What Touring Bike + Buy or Build

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by kimma, 28 Apr 2008.

  1. kimma

    kimma New Member

    Hi all,

    I'm new around here, and thanks in advance for you advice

    some details:

    Context: last year I brought a second hand custom racing bike, built around a Dawes frame, and spent the summer flying around the Oxfordshire countryside. A new job made it sensible to commute, and some SKS race blades made it manageable on the racer. No panniers and too many punctures (and nearly wiping out on manhole covers in the wet), make me think I need something new.

    This summer, to keep in cheap I am thinking of cycling round Europe for a while (two weeks + depending on work/cash), with a tent and a Trangia, but not all the clobber.

    The question: The Dawes, however much fun it has been, is not up to the job. I've grown attached the drop handle bars and Sora style brakes/shifters. I also like moving at a reasonable speed, so would like to keep reasonably slick tyres (minus the manhole incidents!). I need a few more gears than the 14 I have at the moment, and probably wheels with a few more spokes.
    I have seen the Trek 520 (prob. 2nd hand) and Dawes Galaxy. But I also saw the Surly Long Haul Tucker, which seems to get good reviews, I can buy a frame for £250- £300, and am wondering if I could consider building up from this myself - not knowing much about building bikes myself.

    The Cash: I have about £550 right now, but while I want racks right away, I don't need to buy flash panniers etc. until the summer.

    Me: I'm 6ft and 14 stone

    so what should I do, if you think I am an idiot for considering a build let me know - but if you could suggest what I should buy, much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. OP

    kimma New Member

    Yes, yes... buy OR build!! apologies.
  3. Mister Paul

    Mister Paul Legendary Member

  4. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Hi Kimma Welcome!
    Where are you in Oxfordshire? I'm in Abingdon as it happens.

    To build or not to build, that was the question....
    Building a bike si not difficult, even I've done it and I'm not mechanically gifted. You need some but not too many special tools, a good book, a good local bike shop (with an agreeable spanner-monkey to get you out of trouble!) and all the requisite parts. So far so good. The problem is the parts... they're damned expensive unless you're very sharp-eyed for bargains here and there. It's not just the major componants, factor-in bar-tape cables etc. then the amount of cash required is often significantly more than buying an equivalent bike fully built. It would be worth going on to a website, wiggle or SJS or Parker international and costing the job.
    Other than that, you have the freedom to build it just how you want it... and it's a lot of fun, but cheaper it usually isn't.
    Mr Paul's suggestion looks nice though, in fact all 3 models there are nice and the Horizon got very good reviews for its price.
  5. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

  6. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Hampshire UK
    Hi Kimma. I am about to sell my Saracen 531 tourer on Ebay (as soon as the weather picks up!) as I have changed to a Koga Miyata World Traveller. It is very similar to a Galaxy but I have upgraded most of the bike, including a Stronglight Impact chainset and wheels with Alesa Endeavour rims and XT hubs - you can see an action shot here http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=3Tzut&page_id=48321&v=39#pic_169690

    Price should be well within budget. I will also be selling panniers (Karrimor) as I invested in some Ortliebs for my New Zealand trip.

    Get in touch if it is of interest. I am in Winchester if you want to try it out. Sizewise I am 5ft10 and 32 inside leg and I think it would be fine for a 6 footer

  7. Muddyfox

    Muddyfox Veteran

  8. JackE

    JackE Über Member

    Can you give a slightly more detailed description of your Saracen as I might be interested if Kimma isn't. Your Corsican trip sounds wonderful.
  9. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    As far as the man hole incidents go, you will not find any bicycle tyre that will keep you upright if you ride over one at an angle in the wet. It is simply down to you to avoid manhole covers and any other metal work and painted lines in the wet.
  10. Second hand Galaxy. The larger framed ones tend to go pretty cheaply and if you buy carefully you'll get a bloody good bike for around half your budget.
  11. jags

    jags Veteran

    kimma you cant beat the feel of a new bike ,better if you build it up yourself.but 550 pounds emm i doubt it ,have a look at the thorn website do yourself a favour and spend the money on a top class bike ,you wont regret it besides your going to need it for the miles you intend doing..best of luck with the search and euro tour..
  12. Muddyfox

    Muddyfox Veteran

    I saw a Mint 2006 Galaxy Ultra go for £499.00 on E-Bay over the weekend

    To small for me though ;)

  13. jags

    jags Veteran

    check out the thorn forum (for sale _)there a guy selling a thorn bike that might suit you
  14. OP

    kimma New Member


    Thanks for the responses everyone, I didn't think I would have as much choice as it seems I do.

    Mister Paul:The Voyager looks like it would fit the bill. I noticed the Horizon is a alloy frame. Do people think it is it true steel is better?

    Fab Foodie, I'm based it Oxford at the mo. If you could suggest what you thought was a good bike shop in the area that would be appreciated.

    Also I was looking a bike including the raleigh suggested and also Julian's Saracen.

    On new bikes, what makes more difference in price, components or frame?

    And if looking second hand, which seems to be appealing, how much of an pay-off is it, I'm how long/far can a well looked after bike expect to last/go??

    Cheers guys
  15. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Hi Kimma
    Beeline and Cycloanalysts in Cowley road are both fine and I've heard good stuff from Walton Street cycles too. Touring-wise, check-out Warlands in Botley Road (near Halfrauds... use their car park!) they do Dawes and Folders as their specialities, I like the guys in there, always had good service. Warlands also dealin S/H bikes, I've seen a few old 531 based bikes in there re-fettled for an acceptable price.
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