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Old 08-24-12, 06:09 AM   #1
chefisaac
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Can I Tour with this? Need advice please.

Basically speaking, I have a little money I can invest in a bike or equipment. Part of me wants a dedicate touring bike but to be frank, we have a small apartment so it might be a long haul to get my wife on board with another bike (we have three already).

I have a mountain bike that I turned into a commuter. Here are two pictures:



I like the bike for commuting but there are some issues, which probobly relate to bike fit:

1- The bike is heavy and thats without carrying much
2- My hands get numb sometimes
3- Upper back and neck hurt after a while.

It is perfect for my 22 mile RT commute but longer rides without a long break in the middle is rough on my with this bike.

So I basically have two options:

1) Use the money I have (which is around $1300) for a new touring bike or
2) Use the mountain bike commuter for touring

I would then use the money to invest in a tent, sleeping bag, etc (which is a whole topic in itself).

I guess I am asking what you all think about touring on the mountain bike. I envision my tours to be on the road, perhaps a rail trail sometime too. I am not sure.

I know little about touring and would appreciate your opinions and advice.

Thank you!
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Old 08-24-12, 06:30 AM   #2
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chefisaac, If you work on the fitment I don't see why you can't tour on that bike. The Europeans often use flat bar bikes, sometimes with butterfly handle bars, for touring. There are a variety of schemes to mount a front carrier to a fork unequipped with a mid mount.

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Old 08-24-12, 06:33 AM   #3
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Chef, no reason you couldn't tour on it. Check out this thread:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...MTB-conversion
You might want to replace the fork with something lighter, and perhaps swap out the stem and handlebars with something lighter and of a better geometry. Trekking bars are popular.
For the hand numbness, there are a couple schools of thought. I'm of the "Get the body upright so the weight is on your butt" school. I did this by putting on a very high stem with very little reach. I also think that drop bars or trekking bars help, since you can have different wrist and elbow angles. Check this thread for more info:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...s-when-touring
As for weight, I've found on rail trails it doesn't matter much, since they're flat. Once you get up to speed you're fine. If you get into rolling hills it can be a problem.
Nice Bike, BTW.
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Old 08-24-12, 07:57 AM   #4
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Basic gear for camping doesn't have to cost anywhere near $1,300. You should have penty of $ left over for a fit and any modifications.

Personally, I think the whole weight thing is over-obsessed unless you are going very light to begin with or are cutting out a large amount of weight. Try this: Add together the weight of your body, bike and gear, including panniers and rack(s). Then imagine your bike is 5 lbs. less. What percentage change does that give you? 1%? 2%? Let's assume you weigh 225 lbs, your bike weighs 30 lbs. and all you gear weighs 40 lbs. 295 lbs. total. If you lose 5 lbs. of bike (or anything for that matter), you will still be carrying about 98% of your original total weight.
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Old 08-24-12, 08:21 AM   #5
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You could tour just fine on your current bike as long as your can fit your gear in the rear panniers and maintain proper weight distribution. That may or may not be an issue depending on the size of your load. I have a touring bike as well as two sport tourers used for commuting. When I first tried a loaded trip on my touring bike with rear panniers and a rack, it was unrideable because I had too much weight in the back and the weight distribution was thrown all off. I then bought a set of front panniers and rack so I was able to distribute the load more evenly, and the bike rode just fine.
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Old 08-24-12, 08:33 AM   #6
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The bike looks like it'll be tough to get the a correct fit for you as far as touring. The handle bars are in a very aggressive position which is probably the source of your hand numbness and neck pain. A touring bike should have the seat level with the bars. Why won't you consider getting your touring bike and selling this one? You can commute on the touring bike as just as well as on the MTB.
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Old 08-24-12, 08:50 AM   #7
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For you hands, have you looked at ergo grips, lots of different ones out there, and could resolve the issues you are having with numbness.
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Old 08-24-12, 08:52 AM   #8
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Yeah, you can actually kit yourself out with a decent camping setup for <$200 unless you plan on winter camping.
I've used a walmart hammock, hiker's tarp, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag (as an experiment), and it came to less than $100. Slept fine, and ultralight to boot. Only problem was that everything was electric blue.
You can hit up REI for better quality gear and still come out with a tough, lightweight setup for not a lot of cash.
I guess if you need panniers, tools, pump, etc, it'll cost you a bit more.
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Old 08-24-12, 09:20 AM   #9
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You can add to hand positions using bar ends, clip on aerobars or replacement trekking/butterfly style bars.
I cant tell the brand or model from the photo but it looks fine.
You can get cheap tents or tarp systems. You dont need titanium pots or anything special. Save your money for touring expenses.
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Old 08-24-12, 10:13 AM   #10
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If you decide to get a touring bike, you can also commute on that (as I do). The tires look like knobbies, which eat up energy. You can probably get away with that on a short-ish commute, but on a long tour, efficiency is a wonderful thing.
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Old 08-24-12, 10:30 AM   #11
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The tires look like knobbies
Looking closely I think I read "Gatorskin" on the front one so probably not.
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Old 08-24-12, 11:26 AM   #12
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...Personally, I think the whole weight thing is over-obsessed ... If you lose 5 lbs. of bike (or anything for that matter), you will still be carrying about 98% of your original total weight.

