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A modern "Touring" bike suggestions please

Old 05-26-23, 09:37 PM
  #1  
rokosz
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A modern "Touring" bike suggestions please

Hi all, I'm new to the forum but not to the most efficient mode of transportation ever invented. Apologies if I'm not in the best sub-forum for this.

I'm hoping folks can provide me with some brands or links to a new touring bike for me. So far I've looked at Cannondale, Salsa, Bombtrack and Stanforth. So far, I've looked most closely at Stan. I'm at a point where I'd like to actually pose questions to them for how their bike can help me. But I feel like there should be other, better, options. I hope too.

When I look at touring bikes today they all seem gonzo for track and dirt warriors. I did 5-7 day self-contained tours on a 1988 Cannondale ST700 which I purchased new in 1990. Drop bars, 21 biopace gears. added seat gel pad (worth its 1lb weight in hemorrhoids). I did change the cage/derailleur when new so I could get some nice low gearing on the granny and still truck down hill.

I never toured with more than a 32c tire. I often had a foldable 38+(?) but never had the need to take the time to switch. That Cann is now my daily rider (for its first 15 years it was used only for day trips and tours). Pre-Covid I'd been renovating the bike with correct NOS components. I even had NOS 36 hole hubs, ready to go for the rims when I found them. Took months and months, found the rims -- then couldn't find the hubs. Where the H-E-double hockey sticks did they go? I suppose someday they'll turn up. It helped me realize a 33 year old bike, fully loaded, might not be the safest thing to rely on for day-in/day-out riding far from home.

When I look at modern "road" bikes, most don't have the mounts required and the geometry is _too_ quick/stiff ride/road/racing. So far the "touring" bikes I've looked at are overkill for my needs -- they seem like too much bike (in my experience) or the "features" aren't right: Don't like flat bars or double-cranksets. Grannies and Curls are hot.

I'm not fluent with all the types of bikes possible. But I feel like in 1990 "touring" was just a kind of hybrid -- or maybe, just the way I did my Cann was a kind of hybridization. I even swapped out the stock drops for slightly wider drops (was that brand Modelo?)

Modern "touring" bikes seem to lean toward "Pan-American" odyssey, or Bikepacking & Off-pavement targeted. I hauled my 50 pounds of whatever (even hiking boots sometimes -- always nice to take a day off and foot climb), don't recall ever getting a flat and never a blow-out and did it on what seems to be just a softer geometry road bike. Am I missing something?

I'd do the hybridization again -- if I could find the frame. Its been kind of frustrating. So I've come to the long tail of a bike forum hoping someone can help clue me in a bit.

thanks for listening, and keep on truckin'.
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Old 05-26-23, 09:46 PM
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My first suggestion would be to post this down in the "Touring" sub-forum down the list of sub-forums, you'll get better information there. Also post where you are, as some of those bicycle brands you list are not from the USA (as far as I know).

If you've got an old touring model (the ST700?) maybe look at adding a few new parts and use it to suit the non-offtrack touring you seem to be leaning towards doing. (great bicycle, I had one back in the late 1990s). I've got issues with a lot of the newer models, too - very small front single chainrings, builds made toward offroad touring and 'bikepacking' with an emphasis on carrying very light loads among them. Cheers

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Old 05-26-23, 10:16 PM
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Surly Disc Trucker
REI co-op ADV 1.1
Kona Sutra SE
Fuji Touring
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Old 05-27-23, 04:50 AM
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If you want to look at the archived Trek 520 on the Trek web site, it gives you an idea of the "traditional" touring bike. I haven't looked at touring bikes lately so I can't name many right now. I think though that bikes like the Trek Dual Sport Gen 5 and Bombtrack Munroe AL are cool for riding with larger tires.
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Old 05-27-23, 06:07 AM
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Co-Motion
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Old 05-27-23, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Surly Disc Trucker
REI co-op ADV 1.1
Kona Sutra SE
Fuji Touring
The ADV 1.1 is the subject of a relatively recent thread in Touring, and itís on sale until Monday. Decent bike for the money.
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Old 05-27-23, 07:32 AM
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I like my Trek 520 and have talked to a lot of people with the Surely who speak highly of it. But I am not sure this meets your needs.

If you want to dig a bit deeper in your wallet and perhaps get more of your own design, you can look to Waterford. My wife had her touring bike designed/assembled by them and has thousands of wonderful miles. Perhaps worth a conversation with them to see if they have some thoughts for you.
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Old 05-27-23, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by rokosz
Hi all, I'm new to the forum but not to the most efficient mode of transportation ever invented. Apologies if I'm not in the best sub-forum for this.

I'm hoping folks can provide me with some brands or links to a new touring bike for me. So far I've looked at Cannondale, Salsa, Bombtrack and Stanforth. So far, I've looked most closely at Stan. I'm at a point where I'd like to actually pose questions to them for how their bike can help me. But I feel like there should be other, better, options. I hope too.

