Author Topic: Bike purchasing advice needed  (Read 1840 times)

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Offline cynthiarm2000

Bike purchasing advice needed
« on: October 09, 2013, 05:52:03 pm »
Hi all!  I am new to bike touring and will take my first tour this spring.  I need suggestions on where to look for a touring bike with upright handlebars.  I get plenty of suggestions for bikes with drop down bars, but a back problem requires me to sit as upright as possible when riding.  I am female and 5'7' tall.  I would like to stay under $1500.
Any help would be appreciated.

Offline hartmame

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2013, 12:17:04 am »
Most good shops would gladly switch out the handlebars for what you need.  My LBS does this kind of modification for people all the time.  It is usually more expensive to go from an up-right bar set-up to drop bars than the other way around.  I don't think you will run into any trouble. 
Kona Kula
Surly LHT

Offline DaveB

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2013, 06:09:38 am »
Most good shops would gladly switch out the handlebars for what you need.  My LBS does this kind of modification for people all the time.  It is usually more expensive to go from an up-right bar set-up to drop bars than the other way around.  I don't think you will run into any trouble.
Neither change is particularly cheap as you will need new shifters/brake levers, handlebars and probably a replacement stem.  There are several flat bar road bikes and hybrids that come with flat bars and appropriate shifters, etc.  Making them touring-suitable will be less expensive.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2013, 06:36:10 am »
Most good shops would gladly switch out the handlebars for what you need.  My LBS does this kind of modification for people all the time.  It is usually more expensive to go from an up-right bar set-up to drop bars than the other way around.  I don't think you will run into any trouble.
Neither change is particularly cheap as you will need new shifters/brake levers, handlebars and probably a replacement stem.  There are several flat bar road bikes and hybrids that come with flat bars and appropriate shifters, etc.  Making them touring-suitable will be less expensive.

Have to agree with Dave on this one.  A good shop, or maybe that's a great shop, will make sure you go out the door with the bike set up to fit you and the way you like it.  But the more you swap, the pricier it's likely to get.  Bars are about the worst things to swap out, especially if you're going between drop bars and "flat" bars.  It's labor intensive, and shifters are costly and incompatible between the two types of bars.

Way too many shops make sure you can stand over the top tube and push you out the door; I've seen some that won't even talk about swapping stems on a road bike, which is inexcusable.

I'm reluctant to suggest models for the OP, but perhaps REI's Novara Safari could be set up to fit.  If not, it might be time to find a recumbent shop.

Offline pptouring

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2013, 11:49:07 am »
Why most Americans are obsessed with drop bars is beyond me. Go with a flat bar with some rise and a lot of sweep. Add Ergon GP5 or GP5 BioKork grips. The BioKork will need to be trimmed to work with grip shifters. Most likely you will not need a stem, if you do, the shop should change it out if you place the entire order with them. Get some very inexpensive bar end tap and wrap the bar ends for extra padding. Add some SRAM grip shifters (X7 or X9) , if your drive train is Shimano be sure to get the SRAM Attack shifters. Then pick up a pair of Tektro (they're cheap, but work) or Avid (better but more expensive) brake levers and you should be good to go.

As for the bike. Since you are on a tight budget take a look at Surly LHT and see if your shop can get all this for you at your price.

A little write up - http://pedalpowertouring.com/gear/bicycle-touring-with-straight-aka-mtb-handlebars/
Ergon GP5 BioKork - http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/product/gp5-biokork
Ergon GP5 - http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/product/gp5
SRAM ATTACK for Shimano - http://www.sram.com/sram/mountain/products/sram-attack-twist-shifter
Labor = 1 hour and easy to do. Try doing it yourself so you learn how to make repairs if needed on the road.


hope this helps and if you have any other questions please feel free to shoot me an email. Currently, touring the world so it may take a few days to get back to you.

:-)
 
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 11:53:48 am by pptouring »

Offline Cyclesafe

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2013, 11:44:04 pm »
It you use a trailer, you can use any bike.  It you are set on panniers, you might try to find a long chain stay mountain bike with braze-ons for racks.  These are refered to as "mountain bike conversions". 

The long chain stay is needed to avoid heel strike with your panniers.  Alternatively, you can get skinny upright panniers like those made for mountain bikes by Arkel.

It would seem that your request is simple, but as this post and the previous ones point out, it is not.  If your budget was $3-4k there might be other solutions....

Edit:  REI has some Novara models (Safari, etc) that could be of interest.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 11:52:59 pm by Cyclesafe »
Hoping to do the North Star with ACA in 2014.

Offline CanvasAndSteel

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2013, 07:42:47 pm »
Goodness. $1,500 is a tight budget? $3k to $4k offers flexibility? Spend some time perusing Craigslist. You don't have to spend anywhere near $1,500 to get an excellent bike. I just picked up a mint 1985 Miyata 610. It was listed for $200. My offer of $150 was accepted. You can do a lot of modding for $1,350.  I've also gotten a Schwinn High Sierra for $60, which is a great foundation for tweaking and would have the advantage for the OP of stock riser bars. You can spend an amazing amount of money or be very frugal and end up with a very fine ride.

