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Need help evaluating a couple touring bikes

Old 01-31-20, 09:01 AM
  #1  
RH Clark
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Need help evaluating a couple touring bikes

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/752987788452593/
I can get this one a little cheaper. Gentleman bought it new and says less than 1500 total miles

This one looks too expensive and is far away but I'm a newby and have heard so much about the 520 that I thought I would ask

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1118106221721049/

I
have only inquired about actual size on this one and not received an answer yet. Just saw it talked about well.
https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...7505077345085/

Basically I'm pretty much broke,51 years old and want to tour from Alabama to Colorado. I ride a 2017 Trek Marlin 5 now which I bought used for $250. I'm 6'1 170 lbs with a 32" inseam. I would have to sell an heirloom to pay for a new $1000 plus bike but would if I it would wind up costing a good bit to get one of these ready to do the trip. I just don't have enough $$ to waste it.
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Old 01-31-20, 11:05 AM
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Just get a rack for your current bike. Then strap on a bag holding your stuff or or search the commuting / Living car free forums on how to make cheap saddle bags.
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Old 01-31-20, 11:12 AM
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^ That's pretty good advice but if you've never toured before you should probably know that a lot of your riding time is spent thinking of what you should have done differently to prepare your bike for the trip, or dreaming of the bike you're gonna build for your next trip. It can drive you crazy.

If you like the bike you have, it's probably best to spend your limited funds on outfitting it for your trip and remembering that the less you have to spend up front, the longer you'll be able to stay out.

Good luck and have fun!


P.S. The first two ads you listed are now gone and the third shows a Schwinn Voyageur SP, which is a pretty well respected bicycle. I'd like to have one. But the important thing to remember is that you don't need one to tour.

Last edited by thumpism; 01-31-20 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 01-31-20, 11:37 AM
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I wouldn't go around the block unloaded with the POS mtb you have.
The Schwinn is a good bike no doubt. Should be big enough. The tires look pretty lame to me.
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Old 01-31-20, 12:24 PM
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Appreciate the advice. The Schwinn is my first target I talked to the guy and it's a go as long as he doesn't back out on me somehow.

I could "get there" on just about anything but I would enjoy he ride more in a Cadillac,than a Jeep.
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Old 01-31-20, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ups View Post
Just get a rack for your current bike. Then strap on a bag holding your stuff or or search the commuting / Living car free forums on how to make cheap saddle bags.
gears should be fine, but it has 32-spoke bontrager wheels.

maybe consider stowing your gear in a trailer.
you can pick up a chinese bob knock-off for not too much.
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Old 01-31-20, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
gears should be fine, but it has 32-spoke bontrager wheels.

maybe consider stowing your gear in a trailer.
you can pick up a chinese bob knock-off for not too much.
I have considered a trailer but hate to buy one untried.
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Old 01-31-20, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
I wouldn't go around the block unloaded with the POS mtb you have.
The Schwinn is a good bike no doubt. Should be big enough. The tires look pretty lame to me.
Wow, way to tear apart someone's bike, I don't see how the marlin is really that much worse then an antique or so bad it has to be denigrated like that.
Looking up the specs on the Marlin shows that it is running a real cassette, not a freewheel which should make the hubs better.

To the OP, if money is an issue there's nothing wrong with using the equipment you have. If you have some decent technical knowledge/ability you can always convert your bike to a drop bar cheaper then you'll buy one. Microshift has a pair of 3x7sp shifters that should work fine with your bike and go for 60-80, a basic drop bar will cost another 20-30, new tape and some brake housing and you should be good to go. I like cross levers on my touring bikes so another 20.00 and your bike is set. Thinner tires are also nice but unnecessary. Check out 365cycles for the levers, randombikeparts for the bar, tape and cross levers or the bikewagon ebay account, they also have deals on their website. Depending on your weight, the load, the terrain and the quality of the rims and build 32 spoke can be more then adequate to the task. My own touring bike supports me, at 275lb, and my equipment and does fine. Trek outfits with OK rims so you'll get away with it a couple times on those wheels but long term you'll need better. Course you could also just do nice tires, some bar ends for extra hand positions and just go with it, seen that plenty along the Erie Canal. Your frame should take a rack from the pictures and the stays should be long enough that bags won't get in the way. Might also get a deal on something older but look for something with bar ends or brifters and made within the last 1/4 century,ld wheels had more spokes for a reason, the old wheels were not as good as modern ones and I wouldn't want to tour on them, to me newer is better.
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Old 01-31-20, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Wow, way to tear apart someone's bike, I don't see how the marlin is really that much worse then an antique or so bad it has to be denigrated like that.
Looking up the specs on the Marlin shows that it is running a real cassette, not a freewheel which should make the hubs better.

