Most reliable bikes for touring?

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by Worky, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. Worky

    Worky New Member

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    Back in 2008 I did an unsupported tour with a friend from Dorset to Rome. We both used our cheap mountain bikes (mine was £120 when new) because we are poor and didn't care, mine even had front shocks haha.

    Well anyway we completed the trip in about 18 days and remarkably my bike didn't have a single mechanical fault whatsoever. 1300 - 1400 miles, no punctures, chain stayed on the whole way, no adjustments made, absolutely no trouble.

    Further more I realised that in the 5 years of regular use of the bike I've only changed the tubes twice and I've never made any other adjustment or modification short of swapping the fat tyres for some cheap slicks. and putting on a rack I found in a skip.

    Was this all just pure luck or has anyone else had similar success with regards to reliability? A friend of mine tours regularly with really expensive gear and he simply didn't believe me when I told him about my bike.

    One of the reasons I ask is I am about to embark on a 1500 mile tour around France but this time I'm on an 90's Thorn Audax which I was given and I'm wondering what sort of reliability I should expect from it? I know it was a good bike in it's day and a fast tourer but would it be wise to make some upgrades before I go? everything on it is nearly 20 years old after all.
     
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  2. biketowork

    biketowork New Member

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    there is no "most reliable bike for touring" , there are many well made bikes designed specifically for touring that wil be more comfortable, stable and tougher than other bikes, but in the end, as your To Rome story shows, if a bike is in good shape, wheels spokes in good shape, derailleurs, bottom bracket, cables etc etc etc then you can ride anything most anywhere, or at least on regular paved roads such as you did and I assume you will do again.

    not overloading will obviously play a part.

    main thing is with this 20 yr old bike, that all the hard working bits are up to snuff beforehand.

    I did many many long trips on 28 tires and never on touring had a flat tire (maybe 5, 6000 km of loaded touring) but the kevlar tires I had prob made a diff, always kept pressures at max, watched out for glass etc etc etc. But the wheels themselves were up to it, and kept in good true and spoke tnesion, so never a broken spoke etc.

    there are so many variables, but basically you need to get this bike looked at by someone who really knows their stuff and you trust for advice of either changing things and/or saying it might be not worth the money put into it. Could be in good shape too, so perhaps just cables changes and such...who knows, a reputable mechanice will be able to tell you, especially with an idea of what you want to do iwth it.
     
  3. cloudhead

    cloudhead New Member

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    If you did a tour on an old MTB, the Thorn will probably feel like a Bentley.
     
  4. mulebikes

    mulebikes New Member

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    I was on a 20 odd year old dawes galaxy and toured for over 6000kms on it....pretty well loaded.....all in 1 trip.granted i put a new fork on it( i wanted to have canti breaks on the front) but thats neither here nor there!

    The bike held up fine...BUT!!! and it is a big one!!!i used this bike as a normal work horse when i got home...about 2/3 weeks after i got home the frame snapped...dont want to freak ye out..frames do snap,but i feel an old (I assume steel) frame may have that bit more of a chance of failing..unless you have complete faith in the origin of the bike and are pretty broke...id strongly consider a new/newer bike.

    i was bitten by the touring bug so shelled out for a Surly Long Haul Trucker...I have taken this bike from turin to barcelona riding through the pyrenees and alps..
    The bike feels like it's gonna last forever and looks nice too!!frame and fork Euro500/550..
     
  5. cloudhead

    cloudhead New Member

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    I always have been told that steel is the most reliable and repairable frame. Im actually restoring a 25-year old Trek 720 because I didn't find any frames I like that are short of $1500 to replace it with. It had been involved in 2 auto accidents (sideswipes) and sustained a dent on the top tube which turned out to be nothing more than cosmetic and repairable with "no problem" by the frame expert.

    However, the Long Haul Trucker was a frame I was considering replacing it with. If I ever did have to, that would probably be the frame, until I can afford a co-motion ;) A friend is building a Trucker up with 26" wheels for some major action.
     
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