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  1. #1
    Lurking Under a Rock
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    Converting Randonneur to touring bike

    The wife is leaving me over the 4th of July and I have 4.5 days off of work during that time. So, I thought I may want to dip my toe into the touring world. I would like to remain married, so a proper touring bike isn't in the cards. I figure I can convert my rando rig into a touring bike that will get me down the road loaded. My rig:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post12534901

    I already have front and rear panniers (ortlieb roller classics, scored at the best buy fire sale earlier this year), a berthoud front bag, carradice pendle w/ bagman and ortlieb handlebar bag. I have a good selection of panniers and bags to choose from depending on how I want to roll (CC vs tent along side of road).

    Questions:

    *I'm thinking of a tubus tara and cargo racks for ~$200. Any other racks I should look at?
    *I will have to get rid of my grand bois cypres tires. I weight 220 lbs plus another 30-40lbs of junk (I hope to be less than 30 lbs, but my rando gear is a little less than 20 lbs). My bike can fit 35mm tires with fenders and I can go up to 38mm if I loose the fenders. I was thinking of pasela TG 35mm. Is that wide enough? Any other cheap tire I should consider?
    *I'm worried about handling of my bike with a front load. It handles fine with my berthoud bag. bike has 42mm of trail, is this a concern? I guess the only way to know for sure is to try it...
    *Where to go? trying to stay within driving distance of Houston. will definitely drive north to cooler climates, but I am thinking of the ozarks....or hopefully i can find a cheap airplane ticket somewhere more interesting...

    so it seems for <$300 (racks + new tires), I can convert my rando rig to a passable touring rig?

    thanks for the help! any other considerations/tips/help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Rando bikes are nearly identical to light touring bikes anyway.

    You don't need $200 racks. Topeak is pretty good and affordable, and the front rack you've got should be fine. A few days of clothes and camping gear ought to fit a typical rear rack plus that front rack with a stuff sack. Try a few different weight arrangements to see what you like.

    Don't use cheap tires.

  3. #3
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Why not do a credit card tour? Your rando rig will be fine with no modifications at all. Pack a set of lightweight clothes and a few toiletries and head out the door.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  4. #4
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vik View Post
    Why not do a credit card tour? Your rando rig will be fine with no modifications at all. Pack a set of lightweight clothes and a few toiletries and head out the door.
    +1 or practice lightweight backpacking techniques...

    Aaron
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  5. #5
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Credit card touring is addictive.

    A warm dry bed, good food, hot tubs.

    The first place we're staying at this year keeps
    a few goodies as a welcome, and they are amazing cooks.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  6. #6
    the bike made me do it oneredstar's Avatar
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    Your bike will be fine. Your chainstays do not look as long as a dedicated touring bike, so you may have issues with heal clip. Make sure you get a rear rack that is set back a little further. Go with the widest tires you can get on there as well. I have both a rando and a touring bike and hardly ever ride the rando because mine will only take 32mm tires.

    Enjoy the trip!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Looks and sounds like the easiest conversion possible. A rear rack and maybe a tire change and you're good to go. A $25 rack will most likely do whatever a $200 rack will do. If you have 28mm or larger tires on already I don't see why you'd want to change them, unless they are worn out.

  8. #8
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Keep the fenders. You should be fine on 32 or 35 mm tires. Also consider the Vittoria Randonneur Hypers. Tubus racks are the best. Worth the investment if you plan to do more loaded touring later, but probably not if that is doubtful. You might be able to get by with the front rack you already have by using your Berthoud bag and loading heavier items in it. Load it up with your Carradice loaded in the back and see how it handles.

  9. #9
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    4 1/2 days in a moderate climate doesn't require front panniers, just the rear + a bar bag. You have a mini front rack that can take a tent or sleeping bag.

    With a lighter load you can use your current tyres, they will be fine on the road. I use 32mm with a full, long-term camping load on rough tracks and trails.

