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Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:41 pm
by Jash Rider
My budget will be around the $2k mark, give or take a couple of hundred bucks. The bike that has pepped my interest more than any other in this price range is the Kona Sutra. Is there anything of better value at this price point? I know there's the Surly LHT/Disc and also the Fuji Touring also seems like great value for money, and the less the better to be honest because this is a bike that will only be used occasionally (as in maybe a few times a year for a few days at a time to start with).

What experience do you all have and what is your collective advice?

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:14 pm
by RonK
No question - it is the Vivente World Randonneur.

The VWR is very popular with forum members. See this thread: Vivente World Randonneur - the best bang for your buck

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:42 am
by Leaf T
+1 the Vivente but is it around $2k?

....From what I recall the Kona Sutra wasn't highly rated for touring.

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:47 am
by RonK
Leaf T wrote:....From what I recall the Kona Sutra wasn't highly rated for touring.

With a 28t chainring it's way over-geared for a start.

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:49 am
by Leaf T
Fuji is well regarded in the US for bang for buck. This one here is an absolute steal and looks great too.

https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/a/touri ... /102731014

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:42 pm
by brumby33
Leaf T wrote:+1 the Vivente but is it around $2k?

....From what I recall the Kona Sutra wasn't highly rated for touring.

https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/s/touring-bikes/vivente

A little bit more than that.!!

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:11 pm
by TailWalker
What sort of touring are you likely to do?
How much are you likely to carry?
Panniers or bikepacking bags?
Tarmac only or do you want to also go offroad?
Do you plan on doing steep climbs or is likely to be mostly flat stuff?

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:07 pm
by Jash Rider
Bikepacking style mainly. I just want a drop bar position. Could I be better off just getting some cable disc callipers and levers to put on a drop bar on my MTB?

The MTB if very comfortable and works well apart from the flat bars which make my palms numb after a few hours. The bar ends offer some relief, but there's no control over gears or brakes in that position.

Could something like a Jones H bar sort out the issue. Would certainly be the cheapest.

Perhaps I should have made a different thread altogether.

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:44 pm
by StevOz
How about a bike you can tour on and ride often and every other day?

https://cyclingtips.com/2016/11/polygon ... ke-review/

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:10 pm
by Cheesewheel
The gravel side of backpacking can work with drops but the mtb terrain side can see issues with drops. Drops tend to be narrower which causes problems when the front wheel is sending all that excitement up the fork. If you get sore hands on a flatbar i can guarantee you will get sore hands on drops when in mtb terrain.

Changing to drops will mess up your gears. You can get away with the front derailleur (with a bit of tweaking ) but you will more than likely have to refit the rear one (drops have a slightly different gear set up to mtb... so they are not compatible).

Bottom line is that modifying your mtb with drops will be expensive (although within your budget) and the final product will (probably) be half baked . Ie something that can manage both mtb/road conditions but not really perform in either.

Imho if you are satisfied with your mtb gears and tyres and kind of like front suspension and dont want to throw around too much $ i would concentrate on getting it more comfortable by investing in a h bar and/or a raised stem. If you raise the handlebars you will get less pressure on your hands (this will slightly reduce the mtb performance by having less weight on the front and maybe redistribute the equation of pain to your backside .... so you may also have to adjust the saddle or maybe even invest in something broader).

The less you spend on your bike (it would be sweet if you could solve the problem with a $35 stem) the more you can spend on bike bags, ultra light camping gear and other stuff which really provide the experience of bike packing /touring.... and unlike retro fitting your bike, you can use this stuff on other bikes down the track.

If you get a bit of experience with exactly what side of bikepacking/touring you want to slot in to, it will make the n+1 decision more substantial.

Btw somehow or other i picked up a surly krampus for a good price a few years ago (if i knew they would have been releasing the ecr 6 months later I would of held off ) I really love the tyres but the gears and handlebars were not suited for touring. Eventually i got a h bar and it solved at least that part of the problem.

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:11 pm
by RonK
Jash Rider wrote:Bikepacking style mainly. I just want a drop bar position. Could I be better off just getting some cable disc callipers and levers to put on a drop bar on my MTB?

