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  1. #1
    transport, not sport.
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    bike weight, is it a concern?

    hi all,
    I am not into touring yet, but have been bike commuting for over two years now.
    since touring involves bringing lots of stuff, does the weight of the bike alone concern you?
    how light must it be?
    or
    how heavy is the upper limit?

    also other questions:
    -must it be made of steel? (for strenght) or can be aluminum??
    -how low gearing must your bike have? is 28 front, 28 in the back with 700x35 tyres be enough (for hills?)

    thanks....

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Steel is better, in my opinion, but lot's of people use Aluminum bikes on tour.

    Gearing sounds good for hills

    Weight is a factor, but not the be all end all, because touring bikes, by their nature are heavier.

    Really, you can tour on any bicycle made, if you are determined enough.

    as to the tires? 700X35 are an excellent choice. Wide enough to absorb and cushion a rough road and still a fairly low rolling resistance. (I run 32 wide myself)
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  3. #3
    See You Down The Road
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    Steel,its what I've always toured on and its just feels good to know there's steel under me.Long lasting,easy to repair (weld) anywhere,no matter where your touring takes you.

    Heavy is also good in touring,because the bike is only going to get heavier with the racks and gear so you want to start farely heavy.

    If you've never taken a full loaded tour bike on tour its a very different feel.The center of gavity is very low,and the bike feels planted on the road.

    A few extra pounds of frame is worth it when you start to carry more weight on it

    28x28 is great,will work just fine

    700x35...very nice

  4. #4
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    Unless you are as light as you can be, the weight of the bike isn't as easy to change as your own weight. For example, I am currently 185 lbs (6'2") - and It sure is easier for me to drop 5 lbs than to remove it from my bike. And, as was noted, I might be sacrificing strength.

  5. #5
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    The weight of the bike itself doesn't mater much except: 1) weight is usually connected to quality in cycling, and the stronger one wants a bike to be, realistically the better it needs to be engineered to make efficient use of weight; 2) Weight can be in better or worse places, Weight in wheels is extremely punative. Wheel durability is important, that is one area where pushing for the best stuff pays off. 3) Overall weight does mater. It may be difficult to shed 5 pounds off your bike, it is usually easy to shed 5 pounds off most people's touring gear. On shouldn't let the weight-doesn't-mater attitude apply to everything or the total increase will be huge.

    Be warry of bikes built only to test ride well. A little too light, and geared too high, feel great on the test ride, but not really right for touring.

  6. #6
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    MY first tour, and one of my best was on a low-end steel hybrid rental bike (Raligh Pioneer) . I didnt even have panniers, just a day pack bungied to the rear rack. I wouldnt let the grade of your bike deter you from touring.

    Most entry-level Al bikes from reputable brands have fairly high quality Al frames. These are not ultralight but are quite strong enough for touring. They are better for touring than the high-end racing style Al frames which have very thin tube walls.

    Steel is a good material for toures, it suits the small production runs and workshop rather than factory build style. It is also easy to add or change the brazed-on frame attatchements. In theory , steel can be repaired more easily but modern bike steel, even for touring bikes does not respond well to agricultural welding. My high quality steel tourer weighs in the same as mid-range Al hybrid style bike.

    The key feature for a tourable bike are rear pannier threaded eyelets can medium tyre clearance. Your tyres and gearing are perfectly acceptable for most tours although on big , steep mountains you can never have enough low ratios.

  7. #7
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    Steel is better, in my opinion, but lot's of people use Aluminum bikes on tour.

    Gearing sounds good for hills

    Weight is a factor, but not the be all end all, because touring bikes, by their nature are heavier.

    Really, you can tour on any bicycle made, if you are determined enough.

    as to the tires? 700X35 are an excellent choice. Wide enough to absorb and cushion a rough road and still a fairly low rolling resistance. (I run 32 wide myself)
    Steel or aluminum doesn't really matter. There's only one true [edit: I meant aluminum] touring bike made anyway and it's a damn fine touring bike!

    I'll disagree with the gearing, however. A 27" gear is still pretty high. tedi k wardhana could do better without too much problem or cost. Changing to a 34 tooth rear cog would be a good start. Changing over to a 26 or 24 tooth chainring isn't that difficult nor costly either. I come from a mountainous state and all my bikes have the lowest gears I can get. I might no use them that much but they are nice to have. Riding at 3 mph is a whole lot easier than pushing a bike a 3 mph.

    For tires, I personally like 700x37. Especially if I'm riding on lots of dirt roads. They float over that stuff.
    Last edited by cyccommute; 05-29-07 at 02:59 PM.
    Stuart Black
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    "Steel is a good material for toures, it suits the small production runs and workshop rather than factory build style."

    I think it is fine for large factories. I'm not so sure why AL is now dominant in that market. Cheap Al certainly delivers better on the large tube look, and is possibly a better fit on the very chucky suspension bikes one sees. I read that the touring frame steel tubeset one would find in something like a Surly wholesale's for about 10 bucks. And certainly it is easy to weld up.

  9. #9
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    It depends on the riding surface if weight is really going to be an issue. If you are going to ride off-road a lot, then weight is a major concern. If you are strictly road riding, it's a lot less of an issue. The weight of the frame of the bike is not important and way too many gear-heads worry about that.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    It's like anything else... what are you willing to compromise and what are you willing to pay for?

    I can spend $100 on a good 6lb tent or $300 on an equal size 4lb tent.

    As for that God awful argument about being easier to lose 5lbs... if it were that easy, that stupid argument would go away and every touring cyclist would head out with the optimal bmi. Besides, 5 pounds is 5 pounds.

    As for the steel being repairable on tour, I've not heard of too many folks here or on phred lamenting over their T2000's tragic frame failure.

    Another thing to consider before answering definitively is the type of touring: weekends, near home, overseas, ultralight, credit card, etc.

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    "Steel is a good material for toures, it suits the small production runs and workshop rather than factory build style."

    I think it is fine for large factories. I'm not so sure why AL is now dominant in that market. Cheap Al certainly delivers better on the large tube look, and is possibly a better fit on the very chucky suspension bikes one sees. I read that the touring frame steel tubeset one would find in something like a Surly wholesale's for about 10 bucks. And certainly it is easy to weld up.
    I think the main reason that aluminum is dominant is that you can make a really cheap frame that is relatively light while it's much harder to make a cheap steel frame that has the same weight. Look at all of the old very heavy 'high tensile' steel frames that came out of Tiwain in the late 80's and early 90's.

    And I'll agree about the suspension frames. It'd be tough to make a full suspension bike out of steel and not have it end up weighing 50 lbs.
    Stuart Black
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