Author Topic: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)  (Read 7202 times)

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The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« on: November 17, 2009, 12:23:17 am »
I need the experience of people who actually get to tour.  As a bike shop employee (and now owner), I've never had the chance to go out for more than a day or two.  I'm opening my store in a week, and am still in the "research" phase as far as what bikes to carry.  I'll definitely have Raleigh.  Any others are still up in the air.  I want to have touring as one of my specialities.  Specifically, I want to be well-equipped for those who want to tour, as well as for those passing through who need something that can't be fixed with a Leatherman and duct tape.

What bikes (aside from the LHT) would you recommend?

What panniers do you prefer?  (I've already contacted Arkel and Ortlieb)

Jackets? Other clothing?

Basically, I'm asking what brands have a) served you well and b) you would like to see in a bike shop?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!


Offline paddleboy17

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2009, 11:51:30 am »
I hope you are very successful.

You might want to read the bike reviews, http://www.adventurecycling.org/resources/BuyersGuide2009.pdf and see which vendors you want to enlarged your relationships with.  Besides mass produced touring bikes, you might want to be ready to embrace the custom manufacturers as well.  I have a Waterford (I hear the owner is hard to deal with) and a buddy has a CoMotion).  If they don't have an established touring bike, don't let them tell you they can make one.  I have another friend that had an unpleasant experience getting a touring bike from Serrotta (the LBS screwed up too).

If you are going to carry Arkel panniers, you might as well carry Tubus racks too.  Tubus racks support some European standard on rack mounted tail lights, so you will want to have those too.

The only clothing item you might need to add is really nice rain gear.  I have a Gortex jacket, which I paid a lot for, and it has kept my comfortable on many an occassion.  I know Gortex is not the sexy fabric for rain gear anymore, but anyone that tours should take a top notch rain jacket.

On the parts side, a good selection of fenders and tires.  There is a rapid Schwalbe cult here (I have Marathon XRs).

Good luck, and where will you store be?
Danno

Offline MIBIKER

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2009, 04:21:49 pm »
Good luck with the bike shop.  I have been in the bike business for over 20 years and still like going to work.  Here is a list of parts you might think about stocking.  BOB trailer skewer, bob pins, Fiber Fix spoke (it is a kavlar string that is used as an emergence spoke yes it really does work no need to remove the cassette or freewheel to install), Wheel MFG emergency rear derailleur  hanger, hard wear for fenders and racks.  Schwalbe Tires or other makes with a kevlar belt. I have a copy of the Adventure Cycling route that goes through my area so if some calls and needs help I have the map to help me find them.  I live in Michigan and have a list of all the rail trails in the state and map books from some of the week long tour at take place in the state.  If some one needs an idea where to ride I let them use the maps as a resource. I have a list of campgrounds and where they can pick up fuel for their camp stove.  Now that you are the owner of a bike shop do take time out ride.  I do a lot of quick, self supported over night trips in summer and have learned a lot about the sport.  GOOD LUCK

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2009, 10:52:48 pm »
I should actually be able to ride MORE now that I have my own shop...  I've been driving to Indianapolis (60+ miles - I worked on the north-east side) for several years, which left no time to ride.  Now I work 5 blocks from my house.

I'm in Greencastle Indiana.  When the National Trail route is finished, it will be going right through here.

Greencastle is halfway between US36 and US40 on US231.  It's about 40 miles to Terre Haute, 40 miles to Bloomington, 40 miles to Lafayette, and 40 miles to the west side of Indy.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2009, 11:59:41 am »
I live in Michigan and have a list of all the rail trails in the state and map books from some of the week long tour at take place in the state. 

I live in Northville.  Where in Michigan are you?  Perhaps I have frequented your shop?
Danno

Offline MIBIKER

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2009, 08:53:57 pm »
I live in south west Michigan.  Near Kalamazoo.

Offline ginarae

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2009, 10:17:33 pm »
Sure wish I lived near you, would love to shop in your store that specializes in touring! :-)

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2009, 10:30:38 pm »
Good luck with the bike shop.  I have been in the bike business for over 20 years and still like going to work.  Here is a list of parts you might think about stocking.  BOB trailer skewer, bob pins, Fiber Fix spoke (it is a kavlar string that is used as an emergence spoke yes it really does work no need to remove the cassette or freewheel to install), Wheel MFG emergency rear derailleur  hanger, hard wear for fenders and racks.  Schwalbe Tires or other makes with a kevlar belt. I have a copy of the Adventure Cycling route that goes through my area so if some calls and needs help I have the map to help me find them.  I live in Michigan and have a list of all the rail trails in the state and map books from some of the week long tour at take place in the state.  If some one needs an idea where to ride I let them use the maps as a resource. I have a list of campgrounds and where they can pick up fuel for their camp stove.  Now that you are the owner of a bike shop do take time out ride.  I do a lot of quick, self supported over night trips in summer and have learned a lot about the sport.  GOOD LUCK

Good.  Most of the items you listed are things I had thought of.  Glad to know I'm not a total idiot.  lol.
I upgraded my AC membership to "bike shop" (it was time to renew anyway), so I hope I get some good literature from them to have in the store.  There aren't any AC routes that go through my area.  In fact, they seem to not really like the state of Indiana at all.  Still, there are a few routes that aren't "too" far away, so I'll buy copies of the maps to have on hand.

