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  1. #1
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    Ideal adventure touring bike

    Below I have a list of bikes that I think would serve as an ideal 'do it all' bike; one that can be taken on several days of road touring, bikepacking, as well as moderate single track. A drop-bar rigid steel 29er seems to be the right fit, maybe even with capability to throw on a suspension fork if pure single track is on the menu. Bikes like the Co-motion Divide are a big budget stretch, but I've listed them because I really like the concept of them. Can anyone add to this list? Take away from this list?

    Salsa Fargo
    Surly Ogre
    Co-Motion Divide
    Singular Gryphon
    Vassago Fisticuff
    Specialized AWOL
    Rawland Drakkar

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgries View Post
    Below I have a list of bikes that I think would serve as an ideal 'do it all' bike; one that can be taken on several days of road touring, bikepacking, as well as moderate single track. A drop-bar rigid steel 29er seems to be the right fit, maybe even with capability to throw on a suspension fork if pure single track is on the menu. Bikes like the Co-motion Divide are a big budget stretch, but I've listed them because I really like the concept of them. Can anyone add to this list? Take away from this list?

    Salsa Fargo
    Surly Ogre
    Co-Motion Divide
    Singular Gryphon
    Vassago Fisticuff
    Specialized AWOL
    Rawland Drakkar

    I can offer some feedback.

    I have a Surly Ogre and it is the most versatile off road touring bike I have owned. I have had it set up as a road touring bike with the stock fork, surly racks, salsa anytime cages, and slick tires. Currently it's set up with no racks at all and a Fox front shock and is my main Mt Bike. This summer I will have it set up as a bikepacking rig for a trip to Colorado. All the racks but with Mt Tires.

    As far as the Vassago, I own a Bandersnatch and love the geometry of the bike. My only reason to rule it out is the company has changed hands a few time in the last 3 years and any type of warranty my be an issue.

    My current adventure bike is a Surly Cross Check. This is mainly for pavement/gravel grinding and light single track. It's must faster than the Ogre, but not as capable on the heavy off roading. It also tracks well fully loaded with the racks and gear. If I where to go this way again I would get the new Surly cross bike with the disk brakes.

    So I'd say you cant go wrong with a Surly bike...but stay away from Vassago.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    29er titanium hardtail. Rockshox reba fork. I have used mine for all my local mtb and road riding, have done adventure bikepacking races with it and recently did a 630 mile road tour to the grand canyon with mountain bike tires. Lighter than steel and paint won't chip. If you want to put road tires on it, no big deal. I am not a fan of drop bars. On a regular mtb bar you can add aero bars if you wish.

  4. #4
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    Edit: I just noticed that you were not, in fact, bringing up for discussion the question of the most versatile bike. I need to get more sleep...not sure why I thought I saw that word emphasized in your post. However, versatility may well factor into your or someone else's ideal, so I'll leave this here anyway!

    Strictly speaking, the "most versatile" bike would a 26er, given the well-known parts availability issue around the world. That's why I got a Troll instead of an Ogre or a Fargo - in case I decided to do a trip across Asia or something. Of course, by the time I actually get around to doing such a trip, 29er may well have spread there...

    But as the smaller-wheeled counterpart of the Ogre, the Troll is also extremely versatile, and can take 3 wheel sizes - 26, 650b, and 700c (albeit probably not with MTB tires unless you want to mess with the handling).

    A fatbike that can also take regular 29er wheels would be quite versatile as well; a wheelset swap makes it into two different bikes.
    Last edited by jbphilly; 10-24-2013 at 11:51 AM.
    www.julianbender.net

    Pictures of bike trips, hikes, and other travels

  5. #5
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    If you like drop bars, it's hard to beat the Fargo. The amount of smart braze ons on that bike is remarkable. The Ogre is similar, with the added capability of rim brakes, but I don't like the hassle using track ends + gears (same goes for the Drakkar). The Gryphon is drop bar, but doesn't have the braze ons if you want racks or fenders. The AWOL looks interesting...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgries View Post
    ideal 'do it all' bike; one that can be taken on several days of road touring, bikepacking, as well as moderate single track.--- with capability to throw on a suspension fork -----. Can anyone add to this list?
    I can add to the list in the Value Class for other parents like myself sending children off to major University's = $$$ currently. Tip=you young parents need to start saving Now LOL

    Besides any 29er hardtail or rigid

    Any Dual Sport / Crosstrail ....aka.....Gary Fisher.....brain child class bike makes good, at a value package price with some modifications to mutate them into a Renegade's.....

