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Old 12-27-13, 12:55 PM   #1
newbie96
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Touring: Upgrading vs. Buying New

Hey, people. I need your help. I ride a 1987, entry level Panasonic road bike (DX 10000). It's a 12 speed (2 in front, 6 in rear) with 52 & 40 teeth on the front chain rings and 13-26 in the rear. The crank also measures out at 190 mm. I'm trying to figure out whether to upgrade my drive train or just to invest in a new touring bike. I can possibly afford Jamis or Surly entry levels, although it will be tight. Nothing on the Panasonic is particularly nice, but it has a steel frame and works well enough.

I want to do a tour of NC this summer--approximately 650 miles from mountains to coast. I've done a similar tour in Belgium on a MTB before, but not on my current bike. While my bike is well-suited for daily city commuting (I carry heavy grocery loads home on this bike) and weekend joy rides (40-50 miles), I was told the gear ratios wouldn't be up for touring. I plan on traveling very light (camping, but not necessarily cooking), although I have some heavier-duty Arkel panniers in case I decide to bring more along. I'm estimating a week of riding. I'm also young and fairly fit, so I don't know if I'll need extremely low gears (perhaps I'm overestimating my endurance, however).

Any help, suggestions, advice, or resources would be greatly appreciated. I'm relatively new to cycling, but certainly hooked.
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Old 12-27-13, 01:28 PM   #2
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If your crank can accept 46 34 teeth chain rings replace the ones you have. You could also change the free wheel so you have a large 32 tooth cog.
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Old 12-27-13, 01:49 PM   #3
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If you are going over some of the mountain passes in NC that are 4 miles long at 7% grade you will need a 22, 24 or 26 tooth small chain ring. Otherwise you might get by if you stay in the semi-flat lands with a 34 tooth ring.
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Old 12-27-13, 01:51 PM   #4
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Check out the Windsor Tourist over at Bikes Direct or the Nashbar Touring bike. They are both about the same bike with the Nashbar better equipped and on sale now. Fuji makes a similar bike. I think that they all use the same frame and fork. For about $600 it would seem to me a better choice for touring than your old bike.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...12_-1___202339

FYI: I have the Windsor Tourist and use it on crushed limestone rails-to-trails.

Update: Looks like the Nashbar bike has a 30x28 granny gear and the Windsor comes with a 30x32 granny. If big hills while loaded are in your future, maybe the Windsor may be better.

Last edited by JerrySTL; 12-27-13 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 12-27-13, 08:31 PM   #5
newbie96
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Check out the Windsor Tourist over at Bikes Direct or the Nashbar Touring bike. They are both about the same bike with the Nashbar better equipped and on sale now. Fuji makes a similar bike. I think that they all use the same frame and fork. For about $600 it would seem to me a better choice for touring than your old bike.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...12_-1___202339

FYI: I have the Windsor Tourist and use it on crushed limestone rails-to-trails.

Update: Looks like the Nashbar bike has a 30x28 granny gear and the Windsor comes with a 30x32 granny. If big hills while loaded are in your future, maybe the Windsor may be better.
Thanks, everybody. How do you think either of these compare with the Surly or the Jamis? I'm wondering if spending the extra 300 would make a tremendous difference.
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Old 12-27-13, 08:34 PM   #6
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If your crank can accept 46 34 teeth chain rings replace the ones you have. You could also change the free wheel so you have a large 32 tooth cog.
Would the bike handle okay otherwise, do you think? And also, do you think it's worth the investment of new rings, depending of course on whether it can accept those sizes?
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Old 12-27-13, 08:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JerrySTL View Post
Check out the Windsor Tourist over at Bikes Direct or the Nashbar Touring bike. They are both about the same bike with the Nashbar better equipped and on sale now. Fuji makes a similar bike. I think that they all use the same frame and fork. For about $600 it would seem to me a better choice for touring than your old bike.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...12_-1___202339

FYI: I have the Windsor Tourist and use it on crushed limestone rails-to-trails.

Update: Looks like the Nashbar bike has a 30x28 granny gear and the Windsor comes with a 30x32 granny. If big hills while loaded are in your future, maybe the Windsor may be better.
It is real easy to change out the 30T chain ring to a 24T.
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Old 12-27-13, 08:38 PM   #8
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Thanks, everybody. How do you think either of these compare with the Surly or the Jamis? I'm wondering if spending the extra 300 would make a tremendous difference.
My friend has 70,000 miles on his Windsor.

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Old 12-27-13, 08:57 PM   #9
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If money is tight, the BD windsor is tough to beat at $600 (the Nashbar runs $750). Personally I'd buy the Surly LHT but in all honesty I can't say it's worth 2x as much.