Offline bogiesan

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2009, 09:06:24 am »
Basically, I'm asking what brands have a) served you well and b) you would like to see in a bike shop?

You could totally own a large section of the touring, recreation, and commuting market no one else in your area serves at all: recumbents.

The links to advertisers on bentrideronline and a visit to the Hostel Shoppe can give you an idea of the potential marketplace for recumbent bikes.

david boise ID

I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline Westinghouse

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2009, 08:32:12 pm »
I haven't run a bike shop. I cannot give advice on it. One  day I was in Mac's Bike Shop and this was many years ago. Mac Gorman was saying something about sales not being too good lately. There was an older, gray haired man there. He told Mac he had been in the bicycle business for twenty-five years, and one thing he learned was this. Don't try to make the rent on every sale. I think what he meant was don't jack the prices up too much. Do, and you will lose customers.

IMO, have used bikes on hand at low prices for those who cannot afford to walk in and drop $1100.00 on a SLHT. In fact, even an old chromoly frame built for touring can stand long tours with the right compenents. But when you say bike shop it could be a small, hole-in-the-wall, just getting started kind of place, or something large and spacious with mechanics lined up busy all day. Keep all kinds of parts and bits. Do it yourselfers need all kinds of little parts and bits.

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2009, 08:40:53 pm »
Re: Used Bikes.

So far, I have a beat up Gary Fisher, a pristine Bridgestone NB-26, and a decent Specialized HardRock.

I'm trying to find some more used bikes to have in here.  Plus I'll be taking trade-ins.

I have a rule.  If something is ugly after three months, it's always gonna be ugly.  (ie: If no one has bought a certain product within 3 months, it isn't likely to sell.)  So, blow it out.  Sell it cheap.  Sell it for cost if you have to.  Then buy something different and try that.

My labour prices are lower than Indy, but not so low that people get the impression that I'm a hack.  If you know what I mean.  Gotta keep the doors open, and all that.  When I price products, I don't follow the "double it" rule.  I check online first and see what it sells for.  Then I add shipping.  Then I price my product at that price, if at all possible.

Offline DaveB

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2009, 09:17:37 am »
Re: Used Bikes.

So far, I have a beat up Gary Fisher, a pristine Bridgestone NB-26, and a decent Specialized HardRock.

I'm trying to find some more used bikes to have in here.  Plus I'll be taking trade-ins.
Have you looked into the liability issue with selling used bikes.  I know a lot of shops that won't deal with used bikes because of that possible problem.

As a touring bike specialty shop, prepare to change the gearing on any line of major brand touring bikes you sell.  Way too many of them come overgeared with things like 11T small cogs and 52 or 53T big chain rings on road cranks. 

I'll second the recommendation to make Co-Motion your specialty/custom touring bike supplier.  They do excellent work and have at least two truly well designed and spec'ed touring bikes.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2009, 09:20:02 am by DaveB »

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2009, 10:45:31 am »
Re: Used Bikes.

So far, I have a beat up Gary Fisher, a pristine Bridgestone NB-26, and a decent Specialized HardRock.

I'm trying to find some more used bikes to have in here.  Plus I'll be taking trade-ins.
Have you looked into the liability issue with selling used bikes.  I know a lot of shops that won't deal with used bikes because of that possible problem.

As a touring bike specialty shop, prepare to change the gearing on any line of major brand touring bikes you sell.  Way too many of them come overgeared with things like 11T small cogs and 52 or 53T big chain rings on road cranks. 

I'll second the recommendation to make Co-Motion your specialty/custom touring bike supplier.  They do excellent work and have at least two truly well designed and spec'ed touring bikes.

I go over the bikes pretty thoroughly before I put them on the floor, so I'm pretty confident in the safety of them.  If there's a problem, however, I have 2 million in liability insurance....

Offline Galloper

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2009, 02:42:42 pm »
Not sure what the availability is in the USA but Dawes make very good touring bike with a good range.

In terms of panniers, have a look at Carradice.   They produce a great range of kit, panniers, bar bags saddle bags etc.   And they're totally different from the usual  Ortleib, Arkel etc.

And if they're good enough for Josie Dew...

Best of luck with the new venture.   

Re: The Best Touring Bikes/Frames (and other parts, as well)
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2009, 02:59:18 pm »
Not sure what the availability is in the USA but Dawes make very good touring bike with a good range.

In terms of panniers, have a look at Carradice.   They produce a great range of kit, panniers, bar bags saddle bags etc.   And they're totally different from the usual  Ortleib, Arkel etc.

And if they're good enough for Josie Dew...

Best of luck with the new venture.   

Dawes in the US is a crap brand, owned by BikesDirect.com  Total junk.  I wish we COULD get the UK Dawes.

I like Carradice myself, but the cost keeps them as a very, very specialised "boutique" item here.  Velo Orange has some similar style bags.  I DO sell Velo Orange stuff.

I think I'll be selling Arkel panniers and OMM racks...  Less strict terms than Ortleib, friendlier email, and I can't afford to have 2 different brands.  Not at the moment, at least.

I also picked up the Solar Monkey charger.  (Every time I read that, I think of the PG Tips "Munkey" commercials...)