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  1. #251
    Enthuasiast norwegianwood's Avatar
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    I am currently planning an extensive three month bicycle tour for the summer of 2014. I was wondering if my lugged 531 steel '86 Raleigh Gran Prix would be an acceptable bicycle. The pedalling would be between sixty and eighty miles a day. I have used the bicycle on Ragbrai and had no problems, soreness, or stiffness. The frame has the appropriate braze on mounts for touring gear. I would rather not buy a new bicycle, as I plan on flying back from my end destination, and although I love my bicycle to an unhealthy degree, I am afraid it will not be returning with me. I put over a thousand mile on this bike and the only trouble I've had was with the wheels (mostly broken spokes) which I intend to replace. The rear deraileur has been replaced with a shimano 600. I believe the geometry of this bike is relaxed enough for my journey but would like a few more opinions. Also of note, this bicycle is only a twelve speed, and any information regarding the ease or difficulty of converting it to an eighteen would be appreciated.

  2. #252
    Senior Member
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    I too, have a similar dilemma. A 12 speed bike means 2 chain rings and it makes it tough to climb hills. It may be more expensive to alter the bike (especially if it is the last journey for that bike) instead of finding an old 80's or 90's mountain bike or hybrid bike with all the gears needed.

  3. #253
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by norwegianwood View Post
    I am currently planning an extensive three month bicycle tour for the summer of 2014. I was wondering if my lugged 531 steel '86 Raleigh Gran Prix would be an acceptable bicycle. The pedalling would be between sixty and eighty miles a day. I have used the bicycle on Ragbrai and had no problems, soreness, or stiffness. The frame has the appropriate braze on mounts for touring gear. I would rather not buy a new bicycle, as I plan on flying back from my end destination, and although I love my bicycle to an unhealthy degree, I am afraid it will not be returning with me. I put over a thousand mile on this bike and the only trouble I've had was with the wheels (mostly broken spokes) which I intend to replace. The rear deraileur has been replaced with a shimano 600. I believe the geometry of this bike is relaxed enough for my journey but would like a few more opinions. Also of note, this bicycle is only a twelve speed, and any information regarding the ease or difficulty of converting it to an eighteen would be appreciated.
    I did my first tour (1,000 miles Pittsburgh to Portland ME) on a Cannondale racing bike that started as a 12 speed. I squeezed in a 7 speed megarange (13-32?) freewheel in the rear and converted the front to a triple with a Shimano Deore compact triple MTB crank (28-38-48). If you do the labor yourself you can get the parts on ebay for little more than $100, and probably less. If you have a basic square taper bottom bracket the parts are readily available. My derailleur was a medium cage already and as long as I did not use the 'bad' combination of little-little and big-big rings I had no problems. I did that is 1991 and am still touring on the same bike (friction shifting). If you like the fit of the bike and ride quality and it is in good shape just upgrade to the parts you need and ride on....

  4. #254
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    There are almost too many to name. And while models change, once one allows for modern componentry touring bikes aren't materially different from their predecessors from many years past, so a lot of the information in this thread, though dated, will be relevant.

    Soma Saga? Kona Sutra? Both pretty solid bikes. If you wanted to go lighter and faster, Raleigh Clubman? Really, there is a lot of choice.

    Lots of choices BUT, most of the choices you have to read about and order from your LBS because they never stock the touring models in the store. Fuji. Trek 510, Bruce Gordon BLT, Raleigh, Dawes, Bob Jackson, Salsa, Surly, all make great touring bikes but you almost always have to order one to try it out because they are never in stock...

