The new touring bike

I’ve been thinking that it would be nice to get a new bike. My main ride is a 2000 Fuji Touring and it isn’t going to be long before I have to replace significant parts (the bottom bracket has some play, the headset shifts, etc.)

I thought about getting a carbon “go fast” bike but then I got a new tandem instead. I spent enough money on that to feel like I didn’t want to put any more into a bike so I held off another year. I’ve also started commuting and the noises and hiccups of the Touring are more memorable when you encounter them every day. (My other ride is a fixie – not much to go wrong but an old frame and not something I’d take on most non-commuting rides I want to do.)

Before we went to Scotland we got Will a Rodriquez touring bike with a custom frame. I rode it a little and it felt a lot like the tandem we got from them – light, smooth, solid. This spring Will asked me to get it tuned up while he was at a conference and I took the opportunity to ride it to work five days in a row. I was sold and decided that it really didn’t make sense to spend money on a road bike when most of my riding was either going to be the commute or longer country rides.  Here’s more or less what it looks like from the R&E website:


So in the middle of April I put down a deposit on a Rodriguez Adventure Plus. here’s what they have to say about it:

Rodriguez Adventure Touring Bicycles – from $2,399 as a frame only from $1,199

Utility, Touring, Adventure…

When you say “I want room for fenders and big wide tires, mounts for rear and front racks, a bomb-proof frame and fork, mounts for 3 water bottles and a custom frame made in the U.S.A”…. What I hear you saying is that you want a Rodriguez Adventure. This is a comfortable, American made, steel, classic touring bike with modern day and old school conveniences plus hand-built wheels with a 3-year warranty.

At Rodriguez, we’ve been building custom Touring bikes since 1973 (not many builders can say that). We started offering lower cost options when the bike industry gave up on making well designed touring bikes. Just like our custom 1970’s Rodriguez Touring bikes, the Adventure is a hand-crafted bike that is a class act right down to the stainless steel bottle opener on the seat stay. Whether you are planning an extended bicycle tour like Kurt M., or commuting to and from work like Matt, this bike is for you!

What about the frame you ask? All of our frames are custom hand-crafted right here in Seattle, one at a time from only the finest steels. Our frames are custom fit to you perfectly, and guaranteed to be the most comfortable touring bike you’ve ever owned. We build all of our bicycles with ISO compliant standards to ensure long life too. We offer a selection of different component set-ups, all with a triple crankset, and handbuilt wheels with a 3-year warranty. Starting at just $2,399, the Rodriguez Adventure the best value on a custom built Touring bike in the industry today.

Don’t Waste Your Money
Why buy a heavy, uncomfortable, poorly designed touring bike made overseas? For the same price, you can afford a comfortable, custom Rodriguez Adventure built just for you, from a company that’s been building them in Seattle for almost four decades.

Sizes: All of our bikes are offered in 18 production sizes . If you don’t fit one of our production sizes, a custom size frame in any model is just $200 extra. Plus we are offering every bike in our line-up with any choice of 4 different paint options at no extra charge. Custom paint jobs or colors are also available. If that’s not enough, we have 9 different decal options to choose from as well.

For those ready to tour the world, we’re offering the Touring travel version ($700 upgrade) that uses S&S couplings and fits in a 26″ X 26” suitcase.

The Rodriguez Adventure – from $2,399

The Rodriguez Adventure is a fantastic hand-crafted touring bike for an unbelievably low price. Now you can have that custom Rodriguez performance for half the price of other manufacturers!

If you look around, I think you’ll find that no other manufacturer has custom touring bikes built right here in the U.S. that are a better value than a Rodriguez.

I went in to buy a bike on a Saturday afternoon with no appointment. I kind of tailgated another customer but they already had my measurements and I really just wanted to put down a deposit. Smiley made me take a test ride – of a Rainier (not the bike I was buying) and without my shoes & pedals – but that was mainly so that he could get me out of the way while he closed the deal with the other guy. (I took their bike and rode a block south and then back to Ravenna and then I went over the hill. As I got to the first turn on the downhill side I found out that the front brakes weren’t engaged and I missed the turn and almost hit an oncoming car – but I managed to avoid anything more than a scratch on my shin from the flat pedal and the bike was really cool on the climb back up.)

I opted to upgrade to carbon bars and Phil Wood bottom bracket (both of which I got on the tandem) and I paid the $700 extra to get S&S couplers. it comes standrd with Rodriguez’ proprietary caliper brakes – which I like – and with SRAM 9-speed cassette & chain. As with the tandem, the only thing not nailed down is the gearing. I told them I wanted something with more high end than their 28/38/48 standard. The Fuji I’m riding now is 30/42/52 and the tandem is 28/44/56. As long as I get a big ring above 50…

I don’t get to pick it up until the middle of June. I can’t wait.


Been riding the Rodriguez a lot, but with the addition of the Litespeed it isn’t necessarily the bike of choice for a road ride.  Before the trip to Pakistan I mounted Continental Speedride tires that were 42 mm wide.  I left them on after returning from the tour and have been using the bike for gravel.  I installed MKS EZY Superior sockets and generally have been using Lambda pedals (better known as “grip kings” when sold by Rivendale.)  I drilled out my set and pinned them and they’re almost as good as clips.

It currently has an Avocet saddle and a Nitto rack that were stolen from my Fuji.


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