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  1. #1
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    touring mountain bike (steel 29er non-disc)?

    I'm working on building up an touring mountain bike build for really rough stuff that's reasonably priced. I've been looking for a steel 29er bike, and there are lots, but only in disc! So who makes a steel 29er front suspension that has canti/linear pull brakes (beside Surly Karate Monkey)?
    I'm asking because I went to my LBS looking for an expedition mountain bike (assuming 26) and the guy suggested the possibility of 29ers because they're almost as strong and roll great.
    I'm kind of skeptical especially because I'm assuming 29/700c are hard to find in remote locals and that goes for tires to. Plus disc brakes are great, but if anything should happen I need back-up breaks. Opinions welcome!
    Last edited by lifebybike; 03-19-10 at 06:24 PM.

  2. #2
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    If you can dispense with the suspension fork The Bruce Gordon "Rock 'n Road" may do the job. You say "reasonably priced" so also consider his "BLT". Same frame made overseas with more affordable components.

    They are the original "29ers" that he introduced long before the mountain bike industry decided to market fat tires in 700c. My R'nR is 16 years old and still going strong with it's original paint. It's been across the US twice using road tires. I've ridden it over many Rocky Mt Jeep roads including portions of the "Great Divide Trail" using 700 x 40's. I believe it will fit up to 700 x 45. I installed "cross top" brake levers on my drop bars to make it more dirt friendly...or you can use traditional upright mt bars.
    Last edited by BobG; 03-19-10 at 08:09 PM.

  3. #3
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    Personally, I don't think that mechanical disc brakes are any more likely to fail than cantis or V-brakes. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a bike with BB7 mechanical discs. Throw a spare disc, a cable, and a set of pads in your luggage and you're insured against the most common failures. If you manage to bend all three rotors, stop into any shop that sells mountain bikes and they're likely to have 6-bolt 160mm rotors (and Avid brake pads) in stock.

    The "almost as strong" part of the 29er wheel equation would make me worry about choosing them for loaded touring. If I was planning an expedition, I think I'd probably stick with 26" wheels unless there was a very compelling reason to choose a 29er.

  4. #4
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    The Soma Juice may still be available with rim brakes. It's basically similar to the Karate Monkey, though.

    The Voodoo Dambala has removable V brake posts, but I think it's being replaced by a new model. Also, it has sliding dropouts, which are an extra complexity I wouldn't want for touring.

    It's a very thin field if you want rim brakes.

  5. #5
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    If you can live without the front suspension, here's three bikes that can take 700c(larger sizes)/650B or 26"(smaller sizes,depending on the model).
    Quite rugged, and can take up to 2.3" tires.
    I don't think there are any other production frames without suspension or discs that can these wide tires.

    http://www.rivbike.com/products/show/bombadil/50-640
    http://www.rivbike.com/products/show/hunqapillar/50-713
    http://www.rivbike.com/products/show/atlantis/50-038

    Of course, there are framebuilders who can build you such a frame for less.

  6. #6
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    No offense whatsoever intended, but you are perhaps starting to overthink this a little, OP? This is the third thread, I think? Anyway, as I said -- no offense. I'm sympathetic as I tend to do this too But to the point:

    First, bike shops will sell you whatever they stock/can easily order; assuming you're in NA, for example, 26" mtb/touring frames are not all that common. "29ers" are the current 'it-bike', and relatively easily available. Nothing wrong with 'em -- they have some advantages and (contrary to what their devotees claim with an almost messianic fervour) some disadvantages.

    Second, as I think I recall from the original thread you started on all this, you are trying to retain some control on the budget?

    Third, you perhaps need to reinforce/re-define what you mean by 'remote locale.'

    If by 'remote locale' you mean e.g. the GDR, and possibly even South America, then assuming a) it fits you, b) it fits your requirements, and c) it fits your budget, a '29er' will of course work, although the more 'remote' you get even in NA/SA the more difficulty you are going to have sourcing tires and rims, if necessary.
    On the other hand, if by 'remote locale' you really do mean 'remote', e.g. Asia/Himalayas/India etc., that kind of thing, then the consensus still seems to be that you are far more likely to be able to source 26" tires/wheel bits than 700c based bits should the need arise.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Badger1,
    No offense taken, thanks for the thoughtful advise on multiple threads. Yup, buying a new bike is a major decision for me, especially since I hope to not have to buy another bike for years and can't spend my life saving on just a frame. It also doesn't help that I'm in NA and one of those "heaven forbid what if" bicycle tourists that are slow to accept new technology that is impossible to find in remote locales; and yes, by remote I mean SA, Asia, Africa, etc where I can't simply hitch a ride to the LBS. I'm not saying I dislike new technology I simply dislike the thought of paying tons of cash and then being left stranded somewhere due to lack of parts.
    So thanks to you and all the rest. Enjoy the ride

  8. #8
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    Cheers! Given 'remote' as you've defined, seems to me hands-down 26" (i.e. 'old' mtb standard), v-brake, and (probably) rigid fork (with good, fat tires e.g. Schwalbe Marathon Extreme). For example, set up a Thorn Ripio (with its dedicated fork) that way -- done, and probably within budget.

  9. #9
    Flying Under the Radar X-LinkedRider's Avatar
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    I don't know. I wouldn't tour on a Mountain bike, but the person I toured with did. I see and know plenty of others that do tour on mountain bikes. Personally it is WAY too inefficient for the long haul for me to enjoy the tour. it's almost impossible to cover 50 miles on a MTN bike in a day without stuff. To each is own, but I will point out or reiterate other peoples advantages to them.

    Linear Pull V-Brakes and or Cantilever brakes are the best for touring. (this is also what comes on ANY hybrid now a days)
    Gearing is much better for pulling weight up mountains than road bike. (Also solved by some type of hybrid)
    Parts are usually heavier which equals strength and easy to replace in most cases on the touring road.

    Some negatives
    Front Suspensions? - This will absorb so much of your precious energy over the course of a day/5 days/or 3 months it is not even funny.
    Gearing is better for hills and weight, but worse off overall than any hybrid because you lose the standard higher gearing for covering LOTS of mileages.
    As for finding parts for 700c, as long as it is a bike shop or a place that has a bike section, I have not run into ANY problems. Be smart, plan ahead.. Always carry a spare tube, spoke kit, and pump of sorts. Enjoy the ride!

    My touring ride cost around 500 for the bike and 300-400 for touring stuff. If you go cheaper than that on a bike, you are probably hurting yourself in the long run.
    Last edited by X-LinkedRider; 03-21-10 at 09:20 AM.
    12' SuperiorLite SL Pro w/ Sram Rival | 10' SuperiorLite SL Club w/ Sram Force | 06' Giant FCR (Dropbar) w/ Shimano 5700 | 10' GT Avalanche 3.0 Disc

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-LinkedRider View Post
    Front Suspensions? - This will absorb so much of your precious energy over the course of a day/5 days/or 3 months it is not even funny.
    Maybe true in the past, but there are many models of suspension fork that have a pretty decent lock-out system these days. Or you could always convert a suspension front-end to rigid. Chro-moly rigid forks can be had for around $75.

    As for finding parts for 700c, as long as it is a bike shop or a place that has a bike section, I have not run into ANY problems.
    You haven't toured in east Africa, have you? Just finding a bike shop can be difficult. One with 700c parts? Likely impossible. The last time I was there, which as admittedly 10 years ago, every bike I saw had 26" tires. If I were planning to tour outside of NA and Europe, 26" wheels are the only ones I'd consider...

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