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  1. #1
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    I want to tour ...cheeply

    I happened to have a couple months free and would like to do some touring, and Iím on a budget. I have done some bike packing (ultralight, overnight endurance trips with stuff sacks strapped under seat and handlebars), but Iím new to what I would consider real touring. My bikes consist of a fixie commuter; high end road bike; 29er full squish mountain bike, that I use for racing; and a ridged 29er. I figure Iíd use the ridged 29er for touring. I have all the camping gear I need, but I'm not sure how to best carry my gear on my bike. Iím thinking of riding the pacific coast route; or something through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Washington; and later, maybe the Great Divide. I donít plan on staying on pavement all the time.

    Iím not sure what would be the best way to get set up on my ridged 29er mountain bike. I need to spend as little as possible. As far as racks go, Iím pretty sure Iím limited to old man mountain racks, because I have a disk brake only frame and huge 29er wheels. Iím wondering if there are less expensive racks that I could get away with, and Iím clueless as to which cheep panniers would work. I have also looked and some trailers. The Nashbar (bob yak wanabe) trailer is on sale for $100, but would it hold up? Action bent says there trailers donít fit 29erís. Iíve thought about converting a child carrier trailer, but they seem pretty wide for touring. I have no problem modifying things, and improvising, just as long as I donít get stranded.

    All advice, recommendations, warnings, comments, and anything else you have to say would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Sell one of your bikes and you can tour expensively

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
    Sell one of your bikes and you can tour expensively
    I will as soon as I know I love touring. I need some gear to find out how much I like it though.

    I'm kinda leaning twords the cheep nashbar trailer, with the hope that duct tape and JB weld will get me home. Is this a bad idea?

  4. #4
    Wanderlust burtonridr's Avatar
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    If you have a little time to really look hard for good deals on CL. You can scour their listings not only for racks and things for sale, but also bikes for sale that have racks on them. Then all you have to do is buy the bike, take off the rack, then re-sell the bike for about the price you paid. Ta da, free rack, well kinda, depending on how much you value your time. If you can buy the bike right now and hold it until mid summer you can even make a profit on the bike.


    Next thing you are going to need are probably panniers, those might be really tricky to get a good deal on. So you have a few options, buy a cheap set of nashbar ones such as these, click here. You can even find coupon codes to get 10% off of your order. With a set of these panniers and your stuff sacks you already have, thats probably all the new gear you would need. Thats assuming your camping gear is good, lightweight, small backpacking type gear. The waterproof panniers have 2,300 cu. in. of space. I back pack with a pack that holds less than that. Buy some bungee cords and strap everything else onto your racks, frame, handlebars, etc and go for it.

    Or if you want really cheap, dont care what they look like panniers. Bucket panniers are cheap and easy to make, click here.
    -Early 90's(maybe late 80's?) specialized hardrock, touring setup
    -2000 specialized stump jumper, trail fun

    **Bike Saddle - The Biggest Pain In Your Butt (would really love your comments, ratings and reviews on Brooks Touring saddles and other saddles) :)

  5. #5
    rwp
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    Nashbar has a 'live chat' feature. You can ask them the specifics about the trailer and make sure it's compatable with your bike before you buy. Also, you can always sell it in the fall to recoup some cash. As long as you stay within the load limits and don't go off-road, bouncing over rocks, the trailer should hold up.

  6. #6
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    I too, am trying to get into this rather cheaply and will then fork out some cash if I like it.

    I was going to suggest the home-made bucket panniers as well. They might be even better for you since you are planning to take it off-road for part of your trip. You don't have to worry about thorns ripping up your panniers if they're made of hard plastic.

    You could also convert old fanny packs and softsider coolers/lunchboxes into seat-packs and handlebar bags fairly easily using velcro cable ties and a needle and thread.

    I've also seen someone on bf use a cheap tackle box and turn it into a trunk (it was either here or the commuter forum).

  7. #7
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    look into extrawheel trailers. Apparently they are great for off road riding... and they should easily fit. They are basically a trailer designed around an extra front wheel.

    I havent used them, its just what Ive heard... here's a pretty nice short video showing a lot of offroad/onroad riding around the black sea, with a mountain climb in the middle

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...40481595406564


    (i know its not "cheap" but its one great way to use your current bike without much sacrifice?)

