somewhat extensive pannier comparison list (possibly incomplete /outdated)
I am still mulling the 'convert an old mountain bike vs buy a new bike' and will then move onto the racks and bag stage. I am by nature sometimes too thrifty for my own good. I am assembling my kitty of cash for this stuff from some bike flips, and I could have upwards of $2-3 K before I am done. Don't want to spend that much, but I want to end up with something that doesn't just get the job done but is, as much as possible a pleasure to use (or in some cases somethings that just works and stays out of the way).
I'm just purchased a touring bike from REI, Navara Safari and just started riding it empty and love it so far but it's a big difference between that and my road bike to say the least.
I was lucky in finding a mentor at REI who was a customer and is now my unofficial mentor. Wow, what a wealth of information as he's given me about my next ride the Pacific Coast Hwy (PCH). He's taken that trip from Seattle 2 LA, and been all over New Zeland and is planning a trip from Denver to Glacier Nalt. Park this summer.
Point is I've got a ton of information from him and I'm grateful as I plan to do the PCH this Sept and thanks to him I feel very confident about it.
Now the one thing I'm concerned about and would like more info on is saddles. I hear rave reviews about Brooks B-17 but looks hard as a rock to me, then I see these el cheapo ads for something that just supports your butt with nothing to put pressure on your testicles...soooo, I need some comments?
I'm using Brooks Flyer and my wife B68.
Brooks saddle is made from hard leather. The thing is that it will not feel hard, because it get the shape of your bum, and then it feels very good. So there is a break in period that the leather is shaping.
My suggestion is, ride with your current saddle. If after 100km you feel soar, this can be solved with Brooks.
If you feel good after a long ride, then just keep your current saddle.
There are a lot of people here that don't use Brooks.
I found that in long rides I really feel good on the saddle.
"Now the one thing I'm concerned about and would like more info on is saddles. I hear rave reviews about Brooks B-17 but looks hard as a rock to me, then I see these el cheapo ads for something that just supports your butt with nothing to put pressure on your testicles...soooo, I need some comments?"
May I suggest the Sella Anatomica saddle. If you don't have the time (a month or two depending on miles) to break in a Brooks this saddle is comf. right out of the box. It is all Leather - and hammocky - saved my touring butt - so to speak
Okay so i need some advice. I am an eighteen yr old girl from sydney australia and in three months im travelling to South America. Im doing three months of volunteer work in costa rica but i want to travel before this from august to november. I have become very interested in cycling through chile for a month. All i want is some advice. I dont know if im being very niave about it. Im a fit and motivated person who really enjoys all types of physical activity especially hiking. However i am not a very experienced when it comes to cycling, i mean i can ride a bike, im not that inexperienced! I dont know if im being too romantic in my plans? I just want to know what i am going to have to do to prepare and what i should expect. This is probably very vague but i would really appreciate some feedback to gain some kind of perspective. Thankyou
If I was you I would just make a original post. I posted in here a week or so ago and no one ever replyed. So I deleted it and moved it to it's own post and got several replys and all the info I needed.
I started doing some short tours a couple of years ago. Since I was in college at the time and didn't have much of a budget, I found an old (probably 1993) Rockhopper frame with a rigid fork, got a variety of components from E-bay and my local bike shop, and put it all together into a pretty nice setup for about $700.
Some comments from that experience, and from a friend of mine who tried doing the same thing with a newer MTB:
First, old mountain bikes work better for touring. All new MTBs have suspension forks, so you can't carry front panniers. This isn't a serious problem unless you are carrying a lot of weight, but putting all your gear on the back can mess with the handling. Also, older bikes, because they don't have suspension, have more relaxed frame geometry, which is usually more comfortable if you are spending all day in the saddle. It also lengthens the chainstays so you get more clearance between your heels and the panniers.
Second, don't skimp on wheels. 26" wheels tend to be quite sturdy, but think about hitting a pothole with 40lb of unsprung load on the rear wheel. I suggest some kind of freeride wheel, if you can still find one with braking surfaces.
Third, use cantilever brakes. V-Brakes and Disc brakes, while more powerful, can interfere with your cargo racks. If you can find racks that get around this, more power to you, but the weird outrigger things that disc-compatible racks use place very large stresses on the mounting bolts, and fatigue them quickly. Needless to say, it is really bad to be in the middle of nowhere and have the rack break off the back of your bike. The other concern I have about disc brakes (which may not be as serious) is the kinds of stresses that the front brake would place on the fork when trying to stop a loaded touring bike. In addition, if you use road-style brake levers (see below), these will work fine with cantis but not with V-Brakes.
