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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 02-24-14, 06:41 AM   #1
tshelver
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Touring on a 29er?

I recently sold my beloved recumbent tadpole trike, which was really well kitted out for touring. The big issue is that local roads (I am currently in the Philippines, and will hit the rest of SE Asia over the next few years) can change unexpectedly to something not suitable for the wide wheelbase and low ground clearance of a trike.

So, I was expecting to build a 2-wheel recumbent, but the non-availability of suitable materials, and the difficulty, cost and delay of importing the same are leading me to look at a DF.

The only semi-suitable bikes available locally at a reasonable cost, and in my size, are 29er XC mountain bikes. There is a new 19 in town, and a 21 frame, and that's it.

There are several negatives, one of the biggest is how to attach luggage. I have a trailer, which would be sort of acceptable for heavy duty touring, but mostly I can get by with much less luggage than the trailer allows.
For day rides, I carry 2 to 6 liters of water, a fairly complete set of tools and basic spares, snacks, and so on.
The bikes I have seen don't have lugs or anything else.

Could a good welder add lugs?

Is there a rack system (DIY preferably) that can be modified to attach?

Anybody else toured on a 29er, and am I stupid to think about this?

Thanks

Tony
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Old 02-24-14, 09:49 AM   #2
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I sold my Americano and I'm now using a 29er with no problems. Consider frame bags. You might be able to download plans / patterns from the internet and have someone make them for you. Of course, you won't be able to carry much stuff. OTOH you are not likely to be camping while in SEA.
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Old 02-24-14, 01:53 PM   #3
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Look at the salsa fargo or the surly orge. Steel with all the bits to fit racks.
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Old 02-24-14, 02:09 PM   #4
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You can use an Old Man Mountain rack that attaches via QR, or tow a trailer, this will work.

Most welders can't weld a bike without ruining it. The tubing walls are very thin, and most welders would just burn a hole right through it. I's possible they could attach rack/fender bosses to a dropout, but I suspect it would lack adequate strength and eventually fail, and they also would possibly screw up your dropouts in the process too.

Most mtbs have fairly short chainstays - even if you fit a rack, you'll have to use small bags, or mount them far back (which is a bad idea for handling) to keep the heels of your shoes from striking the bags as you pedal.

I'll echo the previous poster's comment: get a bike suitable for touring. A Surly LHT will fit most people and is hard to beat cost-wise.
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Old 02-24-14, 02:44 PM   #5
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If you're still considering a recumbent, consider finding a Y frame and using a Cruzbike conversion. There's a BROL member who's ridden his conversion over 30,000 miles. David Byrne rode is Cruzbike Sofrider "around the world" (just shy of 30,000 miles).

I wouldn't hesitate to tour on one of these bikes. You can load them nicely (particularly if you mock up below-the-seat bags in addition to panniers on the rear rack).

Here's the conversion kit applied to a folding bike:


I don't think there's any issue touring on a 29er (although I'd personally ditch the knobby tires unless you're really going off-road). With p-clamps, it should be pretty easy to get whatever rack setup in which you're interested.
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Old 02-25-14, 04:23 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input.
For various reasons, including shipping costs, import duties, import hassles, time and my budget, importing a touring bike isn't an option I will consider. I also don't think a touring bike will buy me a lot over my trike, other than being able to deal with roads where single track vehicles can negotiate, where a trike can't.
As for comfort and the ability to handle a good load, the touring bike option is way behind the trike I just sold (IMHO).

I've been riding the trike quite a bit here, and have a good idea of the relative abilities.

The Cruzbike conversion is one I've considered, and have not ruled out. My issues are that some of the roads I travel already have me spinning the rear wheel on my trike (even paved and with a bit of a load to weight it, and that's in my subdivision), and then the fairly chaotic traffic here, where slow speed stability and responsiveness is key.
Lastly, there is the issue of finding a suitable donor in my size: I'd like to ride it as an MTB first, to see how I get on with the concept before investing in a Cruz conversion, and so far I have not been able to find any bike in my size other than a 29er.
Or will a Cruz be OK using a 29er as a base (I'm 6'2)?

I've also considered RecycledRecumbents. I've had a LWB bent before of very similar dimensions, and as a result would really like at least rear suspension.
Again, finding affordable donor frames of suitable quality is an issue.

