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  1. #1
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    road bike or Mountain Bike??

    what bike would be better to carry all my gear on for two weeks riding from Canada to California?? I have a mountain bike and everyone I know that has done it has used mountain bikes but I just dont know witch would work better. Please give me some answers.

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikr Beast
    what bike would be better to carry all my gear on for two weeks riding from Canada to California?? I have a mountain bike and everyone I know that has done it has used mountain bikes but I just dont know witch would work better. Please give me some answers.
    You can tour on just about anything you like, even a unicycle. There are trade-offs however. First is your mountain bike a hardtail or dually? If it's a dually, do you really want to carry all that technology (i.e. weight) that you will hardly use? If it's a hardtail, do you need the front shock? Does it have a lockout? Can you put racks on it or do you want to use a trailer?

    If you use a road bike, are you planning doing any off-road riding? Not just dirt roads but trail riding. Touring off-road can be a lot of fun but not necessarily on a heavy ridgid loaded touring bike.

    Here's my take on it. (This is only my opinion.) If you plan on taking a route that includes lots of dirt roads and backwoods riding, take a mountain bike. Put barends on it and use a trailer. This kind of touring can be very challenging and a lot of fun. You want to put barends so that you can change your hand positions often so that you don't compress the nerves in your hands. This can lead to a temporary annoyance at the least and permanent damage at the worst. Even if you use a mountain bike on the road, get barends or another handlebar so that you can change your hand positions often.

    If you are taking a route that is all, or mostly pavement, use a touring bike. Not a cross bike or a racing bike but a classic long wheel base touring bike. With panniers. They handle loads better, the footprint is smaller and, at the end of the day, your tender bits will like you a whole lot better

    Can you use a trailer with a road bike? Yes you can, but I've never liked the feeling that a trailer gives a bike, especially not the single wheeled ones. They tend to push the bike around in a manner that I find unpleasant. Other people have had luck with them but they are just not my cup of tea.

    As for the unicycle...no you can't touring on that. Your mother said you'd put your eye out
    Stuart Black
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    I would recommend a mtn bike with street tires, I use the Armadillo hemispheres and carry your gear on a trailer, I like the BOB. At intersections there is often gravel and other debris that, IMO, would be somewhat dangerous on skinny road tires.

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gqsmoothie
    I would recommend a mtn bike with street tires, I use the Armadillo hemispheres and carry your gear on a trailer, I like the BOB. At intersections there is often gravel and other debris that, IMO, would be somewhat dangerous on skinny road tires.
    Debris isn't that big of deal on most touring bikes. A good 28mm or wider (I use 37mm on my Cannondale) are very surefooted. The only time I've crashed a loaded touring bike was this summer when my daughter stopped too short and I clipped her panniers. I use the same tires for winter commuting and haven't had a problem with them on sandy roads. They also did a remarkable job on the Katy and Steamboat Trails.
    Stuart Black
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    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.
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  5. #5
    Yet another vegan biker
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    I would recommend a mtn bike with street tires, I use the Armadillo hemispheres and carry your gear on a trailer, I like the BOB. At intersections there is often gravel and other debris that, IMO, would be somewhat dangerous on skinny road tires.
    My daily commute takes me over 4 miles of gravel roads. I've yet to have any troubles from my Vittoria Zaffiro road tires.

    I like how the light tires/wheels take the hills.

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    Senior Member BikePackin's Avatar
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    What I have found, for me, to be best is as follows:
    > ATB/MtB
    > Tires = ... Specialized.com 's Hemisphere were menitoned in an earlier post - I am on my second pair / this time the Hemisphere EX (26x1.95) with their brand new "2006 model" reflective silver 1/4" stripe on the side wall. It does have the Flak Jackets in the treads. This model does NOT have the Armadillo Technology in the side walls, nor (thank The Lord) does it have the red-ish side walls - they are black.
    > Low gearing - all the way down to 17 chain inches (because I ride alot in the Blue Ridge Mt.s). Many people ovetly and covertly laugh at me for having gearing this low - so be prepared for abuse if you go for it.... I have installed the "Mega-Range" ring on at least two of my bikes to get me down to those 'lowly places' :- ).
    > High gearing - don't need anything above 100 chain inches.
    > Panniers - Orleib - their all weather 'models.'
    > Frame is an REI Novara Safari.
    > I have a Soft-Ride Stem under the handlebars.
    > I have a spring loaded saddle stem.
    Have a safe run to Cal.

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    I am looking on riding from Erie, PA to Partsmouth NH this summer and was wondering what type of bicycle would be the best choice. I have never done a long ride like this before but really want to do it. I currently have an older moutain bike abut am looking at buying a touring bike for around 600-800$ is this neccesary and what would be a good choice for a bike. I am currently looking at a Corrida ultimate 6.6 for 699$ Anyone with any opinions I would love to hear from you.

