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  1. #1
    5am
    5am is offline
    RideLong
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    Is My Bike Any Good for Touring?

    I have a standard road bike - a Specialized Allez Elite III (2004 model) - with 700ccx23 tires. I keep reading that touring requires a stiff bike and other features (wider tires apparently than I have, for instance) and that carbon forks like my Specialized have problems carrying loads on front panniers. Makes me wonder if to go touring for any significant distance whether I have to buy a second (touring) bike.

    Anybody have experience with using road bikes for long distance touring? I really don't want to have to buy a separate touring bike.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Stannian's Avatar
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    I am in the exact same ball park as you. I have a trek 1200 that I want to do some light touring with sometime. I really don't want to buy another seperate touring bike, so I was thinking of a trailer maybe. I'm not really sure yet though.

  3. #3
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    I've some experience with race-bike touring. Last year I did a tour of 1200km through Europe with my Trek 5500. I did not change anything on the bike (tires 700X23, Bontrager Race Lite wheels).
    I did not have any problem with it! But I must say I did travel light; no campinggear and the total load was about 8 kg which I carried on my back. This was a bit too much, because I suffered some saddle-pain.

    This year I'm going to do a tour of 1800km (Brussels-Rome) with the same bike. But now the most of the load will be carried by a SQR-saddlebag (Carradice).

    So my conclusion is that you indeed can do touring with your race-bike, but only when you travel light. In my case my carbon-forks don't have any possibilility to carry panniers, so I'm obliged to use saddle-bags or small back-bags.

  4. #4
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    Quite a few riders do ultra-light touring, using a large saddlebag and a bar bag. Most road bikes are strong enough for this although they may geared too high.
    Carradice are about the only company making large saddlebags.

  5. #5
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    you have a point about the gearing, that's something which has to be considered well. My lowest gear is 39X27 and that's just low enough for me. Last year I did the Mont Ventoux with it.

  6. #6
    cyclotourist
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    Well, you can tour on anything and you guys prove it.
    Looks like keeping it light is the secret for race bike touring

  7. #7
    5am
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    RideLong
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    I've thought of a trailer also, but the idea of carrying a loaded trailer on a long, steep and fast downhills doesn't give me warm fuzzies about control of my bike. But maybe I'm wrong.

    The SQR pack is a great idea (thanks for the heads up Quickfit) but ultra light is just that - ultra light - and I doubt if it allows me to bring enough gear save for very, very short tour.

  8. #8
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    I also have my doubts about using a trailer... maybe you should test it before using it on a tour.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5am
    The SQR pack is a great idea (thanks for the heads up Quickfit) but ultra light is just that - ultra light - and I doubt if it allows me to bring enough gear save for very, very short tour.
    How long will you be touring? I think with about 8kg you can travel a few weeks with no probs. But of course as travelling light, I always stay in (small) hotels, so I don't need a sleeping bag, towels, etc. to carry with me.

  9. #9
    5am
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    RideLong
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quickfit
    I also have my doubts about using a trailer... maybe you should test it before using it on a tour.
    How long will you be touring? I think with about 8kg you can travel a few weeks with no probs. But of course as travelling light, I always stay in (small) hotels, so I don't need a sleeping bag, towels, etc. to carry with me.
    I wasn't planning on motels save for once a week or so. I want to do a tour from Virginia to Maine and back so I'd need at least a hammock and sleeping bag. What with a few clothes, some tools, camera, maps, etc. it's looking very iffy for my road bike.

    Perhaps I'll post a query about trailers and see what people's experience with them can tell us.

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    You might be able to modify the bicycle you have. I had carbon forks on mine and changed them out for steel so I could use a front rack.

    You should be able to do your tour fairly lightly loaded though - a couple panniers, some stuff strapped to the top of your rear rack, and a handlebar bag. Personally I would avoid the trailer simply because to me, it seems like a bit of a hassle and also would provide too much a temptation to carry more.

  11. #11
    Eschew Obfuscation! enduro's Avatar
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    What about a seatpost rack and bag? I've seen some models that are rated to carry 30 lbs. That plus a backpack should accomodate everything you need.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    If you are doing multiple day trips, to me, it seems as if you would want to dodget the backpack totally. I have an 04 allez that I plan on either attaching a trailer to, or putting some panniers on the back with a trunk bag above them.

  13. #13
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    I did about 3300Km in Europe last summer on a TREK 1000C with 2 rear panniers and a H/Bar bag, no camping gear. wgt about 33#. I, like most first timers took way to much stuff.The wgt was no prob just the idea I had so much I didn't use.Tools, camera and guide books were the heaviest
    Saw all kinds of bikes being used ,loaded, but few trailers
    Lay out on a table all u think about taking, leave it for a week and delete a bit at a time
    No more dress pants or shirt for me. Black Marmot rain pants are a good sub. 3 u'wear, 3 tees, 3 sox,are plenty, the new lite wgt stuff really does dry in a few hours
    Taking tent, bag, thermorest, and JetBoil this trip. No guide books, maps available in TI offices all over Europe, no power bars, def don't take swear shirts or levis
    Stay out of bike shops and sporting goods stores. those places are whirlpools, suking u in to buy stuff u don't need
    Your bike sounds fine, don't spent the bux on another one, use the cash to extend your travel time

  14. #14
    Enamoured of bicycles Bizikleto's Avatar
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    There you have a weathered tourer: Travelinguyrt. I could have used more words to say the same but wouldn't have been more precise. 100 percent agree. That's my experience too with my roadie with no braze-ons (had to use brackets to fit the rear rack to the frame) and 700x25c some 15 years ago all over Europe in several trips.

    All the best.
    Last edited by Bizikleto; 03-22-05 at 02:14 AM.
    Doubt is usually the beginning of wisdom. Scott Peck.
    There is no bigger signal of ignorance than that of believing impossible the unexplainable. S. Bilard

  15. #15
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    I would always recommend a fatter tire for any kind of loaded touring. But you could get buy with skinnier if you were only using small bags and not a lot of camping equipment. My brother and I did the length of Death Valley last spring with just handlebar bags and rear panniers on our Kleins.

  16. #16
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    I just spent two weeks touring on my road bike in february...carried 28 lbs of stuff...including sleeping bag and sleeping pad...and had plenty of clothing and everything i needed...aluminum frame and carbon fork and 23's for my tires....i was worried about spokes not handling the trip, but everything was fine and now i don't plan on buying a touring bike unless one presents itself...

    enjoy the ride...

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