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Old 12-19-11, 10:08 AM   #1
mm718
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Can I do light touring on a Specialized Secteur road bike?

Hi,

I am relatively new to road biking (6 months) and am interested in giving touring a try next summer. Probably short local 3 day tours at first. If all goes well I plan to buy a touring bike but I was wondering if it would be OK to start with my road bike (Specialized Secteur). I'd probably be carrying about 20 lbs of gear (rear panniers) not including food and water. (I weigh 170 lbs). Do you think the wheels are strong enough on the Secteur (Mavic, 28 spokes)? I think my gearing is good for touring.... Would there be any problems with heel strike on the Secteur with Nashbar panniers? Any other issues I should consider?

Here are the specs for my Secteur...


Thanks,

-Mike
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Old 12-19-11, 10:47 AM   #2
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That looks like a great rig for touring. Mavics should be ok, just tune them up before leaving. However, I've had a Mavic rim fracture on tour, severely dented another, and broken many spokes in between. Consider upgrading your rear wheel before anything prolonged (1K+). Additionally, get a fresh tire because the additional weight will make the tread more susceptible to picking up sharp debris.

If heel strike is a problem, rotate your foot forward a bit.


Stay light and fast - there is no point in a dedicated touring bike.
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Old 12-19-11, 12:01 PM   #3
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Consider towing a trailer for your gear , on a carbon or light weight frame,
which was not designed for, and has no provisions to carry stuff..

Looks like there are a spot which may take a light use rack, Ie commuter use..

perhaps just under a big saddle bag.. high enough to not have heel strike issues..

add a handlebar bag and keep it down to that volume.
metal seat post? , you may be able to fit a Beam rack,
Rack top Bag with Spaniel ears for a bit more volume.

Oregon Coast sees hundreds of people on all sorts of bikes, all summer.
if that is your bike, and you are comfortable riding it for weeks,
That is what you can use.
Quote:
Do you think the wheels are strong enough
'Poo' happens. Bring resources to replace parts that fail along the way.
including complete wheels failure , or just spare spoke replacement.

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-19-11 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 12-19-11, 01:53 PM   #4
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ditch the panniers and go ultralight, 12lbs on rear stacked from rack to seat, 3lbs forward on handlebars. Sticking 20lbs of dead weight right on top of a 28spoke rear wheel doesn't sound like a a good way to have the wheel last and loading up the rear only makes the front end twitchy. I'd be inclined to have a spare 32-36spoke rear wheel for touring if 20lbs was sitting on the rear wheel regularly. If you're riding a LOT eventually you'll find yourself considering a spare set of wheels once the main set get dinged in a pothole or crash

http://www.bikeman.com/WE7289.html

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Old 12-19-11, 02:17 PM   #5
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I see no reason to not use the Secteur. You're of a reasonable weight, taking a reasonable amount of weight.

However, I would go to your LBS and trial fit the largest tire that'll fit. Our own Specialized road bikes would only accept a 28mm. Also, be sure to go with something that has flat-protection. The larger volume tire will ride better (via less psi needed to support the weight) and better handle the weight (less chance of pinch-flat, better rim protection, etc).

The wheels easily will handle the proposed weight.

If heel-strike is an issue, look into setback QR mounts from Tubus.

Have a great time!
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Old 12-19-11, 05:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for all of the excellent input everyone! I want to err on the side of caution as far as overloading the wheels, as my mechanical skills aren't great yet and I really don't want to have a major mechanical adventure my first time out. I really see myself getting a dedicated touring bike at some point so I don't want to invest extra money (eg., wheels) in my road bike. A trailer doesn't appeal to me so maybe the short term solution is going light and distributing the weight between the front and rear?

Would "front only" panniers be another way to go since most of my weight is on the back?

If I go pannier-less do you think I could pack the following in stuff sacks and on the rack(s), wedge bag, and a handlebar bar bag? If I went with this plan, one rack or two?