    * They start with touring type gears,set up and very similar geometry to a Salsa Fargo. They have room for 2.2" front (much more with a rigid MTB fork swap/if wanted) and 2" rear rubber. They also braze on's for racks. As a package bike they are a value. They are typically slightly lighter weight than same price class, 29er Hardtails by a few pounds.

    * For those whom don't work in a bike shop, get discounted components to build (assemble) their own, where a ready to go, package bike is substantially less costly, these/this comes in about 1/2 the price of a Fargo or Orge r.t.g. bike. Which imo are frankly over priced for what they are. BTW- I got the Origin 8, Lever II, Black Op's, carbon fork ,brand new, off ebay for $199.00 recently

    * Mine below - a Crosstrail based mutated Renegade is 25.5 #'s strip'ed with peddles and carbon fork .........not bad.
    * Trip's 26,36,48 x 9s / 11-32 = same as a Fargo package
    * Spech. Renegade Control 1.8" rubber front and rear
    * My Spesh frame is Anodized Alum (6061), hydro formed, which was important to me, my habitat for rust prevention and comes with a lifetime warranty.
    * I modified/cut the riser x 8 degree sweep bars that came with the bike and flip'ed the stem, added bar ends. The ergo grips were fine/nice. Ditto the Targa saddle. A little sweep puts your wrist in a nice,natural position.


    * Added Origin 8 Carbon Fork
    * Added MTB quill peddles and toe clips because that is what I am used to and I also use this bike for utility purpose from boots to sneakers. Longer trips I use my bicycle specific, Specialized, MTB / Vibram sole shoes
    * The rest is typical add on's - Planet Bike disc rack, trip computer, SKS Mud Guard, Modified by me rear rack mud guard , frame mounted switch head pump w) internal patch kit storage, Topeak large, ergo,expandable saddle bag with tools,tube,etc; modest size saddle bag panniers which haul heavy stuff when needed, various dry bags & straps - aka - old school early 90's MTB bike pack set up----still the way I roll, Under Armor water proof back pack for light weight dry stuff, modified to rear rack light, front bar - front light to light up the fire roads at night

    A value priced, mutated.........Renegade,,,,from the Dual Sport/Crosstrail class .........for you Dad's and Mom's out their saving $$$ for your children's education, a Land Rover SUV, building your first home,etc.etc. or if your single, another bike LOL. In my 50's I see bikes as getting over priced for being banged out of China, mfg. shops and marketed by various. If I was going to spend a few grand the frame would darn sure come out of a Made In The USA fab shop.

    * BTW - I think you should add a Fat Bike to your list You can drink a cup of coffee while riding them on dirt tour trip .......I like em .....just lack some multi purpose ability for my all around taste.


    * For "ideal" rather than value. I would likely look at a Linskey , Titanium 29er with a carbon fork or titanium fork with a curved rake, rack ready..... personally. For hard core terrain... a hard tail.....same. If I am dishing out some real cash on a bicycle my frame is going to be welded and fab'ed in the U.S. of good ol A.




    Enjoy the outdoors.......

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the replies! The Fargo and Ogre are (literally) at the top of my list, but I don't want to close the door on other bikes out there.

    I'm 50/50 on drop bars - again the Fargo or Ogre fits here.
    The AWOL does look interesting. Other than the sponsored AWOL site (http://wearegoingawol.tumblr.com/), I'm not hearing much about this bike. Can anybody comment?
    I would LOVE to buy a made-in-the-US bike. It's frustrating that the majority of the bikes on my list are made in China/Taiwan/etc. Financially, though, most people who are looking for a new frame must look to companies outsourcing to foreign countries. Those that don't, well, I can't convince myself to spend the large sum of money on them.

    Fat bikes. Hmmm, I haven't spent much time considering one. Maybe I should.

    Lastly, I've read a number of posts suggesting building the bike you desire out of cheap/used parts/components rather than buying a ready-build bike satisfying your immediate desires. I have no problem swapping parts, but piecing a bike together, one component at a time, seems like a lot of work in my last year of graduate school...

    Anyway, thanks for the suggestions (and confirmations of my thoughts)! I welcome any more.

  8. #8
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    All good choices but I'm seriously considering the AWOL and the Singular Peregrine.

    Singular Peregrine

  9. #9
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    Ideal adventure touring bike

    Fargo. Just my thought though.


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  10. #10
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    I'll second the idea of a fatbike. I use mine for bikepacking and have been very happy.

  11. #11
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    I would personally take mtb bars on the road over drops off any day. I'm a huge fan of Jones' and have a set on my on and off road touring rigs.

    From you list I would go with the Ogre,. It a simple, relatively cheap bike that will do any thing you can ask of it, and will most likely last forever.

