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  1. #1
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    Light touring on a performance road bike?

    I am looking for advice on what kind of bike I should buy. I recently got into touring two years ago when I biked the Camino de Santiago in Spain with my brother. For the trip we bought Trek 520 touring bikes, but we planned the adventure as a type of credit-card tour for two reasons: I wasn't sure if the hostels would have enough room for us given that they provide for walkers first, and second, my brother and I are very competitive and we biked the whole way by road to maximize the distance traveled each day, particularly because we only had ten days to do it.

    In the end, we carried only about 20 pounds in a single pack on a rack on the rear, but honestly, even that was more than we needed to bring. We are planning a road tour of the Alps this summer with a maximum of 15 pounds to carry and I'm thinking the Trek 520 is just far more robust than what we really need.

    Also, last summer I started competing in road races at the cat 5 level with a friend's road bike, which I really enjoyed, I even won two of the races. This upcoming year I want to graduate to cat 4, but racing with my own bike.

    So what I'm looking for is a road bike that I can compete in cat 4 races, but I can also use for my plans of a light credit-card tour of the alps this summer. A bike that can race with 700x25 or 23 tires, but I can swap out the rims and tires with 700x28. Also a bike that I can put a rear rack on to carry the light load I plan on taking when I tour. I've looked at a few, maybe you can tell me if they are good choices: The Specialized Roubaix and the Cervelo R3.

    Thanks for any help,

    Silas

  2. #2
    Senior Member oldride's Avatar
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    The Roubaix is a nice/fast bike. IIRC it has a carbon frame which may be a problem for mounting a rack.

  3. #3
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    Why not saddle bag + handlebar bag (w V brake noodles if you have Shimano shifters)

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    I think you can just buy whatever road bike you want to ride unloaded, and then add a rack. There is a rack solution that will work on any road bike -- see my old post here:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...22247#poststop

    This works just fine. I think the only thing you will need to look for in your road bike is low enough gearing and sturdy wheels. I used this rig for a 4-day mountain tour in Colorado, carrying about 10 pounds of stuff, on my regular road bike which has a triple and very low spoke count wheels. Remember, if you only add 20 pounds, you just have to have wheels strong enough for a person weighing 20 pounds more than you - no big deal unless you are a larger person to begin with. You also might have an issue with your heels striking the panniers, (esp. if you have big feet, i don't) but if you use a small front pannier in back, it will probably be ok.

    I'll definitely use this setup again, it worked great for me for a CC tour.
    ...

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    The tourable road bikes with rack fittings tend to less racy or more entry-level. High-end versions are best had from niche makers, small custom shops or those Chinese Ti outfits.
    The IF Club Racer is a good style for mixed riding

    Its probably worth trawling through the major brands to see what they do but also see Jamis, Surley, Soma, Gunnar.

  6. #6
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    salsa casseroll would fit the bill. i am planning on doing a similar tour in the north east and plan on using my 80's bianchi sport touring bike. i also have a cannondale, but the position is more aggressive. the greater drop of a full on road bike might be too much.

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    Thanks for your quick replies. Basically what I think I'm getting at are suggestion for carbon road bikes I could compete in cat 4 races with, but also with the ability of fit 700x28 tires. Also, a bike that can have a rack attached for a small pack, or something equivalent. Is it possible to put a rack on any bike? Even the ultra hardcore road bikes like the $9k Trek Madone?

    I mentioned the Cervelo R3 because I think I read somewhere that it could even fit 700x32 tires and both bikes I mentioned, though carbon fiber, are sturdy enough to compete on the cobbles of the Paris-Roubaix race.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elros14 View Post
    ... Also, a bike that can have a rack attached for a small pack, or something equivalent. Is it possible to put a rack on any bike? ...
    see my post above for this part
    ...

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    Valygrl, sorry, I missed your link, I was just speeding through the replies. So the Tobus rack is definitely an option, but are there any considerations putting this on a full carbon fiber road bike? Considering how light I plan to pack, can a seat post rack work as well?

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    Quote Originally Posted by elros14 View Post
    Valygrl, sorry, I missed your link, I was just speeding through the replies. So the Tobus rack is definitely an option, but are there any considerations putting this on a full carbon fiber road bike? Considering how light I plan to pack, can a seat post rack work as well?
    I'm not going to say I'm an expert at this, just offering a solution that I used successfully. The rack mounts to a quickrelease and the brake boss, so there are no clamps on carbon tubes and no rack mounting hardware required on the bike.

    I haven't seen any seatpost racks that are OK on carbon, or that can carry more than about 10 pounds. The Fly rack, while expensive, is a real rack rated to 40 pounds, and weighs less than a pound, so it seemed like a great solution to me.

