RTW Touring Bike

What bike and bike bits should you buy?
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 19:10 pm

RTW Touring Bike

Postby ls119 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:24 am

Hi Everyone.

I'm interested in bike touring and want to plan and go on a RTW tour some time in the near future for a year or so for my Gap Year. I'm looking for some advice before my next bike purchase as I want a bike capable and up to the mighty challenge. I'm contemplating either getting customer build complete from scratch or buying a standard touring bike and adding and upgrading the bits I need myself, but wonder first how easy this is and which would be the best and most cost effective option for me, as the more money I save the more time I have on my tour.

I've been looking at the following models that interest me as a good starting point.

    DAWES - Super Galaxy
    RIDGEBACK - Panorama
    KONA - Sutra

Could anyone recommend anything else I should be looking for in my bike purchase, or advise on a particular make or model I should consider. Or even any dealerships I could try.

Any further advise on this subject most welcome.

Mercia Man
Posts: 864
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 15:31 pm

Re: RTW Touring Bike

Postby Mercia Man » Sun Nov 04, 2012 21:41 pm

I reckon both the Dawes and the Ridgeback would be a good bet for loaded touring. You could upgrade the wheels for some really tough handbuilt ones from a good wheelbuilder such as Paul Hewitt, Harry Rowland etc. The frames on both these bikes are strong and have the geometry to cope well with panniers on roads and trails.

I would be dubious about a Kona Sutra. I met a couple of chaps touring with them with camping gear and front and rear panniers in the Alps a few years ago and they were complaining about their bikes being frighteningly unstable on descents. The Sutra has more of a cross bike geometry with a shorter wheelbase - not so suitable for loaded touring.

Thorn (SJS Cycles) do good touring bikes with strong wheels (the number one factor in my view for loaded touring). As does Paul Hewitt. You can get ready built steel framed touring bikes capable of RTW trips from both of them - better than the Ridgeback or Dawes and for not that much more money.

Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:19 am

Re: RTW Touring Bike

Postby djaeggi » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:59 pm

Sounds like a great trip!

Regarding the bike, I think the only advice I'd give is that there's no such thing as a standard feature list on a touring bike, and there's wide variation in the small details that can really make a difference when on tour. So, I'd suggest getting a relatively cheap, second-hand tourer (but a decent one still, so that you can make a fair assessment of things) as soon as possible and start doing some weekend miles on it. In the course of that process, you'll work out stuff like: how much kit you're going to be taking, how you like to load it and what you're going to load it in, lever placement/gearing/brakes, position/geometry/bars/saddle. When you're armed with this experience, you can then go and buy the bike that will take you on your trip! You might find that the bike you bought serves the purpose very well; on the other hand you might find you need something else (in which case you can buy off the peg or get a custom steel frame for reasonable money from the right builder and build it as you like).

I'd just add something else though. Building your own bike from the frame up gives you two big advantages. First, if you built it, there's a much better chance you'll know how to fix it! Second, self build gives you the option to use cheaper/different components. For example, 8-speed drivetrains make a lot of sense in this regard: cheap components; easy to find spare parts in far flung places (e.g. chains); more robust. The big bonus about touring is that it's possible to put together a good bike for very reasonable money, particularly if you make clever equipment choices and/or look at secondhand options.

Some websites you might want to look at:

I'm guessing you might have already found the crazy guy on a bike website? If not, take a look!
Roberts & Dave Yates make high-end custom frames. Not necessarily what you want (for price reasons, though if budget allows...!) but great if you can pick one up secondhand (my tourer is a secondhand roberts).
The CTC website has a good touring forum and is the best place to pick up secondhand touring bikes (ebay otherwise).
Spa Cycles in Harrogate is a great touring shop. Also build good wheels at good prices.
The Surly Long Haul Trucker is a very well designed touring frame at a great price. Actually, it's probably ideal for what you want given budget constraints (http://www.spacycles.co.uk/products.php ... 3s143p2258) and you can probably build one up for quite a bit less than a new Super Galaxy.
Steve Goff, Bob Jackson, Paul Hewitt might be places to go to get relatively cheap custom or off-the-peg touring frames.

Good luck!

Return to “Road Buying Advice”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: alanO, diamonddog, MugenSi, phills and 11 guests