Forum home Road cycling forum Tours, routes, audaxes & organised rides Tour & expedition

Newbie seeks advice - which Touring Bike?

billy goatbilly goat Posts: 4
edited December 2010 in Tour & expedition

Just joined the forum and I've no doubt this is a question you get sick of responding to but any help much appreciated. Following a number of years running age / injury has caught up with me and I want to hit the road big style! Looking to buy a touring / treking bike for long distance cycles / camping etc.

Please can you post the top 5 all time classic bikes still in production. Have been looking at Dawes, Specialised, Koga (sp?) etc but as a newbie hard to tell what is good and what is not...

Thank you



  • random manrandom man Posts: 1,514
    If I was in a position to buy a new touring bike now, this would be what I'd go for: ... b1s21p1987

    A great bike at an excellent price.
  • Thanks Random. I've come across this bike a few times - what sets the Galaxy apart? Any views on the bikes below? Cheers BG ... elID=56905 ... elID=56898
  • two things
    Dont even consider a flat bar bike, you really do need as many hand positions as possible for a long ride.
    On the hoods you hands are in a natural mode, well at least they are for me, cant remember relaxing my arms by my side and seeing my knuckles facing forward. :lol:
    Also, considering the Dawes would rarelt be ridden on the drops why does it have bar end shifters :?:
    Maybe take a look at the Condor website as well (Heritage & Fratello)
  • Thanks - much appreciated. BG
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    edited November 2010
    Some questions and thoughts:

    Do you intend to tour on the road only (or fairly decent unmade roads) in Europe?

    If so, a traditional British tourer with 700c wheels would do you (like the Galaxy).

    If you intend going beyond Europe you really need a 26 inch wheeled tourer, and if doing rougher stuff (in UK or beyond), an "expedition" or mtb type tourer will be better.

    You can tour on a mudguard/rack ready non-touring specific road bike (g/f tours on a Trek 1.2), just with lighter loads.

    Do you want a front rack? (if doing fully independent camping touring then you probably will) - only some have front rack mounts (not impossible without, just messier).

    I bought a tourer last year, liked Galaxy (but not the base model with bar end shifters) and the other models were too pricey, so I bought a Condor Heritage with Tiagra (I could spec every component). (NB, bar end shifters are the best choice if reliability / robustness is a priority if touring far from bike shops - though you can always carry a relatively small and cheap set to replace broken STI's should that happen).

    Other candidates are the Hewitt tourers; Byercycles; and the Ridgeback Panorama (looks like a great Galaxy alternative). Hewitt, Condor, and probably Byercycles allow a fair amount of customisation, and Hewitt's fitting service is legendary.

    Thorn are probably the most extensive touring bike builders, there is a frame and spec to suit everyone, they do get pricey though (just out of my range), and they cater well for expedition tourers.

    Personally I agree with the above comment about flat bars, they make my wrists ache after long rides, though if getting an expedition bike I might succumb (o to some butterfly bars).

    I am a fan of steel bikes, they look and ride better than aluminium IMHO, and should be able to better stand the abuse, but there are some well rated aluminium tourers, like Koga Miyata, or Cannondale. There is some idea that steel can be welded in any blacksmiths shop around the world if you get stuck - not sure if that is still a real possibility with some of the more advanced steel tubes.
  • understand the reliability thing but what a pain (shifters)
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    understand the reliability thing but what a pain (shifters)
    Yes, I like my STI's but I know many people who are very happy touring or commuting with bar end shifters. I suppose you may be more relaxed and less het up about gear changing when touring . . . maybe.
  • guess so
  • The Dawes Galaxy is an excellent choice being made out of Steel it can be easily Repaired if you happen to have an accident and part of the Frame breaks unlike Aluminum.

    Consider getting a Thorn Sherpa in a 28" Wheel or better still a 26" these are Excellent Bikes and also Steel. The Thorn Raven if you can Stretch your Money to a 14 Gear Rohloff Hub Gear Bike. In fact I would go for the Thorn instead of the Dawes in the 26" Wheels.

    26" Wheels are more Stronger and easily obtainable for Tyres and Rims in more Remote areas of the World.

    I have Ordered a Surly Long Haul Trucker with 26" Wheels and Drop Handlebars with Bar End Shifters a Steel Touring Bike as I have heard very good Reports about them,they are an American Bike. If I dont like the Drops I might get Straight Handlebars for the Surly afterwards.

    Then there is the Dutch Koga in Steel with 28" Wheels and the Koga in Aluminum with 26"these are also great Bikes.

    The Kona Touring Bike in Steel. The Fargo another Steel Bike.

    The Europeans prefer Straight Handlebars, and Butterfly Bars for Touring especially but in these Islands and America they like the Drop Handlebars. Thorn Bicycles likes Straight Handlebars best as they say these are more comfortable but whatever their Customers prefer they will give them.

