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Old 03-21-10, 12:21 AM   #1
Marko Polo
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Road Bike Touring - Rear Rack Question?

Heya! Stoked to take my first tour this Spring. Riding the Natchez Trace Parkway (Nashville -> Natchez) then on to New Orleans for the jazz fest.

Here is my question:

I have a Lemond Tourmalet, about three years old. It is a road bike. Can this bike handle a 500+ mile tour w/ rear rack? Will a rack be harmful to the bike?

Someone at the bike shop recommended the Old Man Mountain Sherpa because it has it's own skewer to attach to the back of the bike causing less chance for harm to the frame. Is this truth, or does he want me to buy the most expensive rack?

Any knowledgeable help on the subject is appreciated. If you have any recommendations for a rack which will protect the bike, please pass them on.

Thanks and jam on.

Marko
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Old 03-21-10, 01:35 AM   #2
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have you thought about a cheap trailer. Also tubus has adapters for mounting on the skewer.
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Old 03-21-10, 10:30 AM   #3
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I thought about touring with my road bike... After loading some gear on it and feeling how dramatically the handling changed (not for the better), I built a cheap touring bike using a Nashbar touring frame and components from my parts bin. The Tubus Fly is a nice, light-weight rack for a road bike. There's a mounting kit that integrates the lower rack mounts with your quick-release skewer. The upper mount uses the same mounting hole as your brake caliper, so you don't have to worry about damaging your frame with P-clamps.

Keep in mind that most road bikes have short chainstays, at least compared to touring bikes, so you may run into heel clearance issues if you try to carry huge panniers... or have large feet.
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Old 03-21-10, 11:14 AM   #4
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From what I've been able to gather, your bike has carbon seatstays and no eyelets for a rack. It also has minimal spokes on the wheels. The Old Man Mountain racks mount on an elongated skewer, which would seem to put the weight of your load on your wheel more than your rear triangle. That makes sense to me. They're expensive but I've heard good things about them.

I've heard comments from people who worry about carbon taking the stress of a loaded rack (or the torque of a twisting Bob trailer when maneuvering in a parking lot/campsite.) I don't know much about this, but if a bike can handle a 250 lb. person, and you're under that when you combine your weight and your load, I guess you'd be okay with a loaded rear rack.

However, I've had personal experience with breaking spokes on my rear wheel on tour. It's a real drag. If I were you I'd at least invest in a touring rear wheel before embarking on your trip. I'd go to a good mechanic, tell him you want a touring wheel that will not suffer from broken spokes, and let him build you one. I'd suggest 36 spokes in a standard 3 cross pattern. Ive never broken a front spoke in my life, but if I were going to carry a load in front I'd want a strong wheel there as well. Personally, I much prefer loading up both the front and back, as opposed to the back only.
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Old 03-22-10, 10:49 AM   #5
lighthorse
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Marko,
I am not familiar with your bike. If it has eyelets for the mounting of a rear rack you should have no problem at all. My LeMond Bueno Aries worked just fine for the Southern Tier (300mi.) with the stock Bontrager Select wheels and 700/25 tires. My LeMond has provisions for mounting a rear rack. Good luck on your ride.
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Old 03-22-10, 01:04 PM   #6
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Marko, sure it can work but none of us can tell how big you are or how much you plan to carry. 500miles is no big deal. But if you're 200lbs and wanting to carry the kitchen sink on 24spoke rear wheels there are some necessary changes worth considering. The guy at the bike shop was there and provided a worthwhile recomendation. It's not like you have a cheap bike and he's recomending an "expensive" rack(it isn't) he's recomending a rack for someone with a road bike.

My $.02 would be to first determine how little gear you can carry instead of fixing up a road bike to carry as much as possible through a rack and panniers. See if you can get the rear load down to 15lbs on the rack without panniers. 2.5lbs of panniers is a handlful of gear, with a compression sack worth of stuff under the handlebars.
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