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Touring bikes?

CyclingBantamCyclingBantam Posts: 1,299
edited November 2009 in Road beginners
Has anyone on here done much cycly touring? I'm planning to do 1500 miles over 3 weeks next May/June, from home, through France to Italy. I am able to get a bike off the Cycle to Work scheme (Hellfrauds). The only problem is I don't really know what I should be looking out for in a Tourer?

Does anyone know anywhere I can look to get a idea of what is a good bike and any reviews etc? Any help would be great as I feel a spot stuck at the moment.

I don't have a set budget in mind at the moment. I can spend up to £1k and will if needs be. Ideally I will want something on the 'faster' side as opposed to strong as I will be only using it on good roads.

Thanks in advace for any help.

Ben

Posts

  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Good tourers are expensive. £1000 doesn't get you much, but the best £1k tourer at the moment has got to be the Condor Heritage. Available in a range of specs but £1k is do-able. It has a great steel frame, all the stability and fittings you need, and was said to be "quite racy for a tourer" in the C-plus review that gave it 9/10. (And its my next bike purchase :) ).
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    I have an Audax bike, good for light touring, but when fully loaded the back end sways like mad. That's why I am after a fully-fledged tourer for my next purchase.
  • I've just ordered a Hewitt Cheviot SE tourer as I wanted a machine I could ride on tracks and towpaths as well as being reasonably slick on the road (rather than long distance touring) so I won't have verdict for a few weeks but following my query a while back a correspondent wrote he was well satisfied with his machine he had for 3 years.

    It has won awards from Cycling Plus as best touring bike. Check out Paul Hewitt's website which gives reviews of his machine You also get his measuring service where he sits you on a jig and measures you up so you should get a properly set up bike to suit you. I await the result with interest.

    Only problem is price at £1400 but base model is £1100. He works from a range of fixed frame sizes but components can be specified to your own choice (and price!).
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Condor take Halfords vouchers, btw
  • PS Check out comments on my own touring bike query from 13th Oct listing
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Are you carrying camping stuff or travelling light? If the former then a proper tourer would be my choice (unfortunately as soon as you tag a bike with tourer the price gets artificially inflated), but if the latter then a comfortable road bike would be my choice (e.g. my Kuota Kharma that cost a little over a grand that took me unsupported from LE to JOG this year). Audax bikes also make good llight tourers, but again once the Audax tag is added the price gets inflated.
    More problems but still living....
  • I will be carrying camping stuff but aiming to travel as light as possible. Looks like I may be spending a lot of the £1000 then! :(
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    I think you should go for a proper tourer in that case. My g/f does tour happily on a Trek 1.2 with rear panniers, the bike is very good at this, but I take all the camping gear so she is travelling light. My bike (the Audax bike) handles like a pig (rear triangle swings all over the place) when fully loaded. I have tried touring on my Ti mtb, this is more stable at the back, but the steering is twitchy as hell even though I changed the forks to rigid steel ones, so neither really does the job well, hence my purchase of a proper tourer (on Cyclescheme - my voucher for £1k at Condor has been issued, but is stuck somewhere in the postal system). So my advice is to get a bike built for the job rather than a compromise, as you don't know how ambitious your tours will get, and you may end up having to buy the dedicated tourer sometime in the future. A good tourer will last you years.

    There used to be more choices under £1k, but the standard tourer of choice, the Dawes Galaxy has now gone up in price a lot. Only the regular Galaxy with bar end shifters and the cheaper steel frame is under £1k now, I would want the Super Galaxy but that is likely to cost upwards of £1100, and has a list price of £1500 (which you may have to pay as you are ordering via Halfords). Another Dawes option might be the Horizon, cheaper, sturdy, but nothing lightweight about it.

    There are also good tourers from Ridgeback (the Panorama, around £1k), Hewitt Cheviot (as mentioned above), and Byercycles (uses the same frame as Hewitt). None of these are as good as the Condor Heritage IMHO, and your problem with all of these will be buying with your Halfords voucher - may be possible, but don't assume so.
  • I've just ordered a Hewitt Cheviot SE tourer as I wanted a machine I could ride on tracks and towpaths as well as being reasonably slick on the road (rather than long distance touring) so I won't have verdict for a few weeks but following my query a while back a correspondent wrote he was well satisfied with his machine he had for 3 years.

    It has won awards from Cycling Plus as best touring bike. Check out Paul Hewitt's website which gives reviews of his machine You also get his measuring service where he sits you on a jig and measures you up so you should get a properly set up bike to suit you. I await the result with interest.

    Only problem is price at £1400 but base model is £1100. He works from a range of fixed frame sizes but components can be specified to your own choice (and price!).

    You won't regret it for a second.
    Neil
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • tebbittebbit Posts: 604
    It may have been me who mentioned the Hewitt, I have had it over three years and I am very happy with it, before that I had a 531 framed Galaxy for about ten years. Good piece of kit available for under a grand.
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