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Few ideas for my first tourer. What should I look for? touring bike?

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Few ideas for my first tourer. What should I look for? touring bike?

Old 06-12-22, 04:35 PM
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dja1
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Few ideas for my first tourer. What should I look for? touring bike?

(Title should read "Few ideas for my first tourer. What should I look for?" - can it be edited?)

I've been fairly committed to cycling for probably 8 years now, and while it has sometimes been in fits and starts I know that I enjoy it and it is here to stay for me. I also love wild camping.

I was recently looking into sinking 3500 on an aero frame and carbon wheels until I thought to myself; why? Why not incorporate two of my favorite hobbies together? I'd get much more from it and get to travel?

Currently, looking into getting a real sturdy steel bike along with all the luggage and going for it, but which one? Other than steel, small gearing and the ability to carry luggage, is there anything to be aware of or to look for?

I've (so far) shortlisted 3 bikes, but feel like one of them, the Genesis maybe needs to be binned.

Trek 520, 1650. Real nice classic look with smooth lines, 26-36 to lug this packhorse up inclines and disc brakes to stop it coming down them in all weathers; entry-level but functional gearing and sturdy wheels with tough 38c tyres. Racks included.

Ridgeback Voyage at 1350; Also aesthetically pleasing, I prefer the Trek Red but love the chrome. Gruppo is a small upgrade and also has excellent small gearing also but it utilizes side-pulls and rims and has not as bombproof wheels and 32c tyres; more agile, yes, but also not as good at stopping the added weight; that said I am a very light rider. Rear rack and guards included.

Genesis TDF30 at 2100; The most expensive of them all and the ugliest to my eyes. Don't like the slope on the top tube. While the Tiagra and discs are a welcome upgrade, a small gear of 30-32 is not so; Yes a small gear but I'd bet it doesn't feel it when a 65kg rider is moving 20-30kg of kit uphill. I spin 90-100 cadence. Dynamo included and 35c wheels are adequate. It just doesn't sound as functional as the other two.

Any thoughts or advice? The Trek and Ridgeback are lovely; the Genesis has some great kit but doesn't seem quite as functional and is pricey. Leaning towards the Trek but saving a few quid on the Ridgeback would be nice, or should I go for something completely different maybe?

Last edited by dja1; 06-12-22 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 06-12-22, 05:09 PM
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Probably worth reading this guide.

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Old 06-12-22, 05:46 PM
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Easy to say just buy the Trek and don't over think it. Also look at Koga bikes, they are a Dutch company, have been making well equipped touring bikes for decades. Only thing I personally don't like about them is all their bikes use flat bars, not drop bars, which would be my preference.
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Old 06-12-22, 07:25 PM
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I am pretty happy with my Thorn Sherpa. The Sherpa model is discontinued, but they still have some frames, you could contact them to see if they have one in your size. It is a 26 inch bike and that tire sizes is not as popular as it was a decade ago.
https://www.thorncycles.co.uk/bikes

They build up bikes to order. Their retail location is SJS.
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/
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Old 06-12-22, 08:38 PM
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Don’t get all hung up on disc brakes. Cantilever (not sidepulls, by the way) are an effective brake and not nearly as bad as many make them out to be. My touring bikes has seen a lot of rainy downhills and their cantilevers have stopped it just fine in everything I’ve ridden through. I’ve never once…including a drenched downhill at 45mph in the Smoky Mountains…thought that the brakes weren’t going to work.

You are correct in thinking that the Ridgeback Voyage looks better than the other two. The crank is a better crank and can even take a 22 tooth inner which lowers the gearing significantly. You can even, with some surgery, get a 20 tooth 64mm BCD chainwheel that lowers the gearing even more. The rest of the bike looks pretty good. 32 hole wheels aren’t the best but wheels can be changed (and/or built) to be stronger.
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Old 06-12-22, 10:11 PM
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For the money you are willing to spend you have a lot of options. On this side of the pond the Surly Disc Trucker, Trek 520 and Kona Sutra are all very popular. I,m sure there are plenty of great options of european tourers where you are. You will love touring!
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Old 06-12-22, 10:39 PM
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get the one with the lowest gearing.
You'll appreciate it at least once.
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Old 06-13-22, 02:21 AM
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Out of those three I would get the Ridgeback. The specs are perfectly fine. Save your money for trips.
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Old 06-13-22, 03:28 AM
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assume you're in england with -pricing, so how are import duties on those bikes going to affect your final price?

you can still buy from the mainland, right? maybe check out the line of bikes made by VSF Fahrradmanufaktur Bremen.

https://www.fahrradmanufaktur.de/en/
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Old 06-13-22, 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by dja1 View Post
(Title should read "Few ideas for my first tourer. What should I look for?" - can it be edited?)

