around $300 to $400 if you watch Craigslist long enough. Schwinn Voyagers from the 80's can usually be found and if in great shape are tremendous bikes as are the Trek 520, and 620, Trek did make a 720 but those tend to go for about $800 to $1200. If you decide to buy used make sure you give it a complete 100% overhaul to make sure that bike is ready to roll on a long touring trip unless the owner can prove with a LBS receipt that they've already done that real recently, otherwise budget another $175 or so for that though most bike shops can tell if they need to go that far thus it may only need $75 or so in lube and adjustment and maybe some minor parts. The problem buying used is does the bike fit, and if the components have a lot miles how long will they will last on a tour? These are questions an LBS might able to answer, or you'll rudely discover the answer while touring.

    If you decide to go new the best bike Bikes Direct carries, which is a good deal, is the Motobecane Grand Turismo, see: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/gran_turismo.htm If you can afford to push your budget a bit more that's the one to get and could eliminate some frustrations on the road you might experience with a lower costing new bike especially as the miles roll on. The low end one listed by the other poster could probably do that trip once with little problems, but as you do more and more tours things will go bad and you'll be paying more in parts over the long haul then you would just getting the better Motobecane.

    All the above is just my opinion.
     
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