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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 08-29-05, 08:02 PM   #1
1-track-mind
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Mtb touring

I'm curious if anyone has done a MTB/trailer tour (on gravel/rails to trails whenever possible) and hitting campgrounds adjacent to good mountain biking trails along the way. The idea would be to tour one day, camp, unhook the trailer and mountain bike on trails the next over a week or two.
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Old 08-29-05, 08:21 PM   #2
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Howdy -
I've toured for more than 15 years on a modified Trek 8000 with panniers - not a trailer. Anyway, I've done lots of dirt roads in the process, including some pretty extreme ones like the Morrison Grade up to the Beartooth Highway, Skutumpah Road and some spur trails in Grand Escalante, and lots of remote forest roads in British Columbia. You go slower, but the trade-offs in scenery and quiet are more than worth it. Here's a pic of a BC forest road. Best - John
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Old 08-29-05, 08:28 PM   #3
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Do you use a typical knobby tire or a partial slick for MTB touring. I have been thinking about his as well as my hunting cabin is within 1 day of riding and is off road by a mile. Isn't conducive of a slick on the road bike but was thinking if I went with a on/off road MTB tire it would work, what is your opinion?
Stacey
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Old 08-29-05, 08:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Staceyfb
Do you use a typical knobby tire or a partial slick for MTB touring. I have been thinking about his as well as my hunting cabin is within 1 day of riding and is off road by a mile. Isn't conducive of a slick on the road bike but was thinking if I went with a on/off road MTB tire it would work, what is your opinion?
Stacey
I was thinking about two sets, slicks for touring on gravel, knobby for trails and switch em out each day, but it would be nice to find someting in between.

Thanks for sharing the pic of BC ! Nice.
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Old 08-29-05, 09:56 PM   #5
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performance versatrak gt/k is a decent compromise. size is 26x2.0
has some moderate profile on the sides, with a raised center tread for
smooth (quiet), fast road riding.

and can't beat the price at $12 each.
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Old 08-30-05, 08:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawani
Howdy -
I've toured for more than 15 years on a modified Trek 8000 with panniers - not a trailer. Anyway, I've done lots of dirt roads in the process, including some pretty extreme ones like the Morrison Grade up to the Beartooth Highway, Skutumpah Road and some spur trails in Grand Escalante, and lots of remote forest roads in British Columbia. You go slower, but the trade-offs in scenery and quiet are more than worth it. Here's a pic of a BC forest road. Best - John
I have an older rigid MTB-Giant ATX 780 (cro mo/caliper brakes).
Leaning toward a Burley nomad but could get a Bob.
I'd be interested in hearing about your modifications/suggestions.
Thanks.
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Old 08-30-05, 10:05 AM   #7
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Just something to think about..........
The road/tour portions of the ride will be beyond ponderous
on the MTB. If the ratio of your riding favors the 'tour' type
stuff you might think of a cyclocross bike.
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Old 08-30-05, 10:20 AM   #8
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In response to above -
The major change was switching out the straignt handlebars to dropbars which are a huge improvement over drop ends if you are doing any distance at all. You need to consider the stem as well to make sure you have a comfortable fit. As for things being ponderous on MTBs - - it's all in your perspective. There's no need to buy a bike that is "perfect" for your perceived needs when you can simply make a few modifications to your current bike - - if -- you are willing to accept a few trade-offs. I do thousands of miles of touring on 1.95 tires. Usually I try to get them with a center bead and small side knobbies - but sometimes I've had to get full knobbies when I had a sidewall split with limited tire choices in small towns. And I still managed to get where I was going perfectly okay. I feel this site tends to be too product oriented - as is most of American society today. There are many ways to do what you want to do - and you don't have to spend a fortune to do it. Best - J
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Old 08-30-05, 06:48 PM   #9
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"The road/tour portions of the ride will be beyond ponderous on the MTB."

