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I'm brand new to bicycling and I'm looking to buy my first bike (touring)
Ok, almost brand new. Of course I rode a bike as a kid.

I've been looking at bikes and browsing forums and trying to understand weird bike terms for awhile now, and I think it's time for me to start seriously looking at what to buy. The problem is, I have no idea where to begin. I know that I want to start touring at some point in the near future, but unfortunately most touring specific bikes are way beyond my budget, about 400, maaaaybe 500 dollars, max. I'd much rather spend 300-400, or less if I could find something used, as I also need to get racks and panniers. I could just spend more on a bike now, and add on racks in a few months when I have more money, and I'll probably build my own panniers, (I'm thrifty...Ok, I'm cheap).

So, do you folks have any recommendations? I don't really want to have to buy another bike any time soon, so if I just got a road bike (which I'm also considering) instead of a touring specific bike, which seem very costly, I'd want to make sure I'd be able to add front racks if I ever needed to.

Thoughts? Recommendations?

I greatly appreciate the fact that there's a place for beginners to come and learn a thing or two. Maybe even three things, hopefully : P

If you know you want a real touring bike, you'll probably have to go used at that price range. The problem with normal road bikes is they are really not set up for touring. They will not have the mounts for racks/panniers, will have too aggressive geometry and riding position, no clearance for fenders or even heavier duty touring tires. You might look at cross/hybrid/city bikes with 700c wheels. They won't have drop bars, but they will be sturdy, have all the mounts for racks, etc. Probably a better base to build a tourer from than a racing bike.
Right On to what Dave said.
Another option is a Mountain Bike with bald, skinny tires.
Wheelies don't pop themselves. (from a QBP fortune cookie)
Yes 10-4 to above.

Personally I am not too impressed with the current bikes from Asia and the high prices. I would look for a nice vintage bike. Check local Craigs list to start. Buy the best you can find.

You can buy some nice bikes from Schwinn, Fuji, Panasonic and some other made in USA and Japan bikes from late 70's to mid 80's. Look for good steel frames.

The Schwinn Le Tour and the heavy but strong Varsity are good. Fuji del Rey and Panasonic which made the late 70's Schwinn Super Le tours are very nice.

Go through the bike carefully and grease the wheels ,head and crank. You will have a nice classic bike at the low end of your budget and have money left for touring gear.Get familiar with the different models that suit you best. Determine the size you need.

This is my 53cm/21" Fuji del Rey.



Never Give Up!!!
If you really a touring bicycle then go for it.But let me say this if you buy or build your self one it's not
going to be cheap at all. Even if you get a new cheap frame by the time you get all the parts it will add up more than you want to spend. I know I have done both lol I have over 4 grand in one of my touring bicycles. And the other is about $1600 to $1800. But I don't mind it a bit it's my hobby well one of them anyway. I don't think you will get much for $500 but I don't mind spending the money either.Even tho I don't have a lot to spare. It just takes a while to get all the parts I need. If you can work on your own bicycle then you would be better off building one from good parts. It's cheaper in the long run I think to build it you self. Good Luck what ever you do. And have a great time doing it too.
My dad always told me a Sledge a matic can fix any thing.
Stupid Question, what type of gearing should you look for in a touring bicycle?

If I remember correctly (sometimes I don't) the Schwinn Le Tour is a 10 speed or 12 speed bike. Is this sufficient for touring? Or does this bike require a swap out of components for additional gears?

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