    Travelling light is a virtuous circle, less load=lighter bike = faster=less stuff required.

  10. #10
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    Couple suggestions:
    - Try your bike loaded with gear on a long ride in town a week or two before the trip so any handling problems or rack issues become evident before you start your trip.
    - Use blue locktite on all rack bolts.
    - If you have weird handling, try shifting your front pannier positions to get your center of gravity as close to the front hub as practical.

  11. #11
    Lurking Under a Rock
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    the chainstays are 44cm (17.3 inches). just 2 cm off from the highly coveted LHT. I'm not too worried about heel strike, but the only way to know is to try it out. I plan to plop the $$ down for a tubus cargo, which I will also move over to my commuting bike once I get that steed up and going (plus i hope to make a habit of touring with the wife, she just can't ride right now). The cargo rack should allow for some optimization of the pannier placement on the bike?

    the jury is still out on the grand bois tires for randonneuring. they roll nice, but something different is definitely in order for a tour where I am less concerned about time and rolling resistance. I don't have issue with the width, just the flat protection of the current tire. and I have 1300 miles or so on the tire, and the tread on the rear is already worn off. I mis-used the word cheap in the OP, but I meant a great value tire. I will check out the vittoria rando hypers.

    i want to avoid CC touring if at all possible. I want to be outside and in nature. so, a rear rack and new tires and I am set. if i'm tight on space, I can replace the berthoud bag with the ortlieb handlebar bag and get a little extra rack space on my current front low rider rack.

    thanks for the tips!!

  12. #12
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    A trailer would also solve your problems but that would be a bit more money.

    I now have a couple of these racks and they are very well made.

    http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/,...Bike-Rack.html

    Basically an aluminum Tubus. A little heavier than the real thing but sold and it comes with the Tubus mounting hardware. Do a search for a promo code and get another 20 percent off. If you are committed to a Tubus, you should consider the Logos which would almost guarantee no heels strike problems.

    I weigh about what you do and toured on 28s one time, although I wouldn't recommend it. You would be more than fine with 32's and the Paselas would be a great choice but so would the Vittorias.

    Have a good trip and post a picture once you get your bike set up.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronocnikral View Post
    *I'm worried about handling of my bike with a front load. It handles fine with my berthoud bag. bike has 42mm of trail, is this a concern? I guess the only way to know for sure is to try it...
    The issue with a front load is if it is up high. There should be no problem with a low-rider type positioning (this should make things more stable).

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    ronocnikral, A funny thing about tires... The bike I bought to build into a tourer had new 35 mm Forte (Panaracer) tires installed, hardly anyone's first choice of tire and I almost automatically tossed them into the recycle bin. I've been pleasantly surprised with them at a little over 300 miles so far, including abit of trail riding lousy with tree roots. Might be a good choice if you want to move them over to your commuter later.

    If you're going to loaded tour in the future an investment in a Tubus or an Old Man Mountain carrier is a great idea.

    Brad

    PS I forgot that Bruce Gordon makes a fine carrier system also.
    Last edited by bradtx; 05-24-11 at 10:37 AM. Reason: PS

  15. #15
    Lurking Under a Rock
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    things are falling in place for my ride. i bought a plane ticket to denver over 4th of july weekend. I'll have 4 days and 3 nights out by myself. going to try and just camp on the road and get back to it. my route is probably overly aggressive, but i would say I am in fair shape. I just finished a 1200k with some moderate headwinds last month and am trying to stay fit for PBP. either way, if I fall behind I can always send up a flare for my sister to come get me. I can also take a few shortcuts here and there. I don't really plan to stop and do hikes, just a few supply re-stocking and meal stops. i spent 4 laborious years of college based out of golden, so I have seen my fair share of the mountains and done some hikes. any comments on my route are welcome.

    went with the racktime tourit rack. $40 shipped. and my new panniers, which ran probably $50 for the pair. plan to do 40 miles or so this weekend loaded down to see the balance and what fits...




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