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Old 01-10-09, 01:56 PM   #1
DVC45
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Can I upgrade my roadbike for touring? Please help an aspiring tourer.

Like other lurkers on the board, I dream about being able to tour on a bicycle someday. I started saving for a touring bike a couple months ago, but the piggy bank is slow to fill due to my current financial state. I searched this board for some insight and I came across this old thread (The Ultimate Bike Build).
The Ultimate Build
This thread got me thinking and I' thought I should try a short tour (two day tour maybe) this coming spring, and see how it goes. If I like it, I might go all out for a touring bike build or buy a new one.

So, lets begin, this is what I got,

Its a Scwhinn '91 Paramount (Japanamount to others ).

If I upgrade to a triple chainring and use a trailer to carry my stuff's will its rear axle hold up? There's no provision for racks on this bike, so I think a trailer is my only option (no?). My main concern is, of course, durability. Can this bike hold up? Should I continue saving for a "True Touring Bike" or continue on with what I got?
So far, I have a brooks saddle and I have converted the tires to 700X28 Conti Gator Skin. Surprisingly enough, It fits! As for fenders, I know there are clip on one's but, maybe I'll just go without it.
Thanks in advance for any helpful advice!

And..oh..please take it easy on me, I'm new to this whole touring thing.
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Old 01-10-09, 02:12 PM   #2
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Yes, that old Paramount will take it. Looking at the above photo, if the seat height is correct for you then the bike might be a little large. On the other hand, if your reach with that long stem is OK, then obviously you're built with a long upper torso (think lower primate) and so forget the idea of a too large frame. There are ways to attach racks if you want even without the standard braze ons. You'll do great!
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Old 01-10-09, 02:29 PM   #3
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You don't need an expensive bike to do a tour. However, unless you're good at bike mechanics, it may not wind up being cost-effective to use this particular bike. You'll need a new crankset, a new BB, a new front derailleur, and it'd be a good idea to get new chainrings and a new chain. That also means that if the cassette is worn down, it will be a good time to replace that as well.

I'd get an estimate for the upgrades, and compare it to a low-end hybrid or a used road bike that already has a triple.
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Old 01-10-09, 02:31 PM   #4
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Yup, the reach is a bit long for me, no problem with the height. I'll buy a shorter reach stem for it when I have the $$ for trailer. I'de rather pay for shipping once. Please point me to where to get those rack attachments.
Thanks!
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Old 01-10-09, 02:43 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
You don't need an expensive bike to do a tour. However, unless you're good at bike mechanics, it may not wind up being cost-effective to use this particular bike. You'll need a new crankset, a new BB, a new front derailleur, and it'd be a good idea to get new chainrings and a new chain. That also means that if the cassette is worn down, it will be a good time to replace that as well.

I'd get an estimate for the upgrades, and compare it to a low-end hybrid or a used road bike that already has a triple.
Thanks! The bike is in pristine condition. I got it from a friend who only put <25mi on it then kept it inside the garage since '92.
Okay, so, Trailer, new BB, Cranks and Deraileur...hhmmmnn...now a new bike is starting to sound good (slap self and try to focus).
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Old 01-10-09, 02:46 PM   #6
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You may want to do a true cost comparison between the cost of upgrading components plus the cost of trailer vs. the cost of a low price touring bike like the Windsor from bikesdirect.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm

Sometimes upgrading is not as cost effective as you might think. Even if you upgrade some components the others will be old and may cause an ongoing need for more upgrades. Your bike can work but is it really cost effective?

Good luck.
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Old 01-10-09, 02:56 PM   #7
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Go here (http://www.thetouringstore.com/TUBUS/Fly/FLY%20PAGE.htm) and check out the Tubus Fly with the attachment kit for the quick release. Very expensive but probably a good solution. Go light and change your freewheel to one with the biggest rear cog your RD will handle. That way it won't cost a lot and if you are in decent shape you will get up the hills without a triple. If it is a cassette, you can get an old used MTB RD and an MTB cassette with wide spacing and the same number of cogs that is on the one you have now. If you are planning on carrying a lot of stuff you will need a trailer or another bike IMO. If you can travel light I think your bike with smallish rear bags and a Camelbak Mule on your back could be a fast and fun way to go.
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Old 01-10-09, 04:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
You don't need an expensive bike to do a tour. However, unless you're good at bike mechanics, it may not wind up being cost-effective to use this particular bike. You'll need a new crankset, a new BB, a new front derailleur, and it'd be a good idea to get new chainrings and a new chain. That also means that if the cassette is worn down, it will be a good time to replace that as well.