MSR hubba hubba tent (I know it's a bit heavy but I really want a two man tent--4 lbs, 8 oz)
Synthetic sleeping bag
Sleeping pad
Stove, pot, spork, etc.
Jacket
First aid kit
book
Two tubes, patch kit, mulitool, tire levers, fiber fix spokes, etc
Camera
Toiletries, Sunscreen, vision care, insect repellent,
Small towel
Head lamp
Phone, wallet
Emergency food

Is there anything major I am forgetting? This list is just off the top of my head and not exhaustive--just trying to get a sense if this is doable for short three day tours until I get a touring bike.

Thanks,

-Mike

P.S. It sounds like wider tires may be in order and I'll definetely have the bike checked out before I go. Thanks for the setback link Ducnut.

Last edited by mm718; 12-19-11 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 12-19-11, 06:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mm718 View Post

If I go pannier-less do you think I could pack the following in stuff sacks and on the rack(s), wedge bag, and a handlebar bar bag? If I went with this plan, one rack or two?

MSR hubba hubba tent (I know it's a bit heavy but I really want a two man tent--4 lbs, 8 oz)
Synthetic sleeping bag
Sleeping pad
Stove, pot, spork, etc.
Jacket
First aid kit
book
Two tubes, patch kit, mulitool, tire levers, fiber fix spokes, etc
Camera
Toiletries, Sunscreen, vision care, insect repellent,
Small towel
Head lamp
Phone, wallet
Emergency food

Is there anything major I am forgetting? This list is just off the top of my head and not exhaustive--just trying to get a sense if this is doable for short three day tours until I get a touring bike.

Thanks,

-Mike

P.S. It sounds like wider tires may be in order and I'll definetely have the bike checked out before I go. Thanks for the setback link Ducnut.
that's not ultralite by any means. but certainly doable. go for it. worst off, something will need replacing. Aksium wheels are pretty stout, try to avoid hitting any huge potholes with your full weight and you'll be fine.

people used to tour with tall wheelers on gravel roads. one fella went cross country on a tall wheeler before the turn of the 20th century.

you'll be fine.
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Old 12-19-11, 06:53 PM   #8
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Based on your list of gear you may have trouble keeping it down to 20 lbs. (I usually find that there are various odds&ends that creep in at the last minute to add a little more weight - and your list looks like you need some more clothes). But I think you'll be fine with your current bike. Try out your rack/pannier combination loaded up a while in advance so that you can make adjustments if you do encounter any heel-strike or other issues. Usually these can be resolved with some simple modifications to the rack mount or loading of the panniers - but it's best to find out early and not on the morning of your departure. BTW, the picture of your bike model in your link shows 32 spokes in the back which should certainly be fine as long as the wheel is built well. I agree with the suggestion to fit wider tires if they'll fit - esp. in the back if most of the weight will be in rear panniers.
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Old 12-19-11, 07:30 PM   #9
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MSR hubba hubba tent (I know it's a bit heavy but I really want a two man tent--4 lbs, 8 oz)
Synthetic sleeping bag
.
Already I can see you're going to have trouble with weight. If you want to use the specialized, and want it to still feel light a light and fast road bike you're going to have to make some changes.

I'd imagine with a rear rack and some panniers you could make it happen with your current gear, but if you want to go rackless, you are going to need to start loosing some (gear) weight.
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Old 12-19-11, 07:50 PM   #10
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Based on your list of gear you may have trouble keeping it down to 20 lbs. (I usually find that there are various odds&ends that creep in at the last minute to add a little more weight - and your list looks like you need some more clothes). But I think you'll be fine with your current bike. Try out your rack/pannier combination loaded up a while in advance so that you can make adjustments if you do encounter any heel-strike or other issues. Usually these can be resolved with some simple modifications to the rack mount or loading of the panniers - but it's best to find out early and not on the morning of your departure. BTW, the picture of your bike model in your link shows 32 spokes in the back which should certainly be fine as long as the wheel is built well. I agree with the suggestion to fit wider tires if they'll fit - esp. in the back if most of the weight will be in rear panniers.
This shows you how much of a newbie I am, the rear wheel does in fact have 32 spokes I had just counted the spokes on the front wheel! Can you tell me a little about the trade off of wider tires? I understand that wider tires provide a smoother ride and better handling but I would think that optimal rolling resistance would trump a smoother ride for touring. With so many people focused on weight you'd think they'd be equally focused on rolling resistance. Is the loss of speed not that great?

Also, if I did have spoke issues while on a short tour would fiber fix spokes get me home or to a bike shop? Are these easy to use?
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Old 12-19-11, 08:02 PM   #11
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Short term solution for short tours = stay in a hotel, leave the camping stuff behind!
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Old 12-19-11, 08:09 PM   #12
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mm718
With so many people focused on weight you'd think they'd be equally focused on rolling resistance. Is the loss of speed not that great?
You might want to research that assumption. I believe that there is a report somewhere that shows a wider tire, up to a point, might have lower rolling resistance than a narrow tire. Increased weight of the larger tire is more the issue. I'll try to dig up the info.

Found it
http://rouesartisanales.over-blog.co...e-1503651.html

You may be able to get a 25mm tire on your bike. Maybe even 28mm if you leave the air out of the tires and inflate them after installing the wheels. The tire s won't clear brake pads.

I've done quite a bit of " light" touring on a setup similar to yours. Although, a much older version.

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Old 12-19-11, 08:12 PM   #13
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Already I can see you're going to have trouble with weight. If you want to use the specialized, and want it to still feel light a light and fast road bike you're going to have to make some changes.

I'd imagine with a rear rack and some panniers you could make it happen with your current gear, but if you want to go rackless, you are going to need to start loosing some (gear) weight.
Thanks, Fuzz. I am not really expecting the bike to feel fast and light. I just want to get a sense of what touring is like. Eventually I'd like to do a cross country trip where I imaging I'll be carrying closer to 30-35 lbs of gear so a weekend trip of 20 lbs or so doesn't seem like a bad starting point. The tent is important to me because I am a bit claustrophobic and if I am stuck in the tent for a couple of hours in the rain or something I'd like to be able to have some gear in there, read, use a tablet computer, etc. But who knows I say all of this with zero touring experience. It's quite possible after experiencing loaded that I'll join the ultra-light group.
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Old 12-19-11, 08:21 PM   #14
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Can you tell me a little about the trade off of wider tires? I understand that wider tires provide a smoother ride and better handling but I would think that optimal rolling resistance would trump a smoother ride for touring. With so many people focused on weight you'd think they'd be equally focused on rolling resistance. Is the loss of speed not that great?

Also, if I did have spoke issues while on a short tour would fiber fix spokes get me home or to a bike shop? Are these easy to use?
Actually, if everything else is kept the same then wider tires have slightly less rolling resistance. But, in practice, other things aren't kept constant - we tend to run wider tires at lower pressures to get the benefit of more comfort and wide tires tend to have heavier, less supple construction. And, at higher speeds, the lower air resistance of narrower tires swamps any added rolling resistance. So for racing there's a reason to use narrow tires, but I find the difference in speed to be minimal. Currently have 35/38mm tires on my touring bike and the difference between it and my road bike (23mm Pro3s) is certainly much less than one mph. Besides a more comfortable ride, an advantage of the wider tires is that they provide more cushioning for the wheel - less chance of a broken spoke or dinged rim from a pothole.

Haven't used the Fiber Fix spokes on my own bikes, but did help a friend put one in his wheel during a ride. Went in quick and easy and the wheel was back to normal for the rest of the ride.
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Old 12-19-11, 08:45 PM   #15
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Very helpful, prathmann.... Looking at my specs what size tire do you think the Secteur can accommodate? Other posters above thought that 28mm was the max. I am currently using 25s so increasing to 28 hardly seems worth it. While I have you here can you recommend a middle weight touring tire with decent flat protection. I've heard so much about the Schwalbe Marathons but I've also heard that they are awfully heavy.
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Old 12-19-11, 08:59 PM   #16
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I did 500 mile this way...My first tour.

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Old 12-19-11, 10:56 PM   #17
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Very helpful, prathmann.... Looking at my specs what size tire do you think the Secteur can accommodate? Other posters above thought that 28mm was the max. I am currently using 25s so increasing to 28 hardly seems worth it. While I have you here can you recommend a middle weight touring tire with decent flat protection. I've heard so much about the Schwalbe Marathons but I've also heard that they are awfully heavy.
As it happens, I have a Secteur that I've turned into a light touring bike. I have the 2010 model, and even though it came with the Shimano 2300 triple, I rebuilt it with Apex. ( Which was only economically feasible because I got the bike at 50% off retail )

I had tried 28's with both the Shimano and Apex brakes. They didn't fit - interference with the calipers. You might find tires with a lower profile, but I suspect you'd still have clearance issues when loaded.

The stock tires are absolute crap. I repeatedly had multiple tire cuts on gravel.

You mentioned front panniers - while you could certainly install some using p-clips or some of the less common racks designed for bikes without front eyelets, I wouldn't recommend it. The bike would in all likelihood become very unpleasant to ride - it's not even remotely intended to be loaded on the front.

All that being said - for a credit-card tour, it's a great bike. Relatively comfortable on pavement, stable, decent quality components, once you swap out the tires, etc. If you have the Apex version with the under-tape cables, you could easily add in a handlebar bag ( I use http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/bavbb.htm and love it ).
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Old 12-19-11, 11:05 PM   #18
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Thanks, Fuzz. I am not really expecting the bike to feel fast and light. I just want to get a sense of what touring is like. Eventually I'd like to do a cross country trip where I imaging I'll be carrying closer to 30-35 lbs of gear so a weekend trip of 20 lbs or so doesn't seem like a bad starting point. The tent is important to me because I am a bit claustrophobic and if I am stuck in the tent for a couple of hours in the rain or something I'd like to be able to have some gear in there, read, use a tablet computer, etc. But who knows I say all of this with zero touring experience. It's quite possible after experiencing loaded that I'll join the ultra-light group.
While there are perfectly valid reasons to do ultra-light touring, you really would want to try it for more than a couple days before you decide it's for you. I've looked at the packing lists some people have published, and, yeah, while you can shove your second shirt and underwear into a stuff sack and use it as a pillow, my Exped air pillow is waaaaay more comfy. And sure, a bivy keeps the bugs out and the rain off, but they suck if you like to sit up and read at night. And so on.
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Old 12-20-11, 12:08 AM   #19
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Gear for a 3 week trip on stock road bikes with 25mm tires. I made both sets of panniers with extra taper for heel clearance. The items carried are pretty close to your packing list. Carbon forks, but this was pre-carbon frame days.

Continental Ultra Gatorskins are a fast light weight tire. We rode across the U.S. fully loaded using them (28mm) inflated to 100 psi.

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Old 12-20-11, 05:59 AM   #20
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Would "front only" panniers be another way to go since most of my weight is on the back?
I did front panniers with the tent on the rear rack on my last tour and it worked very well.

Some info from my most recent journals and a couple articles I wrote might be useful to you. You can find them by following the link in my sig line.
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Old 12-20-11, 07:33 AM   #21
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As it happens, I have a Secteur that I've turned into a light touring bike. I have the 2010 model, and even though it came with the Shimano 2300 triple, I rebuilt it with Apex. ( Which was only economically feasible because I got the bike at 50% off retail )

I had tried 28's with both the Shimano and Apex brakes. They didn't fit - interference with the calipers. You might find tires with a lower profile, but I suspect you'd still have clearance issues when loaded.

The stock tires are absolute crap. I repeatedly had multiple tire cuts on gravel.

You mentioned front panniers - while you could certainly install some using p-clips or some of the less common racks designed for bikes without front eyelets, I wouldn't recommend it. The bike would in all likelihood become very unpleasant to ride - it's not even remotely intended to be loaded on the front.

All that being said - for a credit-card tour, it's a great bike. Relatively comfortable on pavement, stable, decent quality components, once you swap out the tires, etc. If you have the Apex version with the under-tape cables, you could easily add in a handlebar bag ( I use http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/bavbb.htm and love it ).
Thanks, Mulv. How much weight do you typically carry on your Secteur on these light tours? I think I'll be camping mostly on the short tours so I will have more weight. Do you think 20-25 lbs would work OK with the Secteur (rear panniers, and a handlebar bag)?

Also, what tires did you end up with? I've been running Gatorskins. I like how they feel but I've had more flats than most people and my rear tire only lasted about 1200 miles. The short life of the tire may have been due to a couple of skids... Not sure if I am going to stick with these tires or not.

