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What bike for touring ??

kiniookinioo Posts: 776
edited March 2018 in Road buying advice
Hi all,

I am currently looking to get a 'proper' touring bike, however not to exceed £1000...

I have been all over Europe on my Specialized Hardrock, but it has seen better days...

What I am after:

I dont hesitate to buy second hand (I think even better)

- comfort!!! (probably drop bars to allow different hands positions;) - for doing 75+ miles a day;
- suitable for rear + front racks;
- suitable for mounting trailer for kids ...
- something capable of doing some light off road / fire roads etc.
- something which would last good few years
- I would rather avoid 26" wheels....
- am thinking of (ideally) cyclocross bike ??

What its on my radar at the moment:

- Genesis Tour de fer 20 and/or croix de fer ???
- Trek 720
- Ridgeback World Voyage /Panorama
- Dawes Galaxy
- Btwin Triban 3 - would that be 'strong' enough bike for touring with luggage (i know no front rack here but?) ??

What else do you recommend ?

Many thanks,

Chris

Posts

  • Can highly recommend the Ridgeback touring range, especially if you can stretch your budget towards the ones at the higher end. Mine lasted for years with minimal TLC and was rock solid for everything from commuting to cross continental tours.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,391
    Worth considering a specialist touring shop like Spa Cycles. The bike below was rated best tourer for under £1,000 by Cycling UK.

    https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m1b0s21p298 ... eel-Tourer

    Thorn and Paul Hewitt do similar bikes.

    I would not recommend a cross bike for proper touring. Most will have unsuitable geometry causing twitchy handling when loaded, lack of braze ons for racks and mudguards and gearing more suited for off-road racing than leisurely touring with a load.
  • kiniookinioo Posts: 776
    DMHR2018 wrote:
    Can highly recommend the Ridgeback touring range, especially if you can stretch your budget towards the ones at the higher end. Mine lasted for years with minimal TLC and was rock solid for everything from commuting to cross continental tours.

    What models would you recommend (talking about higher-end) ?

    C.
  • kiniookinioo Posts: 776
    Mercia Man wrote:
    Worth considering a specialist touring shop like Spa Cycles. The bike below was rated best tourer for under £1,000 by Cycling UK.

    https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m1b0s21p298 ... eel-Tourer

    Thorn and Paul Hewitt do similar bikes.

    I would not recommend a cross bike for proper touring. Most will have unsuitable geometry causing twitchy handling when loaded, lack of braze ons for racks and mudguards and gearing more suited for off-road racing than leisurely touring with a load.

    Yes, literally just have come across this brand - must say - worth considering....
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    Everyone I know who has a Croix de fer loves it, I have the Equilibrium with a brooks saddle and it is glorious. No experience with the rest but I doubt you would be disappointed with a genesis
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Mercia Man wrote:
    Worth considering a specialist touring shop like Spa Cycles. The bike below was rated best tourer for under £1,000 by Cycling UK.

    https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m1b0s21p298 ... eel-Tourer

    Thorn and Paul Hewitt do similar bikes.

    I would not recommend a cross bike for proper touring. Most will have unsuitable geometry causing twitchy handling when loaded, lack of braze ons for racks and mudguards and gearing more suited for off-road racing than leisurely touring with a load.

    Was also going to suggest Spa. Touring is what they specialise in. So you'll get a frameset built for it, a strong wheelset, gearing appropriate for loaded touring, mudguards, rear rack and a leather saddle. If you wanted they'd also fit a front rack and dynamo lighting, but that would likely blow your budget.

    Unless you plan to do a significant amount of off-road riding, in which case you might be better off with a gravel / adventure bike which will take fatter tyres / disc brakes. Something like the Croix de Fer you already mentioned. But for loaded touring I'd want lower gearing than the stock bike.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,391
    Once you have got a decent frame with suitable braze-ons and geometry, I reckon the top two essentials for a proper touring bike are: (1) low gearing of around 23 inches or less; (2) strong hand built wheels capable of carrying a load for many miles.

