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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 08-21-09, 08:26 PM   #1
StephenH
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Bicycle Questions

I read through the "carbon bikes on brevets" and found that to be a very interesting and informative thread. But, I had some other question that don't really relate to the carbon bikes, and thought I'd see what I could find out here.

I'm looking for a new bike. I've been riding my industrial cruiser a couple of years now, and am ready to get something lighter and faster. I'll be trying some rando events on it, as well as daily get-in-shape riding and charity rides. I'm new to the rando stuff, so I don't expect to be doing 600k's right off or anything like that. And, I should add that I'm around 250 lbs, maybe a bit less, but still heavier than most of the people that do this kind of thing. And, looking at the low end of the money scale, say around $1,000. I might try some short credit-card type tours, but don't anticipate really loading it down other than by my own weight.

As a personal preference, I'd like to have full fenders. And I'd like to have a front-mounted bag to hold whatever junk I take along. The rest is sort of open.

Now, first question is tire width. In that other thread, I think there was mention of using 23mm tires all the time, and of rando bikes having 30mm, and then I see that a lot of the bikes that sound interesting to me are actually touring bikes and come with 32 or 38mm or so tires. How noticeable is that in speed & easy of pedaling? How much of an improvement on chipseal? I can understand that narrow higher pressure tires ought to roll easier but rougher, but don't have any basis for saying which quality is more important, or what a good compromise is.

Secondly, with the fenders and front bag (and possibly front rack), are there other bikes I should be looking at?

And lastly, do any of y'all have personal experience with any of the following bikes. I can look up specs and compare that and all, mainly interested if you actually own one and what you think of it; whether you'd especially recommend it or recommend against it for that kind of riding:
Surly Long Haul Trucker
Salsa Casaroll
Fuji Touring
Trek 520
Raleigh Clubman
Raleigh Sojourn
Surly Pacer
Masi Rando

Thanks!
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Old 08-22-09, 07:35 AM   #2
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I have the Surly LHT,it's a great bike,very comfortable and easy to ride.I haven't done a brevet on it yet,my first one will be in september.
As far as the width of tires is concerned I like wider tires for more comfort.I don't really think that there is a differance in speed with wider tires except for excelerating and thats due to being heavier than skinny tires.Between riding my LHT and my road bike the differance in speed is not very much,about 1 mph.My LHT has 26x1.75 tires on it and my road bike has the 700x23's on it.
I would go for a bike that can except tires at least as big as 700x32 and still fit fenders.That rules out the Surly Pacer,I'm not sure about the Raleigh clubman or Masi rando bikes.I think any of the others you have on you list should be all right.For what it's worth I only weigh 140 and still prefer wide tires just for the comfort factor.
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Old 08-22-09, 09:21 AM   #3
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I have a Salsa Casseroll that I really like. The built triple comes with Salsa Delgado rims and 700 x 32 rubber (at least in the larger sizes - I think the smaller frames are 650B's) and they fit in the SKS fenders with a little room to spare.

In a quest for increased speed I wanted to drop down to narrower tires so I contacted Salsa to find out the skinniest tires they'd recommend for those rims and the guy I spoke with said "That's not what we build that bike for...don't go smaller than 32." I bought a set of Mavic rims and fit them with 28 Conti Gatorskins. I can't really tell the difference. I didn't feel an immediate boost of speed, nor did I feel that the ride was harsher. Guess I'm just not that well attuned to the machine or something. I can tell you that I do some rides on a rail/trail that has portions that are packed limestone gravel and the 28's tend to "wander" more than the 32's, but they're still manageable.

The Casseroll is equipped with Shimano 105 group, including the "brifters". You really can't fit a good sized handlebar bag/front bag without interfering with the STI cabling. I've been using a really small, cheap handlebar bag that I got from Performance. I also added a rear pack and that gives me plenty of storage.

Here's a picture taken during a club century last April:

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Old 08-23-09, 07:45 PM   #4
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25-28mm tires should work fine. You don't need anything bigger. If you want a handlebar bag, make sure the bike has a more relaxed geometry so the handling isn't adversely affected. 250lbs isn't heavy! That isn't too far off from where I am. The most important thing about the bike is that it fits you properly. That should be your primary driver when picking a new bike. The rest is secondary.

One thing I would suggest is that you find the bike that is right for you first, then look at the price and figure out how to get there. If you have to wait a little bit to save some pennies, so be it. It's more than worth it in the long run. It's much better to buy the perfect bike the first time around!!!!!!
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Old 08-24-09, 08:22 AM   #5
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That rear bag looks NICE! What rack is it attached too? Thanks!

