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Touring bike recommendations and suggestions


NickGM
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I'm looking at buying a touring bike to do some multiday trips around south africa and overseas (when its eventually possible) and I'm looking for a decent touring bike I can use. 

 

I have a rough idea of what I'd want:

  • Steel frame
  • no suspension
  • relaxed geometry for more of an upright sitting position
  • Dropper bars - essentially something that has a CX/gravel look to it. I'd want to do some CX stuff with it anyway.
  • Capacity for panniers in front and back

I'd say I've got a budget of R20K. I've looked at some of Dave Mercer's stuff and it's beautiful but works of art like that come at a price.

 

Then there are bikes like this:

https://surlybikes.com/bikes/pack_rat

 

I'm not a HUGE fan of the looks, but I think they are a pretty reputable brand for touring bikes.

 

Any suggestions?

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I'm looking at buying a touring bike to do some multiday trips around south africa and overseas (when its eventually possible) and I'm looking for a decent touring bike I can use. 

 

I have a rough idea of what I'd want:

  • Steel frame
  • no suspension
  • relaxed geometry for more of an upright sitting position
  • Dropper bars - essentially something that has a CX/gravel look to it. I'd want to do some CX stuff with it anyway.
  • Capacity for panniers in front and back

I'd say I've got a budget of R20K. I've looked at some of Dave Mercer's stuff and it's beautiful but works of art like that come at a price.

 

Then there are bikes like this:

https://surlybikes.com/bikes/pack_rat

 

I'm not a HUGE fan of the looks, but I think they are a pretty reputable brand for touring bikes.

 

Any suggestions?

soma wolverine get my vote.

there was this crazy build n while ago on here for sale.

 

https://bikehub.co.za/classifieds/item/gravel-and-cyclocross-bikes/57383/soma-wolverine-gravel-light-tourer-premium

 

 

https://www.somafab.com/archives/product/wolverine

 

local agent:

https://everydaycyclesupplyco.com/collections/steel-frames

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Edited by morneS555
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Those tick a lot of the boxes, thanks!

 

That classifieds build is insane.

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Honest question as I am also looking into this (touring), and learning :)

 

I see on the touring circuit most people / everybody is using dropped bars - what are the (dis)advantages as opposed to a customised MTB with front shock? 

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Honest question as I am also looking into this (touring), and learning :)

 

I see on the touring circuit most people / everybody is using dropped bars - what are the (dis)advantages as opposed to a customised MTB with front shock? 

With an MTB fork its a bit heavier and raises the front of the bike up, so you are less aerodynamic. Also an mtb fork typically results in a bit of "pedal bob" which means a slight loss in efficiency.

 

But then you may want a more upright sitting position if you plan on 6hrs a day in the saddle, and you may want an mtb fork that can absorb bumps better. Depends on where you are riding. Also people often have an old mtb sitting in their garage that they turn into a touring bike because its not being used for anything else and they can take the load better than a road bike. So, IMO, that is why you see both.

 

From what I know, touring bikes are "traditionally" steel frames & forks because steel has shock absorbing properties of its own and can handle being heavily laden. And again they often have a more upright sitting position because, well I don't know about you but I get lower back pain after 3-4 hrs on a road bike.

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Honest question as I am also looking into this (touring), and learning :)

 

I see on the touring circuit most people / everybody is using dropped bars - what are the (dis)advantages as opposed to a customised MTB with front shock? 

preference i guess. the mtb versions tend to be 29+. softer ride. 

EDIT: things like the Surly Krumpus etc. (green bike)

I ride a Soma Valhallen(the silver bikes down here)

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Edited by morneS555
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I've done a bit of bikepacking and gone the flat bar, hard tail mtb route as that is what I had at the time. We tend to ride for 10 plus hours a day so the more relaxed geometry and fatter tyres suits our trips.

 

If I had to do it again and I was a med frame size this is what I would get. 

 

https://bikehub.co.za/classifieds/item/hardtail-mountain-bikes/396521/cotic-solaris-price-drop

 

It's in the classifieds at the moment. I would look to add a Lauf fork and it would be my dream tourer.

 

And if you are a large size frame this ticks all the boxes for me.

 

https://bikehub.co.za/classifieds/item/hardtail-mountain-bikes/403549/lynskey-ridgeline-titanium-large

 

Neither of these bikes would work with all panniers, but would be great bikepacking rigs. The Lynskey even comes with a dynamo hub!!

Edited by Dusty
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I just built a Kinesis Tripster AT - found the frame for 5k second hand and built it up from there. It has the relaxed geometry etc that you are after:

 

https://www.kinesisbikes.co.uk/Catalogue/Models/Adventure/Tripster-AT

 

On some sites, e.g. Merlin, the frames are discounted and your probably get close to a build for 20k. (just remember the 15% VAT on parts coming in).

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I've done a bit of bikepacking and gone the flat bar, hard tail mtb route as that is what I had at the time. We tend to ride for 10 plus hours a day so the more relaxed geometry and fatter tyres suits our trips.

 

If I had to do it again and I was a med frame size this is what I would get. 

 

https://bikehub.co.za/classifieds/item/hardtail-mountain-bikes/396521/cotic-solaris-price-drop

 

It's in the classifieds at the moment. I would look to add a Lauf fork and it would be my dream tourer.

Thanks, ya I'd actually spotted that but a medium wont work for me either.  Looks a great price for the bike though.

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Further to the tripster noted above, Bike Addict seem to have significant specials on their 2019 bikes. In terms of ones with more relaxed geometry under 20k:

 

Merida silex is known for its more upright geometry:

 

https://bike-addict.co.za/collections/merida-gravel/products/merida-silex-400-2019

 

https://bike-addict.co.za/collections/merida-gravel/products/merida-silex-400-2020

 

I am looking at the Cannondale for my old man:

 

https://bike-addict.co.za/collections/cannondale-gravel/products/cannondale-topstone-se-disc-105-2019

Edited by Baracuda
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Anyone looking at the Soma....I have a steel 650b hardtail mtb, beautiful build quality, lovely ride. There is a young lady on FB doing a Cape to Kapp on a Soma tour bike. Seems a geat choice.

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I'm far from being a Specialized fanboy, but I'd suggest having a good look at the Specialized Sequoia, they pop up in the classifieds every once in awhile.

[Edit: I picked up a demo version for R16k 2yrs ago]

 

Steel frame, enough mounting points for every rack you could think of, good low down gearing and a relaxed comfy geometry.

I've done a few multi-day bikepacking trips with mine:

https://community.bikehub.co.za/topic/178477-klein-karoo-bike-packing-trip/page-5?do=findComment&comment=3559311

Edited by NC_lurker
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Some nice suggestions here .

Just an observation from personal experience as the owner of a small bike shop in Prince Albert .

The Swartberg Pass with our without a visit to Die Hel is a very popular destination for mainly international cycling tourists and I make a point of it to talk to those passing through sometimes helping with repairs , spares and accommodation and route advice .

I have seen few bikes valued over 20K . A lot of old faithful 26" bikes that they buy in Jburg or Cape Town and fit them with panniers and water holders .

Point I am trying to make is that us South Africans , and I include myself are sometimes more concerned about the equipment than the journey .

Secondly , we South Africans don't appreciate the bike travel opportunities in our own country .

Stay healthy .

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