    The advantage of the Spa steel tourer is that you get the gearing you need (you can even choose your ratios) plus strong hand built wheels with quality Shimano Deore hubs. And it's great value at £985. Significantly cheaper than the Thorn and Paul Hewitt tourers.

    The Tour de Fer 10 at £1,199 has a good frame but it has an unsuitably high geared road triple chainset with a 30 tooth little ring and wheels with cheap Formula hubs. The Ridgeback Panorama has a good frame and suitable gears, although at £1,399 for this year's model is over budget for OP, and has cheap KT hubs. A friend of mine has one and likes it but he upgraded to handbuilt wheels.

    Edit: The Tour de Fer 20 has much better gearing and wheels but is way over budget at around £1,499.
  • kiniookinioo Posts: 776
    Mercia Man wrote:
    Once you have got a decent frame with suitable braze-ons and geometry, I reckon the top two essentials for a proper touring bike are: (1) low gearing of around 23 inches or less; (2) strong hand built wheels capable of carrying a load for many miles.

    The advantage of the Spa steel tourer is that you get the gearing you need (you can even choose your ratios) plus strong hand built wheels with quality Shimano Deore hubs. And it's great value at £985. Significantly cheaper than the Thorn and Paul Hewitt tourers.

    The Tour de Fer 10 at £1,199 has a good frame but it has an unsuitably high geared road triple chainset with a 30 tooth little ring and wheels with cheap Formula hubs. The Ridgeback Panorama has a good frame and suitable gears, although at £1,399 for this year's model is over budget for OP, and has cheap KT hubs. A friend of mine has one and likes it but he upgraded to handbuilt wheels.

    Edit: The Tour de Fer 20 has much better gearing and wheels but is way over budget at around £1,499.

    Thanks for this.

    When it comes to the Tour de Fer...I would be looking for a second hand bike.

    I don't worry about gearing at this stage, as I can change that later on if necessary etc. Would rather look for good geometry/strong frame, capability for mounting luggage and, as you mentioned, better/stronger hubs/wheels.

    I really do like Spa range...
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    £1000 can be an easy budget or a tight one depending on whether you have already budgeted for other costs. I bought an 1987 Raleigh Randonneur off Ebay but replaced most of the componentry to convert it to modern touring spec. The additions that don't get accounted for in most off the peg specs can be significant. For example, I had handbuilt wheels with a Son28 dynamo hub, B&M Luxos U (with USB) headlamp and Toplight brake tail lamps. Then, you may have to source a nice (Tubus) front rack and a bar bag even if you have the four main bags.

    And I'd second Mercia Mans recommendation of Spa for a bike if you are after a new one. One advantage there is that they can build the wheels you want with the hub you want as part of the build. Plus also the gearing (I think my lowest is around 34-26). Plus also the tyres - Marathon Supreme 32s are my choice (a completely different thing to the horrible standard Marathons).

    Incidentally, I'd consider buying Rigida tungsten carbide rims - they don't really wear out which has the secondary benefit of keeping the bike and the rims clean. On the other hand, they are expensive and the longevity benefits are lost if you damage them. So, so far, I am undecided what happens for my next rims. I suspect I'll be shelling out.

    PS ideally you need a touring bike, not a cycling bike. If the thread title was "what bike for cyclocross" then that would definitely be a cyclocross bike :D
    Faster than a tent.......
  • kinioo wrote:
    DMHR2018 wrote:
    Can highly recommend the Ridgeback touring range, especially if you can stretch your budget towards the ones at the higher end. Mine lasted for years with minimal TLC and was rock solid for everything from commuting to cross continental tours.

    What models would you recommend (talking about higher-end) ?

    C.

    I was referring to the panorama.
  • The Ridgeback Panorama sounds that it maybe a consideration as it does offer what you have asked for. The Voyage is a budget version of a similar bike and something like the Trek 520 arguably fits somewhere between the two. Where the Voyage has Cantilever brake calipers with Sora STI shifters, the Trek 520 has disc brakes with bar end shifters and the Panorama has disc brakes but with again with Sora STI shifters, although note these are a later version than the Sora shifters on the Voyage. The Ridgeback Panorama has a similar spec' to the Genesis Tour De Fer 10, although the former has a Reynolds 725 frame.

    The Trek 720 that you referenced in your initial post has in many ways been replaced with their 'Checkpoint' range, lauched at 4pm today. In conclusion all listed above are aimed at a similar riding experience, although the Checkpoint range have slightly more focus as a gravel bike that can be used for touring, where as the others are more focused as touring bikes that are also "capable of doing some light off road / fire roads etc."
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,021
    Trek do more touring bikes than checkpoint range (website says they're gravel bikes, the website also has adventure/touring range). IIRC 520, 920, 1125,, etc. The last one is a flat bar all terrain type bike with floating rack, vessel bedroll type front rack and like a rigid mountain bike.
  • paul_smith_srccpaul_smith_srcc Posts: 247
    edited 8 January
    Trek do more touring bikes than checkpoint range (website says they're gravel bikes, the website also has adventure/touring range). IIRC 520, 920, 1125,, etc. The last one is a flat bar all terrain type bike with floating rack, vessel bedroll type front rack and like a rigid mountain bike.
    Arguably any bike that can accommodate luggage you could indeed use for 'touring; which is a good thing although having such a variety to chose from it can be confusing; especially as "Tangled Metal" has already alluded to they are often not marketed as touring bikes.

    For example I personally use something more in line with the Genesis Equilibrium that "HaydenM" referenced, I would also concur with his comment of "it is glorious"; mine being a Titanium Van Nicholas Yukon. These type of bikes are often referred as 'Lightweight tourers' or 'Audax bikes', although I note that Genesis list them in their road section, often shown without guards or luggage yet they can be set up to take both; you can see why many get confused. As "glorious" as I find this type of tourer I did not reference them as they are not designed to take front panniers or the larger volume tyres that are the more popular choice for " doing some light off road / fire roads etc.".These bikes are really set up for mile eating lightweight touring on roads, with no guards and pannier rack fitted they are quite close to a Sportive or Endurance bike, I can see why Genesis promote them as such as that's a bigger market to target, although it can result in them not being on the radar of those looking for something to enjoy touring on.

    Like wise at the other end of the spectrum you have the Trek 920 and 1120, these are to quote Trek "equipped to handle whatever lies on or off the beaten path, while carrying the cargo that matters most"; so perhaps a bit to heavy duty for what 'kinioo' needs.

    In all cases the correct size is and bike fitting is always a plus; a few quality stores now offer this service, if they have a fitting jig they can even set that jig to the dimensions of the bikes you are considering.
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,021
    What's wrong with heavy duty? The specialized hardrock isn't light duty and it suited kinioo for trips all round Europe.

    Similarly people rate tubus racks for their durability and reputation for being a heavy duty rack that will last.

    I personally think those treks are only a bit more heavy duty than the Croix de Fer and Tour de Fer bikes from genesis.

    I'd also look at surly bikes. Ghyllside cycles in Ambleside is another touring specialist but not quite like the unusual/unique Spa cycles. It specializes in Surly bikes and will do custom builds. Costs more money but they'll kit you out with a good bike. The surly crosscheck makes a decent tourer of they spec it up as such. Other surly bikes make more mainstream tourers. They do their own Reynolds steel frames too. Also sell just about anything ortlieb makes for cycling. Arkel too. Indeed touring kit there is excellent.

    A bit more money as always gets more but.that's a slippery slope to a couple of grand!
  • What's wrong with heavy duty? .....
    A valid point, in some ways nothing, a heavy duty bike will cope with road use so if a rider is happy to pedal a heavy duty bike on the road then perfect. To others a heavy duty bike may translate to harder work on the road than they desire, each to their own, if it works for you then that's all that matters.
    ...A bit more money as always gets more but.that's a slippery slope to a couple of grand!
    Easily done, many of my upgrades are on a 'want' not 'need' basis :lol: :roll:. That said I did upgrade the gears and brakes on my Yukon, the gears work better, as do the brakes, both noticeably, but that's not say those they replaced didn't work adequately, they just didn't work as well that's all; in my head I could therefore justify what my heart wanted :wink:
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,021
    I assume by heavy duty you're partly meaning durability levels and partly heavy in weight. The latter is not that much of an issue IMHO. You're carrying luggage that probably makes the odd kg extra weight insignificant.