Last night I found a potential supplier of carbon fiber and composites in the USA, who seems able to meet my needs as far as payment and shipping terms go, I just have to work the financial and duty / tax issues out, as well as getting a complete plan and list of materials. So I could still build something: my ideal bike for the way I ride here is likely the Azub Max and 6, and the HP Velotechnik Grasshopper, so something with similar geometry and components would likely work.

But the reason I like the 29er idea is there is almost zero waiting time, and known upfront costs. I have a trailer, I can likely get luggage made locally (if I can find suitable material, I've been looking without success so far in my city).
As for the chainstay issue, my understanding is that the 29ers have longer chainstays than 26" MTBs, maybe I should go and measure one up to make sure.
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Old 02-25-14, 06:22 AM   #7
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You can use 700 c wheels on a Cruzbike conversion (same rim as 29), but I don't know how wide a tire you can use. I'm 6 '1 "and think most 29" would be too tall after converting. The converted folding bike shown above is mine (and would fit you). In general, you want a smaller donor than what you would ride unconverted.

I can ride my Cruzbikes at less than 3 mph; I find them very stable at low speeds.

If I were you, I'd look for a fully suspended y frame mountain bike and use that as a donor. Suspension will help keep the wheels on the pavement and reduce spinning on crappy roads.
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Old 02-25-14, 10:10 AM   #8
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You should look at the line of racks that Thule just came out with. They attach to the frame with clamps and have really gotten good reviews from those who use them. I am not sure how available they are in your part of the world.
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Old 02-26-14, 01:49 PM   #9
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Go for the 29er frame and OMM racks with clamps or check if frame have v-brake pivots.

They are schwalbe marathon mondials in 29x2,00 and lots 29er 36h rims for disk brakes...
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Old 02-27-14, 07:20 AM   #10
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Thanks for the rack suggestions, that would probably be a lot easier to bring in than a whole bike. Plenty of 26ers available in 16 to 17 sizes for the Cruzbike conversion as well. But prices for fully suspended ones are a bit mind-boggling after comparing to what is available back in the USA.
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Old 02-27-14, 08:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by tshelver View Post
But prices for fully suspended ones are a bit mind-boggling after comparing to what is available back in the USA.
Aren't there used ones available? Or a reasonably equipped 26" bike (for parts) and a cheap fully suspended 26" frame?
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Old 02-28-14, 06:32 AM   #12
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The only frame I can find in a 19 or above (19 is slightly small for me) is a 29er hardtail. The only 26er full suspension bike I found in a 19 (I need a 20 if I am picky) is a DH version, not that great for touring, and approaching $2k in price for something that spec wise is pretty average.

I am easily in the top 1 percent for height (at 6'2) here. And Filipinos approaching my height usually have shorter legs. So it really doesn't pay the bike shops to stock much over 17" bikes.

I've looked for parts bikes (as a donor to a recumbent build), and I'd be better off buying new from the asking prices.
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Old 02-28-14, 07:01 AM   #13
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I'm in the same situation in Japan. I'm looking for an off-road touring bike and too tall for what's in the shops. One option I'm considering is buying a frame from singular or on-one and building it up with parts from wiggle or ribble all in the UK. The shipping costs are much less than from the states.
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Old 02-28-14, 07:17 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by tshelver View Post
The only frame I can find in a 19 or above (19 is slightly small for me) is a 29er hardtail. The only 26er full suspension bike I found in a 19 (I need a 20 if I am picky) is a DH version, not that great for touring, and approaching $2k in price for something that spec wise is pretty average.

I am easily in the top 1 percent for height (at 6'2) here. And Filipinos approaching my height usually have shorter legs. So it really doesn't pay the bike shops to stock much over 17" bikes.

I've looked for parts bikes (as a donor to a recumbent build), and I'd be better off buying new from the asking prices.
Oy vey!

In the states, we've got Walmart where you can buy a y-frame fully suspended bike new for $100. The components are crap, but the frame is fine. You can also find good used bikes for not much more.

For the prices your quoting, if you had a friend in the US who could find you a decent frame and ship it (particularly if its only the frame), that may be a way to go.
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Old 02-28-14, 09:36 AM   #15
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I toured last summer in Europe on a 29" bikes - GT Peace, just replaced the tires to slick tyres (700x35c).
For racks I have used the OldManMountain Sherpa front and rear.
But GT Peace comes stock with rigid fork.
Maybe you can find some "hybrid" bikes.
Hope you find something nice :-)
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