Trek 520 / Fuji Touring / Bianchi Volpe ??

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by expatCanuck2, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. expatCanuck2

    expatCanuck2 New Member

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    Other than relatively minor price differences, are there any noteworthy differences between the Trek 520, Fuji Touring and Bianchi Volpe??

    I'd add the Surly LHT, except that (i) I can't find one to try, and (ii) my likely frame size (54) would necessitate 26" wheels.
    Simlarly, I'd add the Jamis Aurora, but there don't seem to be any 55's to be had in New England 'til the fall.


    Thanks.

    - Richard
    richard AT oldWithoutMoney D O T com
     
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  2. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    Better components on Trek 520 than Fuji or Bianchi.
    Bianchi has a little lower gearing thanks to the Sugino crank. This is a benefit when fully loaded touring, especially up long grades and/or when you just don't have the power left to climb in the lowest gear... and your alternative is to dismount and push.
    Any of them need to have the bar reach & height optimized for you.... if the factory choice isn't ideal for your body.... which chances are pretty good that they aren't.
    Bianchi comes without a rear rack, while Trek & Fuji have a rack.
    Do you have an REI near you? If so, you should also consider the Randonee model of REI's Novara line of bicycles.
     
  3. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    I forgot to mention that Trek 520 has 45 CM long chain stays, the longest of the group .... and I think that is a benefit for carrying panniers and providing better heal clearance. Bianchi has rather short chain stays for a touring bicycle at 42.5 CM.
    You can change the gearing, but you can't change the frame.
     
  4. ator539

    ator539 New Member

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    All the bikes you list seem good for loaded touring.

    I've been looking at the LHT myself. Assuming that they become available soon, what's the problem with them? Why are 26 inch wheels such a bad thing? They seem an advantage for two reasons:

    (1) lower gearing is possible in that, if the wheel is smaller, one pedal stroke will push you slightly less far forward. Despite what crazy people who've never toured will say, lower gearing is better. The LHT goes up to 48-11 with 26 inch wheels--this is a high gear. LHT goes down to 26-34 with 26 inch wheels--this is a very nice low gear. Some of the other loaded "touring" bikes you mention don't have low gears anywhere near the LHT.

    and perhaps of less importance:
    (2) wider availability of tires. Slick or near-slick 26 inch tires are available all over the place. For example, with most loaded touring, you will be closer to a wal-mart, k-mart, etc than a bike shop, possibly by well over 100 miles. All of these mega shops will have 26 inch tires and innertubes and none will have 700 tires. Even if you carry a spare tire with you, it is good to be closer to that extra tire than further away. I don't mean to say to shop at wal-mart for bike parts instead of LBS's generally, but if it is between picking up a tire there and walking, I'd pick up a tire there. Indeed what I say goes for wheels as well, though at the mega-shops, you'd have to buy a whole bike and, I guess, give away the rest besides the wheel (at a cost of around $50 for the whole bike). The wheel would get you to an LBS, or possibly to the end of your tour. You could even use the rear wheel, with 7 cogs, once you adjusted your shifters to friction rather than index.

    In any case. I just thought I'd throw in my 2cents. I bet not everyone agrees with me on this. Don't know when the LHT will be available.
     
  5. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    I agree with all your points, including the challenges of finding Surly LHT.
    I just installed a Surly LHT 26" fork on my custom touring bicycle. If I had it to do all over again I would have bought a stock LHT in the 26" wheel version and made a few changes to suit me. (I would have saved a bundle that could have been used in many other places.)
    In the cross country tours I have done I managed to get by with the same tires (and front tube in one 3,000+ mile trip), however, I think that easy/close access the 26" wheel/tire/tube and other MTB parts makes them a good choice. Surly uses 26" wheels on "smaller" sizes and 700C on larger sizes. Since I own both a 700C and a 26" touring bicycle, I can tell you that my 26" one gets more riding and is my first choice for long haul loaded touring.
    I use indexed bar end shifters with friction option for the versatility of being able to use different wheels/cogs/speeds if required. Lower range gearing is very useful when loaded touring and on grades that might otherwise make you get off and walk.
     
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