Buying a top commuter/tourer

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Buying a top commuter/tourer

Postby honestpuck » Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:02 pm

Hi folks,

OK, the time has come and the money is available for me to upgrade the old bike - it was once a Gemini World Randonneur but after an accident the entire drive train was upgraded.

My riding would be about 50% commuting, 35% weekend recreation rides, 10% supported touring and 5% unsupported overnights. My budget is fairly open.

My first pass was to look at a Cannondale T2000 but I'd prefer a Cro-Moly frame rather than aluminium.

My second pass was to look online and see what others might like and fell in love with the idea of a custom build on a quality frame like a Surly LHT or Rivendell Atlantis. The problem I have with that is the cost of getting the thing shipped from the US complete (and then finding someone I can trust to service it) or finding a decent builder here who is prepared to work with me to get the bike "right".

Anybody have any history of a custom built touring bike in the Sydney area? Any further thoughts or suggestions. I know a custom isn't going to be cheap, I just don't want to spend that money and not get the right end result.

# Tony
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by BNA » Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:02 pm

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Postby europa » Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:02 pm

G'day Tony and welcome to the nut house.

Have a look at the Trek520. It'll cost something rather similar to the Cannondale, has a steel frame (at the moment ... don't wait too long apparently) and is a mix of ultegra and deorelx components. Damned good bike but don't let some idiot racing bike salesman sell you too small a frame ... or you'll wind up buying all the bits I did :(

Here's my write up on mine

http://www.users.bigpond.com/richardspurling/trek.htm

Image

BTW, mine now has a higher, longer neck, a Brooks B17 saddle and Nitto Noodle bars (an excelllent bar, far better than those dreadful ergo bars).

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Postby europa » Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:09 pm

If you want to go the custom route, have a chat with Tim at Velosmith

He does three bikes, a heavy tourer, a trekking bike and the bike shown here, the Great Southern which is a light tourer.
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Postby Bnej » Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:25 pm

New Vivente World Radonneur?
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Postby honestpuck » Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:42 pm

Richard,

Thanks for those tips. I might go in to Clarence St and have a quick look at a 520. (whisper quietly that I wouldn't buy there - the last bike I got from them they never managed to set up right for me.)

The Velosmith looks real neat but being an aged traditionalist if I go the custom route I'd really like a lugged frame rather than fillet brazed. They just look nicer <g>. The price is starting towards scary, I guess if it's $3,200 stock it'll be another few hundred by the time I finish tinkering so that's less than my custom guesstimate of $4,000.

I like the sound of the Nikko Noodle bars, the higher longer neck and Brooks saddle - my tinkering might have to start with those, too. A couple of the US sites (including the Rivendell one) have given me some nice ideas. What do you do for lights? My current lights were a gift and suck pretty bad.

# Tony
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Re: Buying a top commuter/tourer

Postby heavymetal » Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:46 pm

Welcome to the forums Tony.

I'd actually recommend a carbon fibre frame for a tourer, with 18 spoke wheels and no rack mounts. It will give you a much better ride than a steel bike. Make sure that the handlebars are mounted as low as possible and that the seat is as high as possible. Cut the neck down as far as possible so that it is impossible to pull the handlebars any higher.

Run the thinnest tyres as possible, fat tyres are just not a good idea on an tourer. You only need one water cage as one bottle is enough for long distance touring.

:shock: :D :D :D :D :D

I'm actually a tourist of the heavily loaded variety with a twisted sense of humour :lol:

But if you go to any of the shops this is what they will sell you. :shock:

honestpuck wrote:it was once a Gemini World Randonneur but after an accident the entire drive train was upgraded.


I actually ride the Mongoose Randonneur as imported by Gemini. It is a half aluminium, half Cro-Moly bike, and I've actually found it a surprising ride.

honestpuck wrote:My second pass was to look online and see what others might like and fell in love with the idea of a custom build on a quality frame like a Surly LHT or Rivendell Atlantis. The problem I have with that is the cost of getting the thing shipped from the US complete (and then finding someone I can trust to service it) or finding a decent builder here who is prepared to work with me to get the bike "right".