  5. #255
    Bike rider alexaschwanden's Avatar
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    Trek 520 is a great bike to buy and try out but i am bias.
    2013 Felt 960 29er MTB. 1,357.4 miles
    2013 Raleigh Revenio 2.0. 986.2miles

  6. #256
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
    Lots of choices BUT, most of the choices you have to read about and order from your LBS because they never stock the touring models in the store. Fuji. Trek 510, Bruce Gordon BLT, Raleigh, Dawes, Bob Jackson, Salsa, Surly, all make great touring bikes but you almost always have to order one to try it out because they are never in stock...
    Touring has always been such a small segment of the overall bicycle market that many shops cannot afford to stock a full line of touring bicycles which would take up space that could be devoted to better selling models... our biggest Trek dealer only has a few 520 models in stock at any given time.

    Surly's model seems to be a little nicer as many dealers carry frames and forks that can be built up in almost any configuration.

    From where we sit, the touring market has been good as it was one of the only areas where a custom (steel) builder could continue to make a good living when the production of road and mountain bikes shifted to aluminium and carbon fiber.

  7. #257
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by norwegianwood View Post
    I am currently planning an extensive three month bicycle tour for the summer of 2014. I was wondering if my lugged 531 steel '86 Raleigh Gran Prix would be an acceptable bicycle. The pedalling would be between sixty and eighty miles a day. I have used the bicycle on Ragbrai and had no problems, soreness, or stiffness. The frame has the appropriate braze on mounts for touring gear. I would rather not buy a new bicycle, as I plan on flying back from my end destination, and although I love my bicycle to an unhealthy degree, I am afraid it will not be returning with me. I put over a thousand mile on this bike and the only trouble I've had was with the wheels (mostly broken spokes) which I intend to replace. The rear deraileur has been replaced with a shimano 600. I believe the geometry of this bike is relaxed enough for my journey but would like a few more opinions. Also of note, this bicycle is only a twelve speed, and any information regarding the ease or difficulty of converting it to an eighteen would be appreciated.

    It's easy to over think the whole thing. Your bike sounds perfectly capable of making a long distance journey with a wheel upgrade and the addition of any racks or fenders, etc you might need. I say use it and enjoy the ride.

  8. #258
    Senior Member Nycycle's Avatar
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    My Nephew stuck a couple road tires on his MTB, some panniers and we went, had fun too.
    I hate cars,

  9. #259
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    I'm putting together my first bike build, a 26" LHT that will be my tourer and randonneur. (Student budget here, one bike fits all.) Its maiden tour will take me from Copenhagen to the North Cape next summer. My goal was to go a little under the retail price of the stock LHT (1,500$ + taxes in Montreal, same as the Trek 520 or Kona Sutra) without compromising on the quality of parts. Looking at my prospective list of components, I'm fairly certain of my success in that regard. But I'd like some comments on this said list: is there any compatibility issues I missed, or some bad investments, or better deals somewhere, etc.? or did I do well?

    For the record, I'm 5'7" (1,72m) and 140lbs, and my max load should be around 40lbs (plenty of light hiking equipment).

