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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 06-16-10, 11:01 AM   #1
RaiderInBlue47
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Big Guy touring on a road bike, too much weight?

Hi, I ride a 1993 Ross Professional Gran Tour 10 Speed. It's a Cro-Moly frame so it's very sturdy, but I'm worried that if I were to put panniers on to it, I'd be stressing the bike too much. I'm 6'2'' and 230 lbs and the bike fits well to my size so perhaps I'm just too worried.

It wouldn't be too much. My friend and I were wanting to ride east to west across Tennessee in 3 weeks doing 50 miles a day and zig-zagging to the major cities. We'll be hitting a big city every 5 days roughly so we won't be packing too heavy. ~3 biking outfits, a casual outfit, some bike repair stuff, camping equipment (I'm thinking separate hammocks instead of 1 tent) and some miscellaneous stuff. Trust me, I'll be traveling as light as possible because the first third of the state is the Smoky Mountains.

Perhaps if I put some wider tires on the bike would be better suited for my trek?
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Old 06-16-10, 11:08 AM   #2
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I'm not familiar with that model of bike, but the frame is almost never an issue with weight.

If you have strong wheels and a good rack, you should be fine. Wider tires (if they'll fit) will cushion the ride for your comfort, and to take some of the shock off of the rims.

Enjoy the trip!
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Old 06-16-10, 12:00 PM   #3
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+1 on the frame not being an issue.

On the weight - if you aren't a bike mechanic then take the bike to a shop with a good mechanic. Have them look over the bike including the wheels. On the wheels they are looking for issues with the spokes and wheel cracking. Doing this will save a lot of aggrevation on the road.

You also have some options when dealing with weight. First, going to 36 spoke wheels. A new 36 spoke wheel set should be bullet proof.

Another option is to get some weight off the bike. A trailer will do this. Many roadies use trailers to tour with. Not a good option with a carbon fiber frame, but any steel frame can handle one. A trailer gets most of the packed gear weight off the bike. There is still some weight at the hitch attachment point. How much depends on the type of trailer you get. The two most common are the single wheeled B.O.B. and the dual wheeld Burley Nomad. both can be had for about $350. Probably about as much as you'd spend for a decent quality wheelset.

Sounds like a fun trip, have a good time, and remember, it's not about making miles.
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Old 06-16-10, 12:04 PM   #4
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6'2" and 230 is not that big. And anyway you'll weight less after a few days

+1 on not worrying about the frame, but check that the wheels are good and solid
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Old 06-16-10, 12:10 PM   #5
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Yep, I see wheel integrity as the only serious issue here, and the wheels you've got will likely be just fine if pulling a trailer. I'd go with a trailer. Just practice control on the down hill runs.
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Old 06-16-10, 12:58 PM   #6
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If you want to go the 36x wheels route, I just bought some wonderful handbuilt wheels from Rocky Mountain Cyclery on eBay. French rims, can't remember the hubs, DT spokes. Roll great, look great, seem very strong. RMC wheels enjoy a GREAT reputation from all I could find on the web. Best of all? I paid $76 plus 15 s&h to Atlanta from Colorado. I pay more for tires on my race bikes. That was auction price, not a standard price, but even so they're very reasonable.

Actually, I just hit their website and found this page with all their current auctions on 700c wheelsets:

http://www.rockymountaincyclery.com/...00Touring.html

Last edited by NoGaBiker; 06-16-10 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 06-16-10, 01:22 PM   #7
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From the frame builder perspective you are way over spec on that bike. From the bigger than you guy who did much what you are talking about, never had a problem. It was back when wheels were 36 spokes on racing bikes though.

Check out Peter White's site if you want some scary talk about who should ride what wheels. Same thing with the frames.

