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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 01-10-09, 06:54 PM   #1
Theodore
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Using Road Bikes

Do many use road bikes for touring? Seems the tour bikes are very heavy
and road bikes would be more responsive. I think of tour bikes struggling
to climb hills and by the time you arrive at your destination you are
worn out while the road bikes guys are chatting and enjoying themselves
doing jumping jacks!

ted
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Old 01-10-09, 06:57 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theodore View Post
Do many use road bikes for touring? Seems the tour bikes are very heavy
and road bikes would be more responsive. I think of tour bikes struggling
to climb hills and by the time you arrive at your destination you are
worn out while the road bikes guys are chatting and enjoying themselves
doing jumping jacks!

ted
It comes down to Two items.
The Gearing.
The Motor.
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Old 01-10-09, 07:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theodore View Post
Do many use road bikes for touring? Seems the tour bikes are very heavy
and road bikes would be more responsive. I think of tour bikes struggling
to climb hills and by the time you arrive at your destination you are
worn out while the road bikes guys are chatting and enjoying themselves
doing jumping jacks!

ted
Err, but are these road bike guys carrying any gear?? You could ride a Pugsley all day unloaded and still feel O.K!!

*Well, maybe not a Pugsley ;-)
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Old 01-10-09, 07:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
It comes down to Two items.
The Gearing.
The Motor.
and the load.

Tour bikes are built to carry the load. If you aren't carrying much, you can use a road bike (ultralight touring, credit card touring) but if you are carrying a heavy load (say >15-20 lbs) then the touring bike can carry it without sacrificing handling and having wheel problems.

Certainly if by touring you mean supported touring where you're not carrying stuff, use a road bike! I do supported tours on my road bike, credit card tours on my road bike with an ultralight rear rack and bags, and fully self-supported camping tours on my touring bike with 4 panniers and a handlebar bag.
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Old 01-10-09, 07:26 PM   #5
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My bicycle is a road bicycle ... it's a sport-touring bicycle, but that's still a road bicycle. I wouldn't want anything heavier than that for the tours I've done. However, if I were to tour off-road I might want something more sturdy.

And are the road bikes guys who are chatting and enjoying themselves doing jumping jacks, carrying enough stuff on these 'road bicycles' to travel self-supported for several weeks?
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Old 01-10-09, 07:27 PM   #6
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Yeah I toured with some of those road bike guys, Talked them into a trip, and they were just wieght weenies who only toured so they could do jumping jacks while I lugged the ----ing gear up the hill to them. after two days they both bailed.

But I do tour on a light bike in the summer, a godawfull heavy purpose built tourer in colder weather. I notice no difference at the top of the hills, honestly. The bike just a tool, and I pick the right one for the job at hand.
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Old 01-10-09, 07:34 PM   #7
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I used a road bike, a Trek 1000. No problems with it on a cross country tour. Little worried about the carbon fork when flying down washboard, dirt roads but it all held up. I think most road bikes lack the eyelets for front and rear racks, so you need to check for that. Was nice having the 25mm tires going up hills as you say, but it does depend on ones fitness.
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Old 01-11-09, 07:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theodore View Post
Do many use road bikes for touring?
I just posted this PM yesterday about our cross-country tour on Merciers with fully loaded panniers in 1977:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
[My fellow subscriber wrote:]

"...Riding across the country is very cool..... Isn't Mercier also a classic brand that is highly sought after?...

[I replied:]

I don't know about the value of a Mercier as an antique. Back in' 72, I think it was a pretty high quality bike, costing ~$250 at that time, but we did not get a top of the line model, i.e. not Campagnolo equipped. They did have sew-up tires and we actually used the bikes for touring pretty well in Michigan and Ontario.

We then used them to ride cross country and the sew up tires we're the worst part of the trip due to an excessive number of flats, the difficulty of repair, and the need to take a couple days off to find a city with a shop that sold them, but we made it. Back in '77 it was a lot harder to get good information--no Internet!
At the end of the trip, I vividly remember taking off the heavy panniers and easily hoisting the bike high above my head.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-11-09 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 01-11-09, 08:15 AM   #9
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My bicycle is a road bicycle ... it's a sport-touring bicycle, but that's still a road bicycle. I wouldn't want anything heavier than that for the tours I've done. However, if I were to tour off-road I might want something more sturdy.

And are the road bikes guys who are chatting and enjoying themselves doing jumping jacks, carrying enough stuff on these 'road bicycles' to travel self-supported for several weeks?
I also have a sport type road bike for touring. I only use it for credit card touring but it works just fine. I suppose if you were fully loaded, tent sleeping bag, food, cooking gear etc. then you would be better off with a dedicated touring bike but plenty have done this even on a road bike.

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Old 01-11-09, 08:33 AM   #10
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I also have a sport type road bike for touring. I only use it for credit card touring but it works just fine. I suppose if you were fully loaded, tent sleeping bag, food, cooking gear etc. then you would be better off with a dedicated touring bike but plenty have done this even on a road bike.

I like the Yellow on the bar bag.

