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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 03-14-13, 09:57 AM   #1
bikeguyinvenice
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Your ideal touring bike setup

I've been thinking about touring again. And thinking of the ideal bike setup. One that is flexible for different tours and conditions.
Here is what I consider important for myself:
  • front and rear rack capable
  • trekking bars
  • low gears (perhaps mtb gearing)
  • trailer capable
  • bionix e-assist capable (I'm a flat-lander)
  • braze ons for at least 2 water bottles
  • disc brakes (very good for a loaded bike)
  • dyno hub

I am sure that this list will change before I ride a tour again, but this is a starting point.
Of course this is a "bike list" I could probably make another list at least as long of smaller bolt on stuff.

So what's your ideal touring rig?
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Old 03-14-13, 10:02 AM   #2
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Really.... disc brakes?
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Old 03-14-13, 10:08 AM   #3
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Sure down hill on a loaded bike, I did a tour of Florida about 8 years ago and even the hills in central and northern Florida can be pretty rough on the desent side with rim brakes.
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Old 03-14-13, 10:41 AM   #4
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I'm on my 'ideal' touring bike as shown in the avatar, a Tour Easy bent. Been there and done that on uprights. I do still ride one locally.

I know, that's not what your were asking about, but it might be one day.

My upright former tourer is equipped with aerobars, something to consider for hill climbing and slicing through headwinds.
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Old 03-14-13, 10:57 AM   #5
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I'm on my 'ideal' touring bike as shown in the avatar, a Tour Easy bent. Been there and done that on uprights. I do still ride one locally.

I know, that's not what your were asking about, but it might be one day.

My upright former tourer is equipped with aerobars, something to consider for hill climbing and slicing through headwinds.
I've owned a few recumbents in the past. The last one was a RANS Velocity Squared. Super comfortable to longer distances.
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Old 03-14-13, 11:17 AM   #6
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Hey I'm just starting a touring build myself! I can tell you somethings I've come up with so far in planning my bike.

I picked up a steel Pake C'Mute frame on eBay for cheap <$200 and then a Surly Long Haul Trucker front fork for $85.

I'm going to have a SRAM mountain bike 9 speed long cage rear end with a range of 11 teeth to 32 teeth. The front end is a triple crank 48, 38, 28. This was the longest and hardest decision for me to make. I wanted to ensure a decent gear ratio (coming from a fixed gear this is exciting) and although I was apprehensive about having a triple crank it actually came out to seem to be the most economical and the extra weight is negligible considering how heavy this beast will be anyway. So my 'gear inch' range came out to be roughly 23 to 117. Went with basic, easy twist grip shifters for it.

I'm stealing the dynamo wheel off my old fixed gear and will be running front and rear running lights and I'll probably build a small USB plug or buy one, but I think I could wire one up in a housing.

As for brakes, I'm going with Tektro 720 cantilevers because I keep hearing really good things about them and I'd prefer something simple and cheap to fix over disc brakes. Although I LOVE disc brakes, especially the hydraulic ones on my girlfriend's mountain bike, I can't see justifying going out of your way for them. I read somewhere else that really, if you think about it, rim brakes are essentially just HUGE disc brakes. Also, rim brakes work fine stopping tons of weight, but discs can overheat and warp. If you were on a long downhill, I'd just take your time with it and keep your speed down.

If you're going with an electric assist bike, look into regenerative brakes. A lot of the newer systems seem to have compatibility and during down hills you could govern your speed and charge your battery. Win win!

Lastly, I'm going with trekking bars too! When I was on a student exchange in Germany my host had a bike with trekking bars. He said they were for old people and they were 'nicht modisch,' but whatever I think they look cool and they're really nice - oh and cheap!?

So yeah, I hope this helps getting some ideas flowing - I'm really excited to start touring and love to hear of other people who are too!
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Old 03-14-13, 11:32 AM   #7
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One advantage to discs is that you can trash your rims and still ride a wobbly out of true wheel that would be un rideable with rim brakes. But people have been touring on rim brakes for many decades long before discs came out. I personally like my cantilever brakes. Simple and bulletproof.
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Old 03-14-13, 11:38 AM   #8
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As for brakes, I'm going with Tektro 720 cantilevers because I keep hearing really good things about them and I'd prefer something simple and cheap to fix over disc brakes. Although I LOVE disc brakes, especially the hydraulic ones on my girlfriend's mountain bike, I can't see justifying going out of your way for them. I read somewhere else that really, if you think about it, rim brakes are essentially just HUGE disc brakes. Also, rim brakes work fine stopping tons of weight, but discs can overheat and warp. If you were on a long downhill, I'd just take your time with it and keep your speed down.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of brake.