I would be more concerned about my comfort...
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Old 06-17-10, 01:09 AM   #8
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+1 to making sure you've got strong 36-spoke hand-tensioned wheels with as wide of tires as possible. If you're getting a new rack and panniers, and you've got big feet, research "heel strike".
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Old 06-17-10, 01:25 PM   #9
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I agree with NoGaBiker--I have bought a couple sets (different bikes) from RMC, and love them. They also have had 40 spoke wheels listed at times, and when asked, stated that they could narrow the hub (originally set at 140mm for tandem use) to 135mm. You would have to ask if 130mm is a possibility.

This becomes moot if you decide on a trailer, but for rack/pannier use, I doubt that you could be more safe than on 40 spokers. 36 with 3-cross are pretty tough too. You should do a cost/benefit comparison for each option and decide what will work for YOU!
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Old 06-17-10, 02:20 PM   #10
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I have toured a few years on an italian road bike in the 80s and 90s no problems. My last couple of tours I rode a 90's steel Masi road bike without problems. I weigh 230 lbs. The only time that I would think that the frame may be a problem is if it is made of one of the SL columbus materials that is not recommended for persons weighing over 200 lbs. or a vitus aluminum bike which is also rated for sub 200 lb bodies.

if you don't feel comfortable loading up your frame, you could use a trailer.
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Old 06-17-10, 11:00 PM   #11
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Hmm, haven't thought about getting a trailer. That'd be a lot less worrying for me, because I'd have plenty of space and I'm worried about heel strike because I have a size 15 foot. That Burley Nomad looked pretty nice to me. The BOBs looked more convenient, but small though. Could I fit all of my gear into a BOB?
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Old 06-18-10, 02:03 AM   #12
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If you pack light you could likely fit all your gear into a BOB. There's no way anyone can else can know the size of the gear you plan on packing in order to answer that question with any specificity though... You should probably check out some pictures of touring setups on a BOB.
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Old 06-18-10, 08:42 AM   #13
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Bicycle Wheel Warehouse stocks Mavic A319 rim and 105 hub wheelset for less than $200...cheap long-term investment for a guy on tour. Check the condition of the drive train, headset, bottom bracket, and brakes.

I would also go with 28c tire or larger if there is sufficient frame/brake clearances. The sweet spot is 32 or 35c.
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Old 06-18-10, 09:05 AM   #14
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I'm not familiar with the Profesional designation on the Gran Tour but some quick googling brought up a description of carbon steel and cromo tubing. I'd review the health of the rear wheel and consider a low rider front rack to get the weight off the rear wheel. Possibly getting a new rear wheel. Front wheels are inherently stronger and moving 10-15lbs off the rear wheel can go a long way to reducing stress on the rear wheel. People have toured on bikes like yours.
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Old 06-18-10, 09:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaiderInBlue47 View Post
Hmm, haven't thought about getting a trailer.
It's not a bad idea. When I was thinking about using my road bike to ride from SF to LA, I strapped all of my gear to the bike... and found that I really didn't like the way it handled with the additional weight placed in the areas my luggage (Lone Peak bar bag, Carradice seat bag) allowed. I didn't want to tow a trailer, so I ended up building a cheap touring bike based on the Nashbar frame. If you are willing to consider a trailer, it neatly solves a number of problems, though.
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Old 06-18-10, 10:05 AM   #16
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It's not a bad idea. When I was thinking about using my road bike to ride from SF to LA, I strapped all of my gear to the bike... and found that I really didn't like the way it handled with the additional weight placed in the areas my luggage (Lone Peak bar bag, Carradice seat bag) allowed. I didn't want to tow a trailer, so I ended up building a cheap touring bike based on the Nashbar frame. If you are willing to consider a trailer, it neatly solves a number of problems, though.
Only thing I would caution you about: I have a BOB trailer and while it disappears behind my touring bikes, I did hook it up to a racing bike and even with only 20 pounds on back it was VERY noticeable and seemed to be pushing the bike around. It was kinda scary. Don't get that at all with my touring and commuter bikes, which have longer wheelbases and are heavier. Well, I've gotten that feeling with the LHT, but only with over sixty pounds of groceries on it. So try out a loaded trailer on the bike you are going to use before deciding on it.
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