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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    231

    Ugh...need help with bike suggestion for "Touring, Road, Errand, rail trail" bike

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    My husband and I just returned from riding the Selkirk Loop with some family and friends. We, unfortunately, were joined by the GIANT STORM of the season and didn't see the sun until the last of 10 days on the road...and only for about an hour. It was cold, we were SOAKED, our gear was soaked and there was snow.

    Folks from Hawaii don't do well in those conditions!

    Anyway - in planning this trip I got a Surly Cross Check about 1.5 years ago and that was going to be the bike that went on this trip. However, that bike and I did not get along. It was just far too heavy for me. And if it's heavy, I'm not going to ride it. So I sold it. And I put the PDW Take Out Basket on my carbon Orbea road bike, bought a clip on rear fender and attempted to put on fatter tires but there is ZERO clearance for the rear wheel so away I went on 23mm Schwalbes!

    Plus, in the 1.5 years that I had my Surly, one of the cables wore a bit of the paint off and it already started to rust. Hawaii and steel do not play well.

    The Selkirk loop is marketed as this great bike-friendly ride through great towns and areas of WA, ID and BC Canada. We expected some shoulder and the route to go through less travelled roads. Our whole group was VERY disappointed to discover the double logging trucks FLYING by us at 70mph on roads that have about 12" of "shoulder" for us, including the white line. We were not pleased. And since 50% of our group was over the age of 65, I had concerns for them! And then add a 5 day downpour to the mix and it's just a very crappy place to be on a bike.

    We did have a few roads that were more scenic - and imagine my surprise when these roads turned to gravel, then a mix of gravel and mud, then a mix of gravel, mud, sand and then just hard packed sandy washboard. Sigh. My 23mm tires on my carbon road bike were---well - interesting. And my drivetrain was pretty much destroyed by the end of the ride.

    I'm never doing that again! (Ride the Selkirk loop, or bike tour on a carbon road bike with 23mm tires!)

    So I'm at a crossroads - I want to do more bike touring (The GAP, Ride the Rockies maybe, etc) but my Orbea isn't going to cut it.

    I'm looking at Titanium because everything rusts in Hawaii so quickly that I'm not willing to spend $1000-$2000 on something that will begin to rust in 6 months. Plus I don't want to have to baby it and watch for every little scratch.

    I also don't enjoy the heavier bikes. I had a Bike Friday for a bit (started to rust right away) but sold it because the brakes were crap and everytime we packed the bike we had to take them to a bike shop to fix the brakes. (BF bought them back from us because they admitted the brakes were an known issue with the bikes!) The weight of the bike was fine for me and I did enjoy the ride. But the rusting was a concern.

    So I've narrowed it down to a Titanium bike OR a carbon bike that is beefier - however, travelling with carbon is not ideal and I don't want to worry about the frame getting knocked or cracked.

    Now I've looked at Seven bikes (holy crap they are expensive!), Moots, Sage, Litespeed, Lynskey and Ti Cycles.
    Seven = too expensive. I'll have to save for 5 years to afford that!
    Moots has options - I like the Psychlo X but not sure of rack mounts or tire clearance
    Sage is new and I'm not sure about their builds
    Litespeed - too high end!
    Lynskey - really liked the Sportive Disc - it gets pricey but can't run tires wider than 28c (Husband says no, need the option to go wider). Also like the Viale - tires up to 30c but no disc brakes!
    Ti Cycles - like the Steilacoom - cheaper with good options, but limited to 28c tires again

    So here is my main question:

    --Disc brakes or not? (if not, I can strip the components off my Orbea and just upgrade a frame and brakes)
    --Crossbike or Touring/Commuting bike? I did like the higher BB of the Surly Crosscheck, but most of the cross bikes out there do not have rack mounts. And most cross bikes have disc brakes.
    --Just how fat of a tire (without fenders) do you think I should be able to go? Especially if there are plans for a fire road or rail trail bike trip? My husband is running a 32 tire on his Disc Trucker and loved them on the Selkirk trip. I had 32's on my Surly but thought they were slow and too big.
    During the Selkirk ride, the folks with disc brakes has no problems at all with any of the muck/mud/sand/water and stopping power. I did comment more than once that I had no stopping power at all. :-/ And I didn't have any bags on my bike!

    I want this to be my "last bike." The one I have for errands, long group rides, light touring, medium touring, some fire road exploration, rail trails, fondos, etc. I want to be able to box it up and not worry about it through the flight. I want to be able to let it sit in my shop for 8 months while I train on my tri bike for an Ironman and not worry about it rusting. I want to be able to pick it up easily with one hand and have the ability to run thin or fatter tires on it.

    I know this is a lot to ask for a bike - but if I'm going to spend another couple thousand on a bike, I want it to cover a lot of bases!

    Any input would be very much appreciated!

    Mahalo!

    Denise

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    231
    Thanks Muirenn -

    I don't particularly like the ride of an aluminum bike. :-( I've had aluminum Cannondales in the past (one for about 4 years). I prefer the ride of steel without the weight and ti bikes have a nice buttery ride to them. Thanks for the suggestions though.

