Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Westlake Village, California
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The Talon is an extremely beautiful bike. The price is amazing.
The stays look very beefy but you'd better first check with Kestral about the advisability of towing a trailer with it. My gut says they'll probably say no but they look plenty strong to me.
I've toured with a guy who rode a Cannondale road bike pulling a BOB trailer. He did break a spoke and I had to loan him my kevlar spoke. There were no more troubles after that. He gave it back to me after the tour and it is still usable.
I don't remember if he had a triple crank but he probably did. He is a strong, young, and determined rider and I don't recall him ever lingering behind. If you don't have a triple, I'd consider it. If your bike is not currently triple equipped you'll have to get new shifters. Bar end shifters are much cheaper than STI shifters and are appropriate for touring. Plug the shifters into the ends of the handlebar. Leave the STI shifters in place, they're still your brake levers, but remove the shift cables and route them through the bar end shifters. If you do not currently have a triple I would suggest not getting a road triple. Get a mountain bike triple, 48/36/26 or 44/32/22. It's much lower than a road triple but it's appropriate for touring. If you change to a mountain bike triple you'll have to change to a mountain bike front derailleur too. If your bike is currently equipped with a road triple then I'd just stick with it. You can probably get a smaller inner ring than the bike currently has. The Shimano road triples have a 130/74 bolt circle diameter. I once used a 24 tooth inner ring on a 52/42/30 Shimano road crank and it worked. If you have a road triple and a 42 tooth middle chain ring, get a 38 tooth, the smallest available. It will probably slow the shift to the big ring, a compromise.
If your bike is 10 speed and you do not have to change the shifters the lowest 10 speed cassette is 12-27, that's marginal for touring. You'd have to be strong or just realize that you'd have to walk some hills. Nothing wrong with that. Ken Kifer, the famous bicycle tourer, frequently walked hills with no shame whatsoever.
If you have to change the shifters get 9 speed. You can then use a 11-32 cassette. However your rear derailleur will have to be changed. The maximum size for road derailleurs is 27 teeth.
I think that covers gearing, now wheels.
Most road bikes have 32 spokes or less. Your front wheel is probably OK as is. Pulling a trailer won't put much additional strain on it. But you will most definately need a new rear wheel. Get a handbuilt 36 spoke wheel with straight guage 14 guage spokes. Use a touring specific rim such as the Mavic A719.
Use a road hub not a mountain bike hub. The rear dropout spacing on a road bike is 130mm and 135mm for a mountain bike.
Now tires. You would be limited as to the size of tires you could use. Get the biggest, toughest tires that will fit in the frame. Schwalbe Marathon Plus comes in 700 x 25c and 700 x 28c. They're heavier than what your used to but that's appropriate for touring. Inflate the rear tire only so much as to not quite eliminate the bulge. The bike will ride much cushier. Important for long days in the saddle. It is not mandatory to inflate tires to their maximum psi although some tires have the minimum psi written on the sidewall and you should heed this.
I've made the assumption that your bike is Shimano equipped. I realized that this might be a false assumption.
As you can see it might take a lot of doing to transform your bike into a touring bike. Then you would have to restore it all back when you are through with the tour. It might be cheaper to buy a touring bike.
Check out REI's Novara Randonee, 700c wheels, $949, and Safari, 26" wheels, $849. I favor 26" wheels for touring.
Last edited by GeoKrpan; 01-07-07 at 07:58 PM.