Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Gear Talk => Topic started by: bikeguyrich on June 22, 2012, 05:39:00 pm

 
Title: help choosing a bike
Post by: bikeguyrich on June 22, 2012, 05:39:00 pm
I am going with a new touring frame. I am looking at a Long Haul Trucker, Soma Saga, Aurora Elite, or a Raleigh Port Townsend (the last two would be complete bikes. Cost is not as much a factor as reliability. Would be touring around the States and Canada. Self supported  with tent bag, cooking gear etc..  I am 61 years old, 160 lbs medium frame. (53 or 54 cm.)  Personal preference is for 700 wheel base but with good logic I can be talked into 26. I ride a Brooks or an old Ideale (my personal favorite) saddle and I am a bike mechanic so other than frame repairs I have no worries. I have read some on each one of these but I want some feedback from users with real life expedrience
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: mikefm58 on June 27, 2012, 12:54:43 pm
I'm also quite interested here in the responses as I'm considering a touring bike as well and start my long distant tours.  From the little research I've done so far, the Trek 520 seems to be the current industry standard.
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: hem on June 27, 2012, 07:49:58 pm
Just my opinion but the frame is probably less of a concern for me than everything else you hang off of it starting with the wheels and drive chain. Given my choice of those components they would play well off any of the mentioned frames and many more from customs to Nashbar and do the job. The Long Haul Trucker seems to me to be the "go to touring bike" these days.
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: bogiesan on June 27, 2012, 11:58:27 pm
Recumbent.Lots of hauling capacity, ride pain free for tens of thousands of miles. Saddle? I don't need no saddle. My seat is 3 inches of padding and I have a backrest.
Tour Easy or Gold Rush from Easy Racers.
XStream from Rans.

The question of choosing a bike comes up often around here, imagine that, so a bit of searching the forums will reveal much. However, compared to other bike sites, we are low-traffic. You should also see how much is said about these models at places like crazyonabike.
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: gregg on June 30, 2012, 02:00:50 am
I do not have a Soma Saga, but I do ride another one of their frames. Based on my experience, they make great frames: stiff, beautiful welds, and very nice paint. However, in my opinion, all of the frames and bikes you mentioned would work just fine for touring.  If you have strong preferences for  having exactly you want on the bike, it would be worth the extra cost of building up the frame yourself, if not, go with the complete bike. Personally, I'd get the Saga, just because I think it is the best looking of the lot (for me that matters), and I do want to choose every component. However, your mileage may vary.
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: indyfabz on July 01, 2012, 03:07:15 pm
We have taken our LHTs (off the shelf) on and off road with no problems whatsoever. Don't know about the others, but the LHT comes in a wide variety of sizes.
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: jblaw27 on July 17, 2012, 11:14:51 pm
I'm about to leave on Anacortes to Glacier on my 1976 (bought new) Raleigh International. The LHT seems closest to the classic.

Jim
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: zonesystempro on July 21, 2012, 10:43:31 am
Hey guys,
I know there are some great bikes to purchase from a variety of dealers with most of their bikes being built out of North America. Why not have a custom bike built instead? You'll not only get everything you want with a selection of components but also a bike that is sized to your body. I'm going this route within the next few months. Your custom purchase will help the local economy as well. I guess if you're in a rush, a store purchase is your only option.

Mike
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: DaveB on July 21, 2012, 08:56:55 pm
Why not have a custom bike built instead?
Simple answer for most of us; $$$.
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: goalie on July 22, 2012, 10:54:08 pm
I am very satisfied with the LHT that I purchased last year.  Not only is the price right, but it rides well for me under load.  FWIW, I carry about 35 pounds of stuff with me.  I am torn over whether to be sad that I got the 700 wheels instead of 26 inch wheels, or the canti's instead of the new disc brakes, but, in the end, it does what I need it to do, and it does it comfortably.
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: John Grossbohlin on August 06, 2012, 11:02:05 pm
We've got a couple Trek 520s and a factory built LHT... Brooks Flyer or Flyer Specials are on each. Fully equipped the bikes cost about the same. Yes, there are some differences in the frame design and in the components but quite frankly, they are both durable and serviceable bikes as are the others you listed.