I'd get an estimate for the upgrades, and compare it to a low-end hybrid or a used road bike that already has a triple.
I replaced crankset, BB and front derailleur on my commuter this summer for $130. Wasn't top of the line stuff, but better than new hybrid quality and I've put about 2000 miles on it since. You can purchase a cassette and chain for ~$50.

I don't think you can get much roadworthy (new hybrid or low end road bike) in that price range. Unless the wheels need replacing...
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Old 01-10-09, 05:15 PM   #9
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Tubus racks are nice but I'm doubting you want to spend that much in getting started. This option is much less expensive and although I can't vouch for this exact model, I've found most Axiom products a good value.



http://www.axiomgear.com/product/rac...uct.php?id=142
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Old 01-10-09, 05:38 PM   #10
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http://www.ebikestop.com/axiom_strea...ack-RK6615.php
Robow, +1, bought here the Axiom rack seems to be a very much better deal for this application than the Tubus Fly.
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Old 01-10-09, 05:40 PM   #11
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Yep.
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Old 01-10-09, 05:52 PM   #12
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It is not absolutely necessary to have a triple if you are a strong rider. I did the west coast with a guy using only a double and he just flew up every hill, said he preferred it that way.
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Old 01-11-09, 12:35 AM   #13
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Okay, I went to Performance Bike near me and I had them install the lowest gear cassette without having to replace my RD. I also bought the Campus pedal (clipless one side, platform on the other). Next move will be to install a 42t chainring to replace the 52t I have on the bike. I'm not a strong rider at all, I'm hoping this works out so I won't have to change the BB and cranks. I know I could train to overcome this issue but, well...its snowing heavily here and its too cold to ride outside. I hate indoor training. ' can't wait for spring.

I'm still contemplating on the racks vs trailer option. The Axiom looks good. The Tubus is pricey, but maybe worth it (?). Nashbar has a trailer for not too much money. I need to look up reviews on this.
Thanks to all for your input and please keep it coming.
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Old 01-11-09, 08:51 AM   #14
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Do you know a reasonably priced frame builder in your area? I'm converting an early 80's Specialized Sequoia into a tourer. The bike already has triple cage mounts on it for water bottles, but I'm having a local frame builder add canti bosses and extra eyelets to the fork and dropouts for $80. If you can find a someone in your area, you might be able to customize your frame a bit inexpensively so you can use regular racks and not have to buy a trailer.
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Old 01-11-09, 09:22 AM   #15
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You can tour on anything but does that bike have eyelets for attaching a rack?
I would look for a used bike from the 80's. I bought three touring bikes and they ranged from $30 to $75 dollars. And one came with 4 panniers and a handlebar bag.
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Old 01-11-09, 12:59 PM   #16
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I don't see any eyelets. If it was me my first choice would be to get a Bob trailer, change the crankset to a triple with a low granny - at least 24, if not 22 - and get a wide-range cassette. Even if I was young again, I wouldn't tour with a double. I did that in my 20's and it wasn't fun. If I tried that now I'd damage my knees.

Another worry when carrying a load is breaking spokes - especially if you're big (although, from the looks of this bike, you're not.) The axle isn't the concern with a Bob - they give you a dedicated skewer to use. But a poor quality hub might be problematic, or an inferior rim, weak spokes, or improper spoke tension. Putting your weight on a Bob trailer takes a little of the stress off of your rear wheel, but since you're not putting any weight on the front wheel, not that much. There's another kind of trailer, called an ExtraWheel (not ExtraCycle - that's something else), that puts all the weight on the trailer's wheel. I'd at least look into it. I weigh 205 lbs. and carry a big load. I broke a lot of spokes on my first big tour. Since then I spare no expense or effort when it comes to making sure my rear wheel is as strong and well-constructed as possible. Since I've put this kind of effort into it I haven' broken a spoke.

