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Old 04-20-09, 02:20 AM   #1
mtclifford
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Buy a new touring bike or convert a trek hybrid?

Hi, I was wondering if I could get some advice on what I need to start touring.

Basically here is my situation. I am fairly new to cycling, having been way out of shape for many years, I decided to participate in a triathlon this summer.

I picked up a Trek 7.2 FX and quickly realized that I really needed a road bike for what I wanted to do. I bought a road bike but use my Trek for long distance trail rides and have really fallen in love with the idea of touring. I live in North Central WV and was thinking of touring the Pittsburgh-DC route later in the summer after the triathlon.

Would my trek bike work for this? And exactly at what point, distance wise, would it be effective to buy a tour specific bike over this one? Also to be noted I will be leaving for Africa for 2 years (Peace Corps) in November and really would love to take a bike with me for getting around and possibly longer distance trips after I am finished.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 04-20-09, 02:44 AM   #2
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Hi, I was wondering if I could get some advice on what I need to start touring.

Basically here is my situation. I am fairly new to cycling, having been way out of shape for many years, I decided to participate in a triathlon this summer.

I picked up a Trek 7.2 FX and quickly realized that I really needed a road bike for what I wanted to do. I bought a road bike but use my Trek for long distance trail rides and have really fallen in love with the idea of touring. I live in North Central WV and was thinking of touring the Pittsburgh-DC route later in the summer after the triathlon.

Would my trek bike work for this? And exactly at what point, distance wise, would it be effective to buy a tour specific bike over this one? Also to be noted I will be leaving for Africa for 2 years (Peace Corps) in November and really would love to take a bike with me for getting around and possibly longer distance trips after I am finished.

Thanks for any advice.
There's no need to buy a 'touring bike' if you are happy with your Trek 7.2 fx. Fit it with racks and panniers or pull a trailer.
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Old 04-20-09, 02:59 AM   #3
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Ditto on the above response.
I'd add only that you might want to consider replacing the stock rubber with a pair of 700x40 tires for touring, a minor expense that could be well worth it on a loaded tour.
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Old 04-20-09, 06:57 AM   #4
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Unless you plan to carry lots of stuff and/or you are over 200 lbs, you can go as is. At 28T your small chain ring is a bit larger than what most here would recommend, but if you are even somewhat fit you'd be OK except for only the most severe grades. You might be able to swap out a 24T - a 22T might not allow the chain to clear the chainstay. You'd have to try it. In either case you should get a chain guide such as a Jump Stop to prevent suicide shifts to a 24 or 22T ring.

The wheels will be your Achilles heel, and might be an argument for a trailer. Its not that these are bad wheels mind you its just that it seems that if something will break first it will likely be these.

I'd say you got very lucky when you picked out a bike that happens also to be a good potential touring bike. Racks / panniers or trailer, your bike allows you to chose which is best for you!

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Old 04-20-09, 07:03 AM   #5
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You might like to use drop bars, and that's where $$$ can come in.

However, find the bars of your choice, Tektro RL520 brake levers (to work with the V brakes) and bar end shifters and you're ready to go. It might cost a couple of hundred bones but it's way cheaper than changing your bike.
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Old 04-20-09, 07:10 AM   #6
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More hand positions would indeed be nice. Perhaps this can also be achieved with bar ends? Cane Creek makes a beauty but they would cost 10% of what the whole bike cost new.
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Old 04-20-09, 07:34 AM   #7
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I was thinking about bar ends, racks/panniers, and possibly a new saddle. The current saddle is ok for under 50mi a day but over that and I really start to hurt. I kind of figure that even if I do eventually buy a new bike all of these items except for the bar ends could be moved over. I have heard of lot of tourers prefer leather brooks saddles, would it be worth the investment?

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Old 04-20-09, 07:41 AM   #8
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Time for my time tested suggestion to try trekking bars on the bike. More hand positions and your mountain controls will move right over. Add some cushy bar tape and away you go. I have about 2500 miles on a bike with them and they work really well. I think I still like drops a little more, but not enough to warrant spending the money to convert to them.

The bars are only about $20 at Nashbar.
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Old 04-20-09, 07:45 AM   #9
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Niagara also sells a pair of "drop" bar ends for $16 that would give you 1/2 of the best of both worlds.

I have settled on a set of Schwalbe Marathon Supremes on my Hybrid, 35mm in the front, 40mm in the rear, and really like this combo....still have heavy load carrying capacity on the rear, with the more precise steering on the front. You could carry an extra 40mm folder, for either wheel, as a spare.

By watching Nashbar sales, you can pick up a 1 wheeled trailer for less than $100, should you choose to go that route. They also have really good sales on panniers, if you are patient...

I also put a 36 spoke wheel on the rear, and it is noticeably stronger. No more broken spokes, either
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Old 04-20-09, 07:45 AM   #10
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I was thinking about bar ends, racks/panniers, and possibly a new saddle. The current saddle is ok for under 50mi a day but over that and I really start to hurt. I kind of figure that even if I do eventually buy a new bike all of these items except for the bar ends could be moved over. I have heard of lot of tourers prefer leather brooks saddles, would it be worth the investment?
I had ergo-style bar ends on a commuter. Whilst they improved things quite a lot the problems with flat bars are as much related to their width as anything else. Even with the bar ends your arms are stretched out wide and you make like a big air dam.

