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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 03-10-14, 09:15 PM   #26
lordbikely
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[MENTION=7422]gregw[/MENTION] That advice has already been made thanks. Last time I checked this is bikeforums, not gearedbikeforums, and this is the touring sub-forum, not the geared touring sub-forum. We all have different preferences and I don't believe I should be made to feel out of place when I ask for advice here. Everyone else has been pleasant and helpful. If you have any more advice, please be respectful.
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Old 03-10-14, 09:29 PM   #27
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i've got one last suggestion, but before i give it, let me add something to my description of my last tour, as mentioned previously.

i met a young man on that tour, a recent college graduate from somewhere in Oregon. he was on a bike tour down the ACA pacific coast route headed for his hometown of San Diego. we met just south of Fortuna. his bike, an oldschool touring 12 speed, was well loaded with the lowest gear being probably a 39Tx28T. he was mildly complaining about his knees after a nasty climb out of Crescent City on 101.

we camped at the same spot and in the morning were going to ride together over the pass at Leggett to route 1. he didn't make it that far.

after about an hour or two and well before we reached Leggett he said his knee just couldn't take it anymore and was abandoning his tour. my heart went out to him. he was very disappointed, seeing as how he had been looking forward to this trip for quite a while, not to mention inconvenienced. we were in the middle of nowhere and he still had to backtrack 20 miles just to find a town that was on a bus route to get to a town where he could rent a car. he didn't know what he was going to do with the bike and touring gear.

anyway, my suggestion is to get what you think you will need and take a day or two and ride to, say Malibu. see what you think. then the next weekend go to San Luis Obispo or Santa Maria or Lompoc or Solvang (the back way). it will provide you with a point of reference for your decisions that only real-world experience can give.

there is no way anybody here can determine what you are capable of. good luck.
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Old 03-10-14, 10:22 PM   #28
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Why not a 3spd?

3? why not 10??? WHY NOT? Hills? Fixed Gear???, LOADED???? Get a real GOOD HELMET man.
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Old 03-11-14, 06:37 AM   #29
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May I ask why the need to ridicule someone doing something different? If he tries and fails, so what? He is only asking experienced folks for advice, and many gave it.

I ride single speed, and am doing my first single speed "tour" this year. I started a thread with a question, and specifically didn't mention the SS part because I didn't think folks would get past that and answer the question. This OP asked specific questions, and seems to have taken most of the advice given as to gear selection. Would I try the ride I have planned for me fixed vs SS? I would not. That doesn't mean he shouldn't. At least in my opinion.
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Old 03-11-14, 06:55 AM   #30
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Another suggestion is to keep your gear SUPER minimal. I've adapted to touring w/ less and less gear over time. A couple of years ago, I went to a rackless setup based on Revelate Designs bags. Not only am I now carrying much less weight in actual gear, I also dropped the weight of a racks and panniers, which are surprisingly heavy. This also allows for easier packing when shipping or traveling with my bike and gear to/from the tour.

I tour geared, single speed, and fixed, depending on what I feel like doing for that particular trip.
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Old 03-11-14, 10:40 AM   #31
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Carry less gear, bring more Money.
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Old 03-11-14, 11:52 AM   #32
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Rack I'll probably get what I had before: an Axiom Adjustable Journey rated at 100lbs


@LeeG Why no panniers? Not even small/medium ones? Does the bike handle funny with them? Also, I've looked at the Sturmey Archer S3x, but I've heard mixed reviews, and the possibility of them breaking. That scares me a bit. I like the simplicity of fixed cogs that I most likely don't have to worry about.
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because it won't handle well.
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Old 03-11-14, 04:45 PM   #33
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I just use front panniers mostly (more around town ) there the weight on the front steadies the steering .

a Lot.

a stuff sack on the top of the rear rack with the minimal

gear to sleep in when you cant reach a B&B or other indor accomodation.


for my several long tours
I used a 7x3 friction shifted derailleur drive train it worked fine. [4 panniers balanced the load]

but if the guy wants to go fixie , thats his choice.. it's been done. (on penny farthing bikes, too)

freewheeling 3 speeds from S-A have been made since the mid 30's . (Circa,Edward the8th)
then WW2 began to be built up towards.. by the other 'axis of evil'..

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Old 03-11-14, 05:16 PM   #34
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Any more suggestions/comments? Thanks all, this forum is super helpful.
Always more, hopefully helpful.

Less is More when cycle touring or backpacking.
Don't know if you are planning to strictly camp out or bail to motels every few days (my old mode) but if you pack for a "cold camp" which involves no cooking at all in a campsite you can dump a lot of weight w/ stove, cooking gear & elaborate foodstuffs left off the load.

It's not like you will be in rural Alaska, coffee & meals won't be inaccessible & can be a welcome break. Find local places to eat & carry only water & palatable end-day cold meals. A nice breakfast & a big hot lunch at a café will see you through and you don't have to carry a café uphill.

