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Old 02-06-12, 12:44 PM   #1
peteydink
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Transam Touring Bike

I have taken an interest in doing the Transam and am thinking about setting up a bicycle and loading it like most of the Bikecentennial folks using modern technology.

What I am looking at the SOMA ES frame with,
  • Ultegra 9 spd shifters and brake levers.
  • Sugino XD500 48-36-24 crank using an Ultegra front derailleur.
  • XT 11-34 cassette using an XT rear derailleur.
  • Mavic A719 36 spoke Ultegra hubs wheels with 28mm GatorSkin tires. No fenders.
  • dual caliper brakes.
  • Brooks B17 saddle.
  • Tubus Vega rear rack.
  • 2 rear panniers.
  • handlebar bag.

I plan to keep my total load (sans bike) to under 30 pounds with a tent and no cooking gear.

The big reason for picking the ES over the Saga is I really want brifters and dual caliper brakes.
I have developed the rational for this set up after reading several touring journal summaries. Many end up sending their cooking gear home, have a fair number of motel days, experience few rain days, and few bicycle problems that could not have been avoided.
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Old 02-06-12, 01:41 PM   #2
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Soma positions this bike for centuries, randonees, and credit card touring. A 30 pound load is going to change the handling significantly, and may induce shimmy.

Have you considered building a Saga frame up the way you want it, or doing a brifter swap with the dealer when you buy?
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Old 02-06-12, 04:34 PM   #3
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I did not care for the Sugino with brifters. The granny to middle shift was never smooth. I would look for the LX t661 crank. It has a modern bb and similar ring sizes. My second choice would be a regular Shimano triple with an aftermarket 26t granny.
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Old 02-06-12, 10:29 PM   #4
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@pdlamb I have looked at the Saga but I really want to use dual caliper brakes. I'll take another look at the Saga and see if I can some how use calipers. I am trying to tend more towards the credit card versus fully loaded self contained touring set up. I could move some of the load to front racks if shimmy becomes a problem. The 30 pound load include waters, saddle bag and bar bag.

@shelbyfv I have had good luck with the XD500, brifters and an Utregra front derailleur on another bike. I have not noticed a problem shifting from granny to middle ring that I am aware of. But I don't recall doing it that often either.
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Old 02-07-12, 06:22 AM   #5
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OK, probably operator error on my part. Looks like a nice build! Pics and a ride report when it's finished.
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Old 02-07-12, 07:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by peteydink View Post
I have taken an interest in doing the Transam and am thinking about setting up a bicycle and loading it like most of the Bikecentennial folks using modern technology.

What I am looking at the SOMA ES frame with,
  • Ultegra 9 spd shifters and brake levers.
  • Sugino XD500 48-36-24 crank using an Ultegra front derailleur.
  • XT 11-34 cassette using an XT rear derailleur.
  • Mavic A719 36 spoke Ultegra hubs wheels with 28mm GatorSkin tires. No fenders.
  • dual caliper brakes.
  • Brooks B17 saddle.
  • Tubus Vega rear rack.
  • 2 rear panniers.
  • handlebar bag.

I plan to keep my total load (sans bike) to under 30 pounds with a tent and no cooking gear.

The big reason for picking the ES over the Saga is I really want brifters and dual caliper brakes.
I have developed the rational for this set up after reading several touring journal summaries. Many end up sending their cooking gear home, have a fair number of motel days, experience few rain days, and few bicycle problems that could not have been avoided.
Sounds OK to me.

On the cooking gear... Personally I would miss it and still carry it even when I am down to ultralight gear weights. A ti pot, homemade pop can stove, windscreen, pot stand, lighter, utensils, scrubbing pad, and can opener all weigh in at about 9 ounces.

I suspect that it is probably often lighter to carry foods like dried noodle dishes and a cook set than to carry ready to eat stuff.
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Old 02-07-12, 07:53 AM   #7
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People have ridden cross country on much worse set ups. I'm curious about a couple things. Why couldn't you use brifters/STI shifters with the Saga frame? Why caliper brakes? Cantilever brakes seem to have an undeservedly bad reputation among some cyclists. If properly set up, cantis work just as well as calipers and are lighter, have more stopping power, and can handle larger tires. I've got bikes with caliper and canti brakes, and would prefer the cantis for touring without question.
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Old 02-07-12, 08:35 AM   #8
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peteydink, Reads like a good set up to me. Dual pivot caliper brakes can provide enough clamping force to perform stoppies and since you're not using fenders there's no clearance issues that could require cantilever or linear pull brakes.

