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Old 06-27-10, 07:20 AM   #1
bwhite829
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specialized sirrus for touring and commuting?

Hey all, I got a sirrus about 1 month ago that I've started using for my 15 mile round trip commute to and from work. I am considering doing some modifications to it to try to make it suitable for touring if possible. I won't be able to afford to do the modifications for about 4-5 months, so I'll be spending that time to do research. Right now, my basic theoretical knowledge is about 4 hours of research on this site and from google, with my mechanical knowledge includes fixing 1 pinch flat, learning about presta valves and using one for the first time, and taking off quick release tires, and fixing a jammed chain on my last bike a couple years ago. Please keep in mind that I am a complete newb so no flaming please With that, here are my first questions:

1) Do any of you have the same bike for touring and commuting? Would this be suitable for a light touring bike w/ little modification, but I should get a bike for dedicated loaded, self supported tours and stealth camping?

2) Is the aluminum frame of the sirrus suitable for touring?

3) I'm confused about components. I've done a little research so I now understand the basic types of shifters, being bar end, brifters, and downtube, and the main companies are shimano, sram, and campy. What I am confused about is the ease of repairs and maintenance and availability of parts. I would assume that brifters, specifically STI shifters, would be the most common parts since they are what I see the most of. I keep reading that bar end and downtube parts are more available, and easier to maintain anyway. Right now I've got trigger shifters and don't know how they compare to either. Does anybody use campy or sram opposed to shimano and recommend either one? I've had mid-low end shimano components on any bike I remember, but have not had alot of time and experience because I never spent alot of time in the saddle. I've probably almost doubled my total distance on a bike in the past month.

4) Handlebars....nuff said. LOL. I have flat bars, and have recently discovered butterfly/trekking bars. What do you guys prefer for touring? Flat bars, Drob bars, or trekking bars? Why do you prefer that? I think I'd like some butterfly bars for longer distance touring, but anything's gotta be better than the flat bars I have now.

5) Gearing? I'm still kind of confused. What do the numbers mean? My understanding is the smaller numbers are lower gears, and visa versa, but what do they actually stand for?

I think that just about does it right now. If I have any more questions I'll post it up.
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Old 06-27-10, 08:10 AM   #2
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Yes. You can do light touring on a hybrid type commuter. The Sirrus frame and stock componnets should be fine loads of a few days or a long weekend. The stock gearing is fine and IMO there is nothing wrong with the flat bars. You might want to add some bar ends for another hand position. Get some decent panniers and a rack or two and you'd be set to get your feet wet with bike packing/touring.
I wouldn't want to plan a cross county trip on the Sirrus, but there are examples of folks who have done it on less of a bike. Start with a night or two and see how it goes.

Last edited by surlydave; 06-27-10 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 06-27-10, 02:12 PM   #3
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Yes. You can do light touring on a hybrid type commuter. The Sirrus frame and stock componnets should be fine loads of a few days or a long weekend. The stock gearing is fine and IMO there is nothing wrong with the flat bars. You might want to add some bar ends for another hand position. Get some decent panniers and a rack or two and you'd be set to get your feet wet with bike packing/touring.
I wouldn't want to plan a cross county trip on the Sirrus, but there are examples of folks who have done it on less of a bike. Start with a night or two and see how it goes.
All excellent advice, especially "Start with a night or two and see how it goes." No need to invest a in a dedicated touring bike or make a lot of changes to the Sirrus before you've tested the waters. You'll learn an awful lot about your bike's suitability and about personal preferences from a few days of touring.

1)If you like the Sirrus as a commuter, no reason for you not to still like it when outfitted with racks. Or, just take off the racks when you're not touring if you don't like the look.

2)Steel has a bit more flex which acts as a shock absorber, making the ride a little smoother. So they say.

3)Mid range Shimano components are the best value and are widely available. If you've got a spare $1000, might look into a Rohloff hub. I personally find simple bar end friction shifters preferable to any other type for touring.

