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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 08-28-10, 06:33 PM   #1
reptilezs
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touring bike with the agility and handling of a road bike?

im not in the market but kind of looking for a new touring/commuter bike. i currently have a kona jake CX bike with fenders, and racks. i dont like the high BB and short chainstays due to heel clearance on the rack. looking for a bike with rack/fender mounts, drop bars. 135mm rear frame width would be good too. also looking for disc brake mounts. i would like it to be reasonably lightweight and i really looking for some good handling characteristics, like railing the corners on a descent. the shop i work at has civia bikes bike i have not ridden one and we dont stock many of them.
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Old 08-28-10, 06:45 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by reptilezs View Post
im not in the market but kind of looking for a new touring/commuter bike. i currently have a kona jake CX bike with fenders, and racks. i dont like the high BB and short chainstays due to heel clearance on the rack. looking for a bike with rack/fender mounts, drop bars. 135mm rear frame width would be good too. also looking for disc brake mounts. i would like it to be reasonably lightweight and i really looking for some good handling characteristics, like railing the corners on a descent. the shop i work at has civia bikes bike i have not ridden one and we dont stock many of them.
No disk brakes, but the Rivendell's A Homer Hilsen is a great handling bike.
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Old 08-28-10, 07:00 PM   #3
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I just bought a Specialized Tricross Expert. 20 lbs and 5 oz in the store. It's a mid level Cyclocross bike that many people use as a fast commuter. I plan to use it for cyclocross and for light touring. It has braze ons for the rear rack/bags. They also have less expensive models. The chain stays are 44 cm, or a bit over 17 inches. Not sure what the rear width is, but I could measure it if interested.

A word of note, the 2011 models no longer have the rear braze ons, which is why I bought this 2010 model now.
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Old 08-28-10, 08:47 PM   #4
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Hrm.... Depends on what type of handling you're looking for.

For what little it's worth, I've never really noticed the whole "high BB" thing when switching between my cross and road bikes. I'm a bit skeptical that it really makes that much of a difference.

By the way, Tubus makes several racks that are both further back and lower than standard racks. Topeak also makes one or two that are lower.

Anyway.... Generally speaking, touring bikes are more stable than most cross bikes, which are slightly more stable than racing-style cross bikes, which are slightly more stable than "endurance" road bikes, which are more stable than standard road bikes, which are more stable than aggressive / racing road bikes.

Disc brakes are (afaik) rather rare on road bikes, a little more common on touring, and much more on cross bikes. IIRC the UCI is now allowing cross racers to use discs in competition, so I'd expect a lot more cross bikes with disc brakes in the next year or so.

The only mass production touring bikes I know of with discs are the Jamis Aurora Elite (which is basically a cross bike) and the Salsa Fargo (kind of a mountain-touring bike).


So, I'd start by trying a Tubus rack; if that doesn't work, then start looking into new frames or a new bike.
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Old 08-28-10, 10:54 PM   #5
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put a load on a light bike and it feels like a noodle
and you keep kicking the rear panniers with the heel of your foot.

I loved the handling of my heavy duty framed bike , it weighs 40 pounds before throwing stuff in the panniers .

But it tracks and descends solid as a stone. Bruce Gordon's racks are amongst the best

Look at his new made to his spec, imported frames and made in USA racks as a set,
offers a good build kit too
well thought thru . except no built in Kickstand mount..
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Old 08-28-10, 11:00 PM   #6
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Railing corners is easier on a touring bicycle because it has a slack head-angle and longer wheelbase.

There are a handful of tourers with disc brakes, Kona's Sutra, Raleigh's Sojurn... none of these bicycles are light - any touring bicycle will be on the heavy end.

You look @ this thread yet? http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?368115-drop-bar-discbrake-700c-off-the-peg
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Old 08-29-10, 02:24 AM   #7
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http://www.cotic.co.uk/product/roadrat
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Old 08-29-10, 03:36 AM   #8
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Looks nice.

OP, a lot depends on what sort of touring you want to do. Credit card touring with light loads can be done on virtually anything. You already have a Kona - I wouldn't hesistate to put a rack and panniers, or a decent-sized saddlebag, on their ***** Tonk as long as I wasn't carrying more than about 20lbs. Come to think of it, have you thought about just putting a saddlebag on your cross bike to eliminate the heel strike? but the more weight you want to carry while touring, the less suitable and enjoyable a light, fast-handing road bike is going to be. And heavier tourers handle very well - just slower.

All bikes are a compromise. In order to be excellent at one thing, they have to be less good at another. It's the reason i currently have four. LOL.
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Old 08-29-10, 03:59 AM   #9
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I've got the LHT touring frame and I also don't really notice the lower bottom bracket as being advantageous compared to the mountain frame I used to ride. It doesn't bother me or anything, but it's nothing to write home about.

The biggest thing I notice on the LHT compared to my road frame is how much better the LHT tracks at speed....the road bike is very obviously more twitchy, but really it's the lack of fender/tire clearance that would keep me from touring with it.

Which leads to: Your current bike is probably fine for touring. No eyelets? Use p-clips, they work great. Heel strike? This can be harder, but I've found some racks with longer struts that have cleared up the issue simply by mounting them further from the bike's centerline.

The things you are mentioning are just little things -- a whole new bike might not really be a cure-all, and you might like the Jake better in the end anyway.

