Author Topic: Choice of bike  (Read 3604 times)

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Offline Bgilgoff

Choice of bike
« on: December 03, 2011, 09:22:19 am »
We are a fit, retired couple, getting ready to do a tour next spring. Right now we're choosing touring bikes and want something not custom built, with steel frame, flight deck shifters and preferably mechanical disc brakes.  We'd like, at a minimum, Shimano Tiagra components. Does such a bike exist in a new 2010 or 2011 model? We're leaning towards new bikes but can't break the bank. Any advice or recommendations are appreciated.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2011, 10:30:58 am »
Define "break the bank." Is $2000 too much to spend on your touring platform?

Off the top of my head, the Salsa Vaya 2 is the only one I know that hits the most of your requirements. Are you absolutely determined to have a Flight Deck computer? I ask because the shifters are SRAM Apex and are not Flight Deck compatible. Other than that, the component spec is really nice, albeit geared a little too high for fully loaded touring. You will have to make some changes. Another point about the Vaya: the Salsa racks (Wanderlust and Down Under) are a good match for the bike, which is a plus or a minus depending on your perspective.

There are other bikes that almost get you there, but most off-the-shelf disc touring bikes have bar-end shifters, in part for their durability and fault-tolerance, in part to keep the price down. If you are willing to sacrifice integrated shift levers (or upgrade afterwards), some models to consider are:
  • Kona Sutra - I owned one, a little too short in the stays for me, but an otherwise great handling frame. You may be able to find these used.
  • Surly Long Haul Trucker Disc - new for 2012, I haven't yet seen these in any shop.
  • Raleigh Sojourn
  • Raleigh Roper - a little lacking in the eyelets, but if you use a trailer, entirely fits your bill.
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Offline randyberlin

Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2011, 07:52:21 pm »
I'm looking at the Rainier made by Rodriguez Cycles in Seattle (under $1500) . They have several touring models check them out at rodcycle.com. I broke the frame on my aluminum bike in september on the first day of of a 3 week tour and like the idea of lightweight steel.

Offline whittierider

Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2011, 08:16:56 pm »
According to this test, you're more likely to break steel than aluminum.  And since the time of that test, steel has gotten frightfully thin, not the kind of thing that any ol' welder can handle.  I've broken steel, twice, even though there was no rust.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2011, 04:23:48 pm »
When you figure out about what you want, check craigslist.  Huge savings and good serviceable bikes are possible.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2011, 08:10:26 pm »
Don't forget the venerable Trek 520. Has bar end shifters not STI, but steel and has proven itself as an affordable touring bike.
Re. Flight Deck: Not worth the money, though I loved it-while it worked.

Offline DaveB

Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2011, 07:35:39 am »
I think some of the replies have made more of the "Flight Deck" requirement than you intended.  Almost all Shimano STI brake/shifters are "Flight Deck" (Shimano's dedicated cyclometer) compatible so they are advertised as Flight Deck shifters.  You are not required to use the Flight Deck cyclometer with them and, as driftlessregion noted, it's not worth the money. 

The Trek 520 and Surly LHT are the most readily available stock touring bikes and both are well regarded and not excessively expensive.  Neither is equipped to accept disc brakes but they come with either V-brake (Trek) or cantilevers (Surly), both of which will provide plenty of stopping power and a low level of complexity. 

Offline indyfabz

Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2011, 11:10:55 am »
"Surly Long Haul Trucker Disc - new for 2012, I haven't yet seen these in any shop."

Word 'round the campfire is April of '12.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2011, 01:21:47 pm »
According to this test, you're more likely to break steel than aluminum.  And since the time of that test, steel has gotten frightfully thin, not the kind of thing that any ol' welder can handle.  I've broken steel, twice, even though there was no rust.

I would love to see this type of testing repeated with modern frames.  As I recall, this testing was done in the mid/late 90's.  In that time frame, some questionable steel frames were made in an effort to be competitive with lighter aluminum frames.  Since then, I think steel has been accepted on its own virtues, and I think that the steel frames made now have a more common sense quality to them.  The only exception would be the use of Reynolds 520 tubing on wannabe touring bikes.  Reynolds 520 won't crack, but it will wiggle, and it does not belong in a touring frame.
Danno

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2011, 01:58:29 pm »
We are a fit, retired couple, getting ready to do a tour next spring. Right now we're choosing touring bikes and want something not custom built, with steel frame, flight deck shifters and preferably mechanical disc brakes.

Maybe I'm missing something, but is this even possible?  Do Flight Deck (STI) shifters operate mechanical disk brakes?  I thought STI was designed for calipers, which coincidentally work well with most cantilever brakes.

Offline DaveB

Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2011, 03:50:09 pm »
Maybe I'm missing something, but is this even possible?  Do Flight Deck (STI) shifters operate mechanical disk brakes?  I thought STI was designed for calipers, which coincidentally work well with most cantilever brakes.
There are disc brakes compatible with road levers and brifters.  Avid BB-7 Road disc brakes use "road type levers" and will work with any STI/Ergo brifters.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2011, 06:53:48 am »
We are a fit, retired couple, getting ready to do a tour next spring. Right now we're choosing touring bikes and want something not custom built, with steel frame, flight deck shifters and preferably mechanical disc brakes.  We'd like, at a minimum, Shimano Tiagra components. Does such a bike exist in a new 2010 or 2011 model? We're leaning towards new bikes but can't break the bank. Any advice or recommendations are appreciated.

ONe word, three syllables: recumbent. Five syllables: receumbent tandem.
TThe reasons you'd want to explore these options are too numerous and your post implies you might ignore them all so I can only suggest you find some recumbent riders in your area and ask to sit on one.
Want to ride 100 miles sitting on a fence post or on a lazy boy-type recliner?
I'll take the three inches of padding, the backrest and lumbar support and the fun of a heads-up 180 degree view over any upright bike any day. But that's just me. and I've got 44,000 miles on my recumbents.

The absolutely best bike is the one you like to ride and will continue to enjoy riding every day, epsecially when you look at your map and consider the day's route.
the absolutely worst bike is the one you must force yourself to mount every morning. Don't get THAT bike!
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline DaveB

Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2011, 07:38:26 am »
"Surly Long Haul Trucker Disc - new for 2012, I haven't yet seen these in any shop."

Word 'round the campfire is April of '12.
Yep, it's shown on their web site right now but I  don't know if you really can order one yet.  I also expect to see a Disc Cross check in the near future.  Now that disc brakes are legal for cyclocross it would make sense even though the Cross Check isn't  really a competative CX bike. 

Offline PeteJack

Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2012, 09:08:28 pm »
I did see a Trek520 with disk brakes about a year ago at Gregg's Cycles in Seattle. (I own 520 and always like to check out the latest incarnation) Since then they seem to have vanished. I've asked in bike shops and nobody has heard of such a thing. Perhaps I was hallucinating. Anyway I love my 520 with 29K on it; it weighs a ton mind, that said I've never heard of a Trek 520 frame breaking. I've no idea what a Flight Deck is but I bet you can live without it.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 09:13:50 pm by PeteJack »

Offline DaveB

Re: Choice of bike
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2012, 11:24:18 am »
I did see a Trek520 with disk brakes about a year ago at Gregg's Cycles in Seattle..... Since then they seem to have vanished. I've asked in bike shops and nobody has heard of such a thing.
Trek's web site doesn't show any 520 with Disc brakes so they aren't standard.  I expect what you saw was a 520 that had been fitted with an aftermarket fork having disc caliper mounts.  I further expect it either still had the OEM V-brake in back or the frame had been fitted with a bolt on disc caliper mount.