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I want a touring bike that is as light as a road bike - basically I want a road bike with a touring bike geometry - ie around 10 or 11Kg, excluding pannier racks, and other add-ons. My price range for a complete bike is £500 to £1000 max - is that possible? Either as a frame which I can build up, or an off-the-shelf built bike?

I've had my current touring bike for 10 years, everything has been replaced at least 3x and it is ideal for everything I do, but I am sure it doesn't need to be so heavy (14Kg) for what I do - long commutes / touring holidays.

  • You can certainly get a frame built for $$$ – andy256 Nov 4 '14 at 21:26
  • I've looked at having a frame built to my specifications, but you're right, too many $$$ to be realistic for me. My price range for a complete bike is £500 to £1000 max. – user4109 Nov 4 '14 at 21:46
  • I can't seem to find anything that fits what I want! I think I want lightest possible steel frame & carbon forks. I don't think luggage is an issue for me - I won't have more than any road bike could carry. I'll just keep looking... – user4109 Nov 4 '14 at 22:13
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    IF you ride this bike whithout adding the fenders, racks and the like, then I think your best bet is to find a ROAD BIKE that aproaches the geometry you like, and perform adjustments (even though them may appear nonsense for a road bike) like rising handlebars... Basically a a Road bike meant for comfort rather than top speed. – Jahaziel Nov 5 '14 at 1:03
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    When building a bike down at the 10kg mark, the $/gram starts climbing exponentially. If you throw those $$$ at the items carried while touring, rather than the bike, you can save 100's times more weight - therefore super light tourers do not make much sense for most people. At the extreme, weight concious tourers use road bikes and support crew to carry all the gear. Put all this together and the world wide market for what you are asking for is probably not much more than one unit... – mattnz Nov 5 '14 at 1:14
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There was a trend of these bikes about 8 years ago. They weren't called touring bikes, but Century or Relaxed Geometry. This is a typical example:

Trek Pilot - http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/2006/archive/trek/pilot21/#/us/en/archive-model/details?url=us/en/bikes/2006/archive/trek/pilot21

However, they seemed to all disappear from the big manufacturers a couple years ago. Plenty of small brands still in this market. I'd look into Salsa for examples.

If you've got the cash to spend, this is the bike I would recommend. Volagi Luscio.

http://www.volagi.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Cyclist-Magazine-2014-Liscio-Review.pdf

I've test ridden one and they are exactly what you are looking for. I think any bike in this niche today is likely to have disk brakes, rather than the long reach brakes on the Pilot. So I'd start looking at various road bikes with disk brakes and see if you can find the geometry you are looking for.

If you can find an old Trek Pilot or Specialized Sequoia, those would be relatively good frames to start from. With the right components, you could easily get around 10 kgs bike weight.

You wouldn't want to carry 90lbs of touring gear on these bikes, but a moderate load would be just fine.

  • Yes, there is definitely a "what do you mean by touring" clarification needed. Credit card touring you can do on a £500 road bike, no problems. Well, other than the usual £500 road bike ones :) – Móż Nov 5 '14 at 9:29
  • Googling 'relaxed geometry' gave me this: bikesoup.com/magazine/… which looks the sort of thing I am after. Thanks! – user4109 Nov 5 '14 at 18:51
  • Before going to Hydraulic discs read up and study the issues of brake fade. Issue revolves around the amount of energy the brakes can dissipate and the amount they need to before overheating and boiling fluid. Long down hill runs (100's of meters vertical descent over short time) and heavy loads are a real problem. – mattnz Nov 5 '14 at 20:57
  • There's not necessarily a huge gap between hydro and cable disks though - I melted/smoked the plastic out of my cable operated calipers on a steep downhill in NZ. They never worked quite right after that... – Móż Nov 5 '14 at 21:56
  • Anything with SRAM Red 22 is not anywhere near meeting the requirements -- its more than most common tourers from Surly or the Trek 520 (disc). – Batman Nov 6 '14 at 0:50
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If it is designed to take a load it is going to be heavier than a road race bike.

Definitely agree with go for steel.

You might look for all day, randonneuring, endurance, or even cyclocross bikes.

A bit of money but the Salsa Colossal TI is just over 20 lbs.

I ride a titanium cyclocross as my cyclocross, commuter, and long road rides (trade out tires). It rides a lot like my touring bike but just lighter.

When you first posted the question you did not have a price constraints.
You might find a new 10 - 11 kg steel bike for £1000 but probably will probably sacrifice components.
You are going to need to up the weight or budget. The steel version of the Colossal is under 11 kg and closer to that budget. Look for a good used bike - I got my used titanium cyclcocross in great shape for close to that price range.

As for racks once or twice a year is not the same as never. If it need to take a rack you need to look for a bike that does.

Calling a bike something other than a touring bike is not going to make it cheaper or lighter. I would not eliminate touring bikes from you selection. Just go for the lightest bike that does what you want it to do in your budget.

In that budget you are probably not going to shed 3 KG. If your current bike is ideal for everything you do then consider keep on riding that bike until you have a bigger budget.

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I have a Devinci Caribou and I just weighed it at 23 pounds, or 10.45kg with the rear rack, lights, and 2 bottle cages attached. I'm not sure how accurate my measurement is as I just used my bathroom scale, but I weighed it by weighing myself, and then fully lifting the bike off the floor and calculating the difference. The bike I linked to is likely a little lighter as it's a newer model with better components. They used to have 2 models with the one I own being lower spec than the one shown. Being aluminum, it's likely a little lighter than many touring bikes which are made of steel, but it still has touring geometry.

Here's a link to a PDF brochure from 2006 which gives a weight of 11.1 kg. I would assume it's gotten a little lighter since then, so the weight I measured seems somewhat accurate

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