Author Topic: checklist for bike purchase  (Read 10206 times)

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Offline damselfli

checklist for bike purchase
« on: November 02, 2004, 06:32:40 pm »
Questions for tour-savvy people:
I have never been on a "tour" longer than 2 days, but touring self-supported across the country is my dream. In replacing my 30yr old racer, I am going to splurge on a touring bike, but it will be my only bike and I like to ride a lot during the week (35-50 miles typical day out), and I cruise - here on the sandbars of Florida - on my 32pound 10spd at 16-20mph.

That said, I'm torn between 2 choices (and 2 companies):
Independent Fabrication's "Independence" vs. "Club Racer" .... OR
CoMotion's "Americano" vs. "Norwester".

How much weight should I count on needing to carry in order to go across country self-supported? Could a Club Racer or Norwester take me on a cross-country tour?

Having no direct experience makes it so hard!
Please help!


Offline Peaks

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2004, 06:40:36 pm »
Well, I'm not familiar with the two choices you cited.  

First, people do long distance tours on all types of bikes.  Road bikes, touring bikes, hybrid bikes, recumbents, and even modified mountain bikes.  But, probably the most common is a touring bike.  

The escentials for a long distance tour are a seat that agrees with your anatomy, good bike shorts, and a granny gear.  

How much does gear weigh?  Probably around 30 pounds.  The heavy items are usually tent (5 pounds or so), sleeping bag (4 pounds), and paniers or trailer,


Offline rootchopper

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2004, 09:22:52 pm »
I have heard of people carrying much more than 30 pounds.  For simple one week trips I take 30 pounds of stuff without cooking gear or extra layers of clothes for cold weather.  

If you decide to tour with trailer you can pull a whole lot of weight without stressing the bike nearly as much as you would with panniers.

I would strongly recommend that you actually ride the bike before you buy if this is at all possible.  Bike fit is key. Also, I agree with Peaks that a saddle that fits your behind is worth finding before your tour.  (I am partial to Brooks leather saddles FWIW.)  A granny is necessary only if you are fond of your knee cartilage.

I think the bikes you are considering will have the necessary braze ons for fenders and racks.  If you are carrying panniers, you will also need enough clearance in the rear (a long chain stay) so that your heels don't hit your panniers as you pedal.  

If you are opting for straight handlebars, consider some sort of extensions for the bar ends to give your hands more positions.

Good luck.


Offline damselfli

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2004, 11:44:06 am »
Thanks for the input! I'm trying to gather gear and find weights for gear I don't have.
The main difference in CoMotion's Americano and NorWester is the Americano has wider rear hub spacing - allows for a much stronger rear wheel w/ symmetrical spokes (less chance of spokes breaking, better to carry more weight). Downside is that it would be harder to find replacement hub (if that was EVER necessary, which I tend to doubt), and that the seat tube post is a bigger diameter, so maybe fewer choices of seat tubes to fit (don't know how that will impact my choice of saddles - maybe not at all?). Maybe not as nice for club rides and centuries (which I hope to do frequently).

Both bikes can be made with 44.5cm chainstay length. And none of the bikes I'm looking at are available to ride anywhere in the state of Florida - as far as I can tell.




Offline judyrans

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2004, 04:06:19 pm »
One disadvantage of the Co-Motion Americano's wider rear hub spacing is that it won't fit on any trainer. So, you can't use a trainer to stay fit when the weather is too nasty to want to ride outside. This also means that you can't put it on the trainer to adjust the cleats on your new shoes. It's no problem if you use rollers for winter training.

If you know of a trainer that can adjust to that wider spacing, please let me know.


Offline rootchopper

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2004, 10:43:48 pm »
I suppose anything can break on a bike tour but as I think about my ridiing, loaded and unloaded, over 30 years I've never had a hub fail.

I've broken and immobilized brake and shifter cables, snapped a chain or two, popped a half-dozen spokes (all rear wheel), tacoed a rim (rear tire exploded, and still don't know what happened), snapped a pedal off while riding (I crashed; it was ugly), snapped a seat rail, and broke a fork (after 13 years of riding through 5 New England winters and multiple crashes).  

In fact the two problems that stumped me where a broken V-brake noodle and a metal ratchet in an old Sun Tour shifter.  Any machine is only as reliable as its cheapest part.

Good luck with the bike purchase.



Offline DaveB

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2004, 10:48:51 pm »
If you know of a trainer that can adjust to that wider spacing, please let me know.