4)Drops for aerodynamic positioning. Treking bars for most comfortable positioning and convenient placement of bar end or twist shifters. I use bull horns with friction shifters at the tip, but am considering switching to a treking bar.

5)You can't go wrong with mtb gearing for loaded touring. That's like a 44/32/22 chain ring combo up front, and something an 11-32/34 cassette in the back. You'll occasionally run out of high gear with a tailwind and if speeding down a hill, but less likely to have to get off and push up steep grades. Of course, if you live where it's pretty flat, and don't plan on touring in mountainous areas, you'll be ok with a higher chain ring combo, like that of the Sirrus.

In the chain ring combo, the gear with the fewest teeth is low gear. In the cassette, the gear with the most teeth is the lowest. Thus, granny gear(max low) would be 22/34 in the example which should let you climb a long, 9% grade if you're in good condition. Or a short 14% grade. As to what all that "stands for," has to do with gear inches. How far the bike will move with one revolution of the pedal. Practically speaking, you want access to a gear combination that will let you spin the crank at about 80 rpm both on flats and when climbing. Light pedal pressure is less tiring.
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Old 06-27-10, 06:14 PM   #4
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All excellent advice, especially "Start with a night or two and see how it goes." No need to invest a in a dedicated touring bike or make a lot of changes to the Sirrus before you've tested the waters. You'll learn an awful lot about your bike's suitability and about personal preferences from a few days of touring.

1)If you like the Sirrus as a commuter, no reason for you not to still like it when outfitted with racks. Or, just take off the racks when you're not touring if you don't like the look.

2)Steel has a bit more flex which acts as a shock absorber, making the ride a little smoother. So they say.

3)Mid range Shimano components are the best value and are widely available. If you've got a spare $1000, might look into a Rohloff hub. I personally find simple bar end friction shifters preferable to any other type for touring.

4)Drops for aerodynamic positioning. Treking bars for most comfortable positioning and convenient placement of bar end or twist shifters. I use bull horns with friction shifters at the tip, but am considering switching to a treking bar.

5)You can't go wrong with mtb gearing for loaded touring. That's like a 44/32/22 chain ring combo up front, and something an 11-32/34 cassette in the back. You'll occasionally run out of high gear with a tailwind and if speeding down a hill, but less likely to have to get off and push up steep grades. Of course, if you live where it's pretty flat, and don't plan on touring in mountainous areas, you'll be ok with a higher chain ring combo, like that of the Sirrus.

In the chain ring combo, the gear with the fewest teeth is low gear. In the cassette, the gear with the most teeth is the lowest. Thus, granny gear(max low) would be 22/34 in the example which should let you climb a long, 9% grade if you're in good condition. Or a short 14% grade. As to what all that "stands for," has to do with gear inches. How far the bike will move with one revolution of the pedal. Practically speaking, you want access to a gear combination that will let you spin the crank at about 80 rpm both on flats and when climbing. Light pedal pressure is less tiring.
thanks for the input. what is friction shifting? i've not been able to find anything that explains it on my google searches. also, it kind of makes more sense now that you relate it to how much the bike will move per revolution. i was able to get a comparison between cycle gears and gear ratios of fishing reels(ie, lower ratio/gear = more power but slower, suitable for brining in a large grouper thats holding tight to the bottom but not for say a king mackeral that can burn 300 yds of line in 1 run; higher ratio/gear = faster line retrieve for said king, but not powerful enough to bring in that grouper).

also 1 question on shifting...when i shift on a hill, the chain seems to kind of grind for a little bit before getting set and catching in the cassette, and the other day, it didn't catch at all and i was pedaling for about 15 seconds and the chain came off the cassette and wasn't doing anything till it finally corrected itself. this is most likely a problem with how i am shifting, but what is the problem?
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Old 06-27-10, 07:00 PM   #5
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Friction shifters:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_e-f.html#friction

http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/shifters.html

Friction shifting involves moving a lever that adjust cable tension to the derailleur, which in turn positions the chain on the gears. Indexing take the guess work out of how far to move the lever. It's the simplest, most reliable shifting system.

