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  1. #1
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    Would like to hear about loaded bike weight from lightweight riders

    Hi all,
    Leaving in a week for my first big tour. Loaded with water (not food) puts my bike at 80 lbs. Problem is i'm about 137 soaking wet. I'd like to hear from someone who weighs about the same. Is my situation sustainable for 75 days averaging 400 miles a week? Will be doing a modified northern tier east to west.

    I'm fit but obviously not much muscle. Cardio is good. 51 yr old male. Have been riding 2-3 times a week for last 30 days with bike about 70 lbs.

    I can drop 5-7 lbs from the bike if i have to but i'd really rather not.

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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    What gearing does the bike have?

    Have fun....Ride slow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    What gearing does the bike have?

    Have fun....Ride slow.
    48-38-28 in front. 34-12. Only time i've used the small chainring is when i miss a shift. But then, i am in Oklahoma!

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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Be best if the 28T chain ring was changed out to a 22T or 24T.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  5. #5
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    Rule of thumb is that your rig must / should be less than half your body weight. If this is true, you may have no choice but to shed some gear and/or endure an ultra light gear philosophy - and/or stay in Oklahoma!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    Rule of thumb is that your rig must / should be less than half your body weight. If this is true, you may have no choice but to shed some gear and/or endure an ultra light gear philosophy - and/or stay in Oklahoma!
    I've heard and read this many times. That's why i want to hear from someone who walks in my shoes.

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    Senior Member boomhauer's Avatar
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    If you are riding only in the summer, and at low elevation you might not even need a sleeping bag. I ditched the sleeping bag and only used a bed sheet from july-august from kansas city to boston. It was a noticable weight difference. My bike and gear was about 60 lbs. Also, if you don't go too far west there is water everywhere. You could almost travel with only one bottle because stores and people are closer together. It's easy to get water. Big weight saved.

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    djb
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    Reed-I am about the same age as you and about the same weight, so similiar body type probably. When I last toured fully loaded I would have had about a bike of 30lbs or a bit over, and about 40lbs of stuff. I unfortunately dont have the exact weight but I suspect 40 is pretty close.
    The time I had more than that it was a struggle, so by getting it down made all the diff for me.
    From the "overloaded experience" I learned to be very wary of excess stuff, and now that I am older, I could save some weight with a lighter tent (mine back then was about 7 lbs, figure I could easily save 3lbs on a reasonable priced lighter but good quality one) and perhaps some other stuff--but not a lot as I was pretty minimalist really due to wanting to keep weight down.

    All I can say is that taking some weight off MAY make as much of a nice diff for you as it did I, but I guess the only way to know is to do it. Also, the big factor is how much climbing you are going to be doing, steep hills are the kicker for less weight, and that I really learned.

    as per the suggestion for the gearing, at first I didnt agree, but thinking to what it would be like for me, I think the suggestion to at least a 24 granny would be very much appreciated by your legs and knees.

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    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Oklahoma....great state for touring.

    Anyway, I'm in the smaller chainring camp, lower gearing. My bike, gear, and 2 L. water for summer touring comes in at about 75 lbs. That includes raingear and one set of warmer clothes, just in case. Couple days rations would add about 5 lbs.

    A 46/34/24 chainring set up might be the difference between walking and riding. You'll rarely run out of high gear unless you like to charge down hills or get a strong tailwind.
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    I'm a big fan of ligthweight. I would say for summer touring you should aim for less than 30 lb of gear/water/food/cloths in addition to your bicycle

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    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
    If you are riding only in the summer, and at low elevation you might not even need a sleeping bag. I ditched the sleeping bag and only used a bed sheet from july-august from kansas city to boston. It was a noticable weight difference. My bike and gear was about 60 lbs. Also, if you don't go too far west there is water everywhere. You could almost travel with only one bottle because stores and people are closer together. It's easy to get water. Big weight saved.
    sleeping bag is one thing (I would personally always want a light summer one myself) but one water bottle?? Thats a big no-no for me, not having enough water when it is hot makes me feel pretty crappy pretty quickly, I would be very wary of going the one water bottle route, as would most of us I suspect.

  12. #12
    BeaverTerror Yan's Avatar
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    Prior to my four month Shanghai - Singapore tour last year, I weighed 147lb. I lost 9 pounds during the tour and weighed 138 at the end. I'm a 23 year old male. At 6' I was definitely skinny as hell. I was in average cardiovascular shape prior to the tour. I never weighed my bike, but I can describe my setup to you:

    Surly Cross Check, fendered, front and rear racks. Four panniers plus Carradice saddlebag and tent on rear rack. Fully self supporting equipment: multifuel stove, cookware, two man tent, -12C (10F) sleeping bag, air mattress, water filter, two spare tires, plus miscellaneous standard touring items, cloths, tools, Lonely Planet, etc. Needless to say the whole thing weighed a ton. Almost certainly more than half my bodyweight.

    I had 48-38-24 chainrings and a 11-34 cassette. I spent a month and a half slogging through the Himalayan foothills in southern China and Laos. I was fine.

