October 24, 2009
One reason I have always been drawn to touring bikes is because they manage to withstand the test of time in many regards. They avoid trends, incorporate ideas that have been proven by time, and through simplicity, look very classy.
The Raleigh Sojourn is stylish, yet unassuming from top to bottom, and the steel frame and fork comes with all the bells and whistles you would hope for in a touring bike. Spare spoke holders, pump peg, full fender and rack eyelets, three water bottle mounts, long wheelbase, and a slightly sloping top tube, which makes mounting and dismounting the bike a little easier.
The components on the 2010 Sojourn will go unchanged from the 2009 model, so if you purchased your bike last year, you can be rest assured that you didn't miss out on any big improvements. The components are highlighted by a Shimano 9spd drivetrain using Dura Ace 9spd bar end shifters, a triple crankset (30/39/50t chain rings), and an 11-34 tooth rear cassette, along with a Deore rear derailleur. These are all durable, and long lasting components that will not only give you plenty of gears for any terrain, but piece of mind on the road.
Disc brakes seen on this bike are a little unusual for a touring bike, but we're starting to see this more and more. While some may find disc brakes intimidating as far as service/repair is concerned, the Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes are pretty user friendly and use a cable as opposed to hydraulics. Just carry some spare pads and cables similar to the fashion in which you would with cantilever brakes, and you should be in good shape. The braking power with these are very good in both wet and dry conditions.
The wheels on this bike are as well built as everything else. The Freedom Ryder rims are touring specific, and have a nice wide section to ease the process of pulling off the 700x35 Vittoria Randonneur tires when that fateful flat occurs. Both the front and rear wheels have 36 spokes, which improves the strength and comfort of the wheels.
As for the rest of the parts, the WTB handlebar is easy to spot, and flares out at the drops, putting them somewhere between mustache bars and normal drop bars. While this may look a little funny to some, it puts you in a more upright position when riding down in the drops, and gives you a wider hand position for great stability. The Brooks B17 aged saddle is outstanding, and the Brooks leather bar tape not only has a good feel, but looks sharp as well.
Raleigh has some really nice extras that come along with this bike, which include full coverage fenders, Leyzne pump, rear rack, and a bell. With pedals included, this bike just needs a front rack and panniers before it's ready to take on your next tour.
Like I promised last week, this bike runs under $1200, but only by a dollar, and there's some good news and bad news here. The bad news is that $1199 is the 2009 price, and it should be bumping up to $1249 for the 2010 model.
Photo by Josh Tack.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.