Choosing a touring bicycle; Raleigh Sojourn.
For our 3rd touring bike option we’re going with what is in my consideration, the best factory equipped touring bicycle on the market. Here is your next option, the Raleigh Sojourn from http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/road/sojourn/
Please comment if you have ever ridden, owned, or know anyone who owns this bike. Email photos of your setup to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and have them posted on this site.
Before we begin please check out the links on the left side of the page. I am riding my Surly Long Haul Trucker from South Korea to Portugal to raise money for charity. If you can sponsor or donate to the journey it would be great, even a dollar will help. You can learn more here…Bike Journey
Frame- Steel (Reynolds 520 Butted Cro-mo) A little about this type of steel…..it is pretty similar to the 4130 cro-mo you’ll see on most other steel frames, but 520 is only available by special order and used by only a few companies, including Raleigh USA.
Chainstay Length- 460mm or 18.1 inches
Brakes- Disc (Avid BB5 Road 160/140mm roto)
Tires- 700x35c with double wall Freedom CTX 2.3 Trekking rims
Hubs- 32h (mentioning this because it is a little unusual to see a 32h on a tourer, usually look for 36h)
Weight- 34.5 pounds (HEAVY!)
The Raleigh Sojourn is certainly a very interesting package. I say package because as I mentioned earlier, this bike comes out of the factory as close to fully-equipped as the other tourers available. Let’s look at exactly what comes stock on this bike…
You get those famous SKS Fenders, Cateye reflector set, Bell, Water bottle mounts, Rear Rack, Lezyne Pressure Drive pump as well as one of those famous Brooks B17 saddles and WTB Dirt Drop handlebars. There are also replacement spokes connected to the rear. Sounds great, especially for someone who doesn’t want to end up spending an extra 300 dollars equipping their bike with all these extras.
But, we have to look at a couple of what I consider major issues with this touring bicycle. The first are the hubs. Only 32 spokes scares me a bit and makes me think the designers of this bike don’t really expect a heavy load to be carried on the bike. 36 is the norm and most bikers will be turned off by only having 32.
Secondly, I’m not a fan of disc brakes. If you’ve read the original posts on this blog, you’ll understand why. They’re strong in the wet conditions, but they are bulky, heavy, and hard to repair/replace on the road. We’ve got some positive feedback from riders on this site about the disc brakes, and I am not refuting that, but just would rather have the cantilevers on my ride.
In conclusion, this bike is a tough choice. There are some serious downsides (brakes/spokes), and some serious upsides (lots of accessories/nice frame/price). Changing any of these options are going to seriously up the price and may alter its attraction.
With a $1,100 price tag, the Raleigh has low-end components like Shimano Tiagra and Deore, lower than the Trek 520, and the Long Haul Trucker. But there are a lot of accessories here, like the Brooks saddle, the SKS fenders, the pump, bottle mounts, and rear rack. That adds up and tends to normalize the price difference between similar models.
Quality. There aren’t many complaints about the Raleigh Sojourn. It is said to have and extremely strong and rigid frame.
Compliance. Fully equipped but losing major points for having only 32 spokes and for having disc brakes.
Overall though, still a decent score and well worth a test ride if I were you. I did get a chance to test ride this bike the other day, unloaded, and found it just about as comfy as my Surly bike. I liked the WTB Dirt Drop handlebars and grip tape, lots of hand positions and a nice wide bar to be able to ride like a typical bike.