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# Is a touring bike good enough for Randos/Brevets?

Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

# Is a touring bike good enough for Randos/Brevets?

04-25-19, 12:26 PM
#26
unterhausen

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It would be better if I posted a picture, but i'm too lazy. Here is a trail calculator with a picture of trail and rake. Bicycle Trail Calculator | yojimg.net

if you draw a line down the center of the steerer, rake is the shortest distance from that line to the axle of the hub. So rake is only dependent on the construction of the fork. Trail is a function of both the rake and the head tube angle. It's the distance from where the centerline of the steerer intersects the ground and a line straight down from the axle.

Short rake and slack head tube angle results in high trail and more flop. Flop is a measure of how much the head tube lowers as the wheel is turned off center.

Here is my most recent bike. It handles similar to my 2003 Litespeed Vortex:

https://allcitycycles.com/blog/check...e_new_mr._pink
Depends on the size. I found geometry here, not sure if they changed it. https://allcitycycles.com/bikes/archive/mr_pink_pink
In any event, your bike is in the range that is considered high trail. Generally that's considered good for high speed stability, less good for lots of other things, like climbing out of the saddle or having a front handlebar bag.

Last edited by unterhausen; 04-25-19 at 12:33 PM.
04-25-19, 01:23 PM
#27
jlafitte
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
In any event, your bike is in the range that is considered high trail. Generally that's considered good for high speed stability, less good for lots of other things, like climbing out of the saddle or having a front handlebar bag.
I would be curious to hear a discussion of high vs. low trail, particularly in relation to front vs. rear loading. My bike has rather high trail and flop (81 and 25 millimeters), and is mostly rear loaded with a trunk bag or large seat bag. By my perception it starts to handle ok at around 12 mph, beautifully around 18. And as the rear load increases, the apparent floppiness at lower speed diminishes, including on a stand-up climb.
04-25-19, 01:58 PM
#28
pdlamb
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
In any event, your bike is in the range that is considered high trail. Generally that's considered good for high speed stability, less good for lots of other things, like climbing out of the saddle or having a front handlebar bag.
Seeing this in context rattled my cage (or maybe it was the sneezing that did that , and I think I'm experiencing -- or recognizing -- cognitive dissonance.

If one is to believe Mr. Heine, low trail is a great thing because the French custom builders of the mid-twentieth century built bikes like that, and for randonneurs because of the front rack thing. Now dampening flop along fairly well paved streets might play well with heavily loaded newpaper delivery bikes using front racks in the 1920s, but how does it do on brevets?

My brevet bar bag load is usually no more than 5 pounds or so, and I'm pushing to go as fast as I can over the distance. Pay no attention to the shimmy that often comes at high speed along with low trail, you can change the headset bearings or go to fatter tires or dampen the shimmy with your leg against the top tube!? When I'm tired, as I am towards the middle or end of a brevet, I really like not having to concentrate on steering over rough roads, other than avoiding potholes and bad cracks in the pavement. And while wheel flop is annoying when I'm off the bike and pushing or parking it, or just getting re-started, that's a tiny fraction of the time I spend on a brevet.

All of those seem to indicate high trail would be better for long, hopefully fast, rides. So what is the allure of low trail for a brevet bike?
04-25-19, 01:59 PM
#29
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
It would be better if I posted a picture, but i'm too lazy. Here is a trail calculator with a picture of trail and rake. Bicycle Trail Calculator | yojimg.net

if you draw a line down the center of the steerer, rake is the shortest distance from that line to the axle of the hub. So rake is only dependent on the construction of the fork. Trail is a function of both the rake and the head tube angle. It's the distance from where the centerline of the steerer intersects the ground and a line straight down from the axle.

Short rake and slack head tube angle results in high trail and more flop. Flop is a measure of how much the head tube lowers as the wheel is turned off center.

Depends on the size. I found geometry here, not sure if they changed it. https://allcitycycles.com/bikes/archive/mr_pink_pink
In any event, your bike is in the range that is considered high trail. Generally that's considered good for high speed stability, less good for lots of other things, like climbing out of the saddle or having a front handlebar bag.
Thanks! All-City changed the fork to carbon in 2017 from what you found but visually the dimensions look the same. I never use a front handlebar bag, but my rear bag is probably on the heavier side with all the crap that I carry since my "Tales of Tires" adventure last fall. I've never felt uncomfortable climbing out of the saddle with either of my bikes but I also only climb out of the saddle for short bursts, maybe 20-30 pedal strokes just to give my muscles a different form of torture.
04-25-19, 06:44 PM
#30
unterhausen

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Originally Posted by pdlamb
All of those seem to indicate high trail would be better for long, hopefully fast, rides. So what is the allure of low trail for a brevet bike?
You can train yourself to ride just about anything. When I ride my gravel bike a lot, the flop stops bothering me so much. It does handle fine at speed, it's just that we have a lot of steep hills and standing with that bike is always annoying. I just rode one of my 100km perms, and my average moving speed was under 13mph. There were long stretches where I was doing most of 20mph, but there is a lot of climbing on that ride. So I guess that's not fast, spirited riding.

I like to use a front rando bag and low trail works better for that. And I really dislike flop. I think that people are used to high trail and some people try low trail and don't like it at all. But others are converted. I built a road frame with 73 degree head tube angle and 55mm rake that I unfortunately managed to ruin when the seat post got stuck. That bike felt really solid at speed and had nice, light steering like low trail bikes do, even though it is really mid trail. I'm going to try a true low trail bike next, I can always build another fork.
04-25-19, 09:01 PM
#31
Rowan
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There is nothing wrong with riding a touring bike in brevets or randonnees.