Discs

Pros
exceptional stopping power
better performance in wet weather (debatable)

Cons
May warp if heated
tweak the fork and wheel with lateral stresses
Not readily available in some locations

Rim

Pros
Cheap!
adjustable performance (cantis)

Cons
Can heat up rims and cause a blowout
unusable if a broken spoke causes rim to be out of true
wear on rims

This isn't meant to be a comprehensive or correct list by any means, it's just an example. You have to weigh out what you want.
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Old 03-14-13, 11:51 AM   #9
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The OP recipe for a touring bike is pretty good. I would add an extra downtube bottle underneath. You also have to consider cable routing of brakes, gears and dynamo. How do you route the dynamo cable to the rear lamp? The style and position of braze-ons can affect how well the bike integrates. Do you want DT shifter boss or just a cable stop? Do you want a flat top tube with a clean lower face for shouldering, or a sloping TT for clearance.
My current tourer uses dropped bars with Tiagra STI but braking is weak.
You can also consider dropout style, vertical, horizontal or sliding, for hub gear conversion.
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Old 03-14-13, 12:10 PM   #10
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But people have been touring on rim brakes for many decades long before discs came out. I personally like my cantilever brakes. Simple and bulletproof.
1+. And light.
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Old 03-14-13, 12:43 PM   #11
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Various 'Ideals'


My scratch built tour bikes have 2 bottle boss sets on the top of the down tube, 1 on the seat tube,
& 1 underneath the down tube MSR stove bottle went there.

1, It has Scott Pedersen SE cantilevers. Modolo Levers , old style rather than Aero
Got a split Handlebar set made up of 2 narrow Rando Bend Sekae bars
in an open face stem with 2 pairs of clamps 4" apart (gripping what was the sleeve center of both bars).

I worked with A builder of Cargo Bikes in Eugene so used some of his tubes and the shop.
twin toptubes, parallel, let me put the frame pump between them [doesn't fall off when I lift the bike]
that also form the Loopstays for the rear triangle ..

Bruce Gordon's racks Beckman's Bags [they used to be collegues back then] + rain covers I had made for Me

the frame design got a lille extra work, in a welding shop in Killarney Ireland .. Un anticipated fatigue stresses

cured with a Gusset behind the top tube/head tube joints. went on to ride the thing
for another 6 months with out troubles. now rugged as a piece of farm equipment..



back in the States Again I got a deal on Koga Miyata Rohloff trekking bike ,
and have tweaked that over the years.. Ortlieb Pannier hauler..

tempted to buy a Brompton, touring bag, got a Carry Freedom City Trailer, too,
so It becomes a tour practicality..

Then I having watched Bike Fridays develop over the past decade+,
decided to add one of those..

but I had no influence on frame building of any of those.

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-15-13 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 03-14-13, 05:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikeguyinvenice View Post
I've been thinking about touring again. And thinking of the ideal bike setup. One that is flexible for different tours and conditions.
Here is what I consider important for myself:
  • front and rear rack capable
  • trekking bars
  • low gears (perhaps mtb gearing)
  • trailer capable
  • bionix e-assist capable (I'm a flat-lander)
  • braze ons for at least 2 water bottles
  • disc brakes (very good for a loaded bike)
  • dyno hub

I am sure that this list will change before I ride a tour again, but this is a starting point.
Of course this is a "bike list" I could probably make another list at least as long of smaller bolt on stuff.

So what's your ideal touring rig?
The popular standard, touring bicycle..Surly LHT, in your case, "Disc Trucker".
Ultimate custom touring rig..Co Motion Americano, IMO

Last edited by PDX Reborn; 03-14-13 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 03-14-13, 07:22 PM   #13
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.

