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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 12-07-11, 05:53 AM   #1
jutowa123
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First, the bike.

I have wanted to do a bike tour for something like 10 years now. as I approach my 30's I feel like its now or much later. The first thing I want to do is get my bike figured out. I'm googled out. I'm forum-ed out. heres some questions

to buy or build

I have some bikes in my possession any of which could be built up to tour based on the "you can tour on any bike" opinion that I keep coming across. I've read stories of people on "walmart bikes" touring, I met a guy riding around the world on a mountain bike with a trailer, so I know there is some merit to the "any" bike stance.

heres what I got

specialized hard rock sport
felt gridloc frame (internal rear hub is what I could do on this bike)
an old euroba steel lugged 27" wheel road bike
and a single speed "track" bike that was purchased from walmart.com (steel frame btw)

the hard rock sport is probably my most comfortable ride. it fits me perfectly. I never get tired or sore riding this bike. recently the rear wheel was stolen, so I got an excuse to upgrade the wheel set. from 32 spoke to 36, from v brake to disc (maybe)

the gridloc is just a frame and a seat post………

the euroba is a steel lugged frame so I know its solid. it has a down tube shifters and I like the idea of using friction shifters for touring. with it having 27" wheels I could go to 700c and have plenty of room for fenders.

the "track" bike is my daily commuter and has given me no problems its the steel frame that makes me think it could do a tour.

so I could build up any of these or just buy a new bike. I don't really need any more bikes. I have more (tandems, and a cargo bike) but none that could tour.

the tour I'm planning is a national parks tour (america) so I will be on a variety of surfaces. paved road, fire roads, dirt roads, and who knows what else. this will be self supported so I need to carry all that I need with me as much as possible. also I'm a big guy 250lbs 6'1". I know I will need some awesome wheels to hold me + stuff. budget isn't a huge deal, not that I'm rich but I'm ok spending money on quality things. I know that a build up can come close to a new bike in cost but I have never built up a bike before. I can service all of the bikes I own so I'm not worried about my mechanic skill.

I'm tired of steel vs. aluminum. v-brake vs linear pull vs disc. 26" vs 700c. there seems to be pros and cons to all this and I have options in my own stable.

just looking for thoughts…….opinions……….discussion
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Old 12-07-11, 07:37 AM   #2
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The mixed surfaces you want to tour on, plus the fact that you already have a mountain bike you find comfortable, makes me say you should just use that. Make a few changes to tweak it, add a trailer, and you're good! (or rack and panniers...I'm just not sure if that bike has all the proper attachments)
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Old 12-07-11, 07:50 AM   #3
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Fit and comfort are First in a touring bike. Go with the Sport and a trailer.
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Old 12-07-11, 08:05 AM   #4
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Trailers suck, just buy a Trek 520 or Surly LHT and be done with it.
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Old 12-07-11, 08:32 AM   #5
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jutowa123, While you could use an IG hub and perhaps a multi chainring crankset on the Felt, from your fleet the mountain bike is a far better choice. If you don't have them, a set of bar ends can really help by providing an alternate hand position. I'm no help with trailers.

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Old 12-07-11, 08:36 AM   #6
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Trailers suck, just buy a Trek 520 or Surly LHT and be done with it.
Make it quick and easy ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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Old 12-07-11, 11:41 AM   #7
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you don't need a new bike! some of the guys here are whacked out consumers.
i'm turning an old steel mtn bike into a touring bike with a surly troll fork, racks, wide slicks, and that's pretty much it.
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Old 12-07-11, 11:47 AM   #8
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The hardrock sport is an excellent choice for a touring ride. Put on some good tires.
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Old 12-07-11, 11:49 AM   #9
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valygirl, that made me chuckle (but then I dont get schlepping trailers either)

