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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've decided to step into the loaded touring world and I need a bike that I can use for weeklong loaded trips. None of my current bikes (road/MTB/cross) will take a rack and panniers. I'd like to spend about $1000, so can't afford any high end or custom touring rigs. I think I have enough parts that I could build up from a frame, with maybe some minor purchases to fill in the gaps. In my initial investigations, I have found a few bikes that seem to fit my requirements:

Trek 520
Novara Randonee
Cannondale T2000
Bianchi Volpe
Surly Long Haul Trucker
Surly Cross-Check
Rivendell Atlantis or Rambouilellet frameset (both a bit more than I want to spend)

Any opinions about the above bikes/frames are appreciated, as well as any other options I have overlooked.

Thank you.
 

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Suddha said:
I've decided to step into the loaded touring world and I need a bike that I can use for weeklong loaded trips. None of my current bikes (road/MTB/cross) will take a rack and panniers. I'd like to spend about $1000, so can't afford any high end or custom touring rigs. I think I have enough parts that I could build up from a frame, with maybe some minor purchases to fill in the gaps. In my initial investigations, I have found a few bikes that seem to fit my requirements:

Trek 520
Novara Randonee
Cannondale T2000
Bianchi Volpe
Surly Long Haul Trucker
Surly Cross-Check
Rivendell Atlantis or Rambouilellet frameset (both a bit more than I want to spend)

Any opinions about the above bikes/frames are appreciated, as well as any other options I have overlooked.

Thank you.
$1000 total, or $1000 frame and fork.
If the the latter, add the Bruce Gordon BLT to your shopping list.
http://www.bgcycles.com/blt.html
Scot
 

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Don't forget used.

There are lots of folks that took one tour and decided it wasn't for them.

Of your choices I really like the Trek 520 bicycle for its value and spec although I only know it as a complete bike.

Forget the Rambouillet (I have one) since it is a sport/touring bike. The Atlantis would do but the frame and fork will cost about what the entire Trek 520 bicycle would run.

I'd skip the aluminum frame Cannondale, the Bianchi isn't as good as the Trek, I don't know anything about the Novara, of the Surleys the Long Haul Trucker is the one for true loaded touring.

I'd check out what Todd at Heron Bicycles has to offer (I'm nuts about the Heron head badge). http://www.heronbicycles.com/

YMMV

BTW Get a BOB trailer and any of your existing bikes with a wide gear range will make a great tourer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses. The trailer idea is an interesting one. That would allow me to use my Kona cyclocross bike or my steel Bianchi road bike.

I also have a Novara Big Buzz from years ago. I took it on a three day tour of Sri Lanka's hill country (http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=2649&highlight=Sri+Lanka). For that trip, I used a big Camelbak and stayed overnights at guesthouses, so no loads on the bike. Maybe I could put a rack on that, as long as there is heel/pannier clearance. Moustache bars maybe. It has disc brakes.
 

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I'm shaking with trepidation as I contemplate disagreeing with MB1, but as much as I despise Crackandfail, errr, Cannondale, I will admit that that is the most represented brand among serious tourers I see out here, followed closely by Trek. I've never paid much attention to the Volpe, so I can't make a judgement call, but if you're near an REI store, look at the Randonee. I'm still riding the one I bought about 15 years ago, and it's been a real workhorse. REI finally wised up and put some decent gearing on the bike again, with one of those LX touring cranksets (48/36/26) and an 11-34 cassette; there's some Tiagra in the drivetrain, but you're not gonna be racing, so who cares? It's not an "exciting" bike, but when you're touring, that's probably a good thing.

...or you can go the B.o.B. route with just about anything, like MB1 said.
 

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The end of the world as we know it.......

The Walrus said:
I'm shaking with trepidation as I contemplate disagreeing with MB1, but as much as I despise Crackandfail.......
My issue with the Cannondale is the aluminum frame which in some instances is not as repairable as a steel frame while on the road. True this isn't likely to happen but almost any muffler shop/gas station/bike shop in the world can weld up a crack in a crashed steel frame or bend the thing straight and get you home-that just isn't possible with aluminum.

Again it ain't likely to happen but Mr. Murphy loves touring.
 

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Why?

MB1 said:
My issue with the Cannondale is the aluminum frame which in some instances is not as repairable as a steel frame while on the road. True this isn't likely to happen but almost any muffler shop/gas station/bike shop in the world can weld up a crack in a crashed steel frame or bend the thing straight and get you home-that just isn't possible with aluminum.

Again it ain't likely to happen but Mr. Murphy loves touring.
Any good welder, with half decent equipment can weld the aluminum. Sure it smells a little funny, and the arc is green, but it can be welded. The loss of physical properties will not be that much worse than welding the stell frame. IMO, the biggest down side to Al is the roughness of the ride.
 

