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Old 01-11-09, 01:43 PM   #1
WashWizards727
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Do you think this bike would work for tours

I want to do some long distance touring on this bike, but I wanted your opinions about it. It is a Trek 400 from the 1980's. It has 12 speeds. The frame and fork are both cro-moly. The tires are 700 x 25, but I think my rims could support 700 x 27. It is lightweight and only weighs about 23 or 24 pounds. I would be using front and rear panniers. I know the chainstay length wouldn't be a problem because I have ridden the bike with rear panniers before.


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Old 01-11-09, 01:46 PM   #2
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Here are some pics

http://www.flickr.com/photos/34241536@N07/3188909226/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/34241536@N07/3188910392/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/34241536@N07/3188068807/
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Old 01-11-09, 01:47 PM   #3
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It might even take 700 x 28's
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Old 01-11-09, 03:02 PM   #4
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Is it comfortable to ride long distances on the bike? That would be a good starting place to see if it's worth it. It looks like it would work. How does it handle when you load up the rear rack? That would be a good test. If it gets squirrelly that could be a sign that it's not heavy enough tubing to handle the extra weight. It's probably not going to be able to be loaded up like a bike designed for fully loaded touring, but you can probably carry plenty on it. I say give it a try and it will probably work just fine.
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Old 01-11-09, 03:28 PM   #5
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I live on Pacific Coast Highway, and i've seen people touring on everything you could imagine. If the bike is comfortable and holds what you need, I say go for it.
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Old 01-11-09, 03:50 PM   #6
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Is it comfortable to ride long distances on the bike? That would be a good starting place to see if it's worth it. It looks like it would work. How does it handle when you load up the rear rack? That would be a good test. If it gets squirrelly that could be a sign that it's not heavy enough tubing to handle the extra weight. It's probably not going to be able to be loaded up like a bike designed for fully loaded touring, but you can probably carry plenty on it. I say give it a try and it will probably work just fine.
I've done long distances on the bike, and it is comfortable. The only fear I have is that the frame may be squirelly like you said. If I used a trailer, would it avoid this problem?
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Old 01-11-09, 06:43 PM   #7
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I'm not sure what year your Trek is, but I purchased and sold a 1985 Trek 400 last year. The lettering is different on yours and I wonder if it isn't a later model. The 1985 Trek 400 had geometry that was identical to the renowed 520. Chainstays were 42.5 cm and fork offset was 4.5 cm. Seat tube angle was 73.5 and head tube angle was 73. Wheelbase in the 25.5" was 105 cm. I think you can tour with that. The chainstays are a little shorter than what you'd like ideally, so if you have big feet, you'll have to make sure your panniers don't get in the way.

The 400 that I sold was shipped from the factory with a double chainring, but the inside chainring was drilled for a third chainring, so it would have made it relatively easy to get the required gearing for touring. You may want to check that on your inside chainring.
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Old 01-12-09, 09:21 AM   #8
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I think it will work. If you use a trailer instead of panniers there are a lot of issues you won't have to worry about. (Let me add, though, that I, personally, prefer panniers, and I've toured both ways.) I'd worry about the gearing. The lower gears you have available, the better. Most tourers have a triple with a pretty low granny gear. A cheap fix might be to go with a compact double with a low small gear. That way you won't have to change derailleurs and shifters.

I'd recommend you have the wheels checked by a good mechanic who will be truthful. Carrying a load puts extra stress on wheels - particularly the rear - and can lead to broken spokes, among other problems. It might be worthwhile to invest in a new, strong, high-quality rear wheel with at least 36 spokes.
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Old 01-12-09, 09:55 AM   #9
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I've done long distances on the bike, and it is comfortable. The only fear I have is that the frame may be squirelly like you said. If I used a trailer, would it avoid this problem?
My experience with single wheel cargo trailers is that they make any bike squirrelly. I don't use them unless I'm doing mountain bike touring. But they are a necessary evil there. Different bicycle handling needs.

One question on the bike. It's a tall one and you've got the seat post squashed down pretty far. Is it a tad big for you?
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Old 01-12-09, 10:02 AM   #10
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Another tire that might fit is the Rivendell Ruffy Tuffy. 27c. Contis and Panaracers run a bit small and their 28c, esp the Contis might fit.

Your gearing is a bit high for touring. Add a bunch of weight and you'll feel it
on a long climb.
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Old 01-12-09, 05:18 PM   #11
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One question on the bike. It's a tall one and you've got the seat post squashed down pretty far. Is it a tad big for you?
The frame is 25.5 inches, so it is pretty big. I'm about 6'2, and the bike seems to fit me OK. The seat post could even go down a little farther if I wanted to. The bar comes up a little higher than on my other bikes, but it seems to work OK.
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Old 01-12-09, 05:34 PM   #12
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I'd recommend you have the wheels checked by a good mechanic who will be truthful. Carrying a load puts extra stress on wheels - particularly the rear - and can lead to broken spokes, among other problems. It might be worthwhile to invest in a new, strong, high-quality rear wheel with at least 36 spokes.
What are some good rear wheels that are good for touring? How much do they cost?
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