Touring - How much difference between 26' and 700c?
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Okay, I am trying to decide between continuing my search for a 700c touring bike frame or repaint a trusted old 26' wheel mtb frame to tour with. Is the mtb going to be noticeably slower? I would build them up identically...please help. Zach
PS> I plan on touring Europe this summer for at least a month
You are going to hear arguments on both sides of the fence on this one.
Some guys swear that if you super-inflate your MNT bike tires, the rolling resistance is not much worse than a road tire.
For me, it is all about ease of riding and MNT bikes just seem to take more energy than road bikes. Plus, my hands go numb and my back gets a little sore from the limited positions provided by mountain bike geometry and the typical straight handlebars of a mountain bike. Remember that touring usually means spending at least eight hours a day in the saddle.
I can tell you this for certain; I organize a number of group rides and tours. With the exception of the trememdously fit riders, most of the mountain bikes fall to the back of the line - and some of them WAaaay in the back of the line.
My suggestion would be to go with a solid touring road bike rather than a mountain bike. If, however, you are in a money pinch or you simply love your MTN bike, you could certainly tour on a mountain bike.
11-22-02, 04:12 AM
Hi, so you'll be touring Europe .. I am unfamiliar with the road quality there .., but I would say that a 700c outfitted with front and rear racks would be the way to go . Here in Australia a lot of people use Mtn bikes to tour on because of the road surfaces outback, read: dusty unmade tracks and the ride of a Mtn bike with suspension forks and wider tires makes for a lot more comfort during the long haul ! and BTW aluminum brackets CAN be fabricated so the use of a Blackburn Lo-rider on the front can still be used with suspension forks !! no problems there .. but ... if your touring will be on relatively smooth sealed bitumen then go with the 700c "touring" bike, the hand positions available on drop bars is greater than that on a Mtn bike , and the less weight of a rigid fork is also good ! , if you have any Q's send an e-mail to www.christiecycles.com.au I used to work there as a mechanic , these guy's know bike touring inside out !!
Thanks for the replies. On the MTB I would put drop bars and barcon shifters, so my riding position would not be drastically different from a "traditional" touring bike. But, I know what you mean about it just seeming slower, even if the rolling resistance is not that different. Thanks again.
11-22-02, 07:15 PM
If you read St. John's Street Cycle (http://sjscycles.com) website, they will explain in details that 26" wheels aren't slower than 700c or 27".
However, "efficient" 26" wheels means wheels that accept relatively narrow high pressure tires (35-37 mm, or 1 3/8" - 1 1/2" width, at 90 psi), so depending on the model of mountain bike you have, you may need to get new rims.
Your speed is also governed by the amount of air resistance, so you should ideally look for drop bars... which means new brakes and probably new shifters because your current shifters and brakes are incompatible with drop bars.
All in all, unless you really want a convertible bike, say, to bring only one bike on holidays, you should probably forget the idea.
I was going to suggest the St Joh St Cycle (SJSC) page as well. Rather than buy the bike in Canada and ship it across the pond, you might be better of ordering a bike from SJSC, and picking it up in Europe - they do world wide mail order.
I ordered my bike from them over the phone, I spent an hour on the phone to Robin Thorn who over the phone designed exactly what I was after. I would not swap it for anything else (and by the way, it's 26")
As for road quality in Europe, overall it's better than Australia, but not as good as most of the USA/Canada. But it varies radically from country to country, basically the further north you are the better it is.
Where do you intend to start, and where are you going
Brains gives a good suggestion to buy your bike in Europe rather than bringing your bike across the pond. It will cost you $75.00 each way to bring you bike with you on the plane (is it more now?).
With just a little bit of homework, you should be able to hook-up with a local bike shop at your proposed European starting point and buy a good used touring bike locally. With a little advance work, they should be able to have a correct sized bike waiting for you when you get there. Ride it, fall in love with it, and then leave it in Europe - the perfect trans-Atlantic love affair.
Even new bikes are not too expensive in Europe. Of course, high end stuff is priced about the same wherever you go. If you just want wheels to get you around on a tour, there is a lot of variety from US$75.00 to US$400.00 . While you shop for bikes, you can take the opportunity to discuss routes with the bike shop people.
11-27-02, 11:55 AM
I own both a mtn and a road bike. As you are serious in cycling, I would strongly recommend that you buy a 700cc road bike as well. Its always good to try out new thing to get a brand new feeling on cycling.
I own a road bike for thirteen years before I bought my mountain bike this year. Now. I enjoy this mtn mountain bike very much on endless rugged terrain and short distance coummuting. I should said that the mtn bike is such a agile and stable machine that every cyclist should try it and own one
However when it come to long distance road cycling 15 mile above, I would said Never!!!! to a mountain bike. This is because a 700cc bike would outclass it obviously (speed 15-35% faster, comfort 15-25% better and energy saving 20-35%)
I hardly got any sweat using a road bike for a long distance, but will got half of my T-shirt wet when using a mtn bike for the same speed. so you can see how much the difference will be.
A road bike with 32mm tyres & above will also run well on trail. so don't worry if you are planning to explore some off-road terrain during your tour
Remember to buy a light weight double butted road bike with the right size designed for touring , and you will be assured to have a good time in your tour. Good Luck my dear friend
11-27-02, 02:48 PM
It may wise to bring your MTB if you visit Russia, East -Europe and some parts of Scandinavia and Scotland.
Otherwise, a touring bike should be fine, feel free to ask if you need some info about the route or anything else.
11-29-02, 08:31 AM
If you compare a racing 700c setup to an off-road MTB setup, then there is a lot of difference in efficiency on the road.
If you set both up for mixed (road/trail) touring, then the differences are marginal.
I use 700c Continental Top Touring 32mm .It's not speedy, but coveres the miles. A 26" wheel with a 1.5" slick tyre at the same pressure (90psi) would have a similar rolling resistance.
When riding with buddies on roadified MTBs, they cruise at the same pace as I do.
Thanks for all the great replies!! My summer tour will most likely start in Paris, then down to a couple alp stages of the Tour, over through Switzerland, to Austria, and then from Vienna up to Prauge taking the greenway route. This is my very rough idea of what I would like to do, and would take trains as necessary, like from Paris to Lyon, or maybe to get to Vienna...so any route help would be great, I will have a month and a half, and be light camping or hostelling. Thanks again.
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