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Old 04-07-05, 02:01 PM   #1
john_dun
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Something different than a typical tourer!

Hey everyone,

I'm wondering if any1 can help me out deciding what bike to buy. I currently have a Specialized Hard rock pro mountain bike, however this summer I plan to go touring and I am looking for a bike which can be used for touring but doesnt look like one of those typical tourer bikes.

I need a bike which has strong wheels, capable of carrying a heavy rear load. I'd prefer a flat bar instead of drop, and i'd need something with no suspension and a 52 tooth chainring. I've looked about a fair bit but cant seem to find anything. I saw the specialzied sirrus sport..... maybe something similar to that????

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
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Old 04-07-05, 02:55 PM   #2
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Then how about simply putting slicks and a rear rack on what you already have? What's the 52 for?
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Old 04-07-05, 03:25 PM   #3
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Your right it would be ideal to put slicks on my MTB. However I cannot fit a rack as the bike has discs. I want a 52 tooth ring as i'll beable to go a lot faster! Generally i'm looking for something about 11 - 13 kg.
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Old 04-07-05, 04:06 PM   #4
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I've never been on a real tour, but isn't going faster a little counter-productive on a loaded tour? Sure, that 52 will help you go faster down hills, but I rarely use my 50 tooth ring on my touring bike unloaded, and never when I have my panniers on it for commuting. I can't imagine being able to maintain a good pace for hours at a time in a 52. My bike has a 50, a 44 and 28, and I spend almost all of my time in the 44...

Just remember that the bigger your biggest ring is, and the higher your highest gear is, the less space you have for low bailout gears.
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Old 04-07-05, 04:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john_dun
Your right it would be ideal to put slicks on my MTB. However I cannot fit a rack as the bike has discs. I want a 52 tooth ring as i'll beable to go a lot faster! Generally i'm looking for something about 11 - 13 kg.
To be honest, I've looked at the Sirrus as a touring bike for my wife. It's not the best geometry for touring but would be servicable. However, doesn't the Sport have discs also? Looking on-line, it does have eyelets but I don't know if you could shoehorn in racks. Check with a bike shop before you buy.

Gearing: a 52/11 is a steep gear, even for a race bike. Something like a 48/11 is a nice comprise between a road bike gear and a mountain bike gear (44/11). Gets you down the road and isn't too high to pedal comfortably.

Flat bars: Been there. Done that. Spent 3 months with my hands feeling asleep. You need to have lots of hand positions when you tour. Even if you are only going for a week. Last tour I took was on a road bike with drop bars and I only had a few fingers that tingled, including my index finger right on the outside next to the nail. One little spot about the size of a pencil eraser. Tingled for 3 weeks getting smaller every day. Damned weird experience. But better than the other time.
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Old 04-07-05, 04:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grolby
I've never been on a real tour, but isn't going faster a little counter-productive on a loaded tour? Sure, that 52 will help you go faster down hills, but I rarely use my 50 tooth ring on my touring bike unloaded, and never when I have my panniers on it for commuting. I can't imagine being able to maintain a good pace for hours at a time in a 52. My bike has a 50, a 44 and 28, and I spend almost all of my time in the 44...

Just remember that the bigger your biggest ring is, and the higher your highest gear is, the less space you have for low bailout gears.
That's not quite right. I toured for many years with a 13-34 freewheel matched to a 52/40/24 crank. No problems with shifting it.

And I used the gears all the time. We have a lot of uppy-downy stuff here.
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Old 04-07-05, 04:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by john_dun
However I cannot fit a rack as the bike has discs.
Check out Old Man Mountain racks...
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Old 04-07-05, 04:59 PM   #8
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check out the xtracycle
xtracycle.com

it's adaptable to any bike and allows a huge load. Weighs under 10 pounds and rides just like a regular bike.
I'm putting a freerider on my Novarra Buzz (26" slicks) with a added 50 for cruising and a clipon aerobar for cutting into the wind.
It's a heavier bike, but good for dirt road touring and i can throw a full size backpack on one side and bike touring stuff in the other and ride to hiking spots, overnight camp somewhere up a mountain and ride home the next day.

I can also pick up cute hitchhikers too, (dreaming)
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Old 04-07-05, 05:04 PM   #9
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John,

I wouldn't rule out the MTB just because of gearing, I have a 520 full blown touring bike that has seen thousands of miles. It is very serviceable, and I can still throw panniers and ride it today even though it's a late 80's model.

BUT, I have tried a few bikes, and including the ones I own, my Stumpjumper is THE most comfortable ride of them all and although now that I am a little older I haven't pulled any centurys on it, I have done 60 miles on it in a day, very comfortably, a lot of which I contribute to a nice pair of bar ends that give me nearly as many options as the drops on my 620, with the added bonus of a comfortable "standing" position for the really tough hills where spinning just doesn't get it! Granted the gearing is a little on the light side, but if you are touring, are you in a hurry? I suppose some people are, but I like to cruise slowly and enjoy the scenery along the way. I can ride a lot of side trails with my MTB that I couldn't even think of taking my 520 on. In addition to it's ability to go off pavement (part of which I suppose could be over come with some knobbys), the geometry leads to a more "twitchy" ride, especially if there is no load on it. I remember getting on it 2 years ago when I got back to cycling after a long hiatus, and wondering how I had rode all the miles on it that I had.

