Author Topic: Raleigh Sojourn  (Read 12546 times)

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Offline jpaul

Raleigh Sojourn
« on: October 30, 2008, 07:19:42 am »
Hello.

I'm a new member of the forum and am planning a few smaller tours for early next year.

I was browsing around the LBS yesterday and something caught my eye.  It was the Raleigh Sojourn.  It comes standard with fenders, a rear rack, and a Brooks B17 with Brooks bar tape.  It has a wide range of components but fit and finish seemed very nice for a $1000 bike.  

The gentleman at the shop said it was more for heavy touring, which sounds good to my ears.  I found the disk brakes a bit odd, but I am new to the touring world.

I am interested to hear opinions about this ride and am curious to see if anyone has actually used it for 10+ day tours.  

http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/road/sojourn/

This message was edited by jpaul on 10-30-08 @ 4:21 AM

Offline staehpj1

Raleigh Sojourn
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2008, 07:53:17 am »
I would question their description.  It does not look like it is well designed for loaded touring.  There appears to be no provision for a front rack.  It has 32 spoke wheels.  With a road crank, it has gearing a bit too high for loaded touring anywhere hilly.

Some may consider them a plus, but I wouldn't pick that saddle, bar tape, or the disk brakes.

It is very pretty and I think it might be OK if you travel light.  If you are a lightweight and credit card tour it might be great.  If you weight 200 and will camp and cook I would definitely look elsewhere.


Offline RussellSeaton

Raleigh Sojourn
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2008, 10:05:47 am »
Looks pretty competent.  Except for the 32 spoke wheels mentioned.  But they might/should be OK.  Maybe.  Crankset gearing can be easily fixed by putting a 24 tooth inner chainring on instead of the 30 tooth that comes with the bike.  Bike shop can/will do this for free.  Then you have a low of 24x34.  Nice.  50 tooth big ring is great.  The front fork does have mounts for a braze on low rider front rack.  Nice.  Eyelet at the fork will have to be used for the rack mount so the fenders would need P clips to keep them on.  Not a problem.  Front fender is too short to provide much coverage though so its just there for appearance.  Disk brakes don't excite me.  But I've heard others like them and use them on touring bikes.  Brooks B17 saddle, nice.  Very, very nice.  Bar end shifters work very well.  Alloy spoke nipples are bizarre.  With very minor changes this bike could be a fine loaded touring bike.  32 spoke wheels give me a little pause though.  And the disk brakes...


Offline staehpj1

Raleigh Sojourn
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2008, 10:34:44 am »
"The front fork does have mounts for a braze on low rider front rack."

OH I see them now, sorry.

Still, it definitely isn't my cup of tea.  Much of that is personal preference though, since I don't like Brooks saddles, disk brakes, or bar end shifters.  Still this bike really does not look like it was designed for loaded touring unless you carry a light load and or are light yourself.

My question would be if you are buying a new bike, why not buy a bike that is actually designed for touring?

There are lots to choose from including the Surley LHT, the Fuji Touring, the Windsor Touring, the Trek 520, and the Cannondale Touring 2 (I'd pass on the Touring 1).

Some of those may require the same gearing change though, but will at least have 36 spoke wheels.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 10-30-08 @ 7:36 AM

Offline Westinghouse

Raleigh Sojourn
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2008, 01:49:19 pm »
I looked at the picture. That is a good bike for long distance touring. I could not see close enought to determine if there were eyes for fastening a rack in the front. A good touring bike should have such eyes fore and aft. Other than that, it is an excellent bike for touring.


Offline jpaul

Raleigh Sojourn
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2008, 10:42:46 pm »
I wanted to thank everyone for their informative responses!  

I called the shop to see about the ability to mount a front rack, and sure enough it can be done.  The picture on Raleigh's website does a poor job of showing this detail.  

I too questioned the addition of disk brakes and was told that they will last longer, offer better stopping power, and will still work properly if a rim gets bent while on tour.  I have never had disk brakes and can't validate these claims.  

The wheels seem to be the bikes weakest link.  The gentleman at the shop was honest and told me that if I was going to be doing long self-contained tours that I shall upgraded the wheel-set to something a little stronger.  

I too was very interested in the Surly LHT and had the chance to see and ride that bike this past weekend.  I just can't get over how beautiful the Sojourn is.  If you think it looks cool in the picture, wait until you see it in person.  The bike looks very substantial and I felt that the fit and finish was a noticeable step-up from the LHT.....just my opinion.

This message was edited by jpaul on 10-30-08 @ 7:45 PM

Offline jpaul

Raleigh Sojourn
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2008, 10:59:55 pm »
According to my LBS, this bike was designed for touring.  Raleigh hasn't exactly marketed the bike that way, but 2009 will only be its second production year.

Obviously the Surly LHT is designed for some serious heavy touring.  While the Sojourn may not be able to do everything the LHT can, I think it can do most.

I have always liked the Salsa Casseroll, but felt that it was too light for my touring needs.  I have also admired the Surly LHT, but felt that it was a bit too heavy for my touring needs.  I feel that the Sojourn is a nice balance between the two, but certainly sits closer to the LHT.

This message was edited by jpaul on 10-30-08 @ 8:00 PM

Offline whittierider

Raleigh Sojourn
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2008, 12:40:33 am »
Quote
I too questioned the addition of disk brakes and was told that they will last longer, offer better stopping power, and will still work properly if a rim gets bent while on tour.
I think the one valid point here is the stopping power in the rain, although not when dry.  Our road tandem has mini-V rim brakes, and I can easily skid even the front wheel on dry pavement with one finger on the lever.  Bill McCready, president of Santana Cycles (the tandem maker) has done a ton of brake testing, and says the disc brakes are not as strong as good V brakes, they're heavier, and require a beefier (read: heavier) fork and chainstay.  They have more wind resistance, and from other posts on the tandem forum, I see the pads don't last even one-fifth as long as our mini-V rim brake pads have lasted.  The discs do however make for longer rim life if you ride in wet, sandy conditions a lot, since that makes the rim brakes grind the rims down.

