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Messages - Smileyguy

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Gear Talk / Building an expedition touring bike
« on: February 23, 2007, 01:39:07 pm »

I was looking at the Roberts Roughstuff:

And Thorn Nomad:

Both are tourers designed for much off-road use too.

There really only are a few bikes in around in the UK specifically designed for this kind of use, and they are all custom-built, and expensive, which why I'm looking for an alternative solution.

The way I see it, a mountain bike wouldn't be as good on the road, but with a change of tyres it'll be fine, I reckon. At least I hope so!

Gear Talk / Building an expedition touring bike
« on: February 23, 2007, 11:33:49 am »

Thanks for the help. Perhaps I have been to quick in my conclusions about building something myself. I do cyle a bit, my bike building and skills are certainly limited. And I would certainly need to buy a few tools to do the job.

So let's say I got down the buying option. What I keep asking myself is 'Should I really pay a two grand for a perfect expedition touring bike?'.

I've been researching this quite a bit. And in doing so, one possiblity has come up more than a couple of times: that of using an old steel mountain bike as a tourer that can also work off-road.

It might need new wheels, or one or two others bits and pieces even, but overall I think it would save ALOT of money over buying a new, or even secondhand, touring bike.

It would handle dirt trails fine, and road fine, though obviously it wouldn't excel on the road. Of course, if I was going to do an all-road tour, I could simply change the tyres to something more suitable, or perhaps even the wheels.

So my biggest question is: Could an older, good quality steel mountain bike be the right bike for me?

Or should I buy a specialist tourer...

And if so, will a regular tourer handle rougher trails  alright (for example, cycling in third world countries, or something like the Great Divide), or I do I need something tougher (or an 'expediton touring bike'. I'm not 100 per cent sure what the difference is between such a bike and a regular tourer, though I'm guessing the wheels are different, and may be the frame geomtery too perhaps?).

Thanks for the help again guys, I think I'm getting closer and closer to a final decison. I COULD, at a really big stretch, go out and spend a lot of money on the perfect bike, but as I've said, I really want to fully explore the option of using an older mtb first, because the cost difference would be huge.  

Gear Talk / Building an expedition touring bike
« on: February 22, 2007, 09:24:14 pm »

Thanks a million Russel and Sailariel for the comments.

I still think that building my own bike is going to be considerably cheaper, primarily because I'm not going to be able to get a decent expedition touring bike over hear for less than $1800. They're just cheaper in the US, it seems. Getting something from the states could be an option, but I imagien the shipping and customs would make up much of any cost difference.

Yes, I could work for a few months and save up, but to be honest I don't really consider it an option right now. I need to get out on the road as soon as I can.

So, as it's unlikely I can afford a new bike that I need, my options are:

1) Looking out for a secondhand expedition touring bike (I'm keeping my eyes open).

2) Buy a MTB frame and building it up, which we've already talked about a bit.

3) Buying a good quality, steel mountain bike and using it as is with only a few modifications if necessary.

I'd be particulary grateful to hear if anyone has any few on how well this last option would work.

Thanks for all the help again everyone.

Gear Talk / Building an expedition touring bike
« on: February 21, 2007, 06:15:43 pm »

Thanks for all the suggestions from everyone, I really appreciate it.

As regards building something from scratching, I was hoping to go down the route described by this gentleman here:

I'd like to think it could be a cheaper way to get an on-road/off-road solid, capable touring price at a good price.

Can anyone see any major disadvantages / problems with using an old steel mountain bike, possible with new wheels and other bits and pieces if needed, as a tourer?

Thanks again for all the help folks!

Gear Talk / Building an expedition touring bike
« on: February 21, 2007, 07:23:13 am »

Hi Gregg, thanks a zillion for the help.

Here's how I'm looking at my situation financially:

There's not much of a market for specialist bikes here in Ireland, but there is next door in England, so that's where I'd be buying. As usual, stuff is expensive there compared to the US (I had the same problem when I was buying a laptop). The cheapest proper expedition touring bike I've found is £900UK, or $1700.

I was chatting to some serious tourers on another forum, one who built his own bike and has cycled it practically everywhere on and off road, and he suggested I build it myself. He pointed me to some quality secondhand mountain bike frames on ebay, such as these:

I could pick something like one of those up quite cheaply, and then starting from there, I'd consider a final total of $1000 to be quite cheap compared to the other option.

Perhaps it's just a case that the kind of bike I'm looking for is a lot cheaper in the US, and hence the self-build option is cheaper here.  It's appealing too because can get exactly what I want by building it myself.

Or perhaps I've got this totally wrong all together.

Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll have a look at the  parts you mentioned.


Gear Talk / Building an expedition touring bike
« on: February 20, 2007, 05:53:32 pm »

Hi everyone, I just joined the forum...

I'm finishing up university in May. Cycling has always been biggest passion, but I've always felt constrained, by various things, from fully indulging in it and really getting out on the road for weeks at a time. Over the next year, I'm finally going to do it. I live in Ireland, but am American and am planning a few trips for the next 18 months. I want to do a lot of cycling around New England, and then do the Rockies in 2008, perhaps by doing the great divide, or at least a long northern stretch of it. I decided to join the forum here to meet like-minded folks and learn everything I can.

As I'm going to be doing a lot of both on-road and off-road touring, I need a bike that will be comfortable and durable on both.

After investigating some purpose-built bikes for these tasks, I've decided the cost to be a bit prohibitive, and am now seriously considering some advice given to me to build a bike myself. I've never done this before, but I've been told it will work out cheaper, though I have yet to investigate fully.

So for my first post, I have a couple of questions:

Firstly, do you knowledgeable folks here agree that I can get a lower cost, high quality bike for the purpose described above (mix of on-road / off-road touring)if I build it myself? Is this a good option?

And secondly, if this is a good idea, would anyone have any specific recommendations for what I should be looking for in specific components. For the frame, a steel MTB frame has been suggested. I'm unsure about what wheels to get, or whether to go for dropped handlebars or flats.

If anyone could offer any advice on whether this is the right option or not, and on what kind of components I should be looking for, I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks a million,


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