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  1. #1
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    Trek 520 - Kool Stop MTB or thinline?; just salmon or dual compound? / Touring tirre?

    I am planning on doing the TransAm route from Astoria to Yorktown this Spring. I will be fully loaded, self-contained. Riding a 2013 Trek 520 with Avid Single Digit 5 V-brakes (linear pull). Currently has the Avid pads but I am concerned with the ability of this setup to be able to stop when fully loaded going down steep descents in the rain. Tires are currently the stock Bontrager Hardcase 700 x 32c on stock aluminum rims.

    From my searches so far, it appears that I am going to want to use Kool Stop pads with at least some Salmon compound. I understand there may be a tendency for squealing with the Salmons on the front. In the experience of those who have gone before me, does going to a dual compound pad (black/salmon) help this problem? Or, all things considered, should I go with just Salmon?

    Would one recommend the MTB version of the Kool Stop (presumably larger surface area and thicker with expected longer life expectancy) even though the curvature is designed for a slightly smaller diameter wheel? Would it fit appropriately on the Trek 520 or should I go with the Thinline? Would the Thinline (less material and presumably shorter life expectancy but curvature matching the 700c rim) likely last 4200 miles or am I going to want to bring an extra set for when I hit West Virginia?

    Regarding touring tires: I want to minimize the probability of flats with not only the hassle factor, but possibility of injury with a poorly timed flat. I was considering the Schwable Marathon Plus. I understand it is amongst the most punture resistant. What about expected life expectancy for this tire on this 4200 mile journey. Any comments about this being a relatively slow tire (for example, higher rolling resistance with a presumably stiffer side wall to carry the loads) or have those with touring experience found this to be a relatively easy rolling tire and therefore a good choice for the trip?

    I welcome any comments and thank you in advance, Chuck

  2. #2
    we be rollin' hybridbkrdr's Avatar
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    I can't answer all of your questions and am not aware of all types of tubes but I did see Michelin has some Protek tubes that are apparently puncture-resistant.

    If I wanted to choose dual compound Kool Stops it would be because some people say after you store your bike for the winter, the salmons can slide instead of grip the first time you use them again. It might be realistic to use powerful brake pads on a loaded bike but I also read comments from people saying they nearly went over the bars with salmons. I'm too cheap for that anyway. I bought some Jagwire lol.
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  3. #3
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    My 2 cents - run the Avid pads and bring a spare pair (or two) of salmons - a set of pads don't weigh much or take up much room. If you decide the Avids don't cut it, switch 'em out and keep them in case you burn through the salmons (doubtful IMHO).

  4. #4
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    It's possible to use the MTB pads with 700C rims, but I find it's fussy to set them up due to the larger size curvature of the pads. They need to be in just the right place to avoid touching the tire when you brake, or alternatively hang off the other end of the brake track. In the latter case, they don't wear evenly, and in extreme cases they can hang up. Now, given a little effort, you can certainly avoid those things. However, the thinline pads are easier to set up, and they still have plenty of surface area for adequate braking.

    In my experience, the dual compound pads don't magically make squealing go away. Toeing the pads in properly is most effective.

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    I use the salmons exclusively. If they squeal, in my experience, it's because they aren't adjusted correctly.

  6. #6
    Licensed Bike Geek Davet's Avatar
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    I use the salmon pads on all my bikes, in all weather conditions. The salmon pads don't squeal any more than any other pad though I think they're very quiet. They are long lasting, very kind to your rims and work very well in the wet. I'd carry a spare pair on the trip for insurance. They're easy to change out when necessary.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Western Flyer's Avatar
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    I just put a set of Kool Stop tri color cross pads on my bike. As advertised they aren't as grabby as the all salmon pads. They stop almost as well in wet conditions. Best of all there wasn't a squeak for the first two weeks, but then the noise started up. I think I will go back to all salmon and just accept that I will have to readjust the pads every so often to keep them reasonably quite, kind of like oiling your chain. It gives me a warm feeling when riding down a steep hill in the rain and knowing I will be able to stop at the bottom.
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    For brake pads, I'd put on Kool-Stop Salmon before starting. Get the one that fits your brakes. Carry one extra pair, just in case (they're light), and if you have to put that set on, order another and have it shipped ahead of you, General Delivery (hold for bicyclist).