As far as stopping power change in water, our tandem's stopping ability does not seem to suffer at all in the rain, even when we were going through puddles deep enough to completely cover the rim at the bottom.  That seems unusual though.  I was very surprised.  I suppose it's because of the machined rim braking surfaces and the right brake-pad compound.

As far as disc brakes "still working properly if a rim gets bent while on tour," the other side of that is that in a long descent, the heat can warp the disc and make it useless, according to actual results in Bill McCready's tests.

Unless you're riding in the rain a lot, it seems from my reading that the main reason people get disc brakes on bikes is that they look cool.  Someone on the tandem forum said the disc brakes on motorcycles show their superior performance; to which one of the tandem dealers responded that his motorcycle's disc brake system weighed 40 pounds even though the motorcycle can use the engine to hold your speed down on descents.  "Is that what you want?" he asked.

Don't get me wrong-- I think for most people they'll still do the job just fine on a single bike; but from all my reading, I have to say they're not generally superior.

This message was edited by whittierider on 10-30-08 @ 9:48 PM
« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 01:05:32 am by whittierider »

Offline TCS

Raleigh Sojourn
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2008, 10:03:15 am »
Unless the only activity a touring bike is used for is loaded touring, I'd recomend the owner have two sets of wheels: a light set for general riding and a robustly built set for loaded touring.  I'd prefer to have factory light wheels and artisan built touring wheels, rather than the other way around. Just my personal preference.

I did see one of these Soljourns at my LBS.  Most of the talk in this thread has been about the components - which can be replaced/swapped out.  The heart of a touring bike is the frame, and manufacturers seldom publish tube diameters/thicknesses. The geometry in general seems pretty mainstream.  The spoke-holder braze-on is a thoughtful touch.  I did note the Soljjourn has a very low bottom bracket (if you're in the good/bad/makes no difference camps on this).  The Soljourn will easily fit 37mm wide tires with fenders, unlike many so-called touring bikes than would be tight with just 32s and fenders (why don't touring bike manufacturers advertise the widest tires a model will fit?).  With 37mm wide tires, the factory wheels on the Soljourn might prove to be more robust than some imagine.

Best,
tcs

"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline RussellSeaton

Raleigh Sojourn
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2008, 01:58:54 pm »
"Unless the only activity a touring bike is used for is loaded touring, I'd recomend the owner have two sets of wheels: a light set for general riding and a robustly built set for loaded touring."

Wouldn't it be simpler to just have two sets of tires?  35mm width tires for touring.  And 28mm width for general riding when not touring.  Its not like you would be changing tires ever other day so the time and effort to change tires is immaterial.  And changing tires instead of wheels means you don't have to adjust the brake clearance every time you change wheels.  Touring suitable rims are wider than general light riding rims.  Simply switching wheels as described in the above post is not as simple as its made out to be.  As for light weight and such.  Velocity Aerohead rim is 425 grams for the light wheel.  Velocity Dyad rim is 480 grams for the heavy wheel.  55 gram difference.  Not too much.  Continental Contact tire in 700x37 is 660 grams.  Continental Sport Contact in 700x28 is 460 grams.  200 gram difference per tire.  Switching wheels saves you no weight.  Switching tires saves you tremendous weight.


Offline Westinghouse

Raleigh Sojourn
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2008, 11:13:43 am »
I have never heard of a 32 spoke wheel for a touring bike. I am no expert on wheels, but unless there is some new kind of extra strong 32 spoke wheel out there, it is not recommended for heavy touring. 36 is as low as you want to go for touring, and 40 is good too. Get what you can, but if you cannot afford all that much, do your spending on the rear wheel. Not all bicycle wheels are equal by a long shot. A cheap $35.00 steel wheel on the front should take you across the continent without trouble. The rear wheel is a very different matter, especially on tough hilly / mountainous routes.


Offline sidburg

Raleigh Sojourn
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2008, 07:42:25 am »
The Raleigh Sojourn is my first touring bike, bought for light touring. My normal ride is a road bike (Specialized Roubaix). For its maiden voyage I took the Sojourn on a familiar 75-mile route with about 5K feet of climbing. It literally wore me out. There was a brisk wind yesterday but I am curious to know if this is normal. I can usually do this route at 15 to 16 mph.  On the Sojourn I was down to 12 mph and completely spent.  Is this to be expected when switching from a road bike to a touring rig?


Offline DaveB

Raleigh Sojourn
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2008, 01:20:47 pm »
Quote
A cheap $35.00 steel wheel on the front should take you across the continent without trouble.

This is very poor advice.  Yes a cheap steel rimed wheel might have the structural strength but it will provide such dismal braking, particularly in the wet, that no one should ever use one.  A steel front rim is even worse than a rear because that's where most of the effective braking occurs.


Offline RussellSeaton

Raleigh Sojourn
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2008, 09:05:26 am »
"For its maiden voyage I took the Sojourn on a familiar 75-mile route with about 5K feet of climbing. It literally wore me out. There was a brisk wind yesterday but I am curious to know if this is normal. I can usually do this route at 15 to 16 mph.  On the Sojourn I was down to 12 mph and completely spent.  Is this to be expected when switching from a road bike to a touring rig?"

A touring bike will be slower than a road bike due to the extra weight, likely more upright riding position catching the wind, and heavier more rolling resistance tires.  But what you describe seems a bit much.  Try putting your road bike tires on the touring bike and seeing if the time/speeds get closer.  Might not be able to do much about the different position and weight issues.