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Sledgehammer03 said:
The loss of physical properties will not be that much worse than welding the stell frame
4130 cro-moly, when welded and air-cooled, drops down in tensile strength from 97KSI to 81KSI. Yield strength drops from 63KSI to 52KSI. This is a significant decrease, but not catastrophic, especially since tubing designers understand that many framebuilders working with cro-moly steel will not quench it after welding, so they design wall thicknesses appropriate for the weaker heat-effected zone. Also note that it is quick and easy to quench welded 4130 properly - just weld it and dunk it and you're done.

6061-T6 Aluminum, when welded and air cooled, goes to an annealed (-T0) state. The tensile strength goes from 45KSI to 18KSI and the yield strength goes from 40KSI to 8KSI. A HUGE difference! Aluminum frame/tube designers cannot design around tubing in the annealed state. They must assume proper heat-treatment. Rewelded aluminum frames will fail very quickly if they are not solution heat-treated for many hours, then quenched, to bring them back up to T6 temper.

As to 7005 aluminum frames... The welding on those is fairly tricky. I would not trust Gomer at the local muffler shop to do the job. I think the heat-treatment requirements for 7005 are similar to those for 6061, but maybe someone with more knowledge on the matter can confirm or deny this theory.

Yours,

- FBB
 

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7000 series aluminum frames don't require heat treating.

They just require the aging part of the process. Some overseas builders used to figure that the aging part would happen during the long sea voyage to the US. Nowdays most 7005 frames are artifically aged as part of the fabrication process.

The only difference between welding 6000 series and 7000 series frames is the weld used. 7000 series aluminum has copper in it and must be welded with the proper rod and electrode. Most weld shops are used to 2000 series and 6000 series aluminum and 7000 series stuff is fairly rare-it is used so widely in the bicycle industry mostly for the cost savings of not having to heat treat after weld.

At any rate none of these things are likely to happen at the local muffler shop.
 

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I don't think the repairability of steel is really the "feature" it's sometimes made to be. Personally I'm not taking my steel frame to the local welder to have it repaired, even if I were touring somewhere Ill probably never go and needed the bike to get me to somewhere else. I'd be on the phone with Surly telling them to send me a new frame. there's just too many ways to get a frame out of alignment during theoretical rewelding without a jig, imho, for me to take a chance with a welder that doesn't weld frames. I don't think I could break my lht anyways, it's a battleship. The C-dales at one point had a lifetime warranty, that might have changed post bankruptcy or whatever they went through, but I'd guess they'd attempt to help you out if your frame failed in La Paz or something.
 

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blackhat said:
I don't think the repairability of steel is really the "feature" it's sometimes made to be. Personally I'm not taking my steel frame to the local welder to have it repaired, even if I were touring somewhere Ill probably never go and needed the bike to get me to somewhere else. I'd be on the phone with Surly telling them to send me a new frame. there's just too many ways to get a frame out of alignment during theoretical rewelding without a jig, imho, for me to take a chance with a welder that doesn't weld frames. I don't think I could break my lht anyways, it's a battleship. The C-dales at one point had a lifetime warranty, that might have changed post bankruptcy or whatever they went through, but I'd guess they'd attempt to help you out if your frame failed in La Paz or something.
Good points. I guess I've never met anyone who actually took their busted steel touring frame to Gomer's Muffler Shop in East Nowhere, IA to have it repaired. If my frame failed in East Nowhere, I'd try to find a bike in some local's garage (assuming that there was no LBS in the vicinity) that would fit me. Failing that, you could always call Nashbar and have them send you their >$200 touring frame/fork combo. I'd ship whatever I did not need from my old bike either to my home or to a reputable builder, set up the new machine, and be on my way. If worst came to worst, there's always Greyhound to get you home.

- FBB
 

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The Novara has a big following out in Seattle...since it is REI house brand. I wouldn't rule one out for a killer value. They have the best customer service, and at least the store in Seattle has folk who really ride and know bikes. REI even has occasional 20% off cupons that apply to their Novara bikes.

The complete Cross Check is also fantastic deal.
 

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Curtlo Custom

BTW: Have you considered a Curtlo custom? As far as I can tell, that's the best bike for the buck you can get these days. Custom frame for the price of an off-the-shelf model, and everyone raves about the quality. All starting for less than $1000 (frame/fork only).

http://www.curtlo.com/

- FBB
 

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As someone who's logged a lot of miles on a T2000, I recommend it. Mine has been a tank that's taken a ton of punishment and kept on going.

I have no other touring bikes, so hard to make any comparisons. But I've enjoyed the one I have immensely over the years. And never had any issues whatsoever.
 
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