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  1. #1
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    I leave in two weeks and I am having second thoughts.

    Second thoughts about my bike that is. I have a 2004 Specialized Sirrus Comp and I think 60 miles has been my longest ride on it. I will be riding from Springfield Missouri to Yellowstone National Park and back, about 3000 miles. If I take it, I will have to pull a trailer since the fork is carbon....

    I had no problems taking it until I was at the bike shop the other day and I told some guy what I was planning on doing.... "Flat bars and 28/32 spokes? I hope you like pain and fixing things."

    So yeah. I don't have a lot of money for this trip and what extra money I do have has to go towards a trailer. Now I know you can use any old bike for a tour, but I don't so much want to be fixing spokes every 100 miles either.

    So I am thinking about selling it and trying to get something else. But I only have two weeks before I leave. I am going to post the specs. on my bike and let you vets. give me your advice.

    FRAME - Specialized compact design, A1 Premium Aluminum, fully butted and heat-treated, with fender and rack braze-ons

    FORK - Specialized Carbon-3 Zertz, bonded high modulus carbon legs and crown, 7075 alloy threadless steerer, cantilever brake posts

    HEADSET - Intellaset, 1 1/8" integrated threadless, alloy cap, alloy cone spacer

    STEM - Specialized, 3D forged alloy, 31.8mm bar clamp, 4-position adjustable

    HANDLEBARS - Specialized Event, A1 oversized alloy, 580mm width, black

    TAPE / GRIPS - Body Geometry, triple density gel

    FRONT BRAKE - Forged 6061, 85mm linear pull, replaceable cartridge pad

    REAR BRAKE - Forged 6061, 85mm linear pull, replaceable cartridge pad

    BRAKE LEVERS - Forged alloy linear pull w/ c-clip bushing

    FRONT DERAILLEUR - Shimano Deore, 31.8 clamp, bottom pull

    REAR DERAILLEUR - Shimano New 105, black

    SHIFT LEVERS - Shimano R-440-9, Rapidfire

    CASSETTE - Shimano HG-50, 9-speed, 12x25t

    CHAIN - Shimano HG-73

    CRANKSET - Specialized Comp, five arm, polished arms

    CHAINRINGS - 52Ax42Ax30S Super Shift

    BOTTOM BRACKET - Shimano BB-UN-25, 68mm shell, 113mm spindle, sealed bearing cartridge

    PEDALS - Shimano 505R, SPD

    RIMS - Alex AT-400, 700c, alloy single wall, eyelets, machined sidewalls, black

    FRONT HUB - Specialized Forged Alloy, 28hole, double sealed bearings, QR, black

    REAR HUB - Specialized Forged Alloy, 32 hole, double sealed freehub, QR, black

    SPOKES - DT Swiss 2.0mm (14g), black stainless, black alloy nipples, L282/R282mm front, L292/R290mm rear

    FRONT TIRE - Specialized All Condition, 700 x 28c, Armadillo

    REAR TIRE - Specialized All Condition, 700 x 28c, Armadillo

    TUBES - Specialized presta valve

    SADDLE - Body Geometry Milano Comfort Max

    SEAT POST - Specialized Pavé, advanced composite, 27.2x350mm

    SEAT BINDER - Specialized Cr-Mo, allen head binder bolt

    NOTES - Chain stay cover, reflectors, clear coat, owners manual

  2. #2
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    The mainy thing that really maters is whether you can ride the bike comfortably. There is a case against flat bars, but folks who have racked up 100s of thousands of miles use them exclusively, so while I prefer drops on the road, it's not the only view.

    28 spoke wheels, with no racks should be fine, I'm big and have run 32s without a problem. I don't thrash a bike, I'm not out there to do bunny hops or cliff drops, if your terrain requires that, you might have a problem, but rolling on worn paved roads without a rack.

    Heck if you can switch out your bike in favour of a better one for your trip, go for it, but I think you can make it if you can't.