I have an older Spec Rock Hopper that handles rear loads perfectly well, is more sturdy and stable than my old touring bike.
My take on your question--you have a bike that you completely comfortable on, it would only take a new rear wheel, some racks and you are set.
Considering you want to explore dirt roads and such, the mtn bike being able to take wider tires is a plus as well.
I'd use this bike and take the money not spent on setting up another bike and spend that on panniers, tent, or whatever else you need. Reasonable to good quality camping stuff will serve you for ages. If you have this stuff already, spend it on a trip.

for flat bars, I highly recommend any type of "ergo" grips (there are all kinds of them now, simply has more area to distribute your hand weight) plus barends for changing hand positions.

have fun deciding, but to me it seems you already have the bike to do what you describe you want to do.
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Old 12-07-11, 11:52 AM   #10
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Yes, use the Sport. It's comfortable, it already has good gearing for touring, some slicks will help with rolling resistance and some bar ends will help with hand position for the long haul. It's not really which bike, but more about getting over the mostly mental hump of just getting out there and doing it. There's a guy that's crossed the country multiple times on a Walmart bike. On your second or third tour, maybe you'll covet a different bike- but you'll know the reasons why and can therefore make a better decision.
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Old 12-07-11, 12:12 PM   #11
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. There's a guy that's crossed the country multiple times on a Walmart bike. .
I know a guy who did a 1500 mile tour on a Walmart bike. He wore out several chains, had to replace the rear wheel twice, had his crankset come loose over and over, needed to adjust his derailleurs all the time, etc. etc. He claims it was more expensive in the end than if he'd just bought a half decent quality bike beforehand.
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Old 12-07-11, 12:29 PM   #12
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Trailers are practical at home too.

Trekking bars on a MTB, are a simple swap.
as the brakes and shifters stay unchanged..
adding hand grip varieties moving your hands around helps
when there are hours of riding to be done.

Touring is an AdVerb, rather than a thing. go do some, somewhere
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Old 12-07-11, 02:20 PM   #13
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if money is an issue go with the sport but I wonder what it is the longest you've ridden on it to say it's the most comfortable and whether you've ridden it with 35lbs of gear.
If it has a front shock and you're going to be spending upwards of $300 for new wheels,tires,cassette,chain I'd go with Valygrl girls recomendation and just start from new with something designed exactly for your use. Especially if you have a front shock and are thinking of replacing it with a solid fork. It sounds like you have plenty of spare parts lying around to build up something from a frame. 26" wheels would be my choice if that's what your hardrock is. How about Surly Troll with Titec H-bars?
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Old 12-08-11, 07:38 AM   #14
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I agree with Valygirl, but also others. I have an old Stumpjumper. It's comfortable and I've toured on it. It worked fine. But I also have an LHT, and I like it better for touring. If you bought an LHT, you'd also need racks and panniers. If you go with the Hardrock you'll just need racks, panniers, and probably some tweaks - rear wheel, maybe some barends or a nice Brooks saddle.

The 26" wheels should be plenty strong enough to handle your weight, especially if you go with 36 spokes.

I built a 29er last year and put discs on it, for a tour on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. The discs were good, but I'm not convinced that they're that much superior to V-brakes. They stopped great, but so do my V-brakes on my other mountain bike. The discs add weight, and the wheels have to be dished a bit to make room for them.
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Old 12-08-11, 08:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max5480 View Post
you don't need a new bike! some of the guys here are whacked out consumers.
i'm turning an old steel mtn bike into a touring bike with a surly troll fork, racks, wide slicks, and that's pretty much it.
That's almost exactly what I did (but I used a new aluminum Mountain Bike frame).

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Old 12-08-11, 09:48 AM   #16
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that looks sweet !
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Old 12-08-11, 12:25 PM   #17
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The hardrock sport is an excellent choice for a touring ride. Put on some good tires.
I use an old Hardrock for my commuting/touring bike. It rides great carries enough of a load for my purposes and climbs like a goat. I added a trekking bar, fenders, lights and a rack.
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