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Old 11-22-09, 07:58 PM   #1
Climer
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2004 Trek 7300 FX for NW Tour?

Hello,

New member of the forum... please let me know if I posted this in the wrong spot.

I would like to find out if a 2004 Trek FX would be acceptable for a tour I'm planning this Spring.

This is the bike:
http://www.trekbikes.com/au/en/bikes...archive/7300fx

I've used it heavily for commuting and day trips in the Puget Sound area, and find it comfortable. My concern is whether it will be serviceable for a longer tour.

My plan is to get from the state of Washington to Kansas, via crossing Washington, the Idaho panhandle, Montana, South Dakota, then down through Nebraska. This will involve some mountain passes. Although I'll be camping most of the time (i.e. carrying a small tent and sleeping bag), I've done a lot of backpacking and so am good about keeping gear to a minimum weight.

My main concern is whether the current gearage will get me over the passes. I'm willing to take it slow and get passed by road bikes, but don't want it to be a miserable disaster.

One bike shop told me I should get a new touring bike, while another told me with proper pre-trip maintenance and refit (tune up, replace chain/cassette, handlebar extenders, etc.) I should be fine.

Anyone have any thoughts on this bike for such a trip? I have a feeling it'll get me where I want to go, but if I really need a new machine, I'll get one.
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Old 11-22-09, 08:03 PM   #2
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Bike looks OK.
Tell us some about you. (the motor)
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Old 11-22-09, 09:02 PM   #3
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Bar ends, racks, and the tune up looks to me like all it'll need. Gearing should be fine if you're reasonably strong and have good lungs. You could consider a cassette with a 34 tooth granny just in case.

Have the mechanic inspect the gear teeth closely for excessive wear. Also spokes for tension/wear.
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Old 11-22-09, 09:05 PM   #4
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Heck ya it would serve you well on a tour, good luck.
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Old 11-23-09, 08:52 AM   #5
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According to the TREK page you linked, the crankset is 48/38/28. I'd suggest more of a mountain range - maybe even with a 22-tooth granny. I rode over that route with a 24-tooth granny pulling a BOB. It was difficult. There are several steep passes in Washington - North Cascades, Loup-loup, Wauconda, Sherman. I'd want to know that I had some plenty-low gears available.

How strong are the wheels? How many spokes? I've broken spokes on tour before and it can spoil your day. I'd consider buying a really heavy-duty rear wheel.

Having said all of that, I'd add that the odds are good that you could take this bike from Seattle to Nebraska without problems. I stopped in Glacier, but it was a wonderful route!
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Old 11-23-09, 08:56 AM   #6
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I've toured extensively on a Trek 7.3FX, which is pretty much the same bike, so you'll be fine. Couple of changes that I made, that you might want to think about. I didn't find the gearing quite low enough for me in the mountains, so I went to a 22-34-44 set up. However, I only have a 12-30 on the back. I also put butterfly bars on, as I didn't like the flat bars on long days. Finally, I switched the brake calipers out for something with a little more stopping power. Otherwise, the bike is stock and I'm really happy with it.
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Old 11-23-09, 09:53 AM   #7
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It looks great. Assuming the bars and seat are all to your taste I'd consider having the wheels checked out and loading up the rear wheel with a heavy load before the trip to see if it goes through any changes.

Rear wheel spoke breakage isn't something you can predict but it seems to correspond with a stock bike that's been ridden for awhile but the wheels were never checked over in the first months of riding and a few years down the line the bike gets loaded up for a trip and THEN stuff happens. If you were more on the 225lb side of life than the 150lb side and the wheel is a bit out of true right now I'd consider a custom built rear wheel as a bit of insurance. Front wheels last nearly forever.
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Old 11-23-09, 11:22 AM   #8
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My wife uses the Trek 7.2 FX and done several tours since '06, more details and pics on our page.
"Edit" She never had any problems with the spokes.

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Old 11-23-09, 10:45 PM   #9
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Wow! You guys are great. What a great feeling to find this community.

It sounds like the consensus is that I should change from a 48/38/28 to a 44/34/24. Am I hearing that correctly? If it makes it a little easier to get up steep hills, then it sounds like a good idea. Should or could the current cassette (11-32, whatever that means) be upgraded as well?

I will definitely get the bar ends and of course full maintenance check-up as suggested.

@ BigBlueToe... there are 32 spokes. I already replaced one of the wheels (can't remember which one) a couple years ago due to a few spokes suddenly breaking. In addition to the pre-trip inspection, I may also carry an "emergency spoke" kit which involves a cord. Good/bad idea to use a cord-kit? It looked like a good idea in the shop.

I already have a rear rack and a pair of Vaude panniers for the rear. So, I still need to get a front rack and front panniers. In fact, Captainholiday's photo (thanks CH) is along the lines of what I'm thinking.

A few thoughts questions as they come to mind:
1. Currently I don't have a kickstand. Is it a good idea to get one?
2. should I get a front rack like Captainholiday's that just holds the panniers, or get one that also has a flat shelf above the wheel?
3. Currently I just use running shoes when I pedal. I assume that for a long tour I'll need to get new pedals and cycling shoes that clip onto the pedals, correct?
4. Currently the tires are 700x35c. Should I stay with that size or move to a 38 or a 32 or something else?

thanks so much to all who responded.
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Old 11-23-09, 10:54 PM   #10
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I would go with this 48-38-24 your cassette is good for touring.
Walking shoes and toe clips, 25,000 miles for me.
No kick stand
Tire size is up to you. 35's are good.
Kevlar temporay spokes are good.
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Old 11-24-09, 12:09 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Climer View Post
Wow! You guys are great. What a great feeling to find this community.