The MTB if very comfortable and works well apart from the flat bars which make my palms numb after a few hours. The bar ends offer some relief, but there's no control over gears or brakes in that position.

Could something like a Jones H bar sort out the issue. Would certainly be the cheapest.

Perhaps I should have made a different thread altogether.

Yes, I think you asked the wrong question. :wink:

If your palms go numb after a few hours, after a month you could end up with nerve damage as I did last tour. It was weeks before feeling returned to the fingers of my left hand.

so I got rid of the flat bar bike and built a Salsa Fargo with cowchipper drop bars.

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 7:18 am
by Jash Rider
Thanks for the replies guys. RonK, I saw your Fargo thread. Good stuff. I'd like to do something like that one day.


For now, I've ordered a riser bar with 34 degree sweep to see if that helps. I've got several stems I can use to adjust reach and height, plus a few spacers to add or remove, so should be able to dial in a comfy posture and take some pressure off my palms.

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:25 am
by cancan64
look at getting a professional bike fit.. worth the cost if you plan on multiple long days in the saddle.

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:37 am
by RonK
Jash Rider wrote:Thanks for the replies guys. RonK, I saw your Fargo thread. Good stuff. I'd like to do something like that one day.


For now, I've ordered a riser bar with 34 degree sweep to see if that helps. I've got several stems I can use to adjust reach and height, plus a few spacers to add or remove, so should be able to dial in a comfy posture and take some pressure off my palms.

Riding a flat bar for long periods/distances will also cause severe wrist pain. Your wrists need support. If you are going for bar ends consider the intergrated grips/bar ends from Ergon. They will support the wrists and also give a number of alternative hand positions.

Ergon GP5

Image

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 4:45 pm
by baabaa
These fit the price
https://www.waywardbicycle.com/collections/all
But yes, if you can sort out your current bike why not. Is it a 26 27.5 or a 29er?
Some work with drop bars quite well. Lots of info here http://g-tedproductions.blogspot.com.au/
And these would help to avoid the change of your f and r derailleurs as microshift will work with mtn specked stuff
https://paulcomp.com/shop/components/mi ... -thumbies/
OR, just go the microshift bar end shifters to make a real and complete touring bike...

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:17 pm
by snafuspyramid
The Velo Orange Crazy Bars have been great for me with a MTB (SLX) groupset on my Trucker. I also tried butterfly bars for a year, which was ok, but a bit scary for really rough terrain since keeping hands on your brake levers requires a narrower grip / less control. Both are heavy, if that matters to you.

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:24 pm
by avolve
I am looking at a Bombtrack Beyond + next week. A little above your budget.

I mention it as I will be sourcing a pair of Jone H Bars http://www.jonesbikes.com/h-bar/ for it. Lots of hand positions...

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:18 pm
by Jash Rider
Ronk, I have some ergonomic grips that have helped immensely. I had cut the rubber off the end to get the bar ends on, but I don't need bar ends and will probably donate these to my wife's bike and get some new ones.

baabaa, my rid is 27.5 inch. At the time of purchase I really wanted a 26 inch but they're all but extinct now at LBS's. 29 inch felt too dull underneath me.

snafuspyramid, I looked long and hard at the Velo Orange Crazy Bars, and I still might get some once I get back to work after Easter. Would go for the heavier MTB rated bars.

avolve, that ride looks sweet. I've really gotta see how my next couple of trips go this year before I look and buying another bike. I've already got four bikes and can't justify another purchase unless it becomes a need.


Anyway, here's the new bar with 90mm stem and about half an hours worth of short rides across the road in the park to get it right.

ImageImage

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:37 pm
by Gray
If you only want to spend $1100 or so. Fuji touring is a good buy, but if you want the best, around $2600 will get you a Vivente WR, Swabia, or Gibb with Rohloff hub and Gates carbon drive. These are beautiful but tough and maintenance free (almost) bikes.

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:42 pm
by V2rocketeer
Gray wrote:If you only want to spend $1100 or so. Fuji touring is a good buy, but if you want the best, around $2600 will get you a Vivente WR, Swabia, or Gibb with Rohloff hub and Gates carbon drive. These are beautiful but tough and maintenance free (almost) bikes.



