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61
The chances of a touring cyclist finishing up a tour at the same place you want to start your tour, at the same time, with a bike that is your size, with a bike he wants to sell ... seems incredibly small to me.
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For a first time mountain bike I would look to spend a minimum of £500 and go for one of the big brand names like Trek, Giant, or Scott.

Look for a minimum of Shimano Deore components.

Many bikes have 29 or 27.5 wheels which can help for a smoother ride.

Avoid the cheapest forks as they generally don't work that well.

You can find many second hand bikes on eBay - just check that they don't look too harshly treated.

Good luck.

Thanks! ah GIANT ! my friend over the weekend mentioned GIANT. I did some research yesterday and actually found a GIANT Anthem second hand bike to buy that has from further research (as doesn't list any major specs) but seems to fit the bill. And as its second-hand is actually 350... below my budget but new could be a lot more ! What do folks reckon? be good to get some other links on the GIANT bikes..thanks!

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General Discussion / Re: Bike Touring on Rainy day's
« Last post by indyfabz on July 17, 2016, 09:07:19 pm »
And what would you do (if you actually toured) if it began to pour or snow or hail in the middle of the day's ride?
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Hi Sal. You asked comments about Viking Valkyrie bike, but you didn't mention the price. This is all important! If price doesn't matter, there are surely hundreds of nicer bikes for the purpose you stated. Probably price is important. So why the restraint of mentioning an affordable price range or a qualitative indication, like: budget, standard, high-end.  All commerical goods have a value-for-money aspect.

It looks very much like this : http://www.discovercycling.com/bikes/Hardtail-Mountain-Bikes/Viking-Valkyrie-Ladies-26-Hardtail-Mountain-Bike.html . If so, it is a super-budget bike. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you don't expect  the quality or features of a standard bike.

Just some general indications that may help you decide:
1. If I google 'Viking Valkyrie' the first page is dominated by 'lady MTB'. Are you a lady (sorry, I am dutch and don't recognize instantly the gender of given names). It so, the bike has at least some frame size features that serve you well, if you have the 'average' female' characteristics.
2.  Generally, the geometry looks more for relaxed touring than sporting MTB rides. Is this what you want?
3.  The Suntour front shox is more suited for touring on bad pavement or off-road on gravel roads and smooth double tracks than for MTB trails. It certainly isn't bad or soon-to-fail. Rather it is more robust than finesse:  more Lada than BMW!
4.  From the pictures it looks like the bike has eyelets for screwing a rear rack to the seat stay. I am not sure about eyelets for screwing the rack near the rear axis. This is important if you want to carry gear for a multi-day  ride.
5.  The 36-spoke wheels are probably robust for carrying big loads and won't fail easily. I didn't see the bike's weight, but it won't be lightweight. That fits in the profile of a touring bike rather than a sporting bike.
6.  The 21-speed (3x7) transmission is more in the starter range than in the standard range (3x9 or 3x10).
5.  I favor disc brakes over rim brakes, so I won't criticise this, except that it is a miracle that they feature in a super-budget priced bike.

I won't say that this bike doesn't last, but it probably doesn't satisfy in the long term. In my opinion, as long as you are not clear about the long-term purpose of the bike (say: one-day rides vs multi-day rides ; easy trails vs demanding trails ; budget, standard or high-end) this is a nice and inexpensive way to learn about your preferences. It will probably satisfy you for 1-2 years. After that you will be much better informed about what to look for.

Thanks for your response! yes I am a lady! I think a Touring bike could be good...although I wouldnt turn my nose at a sporting bike either. I dont want something too light! a medium weight would be good. Some of the specs on that bike are:


Frame Material:   Aluminium   Brand:   
Frame Size:   18"   
Wheel Size:   26"
Number of Gears:   21
Brake Type:   Disc Brakes - Mechanical
Suspension:   Front

And is around 179£ so now I am thinking thats quite cheap and I would like to spend more ... to be fair I was thinking around 400-500 mark to last.