I've been fairly committed to cycling for probably 8 years now, and while it has sometimes been in fits and starts I know that I enjoy it and it is here to stay for me. I also love wild camping.

I was recently looking into sinking 3500 on an aero frame and carbon wheels until I thought to myself; why? Why not incorporate two of my favorite hobbies together? I'd get much more from it and get to travel?

Currently, looking into getting a real sturdy steel bike along with all the luggage and going for it, but which one? Other than steel, small gearing and the ability to carry luggage, is there anything to be aware of or to look for?

I've (so far) shortlisted 3 bikes, but feel like one of them, the Genesis maybe needs to be binned.

Trek 520, 1650. Real nice classic look with smooth lines, 26-36 to lug this packhorse up inclines and disc brakes to stop it coming down them in all weathers; entry-level but functional gearing and sturdy wheels with tough 38c tyres. Racks included.

Ridgeback Voyage at 1350; Also aesthetically pleasing, I prefer the Trek Red but love the chrome. Gruppo is a small upgrade and also has excellent small gearing also but it utilizes side-pulls and rims and has not as bombproof wheels and 32c tyres; more agile, yes, but also not as good at stopping the added weight; that said I am a very light rider. Rear rack and guards included.

Genesis TDF30 at 2100; The most expensive of them all and the ugliest to my eyes. Don't like the slope on the top tube. While the Tiagra and discs are a welcome upgrade, a small gear of 30-32 is not so; Yes a small gear but I'd bet it doesn't feel it when a 65kg rider is moving 20-30kg of kit uphill. I spin 90-100 cadence. Dynamo included and 35c wheels are adequate. It just doesn't sound as functional as the other two.

Any thoughts or advice? The Trek and Ridgeback are lovely; the Genesis has some great kit but doesn't seem quite as functional and is pricey. Leaning towards the Trek but saving a few quid on the Ridgeback would be nice, or should I go for something completely different maybe?
As you're in the UK (I live just outside of Bristol in the SW), I would take a look at Spa Cycles. They do their own range of touring bikes, are well regarded, and may get more for your .
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Old 06-13-22, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
assume you're in england with -pricing, so how are import duties on those bikes going to affect your final price?

you can still buy from the mainland, right? maybe check out the line of bikes made by VSF Fahrradmanufaktur Bremen.

https://www.fahrradmanufaktur.de/en/
We can still buy from the mainland but some businesses have not been able to put the proper arrangements in place to make it viable. It is quite an unfortunate situation really, not to get into politics.

There are some really appealing offerings here and definitely some I will be considering. It would not be hard for me to take a trip over to France and ride the bike back to the Eurostar train.
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Old 06-13-22, 05:05 AM
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Check out Bike4 Travel. They are in Rotterdam. We stopped by there on a tour and boufht an unfinished frame and fork for my wife. I built it up with a Rohloff . Marco is the owner.
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Old 06-13-22, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by garryg View Post
For the money you are willing to spend you have a lot of options. On this side of the pond the Surly Disc Trucker, Trek 520 and Kona Sutra are all very popular. I,m sure there are plenty of great options of european tourers where you are. You will love touring!
This has been my experience too.

I have a 2010 520. It serves me well every year and has thousands of miles with my annual tours. My only complaints were the Bontrager tires which wore out in 1,000 miles and the saddle.

The Surly has a cult like following. Side by side comparisons suggest it performs similar to the 520. But given its positive user reviews, I might look at it as well. Tire choice influences some purchasers.

DW has a Waterford which she customized and being a bit older than my 520 has additional miles. I like my 520. She loves her Waterford. If I were to do it all over again, I might spend the extra money. Having said that, you may want to be sure about your touring commitment. But, it will also maintain its value,

Last edited by debade; 06-13-22 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 06-13-22, 01:28 PM
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What you want first is low LOW maintenance reliability. Derailleurs just don't cut it.
You have the cash, so no reason to not get a Rohloff14. ZERO chance of failure, every gear is perfectly spaced, even spokes, lube goes a year or the common length tour, should just add some oil half way, can put the shifter on the toptube, gets better with age. Can use a chain case too.
Get a long frame with LESS than 2" slope, especially if not using drops.
Get a dyno hub. Mine is a flawless SA XL-FDD with a PERFECT drum brake. It'll easily do a whole lap around the world.