    Frame: (430$ + taxes @ LBS) Surly 26" LHT 52 or 54cm, still to determine. With the kind of weight the bike will have to handle, and considering that I've only ever ridden with very, very weak brakes (read: rusty, non-adjusted calipers), I don't think I'll miss the superior stopping power of disc brakes - even though Norway is, admittedly, very wet.
    Crankset: (85$ @ CRC) Shimano Deore M590 9 spd 48-36-26T, with BB, 170mm, silver.
    FD: (23$ @ CRC) Shimano Deore conventional 9 spd.
    RD: (75$ @ CRC) Shimano XT M771 9 spd.
    Cassette: (33$ @ CRC) Shimano Deore HG61 9 spd 11-34T.
    Chain: (21$ @ CRC) KMC X9 79 9 spd, 116 links.
    Shifters: (bought, 48$ all incl. @ ebay) Rivendell Silver down tube friction shifters. My commuter has a pair of old Dura Ace dt shifters, so I'm used to reaching down, and I suppose I'll get used to the all friction too. The Silver are cheap and pretty.
    Headset: (bought, 53$ all incl. @ ebay) Cane Creek 40 1-1/8" Threadless, silver. That colour seems quite rare. Decent price. White lizards on shiny silver equals cool.
    Brakes: (bought, 45$ pair @ ebay) Tektro Oryx cantilever brakes, silver. Again, decent price. Weak, but as I said I'm not too worried about braking power, but I'll probably buy some KoolStop pads.
    Levers: (48$ pair @ CRC) Cane Creek SCR-5C, silver. Expensive, but I tried the cheaper Tektro and wasn't sold on the hoods. My hands are relatively small, I'll probably enjoy the shorter reach of the 5C. Also, cool lizards again.
    Seatpost: (bought, 21$ all incl. @ ebay) Promax Lite 300mm, 19mm offset, silver. Not cheap, but not expensive either. Looks clean, no fluff, one bolt.
    Saddle: (20$ @ MEC) MEC Classic Saddle. Unbeatable price for what seems to be a decent saddle. It will probably go off in the end, maybe I'll invest in some leather, but it's a perfect "in the meantime" saddle. The woman's model is slightly larger (155mm) but also shorter (281mm), I think I'll try that one. Looks good in plain black.
    Handlebars: (36$ @ CRC) FSA Vero compact road bar, 42cm. MEC anatomical handlebars would be cheaper, but the shallower drops of the FSA should suit me better.
    Stem: (18$ @ MEC) MEC stem. Again, a good "in the meantime" stem, to see which length and rise fit better. Then, perhaps, I might order some silver Kalloy, Civia Bryant or VO stem, just for the looks.
    Rims: (67$ pair all incl. - maybe + taxes and duties - @ ebay) Sun Ringle CR 18, 36H, silver. Affordable, good comments, should be plenty strong for the intended weight if well built with quality spokes.
    Spokes: Probably some DT Swiss double butted spokes, my LBS should be able to get me some. They are expensive though, is there an alternative that wouldn't compromise on quality too much?
    Front hub: (35$ @ CRC) Shimano XT T780, 36H.
    Rear hub: (54$ @ CRC) Shimano XT T780, 36H. I might get a better deal for LX hubs on ebay, but it would only save a few dollars so I might as well throw these XT in my massive incoming CRC order - 10% off before November 20, plus free shipping: good deal I suppose.
    Tyres: (66$ pair @ CRC) Continental Travel Contact wire bead 26 x 1.75. Good comments, not too expensive. The roads in Scandinavia are usually excellent, so the slick middle portion should work fine, while the side knobbles could provide some traction at low pressure on the few gravel/trail portions. I suspect these bulky tyres will serve me even better on future tours in, say, Iceland or Scotland (arg, where will I get the money?!)

    I've got no tools and still less talent for playing the mechanic, so I'll leave my LBS do the dirty work of assembling the whole thing. Should cost me around 50$, they said. Building the two wheels will cost me around 80$. Add the cork tape, bottle cages, pedals, spacers, rim tape, nipples, tubes, cables and housing, and the costs will stop just short of 1,500$ or so. Ouf.

    Racks and panniers are freakishly expensive though. I might still have a pair of old, but mint MEC front panniers that should work fine with liners. On the back I'll invest in some Ortliebs of the Plus line, either Back Roller or Sport Packer, will see. CRC offers the reputable Topeak Super Tourist DX rear rack at 52$ so that's something at least. I don't trust the cheap front lowriders like those MEC sells, as some friends have had bad experiences (of the breaking type). But unless I can find something like the Jandd Low locally, the price will inevitably be high so I might as well invest in either the Tubus Tara or some OMM rack.

    All in all then, this is a 2,000$ project. Way cheaper builds would surely have done the trick all the same, but you can't really put a price on peace of mind. I'm soon to live on student loans anyway, so what's a couple of thousands more really?

    I'm glad I chose the custom build route though. With some patience it can actually rival the stock price point, and I learned tons of stuff along the way. (It helped that I could not have just bought the bike and ridden into the sunset; the urge was there, but thesis redaction is a drag.) I might not be any closer to being a decent bike connoisseur, but at least I know who to blame if things go awry.

