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  1. #1
    Roberto C.
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    Need advice on racks for touring

    Update August 16: Hey all, we bought our bikes! Settled on the Jamis Aurora, which we have loved so far after some fun 50 mile rides. We also bought our camping gear, but we've gotten stuck trying to figure out what to do as far as actually carrying the gear goes. We've been reading about tons of different front and rear racks, but the price range is enormous, and we are trying to determine what is actually necessary and what is luxury. Our very rough idea is to try to distribute the weight evenly between front and back, which seems to necessitate buying an expensive front rack. Then again, we've seen photos of loaded tours where no front panniers were used at all. Any tips on what we might need as racks go, and how we should split the load? Thanks for the help, as always.


    Update:

    Hey all, sorry to bump an old thread, but we've found what we think is a nice deal on the 2009 Jamais Aurora, $700 shipped. We were going to pull the trigger, but we read mixed reviews. Some stellar reviews, some that went as far as to suggest the bike would be unsafe for touring. Any advice? Could you reasonably cross the country on this bike? I see at least one person who responded to this thread seems to think so.

    http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik.../09_aurora.pdf

    Thanks.



    Hi all,

    My brother and I have begun to plan a rather ambitious cross country trip (across the US) that would begin approximately one year from now and are in need of advice. Neither of us has ever done a trip of this magnitude, and we're unsure of what kind of bikes we should ride, what supplies we'll need, etc. Any and all advice would be very much appreciated!

    We're currently shopping for bikes (since ours were stolen out of our garage...), but it's easy to get lost among thousands of bikes there are out there. What are some of the best bicycles for *long* distance touring.

    Thanks a ton,

    Roberto and Davide
    Last edited by Roberto C.; 08-16-10 at 03:25 PM. Reason: Progress, topic change!

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 03-23-10 at 10:54 PM.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  3. #3
    Senior Member TonyS's Avatar
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    Cheap: Any bike you can fit some racks on, Windsor Tourist, build your own Nashbar touring frame if you've got some parts (that's what I'm doing!) About $700.

    Awesome: Surly Long Haul Trucker, Trek 520, Jamis Aurora, Kona Sutra These are all in the neighborhood of $1100.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Extra-Cheap but requires some mechanical skill: Get an old rigid frame mountain bike off of Craigslist, have the wheels professionally trued and tensioned, overhaul the bearings, replace any broken parts, get some racks, good tires, bar ends, and a seat you like. That was my first touring bike. Now I've gone with something from TonyS's "Awesome" category (Raleigh Sojourn) now that I know I enjoy touring and will actually use the bike a lot.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mattbicycle's Avatar
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    One year to travel across the US... I'm curious about what route you're planning on taking. You could virtually travel around the world in that time

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    said he is leaving in one year, not taking one year

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    There are so many variables to consider when equipping for a long tour that it's really impossible for a stranger to safely recommend a bike and gear. Age, experience, strength, size, goals, budget, tour route, weather expected, travel philosophy, etc all come into play. What works well for one may not be suitable for you.

    Example: You could cross the country on a $100 used Schwinn road bike, a $350 hybid, a $600 WindsorTourist, a $1200 LHT, or a $5000 Co-Motion Americano. And that just scratches the surface.

    Do some more research, narrow down your options, then come back with more specific questions. The answers to many can be found by using the Search function here and at crazyguyonabike.

    Putting a tour together is half the fun, so have fun.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Novara Randonees are also a solid bike and $800 until mid-April.

  9. #9
    just pokin' along desertdork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanKHG View Post
    Novara Randonees are also a solid bike and $800 until mid-April.
    I thought only the '09 Randonee (sm & xs) was available at that price, and I didn't notice anything about the end-of-sale date.

  10. #10
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertdork View Post
    I thought only the '09 Randonee (sm & xs) was available at that price, and I didn't notice anything about the end-of-sale date.
    This is for the 2010 model and all sizes should be available. Members get 20% off one item and that includes Norvara bikes.
    Save 15% on your first order at Hammer Nutrition!!

    2010 Giant TCR SL 3
    2010 Novara Randonee

  11. #11
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    You can tour on almost anything, though some non-tourers are worse than others. However, since you have time and money (?) I say get a real tourer. Others have suggested models similar to what I would list. Adventure Cycling just had an interesting thread on their Facebook page here.

    Go to CrazyGuyOnABike.com and check out people's packing lists. For self-supported touring you'll need a tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, etc. I wouldn't venture out on a long tour without raingear. There are hundreds of iterations of "what to carry". Read a bunch of lists, make your own, then go on some short tours and see what you think. Whatever you do, aim for the lightest stuff possible. You'll be glad you did when chugging up a long hill or mountain pass, and you'll lessen the chance of breaking spokes, which can be a real drag.

  12. #12
    Silly Party Member
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    Adventure Cycling Association has a great page of touring how-to articles:
    http://www.adventurecycling.org/features/howto.cfm

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto C. View Post

    We're currently shopping for bikes.
    What are some of the best bicycles for *long* distance touring.
    You might want to check out Bruce Gordon Cycles - we make a full line of Touring Bikes.
    Check them out at - http://brucegordoncycles.blogspot.com/ or www.bgcycles.com
    Regards,
    Bruce Gordon

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Check out yard sales, goodwill stores, and even trash, for bikes with a relatively long wheelbase, and eyelets on the forks. I toured on a road bike before touring bikes became readily available. People have made epic journeys on English three speeds. Ride a lot.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    Just start spending lots of time here and at crazyguyonabike.com. Bruce Gordon might have mentioned his own product, but it's a strong contender -- bikes that will serve you well for years after your tour. While all the gear might seem spendy at first, the cost of actually touring is so low compared to other modes of travel that you shouldn't have to think too hard to justify spending the green up front.

