Author Topic: First tour in Europe- bike suggestions  (Read 301 times)

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Offline singingcyclist

First tour in Europe- bike suggestions
« on: July 02, 2019, 01:23:38 am »
Next month I plan to fly into Amsterdam, buy a bike*-- then see where I can get to in 6-8 weeks. Hoping folks here might have recommendations on what bike to get, and where to get it.

I'd would like to keep it < $1,000€ if possible. Any thoughts on hybrid vs touring/trekking-- and/or model, brand recommendations?

While I could save money buying used, I'm leaning toward new. Can anyone recommend a local or chain retailer in or near Amsterdam?

Here's some additional info that might matter...

- I'll probably average 50-70k daily, with a rest day every week or so. (Probably add bar-ends or swap bars if I go hybrid)

- My (pre-tour) weight is 280 lbs. Lodging will be a mix of WS, hostels and hotels, so I won't need to carry a lot of gear with me.

- I know there will be hills and headwinds, but overall ride profile will be fairly flat. Not sure whether I'll need to upgrade the rear cluster.

Thanks much for the help!

Joe

* Doing this because neither of my bikes (carbon road bike, beastly heavy mountain bike) is the right tool


Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: First tour in Europe- bike suggestions
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2019, 05:11:22 pm »
Hi again!  :)

First things first - do you plan on bringing this bike back with you?
If you are, then I'd strongly suggest you check out the ability to claim sales tax back (VAT in UK, BTW in NL or Belgium). That can be up to 23% so can significantly boost your budget. Of course, you may get hit with import duties?

If you are planning on bringing it home you'll need to pack it - it's easier to get the experience at home - just pay your LBS to do it for you and show you how to do it. Also, lots of Youtube videos.

$1000 is not that much for a decent, new bike, racks etc that will not let you down and is ready to go. Factor in the cost of bringing the new bike back home too.
You can put together a great touring bike for $1000 - if you have time. I know - I did. But you don't have the time.

I thought the deal offered by the shop in France was a good one, assuming you get a suitable bike and that they'll pick up the tab for any mechanicals along the way.

Jan's bikes are great too. Have you had contact? Thought about asking about a buy and return? Buy a bike with an option of returning it at the end of the trip? Maybe get half back? If you love the bike bring it home, if not sell it back. (I have no idea if he does that!)


As for what bike? Ask 100 people get 102 answers! :D The most important thing is that it's comfortable. This is no expedition style touring. Good surfaces, hills, no real mountains. I've toured all over Europe on a no-brand hybrid with dodgy front suspension.

The second thing for you is good wheels. If you want to get a wheel rebuilt or even retensioned properly that will take time. If you buy in a chain store you will need to get that done. Probably in a different shop.

Decathlon is probably your best Chainstore option since they have good after sales service and stores all over Europe.

Good luck!

 






 



Offline singingcyclist

Re: First tour in Europe- bike suggestions
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2019, 07:04:21 pm »
Hey Hobbes, thanks again.

I was planning on selling the bike in Europe before coming home.  A big part of why I'm trying to keep budget down is b/c that process is a big unknown.  How much of my money could I get back?  How quickly could I sell it?   If I knew I could sell the bike easily-- and for a decent percentage of what I paid-- I'd feel more comfortable spending more. 

I haven't reached out to Jan yet.  I like his bike....he seems a bit intimidating though.  Perhaps he would consider buy and sell back. Of course, thatt would force me to head back to Amsterdam when I'm done.

Decisions, decisions. I'll check out the other sites you sent me

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: First tour in Europe- bike suggestions
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2019, 03:21:41 am »
You must be getting sick of me by now :D


How much of my money could I get back?  How quickly could I sell it?   If I knew I could sell the bike easily-- and for a decent percentage of what I paid-- I'd feel more comfortable spending more. 

Time is your enemy.
If you want to sell your bike, it will really only be practical where they speak English. That means the UK, NL, possibly Belgium and less likely France. Possibly Germany.
If you want to use a local second hand site expect problems without an address. Possible, but more complicated - again language is an issue. Lack of local phone will also be an issue.

Best bet is to bring to a bike shop - and get a nominal price. Sorry.
Of course, if you have local contacts/family who can sell on your behalf, that's different.

Or, if your plans allow it, a decent amount of time in your final destination to give you time to sell the bike. But that's most likely a big city - expensive.

In other words, the more you spend, the less likely you are to get your money back.

It strikes me that there are a lot of variables at play here, and no one has priority.
You want a bike.
You want new.
You want to tour.
You want to sell it back.
You want as much back as possible.

