Tag Archives: raleigh sojourn

Choosing a touring bicycle; Trek 520


Choosing a touring bicycle; Trek 520

For our 4th touring bike option I’m going to go with a very well-known touring bicycle, the Trek 520 from Trek Bicycles.  Please comment if you have ever ridden, owned, or know anyone who owns this bike.  Email photos of your setup to me at recklesscognition@gmail.com and have them posted on this site.

Trek 520

Trek 520

Before we begin….Check out the links on the left side of the page.  Go to the “About Me” page to the left and read about what this journey is all about.  If you are into it, support my journey by helping others and adding to the donations we will deliver to the Mercy Corps organization. Donate, Sponsor, or Pledge on a per-km/mile basis, anything will help.  Learn more by here…Bike Journey

Frame– Steel

Chainstay Length– 450mm or 17.7 inches

Brakes– Cantilever

Tires– Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase, 700x32c

Components- Deore LX

Weight– 27 pounds

Price– $1,300

The Trek 520 is a very well-known touring bike with a great reputation in the middle area of the price range.  This bike is often used when comparing the lower-end and higher-end models and is a great place to start when looking for a quality bike.    I’ve ridden a Trek 4800 and a Trek 7.2 on tours before and was more than happy with their performance.  I’ve heard the 520 more than lives up to its reputation as a quality, strong, and reliable touring bike.

The issues with this bike include an uncomfortable stock saddle that is far too hard for many riders and slightly sub-par racks and fenders (mud-guards) that can’t support big weight.  The strengths of the bike include it’s stability, strength, and smooth ride.

I suggest comparing this bike to the Cannondale Touring 2, as the price is right on.

How are ratings calculated?

Overall Rating:

Trek 520:

Value:  4/5

Quality: 4.8/5

Compliance: 4.9/5

Overall: 13.7/15

I’m giving the Trek 520 a low value rating because I don’t really like what you get for this price.  $1,300 and you’re still only getting entry-level Deore LX components. It comes in slightly ahead of the Cannondale Touring 2 because the Trek has a complete LX line, whereas the Cannondale swaps in some cheaper components with the LX.

Quality. There aren’t many complaints about the Trek 520.

Compliance. This bike is a truly dedicate touring bike.  It is basically ready to go.

Check out the complete ratings here.

Raleigh Sojourn. Choosing a touring bicycle.


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 recklesscognition@gmail.com and have them posted on this site.

Raleigh Sojourn Touring Bicycle

Raleigh Sojourn Touring Bicycle

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!)

Price- $1,100

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.

How are ratings calculated?

Overall Rating:

Raleigh Sojourn:

Value:  4.5/5

Quality: 4.8/5

Compliance: 4/5

Overall: 13.4/15

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.

Check out the complete ratings here.

Choosing a touring bicycle; Some things to consider…Part I

Inspired by solar power

Choosing a touring bicycle can be exciting and stressful, so knowing what you want before you head out to your local bike shop is very important.  There are a number of special features that make touring bikes differ from road and mountain bikes.  Over the next series of posts, we will look over some of these differences, hoping to equip you with the knowledge you need to decide what type of bike to take on your tour.

First things first. What are some of the major differences between road, mountain, and touring bikes?  Typically, touring bikes are more similar to road bikes than they are to mountain bikes for a few key reasons.

Road Racing- fast, lightweight, typically frame made of lightweight composite materials, with wheels spaced closely to each other for optimal handling and control.  The seat and handlebars are put in a position to keep the rider ‘hunched’ over in a more aerodynamic position.

Touring- strong, typically frame made of steel for its strength a repair ability in remote locations, with wheels spaced far apart in order to accommodate front and rear loads that require foot clearance (check for chainstay lengths around 18 inches or about 460mm).  The seat and handlebars are put in a position that allows for greater comfort on extended rides, more upright than road racers.  The key to a touring bike is its ability to haul heavy loads on it’s front/rear racks.

Mountain- strong, typically made to ride off-road, frame made of strong composite materials, with front, and now more frequently, front/rear suspension.  Large, wide tires.  There are four types of mountain bikes;

Fully rigid-  Fixed rear with no suspension

Hardtail-  Front suspension with a fixed rear

Softtail- Small amount of rear suspension with full front suspension

Dual/Full- Front and rear full suspension.

There are many other types of bikes, but since we are focusing on touring, we’ll only look at these three when choosing the right bike. It is possible to equip any of these bikes for touring and often people will turn their old bikes into a touring bike with varying degrees of success.

In our next post we will look at the specifics of touring bikes, including key measurements, components, and manufacturers.

Inspired by solar power

Surly Long Haul Trucker


The as-of-yet unnamed bicycle journey is starting to take shape. I guess you could say it has officially begun. I’ve purchased my bicycle of choice, a Surly Long Haul Trucker (58cm) and am having it shipped here to Korea next week.

Surly is a very reputable bike manufacturer with solid support in the touring community because of its well-equipped, inexpensive, and high-quality touring bikes.

When I was deciding on a bike, I had narrowed it down to a Surly LHT, Trek 520, Jamis Nova Pro, and a Raleigh Sojourn.  I relied heavily on Bicylce Forums to figure out exactly what I needed in a touring bike. Turns out, its not all that simple. There are numerous things you need to pay attention to when selecting a touring bike. Look forward to more posts on individual elements deemed necessary for your next touring session.