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Ok, everyone should know by now that I want to commute to and from work . . . currently 12 miles but soon to be 25 ish . . . each way. I would also like to use (bike to be bought later) to do some touring . . . from San Antonio to Arizona, Colorado, Tenn and other such states . . . 1,000-1,500 miles one way.

So my question is . . .what the heck bike should i consider?
 

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It's the touring bit that might be a bit difficult; if you didn't slip that in, pretty much any road bike you like and that fits you with decent componentry would do the trick. I'm assuming you mean touring as in racks, pannier bags, etc, etc., not "touring" the countryside. Unfortunately I think the selection of non-custom lower priced touring bikes is limited in the USA (think Surly LHT, Trek 520, Cannondale H600(?), Fuji Touring/Windsor Tourist and that pretty much is it). Course, you can get a Waterford, ANT bike, Kioga, etc but that's considerably more weight liberated from your wallet ;^)

My friend has a Surly LHT which is a great touring bike frame (but you might need to build it up which can be expensive). If money is a problem, consider converting a cheap mtb into a tourer/commuter by adding slick tyres, and possibly road handlebars (though STI shifters are expensive, you can get barcon shifters for a lot less).

Something else that may be a factor is your size -for example, I have a 26 inch wheel tourer as I found my body proportions gave me a borderline toe overlap on some bikes (add to the fact that all things equal, I perceive a well built 26 inch wheel stronger than a well built 700C wheel and the choice of 26 inch wheels seems to be much greater).

Soo.... work out your budget, know what you can do (have you the tools to build up a bike for example?), know what kind of touring (loaded or credit card?). Other things to consider are will you have to leave your bike in a high risk area when you commute to work? Is it worthwhile getting a really nice tourer bike for this? Is it worthwhile buying a beater bike from craigslist to commute on and save money for a proper tourer?.

Recommendations? It's hard to say. Seems that Surlys are popular for this -I'm not sure about the difference between a LHT and a Crosscheck. If you have enough money get the nicest and best bike you can afford! Good luck.

Krafcik said:
Ok, everyone should know by now that I want to commute to and from work . . . currently 12 miles but soon to be 25 ish . . . each way. I would also like to use (bike to be bought later) to do some touring . . . from San Antonio to Arizona, Colorado, Tenn and other such states . . . 1,000-1,500 miles one way.

So my question is . . .what the heck bike should i consider?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you

Nigeyy said:
It's the touring bit that might be a bit difficult; if you didn't slip that in, pretty much any road bike you like and that fits you with decent componentry would do the trick. I'm assuming you mean touring as in racks, pannier bags, etc, etc., not "touring" the countryside. Unfortunately I think the selection of non-custom lower priced touring bikes is limited in the USA (think Surly LHT, Trek 520, Cannondale H600(?), Fuji Touring/Windsor Tourist and that pretty much is it). Course, you can get a Waterford, ANT bike, Kioga, etc but that's considerably more weight liberated from your wallet ;^)

My friend has a Surly LHT which is a great touring bike frame (but you might need to build it up which can be expensive). If money is a problem, consider converting a cheap mtb into a tourer/commuter by adding slick tyres, and possibly road handlebars (though STI shifters are expensive, you can get barcon shifters for a lot less).

Something else that may be a factor is your size -for example, I have a 26 inch wheel tourer as I found my body proportions gave me a borderline toe overlap on some bikes (add to the fact that all things equal, I perceive a well built 26 inch wheel stronger than a well built 700C wheel and the choice of 26 inch wheels seems to be much greater).

Soo.... work out your budget, know what you can do (have you the tools to build up a bike for example?), know what kind of touring (loaded or credit card?). Other things to consider are will you have to leave your bike in a high risk area when you commute to work? Is it worthwhile getting a really nice tourer bike for this? Is it worthwhile buying a beater bike from craigslist to commute on and save money for a proper tourer?.

Recommendations? It's hard to say. Seems that Surlys are popular for this -I'm not sure about the difference between a LHT and a Crosscheck. If you have enough money get the nicest and best bike you can afford! Good luck.