    Ben

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    Senior Member BikePackin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bennyd3000
    I am looking on riding from Erie, PA to Partsmouth NH this summer and was wondering what type of bicycle would be the best choice. I have never done a long ride like this before but really want to do it. I currently have an older moutain bike abut am looking at buying a touring bike for around 600-800$ is this neccesary and what would be a good choice for a bike. I am currently looking at a Corrida ultimate 6.6 for 699$ Anyone with any opinions I would love to hear from you.
    Ben
    Yo Ben,
    I know that you asked about a BIKE; however, since you mentioned you have never bagged a ride as long as this before please give me license to mention a BOOK, instead - cause it can make the trip better irrespective of whatever BIKE you judge as best for you:
    The Essential Touring Cyclist. ISBN: 0-07-038849-0. I find myself reviewing it over and over about every 2 years (Full disclosure comment: I have zero vested interest in the sale of this reference text).
    Fred.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikr Beast
    what bike would be better to carry all my gear on for two weeks riding from Canada to California?? I have a mountain bike and everyone I know that has done it has used mountain bikes but I just dont know witch would work better. Please give me some answers.
    I used a "mountain bike" for my 2,500 mile tour in 2005. (The dealer called in a "comfort bike," meaning I guess that the handlebars can be brought fully up or down to accomodate any rider. Other than that, it seems to be just a normal mountain bike without the fancy stuff, like shocks.)

    Anyway, here's what I like about it, although anyone's opinions on this stuff might be considered only subjective:

    * 26" rims kept the load closer to ground; hence, the bike was easier to control.

    * Fatter tires (1.4 or 1.5) also provided better control considering the added load. Even better, I had only three flats in 2,500 miles (due to much more tread on the road), as opposed to many cyclists I met riding road bikes who told me they were fixing flats quite often. By the way, cheaper tires held up just as well as expensives tires like the Continental Ts, which are just over rated to me.

    * The added "toughness" of the bike, I think, caused only a few spokes to give way during my tour. Again, road bikes with thin tires experienced this problem much more often.

    * I rode on some pretty tough, bumpy stuff on occasion, like the 16 mile downhill into Damascus, VA on railroad bed. Nothing bad happened to the bike; I doubt the lightweights could have handled it as well.

    On the other hand, there were a few things I didn't like:

    * The heavier bike, fatter tires, and 26" rims reduced my speed.

    * The same hand position used most of the time on the flat handlebars caused by arms, wrists, or hands to sometimes ache. I have bar ends but found them difficult to get used to.

    If I could afford another bike, I would definitely consider a real touring bike for the added speed, mainly.

  10. #10
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    ^^^^ I might respectfully diverge from the majority here....
    I commute on both MTB and a CycloCross bike with 700x28's.
    Ive even changed the MTB tires to low rolling resistant tread
    patterned 26x1.50 's and it is still PONDEROUSLY slow
    compared to the Cyclo-X.
    For me, no other choice ! The bike with the 700x28's !

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    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=-
    ^^^^ I might respectfully diverge from the majority here....
    I commute on both MTB and a CycloCross bike with 700x28's.
    Ive even changed the MTB tires to low rolling resistant tread
    patterned 26x1.50 's and it is still PONDEROUSLY slow
    compared to the Cyclo-X.
    For me, no other choice ! The bike with the 700x28's !
    Your post makes me wonder just how much faster I could ride on 28s. (My bike can't accept them, however.) On my last tour, I sometimes rode with another touring cyclist who had 28s. The person almost always left me in the dust without straining--just pedaling along easily and naturally. I am an older cyclist (now 54), and not in the best of shape but not in the worst either, so I figured those were the main reasons that most cyclists (most were younger, fitter) overtook me. Just how much does the difference in wheel size affect speed?