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Old 06-13-22, 11:43 PM
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Personally? I'd be glued to Bike24, looking at bikes like this: https://www.bike24.com/p2652020.html and thinking about taking a train to collect it from the continent, maybe with my gear stuffed into panniers that would take seconds to attach to the new bike before riding off homewards.

https://www.bike-discount.de/

https://www.bike-components.de/en/

https://www.hibike.com/
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Old 06-14-22, 10:37 AM
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I've been quite happy with my 520 disc.
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Old 06-14-22, 04:01 PM
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Why not start with the bike you have? You don't say what you presently own, but a lot of bikes are easily converted for touring. But then again, some aren't.
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Old 06-14-22, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
Why not start with the bike you have? You don't say what you presently own, but a lot of bikes are easily converted for touring. But then again, some aren't.
This suggestion above. Find some cheap racks and used panniers (or even duffel bags) and try some short 1-2-3 night rides in your area to see what works for you/what doesn't. It'll help you make a better decision on purchasing a bicycle
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Old 06-14-22, 07:37 PM
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I totally agree with starting with what you have. It won't be everything, but you don't know what matters yet. Set it up with enough racking for your nights out and see what you think. Or go the bikepacking route with rack-less luggage.

If you're getting off the pavement, you'll want to think about gearing and tire adjustments to the current bike. Gearing for loaded off-road will have to be lower and you'll figure that out. I am very particular about tires and ride the widest lightweight tires that fit in my bike.
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Old 06-14-22, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ajh.me View Post
I totally agree with starting with what you have. It won't be everything, but you don't know what matters yet. Set it up with enough racking for your nights out and see what you think. Or go the bikepacking route with rack-less luggage.

If you're getting off the pavement, you'll want to think about gearing and tire adjustments to the current bike. Gearing for loaded off-road will have to be lower and you'll figure that out. I am very particular about tires and ride the widest lightweight tires that fit in my bike.
It's about $150 or less for a full set of Roswheel bikepacking bags of Aliexpress. They're pretty basic, but they do the job. I have a Roswheel saddlebag that I planned to replace after trying a bikepacking saddlebag out, but it just keeps right on keeping on. Easy enough to buy a set of bags from Ali and try them out before buying a whole new bike.
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Old 06-15-22, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by dja1 View Post
I was recently looking into sinking 3500...

Any thoughts or advice?
Moulton TSR 22. Outside the box; inside the club. Proven 'round-the-world tourer. Manufactured in Stratford upon Avon, UK; quintessentially British. Since 1962. Bit of a waiting list these days.

https://www.traditionalcycleshop.co....moulton-tsr-22

Somewhere in Wales:

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Old 06-15-22, 07:39 AM
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Don't limit yourself to steel - a decent aluminum bike will be lighter and better for riding than a heavy steel frame when not doing loaded touring, and will likely be stiffer and handle a load better than a lightweight steel frame. Lots of options in the 'gravel bike' category that can easily be set up with bikepacking bags, or racks and panniers if the chainstays are long enough/your feet are small enough to not hit the rear panniers when pedalling
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Old 06-16-22, 08:17 PM
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Go touring first, before you spend so much on one of those bikes. There may be some things you'll want to have some forethought about, but try not to commit to spending over a thousand pounds without any experience touring when you could probably tour a few weekends or a week on what you have now and get a lot better idea of what you want.

If your current bike is totally unsuitable for even a weekend touring, get something used and depreciated. Used Trek 520's sell for $400 to $700 around here if they're at least 5 years old. The thing is, after you tour on it the rest of the summer, you can sell it next spring for the same thing you paid or even more. The same is true for any bicycle that's at least of some vintage. You don't want it to be so old or worn that you'll have to upgrade it before using it though. The only thing you'll have to pay for is a brand new bike or any upgrades.

"Touring" means different things to different people. Some people seem to think you need a transcontinental expedition bike to tour. I like to go for a couple hundred miles and some people might consider that a day ride, but I take everything I need with me for a few days of living, eating, camping and so on and if there's a hostel or hotel on the route I will probably enjoy that for one night to get a shower and soft bed, but generally I would prefer to spend on food than hotels. The load you actually end up taking with you in terms of bulk and weight will determine some things about what bike will work well, and what luggage will hold it all and what kind of bike and racks that style of luggage fits, and then there's the kind of terrain you'll ride which might inform your tire and gearing choices.

The ideas in your imagination about touring are one thing, and your actual experiences are another. Working things out through some experience will get you closer to reality than your imagination, and the best way to do that is with your current bike or another one that's already depreciated.
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Old 06-17-22, 01:27 PM
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Thoughts and advice. Once you have the bike and riding whatever bling excitement that cones with new stuff is long over and the trip is what matters. There’s more fun in riding with lighter loads than heavy ones. You’ll appreciate having an extra $2000 in cash for the trip than high end fancy stuff on a bike that will have no performance or durability difference.
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Old 06-17-22, 09:18 PM
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i do not understand why some folks try to dissuade people from buying an actual touring bike when they are interested in touring. i think in life having the right tool for the job makes more sense. The OP will have a more enjoyable touring experience on a bike designed for touring. Yes you can tour on any bike but the OP seems willing to spend the dough on a real touring bike..
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