The single most important thing about a bike for a tour is that it is comfortable. If you don't believe me, ask anyone who has tried to tour on an uncomfortable bike!  :) At the end of a 6-8 week tour what value would you put on being pain free?

If you're in anyway handy, you could pick up a cheap 90's rigid MTB for anything up to €50. Stick on a rack, change tyres, check chain etc. and you're good to go. Have a good look at the wheels. They'll be important. Realistically, you'll have a bike that will get you around for €100 odd. Lots of bike shops in case of repairs that you can't do yourself. You'll pay far more for the bike if you buy through a bike shop. Bring your own saddle!

That's the cheapest way. The more adventurous!  :D

Good luck!





Offline Galloper

Re: First tour in Europe- bike suggestions
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2019, 02:10:32 pm »
Another vote for Decathlon, their kit is generally very good quality and well within your budget.   Have a look at the following and enjoy your journey.

https://www.decathlon.nl/browse/c0-sporten/c1-fietsen/c3-hybride-fiets/_/N-1quqbr8

Offline singingcyclist

Re: First tour in Europe- bike suggestions
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2019, 02:36:38 pm »
Hey Galloper, thanks!  That Hoprider 900 keeps showing up-- maybe it's a sign ;)

If I'm willing to go used, $600 can get me the Gazelle here.  What do you think?

http://www.janhoedje-haarlem.nl/?wpsc_product_category=lichaamslengte-155-180-cm-moderne-lichtgewicht-fietsen-tot-14-kg


Offline Galloper

Re: First tour in Europe- bike suggestions
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2019, 02:35:09 pm »
I love Gazelle bikes, I have a town bike which is my go to shopper and general use bike but it's a more basic model than the one shown.   I've never seen the type you mentioned and can't really comment.   One point has occurred to me however, once your off on your tour, if anything goes wrong, you'll have to deal (and Pay) with a local bike shop whereas, with a Decathlon bike, there's a fair chance you can find a local Decathlon store and get if fixed under warranty.   Personally, I would go with the Decathlon bike.   They don't keep every size in stock but if you contact them in advance, will get the bike you want in and have it ready for you to look at, without commitment.

A couple of other thoughts, Hostels in Germany are very good as are those in the Netherlands (Stayok).   Hostels in France can be a bit hit and miss, some are very good and some are used as social housing!

France has a developing network of cycle routes, Tourist Information will stock local guides.   Belgium has a goodly number as well, many of them converted rail paths.   Germany has the best and largest network of long distance paths, many of them traffic free.   The Dutch network is excellent, the coastal route is well worth exploring and the area around Apeldoorn well worth visiting.

Bonne route!

Offline Inge

Re: First tour in Europe- bike suggestions
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2019, 01:13:53 am »
If you are flying into Amsterdfam you might want to visit De Vakantiefietser https://www.vakantiefietser.nl/ who specializes in touring bikes. If they do 2nd hand bikes I do not know. But you can always email and ask eric (the owner).

Offline singingcyclist

Re: First tour in Europe- bike suggestions
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2019, 03:09:31 am »
Galloper, thanks again.  I've heard Gazelle's are popular-- it was the Koga though that caught my eye.  You bring up a good point about there being Decathlon stores in many places. Guess I'll need to weigh these out.

Inge, thank you too for the recommendation.  I will check the website link out. :)

Offline CorneK

Re: First tour in Europe- bike suggestions
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2019, 06:07:24 pm »
If you are flying into Amsterdfam you might want to visit De Vakantiefietser https://www.vakantiefietser.nl/ who specializes in touring bikes. If they do 2nd hand bikes I do not know. But you can always email and ask eric (the owner).

They do sometimes have second hand and discounted bikes, but still not really 'budget' bikes, usually well over €1000,-. You could get lucky of course so it's worth contacting them.

You could also try the Dutch cyclist organisation Wereldfietsers www.wereldfietser.nl. They have a forum (in Dutch, but if you start in English it will probably work out) where you could put up a request.

Another option is using the Dutch site for second hand-stuff: www.marktplaats.nl. Always lots of bikes on sale, though not to many bikes fit for traveling. Good brands are Santos and Koga.

If you are tall, this would be great for you: https://www.marktplaats.nl/a/fietsen-en-brommers/fietsen-heren-sportfietsen-en-toerfietsen/m1432031940-snel-savanne-26-inch-trekkingfiets-met-nieuwe-wielen.html?c=9b26ed2a557deff636f4f8b9c5b7a618
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 06:38:26 pm by CorneK »

Offline singingcyclist

Re: First tour in Europe- bike suggestions
« Reply #10 on: Today at 08:37:31 am »
Thank you for the suggestions :)