1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

First touring cycle? £300 to £700 budget

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by HeartfeltDawn, 8 Apr 2009.

  1. HeartfeltDawn

    HeartfeltDawn New Member

    Good afternoon,

    I’ve just got back into cycling after several years without being too active due to a major knee reconstruction. I’m now cycling 10 miles a day on a borrowed MTB. It’s time to get my own cycle and return the MTB to its proper owner.

    Next year, around August to September time, I have this mad desire to cycle from Vancouver to Toronto. I’m building up a training programme for this with a trip around much of Europe planned next year before the Canada odyssey.

    However, that isn’t the point of this post! Basically I’m looking for a first good quality touring cycle that will handle roads and canal towpaths on the work commute and that I could also use for longer trips this year, maybe 100 mile to 200 mile trips. If the Canada trip comes off, then I would look to buy something with a great spec for such a trip, but right now I’d like something that’s pretty reasonably specified.

    Budget: say £300 to £700. yes I have a wide range there but I’m interested to hear all sorts of opinions. The EBC Revolution Cross '09 intrigued me a great deal as have the Country Traveller and Explorer.

    Any recommendations?


  2. MichaelM

    MichaelM Veteran

    As a start for something to look at, three bikes that would fall within your budget:

    Dawes Horizon (2008 model)
    Ridgeback Voyage
    Raleigh Royal.

    There's someone here (can't remember who) has a good report on Crazy Guy On a bike using his Horizon (but why didn't he get a pic of the three blondes?).

    Someone else has just bought the raleigh.

    I don't have any particular experience/opinions on any of these bikes - just thought I'd give you something to consider, I'm sure there are other options out there.
  3. dragon72

    dragon72 Veteran

    Mexico City
    I've got an '05 Horizon and, after about 8,000kms of holiday touring on European roads and about 4,000km of commuting and (literally) everyday use in all weathers at home since '05, it's still going very strong.
    So I would say Horizons are incredible value for money.
    I got mine new off the peg at an LBS for about £400. But they have gone up in price considerably since then.
    What have I had to do to it?
    I had to replace the bottom bracket after about 4,000kms.
    New rear cassette & chain after 4,000kms. (I was shocking at keeping it clean before I replaced this!)
    I fitted it with a Brooks B17 saddle the day I got it.
    I put those SPD/Flat-combo pedals on it.
    I replaced the big wide tyres that came with it, with 700x28s.
    I'm thinking of replacing the Tektro Oryx brakes with something better, as I find that they are slow to get the rig to slow down when descending Alpine and Pyrenean roads of >10% gradient with a full camping load. But that's a tough job for any brake, so I might be nitpicking.

    I've never had any problems with the Sora shifters whose transmission is very reliable and smooth, despite being the cheaper end of the STI shifter market, and in spite of the odd crash or two.

    The Horizon gets two big (value for money) thumbs up from me.
    TrishnBonnie likes this.
  4. elduderino

    elduderino Guest

    That would be me. I didn't quite believe what I was seeing at the time with regards to the blonde Swede's until it was too late. I really could have kicked myself after. Anyway they kept my mind occupied for the rest of that days ride :thumbsdown:

    I love my Horizon, and I have no complaints about it whatsoever. With it being a 'budget' touring bike, as the miles increased on the tour I was thinking that something surely had to go wrong with it. But nothing ever did. In fact I will be using the same bike again this year.

    P.S. I did change the back wheel to something stronger before the tour as a precaution and the Koolstop pads I changed to mid way through were a lot better than original Tektro pads.
  5. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    Welcome to the forum. I LOVE your ambition - start BIG!!! Like your style.

    My 'first' proper bike was a Dawes Discovery 201 - an entry level hybrid - and it served me wonderfully for many years doing just what you're after. Never let me down, I never even got a puncture!! We did a number of 'tours' of approx 200 miles over the course of a week including some big hills (maybe small mountains) in Bavaria and central Spain and it coped really well.

    I'm also a big fan of Revolution bikes, I think they're excellent value for money.

    Not sure where you live but if you're remotely Northern, try Spa Cycles in Harrogate. They do touring bikes starting from about £300, often their shop prices are lower than their website prices, but their website will give you an idea of what they've got in.
  6. OP

    HeartfeltDawn New Member

    I've got a few things on the go with building up. By the end of the year, I want to have completed a 500 mile round trip, maybe Wiltshire to Amsterdam via a friend's place in Rotterdam. In 2010, one more European trip in early summer and then the big one. If I'm in a job I don't want to leave, I'll cut the trip down to 1200 and go from Halifax to Toronto. It's a charitable trip to raise money for a hospital that got my friend through physical and mental rehab after he was hit by a drunk driver when out walking some eight and a half years ago. It's also a bit of a personal Canadian quest ;)

    So yeah, big ambitions!

    Thanks for everyone who replied. I'm still musing over the ECB Revolution range and now the Horizon has made a dent in my mind. I had been set on a Dawes Discovery 501 2008 model but now I think it's best going with the touring cycle.

    Time to mull over these things during the weekend...
  7. Muddyfox

    Muddyfox Veteran

    The Bike Shed have some good deals on touring bikes in their warehouse clearence sale at the moment

  8. OP

    HeartfeltDawn New Member

    Well, a decision is looming. The thoughts I have are like this:

    -I'm a little stuck between buying a £400-ish bike now and then something more expensive next year for the Canadian voyage (maybe £1200-1500).

    So the thought is there that I should just get something around about £700 to £1000 now and straddle those two extremes.

    But wait, I could go for something like the Ridgeback Voyage or Dawes Horizon 2008 models... aargh!

    I play electric guitars a lot. I don't go for super-expensive ones as I prefer buying midprice ones and modifying them. I'm already learning that the 'tinkering' factor with cycles is a lot worse than guitars, amps, effect pedals, pickups, strings etc. Cyclists certainly rival guitarists in the anal retentive stakes! :rolleyes:

    This site has taught me a great deal already in what to look for and what to avoid.
  9. OP

    HeartfeltDawn New Member

    ...and the Ridgeback Panorama keeps looking at me and saying 'Go on, splash some extra money out on me'...
  10. chriswoody

    chriswoody Veteran

    Have you thought about secondhand as well?
    This board and the CTC board have a classified section which you'll find some really good touring bikes on that are within your budget.
    I bought my super galaxy second hand, the guy had barely ridden it, it was immaculate and less than a year old. Fifteen years later I still have it and it's easily done over 60,000 miles. the only original part left is the frame and stem I've replaced everything else as it's worn out.
    I would caution about using Ebay though, I've seen poor bikes go for crazy money on there.
  11. HeartfeltDawn I have just ordered a Dawes Horizon from Wiggle through the CTC shop for £674.00 which includes £50 of free accesories.
  12. Madcyclist

    Madcyclist New Member

    If you're after a tourer in the £700 - £1000 range, i'd also consider the Aravis Super Tourist from Byercycles. I'm ordering one as soon as i've got the readies !!
  13. Muddyfox

    Muddyfox Veteran

    £749.99 for the lovely 2008 Kona Sutra probably the nicest looking tourer i've seen (yet)

  14. dragon72

    dragon72 Veteran

    Mexico City
    Nice bike!:laugh:
    (Except for the bar-end shifters :laugh:)
  15. Muddyfox

    Muddyfox Veteran

    But ... could you live with them for such a sexy looking tourer :laugh: