Author Topic: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes  (Read 5102 times)

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Offline yumadons

Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« on: June 28, 2010, 01:05:21 am »
Can anyone recommend a shop (or even a specific salesperson?) for touring bikes for a TransAm next year? We're not gearheads, to the point we've gone cross country and to Alaska on our mountain bikes just because they're trusty and familiar to us. Would love to upgrade to real touring bikes - lighter, faster, comfier, all that.

We live in Arizona but will be driving to Jackson Hole - Bozeman - Missoula - Minneapolis-St. Paul - Columbus, OH - Forest City, IA and back this summer so anywhere near that route is fair game.

Thanks for your suggestions.




Offline Tourista829

Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2010, 10:12:57 pm »
Smiley at R+E Cycles
5627 University Way Northeast
Seattle, WA 98105-2619
(206) 527-4822.
18 stock sizes, not cheap but 3 people I know who worked with him, love their bikes.

Offline CastAStone

Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2010, 01:10:59 am »
Baer Wheels (http://www.baerwheels.com/) in Columbus Ohio usually has 3-4 Touring Bikes built up. Last time I was in there they had a Surly LHT, a Jamis Aurora, a Kona Sutra and one other which escapes me built up. The owner sponsors major touring events like GOBA and TOSRV, and is super knowledgeable - IF you catch him on a good day. They also leave the forks completely uncut until you buy it so they can size them better.

Additionally, the Trek Store on Lane Avenue in Columbus has had a Trek 520 and a Trek Portland sitting in it since it opened.

Baer Wheels
3030 N. High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43202

Trek Store
1442 W. Lane Ave
Upper Arlington, Ohio

Offline DaveB

Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2010, 08:02:46 pm »
+1 on Baer Wheels.  I've seen and used their services on both GOBA and TOSRV and agree they are a competent shop. 

Offline TimTyler

Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2010, 11:24:40 pm »
yumadons,

Why not specify your home location in your user profile for local suggestions?

It's important to own a new bike for a little while before jumping into a long tour with it. Buying a bike near home is probably smart.

Tim

Offline yumadons

Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2010, 01:06:53 am »
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm in Yuma, AZ and would prefer to buy from my LBS, they're clients of mine and I honestly don't want to have to take them a bike I bought somewhere else. They sell Trek and I don't like drops so the Trek 520 is out. They suggested the Trek Valencia, which looks good in the pix but reading online reviews I got stuck on one that said the gearing isn't low enough for loaded touring. Previous tours (Northern Tier and NorthStar) self-contained I used all the gears on my Schwinn High Sierra mtn bike and spend lots of time in granny gear. Any thoughts on Valencia? - it just came out in 2009. Future tour (TransAm next summer) will be credit card so minimal load (rear panniers only). Would have to order without ever getting to see or ride one: 

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/urban/valencia/valencia/

The bike that looks possible is the Novara Safari. I'm 5'9" with a long torso so hopefully could buy the large frame with 29" wheels.l I'm not heavy if that makes a difference. No Safaris in stock online or at any Arizona REIs but eventually someone will get one in. Safari is really the only touring bike I've come across with upright handlebars tho at www.fullyloadedtouring.com, there are plenty. The high end custom builts just seem overkill for my purposes (tho I can afford to and don't mine spending whatever I need to).

Any other suggestions for a touring bike without drops?

Offline briwasson

Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2010, 11:31:43 am »
If your LBS is willing to work with you and you don't mind putting the research in, then the LBS is the best way to go, I think. You'll be looking for them for support in the long run so why not give them the business now? REI is also a good option if you have one near you.

Offline DaveB

Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2010, 01:26:44 pm »
Frankly, the Trek Valencia looks pretty low-line and the components are entry-level.  I believe the crank has riveted chainrings so you can't even change the 28T granny ring for something smaller.  If you want straight bars, look much higher in the Trek Hybrid line-up. 

The "Mendota" appears to be much more suitable and the 11x26 9-speed cassette could be easily exchanged for a 12x32 or 11x32 cassette giving you a quite low low gear.