You'd probably be best off if you bought a new touring bike - like a Surly LHT for $1050 - but then you'd still need camping gear, and a way to carry everything. It isn't cheap to get a nice, complete touring rig, but once you do it will last for years. On the other hand, you can successfully tour on just about anything, including your Paramount, and have a great time. Good luck, and enjoy!
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Old 01-11-09, 02:55 PM   #17
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I would stay away from the nashbar trailer. it is flimsy and the attachment system is terrible. I use one for light local stuff but it is not stable enough nor strong enough to tour with. The skewer that comes with it is very light weight and soft metal, making the threads strip easily, and the pins that connect it lose the bearings that hold things in place.

You can tour on anything, I started on an older bike that I had to kludge some racks onto, decided that I liked it and have slowly built up a collection or touring bikes on the cheap.
There is no shame in walking up a hill if your gearing is not low enough.
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Old 01-12-09, 12:38 AM   #18
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Thanks again folks!

I'm keeping an eye out for vintage MTB on Craigslist, hopefully a good deal shows up before spring. I'm also snooping around for a deal on a triple crank and FD.

No, I don't know of any frame builder. I might have to ask around for that. Honestly, I think I should really just get another bike for touring.

The Extrawheel seems really nice. It's definitely a candidate on my future buy list.

How about if I use a 42t and 24t chainring combo, will it give me better low gear range?

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Old 01-14-09, 04:58 PM   #19
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+1 Find a vintage MTB, will be much cheaper than any other option. You should be able to find one for $100 or less for a good one.

Don't bugger up your Paramount, it has some real value (and should continue to go up in value from here).
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Old 01-15-09, 01:14 AM   #20
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+1 Find a vintage MTB, will be much cheaper than any other option. You should be able to find one for $100 or less for a good one.

Don't bugger up your Paramount, it has some real value (and should continue to go up in value from here).
Funny, someone told me that too. Well, its not a Waterford, so according to some, its really not that of a collector piece (I'm not a collector anyway).
Weighing everything in, ' seems like a bike build or a new touring bike is what I really need, so just I'll keep looking and saving. Its still quite sometime before spring comes anyway.

What do you folks think about '08 Novara Randonee vs '08 Novara Safari as tour bikes? Also, my local Performance still has a small (my size) Schwinn World Tour Commuter for $650. Is this any good?
Thanks again.
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Old 01-16-09, 10:16 AM   #21
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If you're north of Chicago and not planning on flying anywhere, there aren't really any hills within less than a few weeks' range that you're likely to need a triple for.
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Old 01-16-09, 02:45 PM   #22
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700x28

I would like to know how the 700x28 tires are working out. My lbs put a 700x28 on my Masi road bike, just to see if they would fit. They looked fine to me. But, then my lbs guy said he would not recommend running them. I took his word for it, but have always wondered how they would have worked out. Let me know your experience. Thanks.
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Old 01-17-09, 12:05 AM   #23
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I would like to know how the 700x28 tires are working out. My lbs put a 700x28 on my Masi road bike, just to see if they would fit. They looked fine to me. But, then my lbs guy said he would not recommend running them. I took his word for it, but have always wondered how they would have worked out. Let me know your experience. Thanks.
I have only ridden it outside the Performance Bike parking lot to test the newly installed rear cogs/cassette. So far it seems to be okay.
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Old 03-23-09, 10:34 AM   #24
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' found a good specimen for a tourer conversion.



Now, where do I start?
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Old 03-24-09, 01:13 PM   #25
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Where do you start? By inspecting, and ideally overhauling that red Trek.

Main bearings - rear wheel, front wheel, headset, bottom bracket - are they properly adjusted and without play, do they all turn well without a gritty feeling? Ideally, you'd overhaul all the bearings by opening, cleaning and repacking them.

Wheels - are they true? Is the rim surface worn evenly and still flat enough for braking? Are the spokes evenly tensioned? Can you turn the nipples or have they seized?

Brakes, shifters, derailleurs, cables, cable housings - do they all work well? If the housings or cables look work or rusted, replace them.

Then you add a front rack or a basket, a rear rack and full fenders. Maybe an additional bottle cage.

And you go touring!
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