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Here's a picture taken during a club century last April:

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Old 08-24-09, 08:58 AM   #6
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High Stephen,

The bikes on your list will work well for what you are seeking. Most of these bikes will need a few updates to meet your needs.

I agree with getting a relaxed geometry. These bike are stable and much easier to ride than more aggresive road bikes. Look for a 72 degree head-tube angle. A 73 degree on a 59cm size frame or larger is also more relaxed.

700 x 28 sized tires can be comfortable @ 95 psi. 700 x 32 can also be fast, if the air pressure is kept high enough. Either size can work equally well. Some of the bikes on your list will be unable to accept fenders with 700 x 32 tires. If everything else about the bike is perfect, accept the 700 x 28 tire size and keep your air pressure below 100 psi.

Not all brifters have cables that will make a handlebar bag difficult to use. Sram & Campagnola brifters are free of external cables. The 2010 Shimano Ultegra brifters are also free of external cables. It's difficult to mix brands, but if the bike you like has Shimano 10 speed, you can update to 2010 Ultegra brifters and be able to fit a handlebar bag.

I would add the Bianchi Volpe to your list.

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Old 08-24-09, 11:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
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first question is tire width. In that other thread, I think there was mention of using 23mm tires all the time, and of rando bikes having 30mm, and then I see that a lot of the bikes that sound interesting to me are actually touring bikes and come with 32 or 38mm or so tires. How noticeable is that in speed & easy of pedaling? How much of an improvement on chipseal? I can understand that narrow higher pressure tires ought to roll easier but rougher, but don't have any basis for saying which quality is more important, or what a good compromise is.
With your weight I'd suggest 32mm tires. They are far more comfortable. I moved from 25mm tires on a 24 lb steel bike to 32mm tires on an aluminum Cannondale T2 weighing 32 pounds, and although aluminum is suppose to be harsher than steel, the wider tires made the aluminum bike more comfortable than the steel bike with thinner tires. Also, the wider tire is more stable, especially when riding through gravel and the like.

As for speed, I noticed absolutely no speed loss in my long rides with the heavier bike with 32mm tires. Starting from a stop takes slightly longer with the heavier rims/tires/bike, but in an overall ride that makes virtually no difference.
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Old 08-24-09, 11:43 AM   #8
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That rear bag looks NICE! What rack is it attached too? Thanks!
That rear trunk is actually pretty cool. The sides unzip and turn into panniers. It's an integrated system: both rack and bag are made by Topeak and the back clips into the rack.

Here's the trunk, and here's the rack. I wasn't too sure about getting the bag with the built in panniers and figured that I'd never use them. I only bought it instead of the regular one because it was on sale. Turns out that I've used the panniers a couple of times and they're actually pretty convenient.
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Old 08-24-09, 12:34 PM   #9
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I just finished building my old '85 Cannondale ST400 up for the longer rides I want to do. I went with 32mm tires on it instead of the 28's I was running on my '85 SR300. They just barely fit with the 45mm fenders from Velo Orange but I do love them alot more on the chip seal I have gotton on so far. There is on other stretch of chip seal up on 105 that i want to try them on also but so far i would take 32's over 28's given a choice. I never was a weight weenie either, I just look at them as training wheels and figure if I ever did go with lighter wheels I will be real quick from pushing these tanks around.

The other thing that is really noticable is the Brooks champion flyer I went with on the build. I wanted something that would take take up the unavoidable road defects that i fail to start noticing after around 80 miles that really jar me. The bonus is the springs aren't noticable otherwise. This tire/seat combo just work to take out all of the road noise that tires me out otherwise and lets me put it into pedaling.

I am old school for shifting(downtubes) and love my handlebar bag. It is really nice to not have to stop for anything, just unzip and reach into the bag. There are a couple of things you can do to the brifter cables to get a bag inbetween them.
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Old 08-24-09, 05:04 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input.

I hadn't even thought about the cable routing issue- like I said, I'm riding a single-speed now, so that's not an issue, and it didn't occur to me that it was an issue with many bikes. I guess that explains why I had so much trouble trying to find handlebar bags, nobody else CAN use them.

Right now, I've got a small trunk bag on a rear rack, then use a handlebar bag for extra liquid (up to 3 quarts). Or in the winter, that would go for extra clothing layers. It's much more convenient to grab stuff out of the front bag, and seems silly to have to carry two, so I was hoping to consolidate into one larger front bag.