Offline TimTyler

Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2010, 01:42:45 pm »
I don't like drops so the Trek 520 is out.

You could always put REI/Safari-style trekking bars on the Trek 520. I bought an early Safari (circa 2000) and it was a good bike, but back then they were CroMo and I think better crafted. I rode a '09 Safari last year (before deciding on a LHT) and I didn't like the way it rode.

After reconfiguring and replacing many of my stock LHT's components, I know that the next bike I buy I will probably build from the frame up myself.

What's your budget?
Tim

Offline yumadons

Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2010, 04:32:55 pm »
LBS owner also suggested Trek 520 with different handlebars but I was skeptical having looked at all the 520s at fullyloadedtouring.com and not seeing anything but drops. Now with all your comments, I think it's the way to go. I DO NOT want to buy bikes elsewhere unless absolutely necessary. I'm thinking we'll wind up with 2 of the same thing (me and hubby) and carry one set of tools / parts. Can spend whatever but thinking in the neighborhood of $1500-2000 apiece set up. We already own good panniers but probably need new racks. So whenever the 520s come in (Trek is out right now), we'll buy one and ride it as is just in case one of us likes the drops, you never know. Then proceed to change handlebars, etc in some way that allows a handlebar bag - I see in the fullyloadedtouring.com photos that people manage it even with the trekking bars. To me a Cannondale-type bag that I can reach into while riding is a must (chapstick, XM3pi, styrofoam cup with cold drink, map on top, etc).     

Offline bogiesan

Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2010, 08:45:19 am »
Sigh. Get a recumbent.

You can work with your local wrenches easily enough once you select your bike. If they don't sell practical touring machines, they can either help you obtain one through their wholesalers or they can build it for you when it arrives at your house. They will have no problem--or should not--working on any bike as long as you're happy with the bike and you're happy with their care of it. Buy all of your gear through them if you want to and if they've got what you want but a shop that only sells Trek is unlikely to have much of anything you will need for touring.

Order a subscription to the magazine by joining ACA and buy the recent buyers guide issue to see how to make an informed decision based on your perceived needs and budget. I think you'll find the Surly Long Haul Trucker recommended often here on the forum for those who cannot consider the comfort and practicality of a recumbent.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline briwasson

Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2010, 02:38:53 pm »
Have  you tried drops for long-distance touring? If you get the right setup, they aren't much different from flat bars functionally. If you like to  have MTB-style brake levers, you can always add the inline cyclocross style levers pretty cheaply (I did this on my wife's bike and they work great). Might interfere with some handlebar bags, though. Also, get a wider drop handlebar (like a 46cm) and you'll have all the leverage that you'd get from a flat bar setup.

Otherwise, as others have said, it's no big deal to swap to a flat bar setup. You can probably sell your drop bars and components for what swapping out would cost you.

Offline CastAStone

Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2010, 03:27:52 pm »
If you don't like drops, its only because you haven't used ones right for you yet - you can get wide drops mounted high so their like flat bars but have the added benefits of the extra hand positions so your wrists don't start to hurt...

If you want flat bars, like I said Baer Wheels in Columbus has a great selection in store of all types of bikes, and almost certainly would have something that would certainly match you well. However, if you're just looking to buy something easy, get a Trek 7.3FX. Adventure Cycling magazine recommended it last year for flat bar touring. Its geared well for it, its got absolutely fantastic tires for it (the same tires as the 520), and it has a really customizable geometry. It also doesn't have the ludicrously wide tires that the Safari has, just regular old 700x32s.

You do realize that you can put handlebars like the Safaris on literally any bike at all, right? just ask the bike shop that you buy the bike at to swap them for you.

Offline TimTyler

Tim

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2010, 02:11:55 am »
I'd definitely consider getting bars with dropw.  You can ride the hoods most of the time anyway, but I live in a very windy area, and there are times it's really nice to go down to the drops and get a little more aerodynamic. With drop handlebars, you really get 3 useable positions--drops, hoods, and on the bars upnear the stem.  I sometimes ride one hand on a drop and the other on a hood, and swithch around.  For all day it's nice to have options.
May the wind be at your back!