Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

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.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 06-21-10, 10:41 AM   #1
do-well
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 311
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Road Bike Use and Total Weight

There's another thread going concerning the use of a (lightly-ish) loaded road bike for a tour. Judging from searches I have down into the forum archives, there seems to be mixed feelings on the topic. My question is this - how much does total weight impact one's choice to feel the need for a touring bike, versus the use of a modified road bike (p-clamps, etc.)?

Being that many modern road bikes have carbon front forks, it would seem that a four-pannier setup is out. Having never road-bike toured but being that I am seriously considering doing so, it would seem that the use of a road bike for touring would come down to a few issues - comfort, handling, heel strike, total weight.

There's total weight (of everything being carried by the bike) and rider weight. As rider weight factors into total weight, am I wrong to think that a light-enough load and an on-the-light-side rider would be "fine" doing a tour on a road bike? Sure, some modifications might need to be made, such as increased spoke count/wider tires, but ... I'm beginning to question some of what I read to be apprehension of the usability of a road bike for loaded touring. [Surely, the question here is one of "how loaded"?]

I guess part of my questioning is in the details. I've had one buddy do two lengthy, medium-load tours on a Specialized road bike and another do a week in Europe on a medium-loaded Trek, so it has to be not only possible but do-able for certain people. Right? Both of these guys are probably 150-160 in weight and were carrying prob 25-35 pounds including racks. So less than 200 pounds on aluminum frame with 32-spoke tires and front carbon fork.

Being that I weigh 160, and low 150s in good riding shape, I just don't feel that adverse to the idea of going on a major tour on my Lemond Etape. I'd be sure to pack light (but not ultralight), check for heel strike (that would be a deal breaker, obviously), and make sure I'm aware of handling changes.

Seems there are more than 2 camps (not just do it/don't do it) on this issue, but I'm approaching it from at least five important points - I pack light, I am light-ish, I like road bike geometry, I like going fast, and I think that markets are often created to create need, not to respond to a need.

To contextualize, I'm talking about touring on paved roads where 700C tubes are available...
do-well is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-10, 11:05 AM   #2
foamy
Senior Member
 
foamy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: The Land of Pleasant Living
Bikes: Trek 630 Jamis Quest Bilenky Tourlite and various others
Posts: 771
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I ran across a few folks on road bikes (on the TA) with just rear racks, bar bag and light loads. They seemed to be doing just fine. Moved along at a right good clip, I might add. 28mm wide tires would be fine, posh in fact. Just keep the weight down or better yet—spread it around. A frame bag comes to mind.
foamy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-10, 12:11 PM   #3
adamrice
mosquito rancher
 
adamrice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Austin TX USA
Bikes: Bob Jackson 853 Arrowhead w/ Chorus (road); Swobo Del Norte (street), Catrike Speed (recumbent trike)
Posts: 343
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It depends on the road bike. My own road bike would be inappropriate for touring: there would be no way to mount even moderately fat tires on it and the chainstays are short enough that I'd have major heelstrike with panniers. Other bikes may have squirrelly handling that's fine for crits but would just be fatiguing on a tour. Etc.

But a bike that's more of an all-rounder—a "sport tourer" as we used to call them before the bike market fragmented into a thousand specialized varieties—should be fine, and for a lightly-loaded rider might be preferable to a bike built for fully loaded touring.
adamrice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-10, 02:05 PM   #4
PurpleK
Velocipedic Practitioner
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: North Carolina
Bikes: Specialized Sirrus, Bianchi Volpe, Trek 5000, Santana Arriva tandem, Pashley Sovereign, among others
Posts: 488
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You can pull a wagon with a race horse. You can race with a clydesdale. They can both do the job, but neither will do it as well as the other bred specifically for that job.
Same with bikes. I could ride my road bike cross country if I wanted to, but it wouldn't be nearly as comfortable nor dependable as my tourer. It has no room for the fenders I want when having to ride after a heavy rain, no attachments for racks, and geared too high for going up mountain passes. My tourer, on the other hand, would handle these tasks with ease, but would be lousy in a sprint finish.

This is far from creating a market. It's called good design for the task at hand.
PurpleK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-10, 02:30 PM   #5
NoGaBiker
But wait... I AM the man.
 
NoGaBiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: No Ga.
Bikes: Merlin Extralight DA, 1982 Peugeot CFX-10 Campy NR, 7 Cruisers kept at beach, Raleigh Passage 4.0 hybrid, Marin Commuter with racks and bags
Posts: 641
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If you're credit card touring you could check out the Topeak MTX rack with DXP trunk/panniers. I used for a week in France last fall with no problems, other than really changing the handling of my rental Lynskey. I also used a Detours handlebar bag, which worked fine with the Dura Ace 7800 cables.