    What size tires do you run on your bike?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    You say you want ti, but eliminated a lot of builders because of the price. To really get what you want, you may have to evaluate that. I am happy with my ti bike, made by Guru. They will pretty much make you what you want, or they have a large line of stock bikes, too. Components also can really raise the price, so that's something to consider. My ti bike is built as a relaxed geometry road bike. I wanted a rack, so I could use a trunk bag and a pannier at the same time, or just a small rear bag. I got a ti rack. I looked at several touring bikes, both stock and custom, but given my difficulty with mechanical change (as compared to what I have on my carbon bike), I opted out of that, because I wanted sti shifters. So, while this is not a bike to do long self supported tours on, with a few changes, it could have been. I have 25 mm tires on it and I can put larger ones on, if I needed to go on dirt.
    My carbon bike weighs 14.7 pounds, without the bag I have on it. I did not want another bike that was heavy. I didn't like my Jamis Coda because of the weight. The ti Guru, weighs about a pound more than the carbon. It's awesome.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    231
    Crankin - I eliminated Seven because they only do custom fit bikes. And when I had my Bike Friday custom fit, it was based on a stock Orbea Road bike frame. I figure if I can dial in my stock orbea and my stock Cannondale Tri and the stock Surly Crosscheck, I can dial in a stock ti and save $2000. :-)

    If I didn't want disc brakes, I could just buy a frame. Alas...after my Selkirk ride and my frustration of the Bike Friday brakes, I think I want to go disc.

    Do you have disc brakes on your GURU? (Thanks BTW, I didn't know Guru did ti bikes! Not many GURU bikes in Hawaii.)

    Denise

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,364
    Just another option to consider - http://www.rodcycle.com

    This is a smaller frame builder here in Seattle - they work in Ti and they have a model that they do stock in steel (that I'm sure they would duplicate in Ti) that sounds like it would be right up your alley - it's a roadie with disc brakes - check out the model Phinney Ridge.
    Last edited by Eden; 10-15-2013 at 05:35 AM.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I don't have disc brakes on the Guru. When I was planning it, 2 years ago, it wasn't such a big thing. I would have considered it, if it had been more popular.
    Well, I haven't seen another Guru around here, either, despite the fact my local shop is a dealer.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Lakewood, Co
    Posts
    1,061
    I tour on my custom Serotta. I was amazed how my custom frame fit me "like a glove" whereas I thought my old bike was a perfect fit. Because I'm small I have no desire for the weight of a touring bike. I haven't ridden the Gap ride but have done Ride the Rockies. All the roads were paved, if the weather is bad, ie snow on the mountain passes they will sag you. I've heard that in inclement weather if you chose to ride though it buses are available for the riders to warm up in. Occasionally the route will include a dirt road, there often isn't any other way to go, but since it's normally dry here there isn't the muck you find in the rainy northwest. I'm sorry to say you will have traffic, narrow shoulders and a combination of hot and cold weather. You will also have 2,000 riders, which gives you the perception of safety in numbers. I've often thought that if I needed a bike for varying conditions I'd build a cross bike. However, we now do most of our touring in Wisconsin due to good roads, generally light traffic, etc. and our road bikes can sufficiently handle the conditions.
    Last edited by Kathi; 10-15-2013 at 06:37 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    231
    Quote Originally Posted by Eden View Post
    Just another option to consider - http://www.rodcycle.com

    This is a smaller frame builder here in Seattle - they work in Ti and they have a model that they do stock in steel (that I'm sure they would duplicate in Ti) that sounds like it would be right up your alley - it's a roadie with disc brakes - check out the model Phinney Ridge.
    Thanks Eden!
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    461
    I'm going to play Devil's Advocate in order for you to up your budget...

    No one wants to pay a lot for a bike. However, you want a light bike that can ride well in road, rain, AND on gravel and you don't like aluminum and also steel rusts.....which leaves carbon and titanium.

    Based on your requirements, I would suggest either a carbon or a titanium Cyclocross bike with disc brakes. If this is going to be your "last" bike and you sound like you know what you like and what you don't like, I think that you should raise your budget quite a bit so that you can get exactly what you want in your "last" bike.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    231
    Love it!

    Yes....I agree 100% with everything you say TigerMom. My budget can only go so far. Right now I'm getting the husband to nod at $5000.

    FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS! FOR A BIKE!

    I'm really pushing the limit there. If I was to go to a custom build I'm terrified that I would pay for the custom but not for the rest of the bike that I want.

    I think I can get a VERY good bike for $5000. (Lynskey is at the top of my list so far)

    And ya know what....having done this 3 times now, part of my is worried that it will be harder to sell a custom frame vs a stock frame if the bike doesn't work out. How sad is that? But really, if I find a frame that is close to my Orbea fit, I'll be happy. The Bike Friday was custom built to those measurements so I'm sure I can find something similar.

    I'm going to contact Adrenaline Bikes and see what they say. I'll be in Orange County in January for Tinker Bell half marathon and will make a point to get to their shop for a fitting and to test out the bikes before I buy anything! (to avoid the bad choice I made by buying the Surly)

    Denise

 

 

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