  12. #12
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    another option is the new Surly ECR. Kinda like an Ogre but can fit 3" tires for trips in the sandy Southwest. The BB drop is 80 mm, the same as a Rivendell Atlantis, so with 2" tires you have a durable road worthy tour bike and with the big 3" Knards a monster dirt tourer.

    BTW, the new Singular Gryphons have rear braze on's for a rack.

    mike

  13. #13
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    My LBS isnt getting AWOLs until nov or dec. Maybe not alot of feedback sine they arent available ? This bike is on my short list and i cant wait to get my hands on one.

  14. #14
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    If the trips you do are mostly dirt roads or worse, and you want to go fully rigid, consider a 29+ bike. Currently I believe only Surly do production frames that will take the 3" Knard front and rear.

  15. #15
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    cgries,

    First best of luck in grad school. Keep your focus ......

    I have re-read some of the features you're seeking -

    would serve as an ideal 'do it all' bike; one that can be taken on several days of road touring, bikepacking, as well as moderate single track

    I assume you would use the bike for utility/commuting also a) assuming you enjoy riding and b) being in grad school.

    Bike packing is a niche. It does not have to be the main feature nor specific built for, at least for most of us.

    You may first want to consider what size tires you would use/choose, while peddling this project bike, the majority of the time, then look at bike's which fit that.
    I suspect per the features you seek, tires in the 38 (1 1/2) to 45 (1 3/4") range will fit the majority and you can certainly bike pack on those, particularly on fire/forest service roads. "Road touring" will become a drag on tires much larger than that. You may want to keep an eye on the bikes total weight also.

    You may very well want a down bar like a Fargo. Info is limited on the AWOL Only because it's not available yet (Nov-Dec). It will be Hot but, personally I question the High road gearing for such a bike and prefer the Fargo's gearing.
    * You may want to take a hard look at a bike like a Surly Cross Check or similar, it may be ideal for you. Maybe find a 2013 on sale as 14's arrive.

    Have you looked at the REI house brand Novara bikes? The Buzz, Big Buss, Randonee? Great value..........

    Good luck

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinman View Post
    I can add to the list in the Value Class for other parents like myself sending children off to major University's = $$$ currently. Tip=you young parents need to start saving Now LOL


    Enjoy the outdoors.......
    Maybe I missed it in your post, but what frame is that exactly? Cool build.
    I'm always looking for new people to ride with. If you are on the Front Range, shoot me a PM and let's go ridin'.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by senor_mikey View Post
    another option is the new Surly ECR. Kinda like an Ogre but can fit 3" tires for trips in the sandy Southwest. The BB drop is 80 mm, the same as a Rivendell Atlantis, so with 2" tires you have a durable road worthy tour bike and with the big 3" Knards a monster dirt tourer.

    BTW, the new Singular Gryphons have rear braze on's for a rack.

    mike
    You can actually fit 29+ tires on the Ogre and KM too, and given the fact that they handle narrower tires better then seem to be a more sensible choice.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinman View Post
    down bar like a Fargo.

    Have you looked at the REI house brand Novara bikes? The Buzz, Big Buss, Randonee? Great value..........

    Good luck
    Drop bar and Big Buzz. Sorry that stuff bothers me.

    REI also sells the Safari which is worth a look. IMO the bars make it love or hate but the bike is a great deal if your into them. The Buzz is also an awesome bike, but the dropouts are poorly designed and it can be hard to mount stuff.

  19. #19
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    Choose which ever bike clicks the most boxes for you with the least compromises.
    I chose a "cheap" Surly Ogre frame and have built with high end components.
    I figure it will make the Ogre more enjoyable and if I ever choose to upgrade frames, by the time I'm able to afford it, having caught up with the financials from the build, I can look seriously look at a quality frame with S&S couplers like the Comotion Divide Rohloff, seeing as I've already the equipment to just bolt up.
    Make sure your intended riding justifies the bike though.
    I think my 29er Ogre is a pig to ride on the road compared to my Moulton APB.
    Horses for courses though as the Moulton isnt suitable for the off tarmac riding/camping I wish to pursue.

  20. #20
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    Yes and no. Yes, it has braze ons (on the rear, but not the fork). But unfortunately, with a seatstay mounted disc brake, you have to use one of those stupid racks that cantilevers the mounting point out. That's a terrible, weak design for carrying any load. Compare it to the Fargo, with a chainstay mounted brake, which allows easy and secure rack mounting.

    I put some details and pics on my blog.

    Quote Originally Posted by senor_mikey View Post
    BTW, the new Singular Gryphons have rear braze on's for a rack.

    mike

  21. #21
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    I had the Fargo and did a small tour on the Great Divide and the Colorado Trail on it. I didn't care for the drop bars and decided to try more of a mountain bike than a monstercross/tourer.