But if you want to travel light and fast this is not a bad way to do it. I took a few tools, a few tubes and C02 cartridges, jeans, couple of tees, underwear, big Michelin map in the map holder, snacks, books, journal, camera, wallet, rain jacket (never needed -- YEA!!!), spare jersey. About 18 pounds counting the rack and DXP. Because it ride so high heelstrike is not a concern. And when you get to your hotel the whole thing slides off the rack with a quick release and carries inside easily with a sturdy handle. Great system.
NoGaBiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-10, 02:37 PM   #6
NoGaBiker
But wait... I AM the man.
 
NoGaBiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: No Ga.
Bikes: Merlin Extralight DA, 1982 Peugeot CFX-10 Campy NR, 7 Cruisers kept at beach, Raleigh Passage 4.0 hybrid, Marin Commuter with racks and bags
Posts: 641
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleK View Post
... My tourer, on the other hand, would handle these tasks with ease, but would be lousy in a sprint finish.

This is far from creating a market. It's called good design for the task at hand.
Excellent points. I agree that for me a long wheelbase upright touring bike makes for more comfortable long days in the saddle than my race bikes. Funny thing is, I just built my first one so I haven't done a loaded tour yet. But man, I loves me some long-wheelbase-bump-soaking-up-load-carrying LHT!
NoGaBiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-10, 02:45 PM   #7
Bacciagalupe
Professional Fuss-Budget
 
Bacciagalupe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 6,438
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Maybe it's just me, but it seems like every week or so someone drifts into this forum with the plan of doing a tour on a road bike.

IMO it depends a lot on the type of tour. For 1-2 weeks on smooth pavement, especially for relatively short daily distances, you could probably use just about any bike and still do fine.

For longer tours, or tours on rougher surfaces, the design choices of a true road bike -- narrow tires, less upright position, shorter WB, higher gearing, fewer luggage options, stiffer frame, etc -- will make the bike less comfortable as you add on the days.

Fortunately many of these can be mitigated without too much effort. Change the stem, use a trailer, use wide tires and get a Brooks saddle and you're most of the way there. Swapping out the gearing may be more complicated, but can be done.

Or, you could get a more general / versatile bike, like a cross bike, and use it for everything with minimal adjustments. It won't necessarily excel at one specific task, but cross bikes are more than sufficient to do extensive tours, given the right setup.
Bacciagalupe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-10, 09:19 AM   #8
BigBlueToe
Senior Member
 
BigBlueToe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Coast, CA
Bikes: Surly LHT, Specialized Rockhopper, Nashbar Touring (old), Specialized Stumpjumper (older), Nishiki Tourer (model unknown)
Posts: 3,393
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have a Specialized Allez with an aluminum frame and carbon fork. It has rack mounts so I put my old Blackburn Expedition rack on it. I like to have a rack trunk with basic tools, tube, and room for a sandwich, book, a lock, windbreaker, etc. I weigh 200 lbs. I have "regular" wheels with 32 spokes, 3 cross.

I have no qualms about the weight of myself plus maybe 15 lbs. of stuff I normally carry - the lock, book, and tools are heavy, and my sandwiches aren't light.

If you weighed 150 lbs. you'd have to carry 65 lbs. of stuff to get to my normal riding load. That's a lot of stuff!

My frame is an XXL. Does that affect the equation? I don't know - smarter people will have to weigh in on that one.

If you have a road bike with eyelets for a rear rack and you don't weigh too much, and you're willing to pack light, you should be fine. If you have more exotic wheels I have no comment. I've never owned any.
BigBlueToe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-10, 09:51 AM   #9
do-well
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 311
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
BBT: Thanks for the response. Your "weight math" speaks to what I am thinking about. If your "normal" ride bike - aluminum frame, carbon fork, regular wheels - can handle 215lbs, I'm thinking mine can handle me (at 150/160) and less than 30 lbs of stuff. And yes, no exotic wheels here. All my riding is for pleasure, so I ride on wheels that stay-true and can take a beating. No advantage there with using exotic wheels.

My earlier comment about creating markets was out of line. I'm just, given my age, weight, and fitness, considering the possibility of using a relaxed-geometry road bike to do some touring. I've looked at the numbers - my road bike is one of the more "relaxed" geometries available. Not a crit bike at all. What it is missing is the bigger rear triangle that provides longer chainstays and longer wheelbase. I'm only seriously concerned there about heelstrike.

NoGaBiker: I've read many of your posts concerning your impressions of your road bike(s) v. your new touring bike. Given my limited budget, I think I'm partially guarding against realizing how nice a touring bike can be. A touring bike definitely provides sure advantages, but I'm going to keep considering the idea of a road bike.