I really appreciated your response. I can pick up a beater for communting. My passion right now is to do a long tour . . . now I'm thinking to Rochester. Do you know anything about the Rocky Mountain sherpa, I want to do a loaded tour . .. perhaps a hotel 1 time a week. Any good touring website that suggest products, what to pack things of that nature?
 

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try

http://www.bikeforums.net

then go to the touring section (checkout the faq sticky question at the top for newbies). Unfortunately touring is not as popular in the states as it is in Europe, and I think that's reflected in the touring bike choices. Also try googling too, there are quite a few web sites of people who have gone on tours.

Sorry don't know anything about the Rocky Mountain Sherpa you mentioned. Here are some pointers/attributes for a touring bike you might like to know though:

1. longer wheelbase -usually touring bikes have a longer wheelbase to be more stable
2. Longer chainstays (so that on the backsweep of your pedal stroke your heel will not hit the rear panniers
3. Rack mounts (should go without saying!). Look for rack mounts on the front fork.
4. Usually no suspension -suspension will rob you off transferring that pedal power directly, so touring bikes will usually not have front or rear suspension.
5. More relaxed geometry -again stability and usually a more upright stance (no doing 90+ miles in a foetal position!).
5. On some tourers, they'll have spare spoke mounts, but you can do the same with electrical tape around a chainstay, truth be told. I mention this because usually if a frame has this, chances are it's been reasonably thought out for a touring bike.
6. Most touring bikes with road style handlebars eschew the STI shifters and go for barcon or downtube shifters. This is a good idea as when an STI shifter breaks, it's pretty much had it. Course, I have STI shifters on my tourer -why? Because for thousands of miles, I've not had one of my STI shifters break, and anyway, I'm likely to be touring in the States or a western country where bike shops and Fedex exist. Having said that, I even have downtube mounts anyway I could utilize in a pinch.
7. Almost forgot to add multiple bottle cage mounts too!
 

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Definitely look at the Surly Long Haul Trucker. The LHT is designed as a touring bike frame, and has all of the features that most people look for in an on-pavement touring bike. I use my LHT as my daily (30-35 mile round trip) commuting bike, so I can tell you that it will suit your purposes for that.

As has been mentioned, if you don't build it yourself the LHT might not be the least expensive option for you. The flip side of that is the bike will have exactly the components that you want.

Production bikes that you might look at include the Canondale T800, Trek 520, Fuji Touring, and Novara (REI) Randonee. Generally major brand touring bikes will have some component compromises that you may not be happy with, but each bike I listed is at least a good starting point. Do some research and decide what features are most important to you.

All that said, I would recommend using a touring bike to commute. It has been very rewarding for me.
 

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I have a Bruce Gordon BLT that I'm very happy with.

http://www.bgcycles.com/

Toured on it coast to coast and around a small island nation and it was great. I sometimes use it as my 'fast' commuting bike. If I could only have one bike for everything the BLT would be the one.

wsexson said:
Production bikes that you might look at include the Canondale T800, Trek 520, Fuji Touring, and Novara (REI) Randonee. Generally major brand touring bikes will have some component compromises that you may not be happy with, but each bike I listed is at least a good starting point. Do some research and decide what features are most important to you.
The problem with these production bikes is that they're really not designed for true fully loaded touring as the frames are too flimsy and the gearing is way too high. They are however great for commuting, so it might be a worthwhile compromise. Heck my wife made it coast to coast and around a small island nation on her Fuji, so whatever. Just be sure to swap out the cassette and chainrings for the tour.
 

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I ride a Cannondale T2000 when I'm touring. Works very well for me, never had any issues and it handles whatever load I put on it.
 

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I love my Kona Sutra

It's a great ride, designed as a tourer, doubles as a mountain bike (narrow 29er 43c tire compatable) and is great with racks or my bob or D all of the above. Not to expensive either. Disc brakes, 105 and Xt components, Columbus Steel frame. Over all a pretty sweet scooter.

I've modified mine a bit went with mountain cranks instead of the Truvativ road triple it came with, swapped the hoops for some bonti race light disc 29er wheels. Still over all as it came stock it is pretty sweet too.