To the OP, if money is an issue there's nothing wrong with using the equipment you have. If you have some decent technical knowledge/ability you can always convert your bike to a drop bar cheaper then you'll buy one. Microshift has a pair of 3x7sp shifters that should work fine with your bike and go for 60-80, a basic drop bar will cost another 20-30, new tape and some brake housing and you should be good to go. I like cross levers on my touring bikes so another 20.00 and your bike is set. Thinner tires are also nice but unnecessary. Check out 365cycles for the levers, randombikeparts for the bar, tape and cross levers or the bikewagon ebay account, they also have deals on their website. Depending on your weight, the load, the terrain and the quality of the rims and build 32 spoke can be more then adequate to the task. My own touring bike supports me, at 275lb, and my equipment and does fine. Trek outfits with OK rims so you'll get away with it a couple times on those wheels but long term you'll need better. Course you could also just do nice tires, some bar ends for extra hand positions and just go with it, seen that plenty along the Erie Canal. Your frame should take a rack from the pictures and the stays should be long enough that bags won't get in the way. Might also get a deal on something older but look for something with bar ends or brifters and made within the last 1/4 century,ld wheels had more spokes for a reason, the old wheels were not as good as modern ones and I wouldn't want to tour on them, to me newer is better.
Now there's an opinion I would really like to examine. One of those bikes, the one I am most interested in is lauded as one of the best touring bikes of all times, the Schwinn Voyageur SP, by guys on this same forum. I am signed up for a Masters mechanic series of classes and plan to make sure whatever I go on is in top shape. If however the Schwinn is just an old bike and I would be better off on my Trek, that's something I want to know for sure. Are the guys who talk up the Schwinn VSP just high on old steel dust, or has this gentleman just not yet learned to trust anything not new?

Respectfully, my friend, is that opinion based on experience or based more on caution? I don't want to waste any money on an older bike ,even restored if it just isn't up to the task. I would rather liquidate something and drop $1500,if nostalgia is the only reason to buy what is considered a touring classic from 1983.

BTW
I'm 51 years old 6'2 and 170 lbs if that matters.
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Old 02-01-20, 12:42 AM
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Whatever. It is 3x as good as a walmart bike and seems to be working unloaded, but it's still in TREKs basement.
The fact is this bike was $490 new. One description says the 5 model is for girls.
The extreme TT slope makes it pathetic for water bottles and impossible to properly put a rack on the back.
Maybe it's better with an XL size, but I doubt it.
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Old 02-01-20, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark View Post
Now there's an opinion I would really like to examine. One of those bikes, the one I am most interested in is lauded as one of the best touring bikes of all times, the Schwinn Voyageur SP, by guys on this same forum. I am signed up for a Masters mechanic series of classes and plan to make sure whatever I go on is in top shape. If however the Schwinn is just an old bike and I would be better off on my Trek, that's something I want to know for sure. Are the guys who talk up the Schwinn VSP just high on old steel dust, or has this gentleman just not yet learned to trust anything not new?

Respectfully, my friend, is that opinion based on experience or based more on caution? I don't want to waste any money on an older bike ,even restored if it just isn't up to the task. I would rather liquidate something and drop $1500,if nostalgia is the only reason to buy what is considered a touring classic from 1983.

BTW
I'm 51 years old 6'2 and 170 lbs if that matters.
that schwinn looks pretty nice. pretty much the same as what i built up around that time to tour on.
thoughout europe, around oz, across us. really nice bike for pavement.
7spd FW, sugina AT triple, downtube shifters, cantis.

if it fits, if in good condition, should do nicely.
but about the wheels......
i'm assuming that's FW and probably 27".
might limit your choices
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Old 02-01-20, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
that schwinn looks pretty nice. pretty much the same as what i built up around that time to tour on.
thoughout europe, around oz, across us. really nice bike for pavement.
7spd FW, sugina AT triple, downtube shifters, cantis.

if it fits, if in good condition, should do nicely.
but about the wheels......
i'm assuming that's FW and probably 27".
might limit your choices
They are 27" wheels. Don't know what the FW reference is? I can get tires pretty easy. Do you think it will need wheels? Is that because it has rim brakes?

I'm trying to get a stand over measurement now. The bike is a 59cm and I am 6"2 with a 32" inseam. If I place a broom handle completely horizontal, I could stand over a height of 33" and could get off the peddles over it without hurting anything.
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Old 02-01-20, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark View Post
They are 27" wheels. Don't know what the FW reference is? I can get tires pretty easy. Do you think it will need wheels? Is that because it has rim brakes?

I'm trying to get a stand over measurement now. The bike is a 59cm and I am 6"2 with a 32" inseam. If I place a broom handle completely horizontal, I could stand over a height of 33" and could get off the peddles over it without hurting anything.

most tourers are 700c nowadays, or 29er for the hepcrowd.
harder to find quality 27" tires. not a deal-breaker.
carry a folding spare.

