Re: [CR]BEST NON RACING BIKE: Sincere praise for the mundane production bike

Example: Framebuilders:Jack Taylor

Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2002 16:51:49 EDT
Subject: Re: [CR]BEST NON RACING BIKE: Sincere praise for the mundane production bike

Comments on comments below,

"The Best Non Racing Bike" covers enormous ground as any studious attendee of the Cirque will attest. Racers of a given area are more alike than different even when made of widely different material and craftsmanship. The reason is simple, racing is very focused and minimalist. Think of the grace and beauty of simple fixed wheel track bike, no brakes, one gear no clutter. The modern and classic road racing/criterium bike evolved from these origins, minimalist, simple, speedy and effective. As Ernest Souka (sic?) of the Alex Singer shop once told me; "racing bikes are so simple and quick to build; now touring is where the challenges are" or French words to that effect. Of course his touring bikes are very elaborate in most cases, depending on the customer. As builders on this list can attest a racing bike can be very elaborate and be very time consuming to build as well. It is hard to compare race bikes to tourers and great touring bikes are not just long racing bikes with lots of brazon's.

Touring has many flavors, short fast riding (club riding) long fast riding (Audax/Randonnuereing Riding) Pass Storming (Mountain riding) Joyriding (easier short or long) Loaded Camping ( The test of touring design)

and everything else in between!

Lets consider loaded touring as it shows the biggest contrast between performance of bikes.

As for the Schwinn Le Tour 12.2. This is as stated a very passable touring bike (loaded?) and in it's day and there after has taken many a loaded trip. I equipped a friend with this machine (with lots of mod's) for a multi year trip through eastern and western Europe and it performed adequately. It must be noted that there is more than a difference in weight between this and a finely constructed loaded touring bike. Comparing this Letour to a Alex Singer or Rene Herse is not fair even to the Schwinn. Like a previous discussion comparing a Herse Demontable (takeapart) to a Bike Friday is just silly.

The Singer and Herse Camping bikes are custom built to the riders intended use. The Letour is a general purpose production bike. Even it the fit is perfect (custom bikes should fit well you hope) the load carrying ability would be comparatively inadequate to we outfitted Singer camping (Jan Heine showed one in the Rivendell reader) or Herse Camping that I own. They are almost over engineered for the task.

On my personal Rene Herse Camping/Demontable it can be ridden loaded with rear panniers only and a Handlebar bag and 70 lbs of luggage no hands easily. This is a very poor way to load a bicycle and a large load and it still rides straight and true. Other Herse's may not perform as well but this bike has a great balance and superb handling. I would be suprised if a the LeTour could be ridden no hands with half as much weight. The bike I outfitted for the Euro trip certainly would not perform well under these circumstances but it was simply not designed to, it was designed as a general purpose bike at a price point.

I don't want to slight the Schwinn, just state some differences that are not perhaps readily apparent.

Highest regards,

Gilbert Anderson Raleigh, NC USA

In a message dated 4/15/02 11:58:15 PM, writes:

<< I just parted with an early 80's lugged chrome moly Schwinn Le Tour 12.2(Panasonic/Matsushita built). It was a 25" c-t frame large for my 6 foot frame but it had all the qualities for a great touring bike. Nice rigid frame(I suspect it was pretty strong also), stable handling, substantial and cushy wheels and tires but not too heavy. Great derailleurs, plenty of clearances. The large frame gave the handlebars the proper position for a touring. The bike was not light but I think 3-5 lbs is unimportant for most riders and I loved this bike when I road it. It actually looked decent on the macro scale but it was a mass produced non artist finished machine. I bet it rides at well as any bike for that use. I suspect it would challenge a Singer or Herse for touring capability. I am sincere in this praise, I will miss it but I was squeezed for space so maybe next year I will reacquire another Le Tour 12.2, this time I will get a 24". Brian >>

Gilbert Anderson

The North Road Bicycle Company your bicycle outfitter 519 W. North St. Raleigh, NC 27603 USA ph toll free in USA :800/321-5511 Local ph: 919/828-8999 E-Mail: