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  1. #1
    lev
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    touring on a MTB?? (specialized Rockhopper)

    Hi everyone...just joined the forum so this will be my first thread...before i start, i just want to thank everyone for giving their time and energy to help newbies like me..first, i'll do a quick introduction for everyone..my name is lev and i'm from australia..currently living in japan (about 3.5 years) and just got back into riding again..used to ride a road bike when i was in high school so its been more than a decade.. recently got a specialized rockhopper and been riding for a while and really enjoy the sport..unfortunatley havent been off road many times except for two occasions and am planning to do more in the next few weeks..have been riding my bike on road though almost every day or two, and before that been riding in japan for a while for commuting to work and stuff on a one speed bike (called mama chari in japan..almost everyone has one, and can ride on the sidewalk so pretty safe )

    anyway, will be leaving japan towards the end of the year and thinking about going riding in south east asia for couple of months before heading back home. also will head to hokkaido for 10 days up north of japan this august to go riding in the mountains and camping..my question is, is it possible to do touring with the mountain bike i have? i'm not going to carry too much stuff, as i will be staying at cheap hostels in south east asia and eat at restaurants or shops ..so will be setting up panniers on the back and carry some clothes and spare parts (maybe a small tent just in case). is it possible to tour laos, cambodia, thailand and myanmar with a specialized rockhopper?? do i need any modifications? i really dont want to spend on another bike or too much on modifications as its really expensive here and would like to save money for the trip.. if you have any recommendations i would ve very glad to hear them...
    thanks for all your help in advance..

    ps one other question, how much weight is acceptable to carry on the back panniers on a mountain bike? like i said my bike is an aluminium rockhopper with disc brakes, 2005 model

    thanks all..

  2. #2
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    We have a touring forum, not chasing you away at all, but they might be able to better serve you there. Most people here are agressive riders which creates different geometry needs than a touring bike.

    I can move it for you if you like, then you should get the responses you need?

    Maelstrom
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  3. #3
    lev
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    thanks that would be great if you can...

  4. #4
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Been moved. Seemingly makes more sense in here. Good luck and enjoy the tour

  5. #5
    lev
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    thanks maelstrom..

  6. #6
    No longer in Wimbledon... womble's Avatar
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    I'd say a Rockhopper is almost an ideal touring bike for the areas you mention. A lot of the cycing in SE Asia is going to be on corrugated dirt roads. The fairly upright riding position and ability to mount relatively wide touring tyres is going to stand you in good stead- I would much MUCH RATHER AN MTB than a touring bike where you're going. I've toured in similar terrain and was hugely thankful for having a front suspension bike.

    <I've EDITED the above paragraph as I screwed up a sentence>

    Are you planning on bringing camping gear, or will you be staying in paid accommodation every night? If the latter, you won't need too much gear and can probably get away with just rear panniers. If you're camping, you're going to have to bring a lot more stuff- look into racks by Old Man Mountain for front suspension bikes. Another option is a trailer. However I'd suggest against that route- it's more complex to get onto airlines and loaded panniers make your bike much more comfortable.

    How much weight can the frame take? I don't know, but you're going to reach the rated strength of your racks before you have to worry about that.
    Last edited by womble; 06-28-05 at 05:14 PM.

  7. #7
    Man of Leisure Ivan Hanz's Avatar
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    I've toured on a Rockhopper: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and West Virginia. Different than Myramar and Laos, given, but it works well. Get some Kevlar semi-slicks for tires, like Specialized Nimbus, and good luck! I put drop-bars on cuz I get some kinda carpal-tunnel via straight bars, but I wouldn't suggest that on a budget. Maybe moustache bars, so you can use the same shifters and brakes, but if it doesn't bother you, don't bother. And I don't know, I've had 300 lbs on my bike counting me and gear. Fenders, if you don't have them already, are a nice touch too. They make some for suspension forks which offer pretty good coverage. Take extra spokes, a cassette tool and spoke wrench (among other parts!) Have fun and don't get eaten by a tiger...
    Every time that wheel turns 'round, bound to cover just a little more ground.

  8. #8
    lev
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    thanks guys
    @wombie
    i'm planning on staying at guesthouses and cheap hotels most of the time..but will carry a small tent with me just in case for those times where i cant find a place to stay...apart from that clothes and some equipment....i wont have a tight schedule and dont want to push myself too hard..just want to be able to enjoy exploring away from the crowds..any suggestions for basic crucial camping equipment apart from the tent?? just in case i cant find a place to sleep??

  9. #9
    lev
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    @ivan hanz
    lol...will make sure to avoid tigers and any such wild animals...i'm more worried about snakes...and i come from a country (australia) with the most poisenous animals in the world...lol..i hate snakes...

