Are more expensive bikes worth it? (page 3) - CycleBlaze

Bicycle Travel Forum

Are more expensive bikes worth it? (page 3)

Keith KleinTo Steven Shaw

Hi Steven,

Yes, there is value in getting a proper bike fitting. The two parameters that are the most important are the distance from pedal to saddle and the reach to the bars when you are seated on the bike. With a reasonably close fit on frame size, the first is easy to achieve. Seat posts have a lot of built-in adjustment . Reach, on the other hand is a product of bar height and stem length and that can only be ascertained by getting measured and then cutting the steerer tube to the proper length and selecting a stem length to fit. It used to be easier with quill stems, which can be adjusted for height, but with modern Aheadset type forks initial adjustment is about all you get, with some variation allowed by judicious use of spacers. Stems with different lengths are getting harder to find, but any good bike shop can get you set up within reason. Will it be perfect? Only if you fit the exact average size in terms of proportion. Will it be good enough? Yes, for 99% of the population.  

When I built up my Velo Orange Campeur a few years ago, I had the choice between a 59cm frame or a 61cm frame, either could be made to work with my leg length. Reach, however was a different story. I have a short torso and long arms (this has made buying dress shirts difficult the sleeves always seem to be too short) so finding the right combination of stem and steerer was a struggle. I eventually compromised on a quill type stem with adjustable angle to get close. Its still just a trifle too long, but it worked well enough for ~20000 km of touring. I got the 61cm frame. Maybe the 59 would have been better, but the top tube length was 2cm shorter than the 61 so it might have been too short. Now, with the fitted frame on my new bike, I'll never know. :^)

Cheers,

Keith

Reply    Link    Flag
1 week ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Steven Shaw

You can, if you're a standard-size male or a tall female.  If you are small, like I am, custom is pretty well the only way to go if you want a touring bike with all the touring bike features (as opposed to a road bike) and you want it to fit.  If the frame's a bit small in height or length, you can add a longer stem or seatpost, but if it's too big, you are out of luck.

I bought a custom-sized Co-Motion Pangea 5 years ago and it's the most comfortable bike I've ever ridden.  It fits me light years better than my old 1987 Miyata 615GT.  I love being able to stop, stand over the top tube with both feet on the ground, and dig in my handlebar bag or front pannier without having to get off my bike, something I could never do before.  Trouble is, the bike is a tank at almost 30 pounds or 25% of my body weight.  That would be equivalent to many men riding a 40 or 50 pound bike before adding any gear.  The size was adjusted for me, but not the tubing, for example.  The Pangea is designed for a 200-pound man hauling a lot of expedition gear on rough roads.  I can ride mine in great comfort, loaded with as much as (0r more than) I can carry, but it's really overkill for me.

At the time, I could not find any stock bike small enough.  I didn't want to wait for a full custom bike and settled on the Pangea because it had 26-inch wheels so the possibility was there for a smaller frame that I could actually stand over and Co-Motion offers custom sizing for a relatively small additional price.  Other companies might also do this, but I doubt it would be available on a frame that isn't hand built.  Surly does not.

Last August I ordered a full custom titanium touring bike.  It's worth it to me and I can't wait to get it!  Let's see, the wait was about 16 months....  I should have it for trips in 2020.

So yeah, for some of us, a more expensive bike is definitely better.

Reply    Link    Flag
1 day ago
Syd WinerTo Steven Shaw

Are more expensive bikes worth it?

Well my first tour, 30+ years ago was done on a second-hand Peugeot road bike that ate spokes for breakfast and was outfitted exclusively with the most obscure and fragile French components. I complemented it with 'toy' camping gear bought in a Hypermarche. I toured on that bike for the next 14 months and had a ball, breakdowns not withstanding. It taught me a lot about what I did and didn't want in a touring bike but by any measure was still a damn side more enjoyable than backpacking.

I saved up for my next bike - a new top-of-the-range Miyata 1000. In 1985 this was the bee's knees, and today there's even a collectors market for this model. It took me 21 years and 150,000ish km to wear it out but by the end it was costing me A LOT to keep on the road. Bike tech had moved on and spares of that vintage were getting hard to come by and pricey when you found them. I wore out a lot of wheels, hubs, cranksets, clusters, derailleurs and cables on that bike.

About ten years ago I opted for a new Thorn Nomad mit Rohloff. An expensive and heavy tourer for sure but designed from the outset for indestructibility. It is my lowest maintenance bike ever and has never required a trip to the bike shop for work. At 55,000+km it is still on it's original gear and brake cables, the wheels are still true and the original carbide coated Ryde/Rigida CSS rims still look to have another 50,000km in them at least. For maintenance the Rohloff gears get an oil change once a year and the chain tension is adjusted twice a year by rotating the excentric bottom bracket. Both of these are quick little jobs. The steel rear cog gets rotated (it's reversible) at oil change time and replaced every two years. The reversable steel chainring seems to last 4 or 5 years. This year, for the bike's 10th birthday I think I better change those cables at last!

The thing is a bike tour is enjoyable even if the bike quality is based on "all I can afford". Any bike tour is better than no bike tour. Any bike tour is also about far more than the bike alone - it's the places you go, the adventure, the people you meet, the things you see, the food you eat and the satisfaction of a solid day's workout. The bike is just the means to getting you there. It's nice to have a well fitted and reliable bike if you can afford it but I wouldn't change that first tour on the fabulous exploding Peugeot for the world.

Reply    Link    Flag
23 hours ago