    You're going to get flats. You're probably going to wear out a back tire. Marathons wear long, but my preference would be for a more compliant tire (YMMV). Check the tires when you air them up, and when they're about to wear out (top layer of rubber is worn through), look for a bike shop or put on the spare you might have brought (foldable, Kevlar bead are lighter and easier to pack). Or, once again, have one shipped 100 miles ahead of you.

    It's a lot of fun. You'll be out away from civilization, but it's not quite like Dan'l Boone or Kit Carson any more!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikerchuck View Post
    I am planning on doing the TransAm route from Astoria to Yorktown this Spring. I will be fully loaded, self-contained. Riding a 2013 Trek 520 with Avid Single Digit 5 V-brakes (linear pull). Currently has the Avid pads but I am concerned with the ability of this setup to be able to stop when fully loaded going down steep descents in the rain. Tires are currently the stock Bontrager Hardcase 700 x 32c on stock aluminum rims.

    From my searches so far, it appears that I am going to want to use Kool Stop pads with at least some Salmon compound. I understand there may be a tendency for squealing with the Salmons on the front. In the experience of those who have gone before me, does going to a dual compound pad (black/salmon) help this problem? Or, all things considered, should I go with just Salmon?

    Would one recommend the MTB version of the Kool Stop (presumably larger surface area and thicker with expected longer life expectancy) even though the curvature is designed for a slightly smaller diameter wheel? Would it fit appropriately on the Trek 520 or should I go with the Thinline? Would the Thinline (less material and presumably shorter life expectancy but curvature matching the 700c rim) likely last 4200 miles or am I going to want to bring an extra set for when I hit West Virginia?

    Regarding touring tires: I want to minimize the probability of flats with not only the hassle factor, but possibility of injury with a poorly timed flat. I was considering the Schwable Marathon Plus. I understand it is amongst the most punture resistant. What about expected life expectancy for this tire on this 4200 mile journey. Any comments about this being a relatively slow tire (for example, higher rolling resistance with a presumably stiffer side wall to carry the loads) or have those with touring experience found this to be a relatively easy rolling tire and therefore a good choice for the trip?

    I welcome any comments and thank you in advance, Chuck
    I use the Kool Stop Dual Compound MTB pads (Cat # KS-MTCDL) on 700C wheels and 26" wheels without issues. While the curvature between a 622mm rim and a 559mm rim is different, I've never noticed performance issues between the two wheels.

    Whether or not the pads will last for 4200 miles depends on your usage. If you are a brake rider, no pad will last very long. If you are a 'let it fly and spare the brakes' kind of rider, the pads will last a very long time indeed. Being the latter, I have pads that have lasted well past 4200 miles including 1200 miles of Appalachian (the pads were old when I toured there) up and, more importantly, down. All 81000 feet of it.
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  10. #10
    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Western Flyer View Post
    I just put a set of Kool Stop tri color cross pads on my bike. As advertised they aren't as grabby as the all salmon pads. They stop almost as well in wet conditions. Best of all there wasn't a squeak for the first two weeks, but then the noise started up. I think I will go back to all salmon and just accept that I will have to readjust the pads every so often to keep them reasonably quite, kind of like oiling your chain. It gives me a warm feeling when riding down a steep hill in the rain and knowing I will be able to stop at the bottom.
    re squeak, I put a set of salmons on my Tricross three years ago and I guess I set them up properly because not only improving the braking by a good amount, they've never squeaked or made any noises at all. (my other regular ride has a really old set of salmons and they make a racket when its humid--I figure its the rims)

  11. #11
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    The salmons on my beater never make any noise and they gave been used in summet and winter. Probably have 1500km on yhem and no wear that I can see.

  12. #12
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    I've got 8,800 mi on Salmon KoolStops on my LHT. The front pads make noise sometimes, but it comes and goes. It seems to depend on temp and humidity.

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    I want to thank you for your responses. Very helpful.

    My final decision is to go with the Thinline Salmon (only) and for good measure carry one extra set of pads for insurance.
    Regarding the tires, I decided to go with the Schwalbe Marathon Plus Flatless. From my internet searches, it appears to be amongst the most puncture-proof and durable tires. Those are my primary criteria in choosing a tire for the Trans Am route. Rolling resistance issues will be minimal compared to other factors and can be optimized by appropriate tire inflation (while at the same time achieving the best compromise in comfort (shock absorbance), cornering force, handling and puncture resistance).