When I look at touring bikes today they all seem gonzo for track and dirt warriors. I did 5-7 day self-contained tours on a 1988 Cannondale ST700 which I purchased new in 1990. Drop bars, 21 biopace gears. added seat gel pad (worth its 1lb weight in hemorrhoids). I did change the cage/derailleur when new so I could get some nice low gearing on the granny and still truck down hill.

I never toured with more than a 32c tire. I often had a foldable 38+(?) but never had the need to take the time to switch. That Cann is now my daily rider (for its first 15 years it was used only for day trips and tours). Pre-Covid I'd been renovating the bike with correct NOS components. I even had NOS 36 hole hubs, ready to go for the rims when I found them. Took months and months, found the rims -- then couldn't find the hubs. Where the H-E-double hockey sticks did they go? I suppose someday they'll turn up. It helped me realize a 33 year old bike, fully loaded, might not be the safest thing to rely on for day-in/day-out riding far from home.

When I look at modern "road" bikes, most don't have the mounts required and the geometry is _too_ quick/stiff ride/road/racing. So far the "touring" bikes I've looked at are overkill for my needs -- they seem like too much bike (in my experience) or the "features" aren't right: Don't like flat bars or double-cranksets. Grannies and Curls are hot.

I'm not fluent with all the types of bikes possible. But I feel like in 1990 "touring" was just a kind of hybrid -- or maybe, just the way I did my Cann was a kind of hybridization. I even swapped out the stock drops for slightly wider drops (was that brand Modelo?)

Modern "touring" bikes seem to lean toward "Pan-American" odyssey, or Bikepacking & Off-pavement targeted. I hauled my 50 pounds of whatever (even hiking boots sometimes -- always nice to take a day off and foot climb), don't recall ever getting a flat and never a blow-out and did it on what seems to be just a softer geometry road bike. Am I missing something?

I'd do the hybridization again -- if I could find the frame. Its been kind of frustrating. So I've come to the long tail of a bike forum hoping someone can help clue me in a bit.

thanks for listening, and keep on truckin'.
Honestly, you wonít find anything better for road touring than that Cannondale. More modern ďtouring bikesĒ are more like sport touring bikes of old with more emphasis on the ďsportĒ side. Their geometry is biased towards quick handling but you donít need (nor want) quick handling on a loaded touring bike. They use short chainstays which makes carrying panniers more problematic even if you have average sized feet. Yes, you can use bikepacking bagsÖI have a set and use them for more rugged adventuresÖbut bikepacking bags are a bit of a pain to use. You need more of them to carry less load. Iím about to start a trip where Iím going to use a mountain bike instead of my touring bike due to the surfaces that Iíll be riding. Instead of 4 panniers and a handlebar bag, I have a frame bag, 3 small round bags, a seat bag, a set of micro panniers, a much heavier handle bar bag (tent, sleeping bag, pocket for electronics), and a small food bag. Thatís 8 bags of different and very odd shapes that are difficult to pack because stuff doesnít fit in an organized manner. Where I can carry all of my cooking gearÖstove, fuel canister, pots, kettle, cup, untensilsÖin one pannier, itís now spread across 3 different bags. Iíll endure the use because of the terrain but panniers are far easier to use.

Another disadvantage of the bikepacking bags is where the load is carried. Itís all high and in the wrong place. For example, the heaviest bag is the handlebar bag. Iím carrying 30 lbs of gear and food but 10 lbs or 1/3 of the weight is carried on the handlebar bag above the front wheel. The seat bag is the second heaviest bag at 7 lbs is also carried high above the rear wheel. Thatís more than half the load being carried high on the bike. It makes for challenging riding in rough terrain because the load is so high. On rough roads, I almost expect to do an endo.

Stick with your Cannondale. Thereís nothing wrong with it and a whole lot right with it. I have two newer Cannondale touring bikes (and one spare frame). I use one for daily riding and the other one for going on tours. Both can do gravelÖand one has done around 700 miles of it in one tour. Both ride well and carry loads far better and far easier than any other bike I own or have owned.
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Old 05-27-23, 09:45 AM
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The problem is some of them are disappearing from the line-up (eg: Trek 520, Soma Saga disc) to name two I have owned. If you can find either of those used, it will be fine, but as mentioned earlier, so would your Cannondale.

