Monday, 21 December 2009

Do I Need Another Bike?

As it's Christmas, and a time for gifts, I've been giving more thought to an age-old quandary - do I need another bike?

The current menagerie consists of: the Trek Madone road bike, Cannondale Lefty mountain bike (pictured top of page, pre-red paint job) and pink junk bike for shopping/leaving outside the pub.

The problem, if I'm absolutely honest, is that for the riding I do - road training, shopping and long-distance tours - I could do with another bike: a dedicated tourer (the Santos Travel Master seems a popular choice amongst the cognescenti).

The Santos Travel Master - The Experts' Choice (Pic: Bike Radar)

I've resisted getting a tourer for a long time; I've done all my tours (see the tabs at the top of the page) on a mountain bike with road tyres. To be frank, I think most touring bikes are ugly and seem to be largely ridden by cycle clip-wearing middle-aged men called Colin. The fact is, though, that mountain bikes are simply not designed for touring.

First, they're pretty heavy. Even though mine is aluminium, it's got a completely redundant Lefty Fork (although almost worth it for the number of comments you get from curious bystanders), the disc brakes are unnecessary and weighty.

And second, they are just not ergonomically suited to touring. I always end my tours with agonising pains in my hands and neck pain - both sure signs of poor posture. Plus it won't carry much gear and the cranks creak no matter how many times I have them serviced.

So I have three options:

1. Lump it and live with the Cannondale as it is;

2. Sort the MTB out with a new, more suitable, front fork and get some butterfly bars. I never use it as a mountain bike anyway;

or 3. Buy a dedicated tourer (about two grand - ouch!) and sell the Cannondale (or at least tell Mrs Robinson that I'm going to sell it).

I think this is going to require more thought...


  1. Matthew

    Glad to see you are considering a Santos Travel Master. I am ordering mine this week. Getting a Rohloff Hub but forgoing the carbon drive (500 Euros extra than a chain!!). Not decided on handlebar yet and of course the most important thing yet to choose is colour. Want something understated but yet not boring. What shade do you think?


  2. That's fantastic news Darrell!

    I do find the Rohloff Hub very appealing, and the carbon drive very futuristic. And, of course, it worked for James Bowthorpe!

    Having said that, I never have any problems with my derailleur over thousands of miles and chains are pretty cheap to replace. I wonder how the costs stack up long terms (ie replacing chain rings and cassette too)...?

    In fact, I've thought of down-grading my disc brakes as they do weigh a lot and I'm not sure they stop you any better (my current XTs are a massive improvement on the Hayes that came with the Cannondale).

    And I like a lot of the colours, the photo of the pearl white bike on the MSG Bikes site looks fantastic...


  3. I used them for one tour of about 800kms and have since gone the lightweight route with my bicycle touring and don't need these wheels any longer. Wheels For Sale

  4. I do find the Rohloff Hub very appealing, and the carbon drive very futuristic. And, of course, it worked for James Bowthorpe!
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