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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 11-29-05, 01:03 PM   #1
squire
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Touring bike frame question?

Assuming it is not a "?mart" bike. Do bike frame really break that often? Can't a $400 bike from the LBS be built into a "loaded tourer", wheels and components not withstanding...........Sam
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Old 11-29-05, 02:11 PM   #2
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I don't think frame breakage is the issue. What is very difficult to find is a $400 bike that has suitable touring geometry and all the brazeons for front and rear racks, 3 bottles, and fenders. All of these can be rigged, of course (except the geometry).
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Old 11-29-05, 02:16 PM   #3
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My wifes, Trek 2006 7.2 WSD, less than $400. Geometry very close to the 520.
42-32-22 with 11-32 8 speed, brooks saddle, tubus racks and butterfly bars.
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Old 11-29-05, 02:18 PM   #4
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For a lot less money you can pick up a suitable, old rigid mountain bike and turn into a full tourer with some tinkering....

Last edited by roadfix; 11-29-05 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 11-29-05, 02:20 PM   #5
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If you want a touring frame on the cheap, avoid the department stores and buy a Kona Dew. If you add drop bars and DiaCompe 287V levers with some bar-end friction shifters, you've got a well made, durable, comfortable tourer for about $400 (after you sell the stock MTB bars, shifters, and brake levers on e-Bay).
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Old 11-29-05, 03:00 PM   #6
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For $400 you should be able to find a good used bike on Ebay or Craigslist.
A few examples:

http://cgi.ebay.com/TREK-520-ROAD-BI...QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com/Nashbar-Touring-...QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com/New-KHS-Montana-...QQcmdZViewItem

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Old 11-29-05, 03:04 PM   #7
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I keep hearing that steel is the way to go with a touring frame. Myth or truth?
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Old 11-29-05, 03:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ellenDSD
I keep hearing that steel is the way to go with a touring frame. Myth or truth?
Both myth and truth! Steel is an excellent material for bicycle frames, but design plays a larger role than materials in final performance.

I could buy a steel "water pipe" frame from a department store and (despite being steel) the frame wouldn't be half as good for touring as a well-made aluminum frame.

Good touring frames can be made from any material commonly used for bike frames - steel, aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber, or any mix of the above. It is the design that makes for a good touring frame.

What design characteristics are desired? That is a debatable question, but IMHO, the following are important:

1. Sufficient strength for loaded touring - many "racing" frames are built with little or no safety factor in terms of the load they can bear without failure. A touring frame must be robust enough to tolerate anticipated loads with a generous safety factor.

2. Relaxed frame angles - Most road bicycles built today (and for the past decade or two) have head-tubes and seat-tubes built with extremely upright angles relative to the horizontal. These bikes with 73 and even 74 degree tube angles will steer extremely "fast" which is of advantage to a racer trying to avoid a pile of spilled riders in front of her/him. The lack of "hands-off" stability of such upright angles make for a very twitchy ride when trying to do loaded touring, however. Fast steering is a menace to the touring rider, who is better served by 71.5 to 72.5 degree frame angles.

3. Generous wheelbase - Most road bicycles built today (and for the past decade or two) have extremely little fork rake and very short chain-stays (typically 41 or 42 cm). The short wheelbase that these design choices produce again provides twitchy steering that does not serve the tourist well. Longer chain-stays allow panniers to be fitted without the risk of heel-strike, also.

4. Adequate fittings for panniers, multiple water bottles, front racks, and (preferably) spoke-holders - Most road bicycles (as mentioned repeatedly above) come with a complement of fittings that are appropriate for racers - not tourists. The additional fittings should be part of the frame construction and not bolted on as an afterthought.

If I were to specify an ideal touring frame for myself (may not apply to you at all), I'd want the following:

71.5 degree head angle
72 degree seat angle
48 cm chain stays with generous fork rake
carbon fork and seat stays
titanium tubing for the main triangle

Such a bike is NOT the best choice for most tourists. Since I have "clown feet" (size 13) the extra-long chain stays are needed to avoid heel strike on panniers. The laid-back angles accommodate riding on both paved roads and gravel/dirt. The carbon fork and seat-stays (hopefully) provide some flex at the expense of power transfer to provide a supple ride while maintaining light weight.

Your money - your choice.

Last edited by FarHorizon; 11-29-05 at 03:47 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-29-05, 07:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by FarHorizon
Both myth and truth! Your money - your choice.
Thank you for the information - a great help
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Old 11-29-05, 07:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ellenDSD
Thank you for the information - a great help
And worth every penny you paid for it! Jest aside - happy shopping & try before you buy!
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