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Offline Cyclesafe

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2013, 02:32:56 pm »
Methinks the OP was inquiring about new bikes.  Obviously, if that constraint were removed, it would be most economic to get the best bike and trailer one could at a thrift shop and then modify what was necessary for more suitable touring.  Jeesh!
Hoping to do the North Star with ACA in 2014.

Offline CanvasAndSteel

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2013, 04:34:22 pm »
Methinks the OP was inquiring about new bikes.  Obviously, if that constraint were removed, it would be most economic to get the best bike and trailer one could at a thrift shop and then modify what was necessary for more suitable touring.  Jeesh!

The OP specifies wants/needs and budget. There is nothing written re new or used. It seems all the posters assume she's talking new, but nothing in her post indicates that, meaning there is no constraint to be removed. It's called reading.

I was just pointing out that a $1,500 budget is fine. Let's say she's less lucky than I was and finds an excellent condition Miyata 610 for $300. She then needs a set of riser bars ($40), a stem adapter ($20), stem ($30), grips ($20), thumb shifters ($50), brake levers ($30). Throw in a set of tires for $50 and she now has the exact setup she wants for $540 and has nearly $1,000 left for racks and panniers.

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« Last Edit: October 26, 2013, 08:31:58 pm by CanvasAndSteel »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2013, 02:32:44 pm »
I was just pointing out that a $1,500 budget is fine. Let's say she's less lucky than I was and finds an excellent condition Miyata 610 for $300. She then needs a set of riser bars ($40), a stem adapter ($20), stem ($30), grips ($20), thumb shifters ($50), brake levers ($30). Throw in a set of tires for $50 and she now has the exact setup she wants for $540 and has nearly $1,000 left for racks and panniers.

That's great if you're a long-time DIY bicycle mechanic; most bike shops would throw up their hands in horror at spending three times the cost of a frame for mods -- not to mention new tires, brake pads, and saddle, as well as cables and housing.  If you know what you want and how to get there, great.  If you want to go out and get something off the shelf that'll work for you, it tends to cost a bit more (and come with a warranty and service).  Fortunately, most of the commercial touring bikes on the market today do everything the OP want, and most of them are within the $1500 budget.  For someone who's willing and able to pay that, all that's left to worry about is the fit.

Offline DaveB

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2013, 02:53:11 pm »
That's great if you're a long-time DIY bicycle mechanic...
+1 That's just the reasoning flaw of so many posters who claim you can do major changes to any bike to make it suitable for what you want.  If you already have a stash of extra parts and the mechanical ability to install and adjust them, then yes, you can work near miracles at low cost.  If you have to buy the parts at anything near retail and pay someone else to install them, the cost escalates fast and practicality goes south.   

Offline CanvasAndSteel

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2013, 03:46:42 pm »
I do understand what you all are saying. Most people would just buy off the shelf, but I bet a decent percentage of them have just never considered diy. We assume most things are rocket science until we pull back the curtain.

The conversion I advocated is with prices for new parts, not parts already on hand, and the math is nowhere near "three times the cost of a frame." also, I didn't suggest you can mod any old bike to get what you want, which is why I suggested starting with a top notch touring frame for... touring. 

It's an option to buy used and tinker. Just that, an option, and a viable one. You all are reacting as if I were recommending human sacrifice.

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Offline violasonbikes

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2013, 05:01:20 pm »
How about something like a Surly Troll or Ogre depending on what size wheels you want? The 2014 ones will have the Jones H-bars which will give you some different hand positions or it would be easy to switch out for some other non-drop bars. I have a troll I like a lot, it is very versatile.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2013, 07:05:57 pm by violasonbikes »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2013, 12:36:57 pm »
It's an option to buy used and tinker. Just that, an option, and a viable one. You all are reacting as if I were recommending human sacrifice.

Not at all -- just an arm and a leg.  :)

I took the price you paid for your frame ($150) as a reasonable price for a 25 year +/- 10 year old frame.  I just saw an email from a bike shop a few weeks ago advertising $150 for their "change cables and adjust brakes and derailer" winter special.  Add that to the $240 of parts you'd identified, toss in another $20 for brake pads and $40 for a new saddle, and the refurb/upgrade cost is three times the frame cost.

When I see a post asking a basic question like, "Where can I get a touring bike that allows for an upright riding position?" I assume they're looking for a ready-to-ride solution.  (Yes, I know what they say about assumptions, but I think this one's justified in context.)  That, to me, means either a stock bike or one that someone has built up for them.  Labor costs, and the possibilties of being led astray by racer wannabes, go up the more you ask for someone else to do.

Offline CanvasAndSteel

Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2013, 03:14:03 pm »
This horse being nearly dead already, I won't give it more than a few additional whacks.
I probably wasn't clear initially. The Miyata 610 I purchased for $150 was not frame only, but full bike in mint ride-ready condition. If it were just an "old frame" I would call myself crazy as well. In my mind, what's unique about touring bikes is that the same material used 30 years ago, steel, is what is preferred today (as opposed to cf for road bikes, etc.), and high end '80s lugged frames are better than and a fraction the cost of mid range TIG-welded frames today.

I'm not sure I would recommend the Novara Safari, as, in my experience, the trekker/butterfly bars feel more like drops than risers body position wise. For a new bike I would probably go with a hybrid/commuter with good rack and fender capabilities.

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