    Check this out about a pro bike and hike trip, walmart bikes, http://www.rayjardine.com/adventures...03-iua-1.shtml

  3. #3
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    I have toured on a flat-bar hybrid and had no problems, but I was using a 36 spoke wheelset.

    I think you are asking for trouble if you use low-spoke count wheels and are loaded touring. You don't say how heavy you are and how big a load you are carrying. If you are say 165 lbs and limit your load to 35 lbs total, inc. lncluding full water bottles you may be ok. It doesn't look like you can put a front rack on that fork, although there are racks that mount on the front QR. Front racks are a great way to distribute weight and improve bike handling.

    As you mention, a trailer is another option. Great on the flats, but awful in the mountains. I would make sure that the rear wheel was a good 3 cross build (both sides, some race wheels have a radial pattern on the lazy side). Maybe get the wheel tuned up and the spoke tension increased to max for that wheel.

    Good Luck!
    Last edited by bccycleguy; 06-25-06 at 01:00 PM.
    2006 Lemond Sarthe
    2000 Trek 7500FX

  4. #4
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    Your bike will work fine-- the only weakness might be the wheels. You can pick up a better pair, ones with Sun CR-18 rims at almost any bikeshop for less than $200. (these are QBP products using Shimano hubs)

    Stop worrying and enjoy your trip!

    The trailer idea is a really good one, because it allows you to tour on a fast, super fun bike not really made for touring. After all, how many days a year are you really going on loaded tour?

  5. #5
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    you have 2 (two) weeks to practice, WITH it loaded (with all you're taking)! see how it (and you) feels and handles.

    is this your first tour? 3k- self-contained? (pretty big spoonfull!) or is it sag supported, with group?

    the gearing may be an issue for you as well. 52-42-30 front and 12-25 rear may prove even more of a challenge in those hills.

    how much does the trailer weigh, unloaded? add that to your total.

    tires look like a good choice! don't forget your crank remover, cassette puller, extra spokes, and a spoke wrench with your other tools! i tape the spokes to my down-tube, hope to never use them, but you never know.

    keep us informed,

    tg

  6. #6
    nm+
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    Flat bars shouldn't matter.
    However, I'd get a new rear wheel, as you're using a trailer nearly all the weight will be there.
    If you really want to be safe and you can clear it and afford it, 36 hole+ A719 with an LX or better hub (better with a lot of weight). Otherwise, a good 36 hole sun will be good too.
    Another advantage to a 36 hole wheel is that you *can* ride a short distance (next town) down a spoke.
    Still, you might be fine, I've toured on 32 hole rims with no issues some times and many issues other times. I now use 36 hole.
    Breaking bike parts for more than 20 years
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  7. #7
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    If you are using a trailer I wouldn't be too worried about wheels.

    However, I would be worried about your gears.

    I would suggest a 110BCD crank (llike a Sugino) or a MTB crank and somthing like 24/34/48 (more range than Shimano reccomend, but it should work ok, if your worried then a 24/34/46 will work fine).

    Also think about maybe a 12-27 cassette, or if you want to change to say a Deore RD, then a 11-34.

    These are mostly cheap items.

  8. #8
    eccentric tourer WestOz's Avatar
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    I've toured many miles on flat bars, but I fitted bar ends. However the spoke count on your wheels would worry me. I always use a 36 at the minimum. However if your using a trailer, most of the weight would be in the trailer. I've toured with trailers and never had a problem on or off road.

    As mentioned above the gearing will probably need changing.

  9. #9
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    Trailers take most of the strain so your wheels should be OK.
    I would worry more about your transmission. Switch your cassette to a larger one, at least 28t, bigger if your rear mech can handle more teeth.
    Consider using an MTB style of chainset to get lower ratios. You can put your original one back on for regular riding.
    You should also consider switching your low end bottom bracket for a better one such as Shimano UN72.
    Fit some alt. handholds such as bar ends or a small clip on aerobar.

