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I am planning a 10 day trip covering roughly between 500 and 600 kilometers, starting in the Spanish Pyrenees and finishing in Nice.

What kind of bike do you recommend me for such a trip? Obviously I need something with gears since I am going to do a bit of cycling in the mountains. I prefer not to get a mountain bike because my idea is to keep the bike and use it in London for commuting.

My budget is in the £500 - £700 range and I would probably go for second hand since that way I can get something better. At this price range I cannot afford any fancy carbon frame ones. However, would I ideally want a carbon frame bike? I know they are much lighter but I obviously need to carry some stuff in saddles so I am not sure I want a super light one, do I?

Also, I'd be great if you give me any advice on saddles as I will need to get these as well.

Finally, is averaging 50-60 kilometers a day too much for 2 fit guys in their late 20s and early 30s? I am more or less a seasoned rider although no expert and certainly not trained.

Cheers!

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This overweight 63-year-old with post-polio can still manage 100K a day on reasonably flat ground. 30-ish guys in decent health should have no problem doing 50-60K if the hills aren't terrible. (Ideal would be a light touring bike, but any road bike that can take a sturdy rack should do fine. Don't worry that much about how much the bike weighs - the difference between fancy and "just decent" will be under 5 kilos.) –  Daniel R Hicks Feb 27 '13 at 12:01
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I'm too lazy to do that. You have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen. –  Daniel R Hicks Feb 27 '13 at 13:22
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I don't even think they sell carbon frames with rack mounts, although I'm sure somebody can prove me wrong. Rack mounts will be essential for a 10 day trip. Although if you're only going 60 km per day, you may not need to bring a whole lot, I would probably be beneficial to have at least a couple small panniers for things like clothes, food, and basic repair tools. –  Kibbee Feb 27 '13 at 14:08
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Important: Don't think you'll get away putting things in a rucksack and riding.. you'll regret doing that if you ignore this advice!! –  John Hunt Feb 27 '13 at 14:13
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(Don't discount steel frames. The best touring bikes are still steel framed.) –  Daniel R Hicks Feb 27 '13 at 16:39

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

With no training in the mountains it'll be quite painful I suspect regardless of what bike you have.

If it were me I'd just take my road bike with panniers containing a bit of food etc. My Trek 1.5 2011 cost between 500-700 quid and is, in my limited opinion a fantastic bike.

I can't say that's the best solution, but I'd confidently take my trek up those mountains. Might be worth getting with a triple chain ring (3 cogs at the front) otherwise you might really struggle if you've done no training.

Saddle wise you stick with what it comes with and get some decent cycling shorts. Remember to keep back some money for:

  • Helmet
  • Cycling shoes/pedals perhaps?
  • Cycling sunglasses (think rims/easier for seeing)
  • Lock
  • Tools including cleaning stuff, pump, spare tubes etc.
  • Lights
  • Other things I haven't mentioned.

Good luck!! And get training, that'll make the biggest difference!

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evanscycles.com/products/trek/15-c-h2-2013-road-bike-ec040343 It's £850 apparently.. sorry. There are similar models with not so good features that are probably almost as good. –  John Hunt Feb 27 '13 at 14:09
    
I think he was using "saddles" to mean "saddle bags"/panniers. –  Daniel R Hicks Feb 27 '13 at 16:35

I think your two main criteria should be: comfort and reliability. On a tour, both of these factors have a big effect on your speed as well as your enjoyment.

With that in mind you should probably aim to get a steel (or possibly aluminium frame). The good news is that steel lasts well, so buying second hand is a good option. Obviously check for signs of rust before buying. Carbon is not usually considered a good choice for a touring bike.

Saddles are a personal preference thing. I suggest buying a cheap one of medium width and not too much padding. Make sure you give it a good try well in advance of the trip. If it doesn't work for you they're easy to change.

50-60km a day is probably fine, unless you aim to finish the day at a significantly higher altitude than the start. I've forgotten to take this into account when planning and ended up quite cold camping in the mountains!

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What about this bike? Any good for the job at hand? ebay.co.uk/itm/… –  Nik Feb 27 '13 at 16:10
    
OR this other one? ebay.co.uk/itm/… –  Nik Feb 27 '13 at 16:11
    
Well I don't think you could fit racks on either of those. I'd suggest something more like: ebay.co.uk/itm/… or ebay.co.uk/itm/… –  James Bradbury Feb 27 '13 at 16:36
    
Ok, thank you. I am starting to understand more the difference between a touring bike and road bike. What about the Cannondale Tesoro Traveller Classic 2010. I can get one with a load of gear and almost no use for 500.Is the fact that this is an American brand a drawback in terms of getting spares, fixing, etc. –  Nik Feb 27 '13 at 18:07

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