Thanks for your info ! will check more out based on some things you suggested for sure!

  and I definately want something that is good for multi day rides so extra bag would help! My budget is decent as I would prefer to pay out for a decent bike that will last. Admittedly I did see this particular bike for the look of the frame ....it seemed comfy to me.  Ill check out some of your suggestions and thanks for the extra tips, some of which I didnt consider!
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GPS Discussion / Re: Best GPS device for cycling
« Last post by cyclone on July 17, 2016, 08:34:04 pm »
What do you want to do with a GPS?  Track heart rate, power, routes, get directions, look at maps, play with buttons and flashing lights?  The answer to this "simple" question will certainly reduce your options (except for buttons and lights!).

Yeah ... power...routes, directions and maps for sure...
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GPS Discussion / Re: Best GPS device for cycling
« Last post by aggie on July 17, 2016, 08:14:16 pm »
I just bought a Garmin Explore 1000 to replace my Garmin 800 and love it.  I didn't need all the racing stuff and this one has tracking built in (through your smartphone).   You can go to garmin.com and compare the features of their various models.
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General Discussion / Re: Colorado: bike maps?
« Last post by drwelby on July 17, 2016, 08:09:43 pm »
You are probably well served by http://coloradogravelroads.com/
Read also raving reactions to this awesome piece of work and its creator in  http://www.bikepacking.net/forum/routes/colorado-gravel-roads-map/

Thanks, that's my map.

Estes is kind of a tricky situation. You have all the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park, but it eliminates almost any possibility of good backroads riding since there are almost no roads west of town. However, the recommendation of Old Fall River to Trail Ridge is spot-on. That's a great ride you won't forget. It's really great on a full moon! Elsewhere, you might try FS 119 south of town.

If you have a car, you might want to drop down back towards Loveland and Fort Collins and ride something like Buckhorn to Pingree, or around the Red Feather Lakes area. There's probably some good Forest Service roads to the west of RMNP too, try looking for the Crooked Roubaix course for ideas.
68
Gear Talk / Re: Single best modification to stock LHT for cross-country tour?
« Last post by RussSeaton on July 17, 2016, 06:24:54 pm »
Trek, Bruce Gordon, Peter White, and other highly respected assemblers of touring bikes specify bar end shifters.

As I already stated before, touring bikes are somewhat unique because they require drop road bar and road shifters, with mountain bike derailleurs and cranksets.  For some reason Shimano decided to make their current road and mountain components non compatible.  So on touring bikes you have to make a compromise and pick a next best, second choice to make road and mountain components work together.  Thus bar end shifters.  What new bike seller is going to sell a NEW bike with now 5 year old 10 speed STI shifters, and 10 year old 9 speed rear derailleur?  This combination works but is not current.  So bike sellers sell all new parts on their all new bikes.  Bar end shifters work with everything and are new.  At one time single pivot sidepull brakes and center pull brakes were the standard.  They worked.  But now almost everyone uses dual pivot sidepull brakes.  No center pull brakes are used anymore.  Why?  Something better came along and people realized it and switched.  Same with bar end and friction shifters.  They had their day.  And that day is long past now.
69
For a first time mountain bike I would look to spend a minimum of £500 and go for one of the big brand names like Trek, Giant, or Scott.

Look for a minimum of Shimano Deore components.

Many bikes have 29 or 27.5 wheels which can help for a smoother ride.

Avoid the cheapest forks as they generally don't work that well.

You can find many second hand bikes on eBay - just check that they don't look too harshly treated.

Good luck.
70
General Discussion / Re: Rain Gear for Touring
« Last post by weaveoftheride on July 17, 2016, 04:28:52 pm »
In my experience cycling across Europe one very wet summer, I found that waterproofs made me wet via sweating.

If it was really torrential, I either just put up with it for as long as possible before bailing out and drying everything at once, or trying to find places to shelter but then you aren't making progress.

I did try taking a poncho with me which is better for breathability, doubles up as a bivvy tarp, but looks silly.

I took Shimano Transalp boots, which I was happy with the performance of in general.
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