    As I have been trying to optimize many of the variables involved in making this trip, I have come upon a couple excellent articles related to optimal tire pressures for the load carried. They have everyday application to all bikers, touring or not.

    These were so enlightening to me that I just wanted to just share them with you as a token of my appreciation.

    www.bikequarterly.com/images/BQtireDrop.pdf and http://www.bccclub.org/documents/Tireinflation.pdf

    Thanks again,
    Chuck

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    The Schwalbes have become one of the go-to tires for touring. There are several different levels of protection to pick from. From the Marathons to the Super Marathons. I run Marathons right now without a flat problem. Not to jinx myself,but no flats in the last 3 years. Still, most here go heavier. Which is a good way to go if you're the belt and suspenders type. My decision to use the lighter tire is based on my inborn inabilty to get tires back on the rim after repairing the tube. The rim wresting factor increases with weight, sidewall layers, rubber hardness ,and bead construction.

    I had 5 flats in the first 3 weeks of riding with my then new 2004 Trek 520. Those tires, Bontrager Kevlar Belt somthing somethings, were the worst i've ever had. Amazingly, four of those flats were without a touring load. I switched out to the then go-to tire Conti Top Touring 2000. Wore two sets of those out before switching to the Schwalbes. I have zero faith in any Bontrager tire.

    You are riding a touring bike with 32 to 38cm tires. Rolling resistance is not a top of the list concern.
    Last edited by tom cotter; 01-25-13 at 02:08 PM.
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  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I am planning on doing the TransAm route from Astoria to Yorktown this Spring.
    NB: out here, where you are starting from, it's said 'summer starts on july 5th',
    the preceding month is often called Junuary.

    LBS, here, does UPS shipping and recieving of tourist's bikes, for either Pre Assembly to be ready to Ride ,
    or lay in waiting in the Carton for DIY re assembly when you Get here.. http://bikesandbeyond.com/

  16. #16
    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikerchuck View Post
    As I have been trying to optimize many of the variables involved in making this trip, I have come upon a couple excellent articles related to optimal tire pressures for the load carried. They have everyday application to all bikers, touring or not.

    These were so enlightening to me that I just wanted to just share them with you as a token of my appreciation.

    www.bikequarterly.com/images/BQtireDrop.pdf and http://www.bccclub.org/documents/Tireinflation.pdf

    Thanks again,
    Chuck

    re these articles, Ive seen the BQuarterly one before, and personally I find the suggested numbers to be low. You might want to be careful following them to the letter, as I find their numbers too low for me, especially for fast cornering, as at their levels, the tires feel they "move around" too much for my liking (also, we have big potholes around here, so I fear pinch flats at what they suggest too)

    In any case, on an unloaded bike, pressures less than the max really do make a diff to comfort and cornering, I totally agree. I would just caution you when loaded with too little pressures, as potholes etc will very much deform a tire so much more with 40-50lbs of stuff on a bike-also, one can easily add food and such to your load, so the actual weight of rider and bike can change.

    a stiff walled tire also will feel diff at a given press than a more flexible one, so again, be careful of underinflating, as in my opinion, with lots of stuff on a bike, the problems of underinflation ore more of an issue than being at a slightly higher pressure than what someone says is "ideal". (also, loaded, your bike will be more "forgiving" as the weight usually dampens out stuff to a certain extent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    NB: out here, where you are starting from, it's said 'summer starts on july 5th',
    the preceding month is often called Junuary.

    The start of snow-free non-freezing weather is somewhat of a concern for me. I was aiming to start about May 15th. I understand that snow storms in the northwest are not uncommon in May and that some snow and freezing temperatures are not unheard of in June, either. I guess whey they call it "Junuary". For me, the logistics work out better going form the West to the East. (that could change if strongly convinced otherwise). I am just hoping that any passes along the section between Astoria, OR and Missoula, MT are not closed when we would be passing through. I will be sure to bring appropriate cold weather gear (and pray). Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Even here in NY I will bike when it is 30-35 degrees (not that I find it pleasant, and that is the temp below which the bike goes on the rollers).