Fourth, either get drop bars, dirt drops, or bar ends. You should have several different hand positions to avoid killing the nerves in your hands.
Minor notes: you should go ahead and use the entire mountain bike drivetrain (possibly excepting the shift/brake levers). I tried using a road triple crankset, and it works OK, but there is really no good reason to have a 53-tooth chainring on a touring bike, and sometimes its really nice to have the 22- or 24-tooth small cog.
In terms of what you need to do physically to do what you want to do, here's my advice.
Do ride as much as possible prior to taking off. The big deal is getting your rear end used
to a saddle, which I recommend Brooks. www.brookssaddles.com
There are numerous books on getting in shape but the real secret is just take it easy the first 3 days.
Not more than 30 miles or about 70 kilometers a day regardless of how great you feel. From the 4th to thee 7th day increase you miles or kilometers up to 30% BUT listen to your body. Take breaks often
and take a day off to do personal things such as laundry etc. You should be fine after that and know what your comfort zone is. Regards, John Young
I am doing just this. I am starting over again after not touring for 10 years and no longer have my old bicycles. I will be bugeting myself and would like to say a couple of things I will be doing and recomend to others.
1. You can only shed X amount of weight off your bike and it costs alot to get these ultralight bike parts. If you try to cut the weight off your camping gear you will save more weight along with more money.
2. You don't need a top of the line frame. I will be using an old chrome molly mtn bike. It will searve my needs as its strong and durable.
3. CONSIDER YOUR GEARING NEEDS. I don't use the lowest gears on bikes very offten and I always wish I had a higher gear. In my case I will deffently wount to get a 11 gear for my smallest casset.
4. Keep that bike well tuned and cleaned. A well kept bike is an easy bike to ride. I have taken the cheapest bike from wall mart and tuned it up top to bottem and found it had a very very good ride. At the same time I have seen Trek's that road ruff becouse of lack of mantance.
5. CHECK THAT FRAME. I have had a frame brake and cause me to roll over the bars NOT FUN.
6. Take your time and examen your ride. Your touring not racing. There are things to see, smell, taste, hear, and just enjoy. If you don't have the time for doing this then take a shorter trip so that you can.
Just my two cents.
Great ideas I've been blessed with some good contacts
who have given me a boat load of info.
I really like your idea about if you don't have time to smell the roses
then take a shorter trip.
I love the N. California coastline south past Big Sur and although I've
only gotten glimpse of it that's the part of the trip I'm really looking
forward to...so instead of taking off from Portland, I think I'll start maybe
just north of SF and go to LA.
Shorter trip plus I can hang out a day or two here or there if I find that
perfect spot and I know I will because there are so many of them. I'm
also going to have a wordpress blog up....www.followmybike.wordpress.com
BTW...I got an REI Novara touring bike on sale and love it, although I'm thinking
about getting just a slightly shorter stem as my shoulders get sore after a 20-30 mile
Hope your new tour pans out for you...so MUCH FUN EH?
I first toured on a 10-spd road bike, with a day-pack on my handlebars (straps wrapped over the bar, cinched-up in the center so my wheel could turn) that fell against my brake cable. I had to disconnect the front brake while riding and climbing, then - when topping a pass - stop, put the pack on my back, re-connect my front brake and ride down.
I had a rear rack, where I kept my sleeping bag and tent rolled-up under a foam pad, and bungeed it all together so my wet clothes could dry-out on top.
Sure, I looked like the Beverly Hillbillies, but I rode all over Idaho and Montana for as long as 3-weeks at a time and fell in love with bicycle touring. I also learned about what to carry, how to organize my stuff, how to plan a trip, how to climb big hills, how to eat on the road, etc.
Since you can't learn to do something without "doing" it, I say get on whatever you have, jerry-rig something to carry your gear, pick an adventurous route and hit the road. You will learn by doing and have many a tale to tell.
You've got the rest of your life to select gear. Get touring now and happy trails.
Last edited by Nixxie; 07-04-09 at 04:27 AM.
I didn't know anything about bikes a couple of years ago, bought one with shoe
clips and proceeded to fall over for the first 3 weeks because I had the tension
on the clips to tight.
Anyway, you just get out and ride and maybe it a habit 3-4 days a week then
before you know it you're thinking, hmmm what what a weekend trip would be
like? When you wonder that you are hooked.