  10. #10
    No longer in Wimbledon... womble's Avatar
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    The guy at the LBS sounds like a clueless a$$ with a big mouth. I've known a lot of people (myself included) to have done long distances on flat bars + barends. 36 spokes is probably best, but I doubt that 32 is going to be such a big problem, especially as you're on paved roads in the US.

  11. #11
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    Lots of great replies here. Thank you all...

    After a lot of thinking, I have come to the conclusion that my bike might not be the best bike for the trip. I really, really, really, wanted it to work, but it just isn't looking like it will. First off, I really want drop bars for the trip. This was my second major concern with this bike, and well... there is just no real way around it. The cost of drop bars would probably be quite high, not to mention the fact that I would have no idea how to do it.

    And then you have the wheels.

    I took it in to my LBS and asked them about wheels and they told me that getting the wheels are easy. The hard part is the tires. The frame won't take anything larger than 28c... and that's without fenders.

    I looked at a cannondale t2000 while I was there (because the sales person was pushing it on me) and I did love it. But there is no way I can spend $1500 on a bike.

    So who has some ideas? Do I really need fenders? How much would a drop bar conversion cost? Would 28c tires be good the whole way there? bllllaaaaaah.Sorry, just venting.

  12. #12
    Day Tourer blue steal's Avatar
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    Heck subigo, I have used a flat bar with bar ends, (double wrapped with cork bar tape), for many years. I have Mavic rims with 36 spokes in the rear, double butted DT's, and 32 in front also double butted, never had a problem. I tour frequently and found the Panaracer ruffy tuffy 28, (actually measures at 27), with Kevlar belt & bead to be a great tire. Your gearing would be quite hard for me in the hills. I have a 28 up front, but 30 should be okay, however my rear has a 13-30. I may not use that 30 or 26 often, but it sure makes it easier when I do need it. Anyway, just my 2 cents
    Blue Steed

  13. #13
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    I don't like flat bars, but many people use them and like them. Add bar-ends to allow more than one hand position.

    The front wheel isn't too sollicited, especially if you tour with a trailer, but the rear wheel is. You should be OK if you tour with a 2-wheel trailer, but with a single-wheel trailer, the 32-spoke wheel may prove flexible and break spokes, especially if you are heavy, ride some gravel, less than perfect surfaces, etc. Either bring a good cassette tool, things to remove it (Pamir Hypercracker OR chain whip + proper wrench), and spokes of the proper length, or get a 36-spoke wheel. Still, a well-built 32-spoke wheel is able to endure a lot.

    Gearing. I tour on my single bike with 44-34-22 and a 12-34 custom cassette. Unless you are really unusually strong or don't carry a heavy load, or ride on flat terrain (last time I looked at Yellowstone, it ain't flat), your gears are woefully inadequate, I think.
    Climbing many hills would require you to stand on the pedals, and standing on the pedals of either a loaded bike or a bike towing a single wheel trailer is quite an adventure... and a sure way to break spokes.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  14. #14
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    too late for bike shopping

    Even if money were not an object, I'm not sure I'd want to get used to a new bike in two weeks. If I were in your shoes, I would get bar ends (or a trekking bar for added hand positions) a rear wheel AND a bigger cogged cassette (13-30 perhaps? - not sure if your derrailleur would work with 11-32). With the trailer, there will be no added load on your front wheel, so that one's fine.

  15. #15
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    Okay, so say I change out the gearing, get drops, and a set of 36 spoke wheels... Anyone have any idea what something like that would cost?

    btw, I am 160 pounds and have about 40 pounds of gear.

  16. #16
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    200 bucks for the wheels, 50 bucks for nice drops, new levers 20, 20-40 for the gears if the current der. will work fine.

    I weigh 220+, carried daily food, water, and about 40 pounds, on 36 spoke 700c wheels (32 on 26" is 36 on 700), using racks not a trailer.

