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Which vintage for a loaded tour?

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Which vintage for a loaded tour?

Old 07-26-19, 03:43 PM
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Which vintage for a loaded tour?

I just lost the initial post so I'm putting up the short version.

My wife and I are taking four days to do the North Loop trail outside of Chicago. It's fairly flat, 200 miles, and I think 70% is on bike trails, with half of those trail being crushed lime and half paved.

We are camping, and we have hiking gear that's good quality and lightweight, not "ultralite" mind you, but it's shouldn't be to hard to keep the loads about 35lbs per bike. With sleeping bags, pads, tent, stove, etc, maybe less if we're cut throat about it.

I finally get a chance to put one of my tourers through it's paces! But which one?
The contenders:

1) 1991 Miyata 1000LT, A size small at 57cm but works well with the riser stem I've got on it. I'm hesitant to take it on a 4 day trip without fine tuning the rise and reach a little more, but we have a couple weeks.

2) 1990 Cannondale ST600, like the Miyata it has a good stiff frame and also like the Miyata a strong rear rack. The featherweight of the group.

3) The Trek Triplets. '84 520 and 620, and an '83 720. All sporting original racks, but the wheels on the 620 and 720 have been replaced so no Helicomatic to worry about.

So any thoughts? Concidering the local the Treks would be appropriate, the 620 being a little sportier than the the 720, the 720 being the stretch limo. The Cannondale would help with the weight, and be a responsive and stiff ride with all the gear. The Miyata would be stiff as well, and maybe the strongest all around IF I can tune the fit correctly.

What say you?
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Old 07-26-19, 03:59 PM
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Any one of those bikes will do the job with ease. Pick the one that you like best and go!
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Old 07-26-19, 04:04 PM
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All good bikes. Assuming all have the same horsepower, which has the widest tires?
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Old 07-26-19, 04:34 PM
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Pick the one you have ridden the most recently to make sure it doesn't have mechanical problems. Or pick one and ride it for a few days before you set off.
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Old 07-26-19, 04:36 PM
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That is an impressive collection of vintage touring bikes. What the heck, I'll vote for none of the above,

For a leisurely tour, get a vintage MTB, some fat cushy tires, and enjoy the scenery.
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Old 07-26-19, 04:42 PM
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Awesome selection! I vote 84 Trek 620 ( cause I just got one and I want to hear your ride report ). Have fun!
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Old 07-26-19, 04:52 PM
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Everybody's a winner with these bikes, but I'd probably try to matchup with your partner's bike. Make riding together as easy as possible.

Also, please post photos. Be great to see what it looks like out there.
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Old 07-26-19, 06:20 PM
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I would suggest buying a Centurion Pro Tour. It's the only logical way out of your currently dangerous N-1 condition. :-) Plus, they're sweet bikes.
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Old 07-26-19, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Sedgemop View Post
Everybody's a winner with these bikes, but I'd probably try to matchup with your partner's bike. Make riding together as easy as possible.

Also, please post photos. Be great to see what it looks like out there.
We're both riding vintage, She has an ' 85 Miyata 210 or an '86 Cannondale ST400 to choose from. I think keeping the load weight scaled to our body weight would be more of a factor. I know I want to pay a lot of attention to keeping her loaded weight LOW on the bike. She's on the petite side of things and a higher center of gravity is rough on her.

I'm thinking rear panniers for food and clothes, tools in a low water bottle, or possibly under saddle, front bar bag for camera (phone) and snacks, things we need while in the saddle, then she'd lash her sleeping bag to the top of her rack and I'd do the same, plus I'd take the tent. We could ditch the stove and fuel weight entirely buy eating out, or getting ready to eat food at markets. We're going through suburbs, not the desert!

I have front panniers and a front rack, Might be worth setting up her bike with those. You think front weighting would be better for 5'4" cyclist?

So food limited to road snacks, a quick dry change of clothes we can wash in camp... its so warm I'm temped to leave the sleeping bags and bring a twin fitted sheet to put the pads in and a blanket or a comforter... I'll have to check the scale and see whats lighter. The more weight we can leave the more beer, I mean water, we can carry.

I'll definitely take pictures! And I'm thinking either the Trek 620 or 720. I ride the 620 quite a bit, I know it'll make it. But then you know... there's the 720. The Grande Dame of tourers... I can put my Cannondale's rack on the 720.

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Old 07-26-19, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by cdmurphy View Post
I would suggest buying a Centurion Pro Tour. It's the only logical way out of your currently dangerous N-1 condition. :-) Plus, they're sweet bikes.
I knew I'd find my answer posting here, good man!
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Old 07-26-19, 09:17 PM
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Link to route for curious non-locals. Runs through both my hometown and current town.

https://www.outourfrontdoor.org/north-loop-ride.html
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Old 07-26-19, 09:19 PM
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Go with the Miyata 1000 LT. I just did a loaded tour on mine and it performed so so well.
Mind you, this was a 1020km loaded tour.
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Old 07-26-19, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
Link to route for curious non-locals. Runs through both my hometown and current town.

https://www.outourfrontdoor.org/north-loop-ride.html
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Old 07-27-19, 12:10 AM
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Sounds like a blast. 720 or cannondale get my vote.
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Old 07-27-19, 03:11 AM
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Load up each bike with racks and panniers and use it for grocery shopping and errands that require hauling up to 50 lbs. That'll give an idea of how each bike handles loaded down.

