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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 04-21-08, 06:42 PM   #1
Brorider518
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Touring on my road bike

I recently bought a '96(I think) cannondale R500t. I'd like to do some touring on it but I'm not sure how well it will do. It's an aluminum frame, CAD3, and is 52cm. I think I'll have enough clearance for a rear rack and panniers without my feet hitting but would like to now anyone else's experience using a road bike for touring. Also it doesn't have braze-ons but it looks like it has holes that are tapped right above the rear axle that could be used to secure a bike rack.
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Old 04-21-08, 06:54 PM   #2
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A road bike is shorter and has tighter angles, which make it more nervous. Under load, this nervousness can make the bike twitchy. In some cases, the bike can self-oscillate a bit. If you don't have any touring gear (panniers, racks, etc.), you might want to consider touring with a trailer.

Ultimately some people prefer panniers in your situation, others prefer trailers. I guess there's no right answers.

Some bike racks attach through the axle, so the absence of braze-ons isn't the key issue here. The key issue is how will your bike behave under load.
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Old 04-21-08, 06:56 PM   #3
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You could pull a trailer. I wouldn't mount a rack though. Doubt the geometry will good for touring, but I don't know this bike.
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Old 04-21-08, 07:00 PM   #4
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I had a Cannondale R800 [CAAD5] road bike. I would have done some really lightweight touring [say with 15lbs on a seatpost rack or in a backpack] with it, but I wouldn't have bothered attaching racks and panniers to carry heavier loads. It just wouldn't have been worth it as so much would have had to be changed - gearing was too high, tires too narrow, wheels not strong enough, riding position too aggressive [bars way lower than seat] and the handling would have been awful.

A two wheel trailer may solve some of these issues, but I think you'd be way better off buying a cheap mountain bike off craig's list and starting there if you want to do any fully loaded touring.
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Old 04-21-08, 07:14 PM   #5
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Check out this thread about touring on a road bike: Touring with a racing bike

This thread discusses the differences between road and touring bikes: Racing vs. Touring bikes

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Old 04-22-08, 10:26 AM   #6
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Brorider,
Very few folks here will provide you with any support for touring on a road bike. My experience is this.
I bought my first road bike 6 years ago on a whim. After I spent all of that money on a bicycle I decided that I needed to do something with it to justify the expense.
So I shipped it to San Diego and rode it home to Fl. And I had a good time doing it, solo and unsupported. A year ago I bought a touring specific bike and rode it cross country last year. And enjoyed doing it.
You can do the ride with any bike that you have. The important thing is to do it and not let folks here discourage you. If the bike you have is a road bike, get on with it and go. My personal preference is to use two rear panniers and nothing else for touring solo unsupported. For the road bike I bought the longest rear rack that I could find and mounted that. Then I put the panniers as far to the rear as they would go. That way I did not have any problems with heel clearance. Now folks will play engineer and say that the road bike won't be stable. Well, lets see. It is a bicycle and by my definition a bicycle is not stable. My description is that a road bike loaded with rear panniers is differently stable than my touring bike is with the same load. I do not have a problem with either. Good luck with your ride.
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Old 04-22-08, 10:35 AM   #7
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I agree with lighthorse. Until I discovered this forum recently, I didn't realize touring with a roadbike was "wrong." While I can see that the roadbike wouldn't be suitable for really heavy loads, or really bad roads, it's always worked for me on tours. Granted, I haven't done more than 2-3 weeks, and don't carry camping gear. That means I usually don't carry more than about 25 lb. But lighthorse seems to have done ok. I don't see the point of riding a slow, heavy bike unless you need to.
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Old 04-22-08, 11:06 AM   #8
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The Tubus Logo is one rack that allows you to mount bags further back and downward than the average rack.
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Old 04-22-08, 05:49 PM   #9
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You can tour on almost anything. As long as the frame doesn't break (rare) and the handling isn't so bad that you have a catastrophic crash, it'll be fine. Fine but maybe not great. If the gears aren't low enough you may end up walking up steep hills (or developing knee troubles if you try and crunch your way up to the top), your bike may shimmy and shake on fast downhills, and you might break a bunch of spokes on your rear wheel, especially if you are carrying a big load and it's all behind you.