To me, the big disadvantage of a touring bike is that it welcomes loading it up with, what for me, would be needless crap. I purposefully live in a small apartment to guard against the need to buy extra crap to fill extra rooms. I guess I worry about the same thing with a touring bike. The minute I get the touring bike, I get the front panniers, and then I take the extra stuff I don't need. I'd rather think about the road bike with some combination of handlebar bag, rack trunk, rear panniers, saddlebag that allows for light (but not ultralight) packing on the road bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
I have a Specialized Allez with an aluminum frame and carbon fork. It has rack mounts so I put my old Blackburn Expedition rack on it. I like to have a rack trunk with basic tools, tube, and room for a sandwich, book, a lock, windbreaker, etc. I weigh 200 lbs. I have "regular" wheels with 32 spokes, 3 cross.

I have no qualms about the weight of myself plus maybe 15 lbs. of stuff I normally carry - the lock, book, and tools are heavy, and my sandwiches aren't light.

If you weighed 150 lbs. you'd have to carry 65 lbs. of stuff to get to my normal riding load. That's a lot of stuff!

My frame is an XXL. Does that affect the equation? I don't know - smarter people will have to weigh in on that one.

If you have a road bike with eyelets for a rear rack and you don't weigh too much, and you're willing to pack light, you should be fine. If you have more exotic wheels I have no comment. I've never owned any.
do-well is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-10, 10:26 AM   #10
mercator
In the wind
 
mercator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Calgary AB
Bikes: Giant TCR Advanced Team, Lemond Buenos Aires, Giant TCX, Miyata 1000LT
Posts: 940
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Last year I did a credit card tour in the Rocky Mountains. Since my touring bike was in need of a rebuild, I took my Lemond road bike (steel frame and fork). I used a rack trunk and handlebar bag. It wasn't too bad but I found the steering was pretty wobbly if I had more than a couple of pounds in the handlebar bag, especially when climbing out of the saddle.

Now that I have my Miyata 1000 set up to my liking I'll be using it for my tour this year, it is much more stable albeit a bit slower.
mercator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-10, 12:18 PM   #11
Bryan0520
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Bikes: Motobecane Grand Record, Motobecane Phantom Cross
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I just completed my first week long tour on my road bike and think it handled great. I'm a heavier guy...230lbs, ride a Motobecane Grand Record, aluminum frame with carbon fork. I did upgrade the wheels with Vuelta Corsa HD wheelset with is technically a cyclo-cross wheelset, but they work great on road bikes too, 36 spokes, very bomb proof for heavier riders. I mated those with 28mm Conti Gatorskins which are excellent for ANY road conditions you encounter. They aren't as nice for gravel roads as a nice thick knobby 40mm tire would be, but they still got the job done without a single flat the entire trip.

I carried just about 32 lbs of total weight, 2 rear panniers with tent, sleeping bag and mat on the back rack along with a small backpack that had just under 10lbs in it. For the heel strike issue, I got the Axiom Streamliner Road rack which connects via the QR skewer and is offset about 2 inches behind the axle, my heels never struck my bags. And I have bigger feet, 12.5

The only "issue" I noticed with handling was that I would occasionally stand up on my pedals to stretch and I could feel the bike "wobble" under me, but this would stop the minute I sat back down. That was it......other then the occasional forgetting how back-heavy my bike was, and almost dumping it over when I would get off it it!!

It would be nice to have the option of putting front panniers on it as well, as the backpack got tiresome on our 5th day. But I'm sure I could have packed lighter as well. It was filled with mostly clothes so if I was up to doing laundry, I could have brought less.
Bryan0520 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-10, 01:39 PM   #12
LeeG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 4,704
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by do-well View Post
Seems there are more than 2 camps (not just do it/don't do it) on this issue, but I'm approaching it from at least five important points - I pack light, I am light-ish, I like road bike geometry, I like going fast, and I think that markets are often created to create need, not to respond to a need.

To contextualize, I'm talking about touring on paved roads where 700C tubes are available...
If you like going fast don't get panniers, it'll only encourage carrying lots of weight and present a bit extra wind resistance. You are the weight I was when I did most of my ultralight multiple week touring in Ca in my 20's. I didn't carry a tent or cooking gear. Big Army surplus poncho was my tent, groundcloth, but it didn't rain. The other problem with panniers on a road bike is that it'll encourage putting panniers too far aft. Why not break down your gear into three or four compression sacks, one for the handlebars and two or three on the rack in whatever configuration works best.
LeeG is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:24 AM.