One note on the Road discs. They require breakin, I thought they were crap till I'd ridden it a few times and got the pads worn in. Now they stop on a dime with change. I'd suggest getting a pair of salsa cross levers for the bar, but that's a personal preference based on my mountain biking background.
 

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A friend and I are currently planning a cross-country trip this summer (NY to SF). Both of us already have road bikes; mine especially is essentially for racing. Neither have eyelets necessary for putting on front or rear racks for panniers. Using a trailer is an option, but I'm kinda leaning towards going with bags, so we've also been looking at touring bikes. We spent about a week online looking at various options, creating a spreadsheet with each bike, components, price, and specs, and gave it to a cycling acquaintence with 20 years of touring experience. He basically said that the Cannondale T2000, or T800 if money was really tight, was the only way to go; my friend took careful notes while talking with him so I'll see if I can't find out why he didn't like some of the other models.

He also mentioned that one reason touring bikes have longer bases: so you aren't kicking your rear pannier for 4,000 miles while you go cross country.
 

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A Giant OCR 1 with a Burley Nomad would be cheaper than a Cannondale T2000. And the Giant is a better spec'd bike with 105 10 speed. I don't like racks & bags on my fork so this is my preferred setup. And when I ride my Nomad with my Kestrel Talon I don't feel any drag coming from the Nomad.

It seem like Giant doesn't make a touring bike anymore. I saw one on ebay.
 

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If you want to tour by strapping gear down to, or affixing a trailer to a road bike or even a MTB with slicks, you can do it. That's the beauty of it, just get your gear and go! This will work, but as you seem to realize, it's not ideal, but it might be a good choice for shorter tours, or if you want to save money, or if you don't think you'll have much use for a touring bike once you return home.

"Touring" bikes from Cannondale and Trek and so forth are good bike sure, but they're not really designed for loaded touring. They are really sport-touring bikes. They're designed for supported rides like RAGBRIA, Ride the Rockies or a MS ride. And they're great for that, or just road riding, or commuting, and you can even use them for fully loaded touring if you want to (with some easier gearing of course).

But if you're gearing up for a long, fully loaded tour and you're looking to buy a bike anyway, why not buy one that's actually designed for loaded touring? These bikes will work great for commuting too, they'll just be a bit heavier then the sport-touring bikes.

Well one problem is that these bikes are expensive. The two most reasonably priced full-loaded touring bikes are the Bruce Gordon BLT and the Surley LHT. The BLT is $1700 before racks and fenders, and that's a bit over a $1 a mile for your tour. Might be too much. I've done well over 5000 miles of touring on my BLT (so far) and almost as much commuting so it was worth it for me.

The LHT is just over $400 for the frame, so you LBS should be able to build it up for under $1000 with a Deore drivetrain, tektro brakes, bar-end shifters, beefy 36 holed wheels, etc. The only problem I see with the LHT is that they use 26" wheels for the 5 smaller sizes. While I think the 26" option is good for the smallest of riders (maybe the 2 smallest sizes), at 5' 8" I would much rather be on 700c wheels, but even the size 54 frame is equipped with 26" wheels, a deal breaker for me.

Whatever you choose, good luck and enjoy your tour. Don't forget to get lots of training riding in on your new bike to build up your stamina before you go, it will make your trip that much more pleasent.
 

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fishman473 said:
The LHT is just over $400 for the frame, so you LBS should be able to build it up for under $1000 with a Deore drivetrain, tektro brakes, bar-end shifters, beefy 36 holed wheels, etc. The only problem I see with the LHT is that they use 26" wheels for the 5 smaller sizes. While I think the 26" option is good for the smallest of riders (maybe the 2 smallest sizes), at 5' 8" I would much rather be on 700c wheels, but even the size 54 frame is equipped with 26" wheels, a deal breaker for me.
Could someone elaborate on the 26" vs 700c issue? I hear this brought up a lot but I'm not sure what the pro/con arguments are for wheel size. IIRC Sheldon Brown is somewhat favorable to 26" wheels, and I've heard it doesn't really make much difference in terms of rolling resistance, etc. I ask because I've been thinking about building up an LHT and looking at the frame geometry I may end up needing a 54cm, which is the largest size that still uses 26" wheels.
 

