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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 03-13-13, 07:36 PM   #1
Jbone78
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Gearing up a mountain bike?

Anybody ever done it for touring?

I like my mountain bike and wouldn't mind using it for some long on road/off road trips, but it's too slow on the road.

Thoughts?
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Old 03-13-13, 07:53 PM   #2
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It'll still be slow once you load your gear in the Panniers, put smooth but not too narrow tires on

and enjoy the trip, don't rush through it.
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Old 03-13-13, 08:42 PM   #3
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Yes, a lot of ppl have toured on mtbs, especially non-shocked early models. Ppl tour on everything imaginable, including unocycles. The chain stays are relatively short, inducing heel strike of the panniers, but that can be managed. Old Man Mountain makes front racks for shocked wheels.

Touring is not a race. If you're comfortable on the mtb for 5-6 hour/day, day in and out, go for it, with smooth tires. Lock out the shock if able.

Or get yourself a touring specific bike for a faster ride. Or a road bike for a really fast, credit card tour.
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Old 03-13-13, 09:22 PM   #4
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I am buyin a Surly Ogre mtb you mount everything on it racks, fenders. I am going to tour with it and use it for comutting.
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Old 03-13-13, 09:24 PM   #5
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Anybody ever done it for touring?
Yes. 1998 Specialized Hard Rock. Only bike I've ever toured on. Eight or nine tours so far, 25,000 miles on the bike (not all from loaded touring, but many thousands were). MTBs can make great touring bikes.

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Old 03-14-13, 04:10 AM   #6
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Maybe I should clarify a bit. I am wondering if I can add different gears for my bike?

It seems that when I'm riding, I'm in gear 20/21 all the time. Then is I'm rolling down hill, I stop pedaling because I'm maxed out.

And yes, I understand I'm not racing. But sometimes, there's just nothing to look at and it's time to just get there.
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Old 03-14-13, 06:17 AM   #7
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You can run a chainring as large as 48T up front and still keep a mtb FD. Wouldn't suggest anything larger for touring anyway.
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Old 03-14-13, 09:54 AM   #8
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Yes, of course you can. What do you have now?
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Old 03-14-13, 10:11 AM   #9
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Yup... changing the chainrings is probably the best and cheapest way to go.....
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Old 03-14-13, 02:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jbone78 View Post
Maybe I should clarify a bit. I am wondering if I can add different gears for my bike?

It seems that when I'm riding, I'm in gear 20/21 all the time. Then is I'm rolling down hill, I stop pedaling because I'm maxed out.

And yes, I understand I'm not racing. But sometimes, there's just nothing to look at and it's time to just get there.
Changing rings is relatively easy. You just have to know what bolt circle your crank uses. You can calculate it by using this method. Some rings on inexpensive bikes are riveted into place which makes changing them difficult if not impossible, however.

Bikeman has a good selection of chainrings.
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Old 03-14-13, 05:10 PM   #11
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Sweet info guys!
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Old 03-14-13, 05:17 PM   #12
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, ... whatever 20/21 means? its not like 20t:21t, an actual ratio, is it? [.095 : 1]

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Old 03-14-13, 09:24 PM   #13
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, ... whatever 20/21 means? its not like 20:21, an actual ratio, is it? [.095 : 1]

Drunk again?
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Old 03-14-13, 09:52 PM   #14
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Yes , you can. I geared up my old Norco Tanya mtb for the same reasons as you. I ended up with 11-12-14-16-18-21-24-28 on the wheel, and 20-34-46 on the crank. I had to use non-set position gear changers to be able to switch gears smoothly, and to ensure everything was properly aliened, but it worked quite well. I was able to crawl up very steep grades fully loaded, and I could keep up to riders on fast street bikes. (I even won a few road races with that old bike) I used that bike for literally thousands and thousands of touring miles, but I noticed this set-up was a bit harder on the sprockets and chain than my stock hybrid touring bike, comparing the same mileage, which forced me to replace them sooner.
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Old 03-15-13, 09:05 AM   #15
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Either bigger chainrings or watch an internet auction website for a used crankset that has the rings you want and will work with your existing bottom bracket. If you get a used crankset, look closely at the photos of the rings to try to figure out if they have too much wear, a lot of people try to get good money for worn out rings on the internet.

Last summer on a 500 mile tour on my 26 inch wheel touring bike, I used Schwalbe Marathon 559X40 tires. Worked great on pavement, rolled very well at high pressure. I used the ones with GreenGuard whatever that is.
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Old 03-15-13, 09:42 AM   #16
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Like, the song goes: "I'm Not Drunk, Just Drinkin"
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Old 03-17-13, 05:11 PM   #17
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I've been touring on a Bridgestone MB-1 for over 10 years. I've left the original rings which do "max out" on many downhills. I figure why not coast? I don't think over the course of a long day getting any extra spin out of my drivetrain on 6%+ downhill is going to get me to my destination any more than a minute or two sooner. I put aero bars on my mt. flat bars and in an aero position I've hit 50+ mph on the bike fully loaded with front and rear panniers. Even with a 53/12 I would have maxed out at that speed.
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Old 03-17-13, 05:32 PM   #18
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It seems that when I'm riding, I'm in gear 20/21 all the time. Then is I'm rolling down hill, I stop pedaling because I'm maxed out.
It sounds like you're mashing rather than spinning. Mashing works for short durations but not for hours.
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Old 03-17-13, 05:53 PM   #19
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For a short tour or a long all day ride this:



Lockable Rock Shox Tora, Full Deore group, mega range 9 speed at the back with an 11t, 48t large ring at the front, 1.75 26" slicks. I have a solar powered blinky and 4 other lights on the back and mount 1400 lumens worth of light at the front with spare batteries to last 12 hours to allow me to ride anytime. The bar ends and extensions give me lots of hand positions for all day comfort. Mounted a smart phone holder for GPS/monitoring/comms/mp3 duty on the top bar within easy reach. The small bag at the back can be larger if need be, but for my purposes that and a frame pack with good straps to spread the load work fine. This bike has gone 15,000km in 10 months so far. Longest ride in a single day was 220km in about 10 hours of actual riding time (with some killer climbs in the middle). Top speed of around 50-60kmh downhill (could go faster but I simply don't want to) and 28-35kmh comfortable cruise.
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