  12. #12
    Yet another vegan biker
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    I am an older cyclist (now 54), and not in the best of shape but not in the worst either, so I figured those were the main reasons that most cyclists (most were younger, fitter) overtook me. Just how much does the difference in wheel size affect speed?
    I only have a computer on my mt bike, but I know that it feels like I'm flying when I hop on my 1977 Fuji road bike. I run (27") 1 1/4" Vittoria tires on the roadie. The mt bike sports a 1.4 Richey slick with 1.5 Geax Roadster in front.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by David in PA
    Your post makes me wonder just how much faster I could ride on 28s. (My bike can't accept them, however.) On my last tour, I sometimes rode with another touring cyclist who had 28s. The person almost always left me in the dust without straining--just pedaling along easily and naturally. I am an older cyclist (now 54), and not in the best of shape but not in the worst either, so I figured those were the main reasons that most cyclists (most were younger, fitter) overtook me. Just how much does the difference in wheel size affect speed?
    David, people who know much more about science related things have different
    thoeries on this and have presented scientific evidance that actually suggests
    that there should be no difference in the speed of bikes due to wheel size. Im
    actually surprised this inquiry didnt get any of them to answer. If you can wade
    through the zillions of posts that come up when you do a search Im sure you will find
    a previous thread on this somewhere though. My 'proof' is only the way I interprit
    my ride. But, to me its real and means more than theory. I think my C-Xross bike,
    over the course of a day would have signifigantly more, and energy economical miles
    on it at the end of a touring day. I just bought a great old Motobecane for my new winter
    beater at a yard sale for 5.00. It has 27"ers which are about 4mm taller than 700's.
    Maybe you could look for something like this before making a huge expendature ??
    I love cycling in Vermont, very beautiful and bike friendly but I miss alot about PA too...

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    I'm one of the theory camp, I can't see how a 4% (max) difference in wheel circumference would make any noticeable difference in speed. ("All things being equal", of course.)

    But ya can't argue with 'practice'. The problem is, a sample size of two isn't proof, in my mind.

    Case in point. My trusty steed is a Nishiki Saga (a fine design from 1988), a touring bike based on mtn bike geometry, with 26" wheels. On tours, or in groups of friends, we sometimes crest a hill then test run-out on the descent, to see who goes faster/farther without pedalling. Only friction, wind and rolling resistance involved.

    On my Nishiki, I have never lost. That's against other touring bikes and mtn bikes with 27", 700c, and 26" wheels. I don't even try to "win", it just happens. (I've never been able to keep up with racers, so I don't have any data points there....)

    But I don't consider this an argument for "26inch is faster". There's too many variables: tire pressure, wind cross-section, weight (momentum) of body+bike, hubs, spoke/rim stability, etc etc

    My wife could never keep up with me when she rode her mtn bike (with me on the Nishiki). Now she has a LHT with 26" wheels and she passes me sometimes on the flats. (My Nishiki still 'wins' on the descents.) I'm sure riding position, bike geometry, and gearing have a lot to do with effort and perceived speed.

    It's tough to meet the "all things being equal" test, but I'd bet that a run-out test between two equal bikes would end nose-to-tail, at worst. The problem is that, with 100 bikes, the variation in results would drown out the test with a huge margin of error.

    Ride on.

    -- Mark
    Last edited by EmmCeeBee; 02-01-06 at 09:54 PM.

  15. #15
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Based on a fully-loaded ride from the SF Bay Area to DC, several fully loaded tours in the Sierra Nevadas and the California coast, and a fully supported tour in France, I say go for a purpose-built touring frame. The reason is the frame geometry. You want something with a relatively low bottom bracket (more stable, especially under a load), a longish wheelbase (ditto) and comparitively relaxed frame angles (71 or 72 degrees, not 74), unless its the head angle of a pretty small frame). Mountain bikes will probably have a higher bottom bracket (for ground clearance) that will raise your center of gravity and make you work a little harder to keep your loaded steed under control. Not a big deal for a short ride, but it adds up over the course of a day or a tour. Also, having *any* suspension on the bike, front or back, will (1) add a bunch of useless weight (as opposed to useful extra weight, such as well-placed extra thickness in the donwtube to make the frame stronger and decrease flex int eh bottom bracket area) and (2) absorb some of the pedling energy that you would really rather put into propelling yourself forward. Even if you can lock out the suspension, thereby taking care of problem (2), you still have problem (1).

    As for the wheel size, 26" vs. 700c is not a major issue, IMHO. Width-wise, a 26 x 1-1/4 falls between a 700c x 28 and a 700c x 32, and the 28mm width is as skinny as you would want to use for touring. Wider tires for both are readily available in all kinds of tread configurations (i.e, . I've always toured on 700c, mainly because that was what was on the bike, not because of any strong preference.

    I also think handlebars (drop vs. flat) is a personal decision based on what you are used to and confortable with. I prefer drop bars, but then I am a roadie of long standing who has never been able to get into mountain biking. Nothing against folks who do (I'm not one of *those* roadies), just never got into it. But my roadie ways leave me with a strong personal preference for drop bars. I would agree, though, that if you go with flat bars, but on bar-ends to give the ability to change hand positions regularly.

    Probably more important than any of these factor, though, is your saddle, Make sure you have a saddle under you that you can stand to be on all day today, tomorrow and the next day. 50 miles into a major tour is no place for you to figure out that your butt can't take another second of this.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the help and I'm gonna stick with a mtn Bike

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