Perhaps it's just that I have done the road scene type touring and have matured to a point where I prefer getting AWAY from the road and back into the woods, near lake, stream, field or cliffs that is dictating my desire, but you also need to consider if you want to be tied to roads, or want to be able to explore on the way.

My "touring" itch is now returning, and although both my kids have full racks and panniers on their bikes and I could load them with essentials, and I have a seatpost rack that I would be comfortable with 4 pound tent and 2 pound sleeping bag, I don't want to burden them, or limit our options. My bike is also disk, and has no upper eyelets. Altough it may be perfectly fine, I am not comfortable with the idea of "P-clipping" my rack to the back of my bike, especially considering my tendency to wonder off the road. Probably fine for road touring, but even than I would look for something a little more substantial such as the U-style clamp offered by I believe JANDD.

So far I have checked out a Cannondale W/O disk brakes, as well as a Giant, but haven't figured exactly which way to go, and will be checking out the Specialized options this coming weekend. They seem to offer some good components at a competitive price, especially after what I have seen from Cannondale, and Giant, and although I like Treks, their hardtails are starting to look a little old to me. My Stumpy has a lock-out fork, which gives me the best of both worlds really, so that is my criteria for the new bike, I am fine without front suspension at all, so a lock out is a nice addition. I am also fine with the gearing of the MTB, it's very functional for my style of touring and sooner or later I think with a loaded tourer, we all meet a hill where you just bite it and get off and walk.

At any rate, I ramble, and might have helped your thought process, I know I will end up with a MTB style for touring, as long as it will take a rear rack, I can get by without lowriders, and I will probably swap for a tire with a nice smooth contact patern for roads with some knobs on the side for the mud baths and stream crossings. Front suspension is a toss up, bar ends are a must beyond that, it has to fit and fit good!

Best of luck, and let us know which way you lean, or what you end up with.
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Old 04-08-05, 12:09 AM   #10
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The discbrake is not a dealbreaker. A search on these forums (Bicycle Mechanics and Commuting) might throw up some answers in addition to The Fixer's.

In addition, a trailer might be another option (BoB maybe) that doesn't interfere with the disc system (I've never had a disc-equipped bike, so only have read of the problems they present for rack and trailer systems).

I toured with an MTB for quite a while. The hand problem does become significant. At the very least, fit bar extensions if you haven't got them already to provide you with additional hand positions.

I'm not sure why you are against the idea of a traditional-looking touring bike. I think when we all enter the field, we THINK we can do better than what everyone else is doing. But I found it interesting how my bike and equipment development started to converge with what the long-time adherents were doing. Now, I'm almost one of them!

A traditional touring bike gives you everything you need. In fact, with the right sort of tyres and wheels on board, as well as gearing, you can go offroad (technical single trail maybe not, but who'd want to ride day after day, mile after mile fully loaded on that, anyway?)

Read the travelogues where the traditional touring frames have been used and compare the relatively lack of comfort problems with the rife problems that seem to emerge when people ride MTBs and others fashioned to fit the touring mould.

In the end, the decision is yours. And half the fun is reading the verbiage us passionate ones seem to spew forth on the subject. Sorry.
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Old 04-08-05, 04:27 AM   #11
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Check out some of the more practical flat-bar style touring bikes from Orbit, Thorn and Dawes. Edinburgh Cycles are local to you, and they can probably fit flats to a touring frame.
A good alternative to straight flats are butterfly or trecking bars.
52 is a bit high for a touring bike and will limit your lowest gear.
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Old 04-08-05, 08:41 AM   #12
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Hi guys,


Thanks very much for all your suggestions and ideas. I think i've decided to go for the Specialized Sirrus sport, had a look at it today looks damn nice and fast and the guy in the shop said the wheels would be strong enough! here's a link:

http://www.edinburgh-bicycle.co.uk/c...l.cfm?ID=19884


Cheers,
John

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Old 04-08-05, 04:00 PM   #13
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You may consider a recumbent bicycle. They are realy comfortable for those long rides.

More and more people are chosing bents nowadays. At least test ride a few. Don't just limit yourself to uprights. I'm NOT going to say you'll like them better, but if you're looking for a bike I think the comfort that a bents offer makes them major contenders as touring bikes.

Also, their is more variety in terms of frame design. Uprights all have that double diamond design. Bent's have short wheel based machines, long wheel base, tadpole trikes, delta trikes, above seat steering, below seat steering

My favorite companies are:
Rans, Tour Easy, and Cycle Genius
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Old 04-08-05, 05:44 PM   #14
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John: go to giantbicycles.com and check out their OCR and FCR flatbar bikes. Might find on you like!
Ehjoy!
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