The Chainlink

I am planning on getting a touring bike or a bike that can hold racks. I have always wanted a Long Haul Trucker, but would prefer to not have the same bike as half the city. Suggestions? I ride a 54 if anyone has one they are looking to get rid of

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+1 Ilter

Yellow Jersey is a fun trip.  I grew up in Madison and used to love riding to State Street & going in there and looking around and talking to those guys.  Just try not to piss off Andy and life is good.  He's super knowledgeable about vintage stuff and has a real passion for it.   I really thought about buying one of those Indian Tourist clone bikes back when he was importing them.  Total tanks but oh, so cool!  He's always the source for stuff like this.

A new-built old-style Panasonic frame sounds like a great base to build a tourer out of.  The next time I'm up visiting my family in Madison i should drop by YJ and ask them about that.

i'm still holding out luck out like Ilter and find a great deal on a 58cm Trek 720 in decent condition for myself (or a Raleigh International) or something similar in 531.  That's something I'd be willing to put some money into and even re-finishing with a nice powdercoat.  If I did that I would be willing to dump the frame I have now and rebuild it back as stock to flip on craigslist to maybe pay for the powdercoating at least.  Until then I'm OK with the old lugged CroMo Raleigh Pursuit as it rides really nice -if a bit heavier than a high-end 531 Reynolds butted frame.  The extra couple pounds doesn't bother me though.  The one thing that I don't like about my frame is the lack of a real derailleur hanger.  Having "the claw" bothers me more about that bike than anything else.  It does ride so nice though, and shifts like a dream with the Ultegra/Tiagra combo so the claw isn't hurting anything it seems. I should just think of it as a "replaceable derailleur hanger"  like a lot of modern frames tend to have these days :-D

At my budget level, until I find a sweet deal on a Trek 720 like yours or something similar, I'll just stick with the Pursuit frame for now. It does the job well and at least I don't have to worry about someone else wearing the "same dress to the prom" when I show up at a ride with it.  The only other Pursuits I ever see around are usually fixie conversions and the occasional as-built vintage 27" bikes still truckin' along the way they were built up when they were made. 

Hey Eduardo, is that a Tubus rack on your Bianchi? I was just dreaming about one last night.

Wow, that's a cool concept from Raleigh!  I hadn't seen this model before -thanks Duane.

I am a bit confused about the geometry though.  As a vintage curmudgeon I'm not a fan, visually, of the modern compact frame but I understand that people like having a tiny bit of extra room for standover -although it does sort of ruin the lines of the "vintage" look they are going for here without the level top-tube.  

The super-short chainstays are a mystery though.  Putting panniers on that thing will be heel-strike city unless you get a rear rack that can push them out further to the rear.   It doesn't make sense to put such short chainstays on a "touring" bike.  

This bike is a neat concept but a more vintage-esque frame geometry would have fit better with the look and feel of what the bike is purportedly supposed to be by the way it is styled.   Interestingly enough the new up-to-date components don't bother me at all though.  But the frame shape just looks out of place to me the way this bike is outfitted and painted/decalled. 

Pake C'mute'Mute+Frame

You'd have to build it up (that's not a bad thing), but at around $200, pretty nice.

Hi Ash, it's a Sunlite QRS Touring HD Rear Rack. I also have the Sunlite Commuter Trunk Bag that has the QRS or Quick Release System which is a clip on bicycle luggage set up. Allows you to clip it on and off the rack and carry it with the strap which is included.

Ash L. said:

Hey Eduardo, is that a Tubus rack on your Bianchi? I was just dreaming about one last night.

I LOVE having a tubus rack on my touring commuter bike.  Given all the abuse I put it through it has been a great investment.  

Laura, I'd probably suggest you go with one of the "Light duty" touring bikes, such as the cross bikes  or the randonneur style bikes with eyelets for a rear rack.  

Ash L. said:

Hey Eduardo, is that a Tubus rack on your Bianchi? I was just dreaming about one last night.

Those DuraAce bar-ends are about $100 online.  The next step down Ultegra ones are only $70 but they are older 8-speed new in box kits.  They are both REALLY nice.

