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  1. #1
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    Touring on racing bike?

    Is it possible to set up a road racing bike for touring? I bought a Specialized Ruby earlier this year, so I can't really afford another bike. It has no eyelets for attaching racks (so I'm limited to 20-25 lbs on a rack clamped to seat post). Also, the chainstays are only 40.5 cm - would rear panniers get in the way? For now, I'm looking at doing a 3 day solo tour down the Pacific Coast. I'd be trying to travel as light as possible (no cooking stuff, tarp instead of tent, etc). Should I get wider tires (running 700x23)? Would this be too much stress on the wheels (16 spoke in front, 20 spoke in rear)? Sorry about all the questions!!

  2. #2
    del dot
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    It's not an ideal touring bike...but if it's what you've got available, then it's what you've got. If people never set out on tour until they had the "perfect" bike for the job, then a lot of the most interesting stories ever told would never have happened.

    I would go for the heavier tires, as you suggest. With those short chainstays, you'll want some smallish rear panniers, and then you can carry some of your lighter equipment on top of the clamp-on rack. Try to make sure the heavy stuff rides low on the bike, though; better handling. And speaking of handling...take it easy on descents and other dicey situations; you're on a bike which wasn't designed to handle well under loads.

    As long as you don't expect too much from the bike, though, you'll do fine. Once you're actually on the road, most of the problems you worried about when preparing for the tool will seem comically small.

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    I'm about to try out something just like this, after suffering with too much weight on my last short tour.

    I am waiting for my new rack to arrive - Tubus Fly from thetouringstore.com and an adaptor for attaching it to a no-eyelet bike from biketrailers.com (wayne at thetouringstore is out of the adaptors at the moment).

    I'm going to put my old lone peak front panniers on the rear, and probably do a CC type tour in the next couple of weeks. I'll try to remember to post something about how it goes. I don't think I would do a camping load on that - I also have super low spoke count wheels, and I think that and the gearing are the real limiting factors for that setup.

    The pacific coast should be great for that, since the weather is so predictable. I met a guy in the big sur area a few years ago who just had a credit card and a pair of swim trunks, he was doing 120 mile days.

    ...

  4. #4
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by jesswah View Post
    Is it possible to set up a road racing bike for touring? I bought a Specialized Ruby earlier this year, so I can't really afford another bike. It has no eyelets for attaching racks (so I'm limited to 20-25 lbs on a rack clamped to seat post). Also, the chainstays are only 40.5 cm - would rear panniers get in the way? For now, I'm looking at doing a 3 day solo tour down the Pacific Coast. I'd be trying to travel as light as possible (no cooking stuff, tarp instead of tent, etc). Should I get wider tires (running 700x23)? Would this be too much stress on the wheels (16 spoke in front, 20 spoke in rear)? Sorry about all the questions!!
    Read the recent thread "Ultralight Touring", lots of info. there. But bottomline is yes I think you could tour on your Roubaix
    using a saddlebag and a bar bag. I would recommend a few more spokes and some wider tyres though

  5. #5
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    Well I've been in a similar situation: definitely get wider tires, but 700x25 will probably be the biggest you can fit. Try the Schwalbe Marathon Pluses. Do that and just be conscious of what you ride on and over as you won't be touring for that long. Also, look at Old Man Mountain for a rack, a bit pricey, but well worth it if you plan on using it for a long time.
    balvindar.blogspot.com

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    I did a lot of my early touring on a racing bike. That was all I had at a certain time. back then though the racing bikes had 36 spoke wheels!

    Somewhere out there there is probably someone racing your bike built like Eric Heiden (sp). That guy is killing it as hard or harder than a guy touring it. That said it all works about as well as racing on a touring bike, or doing MTB stuff on a comfort bike. Bike are so cool it's always better than walking...

    I have a touring bike set up for "loaded touring and it carries about 6-8 pound per pannier, before food. So 25 pounds will get you a long way.