You will get the derailleur version for 2600 mate Rohloff puts you above 4200. If you know where I can get a L frame with Rohloff hub for 2600 let me know! !! :lol:

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:49 pm
by brumby33
Gray wrote:If you only want to spend $1100 or so. Fuji touring is a good buy, but if you want the best, around $2600 will get you a Vivente WR, Swabia, or Gibb with Rohloff hub and Gates carbon drive. These are beautiful but tough and maintenance free (almost) bikes.


The Rohloff versions on any of the VWRs start around $4,490 where most of the derailieur versions are now over $2,700.

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 1:19 pm
by Kaete
Dear all,

For all round touring my (so far, at least) best is the drop handle bar Vivente Deccan I bought several months ago here in Newcastle at a cost of $2500, and equipped with a few extras (front Tubus rack, folding pedals, and third water bottle holder) the original 'off the shelf' didn’t have. Recently I did a 350klm tour with daughter, had no problems with it, aside experiencing periodic ulnar nerve compression and pain. The latter, likely I think mainly due my upper spine shape (kyphosis) rather more than anything else I think, and despite all the adjustments under the sun to the handlebars and seats, continue. Not generally a hassle, and providing I take a ten or so minute rest once in a while. I like the Vivente not only its toughness, ability to carry heavy weight, the fact that it comes equipped with mudguards, and dynamo generated rear and front lights, but also that in the package comes a full tool kit, replete with many spares. Further, that the Vivente website is quite exhaustive with much wonderful information of a technical nature should it be needed, and, too, that my bike came with free 12mth servicing. (Secretary of the Bicycle Federation of Australia I once was, but, I have to say, quite hopeless I am when it comes to doing anything major with a bike, apart the very mere mechanical basics!).

Had I had the money, however, I would have bought one of the Vivente models having the Rohlhoff gearing mechanism.

The second best, is my Dutch made Gazelle Fuente Trekking bike, which I bought some six years ago at a price of just over $2000, and which I am now considering selling, due to lack of space, and the fact that I’m not doing as much riding as I was previously. Not everyones cup of tea due to its high handlebar hight, but came fully equipped with lights, rear and front pannier racks, Swalbe Marathon tyres, and with the heavy duty front suspension, glide over any bump in the road, it has.

The third best, still in excellent condition, and which I’ve now recently given my younger sister as encouragement her to ride, was a converted heavy duty Giant Roam. Added to it, since original purchase, have been front and rear pannier racks, extra water cages, rear and front lights, Swalbe Marathon tyres, and butterfly handlebars, with the overall cost of the bike thus currently being estimated around the $900 mark. Quite cheap, really, for a bike well now equipped for those shorter touring adventures.

Many thanks for writing BNA forums.

Kaete

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 3:02 pm
by Trevtassie
In your situation I'd go the old MTB route, but with a bit of modification. Go and find yourself a high end old mountain bike and strip it, grab an Intec touring frame from Bike24, grab some racks and chuck it together. That way the frame size doesn't matter on the MTB, you are only after the wheels and stuff. Grab a set of Crazy Bars and some Ergon GC1 grips (they have an angled wrist rest for swept bars).

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:25 pm
by Jash Rider
Ok, update on the situation. My son and I have been doing a bit of hardcore MTB riding lately and as such I've converted my MTB back to full off road mode. Wide riser bar and chunky tyres, removed rear rack.

It will probably stay like this for good now that I found a very decent, used, chromoly Trek 810 that needs little more than my favourite saddle, water bottle holders and a new star nut for the chromoly fork I already have to replace the aged suspension fork.

Bought it this morning for $140 with brand new Maxxis Overdrive Elite tyres and a near new chain and cassette. It's only ever been used as a footpath bike and the owner was very careful to keep it in good condition.

The wheels are true, and brake pads have plenty of rubber left on them. However I will be regressing the hubs and checking everything thoroughly.

I'll be replacing all the cables even though they work. They're a bit tired looking and don't run as smooth as they should.

Apart from that it's very tidy and is the right size for me. I'll post some pics once I've got it fully sorted and running to my satisfaction.

By the time I'm done, this should be a very capable tourer for less than $200 and should fulfill my touring bicycle needs quite well.

Re: Best off the shelf tourer

Posted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:07 am
by Jash Rider