    My advice is to drop the inner chainring to a 24. I used my lowest gear all the time in the hills, and never had to walk.
    Yan

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    Holy cow. I shudder to think what that rig must have weighed. Gives me reason to be encouraged. (I'll just ignore the age difference :-) Sounds like i should seriously consider dropping in a 24.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yan View Post
    Prior to my four month Shanghai - Singapore tour last year, I weighed 147lb. I lost 9 pounds during the tour and weighed 138 at the end. I'm a 23 year old male. At 6' I was definitely skinny as hell. I was in average cardiovascular shape prior to the tour. I never weighed my bike, but I can describe my setup to you:

    Surly Cross Check, fendered, front and rear racks. Four panniers plus Carradice saddlebag and tent on rear rack. Fully self supporting equipment: multifuel stove, cookware, two man tent, -12C (10F) sleeping bag, air mattress, water filter, two spare tires, plus miscellaneous standard touring items, cloths, tools, Lonely Planet, etc. Needless to say the whole thing weighed a ton. Almost certainly more than half my bodyweight.

    I had 48-38-24 chainrings and a 11-34 cassette. I spent a month and a half slogging through the Himalayan foothills in southern China and Laos. I was fine.

    My advice is to drop the inner chainring to a 24. I used my lowest gear all the time in the hills, and never had to walk.

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    djb
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    Screen shot 2011-05-25 at 10.24.39 PM.png
    Quote Originally Posted by reed523 View Post
    (I'll just ignore the age difference :-) Sounds like i should seriously consider dropping in a 24.
    like the ignore age difference comment....chuckle.

    as for the 24 tooth granny, its a cheap change and even if you dont use your low-low that often, its always nice for it to be there.
    Here is a chart of perhaps what your gearing would be with the 24 (I dont know if this is the cassette you have) but it can show the "gear inches" number of a 24 granny with the 34 tooth rear cassette largest gear.
    To give you an idea, my "overloaded" scenario" was with about 25 gear inches, not low enough.
    I changed my granny to a 24 so it became about 22 or a bit lower.
    If you change your granny to a 24 it will be 19 gear inches, which will be a great gear for stupidly steep stuff and/or when you are feeling bagged, hungry, fed up, you name it. Always better/easier than pushing I say.

  15. #15
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    TC british bars.jpgAre you sure you really want to know? Weight of my lightweight loaded bicycle and gear, lock, tools, but no water, no food - 43 pounds.



    goldengatetravelerscheck.jpg I think this one is a pound or two lighter from difference in the front end, but i never weighed this specific setup. I would be riding a different bike for cross country, my load without water is something like less than 65 pounds, even hauling winter gear for winter camping.
    snowbike.jpg


    I've hauled much more gear and its easy for trad bike/gear loads to get to 80 pounds.

    Heck, my heavy touring bike, a Surly Long Haul Trucker, dressed with rack, fenders, etc, but without ANY gear except flat and repair kit and U lock weighs 40 something pounds!

    I think we need to see a gear list, to perhaps help the OP figure out where to trim the load somewhat. it shouldn't be too bad handling the bike, have you gotten a Click-stand or a kickstand that works with your loaded bike, to deploy while stopped? I can't think you're going to want to be laying that over on its side all the time.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 05-25-11 at 09:41 PM.
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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reed523 View Post
    Hi all,
    Leaving in a week for my first big tour. Loaded with water (not food) puts my bike at 80 lbs. Problem is i'm about 137 soaking wet. I'd like to hear from someone who weighs about the same. Is my situation sustainable for 75 days averaging 400 miles a week? Will be doing a modified northern tier east to west.

    I'm fit but obviously not much muscle. Cardio is good. 51 yr old male. Have been riding 2-3 times a week for last 30 days with bike about 70 lbs.

    I can drop 5-7 lbs from the bike if i have to but i'd really rather not.
    My (lighter) Trans America companions found gear weight to be very critical. For that matter at over 200 pounds I did too. This was the case so much so that distributing of community gear was often a contentious issue. They even argued over what size sunscreen or what ever to buy and the person carrying it always wanted the small size while the other wanted the large economy size. They were your weight or a bit less and carried much less than you propose. Multiple times we all went over our gear and sent stuff home. I am not sure what difference it makes, but they were female.

    One of them found that there was a point at which a small difference in weight made a big difference in how they felt. It was a threshold of sorts above which performance suffered and aches and pains abounded. For her that was at something like 60-65 pounds of gear and bike, but not counting water.

    I find keeping the weight carried down is one of the biggest factors affecting how pleasant my ride is. Everyone is different though.

    BTW: I am a somewhat of a stickler about weight carried even when solo, but I find it becomes especially critical if riding with others who push your pace. When alone it is a bit easier to just slow down a bit.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    I can't friggin believe these threads. I know I should just shake my head and chuckle, but...jeez.

    Alberto Contador is right around your size. Pretty sure he wouldn't need to drop 5 pounds off the load.

    My nephew is about your size. He wouldn't make it half a mile.

