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  1. #1
    Just ride it. MrPolak's Avatar
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    Searching the ultimate bike

    Heard it before right? Well, what if one wants just one bike to go on road, off road, around town and make the occasional long distance trip with reasonable efficiency in all areas?

    My dual-suspension Specialized FSR is a great rig in the rough stuff, but once you take it on road, well, you get the picture. My Cannondale road bike was great but rode harshly and the toe overlap plus lack of ability on even mild trails convinced me to sell it.

    I am not going to race on or off road and I am not going to need 5 inches of travel either, so a cross bike sounds good, but so does a lighter touring bike. I've decided to go with just one rig that I could "transform" with a change of tires.

    What does your experience tell you about such things?

  2. #2
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    I think you can do all that stuff on a touring bike, except anything technical for trails, and for that mater a light end loaded touring bike is 1.125 maintube all around, and it is not going to take much hammering about as a mountain bike might. Of course you can tour on a mountain bike.

    Actually, someone posted this yesterday. This is a serious piece of equipment, and while roads cover the country you just know this thing is going offroad in the mountians, look at the rear derailleur gard!

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...ayphotohosting

  3. #3
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    What comes to mind is something like the Rivendell Atlantis

  4. #4
    40 yrs bike touring
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    After decades of touring on a custom touring bike and then on a mountain bike I wanted the best of both. In 1989 I ordered a Bruce Gordon RNR with BG racks.

    I have been happily touring on and off road fully loaded since then on any type of terrain including the Divide Ride. The RNR is stable nimble and as fast as I can manage. It has survived my clydesdale body type and less than professional bike handling skills.

    It is an excellent design well executed by a traditional craftsman. Give the RNR your careful consideration. It pleases me to ride it every day.

  5. #5
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    Arctos, any pictures!

  6. #6
    Zen Master Miles2go's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    Arctos, any pictures!
    I was thinking the same thing. Let's see a good photo or two of that Ti BG RNR from your Divide Ride. Sounds like an interesting rig, especially with so much history/mileage behind it.
    Ron - Colorado
    The Loaded Touring Bike - Photo Gallery
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  7. #7
    40 yrs bike touring
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    I have tried to provide a photo or two but my ancient computer and my limited computer skills have prevented it so far. Sorry. I will keep trying.

  8. #8
    40 yrs bike touring
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    59cm Ti Bruce Gordon RNR with Gordon racks and Beckman panniers and rear stuffer. Ti Frame and Stem custom built by Gary Helfrich who co-designed the RNR with Bruce G and built the early Ti frames.

    Equipment list:
    WTB GG hubs/King GG headset/Steve Potts Type II Fork/WTB Speedmaster Roller Cam Brakes/Cook Bros Cranks/Suntour GG XC Comp pedals/Cinelli Unicanitor saddle/Custom Ti handlebar w/ integrated bar ends/ IRD seatpost/ Schwalbe Marathon XR 700x47 tires/Mavic rims-MA-40 36 hole rear/ Mavic 719? front also 36 hole/Shimano derailleurs/Syncros Fenders

    Finally some pictures I think. The only ones I have that show the bike. Sorry about the quality.

    B057.JPG [ATTACH]smr2.jpg[/ATTACH]

    B070.JPG smr1.jpg

    These photos are from the Sierra Madre Ridge route in the wilderness corridor behind Santa Barbara near the highest point in the county Big pine Mtn 6700 feet.

    Miles2Go:
    You rejected photos of my RNR when I sent them as you began your loaded touring bike photo album. You said only those with four panniers qualified.
    Last edited by arctos; 10-31-06 at 12:27 PM. Reason: add photo

  9. #9
    Senior Member tkehler's Avatar
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    all-rounder

    My solution after some mild dissatisfaction with touring bikes (wonderful for long loaded trips, but I have a recumbent for that) for being sluggish and heavy was this: I built an all-rounder.