Based on that, I'd take my Univega Via Carisma. Long wheelbase, forgiving springy fork, and it already has a 50/40/30 triple and 11-32 8-speed cassette. I know how it handles loaded down. And the Nitto albatross bar it's been wearing for a year has turned out to be as versatile and comfortable as drop bars for 50+ mile long rides unladen, and loaded down for 20 mile round trips. I've considered converting it to drops but after a year with the swept bars I'm already please with it as-is.

Only problem with the Univega loaded down in back is it throws off the balance a bit. Adding my handlebar bag helps restore better balance. For touring I'd find a front rack to go with the brazed on mounting lugs.
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Old 07-27-19, 03:57 AM
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Miyata for the win
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Old 07-27-19, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Load up each bike with racks and panniers and use it for grocery shopping and errands that require hauling up to 50 lbs. That'll give an idea of how each bike handles loaded down.

Based on that, I'd take my Univega Via Carisma. Long wheelbase, forgiving springy fork, and it already has a 50/4I0/30 triple and 11-32 8-speed cassette. I know how it handles loaded down. And the Nitto albatross bar it's been wearing for a year has turned out to be as versatile and comfortable as drop bars for 50+ mile long rides unladen, and loaded down for 20 mile round trips. I've considered converting it to drops but after a year with the swept bars I'm already please with it as-is.

Only problem with the Univega loaded down in back is it throws off the balance a bit. Adding my handlebar bag helps restore better balance. For touring I'd find a front rack to go with the brazed on mounting lugs.
I've hauled groceries with the Trek 620, the Cannondale, and the Miyata, we're talking overloaded to, yeah, about 50lbs. The Cannondale and the Miyata both stand out from the Trek, in the stiffness department. When I got the Miyata I went to the grocer's AND then to the liquer store, I think I added two bottles of wine and maybe a fifth of bourbon to the grocery load, I wanted to overload it and see. Felt like the bike pushed me home.

I'll do a head to head with those three again and see if my memory is unbiased, good call to just test them with loads, thanks for that!
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Old 07-27-19, 10:40 AM
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My 1981 Miyata 1000 worked like a champ on a tour of the Southern Tier in 2017. In retrospect, I should have used Paselas or some other flexible tire instead of the hard-riding Continental Gatorskins I did use.

I very much prefer to use front panniers alone with a small trunk bag or big saddlebag. I think it makes for a much more stable ride especially when you stand on the pedals (which I do from time to time just to give my butt a brief rest). You do need to get the side-to-side weight distribution pretty much even, though.
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Old 07-27-19, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Vonruden View Post
Miyata for the win
With the weight you're planning on carrying-

Miyata.
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Old 07-27-19, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Chr0m0ly View Post
its so warm I'm temped to leave the sleeping bags and bring a twin fitted sheet to put the pads in and a blanket or a comforter... I'll have to check the scale and see whats lighter.
Google "poncho liner."

That's what we used in the infantry. The smart guys brought the wool blankets when it was going to get colder than "poncho liner" cold.
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Old 07-27-19, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Google "wooby."

That's what we used in the infantry. The smart guys brought the wool blankets when it was going to get colder than "wooby" cold.
Fixed it. 😉
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Old 07-27-19, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Chr0m0ly View Post
Fixed it. 😉
Never heard that word until about a year ago...
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Old 07-27-19, 12:22 PM
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I like the Treks, they sound like the best for covering that sort of area. I live about 150 miles SW of you, I have the 1985 600, but that's a bit more of a sport tourer, 531 steel is great for long rides. The Miyatas/Univegas are good for touring too, I have a Supra Sport that has seen a good many miles, but a Miyata 1000LT would be really nice if you don't get heel strike with the smaller frame.
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Old 07-27-19, 12:29 PM
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Since you will be riding on gravel part of the time, I'd prioritize being able to run a slightly fat tire with a reasonable clearance. Therefore, I'd probably pick either the Miyata 1000 or the Trek 720. Two of the most iconic touring bikes of the 80s, btw. I suspect either of those will fit a 35-38. 32 is enough for gravel if you've got good bike handling skills, but fatter always makes it easier.
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Old 07-27-19, 12:34 PM
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Via Charisma is a great bike for this, I set mine up with trekking bars and it did pretty good good over distance. Mine had red metallic spots on black paint, very striking paint job, and a great riding bicycle, just a bit small for me.
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