+1.
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Old 08-24-12, 12:06 PM   #13
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Basic gear for camping doesn't have to cost anywhere near $1,300. You should have penty of $ left over for a fit and any modifications.

Personally, I think the whole weight thing is over-obsessed unless you are going very light to begin with or are cutting out a large amount of weight. Try this: Add together the weight of your body, bike and gear, including panniers and rack(s). Then imagine your bike is 5 lbs. less. What percentage change does that give you? 1%? 2%? Let's assume you weigh 225 lbs, your bike weighs 30 lbs. and all you gear weighs 40 lbs. 295 lbs. total. If you lose 5 lbs. of bike (or anything for that matter), you will still be carrying about 98% of your original total weight.
That way of looking at it neglects that fact that the bike is one of many things that all add up. If you apply that logic to each choice in bike, gear, clothing, tools, and spares it really adds up. So while 5 pounds of bike alone may not be all that significant, when you start talking 5 pounds here, a pound here, and five more there, and so on, pretty soon we are talking some real weight. I know that by picking and choosing what I carry and what bike I use I went from ~80 pounds of bike and gear to 33 pounds of bike and gear. So close to 50 pounds was shed, I think most folks would acknowledge that 50 pounds makes a big difference.

I always figured that gear was the first place to cut weight but when my gear got to 22 pounds, then 14, then 10 it definitely started to seem like a lighter bike would make more sense. I have to say I have found that riding on a bike with all my gear that totals 33 pounds is a lot more fun than riding one that weighs 80 pounds.
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Old 08-24-12, 05:12 PM   #14
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I talked with the head mechanic at my fav bike shop. Looks like we might try to modify things. Two things right off will be the bars (going to drops) and the possibility of changing out the front forks. I do not use the suspension anyway so if there is no way to put a front rack on, then I will go to the idea of changing the forks.

The frame is aluminum. I know the majority of touring bikes are steel. Is aluminum bad for touring?
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Old 08-24-12, 06:07 PM   #15
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I talked with the head mechanic at my fav bike shop. Looks like we might try to modify things. Two things right off will be the bars (going to drops) and the possibility of changing out the front forks. I do not use the suspension anyway so if there is no way to put a front rack on, then I will go to the idea of changing the forks.

The frame is aluminum. I know the majority of touring bikes are steel. Is aluminum bad for touring?
Aluminum is good enough for rims it's good enough for frames.
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Old 08-24-12, 06:11 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
Basically speaking, I have a little money I can invest in a bike or equipment. Part of me wants a dedicate touring bike but to be frank, we have a small apartment so it might be a long haul to get my wife on board with another bike (we have three already).

