The Chainlink

Hey Yall, 

I just posted about a Seattle-SanFran trip that I'm taking in the fall and wanted to create a separate post about touring bikes....

If anyone can provide any advice on what kind of brand of bicycle is best, any requirements, musts, do's and don'ts about buying and riding a touring bike for long 1000+ mile trips. Thanks so much. 

Ride on. 

Jakki

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So I just got back from the post-ride festivities at the Venus De Miles charity ride in Lake Forest, a women-only 30/60 mile fundraiser.  It's a quick ride for me and they had plenty of vendors showing off the latest and greatest in bike and fitness gear.  I actually test road two high-end Trek road bikes--Madone and Domane.  Nice!

 

Regarding saddles, the Trek people pushed their house brand: Bontrager.  No surprise BUT they mentioned that they have a 30-day guarantee so you can keep swapping saddles until you find one that works or get a store credit.

 

Then I saw some ladies who work at SRAM packing up their bikes.  SRAM is a Shimano competitor (in case you didn't know) and headquartered in Chicago.  I asked about saddles and one woman was very happy with her Fizik Vitesse.  New, they're expensive but you can often grab them cheap on eBay.  I saw it next to a Fizik men's saddle and you could see how it was just a little wider and flatter to work with the female anatomy but still very simple and sporty.

 

Here's one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fizik-Vitesse-Sport-Womens-Saddle-MG-Rail-R...

 

Most of the nicer bikes I saw still had their stock saddles mounted.  Not a lot of Terry or aftermarket products.  And the really high end bikes had pricey stuff from Selle, Fizik and Prologo.  Lots of options but no clear winner.

Bought a panasonic pt3500 for my sister this past year. It is High quality touring bike from the late 80's. good components, solid bike, awesome paint scheme to-boot. If it fits and is in as good of condition as stated, the price is fair, IMO.



Jakki Cafarelli said:

Agreed. That's a good price. Is the PT3500 made from Columbus tubing? It looks stunningly similar to the Panasonic-made '86 Schwinn Voayageur I used to have. Down to the 50/44/28 Biopace crank and all. 

The ad says Tange. Seems like a good price given the current market. It should be adequate for a 1k+ mile tour. We can't tell of course by looking at an ad on the internet, but if everything is in good shape and working correctly, that could be more than adequate for touring.

Speaking of the Schwinns, If you can find a late 80's Voyageur for anywhere near that price, snap it up! I got an '86 this year and it is the nicest riding bike I've ever had the pleasure of riding.

Lanterne Rouge said:

Agreed. That's a good price. Is the PT3500 made from Columbus tubing? It looks stunningly similar to the Panasonic-made '86 Schwinn Voayageur I used to have. Down to the 50/44/28 Biopace crank and all. 

Ditto on that panasonic. Looks good. They made some nice bikes in their time and some of them had tubing by Miyata, if I am not mistaken. Or was that Univega that used Miyata tubes? I ride very similar biopace rings and while people sometimes sneer at them (they're elliptical rather than perfectly round, in order to maximize your pedal stroke) they work great. Shifting is great and the gear ratio is nice. It's a technology that has come in and out of style over more than a century of bike design.  Have fun riding! 

I've been eyeing that Panasonic myself, if only I could justify another addition to my stable right now.

The one drawback, it has 27" wheels, and while that may not be a total deal-breaker, it wouldn't be my first or second choice for wheel size.

Also, the rear derailleur shows a scrape, so the bike may have been dropped or crashed at some point. Worth checking out the derailleur hanger to make sure it's straight (can be bent back if it's not) and maybe some haggling on price due to the scrape.

Is this the same Jakki who commented on my blog? I'd be happy to meet up with you when I get back to chat about the trip! I'll be back in chi town the 15th...feel free to email me at lindsayg2009@gmail.com

Also, I'm 5'1" and adore my LHT, for what it's worth. Happy trails!
~lindsay

And for all of you who didn't know, just came across this cool site...

http://www.bikeovernights.org/page/what-is-a-bike-overnight

Cameron, I love my '87 Miyata 615gt. Always happy to about other Miyata owners. Re: Will's comment about the 27" wheels, you can find some good tires in 27" size if you poke around (although the Panasonic looks to have good tires so you're probably fine for now) and you should be able to switch out a 27" to a 700c tire if you desire (perhaps after the trip, if you were to buy the bike and decide to keep the 27" for now). I know that it's not a big switch on larger frames, although I'd suggest googling to see if the smaller frame size makes a 27" to 700c conversion complicated. It's all about how the brake pads hit the rim at a slightly different angle.  Check out Sheldon Brown's website as I think he's got some info about that kind of stuff. 

Cameron 7.5 mi said:

It was Univega that was the big purchaser of Miyata frames, but Panasonic was a Miyata shareholder and I believe had some frames made by Miyata. That Pt 3500 looks a lot like my 1988 Miyata 1000 LT.



prof.gfr said:

Ditto on that panasonic. Looks good. They made some nice bikes in their time and some of them had tubing by Miyata, if I am not mistaken. Or was that Univega that used Miyata tubes? I ride very similar biopace rings and while people sometimes sneer at them (they're elliptical rather than perfectly round, in order to maximize your pedal stroke) they work great. Shifting is great and the gear ratio is nice. It's a technology that has come in and out of style over more than a century of bike design.  Have fun riding! 

Prof,

27"-to-700c conversions are usually trivial on bikes with sidepulls or centerpulls, but tend to be a problem on bikes with cantilevers. It usually requires rebrazing the posts, or else using sidepulls or centerpulls. But, as you point out, there is at least a reasonable selection of touring-appropriate tires in 27". All that said, given the OP's stature, I think she'll be best off on a 26"-wheel bike.

Apples/oranges between the two frames; the Campuer is a better tube set, has some nicer features and different geometry.  It costs more because it is a nicer built frame.

Tricolor said:

I was very close to ordering one (even waiting for them to come back in stock, which they now are) but chickened out at $500 plus shipping plus a new threaded headset and a threadless adapter compared to $470 for an LHT frame sent to my door.  The VO's a beautiful looking bike, though.


Michael A said:

That Velo orange campuer is another awesome option, frameset is about 500 and you can have it built without bar end shifters.

52cm seems really tall for someone who's 5'3". I had a 19" bike w/27" wheels and that was not a bike I could stand over. I'm 5'3", also. The other thing to consider on a bike is the reach, and how that distance works for you.

I'm another with a 42cm LHT. I find it really comfortable.

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