What hollowtech crank is that?  Sora or Tiagra?  You can probably sell them on CL for a decent price.  I've been sort of looking for a hollowtech crank myself as I really  like how cheap and smooth the external bottom brackets are.  They really are a huge leap in technology over the old-style BB's.

I'd offer you something for them but I don't want to downgrade to a compact double.  I like a triple.  More gears=better IMHO.  

I too have been looking for a long distance touring bike.

This past midnight marauder, I spoke with Geoff and Timmy S. and looked at both their bikes (LHT and Bianchi Volpe, respectively) and also John's Masi Speciale CX.

Granted, the LHT really looked and felt solid with an easy-to-replace shifters at the end of the drop handle bar. However, like you mentioned, I saw three of them that night alone during MM.

Timmy's Bianchi Volpe was the lightest of all three and also has chromoly frame. I think this bike is a hybrid of half a cross, and half plain touring bike. The rear brake cable is on top of the top tube, and the derailleurs cables were underneath the down tube. It has STI levers for the gears and brakes and also comes with a cross top brake levers standard (not a big deal to add on). This was by far my favorite. My only caveat is that the Bianchi logo screams "STEAL ME" if I were to use this for my daily commute.

John's Masi Speciale CX was my next choice. A complete cross bike by design and has all the eyelets for racks (front and back). STI levers, but no cross top brake levers. He had a rear rack and panniers on both side and looked steady enough.
The only problem is, I checked Masi's website and this bike is not available anymore. I spoke with a rep yesterday, and was told that the 2012 version is just called CX, which slimlined several of their prior CX models into just one CX.

All in all, I think Bianchi Volpe is still the best value for its price out of the three I mentioned above.

I hope that helped

The Sora crankset goes for $65-70 on Amazon without the bearings ($17-20 more)

I spent that on my Bontrager ISIS triple crankset ($18 at working bikes which was a bargain IMHO as they have like new chainrings) and the expensive ISIS mid-level Bottom Bracket ($45)  which I hear doesn't last all that long sometimes.  If I blow out a BB in a couple thousand miles I'll need to blow another $45 so I'm thinking of upgrading to the Sora on my bike when that happens.   The cheaper ISIS BB's are total garbage from the many reviews I read.  

I just don't want to go to a double and then probably need to change out the FD too to match.

What did you put on it for a replacement crankset?  Got pictures?

Ning software resizes all photos to fit into the forum format.  If you click on it the original size can still be seen. It's one of the slicker things that ning does.  They have to do something right, after all. 

I love my Trek 520. I rode it from Chicago to Boston and then down to Florida. Trek does a great job at standing behind their product. I had a eyelet break on the last day of my tour (Damn orlando bike trails!) and Trek replaced my entire frame. I love the new color, it's this gorgeous metallic smoky color.  I got mine on sale through Village cycle center, which I know a lot of people aren't crazy about, but it was a great value.

I previously had a Jamis Aurora, which I loved, but I did feel like the fit was a little off. I had gotten the bike when I didn't know much about bikes, but I was able to tour on it without problems.

When I was looking for bikes, I tried the Fuji Touring bike, which was at a good pricepoint, though I found it a little twitchy. It may have been a better bike to ride when loaded. The Bianchi Volpe was nice, though I was concerned about heel overlap. It also didn't have as many eyelets at other touring bikes. The Raleigh Sojourn was a very smooth ride, but the stock bike is very heavy before anything goes onto it.

I had thought that the LHT was going to be the right bike for me, but when I was shopping, the 54 model only came with 26 inch wheels. I really wanted 700s since I wasn't always going to be biking loaded. That may no longer be the case, but it was a big deciding factor when I was shopping. There are certainly benefits to a 26 inch wheel, especially when you're going for a smaller sized bike, but I really wanted 700s.

Another one to check out would be REI's Novarra Randonee. It usually gets really good reviews, but I rarely see them in stock in stores. They are a very good pricepoint, and you can get them with REI coupons. I've never ridden one, but it's definitely an option if you could find one!

I don't get how a touring bike is better than a regular mountain bike outfitted with racks and good quality wheels. As somebody who's toured under loaded conditions (50lbs for several 4 and 5 day trips), I find the prices of these touring bikes excessively high.

Is there something I'm missing here?



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