I have a mountain bike that I turned into a commuter. Here are two pictures:



I like the bike for commuting but there are some issues, which probobly relate to bike fit:

1- The bike is heavy and thats without carrying much
2- My hands get numb sometimes
3- Upper back and neck hurt after a while.

It is perfect for my 22 mile RT commute but longer rides without a long break in the middle is rough on my with this bike.

So I basically have two options:

1) Use the money I have (which is around $1300) for a new touring bike or
2) Use the mountain bike commuter for touring

I would then use the money to invest in a tent, sleeping bag, etc (which is a whole topic in itself).

I guess I am asking what you all think about touring on the mountain bike. I envision my tours to be on the road, perhaps a rail trail sometime too. I am not sure.

I know little about touring and would appreciate your opinions and advice.

Thank you!
Is this a Giant Roam 1 which is an Xroad class 700c on/off road adventure touring bike?!? Hands numbness is probably due to nerve pinching and an acute angle on the wrist to the forearm. Generally, the wrist is inline with the forearm when you grip the handlebar. The Ergon grips Gr 2 or 1 will help on this department substantially by tilting the pads on an angle to support your palms so the wrist will be inline with your forearm. The wide pad help spread out the pressure on the nerves of your hand. In regards to your upper back and neck hurting. It's probably set up with an aggressive low handlebar posture and if you don't have a strong core strength, you will tend to use your back muscles to support your upper body when you ride. There are fixes. Raise the handlebar up higher with a stem extender rise like thishttp://www.ebay.com/itm/Satori-Heads-Up4-Stem-Riser-Adaptor-1-1-8-Stem-Silver-/110611390584#ht_1454wt_1165. This will put you in a really high position and normally I wouldn't recommend this to some people, but I see that you have a Brooks saddle and it is designed for an upright riding position.

I know of a lot of people who had made modifications to X-road class adventure bikes (Ergon grips GR 2 and Satori riser extender) and have toured long distance successfully. As your core gets stronger when you ride longer, you can remove or lower the handlebar height by removing the stacking riser until you don't need the riser anymore.

Save your money.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by pacificcyclist; 08-24-12 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 08-24-12, 07:24 PM   #17
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I talked with the head mechanic at my fav bike shop. Looks like we might try to modify things. Two things right off will be the bars (going to drops) and the possibility of changing out the front forks. I do not use the suspension anyway so if there is no way to put a front rack on, then I will go to the idea of changing the forks.

The frame is aluminum. I know the majority of touring bikes are steel. Is aluminum bad for touring?
Sounds good! Keep us posted.
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Old 08-24-12, 07:44 PM   #18
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I talked with the head mechanic at my fav bike shop. Looks like we might try to modify things. Two things right off will be the bars (going to drops) and the possibility of changing out the front forks. I do not use the suspension anyway so if there is no way to put a front rack on, then I will go to the idea of changing the forks.

The frame is aluminum. I know the majority of touring bikes are steel. Is aluminum bad for touring?
Cannondale made some serious touring bikes that were made from aluminum, the "T" series. I am sure there have been plenty of others. My preference is steel, but that is because I am a curmudgeon. I do have one aluminum frame bike, happens to be my city bike.

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Old 08-24-12, 10:22 PM   #19
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you could certainly tour on that. Depends on what type of touring as to what modifications you'd need.