FW is freewheel as opposed to cassette gear cluster.
same problem, older tech, not much variety in FW's.
you'll need a FW remover to replace broken spokes.

rim brakes are fine. they stop the bike.
if set up properly, nearly as well as mechanical disks.
modern pads will make a difference.

get a good mechanic to go over the wheels.

standover isn't necessarily the best way to measure fit.
some experts will be along shortly to explain.
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Old 02-01-20, 07:12 PM
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Okay. The first two links are now dead. I looked at the Schwinn and it looks to be a pretty good bike.

it has a half-step & granny front chainring setup.
The cantilever brakes stick straight out from the frame which means you need to be careful attaching panniers aka saddlebags so that the brakes are pushed against the rims.
It has a 5 speed freewheel. You need to watch the overall weight of rider and gear in order to not bend or break the axle. It's not just the weight it's also the impact if you accidentally hit a pothole or something similar.
The over-the-handlebar brake cables can be a great place to clip a map to.
It has downtube shifters. Are you comfortable riding with one hand whilst making a gear shift? You might consider getting bar-end shifters. They allow you to keep both hands on the handlebar which can be nice when shifting whilst riding in gusty crosswind or riding up a hill or riding when quite tired. A co-op nearby might have bar-end shifters.
27" wheels are okay but Id' carry a spare folding one if on tour. Changing those wheels to 700C may not be possible due to the position of the brake caliper mounting posts.
Friction shifting means that almost any rear derailleur will work if that one were to die.
Looks like you'd need to buy pedals for the bike. Don't forget to grease the threads on the pedals before putting them onto the cranks.

If that bike is in as good a shape as it appears to be you should have no problems with it. I'd take it to a co-op and have the bearings all looked at to be absolutely sure they are clean, well greased and adjusted properly. Or you can pay a trusted bike shop to do it for you.

Btw, a decent rigid frame/fork MTB with dropbar, bar-end shifters, and narrow snooth tires (26" x 1.25" slicks) makes a very nice touring bike too. Here's an image of my MIELE MTB rebuilt that way but still with its gravel road knobby tires on it.



Good luck and cheers
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Old 02-01-20, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark View Post
Now there's an opinion I would really like to examine. One of those bikes, the one I am most interested in is lauded as one of the best touring bikes of all times, the Schwinn Voyageur SP, by guys on this same forum. I am signed up for a Masters mechanic series of classes and plan to make sure whatever I go on is in top shape. If however the Schwinn is just an old bike and I would be better off on my Trek, that's something I want to know for sure. Are the guys who talk up the Schwinn VSP just high on old steel dust, or has this gentleman just not yet learned to trust anything not new?

Respectfully, my friend, is that opinion based on experience or based more on caution? I don't want to waste any money on an older bike ,even restored if it just isn't up to the task. I would rather liquidate something and drop $1500,if nostalgia is the only reason to buy what is considered a touring classic from 1983.
BTW
I'm 51 years old 6'2 and 170 lbs if that matters.
The opinion is based on both. You are looking at a bike that is roughly 35 years old. That's 35 years of bearing wear and spoke fatigue with what looks like basic single-wall rims and a weaker freewheel system. Who knows, they might do fine and rebuilt with new spokes, new bearings and fresh grease they really could last many more years. But its still a FW system with 27" rims that doesn't have as good a tire selection as a modern 700c or 650b while quality FW options are highly limited. And while freewheel hubs were the goto for decades they are prone to bending under load and cassette hubs are far superior, the last freewheel hub I had I snapped the axle of going uphill and bent the frame, I've seen others do the same.
The frame its self is still very respectable and would make a fine base. I can remember running downtube shifters and I don't think they're much to speak of, friction is nice and never goes out of adjustment in a real sense but shifters closer to your hands that you don't have to reach as far for are much better. For my touring bike I like inline brake levers so I'd automatically switch to aero brake levers or brifters if a drop bar, flat bar the brake levers are good enough and not that far from bar ends. The brakes on it are ok, though even with new pads will not stop as well as your current bike particularly with the non-machined sidewalls of those rims. There actually isn't anything about that bike that would make me want to get it for a tour unless I had stuff ready to replace things with. So if I were to buy this bike I'd have to pick a nice sturdy rim, velocity has the dyad in this size, a 105 level hub and a proper wheel build, put on new pads, relocate the shifters to the stem or handlebars, change the brake levers and add inline levers, and find a really good tire. Then yes, I'd be happy to tour on it. Also I'd have to ditch the halfstep, which is possible by changing the gears to a cassette with a wider range that can be run with friction.

Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
Whatever. It is 3x as good as a walmart bike and seems to be working unloaded, but it's still in TREKs basement.
The fact is this bike was $490 new. One description says the 5 model is for girls.
The extreme TT slope makes it pathetic for water bottles and impossible to properly put a rack on the back.
Maybe it's better with an XL size, but I doubt it.
Looks like it can easily handle a rear rack,it has the fittings for it, though obviously no real front rack but will take a bikepacking bag. The larger sizes will have an easy time holding two cages and I've fit them on these bikes before. This isn't to say there is anything ideal about the bike but it can do the job.
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