    LBS, here, does UPS shipping and recieving of tourist's bikes, for either Pre Assembly to be ready to Ride ,
    or lay in waiting in the Carton for DIY re assembly when you Get here.. http://bikesandbeyond.com/
    Fietsbob, thank you for the information. I actually spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to get the bike (and me) out there. UPS charges $110 ( currently )for shipping my bike and has a limit of 50 lbs. Shipbikes.com (which uses FedEX) will charge $$61 with a declared value of $100 or $81.25 for declared value of $2000 with a weight limit of 60 lbs. They will ship it to the UPS store located in Warrenton, OR , essentially just at the other end of the bridge before entering Astoria. That is also just a 0.4 mile walk from the bus stop in front of the Fred Meyer store on Highway 101. (After flying from NY to PDX, I will take the Max red line and switch to the Green line and get off at the Greyhound bus station in Portland and take the bus to Warrenton/Astoria for $15.30 (yes, I am a senior citizen-- the usual rate is $18). The UPS store has confirmed that they will hold the bike for a "reasonable" period of time. They have a $5 pickup fee. I would then assemble the bike there and likely stay at the local KOA at the mouth of the Columbia River and pedal off into the sunrise early the next morning.

    It is nice to know what the options are and nice to now that there is a bike shop in town if I find the need. ... at least that is the plan !!

    Hopefully, the above will be of help to others as they are also trying to figure out the logistics for the TransAm route.
    I welcome any helpful hints, suggestions. I enjoy learning from the experience of others; it is also less painful !

    Thanks, Chuck

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    Quote Originally Posted by djb View Post
    re these articles, Ive seen the BQuarterly one before, and personally I find the suggested numbers to be low. You might want to be careful following them to the letter, as I find their numbers too low for me, especially for fast cornering, as at their levels, the tires feel they "move around" too much for my liking (also, we have big potholes around here, so I fear pinch flats at what they suggest too)

    In any case, on an unloaded bike, pressures less than the max really do make a diff to comfort and cornering, I totally agree. I would just caution you when loaded with too little pressures, as potholes etc will very much deform a tire so much more with 40-50lbs of stuff on a bike-also, one can easily add food and such to your load, so the actual weight of rider and bike can change.

    a stiff walled tire also will feel diff at a given press than a more flexible one, so again, be careful of underinflating, as in my opinion, with lots of stuff on a bike, the problems of underinflation ore more of an issue than being at a slightly higher pressure than what someone says is "ideal". (also, loaded, your bike will be more "forgiving" as the weight usually dampens out stuff to a certain extent.
    DJB,
    thank you for the additional input. I will use as a general guideline and adjust pressures with your experience in mind and as conditions dictate. ,Chuck

  19. #19
    djb
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    Chuck, I'd suggest just trying out diff pressures (obviously get a good gauge, or a pump with a good one built in) and really being attentive to how the comfort improves as you go down from the max pressure indicated. If you can ride over diff surfaces and such, you'll feel pretty quickly how diff press feel.
    I am pretty light, 140 or so, and on my drop bar bike with 28 slicks, the max is stated as 120 or 125psi. I put them at about 90 front, 95 rear usually (and it invariably goes down over days, so I prob ride it with maybe 10psi less at times) and this is so much more comfortable than at 110-120.
    My 26in wheeled bike with 1.5 road tires with 25lbs on the back is fine at 60 rear, 65 front, and can run less if unloaded and that is fine for me.

    Both of these are perhaps 10-15psi more than what that BQ article puts as "ideal". Me at 140, bike at 30, maybe 5lbs of stuff in a pannier, and that article still less than my usual 90-95.

    great thing with all this is that its easy to just try diff pressures on the same riding loop and see how it feels, so you can see what feels best for you. (other factor as I mentioned is how tires always lose pressure over X days, and I dont always check exact pressures, so it will go down slowly, so another reason I am not keen on running the "absolute lowest" , especially if I can throw X lbs of stuff on my bikes at a store or whatever.

    have fun playing around with this, dont know where you live so it might be many months before you actually can....
    cheers

  20. #20
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    Have salmon cool stops on my 520, they stop & wear well. Also have 32 mm regular schwalbe marathons, a little heavier than the more recent higher tech tires- they wear well and have a very nice on road feel
    ride long & prosper

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