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  1. #1
    Senior Member cyber.snow's Avatar
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    Road bike for credit card touring?

    Hi...I am 70 years old and just finished my first long tour on my Surly Disc Trucker. To tell the truth, after a few days of Spartan camping, my wife decided that she wasn't an Army Ranger and motels and restaurants would be critical, if I wanted to stay married and continue this hobby. So now I have a SDT in 50cm that I will sell and need to find a set of bikes that will be good for the next trip. We do have a pair of Trek 7.4s that we use for the usual 20-30 mile local rides. I was thinking about buying a more "road bike" configuration and using the bontrager trunk with built in panniers. I have a Felt V85 that I used to ride and liked it a lot, but am thinking that I want to get 2 of the same model just to make the logistics footprint smaller. I would like to stay under $5k for the pair, but need a little advice. Carbon or aluminum? Discs?

    Please, if you have some insights along this line I would appreciate your suggestions.
    Life should not be measured by how many breaths you take but how many moments have taken your breath away.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Why over think this? It Is Done all the time .. No Input on picking a Bike for You , Hand Made, steel, is my style.

    I'm a long time user of the Large British saddle bag approach Myself. and Maybe a Handlebar Bag

    People even tow a BoB trailer with Road Bikes and bring camping gear on the Oregon Coast route .

    Touring (Adverb?) is what you do .. the equipment you choose is Up to You.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Happy Feet's Avatar
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    Fbob is basically correct. If you are CC touring with just a smaller day bag situation almost all touring considerations don't apply. It's more a road bike question and I would imagine 2.5K/bike would buy a pretty good road bike. Especially if you are not trying to Tour de France things.

    For traditional touring (subsets like bike packing aside) you want a strong bike (because it bears a lot of weight), longer chain stays (to fit panniers and avoid heel strikes), lower gears (to push weight up hills), attachment points (for racks) and a relaxed geometry (because you are riding long multiple days). About the only thing that may apply is relaxed geometry, depending on what you and your wife's experiences are. At 70 (I hope I'm riding when/if I hit that) you may or may not want a more upright riding stance.

    The compromise that touring bikes make is in reduced speed/lightness because of more robust material/build. For most that is ok but some want more speed and try to reduce that compromise by using lighter yet stronger materials like carbon Ti etc... But, because you are not touring with a load you can bypass the heavier/stronger penalty all together.

    I'm sure quality control will disagree, but I would say you could get a good reliable bike for 1k and spend the remaining 3 on experiences along the way.
    Last edited by Happy Feet; 01-30-16 at 02:40 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
    Hi...I am 70 years old and just finished my first long tour on my Surly Disc Trucker. To tell the truth, after a few days of Spartan camping, my wife decided that she wasn't an Army Ranger and motels and restaurants would be critical, if I wanted to stay married and continue this hobby. So now I have a SDT in 50cm that I will sell and need to find a set of bikes that will be good for the next trip. We do have a pair of Trek 7.4s that we use for the usual 20-30 mile local rides. I was thinking about buying a more "road bike" configuration and using the bontrager trunk with built in panniers. I have a Felt V85 that I used to ride and liked it a lot, but am thinking that I want to get 2 of the same model just to make the logistics footprint smaller. I would like to stay under $5k for the pair, but need a little advice. Carbon or aluminum? Discs?

    Please, if you have some insights along this line I would appreciate your suggestions.
    Any reason you don't want to just go with the V85 and, maybe, buy your wife the same bike?

  5. #5
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    $5k is a big budget. One thing is I'd stay away from a road racing bike. Don't get me wrong; they're great bikes but you are going to want something that can take a bit fatter tire (say 700 x 28c) and that is geared appropriately. One decision you'll have to make is whether you want a triple or a compact. Not so easy today finding a road bike with a triple and there are plenty of arguments back and forth whether you need one. One possibility might be a wide ranging compact with 46/30 chainrings.

    If I had $2500 to spend on a credit card bike, I'd be sorely tempted to pick up a gunnar sport, Gunnar Sport ? Long distance riding in comfort from Gunnar Cycles USA

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    Maybe something like a Soma San Marcos. Lugged steel that can carry a light load. Designed by Grant Petersen of Rivendell.

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    Something I'm looking at for the same reason is a Trek 720, and lowering the crank to something like 42-28.
    And look at Co-Motion if you can afford it.
    Enjoy!!
    Maybe a tandem???

  8. #8
    Senior Member CliffordK's Avatar
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    Personally I wouldn't worry about matching bikes. You can get matching jerseys or helmets if you wish. But, you aren't one person.