  17. #17
    nm+
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    It depends a lot.
    For an A719, brand name spokes, and an LX hub, think around $200 hand built. Could very well be cheaper though. The 719's not a cheap rim, but it should be your last.
    Bar ends: $20 Drops would be more, much more given that you'd need new shifters and those fancy Diacompe V-brake levers for drops (I have em and they're awesome. They came on the bike, but I think they retail for $60 a set). However, bar end shifters aren't pricy and will work with all derailluers (I think). I'd stick with the flats and the bar ends.
    Gearing: If cost is an issue: Get a 22-26T steel granny -- $20 This is what I did. Steel is better than AL except for weight and is cheap. The disadvantage is that the shifting is not as smooth in the front and there's a big drop from my big 2nd ring. The advantage is the climibing of a 26T ring with a spin out of 40mph, which I don't hit often, but decending off the rockies with a 20-30mph tailwind, it was awesome, topped out at 51mph. Getting 3 new rings or worse, a new crank may run you $100 (or more with a crank). As for the rear, a deore cassette (shifting as good as an XT, just heavier) is pretty damn cheap. Get an 11/12T-34T.
    As for tires, a 28C Top touring should be fine.
    Last edited by nm+; 06-27-06 at 01:32 AM.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    200 bucks for the wheels, 50 bucks for nice drops, new levers 20, 20-40 for the gears if the current der. will work fine.

    I weigh 220+, carried daily food, water, and about 40 pounds, on 36 spoke 700c wheels (32 on 26" is 36 on 700), using racks not a trailer.
    Okay. It seems this will work.

  19. #19
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    Hi,
    I had a Sirrus Sport for a long time --- the gearing is super granny at the granny end... I could bike up and over steep hills that most of my friends couldn't get over due to their gearing (on mountain bikes no less) ---> my hunch would be that unless you're biking straight up a steep mountainside for most of your trip, you should be able to do just fine w/ the stock Sirrus gearing... (NOTE: unless they gear the Sport differently from the Comp... mountainish vs. road gearing?? It'd be worth looking into...)

    Sam

  20. #20
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    I'm showing your minimum gear inches as 32 in the granny. Is that right? I think mine is 22 and I've wanted lower though it becomes easier to walk around that point.

    Have the LBS cut a number of spare spokes. I carry 5 taped to my seat tube and use a hypercracker. I also carry a Fiberfix thingy.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/tools/touring.html

  21. #21
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    I posted this a while ago. Since then I bought a Windsor Tourist (Fuji Touring). I sold the Sirrus on ebay for $800. That money bought me the Tourist + Lone Peak Panniers.

    Newbies listen up: If you are looking for a touring bike, get the Windsor from Bikes Direct. It is a solid touring bike (I did replace the rear wheel with a Mavic). After a number of upgrades (clipless, Schwalbe tires, saddle, racks) I spent about $850-950 on the bike.

    I tried a trek 520 around the same time as mine and I MUCH prefer the Windsor. And I am not just saying that because I own one.

    So anyway.... those second thoughts are gone. I'm just waiting for Kansas to cool down and I am off.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    How exciting!

  23. #23
    aspiring wannabe hoogie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subigo
    I posted this a while ago. Since then I bought a Windsor Tourist (Fuji Touring). I sold the Sirrus on ebay for $800. That money bought me the Tourist + Lone Peak Panniers.

    Newbies listen up: If you are looking for a touring bike, get the Windsor from Bikes Direct. It is a solid touring bike (I did replace the rear wheel with a Mavic). After a number of upgrades (clipless, Schwalbe tires, saddle, racks) I spent about $850-950 on the bike.

    I tried a trek 520 around the same time as mine and I MUCH prefer the Windsor. And I am not just saying that because I own one.

    So anyway.... those second thoughts are gone. I'm just waiting for Kansas to cool down and I am off.
    sweet, good upgrades ... enjoy your trip and don't forget to post trip reports!
    thought for today: "Does my ass look fast on this bike?"

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