Touring bike advice, please help!

Fandango

Well-Known Member
Having been off the saddle for 25 years, last year I invested £300 in a Schwinn Voyager GS which has been great, it's a lovely bike to ride on roads or trails, and it's very comfy. In my younger days I did a bit of touring, so I decided to do a tour of the coast of the UK, in sections depending on work - I am self employed which means semi-retired in the recession. My Schwinn has got me from Southampton to Lowestoft so far, with no breakdowns, but I can't help feeling a specialist touring bike might be better for me, and as I am 50 this year, Wifey is looking for that special birthday present :-)

I have searched through the site here, and come up with a choice of two bikes, not that I wouldn't consider more, but these seem the sort of thing I am looking for. The Dawes Super Galaxy http://www.evanscycles.com/products...ouring-bike-ec018628?query=dawes super galaxy
mainly because I don't like the idea of bar end shifters, or I would have a normal Galaxy, or the Ridgeback Panorama http://www.evanscycles.com/products/ridgeback/panorama-2010-hybrid-bike-ec021129?query=panorama
Which has had good feedback here, but is hard to find any reviews of online. My LBS has very kindly agreed to get a Panorama in for me to try, and I have found a Super Galaxy at a LBS 20 miles away, so I should be able to try both out. I value your expert opinions though, so would appreciate any comments you might have on these bikes, as well as a few specific questions, bearing in mind I am (almost) 50 years old, 18 stone, and tend to load up the bike with camping gear, including essentials like my toaster. I am a fat man on a bicycle, I don't need the fastest tourer on wheels, just something that makes the pain easier, and is nice to ride.

1. For this much money I presume either bike will make it slightly easier to go up hills - apparently the frame material and gears are designed for it but they are just numbers to me. Can anyone explain the difference between the components? Who is Cro Moly? Will she pedal for me?

2. Suspension. My Schwinn has seat and front suspension which makes it super comfy. Touring bikes have neither, which seems odd. How would you rate the seats on these bikes or would you change them, maybe with a suspension seat post?

3. Wheels. It sort of makes sense to me that the bigger the wheels are, the easier it will be to pedal. 700c better than 26"? I won't be touring in the Outer Limpopo so availability of 700c wheels isn't really an issue.

4. If someone offered you either of these bikes for free, which one would you have, and why?

Thanks in advance for your opinions. Hopefully they will help me make the right choice.
 

cnb

Über Member
Location
north east
Both good bikes.. Have you looked at the surly long haul trucker... It seems well liked by all who own one and always gets good reviews..But the best bike is one that fits.. If you are going to ride one for hours every day size does matter..
 

Brains

Legendary Member
Location
Greenwich
Wifey better have over a grand to spend ....

The Dawes (not Super) Galaxy is the 'benchmark' touring bike, it the one you compare all others to.

1. For this much money
I'm afraid this is run of the mill normal money for a touring bike, it the equlivent if the sub £10k car
I presume either bike will make it slightly easier to go up hills - apparently the frame material and gears are designed for it
Slightly is the word - you won't notice the difference
but they are just numbers to me. Can anyone explain the difference between the components? Who is Cro Moly? Will she pedal for me?
She is hard as steel, conversations tend to be one sided

2. Suspension. My Schwinn has seat and front suspension which makes it super comfy. Touring bikes have neither, which seems odd.

No need for suspension on a tourer, or any other road bike, suspension is for mountain bikes. All it does is waste your energy.
How would you rate the seats on these bikes or would you change them,
Seats are a personal issue, what suits one person will not suit another, I'd ignore any seat provided and get your own. Brooks saddles are the tourers choice, but there are many other good makes out there

maybe with a suspension seat post?
I would not bother, and you could always change it later if you wanted to try

3. Wheels. It sort of makes sense to me that the bigger the wheels are, the easier it will be to pedal. 700c better than 26"?
Only if you are called Lance Armstrong, most Tourers have 26" wheels, they are about 10% stronger, and make no difference in speed to the average cyclist
I won't be touring in the Outer Limpopo so availability of 700c wheels isn't really an issue.
Point taken, but a puncture in the Outer Hebradies is just as remote, and at least you can borrow an innertube of any kid with a mountain bike

4. If someone offered you either of these bikes for free, which one would you have, and why?
Personally I'd go with the Super Galaxy, but only after I'd looked at Thorn, Roberts, Mercian, etc.
 
OP
Fandango

Fandango

Well-Known Member
Brains said:
Wifey better have over a grand to spend ....
She is prepared to go to £1500. I might pay more if I really thought it was worth it, but I don't really want to. I think both of these bikes are good bikes, certainly for my amateur riding, good enough for me anyway :-)
 
I've never ridden a Galaxy but i do own a Panorama .. when i first got it one of the things i had in mind to change was the saddle for a brooks but the standard saddle is so comfortable its still on the bike, its a lovely bike to ride and the gearing is spot on for climbing with a bit of weight on board ..