Thanks for info on the front rack and the link.
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Old 12-20-11, 07:47 AM   #22
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I did front panniers with the tent on the rear rack on my last tour and it worked very well.

Some info from my most recent journals and a couple articles I wrote might be useful to you. You can find them by following the link in my sig line.
Hey, Pete--

I just started reading your light touring article a few days ago and you've given me some food for thought. BTW, I've been dreaming about the TransAm for a couple of months and your journal was a lot of fun to read. I am pretty much obsessed with CG and one day doing the TA.

How do you like touring with narrower tires? Is this something you started doing with light touring or have you used narrower tires with heavier loads too?

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Old 12-20-11, 07:51 AM   #23
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Gear for a 3 week trip on stock road bikes with 25mm tires. I made both sets of panniers with extra taper for heel clearance. The items carried are pretty close to your packing list. Carbon forks, but this was pre-carbon frame days.

Continental Ultra Gatorskins are a fast light weight tire. We rode across the U.S. fully loaded using them (28mm) inflated to 100 psi.

Thanks, Doug. 32 spoke wheels? Do you remember how much weight you were carrying? How did you do on flats with the gatorskins?
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Old 12-20-11, 08:01 AM   #24
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Hey, Pete--

I just started reading your light touring article a few days ago and you've given me some food for thought. BTW, I've been dreaming about the TransAm for a couple of months and your journal was a lot of fun to read. I am pretty much obsessed with CG and one day doing the TA.

How do you like touring with narrower tires? Is this something you started doing with light touring or have you used narrower tires with heavier loads too?
Glad you enjoyed my TA journal. The TA is a great experience and I highly recommend it. I used 32mm tires on the TA fairly heavily loaded and have since used 28mm Ultra Gatorskins (which are actually on the narrow side for a 28mm tire) with 30 pounds plus food and water progressing toward lighter loads on subsequent trips.

The 23mm gatorskins I plan to use with a 15 pound load (40 including bike, spares, and tools) are an experiment since I already have them. I probably would have bought 25mm tires if buying specifically for this trip, but will decide what to replace the 23s with depending on how things go.

If your flats are from goat head thorns... Be aware that knowing what the plants look like and where they grow will help you avoid them. Once I knew where they were my number of flats dropped drastically. They even grow in the cracks of broken up shoulders.
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Old 12-20-11, 08:20 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
Thanks, Mulv. How much weight do you typically carry on your Secteur on these light tours? I think I'll be camping mostly on the short tours so I will have more weight. Do you think 20-25 lbs would work OK with the Secteur (rear panniers, and a handlebar bag)?

Also, what tires did you end up with? I've been running Gatorskins. I like how they feel but I've had more flats than most people and my rear tire only lasted about 1200 miles. The short life of the tire may have been due to a couple of skids... Not sure if I am going to stick with these tires or not.

Thanks for info on the front rack and the link.
I've used it for just credit-card touring - probably < 15 pounds. Essentially just what I needed for me and my son; Clothes, toiletries, books, emergency tarp, and tools. I used smaller Lone Peak panniers, and didn't have any heel strike issues, even though I'm on a small 52cm frame. In my front bag, I carried rain jackets, a day's worth of on-the-bike food/lunch, my phone, spare batteries for our lights, etc. Probably 5 pounds total on the bar bag. One of the advantages of the RIvendell bag is that it sits relatively low on the bar compared to a lot of handlebar bags, so it doesn't affect handling much, and the map case is perfectly positioned for easy reading.

I didn't swap out my tires until the end of the summer, but ended up getting Gatorskin Hardcase tires... to be honest, I'm regretting it. While I haven't had any flats, they're amazingly harsh. On anything other than smooth pavement ( and I don't ride on a lot of that ) they make me feel like my fillings are going to fall out, even when I drop the pressure as low as I dare. I might end up donating them to our co-op in the Spring and seeing what else I could find that provides a more comfortable ride, with at least some flat protection.

For what it's worth, my "real" touring bike is a Raleigh Sojourn, which rides like a big, soft cadillac. ;-) I can load it up front and back with tons of gear for the family tours and the ride is a dream. I wouldn't want to take it that loaded through the Rockies, but for flatland and semi-hilly tours, it's perfection.
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