Oct 3, 2011

Coming to BikeBike in 2012 -Touring Bikes and Accessories

One of the founding missions of BikeBike is to provide everyday transportation options for our customers and, to date, those everyday options offered by us have been primarily city bikes - which is to say, a more sit-up style and posture on the bike characterized by the classic "dutch" style bike. 

201 Salsa Vaya 3, the ultimate road tourer?
However, if you live a good distance from your place of work, or need to bring more stuff with you, or want just one bike to use for both commuting to work, recreational/charity rides, and grand fondos on the weekends, you may want a different bike - perhaps something more efficient than a pure city bike but still comfortable - and this is where touring bikes are an perfect option.

"But it looks like a road racing bike".  Well, perhaps so to the untrained eye but there are a few significant differences between a performance road bicycle (think Lance Armstrong and lycra) and a road touring bicycle.  Here are a couple key differences -

1. Touring bikes tend to have much higher handlebars relative to the height of the saddle - meaning, you can sit up taller on a touring bike offering all day comfort.
2. The wheelbase of a touring bike is longer than a racing bike allowing for use of wide tires and fenders, but most importantly, a long wheel base can help the bike have a more stable manner, especially when loaded with panniers/gear/work stuff/groceries.
3. Touring bikes place an emphasis on durability, serviceability, and flexibilty over lightweight, stiffness, and performance found on road bikes used in racing.

Brodie Elan, to work during the week, across Canada in the summer!
 Wikipedia  has some good background on touring bikes and the different types of touring that people do.

"A touring bicycle is a bicycle designed or modified to handle bicycle touring. To make the bikes sufficiently robust, comfortable and capable of carrying heavy loads, special features may include a long wheelbase (for ride comfort and to avoid pedal-to-luggage conflicts), frame materials that favor flexibility over rigidity (for ride comfort), heavy duty wheels (for load capacity), and multiple mounting points (for luggage racks, fenders, and bottle cages)".

Morning at Ghost Lake, getting set to ride back to Calgary
Our initial product offering is as follows, with expected deliveries early in 2012 -

Bicycles - Brodie's amazingly comfortable Elan, Argus, and Circuit and Salsa's Vaya, Fargo, and Casseroll - oh yes, we cannot forget about Brompton folding bikes!
Racks - Salsa, Old Man Mountain, Surly
Panniers - Ortlieb, Arkel, and Brooks England
(other products too)

A word about frame materials - the general consensus is that the best material for touring bikes is steel due to its very comfotable ride qualities, affordability, durability, and serviceability.  Steel is one of the best materials for making a bicycle frame because it dampens vibration better than aluminum, it is relatively inexpensive to buy, it has an incredibly long fatigue life, and it is repairable in the event of breakage.  We have chosen to offer only steel touring bikes this season - with Brodie, Salsa, and Brompton all having long heritage of using steel for many of its bikes.

A quick mention about touring on a Brompton - click this for a sweet little video showing Russ Roca and his gal touring on Bromptons and this for a report from one of the folks at Clever Cycle in Portland.  I would also mention a British fellow who came through the shop this past summer riding across Canada on a Brompton M6R!

We cannot wait for 2012 and all the cool new products coming to the shop!  Whether you are touring to the supermarket, out to Banff, or around the world, make sure you come check out Southern Alberta's best selection of touring bikes and accessories.

If you need more information on anything mentioned give us a call or send us an email - we'd love to chat.

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