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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 03-08-10, 02:04 PM   #1
bwcastle
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Full carbon frame and touring?

Is anyone touring on a full carbon bike. I ride a Trek Madone 5.1 and would like to do some longer rides (+500mi), and I'm wondering the best ways to outfit my bike to accomodate. I suppose the lack of rack attachability would be a big concern. I've just upgraded my tires to 700x25 continental ultra gatorskins with stop flats 2 inserts and slime tubes to help on the rough roads and with added gear weight. I'll probably look into getting a Surly LHT or Trek 520 this summer, but for now I'd like to use what I've got, and make sure that touring is my cup of tea before I go full out on a custom setup. Any input is much appriciated.

Brad
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Old 03-08-10, 02:32 PM   #2
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I would think that the weight of the bags pulling on the ends of a carbon frame could cause a problem, especially if you hit bumps, bottom out or have any high pressure moments with the bike. I'm not sure and have never tried it, but what I do know about carbon makes me think this might not be a great idea.

Could you possibly rent a touring bike to see if you like it? Another option might be waiting for a good deal on a vintage one. If you get a good deal, you could always get your money back out of it later.
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Old 03-08-10, 02:38 PM   #3
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Consider one of these Extrawheel trailers to attach to the rear of your bike.

http://www.biketrailershop.com/catal...ons-p-342.html
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Old 03-08-10, 02:49 PM   #4
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My initial reaction is "If you can afford a Madone, you can afford an LHT or 520 to go with it."

Cause touring on one seems kinda sketchy...
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Old 03-08-10, 02:51 PM   #5
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I would be terrified of putting a lot of weight on a carbon frame, especially a full load in four panniers (obviously difficult on a Madone)- the twisting forces you can put on the bike are pretty incredible. You might be able to get by with just rear panniers (I would avoid mounting to the rear seatstays) and a super-light load.

Touring bikes are a good investment as bikes go- they're very desirable right now, and a new slightly-used Long Haul Trucker or Trek 520 isn't going to drop in price much, if you decide its not your thing.

Also, consider a cheap used bike- I did my first tour on an old steel Schwinn road bike- I spent about $300 on it total, and sold it soon after the tour for $260 or so.

Edit: Hah, I just got beat on the 'LHT or 520' draw. Also, A trailer is a good suggestion; I don't personally enjoy big/long trailers like BOBs, but Extrawheels are attractively small.
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Old 03-08-10, 03:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bwcastle View Post
I've just upgraded my tires to 700x25 continental ultra gatorskins with stop flats 2 inserts and slime tubes to help on the rough roads and with added gear weight. I'll probably look into getting a Surly LHT or Trek 520 this summer, but for now I'd like to use what I've got, and make sure that touring is my cup of tea before I go full out on a custom setup. Any input is much appriciated.

Brad
Putting inserts and slime tubes into the tires have no bearing on your wheels being able to carry extra weight. Your wheels ability to carry weight is a function of their construction, the tire construction, size and the psi in the tires. Making the tires flat resistant doesn't make the wheels stronger.

Adapting a $3400 carbon road bike for touring before going for "full out on a custom setup". That means you're probably willing to spend another $2000 -$3500 for "full on" custom setup.

Seriously this just sounds wrong if what you mean by touring is camping and carrying 20+lbs of gear. If you're thinking of going from hotel to hotel with just 5lbs of gear/clothes bundled under the seat and bars then go for it. To adapt that bike to safely carrying more weight with racks just seems wrong. Pretty sure that you'll end up replacing the rear wheel and at some point if it's loaded with 20lbs of gear I wonder what happens when the bike falls on it's top tube onto a sharp edged corner.

Anyone with that kind of bike needs two bikes. Order up a CrossCheck and be done with it.
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Old 03-08-10, 04:20 PM   #7
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I saw a guy riding cross country and a Trek 5500 with 4 panniers a few years ago. He was almost done.

Anyway, Tubus Fly rack can go on a road bike www.thetouringstore.com call and talk to Wayne he's the best. Use the quick release attachment, it doesn't touch the carbon, and is rated for more weight than you want to carry. Wayne carries panniers too.

Unless you are really strong or your touring location is really flat, you're going to need to keep the weight very low on a regularly-geared road bike (even if you have a triple). So if I were you I'd start out with a hotel or hostel based tour to begin with, see if you like it before investing in the tour bike. whatever panniers you get for the trek can become your front panniers on your loaded bike, you'll have to buy a different rear rack but you'll still have the Fly for future credit card tours.

Here's my Tubus Fly with Lone Peak front panniers on my titanium road bike riding over Trail Ridge Road. I stayed in hotels. It was fun.

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Old 03-08-10, 04:24 PM   #8
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P.S. why are you guys giving this guy so much grief over having (spending money on) a nice road bike? I think he's being smart checking it out before buying another bike.
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Old 03-08-10, 05:05 PM   #9
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For ~500 miles on presumably smooth pavement, you'd probably be OK with a trailer.

