Bicycle Travel > Gear Talk

Touring Bikes ($1000 Range)

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I am planning to ride my bike across the country this summer.  I was just wondering what the best road/touring bike in the $1000 range is.  I understand that most often the "best" bike is the best fitting one, but don't entirely know what my options are.  A local bike shop tried to convince me that the Trek 520 was grossly overpriced and that a Jamis Aurora was a superior choice.  However, I am somewhat skeptical.  I am just wondering what all of you unbiased folk think.  Thanks.

Although I have a Trek 520, I can't think of any $1000 touring bike that is significantly better than the others, and I don't think any of them are overpriced.  Expect to find a mix of 105 and Deore/Deore LX components at this price point.  Other usual suspects are Cannondale T800 and Giant OCR Touring.  

At the lower price point you will find Tiagra components.  They will work for a while but their durability ie questionable.  Others here are the Bianchi Volpe and the Novara (REI) Randonee.  I think the Jamis has 130mm rear hub spacing (standard road) and if tht is true, I would stay away from it for loaded touring.  The larger 135mm hub (mountain spacing) builds a stronger wheel and wheels are the most frequent trouble makers in my experience.  I suspect the Bianchi and Novara also use 130 rear spacing.


Go for the Trek 520.  It'll get you there.

I've been looking for the exact same thing for the last 6 months and after a lot of research, test riding, and head scratching I finally came up with a bike I'm very happy with so far.

First off I wanted an upright position, similar to a mountain bike.  I did not want a drop down handle bar position.  Next I wanted bigger tires, the mountain bike I've had has tires of 1.9 inch.  I test road a bike that had 25mm and I swear I could feel every pebble on the road so I knew I wanted bigger tires.

Anyways I finally came up with the Specialized Sirrus Comp, a hybrid model.  The price tage was $899 at a local bike shop.  I made a couple of additions.  I put bar extenders on the handle bars, a kick stand, rear view mirror on the handle bar, 3 bottle cages (it has eyelets for 3), a solid rear rack (eyelets for that also), and I changed the 28 mm tires to 38 mm tires.

I've been on a few long distance rides already with it, no touring yet or heavy loads.  I'm very happy with it and I think this will do very well.  The only bad thing has been the seat, not as comfortable as they lead you to believe, so I switched back to a Trek seat I bought about six months ago.

My initial plan is to use a trailer and the guys at the bike shop said this would do very well with a trailer or bags.

Once all was put on the bike the total was $1065, about where I figured I would pay for a good solid bike.

Need more information let me know!

Devin Holmes
devin at gingerloop dot com

I'm a Cannondale T800 fan personally. My wife and I each got one 4 years ago and they have been great. They fit our budget at the time, liked the look and ride, and liked the shop that carried them. Still no regrets. We swapped chainrings last year to get better touring gearing, but you need to do that on the Trek and many others also. Now we run 24/39/48 from the original 30/42/52. I think the new T800's run 28/38/48 which isn't bad. As to the durability of Tiagra, I'll let you know when we wear something out. But my idea of the perfect bike may not be the same as yours-people tour on all different styles of bikes-hybrids and MTB's work great for a lot of people, and can be a better deal than a touring bike.


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