Tuesday, 16 August 2011

I have chosen the bike for the tour

Today at lunchtime I went to the bike shop I usually go to in Wallisellen to look for a bike suitable for the South America tour.  The maximum price I had in my mind was 1,500CHF.  I wanted a good bike after all, as it has to see me through 5,000km of touring.  On the other hand if it gets stolen I don't want to be crying for the rest of the tour.

I started by looking at mountain bikes but nearly all of these came with disc brakes, and the recommendations from the tour organiser said V brakes are preferred over disc bikes.  I guess this is related to how easy it will be to fix the bike, and to get spare parts.  I showed the recommendations to the bike shop owner and then he said he had just the bike for me.

The bike he had in mind was a Stevens X 7 Cross bike.  The 2011 model comes with disc brakes but the 2010 model comes with V brakes and he had some 2010 models in stock.  The advantage of this over a mountain bike is that it is somewhat lighter (11.9kg), and with larger wheels and narrower tyres it is faster on the road sections.  The downside compared to a mountain bike is that on really rough ground it is not so comfortable, and the tyres will slip more.  I weighed up the pros and cons and decided that the lightness and additional speed on the paved sections made it a win for the cross.  If the Vuelta Sudamerica was a MTB tour then I would have chosen a MTB, but since most of it will be paved or gravel tracks a cross should be fine.  I double checked with the bike mechanic for the tour, and gave him the link, and he also thinks it will be fine.

The recommended retail price of the X7 Cross on the Stevens website is around 1,500CHF but the bikeshop owner said he would give me a discount of 15% (as I am always buying stuff from him).  That means that I can spend the 15% saved on upgrades and spare parts.  All in all a job well done.  My next task will be to find a tent suitable for the tour.  Ideally this will be one that can withstand rough weather and extremes of temperature, one that will keep me dry inside with enough space to move and one that will be quick and easy to put up and take down.  The rest of the bits and pieces I need for the tour I probably already have from my various excursions in the past.

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