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Thread: first upgrades

  1. #1
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    first upgrades

    hi, im a newbie to bicycle touring. I have used my 07 fuji touring for the last year as a commuter. not knowing much about touring when i made the purchase, i bought the bike because it seemed like the perfect commuter. anyways, i am super happy with the ride and fit. I recently went on a limb an incredibly stupid/ free spirited/ stubborn limb. and "loaded my bike up and headed out of the county (baltimore) and toward south carolina with two of my friends. we have all been riding bikes for a wile but mostly around the city just commuting on our fixed gears. well this time we decided to take a break from our lives and literally ride our bikes in one direction with absolutely no plans, minimum gear and money, and no experience. i had some food, a sleeping bag, pocket knife, spare tubes, bike tool, matches and candles. we camped out on the side of the road usually in some woods we made it to north carolina and we went home. although i could imagine so so so many things that i could have done to make my trip more enjoyable i still had the most amazing experience. well now i have decided to take up bike touring, but doing it in a bit more "safe" way.. i guess you could say. I have been reading through a few sites forums etc and have learned alot. but i am just wandering what you guys think should be my first purchases on upgrading my bike when it comes to parts and gear, brands etc? it seems so overwhelming, if you could understand that, i mean diving into a new hobbie, all the brands are just to confusing.
    so i guess im just looking for some staright forward recomendations
    -thanks a ton
    -sam

  2. #2
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Well, you took it on tour.... What, if anything, didn't work?

    The Fuji Touring is a pretty good bike, hardly a "mistake" if you want to do more tours and continue to use it for commuting as well. If it worked, you may not need to upgrade the bike at all.

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    You can tour on anything, it is all a matter of comfort. I wish I had a surly LHT frame with all my components. I don't, and I'm going to go for a year long trip on this bike. It doesn't matter that much. But I have upgraded nearly everything on my bike. It really depends on what you plan to do. If you are just going around in the states, where you can get whatever you want wherever you are, it is all about comfort. If you going to SE Asia it is important to get the toughest most reliable gear. I would start with a brooks saddle, they conform to you. If you want to do some long isolated trips, and you don't want to worry about maintence, get some phil woods hubs. Get some marathon xr (or plus) tires. Check out Arkle panniers. It all depends on how much you want to spend, and what you plan to do with it.

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    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racosav View Post
    well now i have decided to take up bike touring, but doing it in a bit more "safe" way.. i guess you could say. I have been reading through a few sites forums etc and have learned alot. but i am just wandering what you guys think should be my first purchases on upgrading my bike when it comes to parts and gear, brands etc? it seems so overwhelming, if you could understand that, i mean diving into a new hobbie, all the brands are just to confusing.
    This was your first trip. It worked out well enough that you're now looking to do more cycle touring. The trip was a learning experience and you now know better what you can expect next time you're on the road.

    Before you make any purchases, evaluate your trip. Write down everything about the trip how far you went, how the roads were, where you stayed, what you ate, how you spent the nights and anything else that comes to mind. Then write out what went right and what went wrong. Did you have mechanical problems? Did your gear work for you? Were you comfortable? Did you take things you didn't need or did you miss some essentials? From this evaluation, you'll know what upgrades you'll need, if any.

    The evaluation is something I do every time I get back from a tour. Others will do something similar. Each trip is a learning experience and will help you prepare for the next one.

    If your bike is in good mechanical condition, you probably don't need to do any upgrades to it. For the rest of your gear, it will depend to a degree on where you're touring, how you're touring and what you can afford.

    Don't rush into purchases. Take your time, ask questions and consider your needs. Bike touring is an ongoing evolution, not an instant transformation. Enjoy every part of the process.
    Life is good.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    My first tours in the 70s were on an old Raleigh Gran Prix 10-speed. I sewed my own panniers and had very rudimentary camping gear. I had an awesome time and became hooked on touring, but looking back I wonder how I survived with the equipment I had and the way I ate. Now I have enough money to buy the stuff I need (I'm not rich, but bicycle touring isn't that expensive compared to other forms of vacation travel.)

    In order to comment on some possible first upgrades it would be helpful to know what you have now. Besides your bike, what have you got? Racks? Panniers? Camping gear? Running gear on your bike?

