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Old 02-22-10, 10:56 AM   #1
gmacmt
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Which frame for a fixed tour? (AK to Mexico)

Hey there,

So I posted this question up in the fixed gear subforum as well, but was curious to see what the touring crowd thinks of this question.

I am looking for a frame to ride on an unsupported fixed tour down the continent that a buddy and I are doing for charity.

My last tour was an unsupported solo ride going north up the pacific coast on a lemond poprad, traveling lightweight. I only ran two rear panniers, and they were both about halfway full, I could of easily fit everything in one pannier but the weight distribution was awkward.



Figured we would make this one a bit tougher by never stopping pedaling. Plus we are going to be traveling very quickly, hoping to average between 80 and 120ish miles a day. We only have about 50 days for a 4000 mile ride, so efficiency is a necessity.

So forget the possibility of the task, because its going to happen. I am just wondering which frame would be the best tool for the job.

I think I am going to be traveling even lighter than my previous ride, only running a (big) saddlebag and a front rack as a water carrying system. Because there are two of us this time, it will be easier to distribute the weight.

So down to the frame qualifications...

-I dont really have any interest in a touring frame, too heavy and upright position wise.
-no vertical dropouts.
-steel.
-eyelets on the fork would be nice, but not necessarily an absolute need.
-no real need for a frame that can carry a lot of weight. Rider and gear should only weight about 160-180 pounds (depending on water).
-needs to accept big tires.

Thanks in advance for the help!

-graeme

Last edited by gmacmt; 02-22-10 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 02-22-10, 12:17 PM   #2
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If you are using full fenders, definitely go with forward facing horizontal dropouts, something like the Surly Crosscheck. Removing fendered wheels from trackends can be a hassle.

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Old 02-22-10, 12:48 PM   #3
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Cross Check.
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Old 02-22-10, 12:49 PM   #4
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You may want to consider a dingle cog setup too, for when you get tired.

http://surlybikes.com/parts/dingle_cog/
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Old 02-22-10, 05:45 PM   #5
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That dingle cog looks like a great idea. I was thinking about a fixed/fixed flip flop hub, but that thing looks even better.

Crosscheck seems like a predominate theme from most people I talk to. I will look into that frame a bit more.
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Old 02-22-10, 05:56 PM   #6
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The dingle with a double chainring set up would be awesome.
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Old 02-22-10, 06:04 PM   #7
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go all out, expensive but it d be awesome. I saw one the other day getting built @ the LBS

http://surlybikes.com/frames/pugsley_frame/
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Old 02-22-10, 06:06 PM   #8
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I love pugsleys, they are really neat looking, but I will mostly be riding on pavement or packed down dirt. Otherwise, I could totally justify that thing.

Maybe if I was riding out of AK in the winter
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Old 02-22-10, 06:21 PM   #9
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who s your buddy you re riding with ?








sorry just really wanted to post that pic
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Old 02-22-10, 06:33 PM   #10
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Definitely riding with Jesus, and my friend chris.
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Old 02-22-10, 06:50 PM   #11
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Why not get a white ind. ENO fixed hub for your Poprad? You know the frame fits and carries what you need.
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Old 02-22-10, 08:50 PM   #12
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steel wool tweed looks like a really cool frame to me. it is lugged steel, and it has an EBB and eyelets- would be great for a number of builds.

the white industries eno hub is a probably the best idea though...
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Old 02-22-10, 09:24 PM   #13
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My fixie commuter is a Raleigh One Way. It's steel with horizontal drops. It has eyelets that would accommodate a front and rear rack. It actually wouldn't be a bad way to go for a fixed touring bike the way I have it set up. I've got a S3X (three speed fixed) rear hub, and an XFDD drum brake/dynamo front hub, which runs my lights. Of course, it doesn't come standard with those hubs, and the reliability of the S3X is still unproven. I didn't buy/build this bike for touring, but the thought has crossed my mind that it would work for that purpose.

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Old 02-23-10, 03:31 AM   #14
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IMHO- contact an Orthopedic surgeon before starting your trip. He/She can advise you about your "kneeds" and schedule some postop rehab. Perhaps they might advise you to get a few gears, even the cool three speed fixed posted above would be fine. Plus the Ortho might suggest the ability to coast somewhere may be a "kneeded' pleasure along the way.
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Old 02-23-10, 07:40 AM   #15
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IMHO- contact an Orthopedic surgeon before starting your trip. He/She can advise you about your "kneeds" and schedule some postop rehab. Perhaps they might advise you to get a few gears, even the cool three speed fixed posted above would be fine. Plus the Ortho might suggest the ability to coast somewhere may be a "kneeded' pleasure along the way.
ha..