I'm tempted to try the Sturmey Archer S3X fixed-gear 3 speed hub myself since gravity on the local hills has increased lately.
I ride a 1956 AW hub daily so reliability isn't a concern, but I'm not going to try to haul a touring load up a mountain.

The Long Distance sub-forum has pics of FG rider's machines loaded for 1200KM timed Brevet rides, might help you think out your loading strategy. Balance that load F&R and pare to essentials.

Enjoy the project,

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Old 03-12-14, 04:54 AM   #35
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I'm tempted to try the Sturmey Archer S3X fixed-gear 3 speed hub myself since gravity on the local hills has increased lately.
I ride a 1956 AW hub daily so reliability isn't a concern, but I'm not going to try to haul a touring load up a mountain.



I have an s3x never had trouble with it but I have brakes and it does have some chain lash . If it was me . Just use a flip flop with a bailout on one side. Sounds like a great tour

Thom
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Old 03-12-14, 06:26 AM   #36
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The idea that an S3X hub is in anyway, other than chain-line, comparable to a fixed gear makes no sense to me.

It is:
  • a set of gears
  • complex or impossible to repair
  • built into your wheel
  • cabled
  • heavy
  • expensive
  • fiddly

Last edited by BigAura; 03-12-14 at 06:35 AM.
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Old 03-12-14, 07:13 AM   #37
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The idea that an S3X hub is in anyway, other than chain-line, comparable to a fixed gear makes no sense to me.

It is:
  • a set of gears
  • complex or impossible to repair
  • built into your wheel
  • cabled
  • heavy
  • expensive
  • fiddly
The S3X does not freewheel, that's what a Fixed Gear Is.
It's an IGH 3spd FG w/ 1.0, .75, .63 ratios.
It's a hub, needs to be built into a wheel.
It does require a cable & shifter.
990G for the hub set, a lot.
~$300 built to my spec
Fiddly for some, everyday kit for others.

I'm considering one built as N+1 on a 70's British frameset, as always to each their own.

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Old 03-12-14, 07:30 AM   #38
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i had a 925. pretty twitchy. i wouldn't have wanted to tour on it.
moved to a fg / ss crosscheck. did plenty of 20-40-60-80 mile days on it with brevet loads.
sadly, never camped or toured with it. but pulled the kid around with full load of groceries in a trailer.
loved that bike.

i ran a double up front and a surly dingle cog out back. i can say i only swapped the gearing ONCE on a ride. but if i were on a tour, it might happen more often, depending on the terrain.

go light. maybe even forget the rack and go with soft bags.
here's my indy fab (geared) setup for dirt / paved touring:


IMG_9474a by mbeganyi, on Flickr

same kit on my pugsley:

QBP glamour shot by mbeganyi, on Flickr
(white one on the left) - note there was a pugs with an IGH, and a SS on this ride. tons of climbing on single track and forest roads. don't let the haters discourage you. touring fixed is not crazy. just different.

i've since added a frame bag, so i carry a small backpack only for cameling up as needed - otherwise it holds my phone, wallet, personal items.


here's my cross check - thats a carradice tour bag on the back, ortlieb h-bar bag on the front. had my first set of bikepacking bags made for this bike. then moved onto a different setup.

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Old 03-12-14, 08:10 AM   #39
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The S3X does not freewheel, that's what a Fixed Gear Is.
Granted there are no pawls, BUT come on, the sun-planet-gear-mix is hardly comparable to a cog. I stand by my statement that it is "a set of gears". The play that you have is a result of this gear mix. The simple elegance of a "real" fixed gear, with one chain-ring and one cog, is lost IMO.

Inside of an S3x:

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Old 03-12-14, 09:36 AM   #40
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Granted there are no pawls, BUT come on, the sun-planet-gear-mix is hardly comparable to a cog. I stand by my statement that it is "a set of gears". The play that you have is a result of this gear mix. The simple elegance of a "real" fixed gear, with one chain-ring and one cog, is lost IMO.
OK, it's a set of gears that's what an internal gear hub is, the S3X does not freewheel so it's a 3spd IGH/FG.
It does have gear lash & it's not as simple. light or elegant as a traditional SS/FG but it does offer a range of FG ratios.
Such are the trade offs for those who Require a range of gearing that does not freewheel.
If one's requirement is for something else that will be met by a different technical solution.

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Old 03-12-14, 12:29 PM   #41
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Good luck with your adventure. I would recommend a 1 night test try of bike, gearing and weight/bag/bike fit before undergoing a lengthy tour.
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Old 03-12-14, 06:48 PM   #42
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The idea that an S3X hub is in anyway, other than chain-line, comparable to a fixed gear makes no sense to me.