If you want to do this inexpensively, just upgrade the shifting system on your bike. You can post your questions in the mechanics and/or touring forums and you'll get a lot of advice. You'll need a triple, a new chain, and probably a new rear derailleur. It will cost you less than a new bike. This nashbar triple for example runs $60: http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...9#ReviewHeader. It has a steel 22 tooth inner (which is a good thing on a small chainring) and a 22 running on a 26 rear will give you a nice low first gear. You may need a few tools but you will learn how to work on your bike which is a good thing to do if you're going touring.

Edit: I did a bit of research on the Panasonic DX 1000. This looks more like a sports touring bike than a true touring bike. The chain stays don't look that long (which can be a pain for heel clearance). You may just be better off buying the Windsor.

Last edited by bikemig; 12-27-13 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 12-27-13, 09:35 PM   #10
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If money is tight, the BD windsor is tough to beat at $600 (the Nashbar runs $750). Personally I'd buy the Surly LHT but in all honesty I can't say it's worth 2x as much.

If you want to do this inexpensively, just upgrade the shifting system on your bike. You can post your questions in the mechanics and/or touring forums and you'll get a lot of advice. You'll need a triple, a new chain, and probably a new rear derailleur. It will cost you less than a new bike. This nashbar triple for example runs $60: http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...9#ReviewHeader. It has a steel 22 tooth inner (which is a good thing on a small chainring) and a 22 running on a 26 rear will give you a nice low first gear. You may need a few tools but you will learn how to work on your bike which is a good thing to do if you're going touring.

Edit: I did a bit of research on the Panasonic DX 1000. This looks more like a sports touring bike than a true touring bike. The chain stays don't look that long (which can be a pain for heel clearance). You may just be better off buying the Windsor.

Thanks, people. Keep the advice coming. This is tremendously helpful!
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Old 12-28-13, 06:21 AM   #11
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I think you'd have to be an extremely strong climber and/or have an extremely light load to enjoy touring with those gears in the NC mountains. It is possible, though.

I've toured on a road bike before and didn't really enjoy it. But that was after several thousand miles of touring and I was sure I was solidly in the market before I made the change. If buying a new bike is possible, and you're fairly sure you'll be touring more, I'd order a Nashbar.

Otherwise, give the old bike a try--it just might work for you. And a couple of $30 purchases (a chain ring and rear cluster) might give you good enough gearing for your climbing.
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Old 12-28-13, 07:52 AM   #12
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Upgrading the drivetrain with a new crank and freewheel would be easy enough, you can even get down to thirty small in front with as large as a 34 in back without spending too much (a 34 may require a new derailer). On the other hand a new bike is always THE BEST!

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Old 12-28-13, 08:01 AM   #13
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$600-$700 is what a "new" touring bike will cost from BD or Nashbar. The alternatives are to fix your existing bike (not expensive or difficult but the geometry may not not optimal for touring) or buy a used bike that will do the job. Used touring bikes are available and, unless you are going for one of the top line touring bikes, will run you less than $600-$700. Cheapest used bike for touring will probably be an old school vintage MTB with longish stays which probably means a MTB built in the 80s (by the 90s they generally had shorter stays). Rigid mtbs can readily be converted to touring use with a trekking handlebar which is a cheap addition since it works with your existing levers and shifters:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=148091

I'm in the process of converting an old school MTB with longish stays from the 80s for touring use.
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Old 12-28-13, 08:23 AM   #14
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Thanks, everybody. How do you think either of these compare with the Surly or the Jamis? I'm wondering if spending the extra 300 would make a tremendous difference.
The Tourist is a heavy bike. Mine's about 27 lbs ready to ride not counting water bottles or racks. Possibly the Surly or Jamis is lighter.

I just checked and both the Tourist and the Nashbar cousin are in limited quantities. Looks like the 43. 49, and 64 cm frames are only available. So you need to be rather short or very tall unless they get more in stock. The Surly or Jamis might be a better choice for that reason alone.
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Old 12-28-13, 08:23 AM   #15
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If you are going over some of the mountain passes in NC that are 4 miles long at 7% grade you will need a 22, 24 or 26 tooth small chain ring. Otherwise you might get by if you stay in the semi-flat lands with a 34 tooth ring.
Agree.

Or, watch ebay for a cheap triple crank. They come up now and then that have chainrings that are not worn out yet. I have bought several triples on ebay that were taken off of new bikes at bike shops for a customer upgrade - thus they had been installed but never used.

I assume you have a square taper bottom bracket, you might not need a different one if you can find a good price on a square taper triple. Note that the older square taper Campy triples (Mirage or Veloce) do not use the same square taper dimensions, but some have used non-Campy bottom brackets without problem. But I always buy a Campy specificiation bottom bracket for a Campy crank.

It is rare to find tripelizers at a good price that would work but you might get lucky. It is a chainring that goes on a double crank in the inner position, but that chainring has the mounting for a third chainring to use as a triple. But you would have to be very lucky to find one that would work well for you for a good price.
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