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Metaluna said:
Could someone elaborate on the 26" vs 700c issue? I hear this brought up a lot but I'm not sure what the pro/con arguments are for wheel size. IIRC Sheldon Brown is somewhat favorable to 26" wheels, and I've heard it doesn't really make much difference in terms of rolling resistance, etc. I ask because I've been thinking about building up an LHT and looking at the frame geometry I may end up needing a 54cm, which is the largest size that still uses 26" wheels.
I think surly's design reason for using 26" wheels on the 54 and smaller frames is to reduce the instance of toe overlap. the additional benefits to a smaller wheel on a tourer are the presumably stronger wheels, ability to use 32 instead of 36+ spokes, and apparently if you're doing some global touring it's easier to find 26" wheels/tires than 700c. Im personally ambivalent, I'd use either if the bike fits but I don't plan on riding across Tibet anytime soon either.
 

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From what I know

blackhat said:
I think surly's design reason for using 26" wheels on the 54 and smaller frames is to reduce the instance of toe overlap. the additional benefits to a smaller wheel on a tourer are the presumably stronger wheels, ability to use 32 instead of 36+ spokes, and apparently if you're doing some global touring it's easier to find 26" wheels/tires than 700c. Im personally ambivalent, I'd use either if the bike fits but I don't plan on riding across Tibet anytime soon either.
It's just a simple case of stregth (26) vs Speed (27). I'm sure there are many other great points that dont agree with mine. JMHO

If I were going to build a true-touring bike, then I would want it to be bomb proof, so I could take nature trails and such. In this case I'd take the 26.

If I were to just tour on roads, then I would opt for the 27s.

Also, if you were stuck in the boonys, you could always go to walmart and buy a cheap bike for the rims... 26 tubes are easier to come by also.
 

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not sure I agree with the strength versus speed argument

26 inch wheels versus 700c really doesn't hold water anymore now that the 29ers are becoming more popular everday. Again that's why I love my Sutra, it's a great all rounder, and the bonty 700c/29er wheelset holds up extremely well dispite my 200 lbs pushing it through both rocks and roads.
The only advantage I could see with a 26er as a tourer is the availability of 26 inch wheels around the world. Still I feel like i'd be able to replace my 29er wheel pretty easily with a touring rim most places in the world that I've ridden.
 

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Metaluna said:
I ask because I've been thinking about building up an LHT and looking at the frame geometry I may end up needing a 54cm, which is the largest size that still uses 26" wheels.
I don't think it really matters much unless you already have a set of wheels that you want to use. Both sizes of wheels will get the job done. Yes, it might be easier to find 26" rims and tires in an emergency situation some places. I think you should pick whichever size frame will fit you the best and get wheels to match it.
 

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Yes, go with the frame that fits you. I think 700C/26" wheels are fine for touring -so long as you go with a quality wheel with (usually) a 36 spoke 3-cross. Any bad 700C rim will be bad, as will any bad 26" rim be bad.

FWIW, I definitely wanted to go with a 26" wheel based on a combination of factors:

1. my size -toe overlap might have been a problem (depends on the bike) if I'd gone with 700C.
2. all things equal, I think a 26" wheel will be stronger than a larger diameter wheel due to it being... well... of a smaller diameter.
3. choice of tough strong rims in the 26" range appears -at least to me -to be more numerous and cheaper thanks to the proliferation of mtbing.
4. Nowadays, you can always find a 26" inner tube, even at a Walmart.

I didn't consider a 700C wheelset to be inferior -but I certainly considered it to be less convenient in getting a bargain set (I ended up using a 32h front and 36h rear Sun CR-18 -the front I already had, the rear cost me $35 plus another $20 for spokes). I think it would have cost me about that just for a very good strong new 700C rim.

wsexson said:
I don't think it really matters much unless you already have a set of wheels that you want to use. Both sizes of wheels will get the job done. Yes, it might be easier to find 26" rims and tires in an emergency situation some places. I think you should pick whichever size frame will fit you the best and get wheels to match it.
 
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