It sounds like the consensus is that I should change from a 48/38/28 to a 44/34/24. Am I hearing that correctly? If it makes it a little easier to get up steep hills, then it sounds like a good idea. Should or could the current cassette (11-32, whatever that means) be upgraded as well?

I will definitely get the bar ends and of course full maintenance check-up as suggested.

@ BigBlueToe... there are 32 spokes. I already replaced one of the wheels (can't remember which one) a couple years ago due to a few spokes suddenly breaking. In addition to the pre-trip inspection, I may also carry an "emergency spoke" kit which involves a cord. Good/bad idea to use a cord-kit? It looked like a good idea in the shop.

I already have a rear rack and a pair of Vaude panniers for the rear. So, I still need to get a front rack and front panniers. In fact, Captainholiday's photo (thanks CH) is along the lines of what I'm thinking.

A few thoughts questions as they come to mind:
1. Currently I don't have a kickstand. Is it a good idea to get one?
2. should I get a front rack like Captainholiday's that just holds the panniers, or get one that also has a flat shelf above the wheel?
3. Currently I just use running shoes when I pedal. I assume that for a long tour I'll need to get new pedals and cycling shoes that clip onto the pedals, correct?
4. Currently the tires are 700x35c. Should I stay with that size or move to a 38 or a 32 or something else?

thanks so much to all who responded.
If you get a kickstand, get a strong one, since your bike will be heavy when loaded.

There's no need to get clipless shoes and pedals if you like what you have.

BTW, that's my bike below, on a 580 mile tour. The sausage house was closed. :-(

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Old 11-24-09, 03:11 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=Climer;10069589]
A few thoughts questions as they come to mind:
1. Currently I don't have a kickstand. Is it a good idea to get one?
2. should I get a front rack like Captainholiday's that just holds the panniers, or get one that also has a flat shelf above the wheel?
3. Currently I just use running shoes when I pedal. I assume that for a long tour I'll need to get new pedals and cycling shoes that clip onto the pedals, correct?
4. Currently the tires are 700x35c. Should I stay with that size or move to a 38 or a 32 or something else?
[QUOTE]

As far as the gearing goes 44/34/24 up front is good but the 11 to 32 tooth rear rear cog is up to you. How fit are you?

1. We always use the kickstand, there wont always be a place to leen the bike against.
2. It really is up to you. How much are you going to be taking along? We didn't think it necesary.
3. We always use cycling shoes/sandles (because of the hard bottom) but feel uncomfortable being cliped in so use normal pedals. Many others do so.......
4. We use Schwalbe Marathon Plus 35C, we find these to be the best combination for puncture proof, comfort and stability when going onto dirt/gravel tracks.

cheers
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Old 11-24-09, 10:54 AM   #13
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It sounds like the consensus is that I should change from a 48/38/28 to a 44/34/24. Am I hearing that correctly? If it makes it a little easier to get up steep hills, then it sounds like a good idea. Should or could the current cassette (11-32, whatever that means) be upgraded as well?

Most tour with the set up you've already got. With the lower gearing, you should be able to climb just about anything with a paved surface you're likely encounter in the US. You'll run out of high gear on a smooth surface with a tailwind. Course, that combo isn't likely to happen often.

I may also carry an "emergency spoke" kit which involves a cord. Good/bad idea to use a cord-kit?

Great idea. Never leave home without one.

Currently I don't have a kickstand. Is it a good idea to get one?

Another great idea. I use a $7 Bell mode from WM. Works fine.

Currently I just use running shoes when I pedal. I assume that for a long tour I'll need to get new pedals and cycling shoes that clip onto the pedals, correct?

I've done it both ways and have decided that clipless shoes/pedals are more trouble than they're worth. The problem is having to carry a change of shoes for off bike use, as clipless shoes are no fun for walking. You'll be off the bike a lot more than you're on it. Walking or running shoes, with inserts, work fine. Or dedicated non clipless cycing shoes. Use mtb pedals for sole traction.

Currently the tires are 700x35c. Should I stay with that size or move to a 38 or a 32 or something else?

Just right size. Make sure you've got good puncture resistance. Schwable is best but expensive. Continental makes good tires, but seem to wear quicker. Make sure your tubes are at least standard weight and not those thin things racers like. Carry at least two spare tubes.
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Last edited by Cyclebum; 11-24-09 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 11-25-09, 07:50 PM   #14
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Once again, let me state that it sure is awesome to have found this forum that is full of so many knowledgeable and sharing people. Sure beats taking advice from random salespeople.

Sounds to me like if I get an opportunity to switch to a 48/38/24 crank, then I should, but if I start my trip with what I already have, I'll survive, and can make the switch later if I want.

Same with the kickstand... I never wished I had one until I saw a few photos on the internet of other peoples' bikes, so I just thought I'd ask about it. It doesn't bother me to lay bike on ground if no trees around.

I'm surprised to hear that getting stiff, biking shoes which latch onto the pedals aren't mandatory for touring, and that other people are comfortable with running shoes and toe clips. That being the case (please correct me if I heard wrong) then I'll just start the trip with running shoes and the existing pedals, and will make a change down the road only if necessary.

Thanks for clearing up the tire sizing, it sounds like 35c will be just fine. On the topic of puncture proof... for all the years I've had this bike, I've used tire liners, and I never get flats. The only flats I get are when I break off the valve due to overvigorous pumping. Does anybody else use tire liners? I think they're F-ing fabulous, however, it raises another topic... am I sacrificing a lot of performance due to having the tire liners in the tires, anyone know?

@ The Historian... I'm sorry the sausage house was closed, but it sounds like you lived to tell the tale. Perhaps carrying emergency sausage is the thing to do.

@ Captainholiday... I'll probably get a front rack just like yours. That's all I'll need. Also, a handlebar bag for netbook, etc.
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