    Start riding, try a few short trips, make lists, and if you're near where there are lots of people touring, talk them up. I had a meeting in San Francisco yesterday, and returned to work in Santa Cruz County via Hwy 1. Beautiful day, low 70s, and lots of tourists out because it's spring break for some schools. There's no right or wrong. Quite a few yesterday had a few things strapped to the top of a rear rack, and everything else in a backpack.

    I wouldn't choose to ride miles with a pack on, and I'm fortunate enough that my resources don't compel me to. But these people were out making their own adventures on a day so beautiful that I can't imagine any will forget the experience soon. Enjoy the planning, the experience and the memories -- like savoring a three course meal.

  16. #16
    Senior Member jjciiijs's Avatar
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    i juat wanted to say THANKS for posting all of the nice photos of all the weard stuff out there.
    Jeff
    Square wheels need not apply

  17. #17
    Dumpster cyclist
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    As for basic equipment lists, you can find tons of those around. Search this forum and you should find at least some. After that, going on even just a 3 day tour can teach you more about touring than reading 100 forum posts about it. A couple short trips will really help you get your kit dialed and get you into the groove of things. It's surprising how similar a 5 day tour and a 5 week tour can be.

  18. #18
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    Roberto and David, the actual bikes and equipment aren't as important as having a flexible attitude and ability to change plans. Once you've dialed in your posture, seat and bar position and there's enough air in the tires it really won't matter what you're riding. If you're young you'll probably have a high tolerance for discomfort and be willing to push it, but the harder you push it the less you'll see.
    I like Cyclebums brackets of bike possibilities.
    I'm guessing that the biggest thing will be finding out if one of you likes to ride 1mph faster or 10miles farther.

  19. #19
    Senior Member crazybikerchick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto C. View Post
    Hi all,

    My brother and I have begun to plan a rather ambitious cross country trip (across the US) for approximately one year from now and are in need of advice. Neither of us has ever done a trip of this magnitude, and we're unsure of what kind of bikes we should ride, what supplies we'll need, etc. Any and all advice would be very much appreciated!
    Are you planning on mostly camping, and going self-supported?

  20. #20
    Roberto C.
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazybikerchick View Post
    Are you planning on mostly camping, and going self-supported?

    That's the plan at this point. I've been checking out the websites mentioned above (which have been very helpful!) and am starting to compile a list of materials. I guess I want to exploit the more experienced riders out there and see if there are any pieces of equipment that are unusual but turned out to be useful.

    Also as far as the budget for bikes go, it'd be around $800 - $1200 per bike. Though I certainly wouldn't complain spending less haha.

  21. #21
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto C. View Post
    Update:

    Hey all, sorry to bump an old thread, but we've found what we think is a nice deal on the 2009 Jamais Aurora, $700 shipped. We were going to pull the trigger, but we read mixed reviews. Some stellar reviews, some that went as far as to suggest the bike would be unsafe for touring. Any advice? Could you reasonably cross the country on this bike? I see at least one person who responded to this thread seems to think so.

    http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik.../09_aurora.pdf

    Thanks.
    I have 8600 miles on my Jamis Aurora. Most of the rides on this bike were 100-130 miles. All with one set of panniers and some with four. I set my bike fit the way I want and use a saddle I like.
    I have Panaracer Pacela tourguards 32mm wide. This is probably the most comfortable bike I have ridden. It rolls good and takes bumps very well. The 32 mm 95 psi tires have a lot to do with that. It is a stiff frame so it will handle well with a heavy load, and it does. Better than just a "typical" road bike with the same load. The seat stays and chain stays are a little stiffer and stronger than a bike not made for touring. I would used this to ride across the country with, over anything I have ridden. I think it's perfect for that.
    As already mentioned lots of miles on the bike, and getting the fit just the way you like is the most important thing.

    This photo is before I put the front pannier racks on.




    Just found this, it shows the front pannier racks.

    Last edited by 2manybikes; 07-25-10 at 07:19 PM. Reason: spelling
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  22. #22
    Roberto C.
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    Thanks 2manybikes!

  23. #23
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto C. View Post
    Thanks 2manybikes!
    I forgot to mention something. It was 12 years ago, my memory is going!!
    The original hard brake shoes and the soft aluminum rims were a bad match, the brakes were terrible and they actually started damaging the wheels. I switched to red Kool Stop pads, and everything was fine. The brakes are now as powerful as they should be. Stronger than caliper brakes, enough to stop the bike when loaded.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  24. #24
    Roberto C.
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    Looking for advice yet again. Thanks to everyone who has helped so far.

  25. #25
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto C. View Post
    Update August 16: Hey all, we bought our bikes! Settled on the Jamis Aurora, which we have loved so far after some fun 50 mile rides. We also bought our camping gear, but we've gotten stuck trying to figure out what to do as far as actually carrying the gear goes. We've been reading about tons of different front and rear racks, but the price range is enormous, and we are trying to determine what is actually necessary and what is luxury. Our very rough idea is to try to distribute the weight evenly between front and back, which seems to necessitate buying an expensive front rack. Then again, we've seen photos of loaded tours where no front panniers were used at all. Any tips on what we might need as racks go, and how we should split the load? Thanks for the help, as always.
    Congrats on your purchase. As far as weight distribution is concerned, it depends on how much you are carrying. For a total load of less than c. 40lbs I'd say you were OK to put everything on the rear rack. Much above that and I'd suggest a 70/30 or 60/40 rear/front split. If you put big weights on the back and nothing on the front the handling gets sketchy. I certainly wouldn't go 50-50 though - too much weight on the front and the bike tends to dive into any hole in the road. A couple of low loaders on the front, rather than a full rack, is my solution - but YMMV depending on how much gear you are hauling.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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