    I'm a long-time rider of skinny tire road bikes. For the most part steel, just because that is what was available when I bought my bike. And, I'll ride my road bike anywhere, although perhaps consider a bit different bike for gravel touring which I'm just now getting into.

    Are you a stronger rider than your wife? What kind of riding around home?

    It might not hurt to keep your felt for yourself, then buy your wife the best/lightest bike money can afford, just to level the playing field a bit. Also, keep in mind what your wife likes. There are a few threads about quality Mixte and step through bikes. It might be worth considering if it makes her happy.

    Also, how do you get to the start point of your bike tours? You might consider transportable bikes.

    I just took my Bike Friday out for my first 150 mile ride a couple of days ago.

    Bike Friday, Eugene, Oregon

    The bike did well. Towing the trailer slowed me down a bit. I'm still a bit mixed in the opinion. If you have to do a lot of packing luggage, then it might be worth it. However, for this ride, I had a short hop on the train (Amtrak bus) that could have carried a regular bike, so that might have been just as good.

    Also consider S&S Coupled bikes for a full sized bike that fits into a suitcase. That may knock you out of some styles, and leave you with more traditional steel or Titanium bikes. Aluminum?

    As mentioned, also consider collapsible tandems. Bike Friday has a packable tandem, and there are quite a few S&S coupled tandems available (or you can get one custom made).

  9. #9
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    I do CC touring for a few days at a time on a lightweight steel road bike with a carradice saddlebag. The make of the bike wouldn't help you, it's custom. But I've done exactly the same (with the same saddlebag) on a Giant TCR, which is an out-and-out racing bike in full carbon. Essentially you can do the touring you want to do on anything. Just choose the bike you most enjoy riding at the price you want to pay.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  10. #10
    Senior Member cyber.snow's Avatar
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    Is steel the only way to go? My Surly is steel and it rides like a jeep. What about a good aluminum road bike? I did look at two composite bikes ( specialized and trek) but it was clear that a rear rack could only carry a few pounds. Are the composite bikes out there that are designed for a rear rack? My guess is that I would not exceed about 15 lbs. Also any advice on gear sets? Road or Mt Bike? I see a number of touring companies using Cannondale Synapse as their rental bike....is that a good bike. Sorry for all the newbie questions.
    Life should not be measured by how many breaths you take but how many moments have taken your breath away.

  11. #11
    nun
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    The Raleigh Roker is on my radar for lightweight touring, but any endurance or adventure/gravel bike would probably work....although if you like the Felt V85 why not use that?

    Raleigh Bicycles - Roker Sport

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
    Is steel the only way to go? My Surly is steel and it rides like a jeep.
    No, but you also shouldn't use an LHT as a reference for how all steel bikes handle. It's got an extremely long wheelbase (making it quite non-nimble) and has been made extra-stiff so that it stretches out properly with an ultra-heavy load (making it unlively compared with most steel bikes when unloaded or lightly loaded). It's not particularly aimed at ultralight credit card tours.

    What about a good aluminum road bike?
    There are good options, including a few that are specifically targeted for aggressive ultralight tours, like the Trek 720.

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    Lighthouse Sequoia

  14. #14
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
    Is steel the only way to go? My Surly is steel and it rides like a jeep. What about a good aluminum road bike? I did look at two composite bikes ( specialized and trek) but it was clear that a rear rack could only carry a few pounds. Are the composite bikes out there that are designed for a rear rack? My guess is that I would not exceed about 15 lbs. Also any advice on gear sets? Road or Mt Bike? I see a number of touring companies using Cannondale Synapse as their rental bike....is that a good bike. Sorry for all the newbie questions.
    What about the aluminum bike you already own?

  15. #15
    Senior Member mstateglfr's Avatar
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    What is a 'logistics footprint' in reference to identical bikes?

    I dont understand why 2 of the same bike is needed. Bukes fit people differently. Its why there are women specific bikes. Its why bikes in the same general category have different geometry from brand to brand.