HTH
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Old 08-29-10, 04:26 AM   #10
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Check out a Soma Smoothie ES or Gunnar Sport, so called "sport touring" bikes.
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Old 08-29-10, 05:50 AM   #11
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i have used my current bike for fully loaded touring(trans america 4000+ miles) and did not really like its handling with a big load. i did have a rack with extenders to get more heel clearance but the rack could not hold up to the load of touring. the rack was an axiom and the extention/strut bent under load and the rack finally cracked using it as a commuter. a rack without the extender is stiffer and handles heavy loads much better. so this is why i am looking for something more purpose built. i was also not happy with the braking performance of cantis(yes i know how to set them up, they all dont stop to my satisfaction) so it is time for disc brakes and 8 inch rotors. i ride MTBs so disc brake for me is a no brainer. thanks for all the suggestions so far.
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Old 08-29-10, 06:54 AM   #12
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The Tubus racks don't use extenders, so it will be more solid.



I doubt the Kona will handle all that much differently than a dedicated touring bike. It has a pretty long wheelbase (1022mm) and a fairly long chainstay (435), only a few cm shorter than most 700c touring bikes.

My guess is since you bent the extenders, and handling was bad, you had a fair amount of luggage and put all the weight on the back. If that's what you're doing, that's not going to handle well on any bike.

If you want discs you want discs, but I found that Avid Shorty 4's work very well.

I'd say your best options are a) a rack like the Tubus Logo, plus a front rack and bags; or b) get a trailer.
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Old 08-29-10, 03:53 PM   #13
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Be careful what you wish for, because you may get exactly what you want! Design is about compromise. If you opt for agility and speed, you may lose of what is best about a touring bike.

It happened to me. Once upon a time, I ordered a custom touring bike. Because I liked to ride fast, I asked the builder to design it to handle more like a road bike. And that's exactly what he delivered. It was lightweight and fast, to be sure, but it did not take long for me to discover the bike wasn't ideal for loaded touring, which is what I really wanted it for.

A couple of years later, the top tube got a nasty dent, and I took the bike to the builder for repairs. Since he was breaking welds anyway, I asked him to relax the geometry overall.

The rebuilt bike feels nothing like the original. The difference is like a sports car and station wagon. But now, it is close to perfect for touring: it's comfortable, handles securely, and actually, the reincarnated bike retains much of the peppiness and fun of its predecessor.

Last edited by acantor; 08-29-10 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 08-29-10, 05:18 PM   #14
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the only reason i am looking for some good handling is that i took a good spill while railing a corner on my trans america tour. i was probably going too fast for the conditions anyways. happened on a switch back while descending the blue ridge parkway. i want the bike to stay with my while i push it to the limit to save my butt. yes i know i am getting compromise but definitely not looking for a bike that steers like a bus. the bike will just end up being my commuter/utility bike 90% of the time.
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Old 08-29-10, 08:40 PM   #15
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I think the OP is looking for what is called a "road bike".

ANY concession in frame geometry to make a bike more like a touring bike is going to be a step away from a crit bike.

On a related note -

The best way to get a touring bike to handle most like a road bike, however is to load it light, low and with the load centered on the axis of the wheels...... this load placement works in concert with the gyroscopic forces of the wheels to give you the most steerable yet stable bike.

Try that Civia! Great reviews on stability and handling on the Civia Bryant in the most recent Bicycle Times.

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Old 08-31-10, 10:47 PM   #16
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rando bike w/ light-load?
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Old 09-02-10, 09:56 PM   #17
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I've always thought your typical road bike was too light weight and frail to handle a heavy load. It seemed to me that a high quality mountain bike, designed to take the impacts and abuses of downhill off-road riding would be more capable of carrying a rider and a pile of panniers and camping gear. The mountain bike frame, wheels, tires - all of it. Am I missing something?
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Old 09-02-10, 10:53 PM   #18
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You said you were descending a corner too fast, thats a skill problem, hard to design for high-siding a corner .
particularly without fat sticky tires that a motorcycle corners on.

Maybe a Moulton spaceframe bike is what you need its a known fact that suspension keeps the wheels in contact with the ground better and lower the unsprung weight the better ..
Their racks are extensions of the frame. above suspended 17" wheels
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Old 09-03-10, 06:43 AM   #19
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too many contradictions here. Commuter for 80% of riding and you like to carry big loads so you can throw the bike around while going through corners too fast. How big is a big load? I wonder how you balanced the load on your CX bike and whether you had any weight up front, as it appears you had too much on the rear with a bent extender. A bike with weight on the front isn't going to move quickly like a road bike but at least it'll handle better when the sh*t hits the gravel. Any bike overloaded on the rear will handle crappy but some can handle it better than others, but they aren't going to feel like road bikes. My $.02 is see if you can repack your existing bike to see what's wrong, is it a matter of too much weight too far aft and can you configure front low rider?

There's no way around physics, if you're driving an overloaded vehicle you can't fly around turns or make quick lane changes, doesn't work in a car, truck or bicycle. If you've put together a vehicle that can handle big loads AND handle reasonably nimble it will be a tank when unloaded.

All that said I've got a 26" wheeled 56cm LHT that handles incredibly well with big loads and big tires and although it feels a lot more secure and balanced going around corners on 1.75" tires than the 700c version I had. I can't beat the physics, a heavy load is going to want to take a ballistic trajectory if the tires can't stay on the road.

My $.02 is re-think the size of your load , redistribute it for your existing bike and ride down hills like you're on a heavy machine and not a light one, which is in fact what you got when you have big loads regardless of the bike. If you want the best heavy load carrier for fast riding it's not going to be a road/commuter bike.

Last edited by LeeG; 09-03-10 at 02:01 PM.
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