    I bought a titanium 'cross frame, with an Independent Fabrications steel fork, and put Dura-ace bar ends on it, with an Ultegra triple and a 12-28 cassette. I flipped the FSA stem to get more height, and put a Brooks Champion saddle on it. (I couldn't justify the titanium version of the B17 because it costs too much for saving only 100 grams or so.)

    What else? Chris King headset, and Paul Touring canti brakes, front and back. Tektro brake levers, because the hoods are wide and comfy. Mavic CXP 33 rims. FSA ergo drop bars but not the carbon ones. Actually, there's practically no carbon on the bike. I didn't want any. And couldn't afford any. Yet with the Brooks saddle it is still only 22 lbs.

    All that's missing is a rear rack and my fenders/mudguards, and I'll have them installed soon.

    This is the best bike I have every owned, hands down. I don't know how to describe titanium except to say that it is simultaneously forgiving and stiff (bb area).

    Sure, the downside is that it's more of an audax bike than a full-on tourer, but the upside is that I can use it for everything. Towing my son in his trailer, going to the store, bombing around the city, going on long rides with friends, and everything but expedition touring.

  10. #10
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    Nice legs! Any photos of the bike? Just kidding thanks for the pictures and the equipment list.

    Is that your normal bike load, large front paniers (good!) and little on the back? What does the weight break down as?

    Smart to buy a good bike and get on with it. I can never stop myself going down tangents, by the time i have finish my various frame and rack projects, I could probably have bought Gordon out...

  11. #11
    Zen Master Miles2go's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arctos
    59cm Ti Bruce Gordon RNR with Gordon racks and Beckman panniers and rear stuffer. Ti Frame and Stem custom built by Gary Helfrich who co-designed the RNR with Bruce G and built the early Ti frames.

    Equipment list:
    WTB GG hubs/King GG headset/Steve Potts Type II Fork/WTB Speedmaster Roller Cam Brakes/Cook Bros Cranks/Suntour GG XC Comp pedals/Cinelli Unicanitor saddle/Custom Ti handlebar w/ integrated bar ends/ IRD seatpost/ Schwalbe Marathon XR 700x47 tires/Mavic rims-MA-40 36 hole rear/ Mavic 719? front also 36 hole/Shimano derailleurs/Syncros Fenders

    Finally some pictures I think. The only ones I have that show the bike. Sorry about the quality.

    B057.JPG

    B070.JPG

    Miles2Go:
    You rejected photos of my RNR when I sent them as you began your loaded touring bike photo album. You said only those with four panniers qualified.

    Nicely put together. I still have some of those same parts that I never let go of. What's the bike weigh unloaded with the racks?

    You emailed photos to fullyloadedtouring? I have each and every image that's been sent, backed upx3. Quite a nice collection of images that fell far from the line of acceptance. FWIW; It's my pure affinity for touring that drove me into the world of web hosting, authoring, screening, posting and maintaining (&funding) so that www.fullyloadedtouring.com would be a reality. And it was my limited time and resources that mandated putting restrictions on the gallery to limit the flow of submissions and thereby its total size.

    If you sent images of your bike to FLT, tell me what address it came from and I'll be happy to post one of them here for this thread.
    Ron - Colorado
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  12. #12
    Zen Master Miles2go's Avatar
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    OP
    Can you go further into where most of your usage would be for this bike. What does "on road", "off road" and "long distance trip" really mean in this scenario?

    Do you have an unlimited budget that can by yourself a custom? If not, what's your ceiling?

    The more spaces you fill in the better your chance of having responses on target for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPolak
    Heard it before right? Well, what if one wants just one bike to go on road, off road, around town and make the occasional long distance trip with reasonable efficiency in all areas?
    Ron - Colorado
    The Loaded Touring Bike - Photo Gallery
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  13. #13
    40 yrs bike touring
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    The Ti BG RNR bike with racks and fenders weighs 27# as I remember. This [1989] was early on in the Ti bike building learning curve.

