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I just can't determine the advantage of a custom bike at this point (having no experience), so seems foolish to spend the money on a bike I can't even test and hope it will be 250% better! Maybe after this initial tour or sometime down the line, I will.
Experienced road bike torers please chime in here. Many say I could do it, but wouldn't enjoy it.
I suggest you go more on Protein and Less Carbs food.
3km - that's got to be fairly hassle-free. No clothing change most days, I bet. I'd probably walk or maybe ride the old three speed.
In recent years I have gone lighter and lighter and found that it made a big difference for me. That said the bike itself is the last place I worried about dropping weight.
The jury is still out though and for now I am going to concentrate on defining the load I am wanting/willing to carry. Also,trying to borrow a touring bike to load up and do a trial tour or figure out how to setup my current bike for a test run.
I built a bike from a custom frame; took months after receiving frame (back order of components, etc). Satisfaction in specifying what you want, but more work, and more value in buying complete comparable bike.
Russ, thanks I had not really priced the Gunnar frames/forks, etc. I don't think the 480 frame will work for me (too big) but I should compare the specs with the Terry and LHT and also contact Gunnar, especially if I can save $$.
If you read the bike description http://georgenaterry.com/coto-donana-tour/
it says it's designed for loaded touring (she makes another model for lighter touring, but it doesn't weigh any less, according to the specs):
RussSeaton, I'll look into other custom frame makers as you suggested, but I think they are all in this $3500 range , from some cursory investigation I have done. I liked this bike, but think I've convinced myself I prefer 26" wheels for touring.