I switched from brifters(STI) to indexed friction shifters about a year ago. Mine had the option of using them as pure friction shifters. I found I liked that best, and have no problem at all positioning the derailleur for the gear I want. I think most people do prefer indexing. Indexed bar end shifters are common on touring bikes. Standard on the LHT.

As for your problem with changing gears when climbing, it may be that you are shifting without backing off the pedal pressure. This puts a lot of stress on the drive train. Try selecting the gear combo you'll need before starting a climb. Quit pedaling for a second, shift, then gently reapply pressure to initiate the change. Same when climbing.

You now know as much as I know about shifters and drive trains. Maybe someone else will offer more/better advice.
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Old 06-27-10, 08:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bwhite829 View Post
Hey all, I got a sirrus about 1 month ago that I've started using for my 15 mile round trip commute to and from work. I am considering doing some modifications to it to try to make it suitable for touring if possible. I won't be able to afford to do the modifications for about 4-5 months, so I'll be spending that time to do research. Right now, my basic theoretical knowledge is about 4 hours of research on this site and from google, with my mechanical knowledge includes fixing 1 pinch flat, learning about presta valves and using one for the first time, and taking off quick release tires, and fixing a jammed chain on my last bike a couple years ago. Please keep in mind that I am a complete newb so no flaming please With that, here are my first questions:

1) Do any of you have the same bike for touring and commuting? Would this be suitable for a light touring bike w/ little modification, but I should get a bike for dedicated loaded, self supported tours and stealth camping?

2) Is the aluminum frame of the sirrus suitable for touring?

3) I'm confused about components. I've done a little research so I now understand the basic types of shifters, being bar end, brifters, and downtube, and the main companies are shimano, sram, and campy. What I am confused about is the ease of repairs and maintenance and availability of parts. I would assume that brifters, specifically STI shifters, would be the most common parts since they are what I see the most of. I keep reading that bar end and downtube parts are more available, and easier to maintain anyway. Right now I've got trigger shifters and don't know how they compare to either. Does anybody use campy or sram opposed to shimano and recommend either one? I've had mid-low end shimano components on any bike I remember, but have not had alot of time and experience because I never spent alot of time in the saddle. I've probably almost doubled my total distance on a bike in the past month.

4) Handlebars....nuff said. LOL. I have flat bars, and have recently discovered butterfly/trekking bars. What do you guys prefer for touring? Flat bars, Drob bars, or trekking bars? Why do you prefer that? I think I'd like some butterfly bars for longer distance touring, but anything's gotta be better than the flat bars I have now.

5) Gearing? I'm still kind of confused. What do the numbers mean? My understanding is the smaller numbers are lower gears, and visa versa, but what do they actually stand for?

I think that just about does it right now. If I have any more questions I'll post it up.
I have an '07 Sirrus and I think it would make a natural sport tourer with a drop bar conversion. The geometry its a little tight for really large rear panniers that a long tour would require, but like others have said some have toured on lesser bikes..
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Old 06-28-10, 06:49 AM   #7
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I got a Sirrus the first year they were produced in the flat bar model and used it as my primary means of transportation for several years. I used it for commuting and running most of my errands. I often used large panniers and pulled a trailer with it. It carried some pretty significant loads. I did not use it for touring because I had other bikes better suited for that purpose. I like multiple hand positions which the flat bar of the Sirrus does not offer, even with bar ends.

In my view, the Sirrus would make a pretty good tourer in some circumstances, such as on weekends riding along paved roads.

The only criticism I have of my Sirrus was that I popped more spokes on the rear wheel than any bike I've ever had. I eventually had the wheel rebuilt by a good bike shop and didn't have that problem any more.
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