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    It'll be all right. I just completed a tour last week from SF to LA on a racing bike. Luckily though, it had a triple so I put it to good use.

    I ended up borrowing an Old Man Mountain rack that connects rear skewer to seat post. I carried in all about 20 pounds (including clif bars, protein powder, lunch, and water). Only 16 of that went in the panniers I was using. I did put on some Continental Ultras (w/ the kevlar) that were 700x25c. Only had 1 flat in 500 miles.

    You'll be ok.

  8. #8
    Senior Member eliktronik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jesswah View Post
    I'm limited to 20-25 lbs on a rack clamped to seat post.
    I tried this approach and found that you really can't load up those clamp-on racks anywhere near their limit. I'd recommend shelling out some money for the Old Man Mountain or Tubus racks that fit on bikes with no rear eyelets. It might be worth trying to make an adapter similar to the ones those racks use if you're on a budget and handy.

    Your other option are those large saddlebags that attach to your seat.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    How about a BoB trailer. A guy I know pulled one across the country with his carbon TREK 5200.

  10. #10
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, it can be done, and done enjoyably - my first fully contained tour in 1975 was on a Bob Jackson racing frame with a Plescher rack (not recommended) and three stuff sacks strapped to it. Oh, and I was on sew-ups (also not recommended). If you have any way of borrowing a purpose-built touring bike, though, do it. The problems you are most likely to encounter on the Roubaix:

    -- Fatigue from related but separate sources. The racing frame is going to transmit more road buzz and shock up your arse, legs and hands than will a comparably built touring frame simply by virtue of the difference in wheelbase and frame angles. This causes extra fatigue over the course of a full day, and as the days add up. Also, the racing frame is going to be "twitchier" than the touring frame. This means you are going to have to pay more attention to, and put more effort into, holding a straight line. Unless your Roubaix is built to be a super-upright crit bike, this is not likely to be a safety issue, and it may not even be noticeable at any given moment. But again, over one or more long days in the saddle, it causes extra fatigue that adds up. I would definitely go to wider tires if at all possible - even 27's or 28's if you can fit them. Even then, you will need to keep them pumped up good and hard to keep from bashing the rims on bumps and potholes (you will hit some) and crappy pavement (you will hit some of that, too). Having really hard tires like that adds to the effects of the stiffer, more upright, shorter wheelbased frame in terms of fatigue.

    -- Wheel problems. Since I'm a serious Clydesdale, I don't ride the new-fangled minimalist-spoked wheels in any event. But assuming that your current wheels are as a strong as old-fashioned 36-spoke wheels, you're still at a disadvatage. Why? Because if you do break a spoke (always a possibility), the wheel with fewer spokes is going to deform more side-to-side than will a whell with more spokes. Thus while there is a good chance that you can nurse a 36-spoke wheel with one busted to a shop or campsite and do the repair there, with a 16 or 20 or 24 you are more likely to have enough distortion in the rim to have an unrideable wheel unless you stop, replace the spoke and retrue wht whell right then and there (or stick out your thumb and pray for a pick-up truck or Winnebago to stop for you). Neither option is much fun.

    Having said all this, the only factor that would give me serious pause is your wheels - I'm just not sure they will hold up to the needs of a loaded tour. But if you are comfortable with their abiity to take the extra weight and the pounding, I'd say go for it. If you enjoy the tour (and I'm guessing you will), you can slowly acquire more touring-specific stuff over time. And while touring-specific gear does aid in the experience, it isn't essential to having a great time.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  11. #11
    Senior Member DuckFat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hammer Boy View Post
    How about a BoB trailer. A guy I know pulled one across the country with his carbon TREK 5200.
    The Extrawheel trailer would be the best choice. It'll take ALL the weight off of the bike. You could use virtually any bike with that trailer. It's pretty impressive but it's not cheap. The link goes to the only US distributor I found. I bought my BOB from them and the transaction was handled well. There is a website with videos of the trailer in action here: http://www.extrawheel.com/index_en.php

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jesswah View Post
    Would this be too much stress on the wheels (16 spoke in front, 20 spoke in rear)? Sorry about all the questions!!
    And I was worried because I only have 32 spokes!

