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Should I tweak my bike for a trip

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Should I tweak my bike for a trip

Old 05-01-09, 04:41 PM
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trabi_skoda
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Should I tweak my bike for a trip

Hi,

I'm relatively new back to biking and have two bikes at my disposal. The first is an older GT Timberline with a front shock. The second is a very new Specialized Sirrus Sport that I've added bar ends and a suspension seat to (that's the all aluminum one with aluminum fork, too). My family is going on a bike trip from Pittsburgh to Ohiopyle State Park, about 80 miles on crushed limestone trails (old, converted railway lines). I'm hoping some of you can chime in on some advice.

I'm tempted to take the Sport because it's so much more comfortable and efficient, but it has 28 mm tires and the ride's a bit harsh. Would you all:
1. Take the old comfort bike?
2. Take the Sirrus as is?
3. Put 34mm or 36mm tires on the Sirrus?
4. But a Brooks sprung saddle (the pre-aged Brooks Flyer is on sale at Niagara for $57, and I'm very interested)

I'm really tempted to do #4, because I think this will take the edge off the ride of a bike that I otherwise really love. Is the pre-aged Flyer going to last as long as the other ones? Do you think that this saddle, or tires, or both will give me a 'magic carpet' ride? Too much to ask for, I suppose.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Rich B.
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Old 05-01-09, 06:02 PM
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We (Donna and I) rode that rail trail about 7-8 years ago, and at that time it was very hard-packed and smooth. Oddly enough, the bike I used (and still ride) is a '98 GT Timberline frame(all other parts have been replaced now)-but at the time think it still had the orig Quad 5 fork, and it did fine. If the trail is anything like it was then, either bike would be fine with no mods. You really don't need a front fork for the trail or wider tires. If in doubt, take the mtn bike-it will handle it and give a softer ride, though the lower pressure, wider tires won't roll as fast. But as beautiful as that trail is, you don't want to be flying along and miss the scenery anyway!
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Old 05-01-09, 06:35 PM
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I can't say about the trail you will be riding because I've never seen it. I can tell you this: I live about 2 miles from Missouri's KATY Trail which is also crushed limestone. Living so close I naturally ride on it quite a bit. I've got a number of bikes at my disposal but my pick for the KATY is 700 X 28mm tires.
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Old 05-02-09, 08:03 AM
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You should be inflating wider tires to a lower pressure, and this indeed will give you a noticeably softer, though slightly less efficient, ride. If you have the clearance, I say go for it.
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Old 05-02-09, 02:28 PM
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This is a family trip so how fit are the family?---And what bikes will they be using?

I know if it was me- I would look at the bike that is going to be easiest to do the distance. Comfort would come as second choice.

I reckon it would be the Sirrus but if the bike is going to knock you up too much- then comfortize it. Larger tyres with lower pressures would work but will this be the only time you would need a tyre of this size? Same with the brooks saddle- Is it really necessary to spend that much for one ride?
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Old 05-02-09, 02:58 PM
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Stapfam,

Good point about the expense. I was also looking to use the trip as an excuse to do something I was already thinking about (especially regarding the Brooks).

Rich B.
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Old 05-02-09, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by trabi_skoda View Post
Stapfam,

Good point about the expense. I was also looking to use the trip as an excuse to do something I was already thinking about (especially regarding the Brooks).

Rich B.
Wondered why you were mentioning a Brooks for comfort- but you now have the reason to go ahead and buy one.

So it is the Sirrus with a new saddle on it for 80 miles.

Get some test rides in beforehand.
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Old 05-02-09, 04:31 PM
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The $55 Brooks has just disappeared from the Niagara web site. Perhaps I'll just take Retro Grouch's suggestion and go as is. Sometimes I wonder if the 'harshness' I feel is more in my mind than anywhere else -- programmed to believe it from too much talk of steel versus aluminum.
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