You could consider a folding touring bike if space is an issue, but they're overpriced for what they are in my opinion.
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Old 08-24-12, 11:36 PM   #20
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You certainly can tour on that bike, you can tour on almost anything, but that bike looks good. However, what does concern me is your aches and pains. If your not comfortable physically with your bike, touring will be just that much harder and not as fun. I've found elite 8 curved handlebar extenders to be awesome to say the least and for around 30 bucks. And just looking at your picture, your handlebars might be too low considering how high the seat is. Raising the handlebars might help with your back aches and pains. If you can't extend it more, get a set of bar-end extenders which can raise the height by a few inches, and thus making a big difference. While I maintain the mental aspect of touring is the biggest concern, feeling comfortable on your bike day in and day out ranks 2nd. Experiment around, do some long trips with the setup, and tune and tweak the adjustments. After a few times of doing this, the OP will be ready to roll for countless amounts of fun.
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Old 08-25-12, 12:29 AM   #21
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The frame is aluminum. I know the majority of touring bikes are steel. Is aluminum bad for touring?
Aluminum frames when combined with skinny tires (ex: 700x23) have a reputation for delivering a harsh ride. My touring frame is aluminum. I use 700x32 or 700x35 tires inflated to 60-70psi depending on the load. That setup is darn near as comfortable as my carbon fiber road bike!
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Old 08-25-12, 12:49 AM   #22
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I talked with the head mechanic at my fav bike shop. Looks like we might try to modify things. Two things right off will be the bars (going to drops) and the possibility of changing out the front forks. I do not use the suspension anyway so if there is no way to put a front rack on, then I will go to the idea of changing the forks.
I'd think twice about converting to drop bars. I love drops, by the way, but switching to them from straight bars often causes a cascade of component replacements: the drop bar will require different shift/brake levers, new shift/brake levers might require different derailleurs, the new derailleurs might require a different crankset, etc.

When I built my first flat-bar bike, I found that my hands would go numb after about 20 minutes of riding. When I looked at the bend of the handlebar, I discovered that it put my wrists in a very unnatural position. I switched to a bar that had more "sweep" and the problem went away. Before committing to drop bars, you might try a different flat bar. Look for bars like the On One Fleegle or Mary, Misfit Psycles FUbar or FU2bar or NUbar, Bontrager Crivitz, Bontrager Race Lite "Big Sweep" or similar bars that sweep back more. A "riser" bar might help with neck/back problems.
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Old 08-25-12, 01:19 AM   #23
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Touring is an activity, If you can stand to ride it on a tour,
by that its a 'touring bike'.

parts not comfort enhancing? you got suggestions of options..

Ergon GR 5 are good ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-25-12 at 01:24 AM.
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Old 08-25-12, 02:12 AM   #24
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I'd think twice about converting to drop bars
...
When I built my first flat-bar bike, I found that my hands would go numb after about 20 minutes of riding. ...I switched to a bar that had more "sweep" and the problem went away.
My experience too.
I usually tour on drops. My last rebuild on a std touring bike was a compatibility challenge. Doing a conversion is just not worthwhile. Strongly consider butterfly/trekking bars and keep your MTB transmission and $$$.
My commuter bike came with MTB flats. I experienced discomfort so changed to On One Marys for more sweep.
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Old 08-25-12, 03:00 AM   #25
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I spent much of my early touring days on an MTB with suspension fork, with front rack included, along with flat handelbars and mudguards.

Your LBS is sizing you up as a money tree if they have suggested you go with drop bars. Unless they are suggesting bar-end shifters, the whole deal to change over will probably cost you about a third of your savings.

Here's a bit of a radical but cheap thought. I am a fan of bull horn bars. They provide the extension and round profile on the sweep that bar-ends don't -- they become almost like riding with hoods especially if you choose a narrower width than your current set-up -- yet you can stiil incorporate your current shifters and brake levers on the inwards part. They also can be wrapped in bar tape, which I find can be much more forgiving than grips on long rides.

You ask about aluminium. It is fine as a frame material. It is durable, but the only drawback is if you go to a fixed fork, you might be in for a harsher ride. My recommendation is that you keep the suspension fork for now, because on a long ride on less-than-smooth sealed surfaces, that fork may well be the difference between a comfortable ride and a hellish ride.

I am presuming that because you are a clyde, the wheels on this bike are already strong enough to sustain the extra rigours of loaded touring.
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