I've heard that the Surly LHT frame can be had for $700 here in Oz. The trouble here in Perth is that you order the Surly stuff and it never arrives.

Dean Woods gave me the cheapest quote for a LHT frame only. As Richard mentioned, Tim at Velosmith may be able to do something for you.

Happy Touring

Kev.
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Re: Buying a top commuter/tourer

Postby honestpuck » Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:58 pm

heavymetal wrote:Welcome to the forums Tony.

honestpuck wrote:it was once a Gemini World Randonneur but after an accident the entire drive train was upgraded.


I actually ride the Mongoose Randonneur as imported by Gemini. It is a half aluminium, half Cro-Moly bike, and I've actually found it a surprising ride.


I love the ride on my current frame. Unfortunately it's getting very old and the chainstay bend that was fixed after the accident is back :cry:

# Tony
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Postby tallywhacker » Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:00 am

have a look at the Fuji tourer. Its steel but their steel frames are quite light.
http://www.fujibikes.com/2007/bikes.asp?id=290&subcat=2
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Postby timbo » Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:58 am

The Gemini World Randonneur became the Mongoose World Randonneur and now is the Vivente World Randonneur. It is still a good budget touring bike. After you check out the Trek 520 at Clarence Street Cyclery, head down to Newtown to Cheeky Monkey who have the Fuji tourer and The Surly Long Haul Trucker and Surly Cross-check, both as complete bikes for around $1500.
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Postby heavymetal » Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:14 am

timbo wrote:The Gemini World Randonneur became the Mongoose World Randonneur and now is the Vivente World Randonneur.


Without wishing to appear to be my usual sarcastic self, has anybody actually seen one of these Vivente bikes in a shop in Australia?

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Postby Bnej » Tue Jul 31, 2007 12:09 pm

heavymetal wrote:Without wishing to appear to be my usual sarcastic self, has anybody actually seen one of these Vivente bikes in a shop in Australia?

Kev.


Haven't actually seen one, but Cheeky Monkey is advertising it in Australian Cyclist so I reckon they have them. They've got full page ads for the bike in there too.

I read somewhere that they are using the Vivente brand because Mongoose just wasn't working as a brand for a road tourer. They're also using an all Cro-mo frame rather than the Aluminium/Cro-mo of the Mongoose.

It is a great price and set up for a ready-to-go tourer I think. Dyno front light, rear light, rack etc all standard.
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Postby McPete » Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:21 pm

I saw one of their flat bar roadies in Bike Hub
(They've not updated that for a while...)

I asked about it, and the bloke said that one could be ordered at quite short notice, as there was a lot of interest!
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Postby Hotdog » Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:36 pm

timbo wrote:The Gemini World Randonneur became the Mongoose World Randonneur and now is the Vivente World Randonneur. It is still a good budget touring bike. After you check out the Trek 520 at Clarence Street Cyclery, head down to Newtown to Cheeky Monkey who have the Fuji tourer and The Surly Long Haul Trucker and Surly Cross-check, both as complete bikes for around $1500.

I'd second that suggestion, Cheeky Transport (Cheeky Monkey as was, before the split into Transport and Multisport) in Newtown have the Vivente World Randonneur, Fuji Touring and Surly LHT on display. I believe all three are available either as standard, or as custom builds with your choice of components. Cheeky Transport specialise in 'transport cycling' i.e. commuting and touring, and seem to know their stuff, worth a visit I reckon.
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Postby stryker84 » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:28 pm

been looking at tourers for my next bike (in another year or two)... the vivente looks pretty good, though a BIG -ve for me is the colour... who wants a randonneur with jet black everything?!
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Postby honestpuck » Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:40 pm

Hotdog wrote:
timbo wrote:The Gemini World Randonneur became the Mongoose World Randonneur and now is the Vivente World Randonneur. It is still a good budget touring bike. After you check out the Trek 520 at Clarence Street Cyclery, head down to Newtown to Cheeky Monkey who have the Fuji tourer and The Surly Long Haul Trucker and Surly Cross-check, both as complete bikes for around $1500.