    The load in the two photos is my normal go anywhere any season or elevation setup. The total equipment load is usually 15-18#.

    The rear rack top stuffer [2000 cu inches]with dry bag liner on the back contains clothes, tent/ poles/ stakes, down quilt and vest, bivy sack, thermarest pad, towel, rain gear, windshell and pants, umbrella, hats, daypack, first aid, and camp moccasins.

    The Beckman Paradigm front panniers are mid sized. [1800 cu inches]. Heavier equipment including stove cookset/ utensils/ fuel/ toiletries/ spare tubes cables and hardware/ binoculars/shortwave radio/ camera/ maps/ guides/ book/ water bladders/ h2o filter/ zip ties/ duct tape/ and room for food and water and fuel. My 2# tool/patch kit fits behind the saddle in an Arkel saddle pack.

    The balance is around 60/40 Front/Back. This has a number of benefits. I can lift the front wheel over obstacles and then unweight the saddle so that the rear wheel articulates over the obstacle without slamming into the log or ledge. No damaged rims for me this way. Remember- I fit the Clydsdale profile at 225# plus and still have not had to true my wheels after the Divide ride on this rigid bike.

    Less equipment weight on the bike properly placed and handled translates into bike and equipment longevity-- at least in my experience. Now if I could only lose my Clydesdale status then I could float up the passes without pedaling!

  14. #14
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    http://www.somafab.com/juice29.html

    that with a steel fork should do you nicely, if you're a taller guy.

  15. #15
    Left OZ now in Malaysia jibi's Avatar
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    After 12 months of similar searching I found my ultimate bike

    http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/ravencatalyst.html

    works for me, on and off road

    george
    ---------------------------------------------------
    https://sites.google.com/site/imjibi/home

    Photos of present tour of South East Asia
    http://picasaweb.google.com/georgeidf50/southeastasia

  16. #16
    Just ride it. MrPolak's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your excellent input. I have a potential buyer for my FSR XC, so I might be shopping soon! I really like tkehler's idea of a "mild touring" or perhaps "agile touring" bike, which will enable me to negotiate easier sections of local singletrack and go for longer country rides. Well, that, and my wife and I promised ourselves a ride from Asheville to Mt. Mitchell - a pic from my last Mt. Mitchell bike ride is in my avatar.

  17. #17
    Senior Member tkehler's Avatar
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    Unless you are an extreme Clydesdale, you and your wife/partner will probably really enjoy Audax bikes. Or 'cross, perhaps.

    I think there's a reason why 'cross bikes are becoming so popular: they have many of the advantages of touring bikes and some of the advantages of road bikes (with a couple of advantages of mtb). E.g., my bike's chainstays are 43 cm. Not exactly touring, but a heckuva a lot longer than a road bike's 40 cm.

    Above all, they are light, fast and fun.

  18. #18
    Just ride it. MrPolak's Avatar
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    Well, both of my FSRs are up for sale. Once gone I'll be looking for that cylclocross/road/touring bike. :-)

  19. #19
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    "I think there's a reason why 'cross bikes are becoming so popular:"

    You may have nailed it. I'm a little more pesimistic though, or sceptical. It seems that people are really into buying fun bikes or bikes that have an adventure or competitive vibe to them, regardless of their actual use. Like the big success story of the last 20 years is the MTB. No more people really ride those at Slickrock than take their SUVs to the top of some desert sandstone column, but people see what can be done on them and figure it's a perfect fit for their grocery run. Cyclocross is a pretty cool type of riding and even if it doesn't end up being more fun for your tour to ride a cyclo bike, it's more fun to buy. Of course for a mixed use, why not, but for a loaded touring bike day in day out, no way. Part of the problem is the perception that where loaded is concerned an LHT is way the heck out there. But it's not, it's still a pretty light use bike, and not terribly specialized to touring.

