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Old 09-25-08, 09:22 AM   #1
kenseth03
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newbie to touring

I have several bikes, a road bike, 2 mountain bikes, and a single speed road bike. I want to start touring more and want a effcient bike for this. I was wondering if my Trek 6700 mountain bike would be good for this with some upgrades? Do mountain bikes make good touring bikes? What upgrades would be best to build up a good touring machine? Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-25-08, 09:57 AM   #2
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Mountain bikes generally make very good touring bikes. They're sturdy and good at handling loads.

The Trek 6700 looks to have front suspension, making a front rack not a very good option. What's your other MTB? What kind of road bike do you have? We need more info.
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Old 09-25-08, 10:03 AM   #3
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Just saw your sig.

The Fuji Newest seems to come with a carbon fork, a front rack won't work here either. The Gary Fisher Wahoo also comes standard with a suspension fork.

The Schwinn looks promising, but you'd need adapters to get a front rack on.

If it were me, I'd swap out a rigid fork in oen of the MTBs.

Someone else will have to speak to chainstay lengths, etc.
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Old 09-25-08, 10:49 AM   #4
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Patrick, which of your bikes is the best depends on what kind of tour you're thinking of. You could pull off a credit card tour on your road bike, staying in hotels with a change of clothes and a book slung under your seat in a saddle bag. You could put a rear rack, panniers, a handlebar bar and touring tires (smooth) on your mountain bike and bring camping gear, but don't exceed 15 or twenty pounds on the back - it will make you bike a bit unstable. A front rack and bags are nice, but not necessary if you pack light enough.

And for a sympathy tour, you can't do better than your 1977 Schwinn Varsity. I met a fellow riding one down the Pacific coast, and everyone wanted to help this gutsy nut.
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Old 09-25-08, 01:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenseth03 View Post
I have several bikes, a road bike, 2 mountain bikes, and a single speed road bike. I want to start touring more and want a effcient bike for this. I was wondering if my Trek 6700 mountain bike would be good for this with some upgrades? Do mountain bikes make good touring bikes? What upgrades would be best to build up a good touring machine? Thanks in advance!
The Wahoo would probably be a better candidate than the 6700. Modern mountain bikes are shorter than older mountain bikes and would suffer from handling/heel strike issues. And the shock, even with a lock out, would be mostly useless unless you are going to be touring pavement...something worth looking into but use a trailer

But before you run out to buy all kinds of parts to make a silk purse out of the Wahoo sow's ear, consider the costs of the upgrades. Flat bars and touring can lead to very numb hands. You'll need something for that which means a new bar. Going to a drop bar would mean new levers, bar, tape, cables and maybe brakes. Not terribly expensive but not cheap. If you want to upgrade the drivetrain, that gets to be much more expensive, depending on what you want to do. All-in-all, it's possible to spend as much or more on upgrading a bike than it is to just purchase a new one.

There is a post that Fuji touring bikes are on sale at Performance for less than $800. That's a very good price. LHT completes can be found in the $900 range...a most excellent bike for a good price. Either of these make damned good commuter bikes too.

I'm not saying that you can't or shouldn't upgrade a bike. Just be realistic about the cost and do some homework before you buy anything.
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Old 09-25-08, 08:22 PM   #6
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Thanks for the help! My Wahoo is a older one made in 1994. It does have the rigid forks on it. I may buy a pair of Nashbar treking bars to help with the hand positioning issues that a flat bar would bring.
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Old 09-25-08, 08:52 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help! My Wahoo is a older one made in 1994. It does have the rigid forks on it. I may buy a pair of Nashbar treking bars to help with the hand positioning issues that a flat bar would bring.
What about bar ends?

I found riser bars with long curved bar ends fine. I could ride with my hands on the grips, on the rapidfire shifter/brake thingie, at the junction of the grips and the barends, on the main part of the barends, or on the curved-in tops of the barends.

I now prefer drop bars, but you don't need them.

I think the older MTB sounds fine.
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Old 09-26-08, 05:52 AM   #8
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+1 for big honkin' barends.
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Old 09-26-08, 05:34 PM   #9
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I agree: bar ends for the simple cheap fix, and drops if you've got the money. Remember: you'll likely have to swap stems as well as bars, levers, and shifters.
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Old 09-26-08, 07:06 PM   #10
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I would go with the trekking bar. Bar ends will cost you $5-10 dollars, trekking bars are $18 or so. Move your levers and shifters over and put on a set of $5 rubber hand grips. See how they are.

I have a mountain bike that I use as a commuter/all arounder and I have had a flat bar, flat bar with bar ends and a Nashbar trekking bar. Only the trekking bar has given me a lot of nice comfy hand positions. One of these days I will put the bar tape on and make it even better.
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