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Old 11-01-09, 10:17 AM   #1
FrenchFit 
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Which bike for C-C Touring?

I have two different bikes I take for long rides, trying to decide which one might be best for a 600 mile pacific coastal trip; no camping, fairly light load, no rush. I keep going back and forth between these two, I've done centuries on both (unloaded).

One is a MTB conversation that's set up much like the Koga World Traveler, alumn., 26", trekking bars, suspension, comfortable, strong but slow & heavy. With a light load including all stops and misc. I might average about 10 mph over distance if it's fairly flat. 6 hrs. in the saddle day to day is ok.

The other is more classic triple touring-road bike, STI, swayed stays, 700c, drops are fairly high. More fun to ride, but not that comfortable after the first 4 hours. With a light load including all stops and misc. I usually average about 15 mph over distance, it likes to go fast.

I naturally gravitate to the MTB because it's bomb-proof, smooth and forgiving. But day after day pushing that load....I think that is going to get frustrating. The modern road-tourer seems obvious, but I'm not going out there to hammer and I'm likely to get caught up thinking about daily distances and speed and miss the journey.

Given your experience, whch bike would you pick for a C-C tour and why?
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Old 11-01-09, 10:24 AM   #2
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I, personally, would ride a drop bar bike for a credit card tour. But I'd try to figure out why the bike isn't comfortable after 4 hours -- it should be comfy for an all-day ride.

Can you fit bigger tires? Change the reach? Change the handlebar height?
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Old 11-01-09, 10:51 AM   #3
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I concur: Try to figure out what is causing the drop bar bicycle to become uncomfortable after four hours.

But if you can't figure it out, nothing to worry about. Just ride the heavier bike. Comfort counts for a lot... maybe everything on a major expedition.

On my tours, I usually ride four to six hours per day, but have gone as long as nine hours (including breaks). I do get sore after several days of all-day riding, even on a well-fitted bicycle. It happens with any activity that involves continuous, repetitive use of the same sets of muscles, whether you are sitting, standing, walking, lying down, or running. A certain amount of acclimatization occurs, but there are limits. For me, my neck and shoulders get sore first; for others, it's the bum; and for others, their fingers get numb. Ensuring that the bicycle fits your body and is set up properly goes a long way toward minimizing physical problems, but if you are riding every day, a certain amount of discomfort is inevitable.
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Old 11-01-09, 10:02 PM   #4
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CC tour = drop bar bike, no question. Concur with the others about trying to fix comfort issues. Maybe you want to change the seat or something.

IMHO your logic "I'm likely to get caught up thinking about daily distances and speed and miss the journey" is a bit backward. The faster bike gives you more time to stop and enjoy places. The slower bike is going to make you spend more time trying to reach milestones...
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Old 11-01-09, 11:36 PM   #5
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Good points, and more time to stop is plus...assuming I make the stops. Much like acantor, it's the neck that goes in the afternoon. I think I'll just have to work on conditioning and neck stretches, maybe spend more time training in the drops so riding the tops/hoods is relaxing. As far as fit & riding position, I might rise up the bars a few mm or some other trekking mod - but I'm just not willing to take it into the Rivendell zone. Thanks!
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Old 11-02-09, 01:03 AM   #6
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I would work with a professional fitter. It's not possible to fit a bike without some training.

The contact points, including your shoes & pedals, seat and handlebar design will determine your comfort if the bike frame is the right size.

A bike fitting isn't a luxury. A bad bike fit can cause injury while touring.

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Old 11-02-09, 11:02 PM   #7
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Well, I do appreciate the comment - but no sale here. I've read the leading articles, and the one constant is professional bike fitters disagree with each other on a correct fit. I have a fairly good handle on it, no pun intended. Like some of the enlightened comments on this board, I think actually increasing the drop and taking more advantage of core compression and less arm compression may be worth trying for that particular bike. Otherwise, I have no issues with adjusting my bikes to my riding style, and the further away from the LBS I get the safer I feel. Thanks anyway.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:05 AM   #8
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Is there a way to make the 700c bike more comfortable? Saddle change? Different style bars?
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