Hey everyone, I'm new to the road scene... in fact, I don't even have a road bike yet, but I've been riding mountain bikes, bmx and road/mountain hybrids for a long time. I'm in the process of planning a trip from Victoria, BC (Canada), to St. John's, NL. About 8,000 Km (~5000 miles). I need to obtain a bike, and work out all the ticks ect.. long before the trip. I'm not really familiar with road/touring bikes, but familiar with branding/quality. I've ridden road bikes before, but never one that I felt overly comfortable with... so I don't know much about fit ect... I'm about 5'8", my inseam is about 30". I want to know what size bikes I should be looking at, and what style of bike I should be looking for if I'm going to be making multi-day rides. Budget is an issue.. as in most cases, but I don't want something that's going to crap out on me. I know that crapping out will most likely be a crivetrain component issue, and I don't really need that much help in that direction. Mostly just in the frame/fork/wheel/bar area. Specific model references would be greatly appreciated.
If you ride MTBs a lot , do you have an older CROMOLY frame that you can fit rigid forks to??
Is your trip going to be self supported ??? MTB with BOB Yak is one option.
Another option is a SURLY LHT frame and forks and then you get all the parts together and off you go
Hey man, this summer I did exactly that trip you're talking about! Awesome ride!
Frame? Surly LHT. I'm biased but it got me through the trip without a single hiccup. http://www.pbase.com/sebastian82/ima...60288/original
Here's what mine looks like. Yours will probably be a 52cm or so, which puts you into the 26" wheel range. All good, that's what mine was too (I'm 5'9 w/ 31 inseam so I ride a 54cm frame) and I wouldn't have wanted 700c for my trip because I spent a fair bit of time in gravel, it's just my style.
Wheels are actually what I'd be most worried about crapping-out on ya. On my trip, I saw a number of people who were all held up because of wheel problems. Go strong with yours.
I think Sebach's suggestion is a good one. You can get a surly frame from spicer for 350 US+ pretty reasonable shipping. I think the 26" wheels are an advantage, not just due to size, but overall. You get a stronger wheel IF you go for 36 spokes, and you can get parts anywhere. You still need to get a really high quality wheel build. It isn't difficult to do yourself, or find a shop that really knows it's craft.
I was walking around TO today, and noticed a number of abandoned, stripped bikes with pretty good old MTB frames that would make a bare bones touring bike, when restored, probably a police auction or something would be even better. Also, just keeping your eyes ope prior to garbage night, and if you have a while you will find somethng useable. But if you can get a decent frame and fit off the rack, why not.
The basic frames to build out (you can just switch a bunch of components off your MTB if you want), are the SUrly, The Urbane tourist, and the Nashbar. They all come with good riding forks.
If you want to go a little upscale go LX hubs with velocity rims (or any better level hub like phils). Or you can get by with something like the DH22 rims by Alex. Get 36 spoke. Drops are the ticket, you can use flat bars but it's not ergonomically correct. MTBs don't have flats because they are better riding bars than flats, but because they are more powerful wider, and I think probably a lot better for stuff like riding over logs. But for grinding out 5k Mi.
You will probably have to pay a bit of attention to the brakes. A road bike can run the exact same drivetrain as your MTB, but nobody makes a touring brake/lever set. Brakes don't need to be expensive, check out some recent threads, but they need to be carefully paired up, foirks, levers and crakes need to be a match.
Thanks for all your advice guys, it's greatly appreciated. I've been looking at some surly frames, and I've come across a Karate Monkey L... I think it's set up for a 29 inch wheelset, but one thing that interests me, is that it has disc brake tabs. I have a set of Hayes Mechanical disc brakes laying around here, and I'm sure the extra braking power wouldn't hurt given that I'll be carrying quite a bit of extra weight. As well, it might be beneficial in wet weather, since cantilever brakes seem to be quite useless compared to discs in wet conditions. Would having discs really be a good idea, or would the cost of the extra weight of the rotors/calipers outweight the benefits of added stopping power?
Would this frameset be useless to me, since it's set up for 29" wheels? I know that if I'm using disc brakes, that brake set up won't be an issue, but what about fork/rear triangle sizing? Will that effect my comfort/efficiency?