  8. #8
    Senior Member shipwreck's Avatar
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    The Nashbar trailer is not a great buy. It is fairly flimsy, just strong enough for some laundry or light grocerys. I put a 40 lb bag of potting soil in mine and had the worst/scaryest wobbly ride home ever. They claim a max load of 40 lbs, and thats optimistic.
    But the biggest problem is the skewer attachment. the threads strip out pretty easy, and the pins that hold the trailer on lose the critical ball bearings that hold them in place. I can't use mine because the replacments I ordered did not last more than a few rides.

    try this site, they might be able to help out
    http://www.bikepacking.net/forum/ind...2ecb2deb42;www

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    Oh yeah- I always forget about that Extrawheel. Anyway, here`s a comparison between BOB and Nashbar trailers by a guy who has both. There are no pics in the thread, so you won`t be missing anything if you aren`t registered there.
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho...ashbar+trailer
    Since you`re already used to packing light, I`m guessing you could live in luxury with a cheap rack and a small pair of panniers. Also, it seems to me that some of the budget brand made in Taiwan racks are now available for disc equiped bikes. Again, I could be mistaken, but I`m pretty sure I saw somw in a recent rack hunting spree. Have you looked around on Nashbar, Performance, etc?

  10. #10
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    Just bought this bontrager rear rack for my boyfriend, for his commuter/MTB with disc brakes.

    http://bontrager.com/model/00329/en

    Can't find any info about how much weight you can put on it, but it seems like a real rack, not a toy. It's not cheap, but cheaper than the OMM. I found it on sale at Bicycle Village in Boulder for $30, regularly $40 - if you can't find it elsewhere, maybe they would ship.

    Good luck!
    ...

  11. #11
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    I was in your same situation about six months ago. I commuted all the time on my Giant FCR3 Hybrid and I wanted to get into touring. I ended up buying cheap Transit panniers, cheap tent, cheap racks, cheap rain gear, cheap cook wear, cheap, cheap , cheap, cheap. It all held up pretty well durng my 6 week pacific coast tour and now I am addicted to touring! I just order a LHT that will be here enxt week!

    However, with all that cheap stuff a good amount of it broke or wore down so much that I would not trust it on another longish tour. That being said, I wish that I would have invested more money from the begning into my gear A $ 60 set of panniers is no deal if you just upgrade 6 months later. Ditto for a lot of the stuff I bought.

    If I were you I would not spend hardly anything but do a shorter tour. Just grab a cheap rack from any maker that will fit the bike and is piss cheap. Then make kitty litter panniers. Then take all the camping stuff you have aand your off! If you really end up not liking touring then you wont have to suffer 2 months worth of it on the road only to sell all your gear later. However, most likely you will catch the touring bug and imediatly dump a whole lot of money into it like I did! Most of the time the difference between good gear and cheap gear is only about %25-%30 percent. Dont pinch too many pennies on gear, you will enjoy the ride more if its either done right or FREE!

  12. #12
    Senior Member carkmouch's Avatar
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    If you use your 29er mtn bike, be sure to put smooth, skinnier (but not too skinny) tires on. Though if you are going off road sometimes you may want to get something sorta beefy, but not too knobby that will slow you down too much. Try to get those tires that are smooth in the middle but have some knobbies on the outer edge. A good combo would be to have one of those tires for the front and a more slick, skinnier tire for the rear drive wheel.
    Touring is in tents

  13. #13
    Surf Bum
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    Here's a site that has tons of great ideas for carrying stuff on mountain bikes: www.bikepacking.net

    Check out people's pics of their set ups and read the product reviews people have submitted as well.

  14. #14
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    You're in a tough situation - don't want to invest the money in good stuff, but don't know if you will like it enough to invest more money. I hate it when that happens! Basically, I believe it's best to buy the bestequipment you can afford and it will be cheaper in the long run - but that doesn't hold true if you use it once and then chuck it.

    If I was you I would do the bucket pannier option just to check it out. If you find yourself coming back, like those of us here, then invest the money in a good set.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyRedwoods View Post
    Iím wondering if there are less expensive racks that I could get away with, and Iím clueless as to which cheep panniers would work.
    Jandd's racks are very nice... not the cheapest, not the most expensive. It's well worth dragging your 29er into a shop to see if a Jandd rack will fit or not. Not all disc brake designs are horrible for rack mounting, so it's best to check. I particularly like the way the bent stay on the Jandd helps keep panniers out of your wheels. Topeak makes a disc brake compatible rack too. I don't like their racks as much, but they're functional. The 3 stay design they use holds up for about 40lb loads.

    The *very* cheapest Axiom panniers are made of a coarse cordura cloth that isn't water resistant. Axiom claims it is, but sadly, they're not telling the truth. It will soak through in about 15 minutes in real world use (their cheapies only run for about $30 tho...). They make more expensive panniers with a better quality of cloth, and many people on BF seem to really like those. Still not waterproof, but a garbage bag or two can solve that. Those start around $60. If you absolutely *need* cheap and waterproof, a bucket pannier is the way I'd go. You buy the mounting hardware from one brand or another (the stuff REI sells is Rixen and Kaul, which is the same mounting stuff used by a lot of the really pricey panniers) and attach it to detergent or cat litter buckets... anything with a lid. If you expect to carry them off the bike, leave the handles.