i don't understand...there really is very little difference between a touring
road bike and a touring mtb. they use the exact same components...same
brakes, same deraillers, same gearing, same saddle. and they carry the same
amount of gear. sure, you get drop bars on the road bike, but rarely use
them. bar ends on the mtb give you optional hand placement. wheel size is
different, but not enough to make a difference when loaded. mtb gets a
smooth center bead, road bike gets a cross tire....same effect on the road
and on hard-packed dirt surfaces. you might see a 1-2mph drop in speed
with the mtb, not enough to make a difference, even on a long tour, but you
will still extend the range of possible terrain/road conditions.

on tour, i cover the same distance (85-100 miles/day) in about the same
time (6-8 hours with breaks) regardless of bike.
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Old 08-30-05, 09:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawani
I feel this site tends to be too product oriented - as is most of American society today. There are many ways to do what you want to do - and you don't have to spend a fortune to do it.
This is so true. Earlier this month I visited Charlevoix, and travelled virtually the same route by car as I did by bicycle three years ago. I have since bought a custom touring machine with all the bells and whistles, but back in 2002 I was riding my then 17-year-old touring bike.

Retracing my steps this year, and seeing impossibly steep hills, winding roads, and unpaved shoulders along busy highways, I had trouble believing that I had actually covered the same ground on a relatively heavy machine (by today's standards) still equipped with many of its original parts (which were adequate but hardly state-of-the-art back in 1985). I now know that its frame that was too large for my body and I had positioned the seat too high and too far back. Nevertheless, the bike was a gas to ride because it was well-maintained, well-tuned, and well-suited to touring. (Itís even better now that I have found a better seat position!)

Touring is only peripherally related to the geometry of the bicycle frame or the quality of components. For me, bicycle touring is mostly about the pleasures and adventures of self-propelling travel.
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Old 08-31-05, 05:12 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
Just something to think about..........
The road/tour portions of the ride will be beyond ponderous
on the MTB.
Did you mean beyond Ponderosa, as in way out in the sticks with Hoss and Little Joe on mountain bikes ?
Now that's an image to ponder.

What about running Specialized Armadillo Nimbus 1.5 on a MTB tour ?

Last edited by 1-track-mind; 08-31-05 at 05:18 AM.
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Old 08-31-05, 08:36 AM   #12
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I expected to take a little heat for my 'MTB / Ponderous-a' stuff but
that is just my experience. Not meant to offend or be antagonistical.
My MTB is great in the mountains but painfully slow / plodding etc on
the road. I can feel huge amounts of energy just disappearing with each
pedal stroke sort of like gas in a Hummer...........a lot to go a little
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Old 08-31-05, 09:08 AM   #13
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I put Continental Sport Contact tires on my MTB (they are only 1.3" wide with little tread). What a difference! I now find little difference in riding efficiency between my MTB and my Trek 520.
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Old 08-31-05, 09:34 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Doug Campbell
I put Continental Sport Contact tires on my MTB (they are only 1.3" wide with little tread). What a difference! I now find little difference in riding efficiency between my MTB and my Trek 520.
Thanks. How do they hold up on gravel roads ?
I also wonder if anyone has tried a suspension seat post for touring. I put one on a couple weeks ago on my hardtail and really like it.

Last edited by 1-track-mind; 08-31-05 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 08-31-05, 01:21 PM   #15
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With regard to gravel roads, I guess it depands on what you mean by gravel. As I said there is very little tread on them. Other than that the Contact is a tough tire. It even has kevlar reinfocement for help prevent punctures. Continental makes Contact (as oppossed to Sport Contact) tires that are designed for city travel and have more tread. I have a set of those on my 520 and love them too.
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Old 08-31-05, 02:44 PM   #16
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The Specialized Armadillos (kevlar) are pretty tough. I have a set on my 520 right now because I was riding a lot of dirt and gravel roads in the Northwest last year with it. They roll really well on pavement and seem bulletproof.
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Old 08-31-05, 02:45 PM   #17
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The Specialized Nimbus Armadillos (kevlar) are pretty tough. I have a set on my 520 right now because I was riding a lot of dirt and gravel roads in the Northwest last year with it. They roll really well on pavement and seem bulletproof.

I have also toured on a mountain bike with similar tires and covered 60-80 miles/day average no problems. The biggest influence on your efficiency will definitely be the tires you choose, your mtn bike will do fine.

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