    What i like at 6'5 is different from my 5'6 wife. Even my bikes shrunk down wouldnt work well fornher as our body geometry is so dfifferent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    I do CC touring for a few days at a time on a lightweight steel road bike with a carradice saddlebag. The make of the bike wouldn't help you, it's custom. But I've done exactly the same (with the same saddlebag) on a Giant TCR, which is an out-and-out racing bike in full carbon. Essentially you can do the touring you want to do on anything. Just choose the bike you most enjoy riding at the price you want to pay.
    Echo the comments above. My road bike is a custom steel road bike, have a low profile Carradice. Before my current road bike, I had a Cannondale CAAD. Not sure why you need matching bikes, help her get the optimal bike for her needs - ride where and how she wants - you (plural) will get more touring time (IMHE).
    ride long & prosper

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    Back in the mid-1980s I used to do a lot of overnight rides on my MIELE EQUIPE PRO racing bike. it had no provision for a rear rack but a couple of P-clips and a pair of Blackburn dropout adapters allowed me to mount a rear rack and carry my lightweight tent (4 lbs) and my sleeping bag and pad. I did a LOT of riding with that setup. Ride to wherever we were going to camp, pitch the tent and then ride somwhere for dinner.

    You can credit card tour with just about any bike.

    Cheers

  18. #18
    Senior Member CliffordK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
    What is a 'logistics footprint' in reference to identical bikes?

    I dont understand why 2 of the same bike is needed. Bukes fit people differently. Its why there are women specific bikes. Its why bikes in the same general category have different geometry from brand to brand.

    What i like at 6'5 is different from my 5'6 wife. Even my bikes shrunk down wouldnt work well fornher as our body geometry is so dfifferent.
    There might be an advantage of using identical tires on the two bikes.
    Or, at least compatible tubes.

    Maybe also an advantage of matching components. 10-speed, 11-speed, Ultegra, 105, etc.

    Get down to the frame, and the benefits of matching would be a lot less important. And, even if matching the drivetrain, one may naturally select different gearing. For example, women (some women?) may be more likely to choose a triple chainring, or lower gearing overall. And, there may be a good reason for that choice.

    I still might lean towards a 15 pound Carbon Fiber race bike for the wife.... if she likes that style.

  19. #19
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    cyber.snow, When we were drought ridden I used my touring bike for unloaded distance rides because the wider tires were better for the road conditions. The bike did just fine even though it was heavier and less agile than my regular distance roadie. No reason to not at least try the Surly on a CC tour at least once.

    If I want to use the distance roadie for CC touring I'd just strap a bag to my aero bar. This has worked for me in the past, but obviously not a solution for everyone.

    Brad

  20. #20
    djb
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    Good Sunday to you, internet opinions abound, so here are mine, carrying on of some of the good points already stated.

    -dont know your Felt bike, but for both of you, the comments about bikes that have a higher head tube, so the bars are higher up, generally will be more comfortable for longer rides--without knowing your riding experience and how much you both ride now.
    -frames that can take 28mm tires at the minimum to me is a real plus, from the comfort side. I am in my early fifties and appreciate my light tourer that I ride with 28mm all the time on. Still reasonably quick but lower pressures=more comfort overall.
    -frame material, my specialized Tricross is aluminum framed and carbon fork, my wifes entry level road bike is same, and with good tire and tire pressure choices, both our bikes are comfortable for both of us (subjective of course, and very much dependant on how regularly you ride also).
    -gearing--very important. As mentioned, a triple crank is always going to get your lower gearing, but it certainly is true that there are less bikes out there with them, pretty much tourers only. Options include looking into bikes that can get diff rear derailleurs put on and therefore larger cassettes, but this can pose certain issues and also you get into the whole bike store employees telling you "sure, the gearing on this bike will be fine for you" sort of thing, which may or may not be the case.
    -re same bikes, I agree that really the only thing that could be an advantage is if both are 9 speed, or 10 , and both have same tire size (tubes) but then, if you never do your own bike repair stuff, then its kind of a moot point if you take the bike into the shop for anything. Tire size might be handy for not having to think of diff spare tubes though.

    *seems to me the most important thing is you and your wifes riding comfort: so frame riding position, handlebar postion and proper reach seat to bars, frame allowing slightly wider tires 28 minimum, and gearing that realistically works for both of you (and not a 20 something store employee) so that with a certain amount of stuff in small panniers or a rack box, you can both easily ride up steep hills while still keeping a good cadence and being easier on your knees.

    re triples, I honestly think the bike industry needs to look at taking away triples, partly because of the large numbers of riders that are older, perhaps dont ride that often, and would simply enjoy riding more if their bikes have triples on them that allow lower gearing. I've never owned a light road bike, and usually ride with a pannier on (lunch in it, some extra clothes, whatever) and with my minimum 26lb bike, having a triple on it is just so nice as the gearing works for fast riding and for getting up any hill while keeping my knees happy.

    good luck with getting ideas and perhaps dropping into stores and just looking at stuff to help form some ideas on options. My feel is that a mid priced bike for your wife would work perfectly well, if it fits and gearing can be low enough for all situations.
    And as mentioned, and use the extra money for enjoyable trip expenses.