    Of course I'll report back here with pictures when all will be said and done (that might take some weeks still).
    And thanks to the bikeforums community which was almost all the help I needed - oh, those long hours browsing the archives!
    Last edited by RLucas; 11-16-13 at 06:07 PM.

  10. #260
    Senior Member
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    I agree that it is very easy to over-think the equipment side of touring. I have pared it down to a single bicycle. My titanium 29er works as a mt. bike, long distance tourer, or bikepacker.moto01.jpg

  11. #261
    Young touring aficionado
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    Kickstart your next big tour!

    I rode cross country unsupported with my Dad this past summer, and it was the best experience of life! The freedom to go anywhere, wake up early (or late) and take days off when we needed it made it much the trip more spontaneous and invigorating!

    That said, planning was a pain, and it took me several months of difficult internet searching and asking others who had previously toured about their experiences and what to bring, what bike to get, what to eat, how much to train, etc.

    I want to help more people do a cross-country or long touring trip, especially unsupported. If you want to ride unsupported but don't know where to start in the planning process, send me an email and I would love to help!

    I went through this tedious process, and I can make it smoother and easier for you.
    My email is agwolz@gmail.com, ask me for advice and kickstart your next big tour!

  12. #262
    Clark W. Griswold
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    I guess I will post what I got and give some inspiration. Hopefully I am not doing anything wrong by posting on an older thread.


    I have a 2012 Surly Disc Trucker 26" wheels (because they are easier to find in other countries). I added Cane Creek cross levers and used Fizik 3mm bar tape and switched out the saddle for WTB Pure V race (I cannot remember as it was given to me by a friend).
    As far as accouterments:
    Rear Rack: Surly Nice Rack (it isn't perfect for my panniers but is a sturdy steel rack with plenty of space)
    Bottle Cages: PDW Bird Cage (fits all my bottles including my fuel bottle and no rattling or issues like that plus they look so purdy)
    Fenders: Planet Bike Cascadia (I just with they weren't so wide)
    Panniers: Arkel GT-54s (they are expensive but worth every penny for the organization and great mounting system and space)
    Pump: Topeak Road Morph (has some features you might find in a floor pump but more portable, I like it)




    I have plans to get a Tubus Duo front rack and probably get the Nashbar waterproof panniers and add the Arkel cam lock system to it. I would love to keep it all Arkel bags because they are tough and ready but I have other gear wants, passions and bills...sooooo cheaper is better. I am also going clipless and might either get some Shimano A-530s or switch the XTR PD-M980 pedals I am getting (on clearance) for my fixed gear to that when I go on tour.


    I have a ENO hammock and recommend that for a comfortable nights sleep and to save on some weight. However it only works when you have places to hang it from which so far I have had. Not only is it comfortable and lighter weight it also is a great conversation starter.


    Like agwolz, I am happy to provide help and advice to those looking to tour. I am not an expert by any means but I do know gear and know what to avoid and what is a good bet. Just send me a PM



  13. #263
    Senior Member
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    Surly LHTD with a YAK trailer. I may have to ditch the trailer and go to panniers but I'll give it a try and see what happens.
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    I'm a senior citizen who decided to get into touring for the health benefits. After doing quite a bit of searching on the i-net I've purchased a Surly LHTD and a Yak trailer. Between now and next spring I'll be building up my endurance with the notion that by taking my time and enjoying the scenery I can make it cross country. I'd enjoy recieving tips on training and nutrition (currently working on going LCHF but maybe that's not the best combination for touring?). Also, tips on pulling the trailer would be greatly appreciated (go slow down hill and don't overload it are already in the book!). Show me the way.