    That's all I got.

    ...

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    Anyone with suggestions of the what bike to buy, especially considering I want to race with 700x23 tires but swap out the tires and rims for 700x28 when I go touring?

    Thanks for everyone's help.

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    I'm with AndrewP. Look at a Carradice saddle bag and a good size handlebar bag. Maybe consider separate sets of wheels for touring and racing and you could consider just about any bike.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by elros14 View Post
    Anyone with suggestions of the what bike to buy, especially considering I want to race with 700x23 tires but swap out the tires and rims for 700x28 when I go touring?

    I have used the Tubus Fly [rack] on my Lemond with good results, It's very solid for a 3-point mount.

    Contact Wayne at the www.thetouringstore.com for the various mounting options.

    Re: the 700x28 tire, it will probably be too large to fit on the front, you may find that 700x25 is as large you can go and still have a bit of clearance.
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  14. #14
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    Cervelo RS

    I have a Cervelo RS and a Marin mountain bike which I have converted for commuting and touring. I also have a set of Acorn bags, handlebar and large seat bag. I can use the Acorn bags on both bikes. I think they would hold 15 lbs without any real trouble. I am interesting in knowing if a road bike will accomodate 700x28 tires?

  15. #15
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    It's certainly possible to do light or credit card touring on a modern road bike by using a large Carradice sadlebag (Camper or Nelson Longflap) and a handlebar bag. If you go truly minimalist and use bubble wrap as a sleeping mat, eliminate cooking equipment and use a tarptent you can probably get by with just a saddle mounted support for the saddlebag and no other racks. I credit card tour with a saddlebag and a handlebar bag on a Rambouillet as it is a reasonably light bike with good tyre clearance and comfortable all day long.

  16. #16
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    Two bikes that I would consider for this purpose are the Kinesis GranFondo and the Pearson carbon audax pro. Both are not far off a full-on race bike in terms of geometry and weight, but both have fender and rack mounting points making them ideal for lightweight touring.

  17. #17
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    You'll probably struggle getting a 28mm tyre on a racing bike. Still, 25mm should be fine comfort-wise with light wheels; no good on gravel or dirt, though.

    Two road bikes you might look at for light touring are the Surly pacer and Soma smoothie ES; don't know how they'd go racing, but they take racks and wider tyres. The casseroll is a nice bike too, but probably even less suited to racing.

    Probably also worth looking at a specialized tricross; not sure I'd go for it, but it comes in racing and all-round builds.

    Also the pound is pretty weak at the moment so have a look at some UK bikes like the Thorn Audax 3. Kind of similar to the pacer and soma.

    Some road bikes have more relaxed geometry eg. specialized Roubaix (nice bike) or Trek Pilot (never tried one). You could just get one of those, with big handlebar and saddle bags.

    This guy does pretty impressive tours on road bikes http://www2.arnes.si/~ikovse/bikes.htm

  18. #18
    Biking 4 Life vja4Him's Avatar
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    Lightweight Bike for Commuting, Shopping, Camping

    I should probably start my own thread ... but thought I'd jump in here ....

    I've decided to abort my plan of installing an electric motor on my Townie, and save up for a better bicycle. I've come to realize that I can get around just fine with only pedal power ... !!! I've increased my average speed from only 6mph to about 10mph in about five months of casual riding to work, running errands and shopping.

    With all my health problems, I'm making very good progress. I never thought I'd be able to do this much on my bicycle! Since I quit drinking coffee, my stamina has increased considerably, and haven't had any chest pains for several weeks now. I feel like the weight is slowing me down though, and so I'd like to go lighter, if possible, much lighter.

    After reading through thousands of posts on many bicycle forums, and finding out what so many people are doing with their bicycles, I am absolutely amazed ... !!! And encouraged with hope that I can make the best of going green all the way, and enjoy riding much more ... !!!

    I need a good quality, strong bicycle, that is light, smooth-riding with little resistance, but yet will still be able to carry front and rear racks with panniers (both rear and front) for when I go shopping, or camping. Most of my riding will be commuting to work, and then picking up a few groceries after work, which will mean that I can get by with carrying fewer groceries each trip. I'd like to travel as light as possible, for a much quicker and smoother ride .... I'm hoping that I can get my average speed up to 15mph or more with a better bicycle.

    One problem I have is my back, and so I need to be able to sit up pretty much straight. If I lean down, my back hurts too much. I'd like to be able to stand up and pedal too. I've tried standing up pedaling on my Townie, but it just doesn't work!

