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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 05-03-06, 02:57 PM   #1
Maro
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Test Touring

I want to "test drive" self supported touring, and i do not want yet to go into the expense of buying a good touring bike. In addition to the financial side, if I discover touring is not for me, I do not want to end up with another useless bike in my garaj. You know what I mean, "Sell 10 year old bike with 100 miles on it!"

I am left with two options:
1. Add panniers, etc. to my old road bike. It has a good quality steel frame, and good 32 spokes wheels. The problem is that I can fit max 700x25 tires.
It has enough low speeds, and as I live in Southwestern Ontario, there are no hills around, just winds.

2. Adapt my good mountain bike: panniers, slicks, bar ends, etc. Problem with adding panniers, due to compact frame, front suspension and disk brakes. May not take big panniers.

3. Buy a cheap hybrid bike /panniers etc. After test drive, keep panniers and give it away.

I intend to do just few days self supported trips not far from home. I do not mind a "low" probability of something going really bad. In extreme case I can use the best repair tool: a cell phone, and my wife can get me.

Both optios have pros and cons. I used both bikes for day long trips, but without any load. I am not able to make a decision which way to go.

Any help and opinion will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
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Old 05-03-06, 03:17 PM   #2
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get a trailor and resell it if you don't like it. I guess the most you would be out is 50-75 bucks. Could maybe rent one too (not sure how or where - perhaps add on CL). this would work with either bike.
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Old 05-03-06, 04:27 PM   #3
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I like the trailer idea. It means you don't have to make any modifications to either bike, and no extra bits to put on a new bike
I'd use the mountain bike to haul it.

But if that isn't an option, then my vote is for a rack on the road bike ( unless you will be on a lot of gravel ).

Cheers, Dave
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Old 05-03-06, 04:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dskunk
I like the trailer idea. It means you don't have to make any modifications to either bike, and no extra bits to put on a new bike
I'd use the mountain bike to haul it.

But if that isn't an option, then my vote is for a rack on the road bike ( unless you will be on a lot of gravel ).

Cheers, Dave
I like Dave's idea.

I've got a BOB I bought new, knowing that no matter when or what bike I ultimately get as "the Bike" the BOB will always be there. Just put in the skewer and you're G2G. I've used a Schwinn MTB with 22-32-44 chain rings and traded that for a Specialized Crossroads Elite hybrid, tricked out with the same chain rings.

I've added Ortlieb front bag and Topeak rear rack/ insul.bag combo. More carrying capacity than a sane person will want to fill or haul. 3 bottle cages (one for fuel). Or, you can trick out the rear quarter decks on the BOB for Stove/Fuel transport outside/away from your clothing/food/ect.

Works for me.

Tim
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Old 05-03-06, 09:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maro
I want to "test drive" self supported touring, and i do not want yet to go into the expense of buying a good touring bike. In addition to the financial side, if I discover touring is not for me, I do not want to end up with another useless bike in my garaj. You know what I mean, "Sell 10 year old bike with 100 miles on it!"

I am left with two options:
1. Add panniers, etc. to my old road bike. It has a good quality steel frame, and good 32 spokes wheels. The problem is that I can fit max 700x25 tires.
It has enough low speeds, and as I live in Southwestern Ontario, there are no hills around, just winds.

2. Adapt my good mountain bike: panniers, slicks, bar ends, etc. Problem with adding panniers, due to compact frame, front suspension and disk brakes. May not take big panniers.

3. Buy a cheap hybrid bike /panniers etc. After test drive, keep panniers and give it away.

I intend to do just few days self supported trips not far from home. I do not mind a "low" probability of something going really bad. In extreme case I can use the best repair tool: a cell phone, and my wife can get me.

Both optios have pros and cons. I used both bikes for day long trips, but without any load. I am not able to make a decision which way to go.

Any help and opinion will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
You could always try to borrow a bike from someone. I'd say try to do the same with a trailer. Trailers are very expensive.

Another option on the mountain bike is to get a rigid fork. You can get some good Tange forks for $60 (US) and, if the bike has a threadless headset, it's easy to change one out. Discs make things more problematic however.

If you go with panniers, go with a front rack as well as a rear. The load rides better and your bike handles better. Go with a 60/40 weight split (60 on the front wheel).
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Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
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Old 05-03-06, 09:34 PM   #6
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I'm still trying to get past the "another useless bike" comment!!!! Since when is ANY bicycle useless!!!

A decent touring or sport touring bicycle could be used for more than just touring ... you can commute with it, do centuries with it, go on short weekend tours with it, ride around the neighborhood with it ....


Anyway of your options, I'd go with #1. You don't need tires any wider than that for touring, and it sounds like you can put panniers on it.
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Old 05-03-06, 10:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
I'm still trying to get past the "another useless bike" comment!!!! Since when is ANY bicycle useless!!!
I donknow. I've had a few. I currently have a pink and gray Shogun repurposed as a fixed gear that's pretty useless. First, there's the whole fixed gear thing, then there is the fact that the bike is...well...pink and gray. It's the kind of bike you only what to ride at night

I just gave away the most useless bike I have every owned (I think I rode it maybe 10 times in the 15 years I owned it) - the Schwinn Montague! I think I kept it for so long because it was a good comparison. No other bike I could possibly own rode as bad as that one. It was heavy. It was sluggish. It wandered on corners when it finally got around corners. The brakes were bad. And it didn't even fold up far enough to sneak onto a plane.

It's only saving grace was that it was indestructible! The first time I rode it, I ran it into the back of a car in DC. I put a huge old dent in the guy's trunk but the bike was just fine.

My current 'almost useless bike' is a dual suspension high zoot mountain bike. Not sure I like it. It's great going up stuff and it's great going down stuff, it just the inbetween bits that bother me.
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New! Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
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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
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Old 05-04-06, 09:40 AM   #8
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I borrowed a BOB from a friend, put slicks on a hardtail mountain bike with a lock-out-able fork, and went for a 3500 mile ride. Turned out I love touring but not the trailer, but as a test drive it was perfect. Given the friendliness of the touring community, I bet you could hook up a loan right here.

Good luck.
Anna
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Old 05-04-06, 10:44 AM   #9
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Road touring, go with your road bike. Off-road touring, go with your mtb. Keep it Simple.
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Old 05-05-06, 11:39 AM   #10
Maro
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Thanks for advice.
I see the balance favour the old road race bike w/panniers and 700cx25 tires.
At least around South Western Ontario / Niagara Falls etc.
I can see here people prefer road bike geometry as opposed to MTB / Slicks for Road touring.

As I searched the Internet (recession, not so much to do at work), You can find racks for disk brakes / suspension forks (AXIOM - for example they are quite cheap: http://www.axiomgear.com/).
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