I'd second that suggestion, Cheeky Transport (Cheeky Monkey as was, before the split into Transport and Multisport) in Newtown have the Vivente World Randonneur, Fuji Touring and Surly LHT on display. I believe all three are available either as standard, or as custom builds with your choice of components. Cheeky Transport specialise in 'transport cycling' i.e. commuting and touring, and seem to know their stuff, worth a visit I reckon.


Well I had a look at the Trek. I then went to Cheeky Transport and had a look there. I've settled on a custom build on a Surly Cross Check frame. The ony real decision left to me is the bar to fit. The builder is recommending one of those strange shaped euro trekking bars while I'm tossing up the Nikko Randonneur or Noodle. Given that I've mostly ridden drops the trekking bar seems strange to me - anyone have any experience with them? Anyone have opinions on either of the Nikko bars?

# Tony
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Postby europa » Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:51 pm

I have the Noodle on the Black Beast. It is a lovely bar. The funny little pull back on the flats look as though they aren't worth much, but I now like them. I'm someone who loathes flat bar bikes - the straight bar is hell on my wrists. Similarly, I've always spent little time on the flats, preferring the hoods, just back from the hoods or that curve. However, since fitting the Noodle, I've found I spend a lot of time on the flats - obviously, that slight pull back works for me. The flat area behind the hoods is long enough to allow you to move your hand back and forth along that straight bit, again offering a variety of riding positions. The curve of the Noodle is such that you almost have an endless supply of hand positions (the ergo bars that the Black Beast came with are junk in comparison).

My only complaint with the Noodle is that it has the full U shaped hook. My Europa has a slightly different bar where where hooks drop downwards and point towards the rear axle. This gives me the flat bar leading into the hoods and a downwards angle on the end of the hooks for riding down there. However, I've never seen another bar like the Europa's and, of course, they don't have that wee pull back on the flats. To be honest, I prefer the Noodle, but would like to combine the two.

Incidentally, following Rivendell's recommendation (that's a great site and well worth reading, even if they are a bit quirky), I went for the 46cm bars and love them.

I considered the Randonneur but went with the recommendation of an American who has both, ie the Noodle.

I like the Noodle and will be fitting them to my next bike.

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Postby Hotdog » Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:43 am

Cheeky Transport seem to be really pushing the euro trekking bars, just the other week there was someone on the Bike North mailing list asking about them because he'd gone into Cheeky Transport to look at tourers and had trekking bars thrust at him.

I do have a little experience with trekking bars, my Trusty Steed has BBB Multibars. I personally like them, the variety of hand positions is good (though the way your hands are furthest from the brakes when you're in the most aero position doesn't feel ideal) and they were more comfortable than the bike's original flat bars. As an upgrade for a bike with flat bars, say a mountain bike or flat bar roadie that someone was modifying for touring use, I'd recommend them. I can't see any advantage to trekking bars over drops though, so for you who's used to drops and is getting a bike custom built they don't seem to make much sense. Also remember that if you do get trekking bars and later decide to switch to drops it's not a completely trivial conversion because you'll need new brake levers/shifters.
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Postby europa » Wed Aug 08, 2007 5:22 pm

The Nitto Noodle bars. I really like them :D

Image

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Picked it up and I'm in love

Postby honestpuck » Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:28 pm

So I just picked the bike up.

I went for drop bars in the end. Deda 215s.

Dave at Cheeky Transport has built me a great 'cycle on a Surly Cross Check frame. Deore XT set, Schmidt front hub, matching front and rear lights, Topeak rack with matching rack top bag, pitlocks on both wheels. If you go to their web site you can see the finished bike and a chunk of the build process.

It rides and handles like a dream.

Thanks for all the advice guys. Many props to the guys at Cheeky Transport.

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