    I saved up for a Jones with a truss fork and love how comfortable and versatile it is. It can handle all types of terrain very well. It has rear rack mounts but I'll mostly do frame bags with it. You can also build it cheaper with a unicrown fork and that has lowrider rack mounts.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rifraf View Post
    Choose which ever bike clicks the most boxes for you with the least compromises.
    + 1 to above

    * Go to a brick and motor bike shop for your intended price range (non American fab). Ride some bikes on Mixed terrain. Take a moment to set seat, bars etc. where you want them. Consider the bike weight, durability,warranty 99% of Good bike shops have a scale - use it. Remember, it is Easy to swap out things like a suspension fork for rigid or rigid for suspension, a saddle that fits you better, bars - sweep,rise what ever,grips.......and you likely will.....to personalize your taste,comfort,fit.......AFTER, you start riding the bike/yours/etc.

    * I would never buy a new bike for myself, off the internet, non test rode. The only way would be if a close pal had one and I had ridden it a lot.

    * Beware of internet marketing, social media marketing from bike manufactures (more like bike labelers in reality as they actually build nothing / just import and label). This crap wasn't even around years ago. It's as if they are getting you to join there little, on line, social network, blog, club and young people are falling for it. IMO- they spend more time and money f'in around with that than %$*&.........
    GO TO A LOCAL BIKE SHOP - FACE TO FACE - BRICK AND MOTOR unless your forking out high end, American designed, fab'ed and built, in house, one at a time - as you won't likely have one of those shops nearby, unfortunately.
    Other than that most this sh!t likely comes out of the same Asian, low labor $, dump the chemicals in the river, piss in a hole in the floor............sweat shops.........where as Supposably the "savings" is past on to the American consumer ------ Ha !. I have not seen that yet with anything -------most the savings go into the marketers / labelers pockets ! Thankfully, more and more of those jobs are trickling back into America now as low labor $ workers - Wake Up-and expect more........like a toilet rather than a hole to piss in - and people Wake Up and realize we can't just keep dumping this waste into our rivers,soil any longer via the more costly effects of proper disposal.
    They are All Asian Big Box Fab'ed with various stickers/labels.........at least support the local brick and motor......

    At around $2,500 - $3K your entering the range of, one of a time built, fab'ed, USA/Canada builders - although you will likely have to do business over the phone,laptop etc. unless you live near by -------- at that price point say F&$# to that Asian sweat shop, big box pumped, crap regardless of the frame material.

    * Rant/grammar = sorry.......

    * you will likely need,want,enjoy two sets of tires for that one multi terrain/use bike, per your specs. Fat and knarly - smoother and narrow.......

    See ya......

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_papa_nuts View Post
    You can actually fit 29+ tires on the Ogre and KM too, and given the fact that they handle narrower tires better then seem to be a more sensible choice.
    only on the front though. The ECR and Krampus can run big tires on the rear as well.
    Sensible is what works for the terrain you ride in. Buying anyone of these bikes and running tires smaller than 2" is not sensible.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by senor_mikey View Post
    only on the front though. The ECR and Krampus can run big tires on the rear as well.
    Sensible is what works for the terrain you ride in. Buying anyone of these bikes and running tires smaller than 2" is not sensible.
    That may be true, can't find anybody running one out back at least, but I'd be surprised if you could tell the difference between a 3" and a 2.5" on a fat rim in a blind test.

    Either way you'll have to weigh the advantages. If you think your gonna need a 3" out back and don't care to run less then a 2" (or 2.4 depending on your wheel choice) the ECR would be a fine choice. But if you can live with a 2.4" rear (although 3" may fit) to have the ability to run thinner touring tires the Ogre might be better for you.

    Personally I love my KM with 42s on the road. I actually ride it to work everyday and use it as my "road" touring bike. But if need be I could mount up some Knards and plow around in the sand.

  25. #25
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    I am a previous Ogre owner and a current Fargo (2013) rider. The Fargo is a brilliant bike. Very comfortable on the road, and very capable off. I've had panniers on it and done bikepacking with Revelate gear. It does both very well. Last week I had a chance to ride an AWOL at my LBS. The cheap version in "raw" finish. Damn, that bike is gorgeous. It rides well, too. But for the money I still think the Fargo beats it structurally and component-wise. I like drop bar bikes, so the Fargo is a no-brainer for me. In fact, I just converted my Moonlander to Woodchippers. But if you want the most versatile bike and prefer flats, to me the Krampus is the bike to look at. Faster and more agile than a traditional fat bike, but those 3" tires DO make a difference when you need them. Buy a frame and build it up the way you want it would make the ultimate adventure bike to me.

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