    BTW I've lifted a 920 and a few ridgback tourers, there's really very little difference in weight IMHO. Genesis tour de fer isn't light, a surly tourer I've checked out isn't light.

    IMHO touring isn't a sprint but a leisurely ride. That's what my tours are like. The rugged types of newer touring/adventure bike like the trek ones ride very well loaded on roads from what.I've read. Change the tyres and they'll have a slightly different ride.

    I.ride and Tour using a planetx London road bike. I change tyres and kit on it for road and off road use. It works well enough for both. A better option would have been a trek 920 for me I think but.hey, £650 is a lot cheaper than a trek 920 so there's other benefits to.my bike.

    I suspect the spa tourer is the best option for op but the others listed are pretty good and.valid options.
  • kiniookinioo Posts: 776
    OK gents - many., many thanks for your suggestions !

    I did a bit of research and did re-think what I need my bike for...

    As mentioned, I did quite a lot of touring with panniers around Europe on my Hardrock 26"....I also taken it to a bit more off-road orientated trips (nothing serious) but some places where 'on-road touring' bike with 700 wheels would have struggled (probably), therefore....

    Here is what I decided for now:

    1. For my next trip in June from Barcelona to Lourdes via Pyrenees I will try to get a second hand Genesis Croix de Fer 20 (and upgrade/adjust it to my needs)....

    However....if I have enough time...

    2. I'd like to build up my proper adventure bike:

    - based on steel frame;
    - 26" heavy-duty wheels;
    - around XT group sets;
    - probably with triple chain set with adequate gearing etc.
    - disc brakes
    - probably dropped bars...may rethink this

    Idea is to get something similar to this, but with disc brakes:

    http://www.oxfordbikeworks.co.uk/expedition/

    or this...

    http://tomsbiketrip.com/bikes/

    or this...(TBH after reading this article I switched to Surly):

    https://www.cyclingabout.com/surly-long ... ring-bike/

    I already contacted Richard @ Oxford Works asking for a quote for frame plus forks etc....

    He is very, very helpful bloke, however their frame suitable for disc brakes is quite expensive, therefore I opted for
    Surly Disc Trucker* frame + forks - which is circa £400...(maybe I can find something second hand).

    Richard has offered me a set of heavy duty wheels with Deore hubs for circa £100.

    The rest is up to me and my budget really, but I think Surly frame (and they reputation) is a good starting point.

    *I am struggling to find reliable steel frame with comfortable geometry for touring/adventure and compatible with 26" wheels and disc - any other suggestions here guys ???

    I will keep you posted, but am still open for your suggestions good people!

    Chris
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    For example I personally use something more in line with the Genesis Equilibrium that "HaydenM" referenced, I would also concur with his comment of "it is glorious"; mine being a Titanium Van Nicholas Yukon. These type of bikes are often referred as 'Lightweight tourers' or 'Audax bikes', although I note that Genesis list them in their road section, often shown without guards or luggage yet they can be set up to take both; you can see why many get confused. As "glorious" as I find this type of tourer I did not reference them as they are not designed to take front panniers or the larger volume tyres that are the more popular choice for " doing some light off road / fire roads etc.".These bikes are really set up for mile eating lightweight touring on roads, with no guards and pannier rack fitted they are quite close to a Sportive or Endurance bike, I can see why Genesis promote them as such as that's a bigger market to target, although it can result in them not being on the radar of those looking for something to enjoy touring on.

    I get what you mean, I'm pretty sure when I bought the Genesis it was marketed as an endurance/sportive bike but here is a pic of mine for the NC500 with mine and the GF's ludicrous amount of stuff (a condition of her coming with us), front panniers and 32mm semi slick cx tyres :wink:

    20604652_10155328163255659_4174340127212411564_n.jpg?oh=02dc347c32bc6a365260654b35952321&oe=5B0E6032
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