I'm pretty sure the Americano uses a 140 mm tandum rear hub so it's only 10mm, or less than 1/2-inch, wider than a standard road hub and only 5 mm wider than a MTB hub.  My Performance "Travel Trak 2000" trainer (made by Elite in Italy) has a mounting screw that opens way wider than the rear dropout spacing on my road bike and sure looks like it would accomodate another 10mm.



Offline 2010

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2004, 10:27:13 pm »
     I am doing much of the same homework & I am just about set with the Americano! My big choice is durability. I figure that I would rather have it (durability) and not need it, than need it and not have it!  Does that make sense?  Thats my philosophy with most of my equipment so I tend to over pack.  But hey! Whats the hurry!  Speed isn't my thing...Text
Text
:)


Offline damselfli

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2004, 12:39:18 pm »
Such a dilemna! I am riding 75mi/week now and planning centuries and other 'non-touring' rides...  The CoMotion guy (Alan) says if he had to pick one bike to keep, it would be his NorWester, because it can do anything. He also feels that riding with more than 40 lbs is not as much fun (more work?). Again, my lack of experience with loaded touring makes it hard to choose, but I am leaning toward the Norwester because I can buy a second set of wheels for 95% of my riding and have the heavy duty set for touring. If I understand it correctly, I couldn't do that on the Americano?? He also says that people mistakenly think of the Norwester as a "lesser" bike - it's just different.
BTW I am told that I pack alot, but I can live with one med suitcase for 10 weeks...
Would one do better than the other for some off-road (or rather dirt road) travel?
Other thoughts?


Offline DaveB

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2004, 12:33:45 pm »
but I am leaning toward the Norwester because I can buy a second set of wheels for 95% of my riding and have the heavy duty set for touring.

A friend got a Co-Motion Norwester last year and has done exactly what you propose.  He has a set of light wheels with 700x23 tires for unloaded recreational riding and a set of sturdier wheels with 700x35 tires for touring and back road/trail use. He loves it.  The Norwester has plenty of clearance for wide tires and fenders but is reasonably light and responsive with the lighter wheel and tire set.  

The Americano is a bit too much a dedicated tourer while the Norwester is far more versatile and plenty rugged when needed.

BTW, if you deal directly with Co-Motion, put all of your requirements in writing and keep a copy of the order.  I purchased a Co-Motion Co-Pilot (a single bike with S&S couplers) a few years ago and my friend, described above, got his Norwester last year  We both ordered directly from Co-Motion and they managed to screw up both orders initially.  They were very good at quickly correcting the mistakes at their expense but there were delays and difficulties we didn't anticipate.  

This message was edited by DaveB on 11-13-04 @ 10:39 AM

Offline driftlessregion

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2004, 01:06:03 am »
If you're willing to pay for an IF or Co-Mo, don't forget Waterford's Adventure Cycle (www.waterfordbikes.com).


Offline damselfli

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2004, 07:46:24 pm »
Thanks to all for great input! I've decided to go with the Norwester, which seems to be the best fit for my biking style. I guess I could have bought the bike direct, but am placing the order through my LBS, and will have to play the waiting game for the details of the order to come through. Will definitely get things in writing (think I'll ask salesman at CoMo to fax me a confirmation of the order and specs)... Any other details on that Norwester (spec-wise) would be appreciated...
I am so excited!
Thanks again for the help!



Offline FrankB

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2004, 09:26:06 pm »
I bet you will be happy with the Nor-wester.  I got mine 8-15-04.  I went through my LBS. Co-motion only has 3 dealers in Texas and I guess that is good.
For fit I talked to LBS as well as Dwan Shepard of Co-motion. He was very helpful about size of load, extending chainstay length, and recommendation of equipment,etc.  I chose the Co-pilot and my bike weighs 24 pounds. It is heavy duty enough for anything I do; the touring option standard tire is Continental Top Touring 700x32 and I am most impressed with the durability looks of the hubs, spokes, and rims. In addition to local rides and weekend trips, I have only done a 6 day, 350 mile trip but am looking forward to more. Enjoy.  


Offline damselfli

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2005, 04:55:54 pm »
Thanks to all who replied here.

I got my Norwester mid-February, and have logged over 400 miles on it. It's a fabulous ride, I am extremely pleased with it.


Offline DaveB

checklist for bike purchase
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2005, 07:03:09 pm »
Glad you are pleased with the bike.  Did you have any problems or mis-communication with Co-Motion like we did?