Question: Could you recommend a new bike that’s under $800 and will be suitable for towing a trailer when I tour? I ride about 15 miles a day and 25-50 miles on weekends. — Glenn S.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: This is one of the most difficult questions I receive! It’s very difficult to recommend a specific bike to a person I don’t know and can’t see ride. Also, I don’t know which brands are available in your local shops.
And your price point compounds the difficulty somewhat. You may have to expand your budget to find what you’re looking for.
In general, I recommend a triple crankset so you’ll have low gears for towing a trailer. In fact, a triple is essential for touring in hilly terrain.
Look for a bike with name-brand components, standard 32-spoke wheels and a steel or aluminum frame that’s fully warranted.
Most important is bike fit. Deal only with a shop that knows how to put you on a bike of the correct size and then help you find a comfortable, efficient riding position. The shop should be willing to swap the stem if that’s what it takes to give you the proper reach to the handlebar.
I’m impressed with models from major companies such as Cannondale, Specialized, Trek, Fuji and Giant. You can get an excellent bike that’s similarly equipped from each of them.
In the long run, the quality and helpfulness of a bike shop may be the most valid reason for picking one brand over another.