I did a 3,142 mile self-supported trip on a 26" wheeled rigid frame mountain bike that was set up for touring on the road. Outside of my time off-road in the Everglades backcountry I was wishing for drop bars and tires with lower rolling resistance.  Last year my son and I did 1,600+ mile self-supported trip through the Rockies on the TramsAm and Lewis and Clark routes on the 520s. I was much happier with the ride of the 700Cs on the road (not the stock tires though... they literally fell apart and were replaced by Schwalbe). We did the Erie Canal the summer before that and wide 26" tires would have been better than the 32x700s we had on the 520s because the tow path surface was soft. Assuming you are road riding, given your height I'd stick with the 700C tire size... my 26" wheeled bike just didn't "roll" as well on the road.

In my younger days I obsessed over my bikes (my road bikes were typically Reynolds 531 frames with Campagnolo components and tubulars). Over time I figured out that barring accidents personal skill, equipment maintenance, and the ability to persevere seem to make the most difference on the road... That said, paint color could be a valid selection criteria across the bikes on your list!
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: Pat Lamb on August 07, 2012, 09:14:41 am
That said, paint color could be a valid selection criteria across the bikes on your list!

I've heard red paint makes road bikes faster.  Is that also true of touring bikes??

:)
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: pmac on August 07, 2012, 12:02:34 pm
Not nearly as fast as silver with flames.
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: RussSeaton on August 07, 2012, 02:54:15 pm
Why not have a custom bike built instead?
Simple answer for most of us; $$$.

As well as the fact custom is not needed for the vast vast majority of people.  There is a reason that stock frame sizes exist and are roughly the same across most bikes.  They fit people.  No need for custom angles and tube lengths.  Or the various special braze-ons and doo hickeys a custom maker can add.  They are not on every bike made because they are not needed.

Not saying you should not buy a custom frame.  But the final bike you end up with will almost certainly be identical to a factory bike you can buy in a store.  No difference.
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: Patco on August 07, 2012, 03:46:36 pm
I disagree with Russ. There are differences between stock and custom bikes just as there are differences between a custom made suit and a suit off the rack; just as there are differences between a Huffy and a Trek. After being happy with my stock bikes, I decided to invest in a custom bike. My last two bikes have been custom (Waterford) and I can tell the difference in the ride and how I feel at the end of the ride. An added benefit is the very noticeable craftsmanship differences. There are some excellent stock bikes and investing in a custom bike is not necessary to enjoy riding, but there are differences, and that is why there is a difference in cost.
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: DaveB on August 08, 2012, 09:50:27 am
. There are differences between stock and custom bikes just as there are differences between a custom made suit and a suit off the rack; just as there are differences between a Huffy and a Trek.
I believe you've overstated the case here.  The differences between a Huffy and a Trek (or Specialized, Fuji, etc.) are vastly wider than the differences between a custom suit and a good quality off-the-rack suit.   

A custom bike may (may, not certainly) have minor dimentional differences from a stock bike and may be slightly better finished but the improvements will be small unless the rider is way off on one side of the bell curve for body proportions.
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: RussSeaton on August 08, 2012, 03:18:17 pm
I disagree with Russ. There are differences between stock and custom bikes just as there are differences between a custom made suit and a suit off the rack; just as there are differences between a Huffy and a Trek. After being happy with my stock bikes, I decided to invest in a custom bike. My last two bikes have been custom (Waterford) and I can tell the difference in the ride and how I feel at the end of the ride. An added benefit is the very noticeable craftsmanship differences. There are some excellent stock bikes and investing in a custom bike is not necessary to enjoy riding, but there are differences, and that is why there is a difference in cost.

I have a stock Southwick suit that cost a few dollars.  I am sure it is far superior to the vast majority of custom suits sold.  I also have a stock Waterford.  The finest of lugged bikes.  Reynolds 753 frame.  Silver soldering on the small lugs.  Beautiful red paint.  Are you implying that Waterford makes good custom frames and crap stock frames?  Do you think they use different welders, cutters, painters for the custom and stock frames?  The good people make the custom bikes and the worthless people make the stock frames?  Odd.

If your body shape requires a custom frame, get one.  It will fit you better.  Assuming the maker measures you correctly and knows how to design frames.  Not a given.  But if you are like 99+% of the people and have normal shaped bodies, you don't need custom frames.  Stock will fit you perfectly fine.
Title: Re: help choosing a bike
Post by: bikeguyrich on December 05, 2012, 09:23:00 pm
Thanks to all of you for your imput.  I am probably going with the Saga Soma after test riding  a few of these.  Why the Soma?  I can build up the bike with the specific parts list I want  without having to accept "off the rack" parts. The Soma I tried was a sweet ride smooth and the geometry seemed to fit my body type just fine. I will let you know how I fare on my travels. Thanks once again for some very interesting and thoughtful comments! Now go out and ride.