    I was going for a Thorn Sherpa but it is easier for me to get a Surly LHT.Good luck with your choice these are all very god Bikes. :shock:
  • I plumped for the other "iconic!" tourer Claud butler dalesman this year. As it was what i could aford. If the dawes galaxy was on offer at the price above (previous poster) i would have jumped at it.
    Been three tours witht he dalesman (nothing too exciting) and no problems although i changed the saddle for something i had on another bike.
  • craftycrafty Posts: 85
    I'm guessing the barend shifters on the Galaxy keep it priced a little lower than if it was equiped with STIs. I have barend shifters fitted on my '97 Galaxy and find them very useful. You can change up and down very quickly for hills. One flick of the lever takes you from top gear straight to bottom gear. ... 474133292/

  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    I have a 11 year-old Thorn eXp expedition tourer that now has well over 70,000 miles on it. It has toured in Africa, all over Europe, and Britain and put on many, many thousands of miles just going on long local rides here in Sussex, and lots of shortish tours. It has been utterly reliable. And very stable under load. And despite being fairly heavy, it rolls along surprisingly well. HIghly recommended.

    Mine is derailleur equipped, 26" wheels, and bar-end shifters. Bar end shifters are the best option in my opinion on touring bikes - they are dead simple, nothing can go wrong with them, and very easy to use. It's just a matter of getting used to them, and that's no big ask. I've used them on all my touring bikes going back into the early 80s.
  • If you're not wanting a front rack, the on-one pompetamine versa is worth a look.

    Drop bars, hub gears, cable disc brakes, handbuilt wheels and only £800. The only issue is the lack of front rack mounts.
  • I've owned a Dawes tourer in the past and it was an excellent bike. More recently I've been riding around on a Thorn Sherpa that I bought about 4 1/2 years ago. It is an excellent bike and will go pretty much anywhere you want it to. However, it isn't that light and the prices of Thorns bikes have gone up a fair bit in recent years. They are well designed and specced for their intended use mind; nothing too flashy but certainly fit for purpose.

    The Edinburgh Bicycle Co do a decent range of own branded bikes and I think there are a couple of attractively specced and priced tourers in their range. Claud Butler are also worth a look and I think Ridgeback have a decent range of tourers now as well.

    On the subject of bar end shifters I happen to like them but then I want to be able to run V brakes on my bike and its a lot simpler to set them up with V brake specific drop bar levers and not have to worry about using STI shifters with travel agents.

    I ain't fat, merely optimised for gravity.
  • I went with a Hewitt Cheviot in the end. Paul and his team measure you and spec the bike to your wants. I havent moved a screw on mine since I picked it up. One of the reasons you get bar end shifters is the clash between bar bags and the lower end shimano non hidden cables. I've got Campag on mine as they are maintainable and not as expensive as Shimano. Personally I think the outside Europe 700/26 thing is tosh. If you are seriously going off around the world you'll carry a spare tyre and on epics can have stuff delivered to drop off points or Poste Restante.
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    I agree with the above on the 700/26 tyre availability thing. I have 26" tyres on my expedition tourer purely for the strength of the wheel on rough roads, not because i expect to be able to buy 26" tyres more easily on the road.

    If you start off a major tour with a couple of sturdy new tyres - say, Schwalbe marathon plusses, and carry a spare, you will absolutely be fine. If by chance and bad luck you did need another tyre, you could always have one shipped, but frankly by the time you would have covered that many thousands of miles that you would need all new tyres, you would have touched base, at least once - unless you are on some other planet - at a place where such things are readily available.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    two things
    Dont even consider a flat bar bike, you really do need as many hand positions as possible for a long ride.
    On the hoods you hands are in a natural mode, well at least they are for me, cant remember relaxing my arms by my side and seeing my knuckles facing forward. :lol:
    Also, considering the Dawes would rarelt be ridden on the drops why does it have bar end shifters :?:
    Maybe take a look at the Condor website as well (Heritage & Fratello)

    Hmm. A tad dogmatic. People successfully travel round the world on flat-barred bikes. A pair of barends give plenty of choices of hand position. And if you need the widest choice of hand positions then butterfly bars are the way to go.
  • prb007prb007 Posts: 703
    +1 for the 'flat bars are fine''ll see plenty of Dutch and German tourers on flat bars doing plenty of miles all over Europe on flat bars.

    Did half-a-dozen tandem tours (Tuscany, Umbria, the Amalfi coast, Rome-Naples, Madrid-Lisbon and SW Ireland on these (Scott AT4's)back in the day...

    ...though will be JOGL'ing next May on drops!
    you pays your money.............
    If Wales was flattened out, it'd be bigger than England!
    Planet X Ti Sportive for Sportives & tours
    Orange Alpine 160 for Afan,Alps & dodging trees
    Singlespeed Planet X Kaffenback for dodging potholes
    An On-One Inbred for hard-tail shenanigans...
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