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    Thanks for all the great responses. I think I'm gonna *try* and build my own quick-release conversion thingy, since I'm not nuts about hanging all that weight off my carbon seatpost . I'm hoping the wheels will be fine - after all, it supported me quite when when I was 20 lbs heavier!!

    Guess I should go map out my route - see what I'm getting into. People keep saying "hilly"... but *how* hilly?

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    Senior Member john bono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jesswah View Post
    Is it possible to set up a road racing bike for touring? I bought a Specialized Ruby earlier this year, so I can't really afford another bike. It has no eyelets for attaching racks (so I'm limited to 20-25 lbs on a rack clamped to seat post). Also, the chainstays are only 40.5 cm - would rear panniers get in the way? For now, I'm looking at doing a 3 day solo tour down the Pacific Coast. I'd be trying to travel as light as possible (no cooking stuff, tarp instead of tent, etc). Should I get wider tires (running 700x23)? Would this be too much stress on the wheels (16 spoke in front, 20 spoke in rear)? Sorry about all the questions!!
    The spoke count on those wheels is really low. I would say first, that you will probably want to go with the bob/extrawheel trailer. That will either partially or completely unload your wheels. Second, I would see if 28mm armadillos will fit. More flat resistant, and the extra width will let your ride more marginal roads, and it will help keep you a bit more comfy than 23s.
    Ride a bike. It makes your legs stringy, and less tasty to our Kanamit friends.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    which part are you riding?
    ...

  16. #16
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    3 days, west coast US, on road? You'll be fine on your bike, you could do it on a unicycyle with a large Camelback.

    There are various training tyres that should fit, even if 28mms won't. Conti Gatorskins are skinwalls and won't last as long as a touring tyre, but you might be able to get their 28 onto a racing bike (otherwise the 25s) as they are thinner than advertised. They should be right for a few thousand km, most of the discussions about touring tyres are about longevity as well as puncture resistance, very few (decent) tyres have lots of punctures when new if the roads are reasonable.

    Vittoria 28s prob. won't fit. Don't know about the Armadillos.

    You should be pretty close to town throughout your trip, right? Should be easy to get spares as long as you carry enough to get out of trouble.

    Look at the Ultralight Touring thread. You'll prob. be fine with large handlebar bag, rear rack (don't know about safest way to attach to a carbon frame, though) and you should be fine with stuffsacs attached to the rack if you want to avoid the weight of panniers - you'll be on road all the way, not bashing through scrub.

    I remember SF Bay Area being pretty nice weather wise Sept-Nov (apart from fog/mist/dampness), I gather you won't have too much severe weather to deal with? Silnylon tarp (or even poncho-tarp eg. by Sea to Summit or Integral Designs) would be enough, along with silnylon or tyvek groundsheet + something like a Prolite 3s or 4s thermarest (or a Big Agnes inflatable mat for even less bulk, you need comfort not insulation on this trip). A small down bag (heaps of good, small but expensive ones available in the US).

    Do a search on ultralight backpacking for some ideas. Also, look at the "cycle camping" article on the Rivendell Cycle Works website.

    Re cooking - you don't have to, there will be towns along the way. If you want to, you can get away with a large titanium mug (600ml), a "soda-can" alcohol stove and 2-3oz ethanol. Total weight is about 200-250g. and you can carry freeze-dried meals. However, it's probably more pleasant to eat at restaurants along the way.

  17. #17
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    Just some random thoughts.

    I think it can be done.
    Of course, you can race a touring bike too. In fact, the looks you get from either peer group will be parallel.

    The key factor is your willingness to live with the restrictions the bike gives. You're quite probably looking at fewer miles each day touring on a racing bike than touring on a touring bike. By this I mean can you ride your racing bike for 6-10 hours each day at 9-15 mph?