The real trouble is the 100 miles a day thing. Its doable, but in reality a fixed tour over varied terrain will need to be at a very low gearing to accommodate hills, loads, and knee health. Geared very low, however, it will be a long day of spinning to cover 100 miles/day.... I would use a dingle cog and double chainrings... and maybe even a flip flop hub with two dingle cogs, for four fixed wheel speeds. This would at least allow for climbing versus descending versus flat days.... I used to tour on fixed wheel in England, but its flat there so it makes a bit more sense...

Since the OP asked us not to chime in about whether its a good idea, I will simply say think VERY carefully about gearing, and bring some options...
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Old 02-23-10, 11:20 AM   #16
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The real trouble is the 100 miles a day thing. Its doable, but in reality a fixed tour over varied terrain will need to be at a very low gearing to accommodate hills, loads, and knee health. Geared very low, however, it will be a long day of spinning to cover 100 miles/day.... I would use a dingle cog and double chainrings... and maybe even a flip flop hub with two dingle cogs, for four fixed wheel speeds. This would at least allow for climbing versus descending versus flat days.... I used to tour on fixed wheel in England, but its flat there so it makes a bit more sense...
Fair enough. I was planning on just carrying 3-4 cogs and a lockring tool with a flip flop the whole trip anyway until I saw these dingle cogs. I am definitely running a flip flop with 2 sets of dingle cogs on it, one side heavy, one side light.

On my last trip I rode with two front chainrings and a road cluster in the rear, so no "climbing" gear by touring standards. I figure I really only needed 3 or 4 different gears that entire ride, and I predominately rode two, and rarely (even on hill climbs) did I get down into my lowest gears.

I am planning on being ready for at least 4 different scenarios. (which I will be testing during my training this spring)

-cruising speed (all day everyday)
-headwind
-real big climbs
-downhill

That should about cover me. And use of the latter should be rare once I get out of AK. There are only a few really big hills on the pacific coast. And those hills are big enough to take a minute and switch gears.

And I would rather worry about sore knees than whether or not that variable three speed will hold up.

And this guy won the tour de france on a fixed gear back in 1903... brakeless.



In other news, my buddy who was going with me just blew his knee skiing. Kinda ironic.

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Old 02-23-10, 01:01 PM   #17
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So are you not planning on bringing camping and cooking gear? That's what always puts me into the multiple pannier setups. If you are credit carding it you can pack really light, and I don't think you will have any problems.

Check out Nun's light setup, it may give you some ideas:

http://wheelsofchance.org/2010/02/02/ultralight-setup/

He actually does pack camping gear, so you could get it much lighter if you wanted.
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Old 02-23-10, 01:20 PM   #18
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So are you not planning on bringing camping and cooking gear? That's what always puts me into the multiple pannier setups. If you are credit carding it you can pack really light, and I don't think you will have any problems.

Check out Nun's light setup, it may give you some ideas:

http://wheelsofchance.org/2010/02/02/ultralight-setup/

He actually does pack camping gear, so you could get it much lighter if you wanted.

No, I am packing camping gear. I will not be packing cooking gear though, I have never seen the need. I would rather eat raw foods than have to carry all the junk necessary to cook.
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Old 02-23-10, 01:29 PM   #19
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The lighter you pack the more sense it makes, but I have to say that even unloaded I don't get it.

In any case good luck.
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Old 02-24-10, 01:13 AM   #20
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hoping to average between 80 and 120ish miles a day.
I hope you're making an informed decision. Personally I don't think it's going to happen. In any case, Surly Cross Check. Set your rear wheel at the very back of the dropouts and your rear fender directly on the chainstay bridge. That way you won't have to deflate your tire every time you want to remove the wheel. Try to avoid glacier country. Good luck.
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Old 02-24-10, 08:34 AM   #21
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I'd reccomend either the Raleigh One-Way or the Handsome Cycles Handsome Devil. They are both relatively low trail which may be helpful in your water carrying on a front rack. If you plan on carrying heavy weight, up high, on a front rack a normal bikes front end geo. may get a little sluggish.

,Will
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Old 02-24-10, 01:23 PM   #22
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Old 02-25-10, 08:46 PM   #23
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Yan, thanks for the advice.

Going to start in Prudhoe bay now instead of Anchorage, so I will need to be a little more loaded as far as gear goes.

I think I am going to do the cross check thing, and either snag a fork that can accept a disc, or get a framebuilder I know to put on an attachment.

Thanks for all of your help! I will be sure and post back when I get the bike built, and there will be a trip report to follow.

If you are interested...

www.graemerides.com

-graeme
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Old 02-26-10, 01:33 AM   #24
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I have a Bianchi San Jose and it's great. I did have to change out the seatpost (couldn't support the saddle over bumps) and the wheels died quickly, though newer models have better wheels. I also changed out the chainring, seat, and tires, but all that was related to personal preference. It's very comfortable and has full rack eyelets front (low rider) and back.

Regarding fenders: I've never had trouble getting the rear wheel out -- I just set the last bit of the fender out a little more than usual.
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