In general, to do a tour you want a rugged bike that is comfortable for all-day riding. In most cases this means wide tires at a lower PSI, lots of spokes, a less aggressive position, sometimes fenders.

But I also have found that for shorter tours like yours, you have a lot more latitude, especially if you're using a trailer. I'd consider a leather saddle, lower PSI tires and raising the stem for the duration of the tour. I'd also bring extra spokes and/or emergency spokes, and make sure you have a basic idea how to fix a busted spoke.


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P.S. why are you guys giving this guy so much grief over having (spending money on) a nice road bike? I think he's being smart checking it out before buying another bike.
I don't think anyone is giving him a hard time, just pointing out that his $3500 CF road bike may not be optimal for the job, and presuming he's got lots of disposable income.
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Old 03-08-10, 05:14 PM   #10
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But I also have found that for shorter tours like yours, you have a lot more latitude, especially if you're using a trailer. I'd consider a leather saddle, lower PSI tires and raising the stem for the duration of the tour. I'd also bring extra spokes and/or emergency spokes, and make sure you have a basic idea how to fix a busted spoke.
Personally, if this were my racing bike, I'd go a step further and get a wheel dedicated for touring. High spoke count, handbuilt, with the biggest cassette the drivetrain could handle.
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Old 03-08-10, 05:24 PM   #11
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Thanks all for those offering constructive feedback. I dig the Extrawheel set up, and the link for thetouringstore. Both very helpfull. As far as the assumption that because I have a nice road bike, I can just go out and drop a couple grand on a new tour bike and setup (before I'm even sure I want to get into serious touring) is very persumptuous. No rich boy here, just getting by on a meager Firefighter salary. I saved and shoped around for the exact comp/road bike I wanted before I bought the Madone. I've been looking around for used Surley Trek and Novara tour bikes, but they seem hard to come by. Probably a testament to their quality and the popularity of tour bikes right now.

QUOTE]Putting inserts and slime tubes into the tires have no bearing on your wheels being able to carry extra weight. Your wheels ability to carry weight is a function of their construction, the tire construction, size and the psi in the tires. Making the tires flat resistant doesn't make the wheels stronger.[/QUOTE]
I appreciate the tutorial. However, I wasn't making any insinuations about carrying weight. Just stating that in upgrading from 700x23 ultralight racing tires to a wider more robust 700x25 with some puncture resistant goodies is probably to my benefit, as per lessening my possibilitys of getting flats while under load on rougher roads.



It'd probably help to know some details on the tour I've been planning. It would be from Tucson AZ to Austin TX, aprox 1000 mi (very flat). I have 2 weeks open to do it. It would be almost entirely camping along the way, only 2 nights lodged preferably. All of my gear is ultralight (from backpacking). I would like to do this as minimal as possible. Keep the feedback coming, good stuff, some things I havn't considered...
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Old 03-08-10, 05:28 PM   #12
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I know there are some bike tourists who use carbon bikes (though not such race-oriented ones as a Madone) and lightweight equipment that packs down to a bar bag and saddlebag or seatpost-mounted rack & bag. The extrawheel seems like it would be another smart option. I think this guy may be the ultimate guru of ultralight bike touring, and he rides a carbon bike. Of course, he takes other extreme measures like leaving maps behind and reducing his cue sheets to inscrutable, telegraphic codes to save weight.
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Old 03-08-10, 05:34 PM   #13
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Great link, very inspiring, and full of good info.
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Old 03-08-10, 05:35 PM   #14
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http://www.bustedcarbon.com/

!
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Old 03-08-10, 06:28 PM   #15
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I'd be worried mainly about the racelite wheelset. High tensioned paired spokes would be less than ideal for a heavy load.
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Old 03-08-10, 06:59 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by bwcastle View Post
Is anyone touring on a full carbon bike. I ride a Trek Madone 5.1 and would like to do some longer rides (+500mi), and I'm wondering the best ways to outfit my bike to accomodate. I suppose the lack of rack attachability would be a big concern. I've just upgraded my tires to 700x25 continental ultra gatorskins with stop flats 2 inserts and slime tubes to help on the rough roads and with added gear weight. I'll probably look into getting a Surly LHT or Trek 520 this summer, but for now I'd like to use what I've got, and make sure that touring is my cup of tea before I go full out on a custom setup. Any input is much appriciated.

Brad
There are a couple of problems with putting a rack on a road bike(I also tour on a road bike although not carbon). The first is it has no eyelets. The second is that it has no brazeons for the upper mounts. There are some racks out there that bypass the latter by using hoseclamps although I would be weary of using hoseclamps on a high value carbon frame. The first problem is harder to overcome and very few companies offer a solution. I have only found one rack that works well for my road bike. It is called the Axiom Streamliner Road DLX and I am using it now. The upper mount goes where your brakes bolt on and the lower mounts are 90 degrees and mount to your axle/skewer. My only pet peeve is that it is aluminum, but mine still seems sturdy. I tested it by actually sitting on the rack and it flexed very little. The cheapest one I found for you was at the link below.
http://www.avantlink.com/click.php?t...k6623-qc53.htm



P.S. Touring is very hard on your bike and from what I have heard a Madone is worth a lot and even used ones have high resale values. Personally I think the best solution is to sell the Madone and get a touring bike.

