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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 05-27-07, 02:52 PM   #1
kf5nd
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Tail-wagging Sirrus

Look at how far back behind the rear axle the kitty-litter and catfood load sits on the Specialized Sirrus (or any other bike with short chainstays). The center of gravity of this 50 pound load is about 4 inches behind the axle.



As I rode home, the bike was fish-tailing and whipping around in a very unpredictable manner. I would not like to do loaded touring on this bike with 50 pounds sitting as shown. You can imagine a fast mountain descent with this tendency to oscillate could easily cause a "death wobble".

Maybe 30 pounds in the rear, 20 pounds up front. But not 50 in the rear. Split it up, or put it all in a trailer. Or get a real touring bike.
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Old 05-27-07, 05:42 PM   #2
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...same for me...

Yep. I loaded up mine with the heavy stuff in the front bags, and the lighter stuff in the back bags, and it was still twitchy and unstable. The Sirrus is a great commuter, but I'm looking for a dedicated touring bike after my recent experience.



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Old 05-27-07, 09:18 PM   #3
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So splitting the load up front / rear doesn't fix it? That's a real problem, especially since I want to do more grocery shopping with the bike, nevermind touring. Sounds like trailer time to me.

TNX, 73


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Originally Posted by bloodhound
Yep. I loaded up mine with the heavy stuff in the front bags, and the lighter stuff in the back bags, and it was still twitchy and unstable. The Sirrus is a great commuter, but I'm looking for a dedicated touring bike after my recent experience.
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Old 05-27-07, 09:43 PM   #4
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...better...

Let me say that it was better, but not great. Putting the heavier stuff in the front bags didn't mean there wasn't heavy stuff in the back bags. Had it all been in the back bags, it would have been un-rideable. I did manage a couple of downhills without wrecking. Hit 33.3 on the first day of my tour coming down Koko Head, and 38.9 coming down from the campsite at Peacock Flats in the NorthWestern mountains of Oahu.

So, it's not impossible. I did have to keep my eyes on the road. But, by all means, try a trailer and let me know how you like it!

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Old 05-28-07, 01:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd
...or any other bike with short chainstays...
Placing the load high and flexy racks/stays also help to promote twitchy handling.
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Old 05-28-07, 09:56 AM   #6
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What Kind of Wheels On Your Sirrus?

I was looking at the picture of your bike. I'm curious what kind of wheels you have - number of spokes, spoke pattern, etc. The reason I ask is that a friend has a Sirrus with radial spokes. I don't know how many but they don't cross. She is thinking of touring, and thinking of buying a bike for her daughter for touring. The Sirrus seems to be a nice bike, and I think they both like the upright seating position, but the wheels on my friend's bike don't seem suitable for carrying loads. Is there a model of Sirrus with more suitable wheels? Any thoughts you'd be willing to share would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 05-28-07, 12:30 PM   #7
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Oh, that's an aftermarket wheel. The OEM wheel gave out after 18 months of commuting and several broken spokes. The wheel shown happens to be a very tough cyclocross wheel the bike shop had on hand to sell to me.

But if you're following this thread, you might get the picture that the Sirrus isn't good for touring loads at all, so maybe steer your friend and her daughter to touring bikes.


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Originally Posted by BigBlueToe
I was looking at the picture of your bike. I'm curious what kind of wheels you have - number of spokes, spoke pattern, etc. The reason I ask is that a friend has a Sirrus with radial spokes. I don't know how many but they don't cross. She is thinking of touring, and thinking of buying a bike for her daughter for touring. The Sirrus seems to be a nice bike, and I think they both like the upright seating position, but the wheels on my friend's bike don't seem suitable for carrying loads. Is there a model of Sirrus with more suitable wheels? Any thoughts you'd be willing to share would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 05-28-07, 12:34 PM   #8
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Do you suppose you would've had enough room for stuff if you'd gone with front panniers, rack trunk, big front handlebar bag, and NO rear panniers at all? (what did you keep in the rear panniers?)

I just held my shoe up to the bike with the pedal in the rear-most position, and I'm afraid I might heel-strike a trailer hitch! Darned short chainstays!



Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodhound
Let me say that it was better, but not great. Putting the heavier stuff in the front bags didn't mean there wasn't heavy stuff in the back bags. Had it all been in the back bags, it would have been un-rideable. I did manage a couple of downhills without wrecking. Hit 33.3 on the first day of my tour coming down Koko Head, and 38.9 coming down from the campsite at Peacock Flats in the NorthWestern mountains of Oahu.

So, it's not impossible. I did have to keep my eyes on the road. But, by all means, try a trailer and let me know how you like it!
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Old 05-28-07, 01:15 PM   #9
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...heels...

I had to adjust the hooks on the rear panniers so the back one was in the middle of the bag, to get the bag set back far enough to clear my size 13 feet.

When I laid out my gear and started packing my bags, I started with the heavy stuff in the front bags, and kept packing until they were full. With the sleeping pad under the seat, the food in the trunk bag, all I had left to put in the back panniers was clothes. That took up about half of one back pannier bag. I added a little more food, putting it in the back right pannier. Oh, then I added an extra stove (sterno backup), an extra pair of shoes, another shirt... basically I added just because I had space available.

So, yes. I could have done my tour with just the front bags, trunk bag, and a handlebar bag. Of course, it depends on what you like to bring. I'm in the Navy and have been trained on redundancy for 18+ years. So, I think I overdid it with the gear. Not a lot, just a little. A little trimming back, and a handlebar bag, and I could have done it without the back panniers.

Also depends on what radio you're bringing
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Old 05-29-07, 07:01 AM   #10
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I've used a Sirrus as a commuter ever since the first year it came out in aluminum with flat bars. I love this bike and as a commuter, I haven't found anything I like better. I also use it regularly for my grocery shopping. For light grocery loads, I pack everything in two folding rear baskets. For heavy shopping, I use a Revolution Trailer with a 100lb payload. Never once have I had any problems with fishtailing or heel strike on baskets or trailer hitch. That being said, I have never considered using this bike for loaded touring (for that purpose, I use a 520) and even have doubts as to how well it would function as a tourer. Probably not too well based on what I see here. I agree with others that loaded touring demands a more purpose specific bike.
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