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  1. #1
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    Giant Escape 2 for bike camping/ light touring?

    IMG_1709 [1280x768].jpg

    This is a shot of my new bike http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/....2/7374/44055/ purchased about 6 weeks ago. I have the Avenir Suburban Panniers-just under 1400 ci-for commuting 15 miles RT; they work just fine so far with minor and easily fixed heel strike. I have a Topeak Explorer rack with Planet Bike fenders. I added a cheap dingy bell and a mirror. I put the stuff I need to keep dry in a plastic bag for low budget water proofing. The frame is aluminum and the wheels have 32 spokes. The tires are 700 by 32. Rear hub is 11 by 32 8 speed, front is 28/38/48(per Giant web site).

    I took a 77 mile ride on the 4th of July with lunch and day ride supplies in a Topeak MTX bag. I loaded the Panniers with about 10 lbs. of lightweight camping gear, bike tools, lock and cable, and 3 liters of water. The route was quite flat, I had a great day and it took me about 8.5 hours. The bike seemed to handle really well all day. The stock saddle was surprisingly comfortable.

    I come from a lightweight hiker background so 12-15 lb. base weight for camping gear is no problem. I have a 20 liter waterproof dry bag that I can strap on top of the rack to supplement the panniers. I plan on carrying my DSLR in a waterproof day/photo pack. Do I need to get a front rack/panniers?

    For the tool kit I have a multi-tool which fits everything except the kick-stand and pedals, spoke wrench, small adjustable wrench, pump, and tube repair kit. I need to get a spare tube or two.

    Do I need to get a chain tool and spare links? What about spare spokes? Is there a warning sign when a spoke is about to break or does it just go? In general terms will this bike work for overnight bike camping? It seems to have passed every test so far. Is there anything I have missed or am oblivious to? OBTW I ride in the Portland, OR area. Thanks for the input.
    Last edited by GeneWheelz; 07-16-11 at 11:01 PM. Reason: clarifacation

  2. #2
    djb
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    as you say, you and your bike have done perfectly fine with what you did on july 4th (77 miles or 124 km is nothing to sneeze at so you must be in great shape). The hiker bkgd is a big advantage as you will be much more aware of packing compared to folks who havent done outdoor stuff, specifically when you carry the stuff you bring under your own power.

    chain tool? in theory yes, but not necessary. What you will want is spare tube/s and a set of three tire irons (plastic ones come nestled into each other in a small holder) and the know-how to properly change a tube and fix a flat.

    spokes--again, no real use having them if you dont know how to replace them (I dont really)--but to put things in perspective, if you keep the weight reasonable in your panniers (20lbs or so as a rough number off the top of my head) and your wheels have been checked out by a good mechanic at a bike store, then you will most likely not ever have a spoke break. If a wheel / spokes is in good shape, proper spoke tension, then the chances of problems are greatly reduced. Your weight, total weight on rear wheel, how the wheel quality and condition is, will all play a part (not to mention how your ride, do you bash over potholes, never getting weight off the rear when hitting holes, etc etc)

    really the most important factor is to try to get a competent wheel person to go over your wheels, especially after you've ridden it for a while. The store you bought it at should give it a once over to adjust for the normal new bike cable stretching that happens anyway, and if they are competent mechanics, and you say that you will be loading it for overnight stuff, they should get the wheels to be as good as they can be.

    I personally have never broken a spoke when touring, but I have had a wheel go out of true, its no big deal, next bike store will true it and charge a minimal amount.

    If you find you really get into touring, wanting to put more weight on your bike, at some point perhaps you could look into getting a 36 spoke rear wheel that will be stronger if you have problems with the stock wheels. If however all is fine as is, hey, just use it and have fun.

  3. #3
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I would consider adding a handlebar bag to your setup to keep the things you need to get to quickly in. FWIW I carry a Park MTB-3 Rescue tool for emergency on the road repairs. If I can't fix it with that I probably broke something major. I have never broken a chain. If you keep your bike in good repair and replace any heavily worn components prior to leaving on an extended tour you should be good to go. Another thing it try out your tool and technique BEFORE you need them. Go ahead and swap out and inner tube at home and make sure your tire irons work for you.

    Aaron
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  4. #4
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    I have two free check-ups that come with the bike so I can tell them about the light touring usage I have planned. The shop where I got the bike has been excellent about endless questions and overall customer service. I looked hard at bike bags trying to figure out if I wanted to carry my DSLR in one. I almost went with an Ortlieb bag before deciding to get a Lowepro backpack that I can multi-task as my day pack on hikes. It is an obnoxious orange for visibility and has a separate compartment for a 2 liter bladder. Maybe something that could hold maps and a few items would get a little weight off the back wheel. I swapped out tires on my Wal-Mart MTB so I'm good with changing tubes. Maybe some instruction on chain repair at the LBS would be in order. Thanks for the input.

  5. #5
    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneWheelz View Post
    Maybe some instruction on chain repair at the LBS would be in order. Thanks for the input.
    re: learning to use a chain-breaker (damaging links and having to remove a few is a fairly unlikely occurence) is a good thing to know, but bascially, welcome to the ongoing world of learning how to fix stuff on your bike.
    Really though, with a chain, what is much more important is to use rags to keep your driveline clean of accumulated gunk--chain, front chain-rings, rear cassette, front and rear derailleurs, and the chain lubricated properly and excess stuff wiped off. Keeping all these parts reasonably clean and chain properly lubed is the key to long parts life, better shifting and NOT having any issues with your chain.

    all the best with your bike camping and learning about bike mechanics.

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