Last edited by PedaltheGlobe; 03-08-10 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 03-08-10, 07:05 PM   #17
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Really helpful link you posted

I''d say pick up a trailer and go try it out. I would suggest much less than 500 miles to start though. I would hook up my Giant TCR Comp to a trailer and tour if I lived in a flatter part of the country in a heartbeat. Keep the load minimal and have fun.

It makes sense finding out if you like it first.

Happy Trails

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Old 03-08-10, 08:37 PM   #18
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Great link, very inspiring, and full of good info.
Yep, good info there. I'd be more inclined to enjoy the light nature of your bike and not use a trailer but use a single light rear rack that attaches to the axle and brake bridge. Replace the rear wheel with a more robust light touring wheel like the Velocity Synergy OC, if an extra large bottle cage fits in the triangle put that in there to hold a 1.5l bottle . Unless you've got problems with thorns that regularly flat tires where you're riding I'd go for a tough tire over slime tubes.
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Old 03-08-10, 08:41 PM   #19
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I have a carbon fiber Roubaix and plan to do some credit card touring with it next week. Based on Ten Wheels' recommendation, I'm getting a Topeak MTX seatpost rack and bag, along with the pannier extension sides made for the MTX system, and some Nashbar daypack small panniers. I've already swapped my carbon seatpost for an aluminum and use a 30-yr-old leather saddle, along with 25 mm tires. I won't be camping, just carrying riding clothes and essentials. I think I'll be fine and you would be, too.
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Old 03-08-10, 08:45 PM   #20
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Putting bubble wrap on your lightweight carbon racing fork is not a long term solution.

Why risk ruining your bicycle frame and voiding the warranty? Using such a racer type bicycle is like using a fork to eat soup...

Of course you can do it, but you're going to make a mess!

Maybe you should try long-distance cycling and some audax type events to wet your appetite.
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Old 03-08-10, 09:00 PM   #21
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P.S. why are you guys giving this guy so much grief over having (spending money on) a nice road bike? I think he's being smart checking it out before buying another bike.

guys are mean
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Old 03-08-10, 09:23 PM   #22
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I considered touring on my Cervelo RS. Installed a Lone Peak H-100 handlebar bag, a Bagman, and a Carradice Nelson Longflap saddlebag. Loaded them up with 15lbs of stuff and went for some test rides where I quickly learned two things:

1) A road bike, even one with "relaxed" geometry like the Cervelo RS handles like crap when you add a lot of weight up high

2) A road bike, even one with a 50/34 compact double crank and 11-28 cassette, is painful to climb with when you start adding weight

I quickly changed plans and built a cheap touring bike based on Nashbar's Double-Butted Aluminum Touring frame. Got most of the components from my parts bin, though I did buy a Shimano Deore M532 trekking crank and splurged for some decent wheels (XTR hubs, Velocity Synergy OC rims). Much nicer to ride when loaded than the RS!
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Old 03-08-10, 10:06 PM   #23
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Lately, I've becoming very fond of ultralight touring, using my best (and only) road bike. For years, I've done the full 5 bags touring, and then later, 2 bags touring. Now, I'm getting older and wanna feel the speed (whatever is left of it) in my legs before my whole body craps out altogether.

So, I just ride with a Topeak hightail (?) bag with it own mount on the seat stem--about 5lbs worth of stuff. Any rides under two weeks or 1000miles and with towns/bicycle shops every 50-100miles is possible for me with this set up. And it's very thrilling to wonder if I'm gonna make it to the next town with a motel before nightfall.

I have to pay for hotel/motel/hostel, but it's a short ride so not too bad.

As a firefighter, can you crash at various fire stations when you bike thru town? Free lodging, free food for the night and you'll be a star with the crew

No one has mentioned this before, but keeping your top end racing bike looking new while touring with a full touring setup will be darn difficult. I'd bet that you're gonna scratch up the bike pretty good by the end of 1000 miles with all those bags

Madone is a sweet bike, ride it full-on for what it's worth.

Have a good tour either way.
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Old 06-28-10, 07:19 PM   #24
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Full carbon frame and touring?

I just received the following response from Old Man Mountain (http://www.oldmanmountain.com/) regarding mounting their Sherpa rack to my full carbon road bike: "We have been mounting our hub mounted racks to bikes like this one for years with no problems at all. You will need a set of our band clamps for the upper attachments but that should not be a problem, I suggest the Sherpa rear for 700 with clamps."
I haven't ordered the Sherpa rack or installed anything yet, but it's nice to receive an actual answer from someone with experience. Obviously you'll need to be careful tightening down the clamps to the rear stays.
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Old 06-28-10, 07:30 PM   #25
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On the money issue, decent touring bikes can be found that cost well under a few grand, particularly on Craigslis. So my presumptious assumption would be that if you drop big dough on a racing bike, you like to have the right stuff and it won't cost what your racing gear assumptions might indicate.
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