    I think it all depends on the way people split the difference. Like if you need a gun for both elephants and rabbits, you can buy a mid caliber that is too much for rabbits and not anywhere near enough for elephant. I'd choose the elephant gun cause it's the more defining use, and just hope I only rarely had to shoot rabbits.

  20. #20
    Zen Master Miles2go's Avatar
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    Interestingly enough, I just bought a Bianchi Axis. It's really for my 15 mile commute (and probably a cross race or two) but since there are plenty of entry level cyclo cross bikes that have braze-ons for a rear rack and fender eyelets, I made sure all those in the final cut included them. It's just a matter of time before I find a tour well suited for it.

    FWIW, others in the mix were the Jamis Nova, Kona Jake The Snake, Soma Double Cross, Fuji Cross Comp and even the Cannondale T800.

    Good luck finding yours.
    Ron - Colorado
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  21. #21
    sport fanatic
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    I think I found my Ultimate in the Cross-Check. I'll bump this thread in 2 years and let you know
    Learn to Build Your Own Website | Twitter: @AMcDermott
    '04 Trek 4300, '07 Surly Cross Check, '08 Giant Bowery (stolen)
    Bike info | Pics of CrossCheck (touring) | CrossCheck component list Touring pics: 2005 | 2006 | 2008

  22. #22
    Zen Master Miles2go's Avatar
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    There's someone selling new Cross Checks the e Bay for $368. Seller ID ride-this, having an excellent feedback record.

    I considered ordering a Surly Cross Check but it lost out in my annalysis to the Soma Double Cross. The Soma is supposed to be of a higher grade of steel, if you could tell I'm not certain. What mattered to me is that the Soma fork has mid-fork rack mounts.

    Two weeks ago a good friend got his Soma Smoothie that he'd ordered direct. We were both quite impressed with the fit and finish. Beautifully done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alrocket
    I think I found my Ultimate in the Cross-Check. I'll bump this thread in 2 years and let you know
    Ron - Colorado
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  23. #23
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I don't think it's so much the bike, as the rider. If you want you can go just about anywhere on just about anything.

    When I was a poor college kid I had a Raleigh Gran Prix 10-speed (mountain bikes didn't exist when I got that thing.) I only had one bike, so I rode it everywhere. I toured on it, rode to school on it, and also explored lots of gravel logging roads up in the mountains of N. W. Washington. It wasn't great at that, but I didn't care.

    After the Gran Prix was gone, my next bike was a Stumpjumper (mountain bikes existed then.) I toured on it, rode to meetings and shopping, and took it off-road. It wasn't great for any of those (shocks were just coming in and I couldn't afford them), but I didn't care.

    There's no do-all bike. Just get the bike you most want, and use it for everything you want to do. It won't be great at everything, but if your attitude is right, who cares?

    2 cents worth of thoughts, free of charge.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    I think you're going in the wrong direction. I had a Surly Crosscheck - it was a wonderful do-anything bike. But it couldn't do any one thing really well. My mountain bike is so much better off road and my road bike is light years better on pavement. Why not have more than one bike? Heck, I live in a tiny apartment in the big city and I still have room for 4 bikes. (No full suspension though - that's for wimps )

  25. #25
    Senior Member tkehler's Avatar
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    Maybe there's no EVERYTHING bike, but there are bikes that can do almost everything.

    Perhaps a nice hardtail mtb with a rohloff speedhub. I know there are expedition tourers who use this set-up for touring in extreme conditions (sand, mainly).

    I'll mention my ti 'cross bike. This bike is faster, stiffer and lighter -- it is 20 lbs without fenders or racks, but with a Brooks saddle and very heavy old Shimano doublesided clipless pedals -- than any road bike I've owned. Granted I'm running 700 x 38 ultra gatorskins (for city riding). But still.

    And it goes over, up or thru anything Vancouver's worst streets can throw at it.

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