    Believe it or not, a comfortable, long wheelbased bike, with decently wide tires, will make it more possible for most people to go farther in a day - even unloaded - than a lightning quick road bike.

    The balance tips a little one way if you add peers and pacelines to the mix, but crashes hard the other when you're sightseeing and hauling your stuff on so-so roads in the rain.

    There appear to be very few absolutes in this sort of thing, however, and one of my favorite tour descriptions is here:
    http://www.mile43.com/peterson/NorthRoad/NorthRoad.html
    1800 miles, 11.5 days. Seattle to Duluth. Fixed gear.
    Great reading too.

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    A Carradice style saddlebag and barbag ais probably the most effective option. Get the widest tres that will fit into your brakes. People do tour on 23 without problems but 25 are beter.
    NB Marathon plus tyres are sized wide so a 25mm is really a std 28mm dimension. They are probably overkill for lightweight touring but schwalbe use the same technology in lighter models.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    which part are you riding?
    I was thinking from Salinas to Paso Robles, going through Monterey and Big Sur. Although the parents are having a conniption fit, soo... that might change.

  20. #20
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    Ok... random info from someone who has been there and done a bunch of that. Keep in mind that I don't know where you live or anything about your riding & life experience, and I'm saying this in the spirit of helpfulness.

    Excellent choice of coast for an experienced cyclist. Very beautiful. Monterey to Big Sur is quite hilly. The coast road is narrow, and should be ridden on a non-weekend if at all possible. There is a nice youth hostel in Monterey, costs about $23 for a dorm bed. I hear there is a hostel in Cambria, as well, but haven't stayed there. There are hiker/biker sites at Big Sur & Kirk Creek campgrounds. KC has no services at all, and the water has needed treatment for the last 2 years when I have been there - take iodine tablets. There is great information in Kirkendall & Spring's Cycling the Pacific Coast, which is available at amazon, rei, etc. This book includes info about camping/lodging, bike shop locations, elevation profiles, distances, road conditions, site seeing.

    If you are camping, you are going to need to carry more weight than can go in a beam rack, and as you said you must not put one of those on your carbon seatpost. You could get a different seatpost. If you already have a rack, you can get a rack skewer mount thingy that *might* work (works for Tubus) here: biketrailershop.com - look for tubus accessories on that site. Mine is in the mail, i can tell you more about it in a couple of days, i'm using a Tubus Fly rack (thetouringstore.com). Or you can get an Old Man Mountain rack which comes with the skewer mount.

    You don't want to mess around with building anything that if it comes apart is gonna end up in your wheel, causing you to crash. If you build something, be very sure it is going to work.

    For lightweight touring the most important piece of equipment you can carry is your credit card, which will allow you to purchase a hotel room or a ride home if things get wet and wild.

    Why not start with a one-night very short trip, to help you get the kinks out of your carrying system? I did that. You can go very light if you can substitute money for carrying capacity, and that can be more fun if you are going on a short trip. You'll enjoy the riding more.

    Try to borrow equipment from friends and family.

    If you are planning on using a bus or train for the return journey, make sure to check their rules about how bikes must be boxed.

    If you are a minor, listen to your parents. Seriously.
    ...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    A Carradice style saddlebag and barbag ais probably the most effective option. Get the widest tres that will fit into your brakes. People do tour on 23 without problems but 25 are beter.
    NB Marathon plus tyres are sized wide so a 25mm is really a std 28mm dimension. They are probably overkill for lightweight touring but schwalbe use the same technology in lighter models.
    I'd agree with Michael, for a 3 day tour you don't really need panniers and certainly not a BOB trailer. Go lightweight, I've done several 2-3 day tours with just a bar bag and a small hydration pack (used as extra storage without the hydration pack) and this is fine. I've recently purchased a Carradice saddlebag and will use this instead of the hydration pack next time.
    Also 23mm and certainly 25mm is fine for roads, indeed had a combination of the both doing the Coast& Castles ride in the UK (which involves a small bit of off road) without any probs.

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