Well, like Titanic firing up the extra boiler while headed for the ice fields, so my preps for an attempted inaugural 2,000 mile pedal to New York State from Texas beginning in June are picking up speed. I have been commuting 10 to 20 miles round trip a day (dependent upon available time) and am fixing to shortly add a BOB trailer to pull around so I can load it up with a couple of bags of sand or something for a training effect.
My bikes to choose from are a steel framed '89 Schwinn Voyageur touring bike, barely used. A ~2001 Kona Blast aluminum hardtail mountain bike w/Marzocchi fork. An '88 steel-framed Rockhopper with an old ~1991 era polymer fork long since bottomed out and now functionally a rigid fork.
Oddly enough I like the old Rockhopper best, but I would attempt this tour on any of the above.
One of the reasons I like the Rockhopper is because when we found it rode hard and put up wet in a pawn shop twenty years back, I promptly had the worn-out crankset replaced with whatever crankset the LBS had on sale ( a Shimano STX RC), as it turns out one with longer than usual crank arms.
Without measuring them, suffice to say that these crank arms are significantly longer than those on either the Voyageur touring bike or the Kona mountain bike. I'm finding now as I switch between bikes on my commute that I'm really liking these longer crank arms, so much so that I'd even switch out the others (tho they'd come pretty close to the ground on the Voyageur).
My question is this..... I have done five-six hour days on long rides on the Rockhopper without knee or leg problems, and I really like the greater leverage/longer leg travel these longer crank arms give when climbing hills.
Is there a downside to longer crank arms on tour, when one will be pedaling long hours most every day for a month or more?
This is important because at way-past fifty, I'm definitely out-of-warranty