So what's your ideal touring rig?
Wheels true, air in tires, seat/bar position right, after that it's gravy. I have four bikes and any one could be ideal. Felt 8, Surly LHT w26" wheels, Surly CrossCheck, BikeFriday Llama
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Old 03-14-13, 10:34 PM   #14
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The setup I'm dreaming of right now is a Bike Friday Pocket Llama with a Carry Freedom Y-Frame trailer(carrying a large rubbermaid type bin, a small front bag, and a hiking pack on the back rack.

If I decide to get a ride somewhere or take a bus, I can fold up the bike, strap it to the top of the trailer, and wear the backpack. Now I've just got a backpack and a large bin which fits on a car seat. Also means I can stay in hostels that lack space to store a normal bicycle inside - this has been a bit of an issue for me.
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Old 03-15-13, 12:05 AM   #15
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How reliable are trailers though? Most I've ever used are fairly crappy. hah
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Old 03-15-13, 12:30 AM   #16
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http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/11264 You'll find my idea's at the aforementioned link. There is an equipment list early on.
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Old 03-15-13, 03:05 AM   #17
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Fenders?
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Old 03-15-13, 04:29 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikeguyinvenice View Post
I've been thinking about touring again. And thinking of the ideal bike setup. One that is flexible for different tours and conditions.
Here is what I consider important for myself:
  • front and rear rack capable
  • trekking bars
  • low gears (perhaps mtb gearing)
  • trailer capable
  • bionix e-assist capable (I'm a flat-lander)
  • braze ons for at least 2 water bottles
  • disc brakes (very good for a loaded bike)
  • dyno hub

I am sure that this list will change before I ride a tour again, but this is a starting point.
Of course this is a "bike list" I could probably make another list at least as long of smaller bolt on stuff.

So what's your ideal touring rig?


So far I've toured on a sport-touring Marinoni Ciclo, a titanium built for long distance riding but not so much for touring, and a Thorn touring bicycle.

I have toured with a front rack, but found I didn't really need it ... when I had it I moved my bags from back to front, and it was comfortable either way. So I haven't used a front rack in years. I've never used a trailer, or felt the need to use one.

A dyno hub is a good idea if you're going to include randonneuring in your itinerary, as I have done ... but when I've toured without the randonneuring, I haven't needed one.

Low gears, however, are good.


Long Tour setup



Short Tour setup



Long tour setup
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Old 03-15-13, 04:55 AM   #19
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I use a variety of bikes for touring, the one thing they all have in common is two wheels and me as the motor....

Your list is certainly a good starting point.

Aaron
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Old 03-15-13, 05:35 AM   #20
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bikeguyinvenice, Really just your first and third bullet points are more important, the rest, while still important, are preferences. Along with those two points come rider fitment and comfort. The folks on this forum tour on pretty much everything, using a wide variety of detail items to personally enhance the experiance.

Personally I like the KISS principal. A good bike, a good rack system and decent weather.

Brad
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Old 03-15-13, 06:01 AM   #21
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We'll keep using our Thorns for touring for now, because they are good bicycles, but we've got our eyes on Bike Fridays. For the type of touring we like to do, they may be the ideal setup.
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Old 03-15-13, 06:35 AM   #22
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We'll keep using our Thorns for touring for now, because they are good bicycles, but we've got our eyes on Bike Fridays. For the type of touring we like to do, they may be the ideal setup.
$.02 go for a setup that can take 2.0 tires. I commutted on a NWT fitted with a Llama fork and found that a 2.0 Big Apple rolled easier than a 1.5" Kenda with mixed tread but more importantly it made for a much more secure ride when hitting gravel.
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Old 03-15-13, 07:16 AM   #23
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The most important thing for me would be friction shifting, no matter how many gears. I hate screwing around adjusting shift points and friction I find just nice for touring

Second most, big coushy tires!
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Old 03-15-13, 04:24 PM   #24
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http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/11264 You'll find my idea's at the aforementioned link. There is an equipment list early on.
That looks like a really nice set up.
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Old 03-15-13, 04:32 PM   #25
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I use a variety of bikes for touring, the one thing they all have in common is two wheels and me as the motor....

Your list is certainly a good starting point.

Aaron
I like your idea, I was thinking about a new bike for touring, but given how often I would get to use it for such, it wouldn't make much sense to buy a brand new rig. I can reconfigure my trek hybrid for touring for a couple hundred dollars. And it should suit my immediate needs for a touring machine, locally here in Florida to start touring again.
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