    Bucket panniers and a Topeak disc rack should run you about $80. Jandd and cloth panniers would be more like $120-$160.

  16. #16
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    You should be able to rig up a passable set of mounting hardware from the hardware store for less than the replacement stuff costs that they sell at REI .

  17. #17
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    Depends one what you want/need. A lot of the stuff that's easy to do with hardware store hooks is not all that stable on a standard Topeak/Blackburn rack. If you've got a Jandd one, it's easier to do better... but a Jandd rack costs more up front. The fancier mounting hardware is pretty solid no matter what rack you use.

    For offroad use, I would definitely take stability and security into account. Losing a pannier *really* sucks, and they always seem to take a dive when it's pouring rain.

  18. #18
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyRedwoods View Post
    I happened to have a couple months free and would like to do some touring, and Iím on a budget. I have done some bike packing (ultralight, overnight endurance trips with stuff sacks strapped under seat and handlebars), but Iím new to what I would consider real touring. My bikes consist of a fixie commuter; high end road bike; 29er full squish mountain bike, that I use for racing; and a ridged 29er. I figure Iíd use the ridged 29er for touring. I have all the camping gear I need, but I'm not sure how to best carry my gear on my bike. Iím thinking of riding the pacific coast route; or something through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Washington; and later, maybe the Great Divide. I donít plan on staying on pavement all the time.

    Iím not sure what would be the best way to get set up on my ridged 29er mountain bike. I need to spend as little as possible. As far as racks go, Iím pretty sure Iím limited to old man mountain racks, because I have a disk brake only frame and huge 29er wheels. Iím wondering if there are less expensive racks that I could get away with, and Iím clueless as to which cheep panniers would work. I have also looked and some trailers. The Nashbar (bob yak wanabe) trailer is on sale for $100, but would it hold up? Action bent says there trailers donít fit 29erís. Iíve thought about converting a child carrier trailer, but they seem pretty wide for touring. I have no problem modifying things, and improvising, just as long as I donít get stranded.

    All advice, recommendations, warnings, comments, and anything else you have to say would be appreciated. Thanks.
    Trailers have too many real disadvantages. I've tried them and much prefer a good set of panniers on strong, well-mounted racks. You might contact Mike Deme at Advanture Cycling. He has followed the panniers vs trailers debates for years, and might be able to provide more details.

    If you want cheap but high quality, you could get into making things yourself. You mention "no problem modifying things, and improvising" -- you might check Ken Kifer's website. He made his own panniers. You don't need some fancy industrial sewing machine. In fact, you don't even need a sewing machine at all (though you could use one). You can just do it by hand. Once you learn the ropes, you can make all kinds of panniers and other bags, and (if you are at all inclined along the lines of designing and building things, and modifying and improving them) you will learn as you proceed. It isn't that hard.

    You can then expand, add pockets, do repairs on the road, etc. -- all with a tiny hand sewing kit (basically some strong thread, a needle, a thimble, and a good pair of small scissors).

    You won't be a slave to ready-made products.

    Check bikepacking.net for ideas.

    It's fun.

    Give it a try.

    You can do it.

    ***
    Racks can also be DIYed. There are some plans on the web.

    For racks, though, I would go with something strong and reasonably priced, such as Blackburn or Jandd (sometimes on sale) expedition racks. Excellent, durable, solid racks, with great warranties, from companies that make good on them, and whose products have proven themselves (and these two companies' expedition racks are high among those), properly mounted, make a lot of sense.

  19. #19
    Slowpoach
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyRedwoods View Post
    I need to spend as little as possible. As far as racks go, Iím pretty sure Iím limited to old man mountain racks, because I have a disk brake only frame and huge 29er wheels. Iím wondering if there are less expensive racks that I could get away with, and Iím clueless as to which cheep panniers would work.
    Good racks and panniers are not wasted money if you don't end up touring. You'll use a rear rack all the time - commuting, shopping, day rides, whatever - so get a good one.

    Front rack is a bit heavy-touring-specific, you don't need one anyway if you travel light.

    Panniers can be improvised and still be as good as mid-level commercial ones.

    But buy yourself a good, stable rear rack, and use either loctite or grease-and-check the bolts, and it will be useful to you for many years.

  20. #20
    dangerous with tools halfbiked's Avatar
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    1 ebay search & $30 (potentially) JANDD panniers show up:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/JANDD-Mountainee...3%3A1|294%3A50

    If you're looking to go cheap, that's how I'd recommend shopping. Heck, it sounds like you're a bike nut. Got any buddies who'd loan you gear or sell it cheap? I've got a vintage rack with a sexy spring-loaded hold-down arm that you can have for the price of shipping. Might take some fabrication to make it fit your ride.

    Point being: people make this stuff more complicated than it needs to be. Be creative. Improvise.

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