    I won't be doing any long distance touring, mostly riding to work (maximum 20 miles round trip), running errands and shopping several times a week for myself and my two boys. I plan on camping several times a year at our local campgrounds, Caswell Memorial State Park, which is about 40 miles round trip.

    My long-term goal is to someday be able to handle the ride up to Yosemite from Modesto, which is about 115 miles each way, with a hotel at about half way, 66 miles from our home!

    I'm not sure just how much I will have to spend on a new bicycle until I get my tax return. I'm hoping that I can spend at least $1,000.00 for just the bike, and add racks/panniers later. I'd like to spend more though. I want to have a bike that has many possibilities for attaching racks and panniers, water bottles, etc.
    Last edited by vja4Him; 01-21-09 at 03:48 PM.

  19. #19
    Slowpoach
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_W View Post
    Two bikes that I would consider for this purpose are the Kinesis GranFondo and the Pearson carbon audax pro. Both are not far off a full-on race bike in terms of geometry and weight, but both have fender and rack mounting points making them ideal for lightweight touring.
    Wow, that Pearson is awesome!

  20. #20
    Slowpoach
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    we biked the whole way by road to maximize the distance traveled each day,

    We are planning a road tour of the Alps this summer

    my brother and I are very competitive
    Get the road bike you love, and work out how to carry a light load for that 1-2 weeks a year when you'll be touring on it. Cyclosportif / sportive events (eg. l' étape du Tour) use this type of bike, and sound like the type of riding you want to do. Even though you will be racing, look for a bike that is geared to comfort, like the Roubaix or the bikes that Chris_W mentioned, or audax- or cyclosportif-specific designs. The UK has heaps of brands that advertise this.

  21. #21
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elros14 View Post
    So what I'm looking for is a road bike that I can compete in cat 4 races, but I can also use for my plans of a light credit-card tour of the alps this summer. A bike that can race with 700x25 or 23 tires, but I can swap out the rims and tires with 700x28. Also a bike that I can put a rear rack on to carry the light load I plan on taking when I tour. I've looked at a few, maybe you can tell me if they are good choices: The Specialized Roubaix and the Cervelo R3.
    For what it's worth, I wouldn't use the same bike for those two purposes.

    For the tour, you're going to want very low gearing, a comfortable / non-aggressive rider position, and a higher spoke count. I'd also go for a touring-oriented saddle like a Brooks. While it may be a bit of overkill, so what? You've got it, it's all set up for you and ready to go.

    For racing, gearing isn't critical; you will want an aggressive setup; and preferably low spoke-count wheels. If you can spring for it, you'll want as many aerodynamic advantages as possible. Comfort is not much of a priority in racing.

    I.e. even though you aren't doing particularly hard-core touring, you're still dealing with two very different set of optimal conditions for these two very different tasks.

    Also, not sure what your experiences are but there's a pretty good chance that, even through no fault of your own, you will crash while racing and you will damage your bike. I wouldn't race something that I couldn't afford to replace. If you can afford to trash an R3, more power to you; otherwise you might want to get something more in the $2,000 range.

  22. #22
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    I went through your dilemma last year, although I don't do racing. I wanted a light bike that I use mainly for fun rides but which can double as a light touring bike. The only one I could find in Vancouver that fit the bill was a Marinoni Sportif made in Quebec. I am completely happy with my choice. It is an extremely light steel frame, with an amazing flex that makes for comfortable long rides and has the mountings for a rack that can handle panniers.

    John

  23. #23
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    Check out some of the earlier threads about ultralight bike touring, lots of options.

    Actually, I think 15lbs is still rather heavy. I'd cut it down to 10lbs max. If you can get down to this, you can likely use one of the nice super light Topeak trunk bags which comes with its own quick-release mounting hardware (no rack or braze-ons needed). Check out some of the water-bottle type cage container thingy to store the heavy stuff like tools.

    On my light tours, I'd go without a handlebar bag as well. I like the view from the cockpit to look exactly like when I'm going out for my regular training rides. And also, I like the bike's handling to feel nearly the same.

    So, yep, I'd stick with those 23 tires as well. Faster.

    Like the popular saying: "It's not about the bike."

    ... It's more about the packing.

    Get whatever bike you want ride on your Cat4 or 3 or 2 or 1

    When you go touring heavy, you always end up thinking: "Geezzzz, I wonder I could have made it up that mountain in 4th gear" or "Darn, I could be drinking a beer right now instead of grinding out the last 10km into town."

    It's only a 10-14 day tour through civilized country. You can really go light.

    Best of luck. You're really lucky to have someone who could go with you.

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