It is:
  • a set of gears Agreed
  • complex or impossible to repair Really? I have one S-A AW hub that has over 30,000 miles on it with minimal maintenance, only "repair" so far has been to replace the pawl springs
  • built into your wheelAnd? Most hubs are built into wheels if you plan to use them
  • cabled
  • heavy Compared to a derailleur system? Not really, Fixed gear... yeah.
  • expensive
  • fiddly Not really, once dialed in they seem to do just fine.
To each their own, I prefer my IGH over just about every other drive train system out there, they are proven to be simple, effective and durable.

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Old 03-12-14, 07:04 PM   #43
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Try this experiment. Use a triple chainring bike, pick your favorite gear and then duct-tape the shifters in that fixed position. See how long that tape stays in place. Duh.
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Old 03-12-14, 07:07 PM   #44
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To each their own, I prefer my IGH over just about every other drive train system out there, they are proven to be simple, effective and durable.
I actually wasn't dissing IGHs in general I was just saying that I didn't find the S3X fixed gear hub comparable to a single cog fixed gear bike.

  • a set of gears vs a single cog
  • complex or impossible to repair vs a single cog
  • built into your wheel vs simply threading on a cog & locker
  • cabled vs no cable for fixed
  • heavy vs a single cog/hub/locker
  • expensive vs a single cog/hub/locker
  • fiddly vs a single cog/hub/locker

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Old 03-12-14, 07:44 PM   #45
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lordbikely, I don't want to ridicule you, but I submit that you are taking on a bigger adventure than you think you are, and that is even if you take a geared freewheel bike. Touring is not done on fixed gears, and there's a reason. If you think you're that much stronger and fitter than experienced bike tourists, I'd like to know why. Touring is hard and is full of surprising challenges, and that's with a touring bike.

If you do the tour on schedule on a fixed gear, I'll tip my hat to you, but I don't recommend it. Your experience thus far has probably not prepared you for your proposed adventure.
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Old 03-13-14, 01:26 AM   #46
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Try this experiment. Use a triple chainring bike, pick your favorite gear and then duct-tape the shifters in that fixed position. See how long that tape stays in place. Duh.
So negative. If the dude wants to be adventurous and try something gutsy go for it. The worst that is likely to happen here (minus non-geared/fixed related problems) is they will learn something.

I saw a story and pictures of a guy who toured the world on a penny-farthing bicycle fully loaded. Go be negative at that dude.

I honestly would listen to Tom R./noglider. They said it well without being a negative Norbert. Touring can be rough and gears can be pretty crucial at times. I wouldn't want to tour fixed, riding fixed is fun and doing it for longer distances is dandy but fully loaded multi day, not for me. That being said good luck with your trip whatever you might decide : )


People have mentioned the SX3 hub, I haven't ridden it but from reviews it is not reliable and the technology needs to be better developed for fixed gear. IGHs are great and there are some pretty cool ones out there I just am not convinced of the SX3 yet. I have heard of people welding the freewheels on IGHs to make them fixed but the welds can fail and that is no bueno.

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Old 03-13-14, 11:12 AM   #47
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Yeah, I definitely don't want to ridicule anyone. It's possible to say I think you have a bad idea without making you feel dumb or insulted.

I can't find it now, but there was a blog by a guy from British Columbia who decide to take a very ambitious tour of England and Scotland on a fixed gear bike. If I remember right, he had a tight schedule and had to be in Edinburgh or maybe Glasgow for a conference. It was a disaster in many ways. If you can find it, you can see what mistakes he made. He freely admits them. But also notice the challenges he faced. I do not think you can take his experience and say that similar things won't happen to you, even if you work towards not repeating his mistakes. It's just a bad idea in my view.
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Old 03-13-14, 12:24 PM   #48
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Maybe Defer the Tour?

I think that the OP should build his bike. But maybe a better overall plan would be to train for some period of time (say, a year). During that time, he could tackle extended climbs, riding distance under load, and shorter camping trips. He could also adjust the gearing to handle the loads and climbs. He would get stronger and gain valuable experience.

Then plan the tour for the following year.

Might be more fun, suffer from less pressure, and gain confidence along the way. Ultimately, he likely have a much higher chance of success. Just my first reaction to what I've read.
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Old 03-13-14, 02:14 PM   #49
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I toured from Paris to Amsterdam last year and met a guy in one of the campsites who had clocked up 1500k so far on his trip on a cheap steel Peugeot converted to fixed. I asked him about it and he was happy with his choice to go fixed, he wasn't even traveling particularly light. I say go for it.
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Old 03-15-14, 04:20 AM   #50
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I'm planning on doing a short trip like you except I'm coming from NorCal. I want to do it as soon as I get a tent, and panniers, etc. I can't believe your doing it on a fixed gear though. I hope you don't blow your knees out...we only get one pair of knees per lifetime. I think it's an awesome challenge though on an ss. I'm guessing you would really have to focus on packing as light as possible. I hope you have fun and don't suffer too much on those hills or when you get headwind. You must be an extremely strong rider to want to attempt something like this on an SS so I'm sure you will do great. Are we talking true fixed gear with no free wheel? If so it sounds more like a suffer fest than a tour
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