The Surley LH Trucker (disc) I think is still made. It is very popular.
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Old 05-27-23, 10:07 AM
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.
...is there some significant, unfixable problem with the Cannondale you bought in 1990 ? Otherwise, as already stated, a lot of people (in my circle of acquaintances) go with Surly.
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Old 05-27-23, 10:18 AM
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Those early Cannondale touring bikes are great bikes. One limitation with older touring bikes is tire size but you're fine with 32c. I'd lean towards keeping and rebuilding that bike.
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Old 05-27-23, 11:38 AM
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Use your cannondale (perhaps with al little upgrade) or have a look at earlier suggestions. Another one: tout terrain blueridge gt .
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Old 05-27-23, 12:00 PM
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I love my Co-Motion Cascadia and is probably just what you are looking for. It has changed a bit since I got mine back in 2013 or 2014. The biggest change I would make to my purchase was get the stainless dropouts and the Pathfinder package. Non-functionally I would also get the Crater Lake head badge but that wasn't available at the time but I did get the nickel badge so it is still neat.

https://co-motion.com/products/cascadia

I have had a Surly Disc Trucker in the past and loved that and if you want a economical frame the New Albion Privateer is quite fantastic for the price and the bike is one of my favorite bikes after building it but I didn't build it for touring but I could easily do some lighter tours on it but gearing probably not ideal as a 1x9 but it works for my purposes.
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Old 05-27-23, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by debade
I like my Trek 520 and have talked to a lot of people with the Surely who speak highly of it. But I am not sure this meets your needs.

If you want to dig a bit deeper in your wallet and perhaps get more of your own design, you can look to Waterford. My wife had her touring bike designed/assembled by them and has thousands of wonderful miles. Perhaps worth a conversation with them to see if they have some thoughts for you.
Waterford is closing and not accepting any new orders
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Old 05-27-23, 01:05 PM
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Google "carbon touring bike." Yes, they exist, and plenty of them.

My wife and I toured on our Co-Motion steel tandem, stripped weight 36 lbs, the weight of two carbon bikes. We packed a total of 44 lbs., counting pump, tools, panniers, and full camping gear including a 3 person tent. Our townie clothes weren't much, but sufficient. We even had trail runners and a small rucksack for hiking. We were 98% on pavement and ran 28mm tires. We'd use 32mm now. We had a lot of fun. Our gear weight was low because our other favorite sport is backpacking, so we used that gear.
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Old 05-27-23, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris
Waterford is closing and not accepting any new orders
I heard Richard was retiring. I assumed the business would carry-on. Thanks for the update.
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Old 05-27-23, 01:55 PM
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Welcome!
You can learn a lot here from some very knowledgeable people. You can also learn a lot from going on a couple of short tours on the bike you have. Those will teach you what you like and do not like about it and will give you a baseline for comparison. The tours will also teach you something about how you have changed in the past 33 years.
Have fun!
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Old 05-27-23, 02:23 PM
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For touring the frame geometry for stability on downhill grades and having room for panniers are the two key concerns. I ride a 54-55cm frame for normal road riding but for touring I had a 58cm frame to provide more clearance for the panniers.

The bikes made for triathletes in the 1980's were ideal in most respects with their "relaxed" frame geometry. Today it would be what is referred to as an "endurance" bike and exemplfied by the Specialized Roubaix bikes. The British "touring" bikes are overbuilt and designed for people who plan to spend months in third world areas with dirt roads. And the UK is not mountainous when compared to Europe or the USA.

My first trip down the California coast was with a load of 25 lbs. My second and subsequent trips were with less than 15 lbs and that was 50 years ago when good bike shops were few and far between and one had to be entirely self-sufficient - no cell phones either to call for an Ubber driver for a breakdown. My main concern was flats and a broken spoke. I built 4-cross wheels and with these I never broke a spoke with 50 years of use. I have had flat tires from broken glass on the highway and so taking spare tires and tubes is important.
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Old 05-27-23, 06:41 PM
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thanks much!

Wow! thanks all for the support and help. I may be a boomer, but at least, it seems, I'm not out-of-touch. Who'da thunk the Cann st700 would be so well-regarded. Now it really irritates me I lost those hubs.

There are two main reasons (aside from this vague generational bias) I'd like to replace the st700 with a new bike (Aside from a, perhaps, irrational fear of metal fatigue).

Both I remembered today: First: Even though the entire drive train is replaced with NOS I still have trouble shifting to the granny (chain jumps off) esp. if I've waited too long into the climb. I thought I got rid of the prob when I replaced the granny ring a 2nd time (the first new one got a tooth dinged). But its happened since and today it happened while in the 2nd freewheel (seemed exclusive to the first previously). Maybe another adjustment will help, I hope solve. The second -- and this has been an issue since the very first tour on it (Bavarian Alps) I get to Munich, rebuild the bike and find that one of the little tapped holes (I always called them braze-ons) that receive the tiny screws for attaching racks was stripped. Went to a bike shop and they re-tapped it.

