I know i've seen this thread in the past, but i've never been satisfied with the answer. I'm looking to go on a good month tour or so with paniers and a rack and all. Do you think i can manage it? Is the bike too cheap to be loaded that heavily? Is there an equally cheap touring model bike?
I had a trek 1000, and now own a trek 1200 and trek 520 (their loaded touring model).
I think it would be hard to carry a full load on a trek 1000. By that I mean carry a tent, sleeping bag, food, clothes, tools, supplies, etc. You can put a rear rack on it (I did), but the bike has short chainstays, so it's hard to put large panniers on it. I don't know if it's possible to put a rack and panniers on the front.
The gearing on the bike may not be low enough depending on how much you carry, how steep and long the hills, and your own physical condition.
Finally, the way the brakes are setup, you won't be able to put wider tires on it. Carrying a full load often requires wide tires (700x32 or larger) to cushion the ride and prevent pinch flats.
Now if you want to ride light, just carrying a change or two of clothes and staying at motels, then the bike might be OK.
I think Fuji and Bianchi have less expensive touring bikes. The Trek 520 runs over
$1000 these days.
I looked at doing this recently. I went to my LBS and bolted on a rack, hung my REI panniers, and fitted my touring sandals. I use a size 45 exustar SPD sandal, and could avoid heal strike. The front fork is carbon, so the guy said absolutely no front rack. The gearing seemed okay, and they (the LBS) assured me that 700 x 28 tires would fit (although I did not try).
My trips are in the 3 – 5 day time frame, so I would be packing a lighter load than you. It seemed doable, but I ended up picking up a REI Randonee for a bit more money. This seems more appropriate for my use. Still not quite the gearing I would spec if I was starting from scratch, but seems okay.
I've had an old Trek 1000 sitting in my basement for years. I've got a rear rack on it and used to carry stuff in panniers on this bike years ago, though I don't think I ever did anything more than a long weekend trip on it. But if I HAD to, or WANTED to, I wouldn't hesitate to head off for a month on this bike. With my own Trek 1000, my biggest concern would be the narrow tires and the gearing-the lack of a triple chainring. Both of those can be modified to some degree, however. Anyway, I don't see what the big deal is. What are you specifically concerned about?
I once flew off to Germany for a month-long tour with a German friend. The airline lost my bike and it was never found. My friend was hit by a car the year before, and although he wasn't hurt, his bike was damaged. It was an old Raleigh, and he had bought a new bike after the accident. We got his old Raleigh out. I had to get a new rear wheel, and there was some visible damage to the frame, but the bike was perfectly rideable with a new wheel. Oh, it was far too big for me, as my friend is much taller than me. My leg extension was OK with the seat as far down as it would go. (at my present age, my biggest concern would be the incorrect frame size, but I was young, stupid, and my knees could take the too big frame then). Anyway, we went off for a month of superb riding in France--Auvergne, Dordogne, Pyrenees, a bit of Spain. One of the best trips I ever took, and no shortage of hills and mountains. The bike was a half-broken piece of crap, but it was still a bike and it worked. Your Trek 1000 sounds like it is in better working condition than that old Raleigh was.
My TREK 1000 loaded with 35 pounds of traveling gear and self , 180 pounds, did 3500KMs last summer in Europe, had handlebar bag an 2 rear panniers by Lone Peak.
Minor break adjustments and ONE flat tire with stock tires by Bontrager. I bought front racks and panniers in Berlin about 1/2 way into the trip, may have added an additional 10 pounds, bike performed like the champ it is.
Used it on the PCH last October, still a champ no flats no probs