Brad

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Old 02-07-12, 11:48 AM   #9
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@tarwheel I am sure I could get brifters to work on the Saga and I want dual caliper brakes because I like them and believe they are adequate in this situation. I don't doubt that cantilevers and v-brakes are better for a full on touring bike. But I want to do the transam some where between a credit card tour and a full on self supported tour. And for this I don't think I want or need a touring bike like the Saga or LHT .

@staehp1 after reading a number of journals it seems many never actually cooked anything, and a few credit card toured the transam. So I figure not cooking should be doable. It wasn't a weight or bulk issue for me and I do have a similar cook kit as yours. Maybe I'll have it boxed up to be sent out if my thinking changes.
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Old 02-07-12, 12:02 PM   #10
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@staehp1 after reading a number of journals it seems many never actually cooked anything, and a few credit card toured the transam. So I figure not cooking should be doable. It wasn't a weight or bulk issue for me and I do have a similar cook kit as yours. Maybe I'll have it boxed up to be sent out if my thinking changes.
It is definitely doable. There is no reason that you can't go cook less if you want to, but... I would have to guess that it is a less common way to go than doing at least minimal cooking. I have met and camped with a lot of folks mostly on the TA and the Pacific Coast and pretty much all of them at least heated stuff up most days. Of the top of my head I can't recall a single person who didn't and can remember dozens who did. None of that means that you need to though.

BTW, I am going with regular road bike brakes on my next tour because I am going light enough that I figure it makes sense to take a road bike.

In any case have a great trip.
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Old 02-07-12, 12:29 PM   #11
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Why don't you want fenders?
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Old 02-07-12, 12:50 PM   #12
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Why don't you want fenders?
Why would you? I've never had them, I've ridden in the rain on tours and commuting, never missed them. Its raining, I'm going to get wet, I could care less about keeping a little more water from hitting me or the bike. I just hate the added struts and stuff, adjusting them, and trying not to knock them out of adjustment, etc, when for me they add nothing. Just me, but I think the idea that you have to have fenders to tour is way overblown.
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Old 02-07-12, 01:01 PM   #13
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Why would you? I've never had them, I've ridden in the rain on tours and commuting, never missed them. Its raining, I'm going to get wet, I could care less about keeping a little more water from hitting me or the bike. I just hate the added struts and stuff, adjusting them, and trying not to knock them out of adjustment, etc, when for me they add nothing. Just me, but I think the idea that you have to have fenders to tour is way overblown.
+1. Someone once went so far as to suggest that you run a serious risk of hypothermia without fenders. Say what?!?! The placement of gear on my rear rack prevents spray on my back. (I carry a folded plastic tarp that sits lengthwise directly on my rear rack platform. The tent sits lengthwise on top of the trap.) While a front fender might reduce the amount of spray hitting my feet, that little bit of extra water is not going to push me over the brink into hypothermia. My feet are likely to be wet from the rain anyway.
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Old 02-07-12, 01:12 PM   #14
peteydink
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Why don't you want fenders?
VT_Speed_TR's response encompasses most of my reasons. I also have ridden without fenders or rain gear in down pours and did not suffer. If I thought I was going to be ridding a lot of Rails to Trails crushed limestone or manure laden roads I would have some second thoughts.
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Old 02-07-12, 01:13 PM   #15
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Ive done quite a bit of long distance touring - in the past; and am planning a cross country trip for this summer - mostly without cooking gear. At least for my road tours, I find when I hit the next town Im ready for a sit down cup of coffee, or cheap lunch. It's not only the weight of cooking gear - it's the time involved, and difficulty of set up - especially when Im covertly camping.

I will, however, probably use fenders. For me it's more about keeping the bike clean for the long haul. I hate the weight and the complexity, but Ive found that in messy situations, fenders really keep my bike running smoother.
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