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    Hey,

    I went about 1500 miles last summer with 2 other people, all on mountain bike frames, mine was a HARO escape 7.2 (aluminum)...We camped and just packing light and only taking rear panniers and a front bag worked out really well. We used Continental Top Touring Pro tires and never got a flat the whole time. Granted it was mostly on paved roads, but there were some sketchy areas too.
    My biggest advice would be to take less than you think you'll need (really regarding clothes and gear mainly). You should have a great time. Good Luck

  11. #11
    No longer in Wimbledon... womble's Avatar
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    Crucial equipment? Possibly a mosquito net that you can hang over a bed or a tree branch. It should fold up to just about nothing. A good 3/4 length Thermarest rolls up to the size of a coke can. I'd even be tempted to do without the tent, unless the one you have is really small. When travelling around Asia, I've usually managed to stay in shelters in villages or school halls rather than rely on a tent.

    I'd also make sure to take some form of water treatment. A friend contracted giardia while riding from Thailand to Tibet- it sounded like a deeply unpleasant experience.

    It's useful if you've got a bike-savvy friend within email/phone and FedEx reach. Modern parts will be hard to get hold of in remote areas. This is only useful if you're going out for an extended trip though.

    Get proper waterproof panniers (eg Ortliebs). SE Asia is too wet to do without them.

    bbbeans advice regarding clothes is good- don't take much, just wash stuff daily. I managed a 3 month trip with 3 shirts, 1 pair of shorts and a pair of light nylon trousers for daily clothing.

  12. #12
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    How practical is a tent in SE asia? Is it better to string a hammock between trees with a mossie net covered by a nylon rain tarp (in UK army terms, a "basha", Australian: hoochie)

    The Rockhooper is a sound tourer. The only upgrade you may want to consider is the bottom bracket. This may be a low-end unit. Better sealed units like the Shimano UN-72 are not expensive.
    I use 2 panniers and a detachable bar bag. Useful for keeping valuable when you leave the bike and as a map holder.

  13. #13
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    How practical is a tent in SE asia? Is it better to string a hammock between trees with a mossie net covered by a nylon rain tarp (in UK army terms, a "basha", Australian: hoochie)

    The Rockhooper is a sound tourer. The only upgrade you may want to consider is the bottom bracket. This may be a low-end unit. Better sealed units like the Shimano UN-72 are not expensive.
    I use 2 panniers and a detachable bar bag. Useful for keeping valuable when you leave the bike and as a map holder.
    From folks I've known that have been there...SE asia can be real wet if you travel during the rainy season. So bring a tent with a good fly and lots of netting if that's when you ride. Big Agnes makes a very light weight, roomy, full netting, 1 man tent called Seedhouse SL under 3 lbs. Also DON't bring a down sleeping bag. A light synthetic bag will be bettter or even a light weight poly blanket/sheet

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    There is a good explaination of lightweight tropical camping at:
    http://hikinghq.net/hammock/hammock.html

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    Personally, I wouldn't bother bringing ANY camping gear to the places you mentioned in SE Asia, and I have toured in both Thailand & Malaysia. Cheap accommodations are readily available, and the climate is not conducive to camping. Have you checked out Mr. Pumpy?

  16. #16
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    If you have to go on bad roads a Rockhopper should be just fine to tour on. The fat tires are harder to push so you just don't go as fast, no biggie.

    Oh I commute about 11-12 miles on my Rockhopper every day, because of bad city streets with lots of railroad tracks to cross. I wrecked my street bike on the rail road tracks.

    Joe
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  17. #17
    lev
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    hey all!
    sorry for responding a couple of days late for those who have responded to my thread..i really do appreciate it and thank you all for the information and helpful tips!...

    well, now i'm definetely considering buying a hammock more than a tent...been checking the sites you have recommended and at the moment leaning more towards clark jungle hammock or hennessy hammocks...i think it makes more sense especially for my needs. as i said, i will mainly stay at hostels and cheap hotels and would only be camping a few times where i cant find accomodation, so a hammock would be the ideal choice. and its also gives me the added security from being above ground away from the snakes.. ..i definetely prefer that for when i go camping back home in australia..

    i would also appreciate if you could give me advice on panniers..i've been reading up on arkel panniers and it seems like most people here on this site are verry happy with this brand..also did some search on the internet with similar results, most sites praise arkel products and customer service. from design point of view, i like the t-42. unfortunately there are no shops here in japan (at least in my area) selling arkel products so i will have to order them on the internet but dont know if it will fit my bike. since i have a 17 inch mtb, will the t-42 be a good fit? i mean for ankle clearence..i know that site says the draw on a peace of cardboard the dimensions and test to see whether there is enough clearence, but i still would like to hear from people who might be using these panniers with a similar mtb...or would the mx-45 panniers which are designed for mtb be better in my case? although i much prefer the design of t-42 with seperate compartments...

    i know i've been asking a lot of questions but i really do appreciate all the help and advice you can give me..

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