    Your Fuji tourer is way better than what I started on and, by all accounts I've read, a very competant tourer. I met a guy this summer in Glacier N. P. who was riding one. He started in Buffalo, New York, and was heading to Portland, Oregon, by a very scenic route through several national parks. His bike was working well for him, though he had broken several spokes on the stock wheels and had them replaced in Wyoming. He had also replaced the stock tires with much wider ones.

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    thanks a whole lot everyone. well here is what i have a fuji touring, a back rack, a back pack that was bunjee corded to the side of the rack that was incredibly annoying and a bike bag on top that is ok but has some holes in it after the one year i have had it. I have a rear light that flashes but i couldnt figure out how to mount it to the back of the rack only the seatpost, so that caused some trouble. i had two lights mounted on my bars that both broke, for no particular reason. my deraileurs get out of place and i need to adjust them, they skip gears when i shift and they arent very good over all. I havnt had any problems with my wheels although that is what i have heard people complain about the most with the fuji. I am happy with the bars and my riding position and my seat. I am happy with the shifting system. I wish i had better bags or panniers. I wish i had a front rack and fenders. and better lights. possibly a new wheel set. possibly a new stem and seat post. I definately want to get new derailers. I need new tires. oh yeah,and i have been curious about pedals, i have clips which im ok with, cheap plastic clips, with cheap straps, the stock clips broke. Im wondering about clipless? with bike shoes?

    as far as camping equipment goes that was my biggest problem, sleeping was awful all i have is a sleeping bag that i think is a nice one but it was uncomfortable just with that alone.
    -thanks a ton
    -sam

  7. #7
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    From what you've explained, there are a few things you should look into getting, repairing or retrofitting for your bike as inexpensively as possible.

    1. Panniers should be near the top of your list. You can get a decent pair relatively inexpensively or you can spend a lot more for complete waterproof features. Your choice. Panniers will mean you won't need the backpack or the bike bag.

    2. Look at your rear flashing light. It will probably have a clip which you can use to clip to panniers, a rack bag or your clothing. If not, you can fashion your own clip. Get an alligator clip at the electrical department of your hardware store and glue it to the back of your flasher using epoxy. You can now clip the flasher to almost anything (but you won't be able to use the seat post mount anymore.)

    3. You can get a basic front light for less than $20. It will double as a flashlight. There are also some sites on the Internet where you can get information on building your own lights if you're so inclined.

    4. Before your next tour, take your bike in to your local bike shop and get it tuned up. The people there will be able to get you ready for the road and they'll know exactly what your bike needs. If you don't need a new seatpost, wheels or derailleurs, don't bother getting them.

    5. Going clipless is nice, but it's not an essential. I've done tours with them and without them.

    Your camping equipment needs will depend on how you want to travel, but at the very least, you should have a tent and a cheap mattress pad in addition to your sleeping bag. For the first tours, as you're learning, borrow a small tent from a friend. Or see if you can find a second-hand tent at a camping consignment shop.
    Life is good.

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    thank you
    im definately going to be getting new derailleurs, fenders, a front rack and a set of arkel panniers.
    im not afraid of spending money on something if i know it will last me a long time. so im wondering.. any recomendations on the deraileurs? fenders? I checked out ortleib and arkel panniers and think i like the way the arkels work more, and i liked the arkel front rack.
    -thanks again

  9. #9
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racosav View Post
    thank you
    im definately going to be getting new derailleurs, fenders, a front rack and a set of arkel panniers.
    im not afraid of spending money on something if i know it will last me a long time. so im wondering.. any recomendations on the deraileurs? fenders? I checked out ortleib and arkel panniers and think i like the way the arkels work more, and i liked the arkel front rack.
    -thanks again
    Why new derailleurs, are they broken or worn out? I consider the one that comes on the front of the Fuji to be as good or better than anything else available and the rear one quite adequate. It is an upgrade where buying higher ends stuff will give you little bang for the buck or even wind up working less well.

    Fenders Planet Bike Freddy fenders worked out well for me.

    Arkels are nice. If money is an issue I found the Nashbar and Performance Waterproof models to be pretty nice. They are very waterproof and have held up well for me (still like new after a coast to coast trip). They weigh a lot less than Ortleibs. Some don't like the mounting system, but I found it adequate. They go on sale with a deep price cut pretty often. I had good luck with Transit Pro's from Performance too. Three of us used a mix of different Nashbar and Performance panniers on the TA and they all worked out very well.

  10. #10
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    hey thanks alot
    i also live in parkville, right off of harford rd. hmm... small world

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