I can appreciate the wisdom of picking the bike and then working the money out, but just didn't have a good starting point for the bike, either. I expect most of y'all have ridden multiple road bikes, so if you go buy a new one, you have pretty definite ideas about what you like and don't like which simplies the process.

One thing handy about being ignorant is I'm also not spoiled to brifters or any particular kind of hardware.
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Old 08-24-09, 05:18 PM   #11
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Surly Long Haul Trucker
Salsa Casaroll
Fuji Touring
Trek 520
Raleigh Clubman
Raleigh Sojourn
Surly Pacer
Masi Rando
If you are looking at true touring bikes, you might want to add the Rocky Mountain Sherpa 30 (what I use for centuries) to your list (though it's a bit more than $1000).

The Jamis Aurora is another one (more like the Cassaroll).

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Right now, I've got a small trunk bag on a rear rack, then use a handlebar bag for extra liquid (up to 3 quarts). Or in the winter, that would go for extra clothing layers. It's much more convenient to grab stuff out of the front bag, and seems silly to have to carry two, so I was hoping to consolidate into one larger front bag.
I'd suggest considering not getting the biggest handle bar bag. And not putting overly heavy things (like a lot of water) in it.

Often, the handle bar bags bounce with a lot of weight and where they place the weight tends to destablize the bike a bit.

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I can appreciate the wisdom of picking the bike and then working the money out, but just didn't have a good starting point for the bike, either.
Having some sense of a budget keeps things from getting crazy! "About $1000" is a reasonable starting place.

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Old 08-24-09, 07:09 PM   #12
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I have both a Surly LHT and a Salsa Casseroll. If you're looking to do brevets / fitness riding as opposed to touring / utility riding with loads, the Salsa wins hands down. Forgive the lack of technical terms, but the Casseroll feels much livelier and handles bumps and road vibrations better. Some of this can of course be explained by how they're built-up, but even when I've ridden the LHT stripped as light and bare as possible it isn't as "fun" to ride as the Casseroll. Not to mention that the "ginger beer" paint job is dead sexy.

They're both more than capable, but if the Salsa is within your price range I couldn't recommend it highly enough.

One gripe that I have is that both of my bikes have Salsa Delgado rims and I'm honestly disappointed with them. The rear on the LHT (36h, max of rider + gear at 250lbs with some touring) cracked at several eyelets and I replaced it at 5000mi. Just yesterday I noticed some small hairlines (but can't yet catch a fingernail on them) on the Casseroll's rear (32h, never seen more than 200lbs or super-rough riding) at 1600mi. Certainly not disastrous performance, but I was hoping for much better.
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Old 08-24-09, 09:36 PM   #13
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The problem with asking on a forum like this what will work best is that you are going to get answers that work best for the posters. That may or may not work for you! Here is what you need to do...

1 Spend $75-$150 and get fitted by someone (preferably by someone not selling you a bike. Your comfort is determined by your contact points on the bike (not the geometry).
2 Decide what you want to the bike to do and make a list. Do you want fenders, a rear rack (frame mounted or seatpost mounted), handlebar bag, panniers etc. The amount of gear and weight that you will be carrying should determine the geometry of the bike. Bikes designed to carry bags etc will generally have more relaxed geometry. If you want to go lighter then a bike with tighter geometry might be the ticket. Do you want STI (brifters), DT(down tube) or bar-end shifters? What level of components do you want (ie 105, ultegra, DA for Shimano).
3. Take your list of requirements and then go shopping! You will find that will narrow your lists of bikes down to where you can choose the one that is going to be the best bike for you.

There are lots of things to look at but you will be much better off sitting down and making a wish list. You will still probably have questions but it's easier to take them bite by bite instead of a whole chunk.
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Old 08-25-09, 12:36 PM   #14
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Another option is to use V-brake noodles right at the STI levers so the cable routing bends straight down. I use this setup on my Casseroll and it makes significantly more room to put a handlebar bag. Shifting performance is not affected in the slightest.

I should also note that you can run 28mm tires on a Delgado rim, which I am also doing on my bike. I measured ~19mm of interior rim width, which according to the chart on Sheldon's site is acceptable for widths as low as 28mm.

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The Casseroll is equipped with Shimano 105 group, including the "brifters". You really can't fit a good sized handlebar bag/front bag without interfering with the STI cabling.
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