  21. #21
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    I did camping tours on my Felt F-80.

    Have Fun









    Mailed the tent home.

    The Seat post rack is a good choice.

    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 01-31-16 at 09:03 AM.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
    Is steel the only way to go? My Surly is steel and it rides like a jeep. What about a good aluminum road bike? I did look at two composite bikes ( specialized and trek) but it was clear that a rear rack could only carry a few pounds. Are the composite bikes out there that are designed for a rear rack? My guess is that I would not exceed about 15 lbs. Also any advice on gear sets? Road or Mt Bike? I see a number of touring companies using Cannondale Synapse as their rental bike....is that a good bike. Sorry for all the newbie questions.
    You shouldn't judge the steel bikes that people have suggested by the Surly. The Surly is designed to ride like a jeep because it is designed to take weight. These other bikes are designed differently and will handle more quickly.

    More to the point, what you should focus on is the tire size. If the bike can only take a 23c or a 25c, you may find it rides more harshly than you like. There is a trade off. Skinny tires are great if you're moving at a very reasonable clip; that forces you to shift some of the weight off your butt and on to the bars and pedals. Going more slowly (which is typical for a tour, not for everyone though), there's a lot to be said for a 28c or even a 32c and perhaps fenders. Everything else being equal, a larger volume tire is cushier and will handle rough road surfaces better. Nor does a quality larger volume tire slow you down; there are some studies suggesting that they do not slow you down. There are threads here where people argue back and forth between the relative merits of different tires sizes but the bottom line is that everything else being equal a larger volume tire is cushier and will handle rough roads better. There is a reason why the old school racing bikes could take fatter tires than modern bikes (to deal with poor roads) and there is a reason why the pros are moving to a bit wider tire as well.

    So focus on the tire size and the gearing.

    The classic sports touring bikes tend to be steel. If looking for alternative frame materials, I'd look for bikes that are marketed as gravel bikes as they can take a fatter tire. The gearing may not be what you want, though. These are more race oriented bikes.

    If you don't want steel, I'd look for something that can take a rack and fenders. You may choose not to use them but you really want that kind of versatility.

    You could check out a bike like the trek crossrip ltd, trek crossrip ltd, http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bi...p/1378000-2016

    Aluminum frame, takes a fat tire, fenders, rack, and has pretty reasonable gearing. Personally though I'd want something with a bit wider range of gearing; YMMV.
    Last edited by bikemig; 01-31-16 at 09:17 AM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Here is a thread I started on classic (read vintage) sports touring bikes: Show your classic sports touring bicycle

    I'm not suggesting that you buy a vintage sports touring bike. I'm suggesting that these bikes are designed for the kind of riding you want to do and you might get some ideas from the thread for what you want in a modern bike.

  24. #24
    Senior Member cyber.snow's Avatar
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    I really appreciate all the advice and have decided to do the next cc tour using my felt. It is aluminum, triple crank, 105 gear set, and runs 28mm tires with room for larger. I did go test ride a Trek 720 but there was no way to get in a decent ride on it to see how it really handles unloaded. The Surly loaded road really well and you could tell it designed for that purpose...it just doesn't seem like I will be doing enough fully loaded riding to warrant keeping it around. As for the riding partner, I will let her continue to ride her Trek 7.4X as it has been fitted to her and she seems to love it. For touring, she will have Deore level gear set and I will be running 105...do I need to reconsider?
    Life should not be measured by how many breaths you take but how many moments have taken your breath away.

  25. #25
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
    I really appreciate all the advice and have decided to do the next cc tour using my felt. It is aluminum, triple crank, 105 gear set, and runs 28mm tires with room for larger. I did go test ride a Trek 720 but there was no way to get in a decent ride on it to see how it really handles unloaded. The Surly loaded road really well and you could tell it designed for that purpose...it just doesn't seem like I will be doing enough fully loaded riding to warrant keeping it around. As for the riding partner, I will let her continue to ride her Trek 7.4X as it has been fitted to her and she seems to love it. For touring, she will have Deore level gear set and I will be running 105...do I need to reconsider?
    I'd say not. 105 is excellent and there's nothing wrong with Deore. 32 mm tyres are more than adequate for on-road touring and gravel paths. And road bikes are remarkably versatile, you'll be fine.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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