But the jacket is the same color as the road sign.
You must look like a moving sign riding down the road.

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Old 01-11-09, 08:38 AM   #11
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But the jacket is the same color as the road sign.
You must look like a moving sign riding down the road.
It's nice to try a stay visible. I like to avoid getting hit by cars. Could ruin a good tour.
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Old 01-11-09, 10:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theodore View Post
Do many use road bikes for touring? Seems the tour bikes are very heavy
and road bikes would be more responsive. I think of tour bikes struggling
to climb hills and by the time you arrive at your destination you are
worn out while the road bikes guys are chatting and enjoying themselves
doing jumping jacks!

ted
I think you are greatly overestimating the effect of bicycle weight on how fast you can go and how much energy it takes to ride a bike.

My "heavy" touring bike weighs less than 24lbs. After you load up 40lbs of gear and food and then get on the bike it makes up less than 10% of the total weight. Also, you wouldn't be able to load that much weight on a road bike that didn't have eyelets. Even if you could, I doubt you would still consider the ride "responsive".

Also, have you ever tried going down a dirt or gravle road on a "road" bike with 23mm tires. Have fun with that. I have 35mm tires on my bike and it can go anywhere.
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Old 01-12-09, 02:27 PM   #13
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I too am torn on what I will be doing short 2 day tours on this spring and summer. I have converted my hybrid trek 7200 into a little bit of a lighter tourer by replacing the 700X35 tires with higher pressure 700X28's, replaced the suspension fork with a solid aluminum one and swapped out the suspension seat post for a solid one. This saved a few pounds and the 7200 is down to about 27 pounds. My other bike is a Jamis Ventura Sport road bike. I am only going to have a seatpost rack and bag with maybe 5 pounds. I am leaning towards the Trek 7200 for it's ablility to ride on gravel roads and shoulders far better than the Jamis. My road bike definately makes shorter work of hills than my hybrid, but definately "beats you up" more on long rides.
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Old 01-13-09, 01:02 PM   #14
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One of my professors toured Alaska twice on a carbon fiber road bike. She didn't report any problems at all.
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Old 01-13-09, 04:10 PM   #15
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For what it's worth, I used a Trek 1220 road bike (triple crank) for my coast to coast ride. We were self supported, and used a BOB trailer rather than panniers. I wore out the chain and cluster, and brake pads. But, the frame and wheels held up.
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Old 01-13-09, 04:47 PM   #16
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A thought or two, based on personal experience.

Skinnier tires = more pinch flats. The heavier you and your gear are, the more true this is. And fixing flats is never a high point of the day.

Compared to road bikes, purpose-built touring bikes will likely have thicker frame tubes around the bottom bracket, i.e. down tube and seat stays. They will also have longer seat stays and, partly as a result of the stays and partly of a longer front-cent, a longer wheelbase. All of this combines to make a more stable bike under load. And when you are under load, carrying anywhere from 15 to 40 pounds or gear, you want a bike that will hold a straight line even when you are slogging up another $^#*%@! hill 75 miles into the day when you are making a blistering 4 mph. At that point, it is stability uber alles, as the last thing you want to be doing is wrestling the bike to maintain a straight line. Stability, not a couple pounds off the frame or crit-bike responsiveness, is what will conserve energay and leave you felling good at the end of the day.

Also, what's the hurry? One of the joys of touring is the singleness of purpose and absence of demands. All you have to do is get there: you don't have to get there fast or get their first - and if you are touring with camping gear, odds are you can be incredibly flexible about what "getting there" means on any given day. Embrace that. Don't let your tour become an exercise in trading one rat-race for another.
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Old 01-14-09, 09:42 AM   #17
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You can tour on a road bike. You can race on a tourer.
You can pull a plow with a kentucky thoroughbred. You can race with a mule.

Either way you go, my guess is the one not used for its intended purpose will not perform as well as the one that is.

I always use a chromoly bike when on a long tour. This bike does a better job of absorbing road shock than does my carbon fiber road bike. Over the long haul of multiple days in the saddle, this makes a big difference.
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Old 01-14-09, 09:52 AM   #18
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why is weight an issue when you're carrying 50 lbs of gear? . . . . just saying, a few extra lbs to make it a more comfy ride isn't a big deal, speed isn't an issue either, so just granny gear that sucker and ease your way up : )

well put purple
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Old 01-14-09, 10:20 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theodore View Post
Do many use road bikes for touring? Seems the tour bikes are very heavy
and road bikes would be more responsive. I think of tour bikes struggling
to climb hills and by the time you arrive at your destination you are
worn out while the road bikes guys are chatting and enjoying themselves
doing jumping jacks!

ted
Just the opposite. Even though the tour bike is heavier than my roadie by about 10 lbs or so, it has a much wider gear range and much lower gearing than the roadie, so it climbs hills like a billy goat. Yes, it feels sluggish and trucklike compared to the roadie, but I'll take v-brakes over road brakes any day of the week when trying to wrangle bike, rider and an overloaded bob down a 10% grade.
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