Simon
 

jags

Guru
if your going with a full camping load the works then the thorn sherpa would be hard to beat.it is a rock steady bike loaded and unloaded i have just put a set of slicks on my for everyday use and it makes such a difference on speed.but choose your groopset carefully i have shimano xt m770/ tubus rear rack only, don't use front panniers,hand made wheels by sjs cycles excellent, I'm still searching for the perfect touring tire.
after looking at a lot of touring bikes i don't think there's such a thing as the perfect touring bike as in light weight fast good climber it's really down to the pilot .
but thorn has a great reputation for building excellent t/bikes and there service is first class ,anyway have fun choosing your new bike hope you get a good one
cheers
jags
 

Domestique

Über Member
I considered the Panorama, my other half has one, but in the end I went for an Aravis Super Tourist from Byercycles. £1100 with dynohub. £60 for a B&M Cyo.
Byercycles are a great shop to deal with, they both tour on the bikes they sell.
 
OP
Fandango

Fandango

Well-Known Member
jags said:
if your going with a full camping load the works then the thorn sherpa would be hard to beat.
I saw a Thorn bike while touring recently and nit certainly looked very nice, shame I didn't ask the owner if I could take a spin. It's a bit of a trek to Somerset though....maybe a Somerset tour is in order :-)
 

Tim Bennet.

Entirely Average Member
Location
S of Kendal
most Tourers have 26" wheels
Really? Most I see have 700c. The strength thing is a red herring. You will never have problems with well built wheels of either size. In the mtb world, the new rage for heavy and aggressive riders, especially on rigid frames is to go for 29ers which use 700c rims.

So strength is not an issue, nor is speed, but simple physics says that a larger wheel will roll easier over bumps and give a smoother ride. The only real advantage 26inch wheels have is that in some parts of the world, they are far more common which makes sourcing a replacement easier. But in Europe, both are freely available and again, if you have decent wheels, you can go decades touring without needing any 'wheel aid'.

For the £1000 - £1500 price range, you should also look at the Hewitt Cheviot which over the last 10 years has taken over the mantle of the definitive English styled touring bike. You also get the best bike fitting service and a set of wheels without equal included in the price.
 

willem

Über Member
My preference is for a tourer with 26 inch wheels. These really are stronger and lighter, and often allow easier fitting of comfortable wider tyres with better grip on bad roads and gravel paths. For me, the ideal loaded touring tyre size is 50 mm wide 26 inch wheels. Tyre choice would be from fast Schwalbe Kojaks, through Schwalbe Big Apples, to something like the Marathon Extreme or even true MTB tyres.
I do think there is a place for 28 inch tyres, in fast audax style bikes for ultralight tarmac touring.
Willem
 

Rewind

New Member
Wheels/Electric bikes

Tim Bennet. said:
Really? Most I see have 700c. The strength thing is a red herring. You will never have problems with well built wheels of either size. In the mtb world, the new rage for heavy and aggressive riders, especially on rigid frames is to go for 29ers which use 700c rims.

I agree with Tim, 700C wheels are very strong. i have them on my Trek Madone road bike and have covered about 20,000km in the past 4 years with no breakages, loose spokes or other problems. I should add that I weigh around 95kg so that should be a good test of the 700C wheels.

Tomorrow my wife is taking delivery of one of the Khalkoff Agutta electrically assisted bikes, I'll look forward to tryiing that, will report later!

Rewind

No-one is EVER old enough to know better!
 
OP
Fandango

Fandango

Well-Known Member
Tim Bennet. said:
For the £1000 - £1500 price range, you should also look at the Hewitt Cheviot which over the last 10 years has taken over the mantle of the definitive English styled touring bike. You also get the best bike fitting service and a set of wheels without equal included in the price.
A few people have mentioned this guy. I'm sure his bikes are great, but his shop is somewhere near the North Pole from where I live. Are there no good bike shops in Hampshire, or do I have to go on several expeditions to get the right bike?

Tried a Dawes Super Galaxy today. I was very impressed with the quality compared to my Schwinn, I also liked the smooth ride, not sure I fell in love though...
 

Tim Bennet.

Entirely Average Member
Location
S of Kendal
For me, the ideal loaded touring tyre size is 50 mm wide 26 inch wheels. Tyre choice would be from fast Schwalbe Kojaks, through Schwalbe Big Apples, to something like the Marathon Extreme or even true MTB tyres.
Two inch wide tyres are hardly necessary for someone road riding along the coast line of the UK. He specifically says he's NOT going to 'Outer Limpopo'.
 
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