Need Help Choosing Bike For Touring and More
This summer I'm going to go to a camp where we ride from Paris to Rome, in a month, at about 65 or 70 miles a day, fully loaded (25lbs of gear) and I need to purchace a bike. Some background on me... I'm 15 years old so still growing, 5'7'' most likely will be an inch or so taller this summer, I weigh 115lbs give or take 5 and am in good shape (run about a 6:45 mile). I went to my lbs and they recomended the Specialized Sequoia, which I have read some good and bad things about here. My main problem with buying a pure touring bike is that I want to do a little bit of racing this upcomming summer and fall and don't want to have to buy another bike. Many of the Sequoia's problems don't seem to be as bad with someone of my weight, and it would not put as much stress on the bike because I weight 30lbs less than most people. I would also be putting on 32x700 tires and a diffrent cassete on it. So I guess my question is do you think that I would be well off riding the Sequoia or should I just be looking at diffrent bikes considering that I will only be able to use this bike for a season or two b/c I'm growing and should get a bike that I could get the most use out of. Thanks
You should have two primary goals:
-getting a good "fit". Many people are riding bikes that are too small. A few are riding bikes that are too large. Getting a good fit makes a tremendous difference in enjoying a long ride.
-get a bike designed to carry loads. A bike such as the Trek 520 is designed JUST to carry heavy loads. An 18 inch chainstay for wide saddlebags. A 42 inch wheelbase for stability and to soak up bumps. Braze-ons for front and rear racks. Room for fenders (tours keep going on rainy days).
If you try to put heavy loads on a bike not designed for such loads, you heels can strike against the saddle bags, and steering can become unstable, especially while going downhill. Scary stuff.
And, practice riding your bike for four or five days FULLY LOADED before you leave the USA. Most people discover that riding a bike uphill or downhill with fifty or sixty pounds of gear is not fun. So, they start mailing stuff home. Eventually, they get down to twenty or twenty-five pounds of gear, which is much more manageable. So, by "practice riding", you will figure out what is a comfortable load for you, get some training on managing a loaded bike, and be ready when you and your bike get to Paris.
I hope you will post some updates during your trip and make all of us envious!
Thanks for the quick and long responce but I still have a few questions that I will make more direct.
-Because I'm growing and want one bike (most likely I will only be able to use it on a year) that I wouldn't be laughed at for using for things more than touring. Therefore a bike that only carries loads and costs $1200 isnt the best thing for me.
-If I were to get the sequoia, would i have any problems carrying 25lbs of gear and would it shake b/c my toatal weight would be around 150lbs a normal weight that the bike would be designed to carry or would it shake b/c I am not able to control the bike w/ the extra weight?
The Sequoia is a good all-round useful bike. You can put narrower tyres on for speed and 32mm on for touring. It is not a full-on racing bike, but if you turn up at a race with a stripped down one, using narrower tyres you should be able to hold your own. It is not an expedition bike either, so it can't handle an extended self-sufficient camping tour in remote areas.
For lightweight camping or hostel tours with a 25lbs load it will be OK.
The Sequoia will hold up to both duties. I commute 70 miles round trip 1-3 times a week in the spring through fall with one carrying around 20lbs of gear w/ no problem. I also weigh 200lbs, and was up to 215lbs before I bought this bike. I beat the rear wheel up pretty well, the Alex 280s w/ 28 spokes weren't up to my load, but I suspect you would be OK. There is plent of room for fat tires (I fit 700x35 studded snow tires on the thing), but it will work w/ skinny just as well. The bike has long chainstays so my heels don't strike while using panniers, It is heavier than your average racer in the price range, but I can get it moving pretty quick when I want to. It will work for both tasks, but excel at neither. I think it would be a good compromise though.
Originally Posted by Prg146
I think you should take a look at the Specialized Allez line too. They have rack mounts on back and are a bit lighter. They won't take the larger tires though, due to conventional brakes.
Thanks for the responces... the Sequoia is sounding better now, and you guys are telling me what I thought, that it would be a good compromise between a racing and touring bike w/o any terrible problems at my weight.
Michael: As to the long self suficent touring, this is what this trip is going to be. I wont be in "remote" areas, but I'm not going to be sleeping in hotels or anything. I'm just going to bring a rain jacket waterproof, a fleece, some fleece pants, a sleeping bag, a tent, a bowl and silverwear, two disposable digital cameras, a pillow case, some tights + arm warmers and two sets of gloves, shorts, jerseys ect... thats about 25lbs of gear right... it can't be much more. I'm not going to bring a computer or anything.
And Gordans: I looked at the Allez line, but it just dosen't seem to be well suited to touring, and the main problem would be the tires... I need to have 28x700 and they wouldn't fit.
And one last question: Would i need new wheeles to fit larger tires on or does the wheel size not coraspond to the tire size, and if i would not need new wheeles are the wheeles on the sequoia strong enough to stand up to the long riding w/ loads and stay true?
Thanks For Answering
You have to spend a lot of $$ to get a camping load down to 25lbs.
You also have to carry a repair kit, toiletries, 1st aid kit, food, stove and cooking equipment (or don't bother cooking), perhaps spare footwear, camping mat, towel, off-bike wear.
Suggest you start to weigh your kit, or at least start a weight and cost budget. You may need to use front panniers. I just stuff everything I need into my rear panniers on a std UK touring bike, but I prefer hostelling to camping so its not so critical.The weak point of a Sequoia is going to be the wheels. A std camping/touring wheelset is 36 spoke. Rims have a range of suitable tyre size. The Sequioa rim will be fine for medium 25- 38mm touring tyres.
Thought about the Jamis Nova?
I'm not going to bring cooking supplys or a repair kit because other people will be bringing them. My off bike wear will just be an underarmor (the one that looks like cotton but is not) shirt and a pair of polyester shorts, possibly some spair footwear but I might get MTN bike cleats + shoes so that I do not need it.
Originally Posted by MichaelW
And Bsyptak: I havent thought of it before but it looks like a good bike... and there is a store near me that carries jamis, the only problem is that the components are 105s and that would make a 4 digit bike... am I wrong, which would be slightly out of my price range.
Yep, it is all where you want to make the compromise.
Originally Posted by Prg146
You can easily use 28s on there, I did. Even w/ fenders. I would suggest a second wheelset though. Performance has some cheap 105/Mavic A719 wheels that would be more than strong enough. Two wheelsets are a smart idea on a bike you will race with anyhow, keep the lighter set in good condition for racing.
Originally Posted by Prg146
Jamis Aurora is similar to the Nova but at a lower price point. Might take a look at that one. Here's a place that sells them, many previous year models at blowout prices if they have your size...
Don't overlook picking up a used bike and doing a little work on it. For example, a bike like this Trek 720 would probably fill the bill for lots less than a new one.