I know you can cut the flat bars down but having had both flat bars and drop bars I can only say the drop bars are a lot more comfortable.

That being said, I suffer from arthritis and the flat bars really aggravated the problem after any distance. YMMV.

Like Cyclesafe said, trekking bars could be worth looking at. These are relatively inexpensive and you can swap your shifters, brakes, etc straight over. They give you a bunch more hand, back and shoulder positions and they might be all you need.
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Old 04-20-09, 08:01 AM   #11
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Yeah the trekking handlebars seem like a good idea. I usually find that on very long rides I end up steering with my fingertips every so often to let my hands recover. A lot of the time I feel like though I am in decent shape my body isn't used to the rigors of cycling and that can only be lessened with time. (and better equipment)
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Old 04-20-09, 08:10 AM   #12
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I was thinking about bar ends, racks/panniers, and possibly a new saddle. The current saddle is ok for under 50mi a day but over that and I really start to hurt. I kind of figure that even if I do eventually buy a new bike all of these items except for the bar ends could be moved over. I have heard of lot of tourers prefer leather brooks saddles, would it be worth the investment?
If a Brooks fits your butt, it's great. It *should* feel pretty decent or flat out good right away. If you're going OMG ow the moment you sit on it, it's probably not the right saddle for you. Some shops carry bikes that come with a stock B-17... test riding one can be very informative.

If a Brooks doesn't fit your butt, it will be painful. Enough of the wrong kind of pressure and you can end up hurt. Not everyone has a Brooks butt, so it's perfectly sane to ride something else that feels good.
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Old 04-20-09, 10:01 AM   #13
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http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=15300

Bolt on drops.
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Old 04-20-09, 10:11 AM   #14
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No good. It's the riding on the hoods that makes drops so comfy. Also the width.
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Old 04-21-09, 10:19 AM   #15
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First I wanted to say thanks for all the help, you guys really seem informed and have really helped me make better decisions. The other question I have is what about pedals? Currently I have Shimano SPD MTB style pedals on the bike.
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Old 04-21-09, 10:28 AM   #16
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I tour with Shimano M520 pedals, cheap, fairly light and bulletproof. Walkable shoes are important for me on tour.
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Old 04-21-09, 01:24 PM   #17
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First I wanted to say thanks for all the help, you guys really seem informed and have really helped me make better decisions. The other question I have is what about pedals? Currently I have Shimano SPD MTB style pedals on the bike.
When you're on a good thing, stick with it.

If you want some flexibility for wearing both SPD shoes and regular non-cleated shoes check out the new A-530s.

http://www.cellbikes.com.au/p_1135_S...__ROAD_TOURING

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Old 04-21-09, 02:37 PM   #18
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When you're on a good thing, stick with it.

If you want some flexibility for wearing both SPD shoes and regular non-cleated shoes check out the new A-530s.

http://www.cellbikes.com.au/p_1135_S...__ROAD_TOURING

Actually I just checked the model number on the pedals, they are A-520s....seems I am getting pretty lucky with my previous equipment choices.
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Old 04-21-09, 05:31 PM   #19
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No good. It's the riding on the hoods that makes drops so comfy. Also the width.
+1

When I ride my road bike I am almost always on the hoods. It seems to take most of the pressure off your hands. I use the drops mostly when it is flat and windy or for unloaded down hills.

I am going to try Trekking bars on my FX.
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Old 04-21-09, 06:59 PM   #20
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+1

When I ride my road bike I am almost always on the hoods. It seems to take most of the pressure off your hands. I use the drops mostly when it is flat and windy or for unloaded down hills.

I am going to try Trekking bars on my FX.
Yeah I can imagine riding on the drops for very extended periods of time could really wear you out quick. I am 6'4" with a long torso and I am almost always on the hoods. btw spinnaker I have recently been riding up in Pittsburgh a bit and what a great city to bike in.

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Old 04-21-09, 07:23 PM   #21
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I'd stick with the 7.2 for now. If you like, you can pick up a touring bike, but the 7.2 looks like it'll make for a good touring rig. You don't need a touring bike to tour, although they are nice to ride!

Another vote here for barends. Flat bars are great, but they get old on long rides. Are you planning on camping on the GAP/C&O? If so, I'd go for a trailer - a camping load might be a bit much for an aluminum frame.

The C&O in particular is packed dirt and mud - you'll want wide tires. I did it on 700x32 tires. Are you running the stock 700x35 tires I see on the Trek site? I wish I had had those!

Full fenders would be handy. (If the 7.2 won't take those, a partial fender is better than nothing.)
Fenders keep your drivetrain cleaner longer - not to mention the rider!
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Old 04-21-09, 07:35 PM   #22
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Full fenders would be handy. (If the 7.2 won't take those, a partial fender is better than nothing.)
Fenders keep your drivetrain cleaner longer - not to mention the rider!

The 7.2 should take full fenders. I have them on my 7.3.
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