Let your wallet guide you. You can tour on your bike with as little modification as possible, you can tweak it a bit - maybe by adding a triple chainring, maybe by buying a tour-specific rear wheel - or you can invest in a bike specific to touring. It could be an old rigid mountain bike off Ebay, which I think is a pretty good choice for someone on a budget, or you could buy another, touring specific bike - a "real" touring bike.

Whatever course you choose, posting here will get you tons of free advice, most of it pretty good, though often in disagreement.
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Old 04-23-08, 09:37 AM   #10
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I hope this isn't too much of a diversion, but here's a related question.

I have no touring experience but am planning a build of my second bike, a "fun" road bike to complement my wonderful but slow and heavy English 3-speed utility bike. I'm thinking about the Salsa Casseroll frameset in particular. I'd use it mostly for nice, long-ish day rides around the Chicago area where I live.

How much would it be pushing the envelope to go on short camping tours with it? I'm thinking 3-5 day unsupported trips, like say from Chicago to Milwaukee or South Bend or something like that. I'm light (145 pounds currently) and too naive to know why touring kit would weigh more than, say, lightweight backpacking gear plus tools. Basically, I'm not sure how loaded is loaded touring.

Is a trip of such a length even properly called touring?

Thanks.
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Old 04-23-08, 09:51 AM   #11
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Great post lighthorse; people can tell you theoretically many things, but you're the one riding the bike and *you* will know! Having said that, I can't say I think a road bike is the best way to go, but if it works (and you'd only find out by riding it), and as you said, just go for it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lighthorse View Post
Brorider,
Very few folks here will provide you with any support for touring on a road bike. My experience is this.
I bought my first road bike 6 years ago on a whim. After I spent all of that money on a bicycle I decided that I needed to do something with it to justify the expense.
So I shipped it to San Diego and rode it home to Fl. And I had a good time doing it, solo and unsupported. A year ago I bought a touring specific bike and rode it cross country last year. And enjoyed doing it.
You can do the ride with any bike that you have. The important thing is to do it and not let folks here discourage you. If the bike you have is a road bike, get on with it and go. My personal preference is to use two rear panniers and nothing else for touring solo unsupported. For the road bike I bought the longest rear rack that I could find and mounted that. Then I put the panniers as far to the rear as they would go. That way I did not have any problems with heel clearance. Now folks will play engineer and say that the road bike won't be stable. Well, lets see. It is a bicycle and by my definition a bicycle is not stable. My description is that a road bike loaded with rear panniers is differently stable than my touring bike is with the same load. I do not have a problem with either. Good luck with your ride.
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Old 04-24-08, 08:43 AM   #12
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I've done small tours up to a week on my old '91/'92 Trek road bike. I've got the same holes above my axle but nothing at the top. Used some cheap P-clip things wrapped in rubber to mount the rack to the seat stays. There were about a buck at home depot or lowes.

My wheels have been fine on tours so far. They are 32 spoke. Sure the newer 20 spoke wheels aren't a good idea, but mine have held up fine so far.

Consider the terrain you will be on, your fitness, and weight when considering gearing. I'm still running the standard double crank up front and switch to a cassette with a 28t gear on the rear. This has worked fine for me but I live in Dallas,TX and only have toured around here with minimal hills.

Keep the weight reasonable to limit problems. I don't carry cooking stuff but do carry a tent and sleeping bag and some clothes.

Like others have said, tour on what you got if you want to do it. Start off small with some overnight or long weekend trips if you like to get an idea on how everything works and then you decide if what you have will work for longer tours.
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