From that point I was always careful with the screws but over time they mostly all stripped. I think the threads were just too fine for an abusive environment. I tried bypassing the threads and using a nut/bolt setup -- tough to do if you want clearance for certain moving parts(!).
Now that I haven't had the racks on it in such a long time (esp the front) that the braze-ons are mostly rusted (don't know how invasive, butthey don't look good).

I will post this query in the Touring sub. I had seen it but wasn't sure how "technical" the audience would be. More fool me.

Anybody have experience with re-tapping/engineering "braze-on"s?

I'm in New York but in this age of global markets I'm fine with overseas vendors -- though I get that a test ride is not too likely. I've got a budget but shipping is excluded. Int'l shipping costs suck. thanks again.
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Old 05-27-23, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by rokosz

Anybody have experience with re-tapping/engineering "braze-on"s?

....
...speaking very generally (because I cannot see in front of me what you've got), most braze on fittings that are stripped to the point you describe respond well to drilling them out a size larger, and re-tapping the holes.
You need to know the drill size that corresponds to "a size larger", in your case. Shouldn't be a big deal for someone who does this sort of thing professionally.

But the aluminum Cannondale frames, with their very thin walled tubing, might require a different approach. Depending on the condition of the inserts that are used for these threaded attachment holes.

I recall dimly seeing posts about just replacing them, but I have never done that with the one I have. Some sort of rivnut maybe ? Someone will know, who has done it, probably.
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Old 05-27-23, 07:21 PM
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Just to mention some things. Cyclingabout on Youtube has reviews (and pathlesspedaled). And Decathlon stores have the Riverside 520.
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Old 05-28-23, 06:08 AM
  #22  
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I have an 1983 ST-500 .... the issue I have with it is drop-out width---it will not accpet a "modern" 130-mm hub, which means I am stuck with 7-speed freewheel hubs. Not Terrible---I have done thousands of miles on freewheel hubs---but far from optimal, IMO. Your 1990 frame might have wider dropouts.

I think you can replace the braze-ons with Riv-nuts. I wouldn't mess with welding (aluminum is all about the heat-treat,) and re-tapping might take you into thinner metal which would be even more prone to failure. Riv-nut are friction fitted .... Odd to me that you stripped the threads, though. I mean, racks are supposed to be solidly mounted, and unless the user removed and replaced them carelessly repeatedly ... the actual threads don't get a lot of wear(the load is divided across each thread.) I supose if you crashed and ripped a rack off ...

Whatever. I have used Riv-nut with some success .... but if I were you I would go shopping for a new bike. While pure touring bikes are not super-popular, they do exist.

A lot of people I know recommend Surly, but since i don't care about brand names, I would just shop by geometry and spec. There are bikes a out there which would work well. Also you can now get CF forks designed for touring, which accept racks and all ... I used to say bike weight didn't matter because the gear weighed so much, but as I age, if I can save a few pounds without sacrificing strength .....

Keep us posted.
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Old 05-28-23, 08:39 AM
  #23  
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Visit a Surly website, they make the best touring and adventure bikes out there.
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Old 05-28-23, 12:54 PM
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The last place one wants an accidental gear change is on a step incline while strapped into the pedals. Happened to me on a trip though the Sierras and it was caused by the largest cog having become dished and resulted in my hitting my knee hard on the curbing. Had to finish the trip without the 28t cog and with an injured knee.

A bad cog - dished or with worn teeth, a worn chain, a derailleur that is not maintaining adequate chain tension, or a badly adjusted derailleur, can cause problems. In the old days a freewheel pawl sticking or failing could happen and so on long trips I took a spare freewheel cluster, just in case, as bike shops were hundreds of miles apart.

As I am not racing I only charge up hills to maintain momentum on hilly terrain but when approaching a long grade I get in the gear that is low enough that I know I can make it up and then coast into the hill and start pedaling when my speed has decreased enough for the gear choice. Whether it takes my 20 minutes or 25 minutes to get to the top of the grade is of no consequence but I do want to make it to the top without dismounting or having to make a gear change.
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Old 05-28-23, 02:49 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
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Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

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Originally Posted by Calsun
The bikes made for triathletes in the 1980's were ideal in most respects with their "relaxed" frame geometry. Today it would be what is referred to as an "endurance" bike and exemplfied by the Specialized Roubaix bikes. The British "touring" bikes are overbuilt and designed for people who plan to spend months in third world areas with dirt roads. And the UK is not mountainous when compared to Europe or the USA.
A month or so ago, you posted something similar. I remember because it was so absurd that it stuck in my mind.
You claimed a Centurion Ironman was an excellent touring bike. That bike has no eyelets, has steep angles, has a short chainstay, and tight gearing.

It was laughable then, yet here you are once again spitting similar BS.

What specific 80s tri bikes are in any way close to endurance bikes? A modern Domane geometry and ride is nothing like a Centurion Ironman or a Panasonic DX4000.
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