So, enjoy the venture, start off with what you have and you'll move up to a touring
bike and find out what you really want.
Here's a link to my weekend ride in Texas...enjoy...John Young
I am new here and WOW! I feel like I've hit the jackpot. Such great information.
As I stated in my intro. thread, I am preparing for a cross country ride in 2010 to honor my brother who died of cancer in 2002. he was an avid Mountain biker from Colorado that loved the sport. I have never done anything even close to this so I am eager to learn from those that have.
Thanks so much for all the great info. Look forward to participating.
I bout my Novara Safari just this past new years. It's a great bike, I don't have a brooks saddle yet but get fitted so your sit bones fit on the the seat. The seat that comes with the bike is unplestant after a few hundred miles. I now have about 2,700 miles on it, I replaced the headset, I just put on some Swalble marathon plus tires. The 700 46c tires that came with the bike came off the 2nd day I had the bike. Im planning to to the PCH when I get out to Seatle.
Stumbled across this site today and wanted to say thanks for this wealth of information. If I'm not careful, I can see myself spending too much time reading about cycling and not enough time cycling.
I did quite a bit of touring back in the day and am thinking about having another go. Right now a new bike isn't on the cards financially so I'm just going to make do with my hardtail mountain bike. I have a full squishy which I usually ride on the trails and the hardtail gets used for dirt roads, cycle paths and around town. I'll get some smooth tires (I see a couple of people recommended Schwalbe so I'll check those out) and I have some bar ends kicking around in the shed somewhere which shouldn't take too long to add on.
My question though...my bike has front suspension so I understand that prevents a front pannier rack (it does, right?). And I've read about the potential challenge with MTB chain stays being too short for rear panniers. Sooooooo, does anyone have a recommendation for a rear rack and panniers that would a) fit on a mountain bike and b) would eliminate / reduce the heel bashing problem?
Thanks in advance.
Complete touring newbie here...
I am planning on buying a used touring bike between $600 and $1000, which will be used for cross-state/country trips. I want to buy a whole bike off of Ebay, but what if my "dimensions" aren't right for it )? I think I am normal sized: 6' 0", 165, normal arm and leg length (i think). How much should I worry about getting fit for a bike and making sure the bike I buy has those specific specs.
Also, if I buy off of Ebay, they'll have to send me the bike unassembled, correct? Any suggestions on how to learn about how to assemble bikes and about general bike mechanics? (i.e. video instructions, books etc) If that's too complicated for a newbie, how much does it cost to have a bike assembled?
Also, along the lines of the last concern, does anyone have suggestions on type/size of repair kit and what I NEED in it while taking a LONG (i.e. 1000+ miles) bike tour?
Also, I am just generally worried about spending money on stuff I don't want. For example, I get panniers when I'd rather use a trailer. the tires that come with the bike turn out to be too wide, or the wheelbase is too short etc.... Any suggestions for a newbie touring bike buyer are welcome!
PS what do i search for in ebay to
Last edited by tpstrat; 07-20-09 at 02:42 AM.
Looking for used large size Panniers to go on back of my REI Safari touring bike as I need to put either a tent or sleeping bag on one side. thanks, John Young
Complete newbie here again...I want to buy a touring bike for FULLY loaded touring, but it would be a huge hassle to get to a bike shop to get "fitted" for a bike. Anyone have any suggestions? I found this bike fit calculators online. Are these calculators accurate (i.e. can I know what specs will work for me just by punching in my dimensions?)
"Complete newbie here again...I want to buy a touring bike for FULLY loaded touring, but it would be a huge hassle to get to a bike shop to get "fitted" for a bike. Anyone have any suggestions? I found this bike fit calculators online. Are these calculators accurate (i.e. can I know what specs will work for me just by punching in my dimensions?)"
There are a few things you can do yourself to find a good fit for a touring bike. Number should be frame size. See what is comfortable to straddle and what is a comfortable position for your hands and arms (you don't want to be stretched out like a road bike). You should also put your heel on the pedal and straighten out your leg, and get a seat height. Ideally, your seat shouldn't be too much higher than the handlebars for a touring bike. Another thing that's important is chainstay length. I have big feet (size 13-14) and my trek 520 has chainstays long enough to avoid having my heel hit my panniers.
if you need some good information, http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm will be helpful too (some terms might be confusing but sheldonbrown.com glossary will be very helpful too!)