    It's all what YOU are comfortable with.
    Last edited by Thulsadoom; 05-26-11 at 06:21 AM.

  18. #18
    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
    I can't friggin believe these threads. I know I should just shake my head and chuckle, but...jeez.
    Alberto Contador is right around your size. Pretty sure he wouldn't need to drop 5 pounds off the load.
    dont fret Mr Islands, its just an internet forum, with people trying to give friendly advice to someone asking an honest question who hasnt experienced a heavy tour bike yet.
    As for Contador, guess you are right, as he is about my weight, we must be the same level of rider--you know tho it did confuse me as I huffed my touring bike up Le Tourmalet, Aspen etc cuz I could never match the average speed of Le Tour guys and boy did I feel inadequate.

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    Hey Reed -

    I weigh 112. My loaded bike (bike + bags) has weighed up to 85 pounds, usually around 75. WAY more than 1/2 my weight! On my first tour on my tour bike (prior, used a mountain bike) I had a 26x32 low gear and it was not low enough for New Zealand. I swapped the cassette to a 34 and it was ok for cross the US, on pretty much the same route you are using (except I went through PA which is steep). I averaged 360/week with a start on 8/1 (shorter day light towards the end).

    When I replaced the bike I put a MTB crank and a 34 on it, so low gear is 22x34, and that is my preference. I've rarely spun out the high gear (mtb gears, 22-32-44), by that speed with the load on the bike I'm happy to just coast, I don't want to set up any shimmy by pedaling.

    Last year I rode with 3 guys, two of whom I was way faster than on an unloaded bike and I was way slower than on the loaded bike. I think this was pretty clear evidence that the smaller you are, the more you are affected by your bike weight.

    I would recommend that you take the bike to your LBS and put the smallest chainring that will fit on your crank. You may need to replace the middle ring as well to make the shifting work better - but I'm not a mechanic, so get some professional help. It might be the case that a MTB crank is the solution. I also think that you will still make it with your current setup, and finally, you can always change stuff along the way if it's not working.

    I would also pare the weight down as much as you can, but don't worry about it too much. Go ahead and take what you need, try to leave home stuff you only "might" need. You can always buys stuff on the way or ship stuff home.

    You will be fine.

    This is what a 112 pound girl on an 80 pound bike looks like, between Cody and Cooke City in WY (on your route, I may have shared this picture with you).
    ...

  20. #20
    ghost on a machine Bike Hermit's Avatar
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    I am 57 years old and weigh about 150. All of my gear for two weeks weighs about 37 pounds. This for conditions ranging from rain to 25 degrees F. at night. Plus food for a couple days at a time and cooking. I wouldn't know what to put in two big rear panniers and two front panniers plus a handlebar bag. The same amount of gear would get me across the US with a little planning. I refuse to weigh my bike so I don't know what the total weight is. And I have a low gear of about 26 gear inches- only had to walk one time in the last three tours!
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  21. #21
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    I think this was pretty clear evidence that the smaller you are, the more you are affected by your bike weight.
    This is my experience as well (5 ft. 3 in., 105 lb. guy) when carrying heavy loads on my bikes, and the distribution of that weight affects the handling of the bike more than for most people since we're a smaller percentage of the total load. I haven't toured yet, but my steed of choice will be one of my two full rigid MTBs which are set up with 18 GI lowest gear.

    My dream touring bike would be a custom job built with a light steel frame, set up for a maximum rider + gear load of 170 lbs.
    Last edited by rnorris; 05-26-11 at 12:55 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reed523 View Post
    I can drop 5-7 lbs from the bike if i have to but i'd really rather not.
    You might feel differently after you've slogged up a few hills. Then again, you might not. Only you can make that decision.
    In my experience, it's much easier to decide what you really need AFTER you've slogged up some hills. Once I sent 24 pounds of stuff home that, before the tour began, I was convinced I couldn't live without.

  23. #23
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    My daughter is about your weight; when we rode together I think her bike+load was about 60-65 pounds. It took about half the country for her to whip her dad into shape to ride 400 miles in a week. Of course, I was carrying more weight (in both senses).

    I suspect you'll find things that you didn't need to take after a few days to a week on the road. Keep an eye out for post offices, and mail home what you don't need then. If it's for future use two months up the road, ask someone to mail it back to you then.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    I'm curious about the load you're carrying. Where are you going and what are you taking? There may be a few places to save on weight without compromising overall comfort.
    Life is good.

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    Thanks for the feedback 10 wheels, djb, Cyclebum, Yan, and valygirl. I weighed some stuff tonight and here's my plan. I'm sticking to my current setup. I've got a couple items that i can easily give away or send home if needed. I appreciate the comments on the gearing change but it's really too late in the game for me to do that. However, i'll do a little more research and may consider it before we get out West. I wouldn't want to give up any top end so i need to see what my options are. Valygirl (i think?) promised me a 50 mph downhill somewhere along the route and i want to be able to launch properly

    If it gets really ugly, i can always tear up, pull the "poor old guy" card and get the girls to haul the heavy stuff!

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