  14. #264
    Clark W. Griswold
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louise Le Tour View Post
    I'm a senior citizen who decided to get into touring for the health benefits. After doing quite a bit of searching on the i-net I've purchased a Surly LHTD and a Yak trailer. Between now and next spring I'll be building up my endurance with the notion that by taking my time and enjoying the scenery I can make it cross country. I'd enjoy recieving tips on training and nutrition (currently working on going LCHF but maybe that's not the best combination for touring?). Also, tips on pulling the trailer would be greatly appreciated (go slow down hill and don't overload it are already in the book!). Show me the way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Louise Le Tour View Post
    I'm a senior citizen who decided to get into touring for the health benefits. After doing quite a bit of searching on the i-net I've purchased a Surly LHTD and a Yak trailer. Between now and next spring I'll be building up my endurance with the notion that by taking my time and enjoying the scenery I can make it cross country. I'd enjoy recieving tips on training and nutrition (currently working on going LCHF but maybe that's not the best combination for touring?). Also, tips on pulling the trailer would be greatly appreciated (go slow down hill and don't overload it are already in the book!). Show me the way.

    Awesome, Louise! I wish you well on future tours.

    As far as nutrition, ditching animal products (Cow's milk for example can leech calcium from your bones) and heavily processed foods is a great way to go. For breakfast and good energy, make a smoothie with kale, frozen strawberries (or whatever frozen fruits suit your fancy), bananas and almond milk or water (You can also add flaxseeds for omega-3s). I usually will do that if I plan on doing a bike trip that day to keep me generally full and focused. Complex carbs are not your enemy and never should be and you should eat them. It is really the simple generally processed carbs that are the problem, avoid those and you will be fine.

    One useful thing for touring and camping/hiking is make your own dehydrated meals. The ones in the packages are full of extra sodium and sometimes other bad ingredients you don't need. Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is a popular ground meat substitute that is already dried and can be flavored however you like, plus it is very cheap and easy to use.

    I cannot really be of much help with trailers as I have only toured once with a trailer. However I will say don't pack extra junk you probably don't really need. I did that because I had the space and didn't really know what I was doing.

    Hope this helps a bit and I am always happy to provide more help feel free to ask me specific questions anytime : )

  15. #265
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexaschwanden View Post
    Trek 520 is a great bike to buy and try out but i am bias.
    There is its overlooked sibling, the lugged Trek 750 which is exactly the same touring bike at a more decent price point!

  16. #266
    Zen Master Miles2go's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcavana View Post
    Sure you can search for it all over the place, but here it is in one spot. Calling everyone who has cyclo toured before... If you started touring all over again, what would you tell yourself? what would your bike setup look like? what kind of racks and paniers would be best? What camping gear would your recomend?

    Help our new-bees out!!!!

    Mike

    !!THAT WOULD SUCK!!

    It means all the fun I've had in figuring everything out on my own terms would be lost…….so I could start anew, already having that "knowledge". Thankfully, there are no (or not many) wrong answers. What's right for me or what's right for you will no doubt be wrong for someone else.

    But you asked….

    I'll throw you one bone:
    Touring Bikes: I've owned many touring bikes, had a few custom made for me, and on top of that I've "borrowed" a lot of loaded touring bikes belonging to others. Given all of that research….
    …my Rocky Mountain Bicycles, Sherpa of Reynolds 853 tubing is the best riding touring bike, loaded or unloaded that I've ever ridden, thus far. The key in this sentence is "I" and thus far. I sold my custom Bike Friday, sold my custom Waterford tourer, sold my Thorn Nomad, (each outstanding touring platforms) as well as several great production touring bikes like the Trek 520, Novara Safari, etc. These bikes were right for me at a point in my touring past and clearly all of them are "right" for many, today.

    It is great sharing insight with other tourers and it's super cool to see so many more people touring these days. Touring is still very much a personal journey though. No matter how many threads you read, you'll move though the gear as it suits *you*.

    …and it happens, I am looking for my next and possibly last(gasp) touring bike.
    Ron - Washington
    The Loaded Touring Bike - Photo Gallery
    Since 2005 - Worldwide - No Ads - Just Inspiration

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