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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Building a Rails to Trails tourer?

    I honestly donít need another bike, BUT Iíve found myself wondering if I could build a decent inexpensive Rails to Trails tourer. Iíd like to build a comfortable bike, capable of riding the C&O, Allegheny Trail, Greenbrier River Trail and many other unpaved trails.
    I rode a section of the C&O on my full suspension MTB with BOB trailer, but Iíd really
    like to simplify, with a bike built to carry my camping gear.

    Of course, part of this is just to have the satisfaction of building my own bike. Iíve never tried building up a bike and Iím not much of a mechanic, but I can turn a wrench and follow instructions.
    Iíd like to keep the cost as low as possible. My S.O. is pretty understanding, but after buying two new recumbents this year I donít want to ďpush the envelopeĒ so to speak.

    Nashbar is selling a MTB frame for $79...

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

    Would this be a good start? Could I build this up to an inexpensive off road tourer or would I be better off buying a Surly LHT frame and starting from there. Iím not even sure what a LHT frame sells for, but after looking at bikes made by Fixer and eofelis I find myself drooling and wanting to build my own rig.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim827
    I honestly donít need another bike, BUT Iíve found myself wondering if I could build a decent inexpensive Rails to Trails tourer. Iíd like to build a comfortable bike, capable of riding the C&O, Allegheny Trail, Greenbrier River Trail and many other unpaved trails.
    I rode a section of the C&O on my full suspension MTB with BOB trailer, but Iíd really
    like to simplify, with a bike built to carry my camping gear.

    Of course, part of this is just to have the satisfaction of building my own bike. Iíve never tried building up a bike and Iím not much of a mechanic, but I can turn a wrench and follow instructions.
    Iíd like to keep the cost as low as possible. My S.O. is pretty understanding, but after buying two new recumbents this year I donít want to ďpush the envelopeĒ so to speak.

    Nashbar is selling a MTB frame for $79...

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

    Would this be a good start? Could I build this up to an inexpensive off road tourer or would I be better off buying a Surly LHT frame and starting from there. Iím not even sure what a LHT frame sells for, but after looking at bikes made by Fixer and eofelis I find myself drooling and wanting to build my own rig.

    Any suggestions?
    The Nashbar frame might not be the best because it doesn't appear to have eyelets. Look at the Nashbar touring frame. You could build it with flat bars and make it a "29er" wannabe. I've ridden railtrails (and parts of the C&O) on rigid bikes and it's not impossible. Not as comfortable as a bike with suspension but okay.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  3. #3
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim827
    Could I build this up to an inexpensive off road tourer or would I be better off buying a Surly LHT frame and starting from there. Iím not even sure what a LHT frame sells for, but after looking at bikes made by Fixer and eofelis I find myself drooling and wanting to build my own rig.

    Any suggestions?

    Surly LHT frame/fork is abour $400. Any bike shop can order one for you. I have 2 Surlys now and I'm quite pleased with the quality for the price.
    Gunnar Sport
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  4. #4
    Climb on my trusty steed BeTheChange's Avatar
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    Yeah, I broke my trek 520 frame and built up a LHT with the parts. I like the LHT for touring much more. It is more upright and comfortable for many miles in the saddle. It really was a well thought out frame geometry for touring, the best I've ridden so far. And with the LHT people know you had to build it up so it shows you know your stuff (at least a little). Also the LHT has some cool spoke holders on the chain stay. When I get some time I need to get some spokes to put in them. It will also fit some pretty large tires so not a problem for non paved trails.
    "You must be the change you want to see in the world."
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  5. #5
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Another option is an old MTB as a starting point. Here is a thread of a similar project I did a few months ago. I started in a different direction but came across a good old steel MTB that worked out great. Relaxed geometry, rack and fender eyelets and parts useable until upgraded later. So far I have used the bike for a long ride on the Silver Comet, exploring dirt roads, easy rides around town and even a little easy single track and off road riding just to see if it could do it . It did just fine. I spent about $600 total but could have done it for half that by using more of the original parts.
    Dirt Road/Rough Pavement Touring Bike


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  6. #6
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    The Nashbar frame might not be the best because it doesn't appear to have eyelets. Look at the Nashbar touring frame. You could build it with flat bars and make it a "29er" wannabe. I've ridden railtrails (and parts of the C&O) on rigid bikes and it's not impossible. Not as comfortable as a bike with suspension but okay.
    Look closer. It's got eyelets. Even with the matching Nashbar fork, it's significantly cheaper than the touring frame (and it comes with a free seatpost!) I think it sounds like a perfect rail/trail tourer on a budget.

  7. #7
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfspeed
    Look closer. It's got eyelets. Even with the matching Nashbar fork, it's significantly cheaper than the touring frame (and it comes with a free seatpost!) I think it sounds like a perfect rail/trail tourer on a budget.
    It looks like it has rack mounts on the chainstays and I might even be able to see a threaded boss on the drive side but I can't see anything on the right side except the disc tabs. It does say that it has rack mounts in the write up information but that can mean anything. If it has rack mounts on both sides, I'd agree on it being a good choice.

    Jim827: Give them a call and see if it has rack mounts on both sides. If it does, drop the hammer!
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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