My original bike for those types of ride, plus commuting and touring, was a Fuji Touring, then followed that with something recovered as a rubbish dump recovery that became my fixed gear.

It's only comparatively recently that I have used a CF Merlin (which I don't for randonnees anymore) and a Hasa Ti bike that is closer to touring specifics than an outright road bike... and it still has a CF fork.

As to the specs of the frames in terms of steering angles... can't say. The earlier bikes have forks that are nicely curved, but the later ones have forks that are straighter and rely on the join out of the steering tube to create angle for feel and handling.

So long as the bikes feel comfortable to ride and steer when tested, I am happy to ride long distances on them (of course, refer to my comments in another thread about Brooks saddles, which all these are equipped with).

The Fuji has now done more than 60,000km of my riding and sits half retired now, but is still comfortable enough for me to ride occasionally. The Hasa Ti is my favourite for randonneuring.

My latest touring bike is the English Thorn Club Tour which has a traditional lightish steel frame, and it has done a few shortish randonnees as well, and it is something I enjoy riding, even in my current recovery period. And I am really looking forward to getting back on to the fixed gear again (which incidentally was a FG touring bike after PBP 2007).
04-25-19, 09:17 PM
#32
Machka
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Originally Posted by AllWeatherJeff
Thread title pretty much says it all.

However, to expand:
I'm doing my first 200k rando/brevet this summer.

I only have flat bar bikes and am in search of a new drop bar bike for the longer distances.

The only bikes I can find in my price (\$1,200-1,500) range are touring bikes / comfy-geometried, glorified commuters.

Will these types of bikes fit the bill? Will the weight be significant hindrance once I crossover to the 300k, 400k and longer randos/brevets?

I rode my first 200K randonnee on this:

So ... you can do the events on just about anything!

My favourite bicycle for long distance riding is a Sport-Touring model on which I've done a lot of touring. It's essentally a lightweight touring bicycle:

04-26-19, 01:12 AM
#33
alois
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Last september, I rode a 600 km brevet on a 2016 Fuji Touring. It was heavy, but more so because of the loads of stuff I carried than because of the bike itself. The bike wasn't a problem at all on this ride.
04-26-19, 01:37 AM
#34
Rowan
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I did forget to write that among the touring type bikes Machka and I have ridden on randonnees are tandems. Might seem light to take, but they have their own challenges and there is a whole new way to ride a longer bike with another person on board. Especially when speed down a twist downhill has to be moderated... and there is strong headwind to get into.

One of the bikes was borrowed and we did four or five randonnees. The second bike we bought brand new and still have, but haven't ridden in quite a long time. I am trying to fit a rear disc brake so that downhill issue isn't so challenging to control.

As touring bikes, both could be set up that way, but the ability to carry enough to cover both needs can be a little challenging, too.
04-26-19, 06:44 AM
#35
unterhausen

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Originally Posted by rhm
Oh, I've seen that a few times. One of the PA regulars rode the 200k and the 300k on a fat bike this season. Flat bar. His only complaint, that I've heard, is that he has more wind resistance on the fat bike.
He also rode the 400k on the fat bike. And I've heard he's going to try the 600k on it as well. If he does, I'm pretty sure he will finish. And possibly hate himself for it.

Whenever I caught one of the riders on a flat bar bike on PBP, they really seemed to be suffering. I know I can't ride far on a flat bar bike before I start having trouble with my hands. The flat bar position also puts a lot of weight on the rider's butt. It probably leads to less neck strain, but I wouldn't count on it.
04-26-19, 07:31 AM
#36
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Originally Posted by unterhausen
In any event, your bike is in the range that is considered high trail. Generally that's considered good for high speed stability, less good for lots of other things, like climbing out of the saddle or having a front handlebar bag.
Seeing this in context rattled my cage (or maybe it was the sneezing that did that , and I think I'm experiencing -- or recognizing -- cognitive dissonance.

If one is to believe Mr. Heine, low trail is a great thing because the French custom builders of the mid-twentieth century built bikes like that, and for randonneurs because of the front rack thing. Now dampening flop along fairly well paved streets might play well with heavily loaded newpaper delivery bikes using front racks in the 1920s, but how does it do on brevets?

My brevet bar bag load is usually no more than 5 pounds or so, and I'm pushing to go as fast as I can over the distance. Pay no attention to the shimmy that often comes at high speed along with low trail, you can change the headset bearings or go to fatter tires or dampen the shimmy with your leg against the top tube!? When I'm tired, as I am towards the middle or end of a brevet, I really like not having to concentrate on steering over rough roads, other than avoiding potholes and bad cracks in the pavement. And while wheel flop is annoying when I'm off the bike and pushing or parking it, or just getting re-started, that's a tiny fraction of the time I spend on a brevet.

All of those seem to indicate high trail would be better for long, hopefully fast, rides. So what is the allure of low trail for a brevet bike?
Some people are more attentive to the subtleties of bicycle handling than others. In the last several years I've ridden brevets on variety of bikes, high to low trail, including my old Trek 720 touring bike, old racing bikes, and bikes that reflect Jan Heine's thinking. And honestly, I can't tell the difference. Or maybe I can tell the difference, but I don't pay any attention to it, and don't have any strong preference one way or another, as long as a bike is stable and predictable and doesn't shimmy.

Shimmy, however, I definitely notice. I really dislike shimmy, and have spent a lot of time trying to figure out why this or the other bike shimmies, and under what conditions. Some bikes shimmy more than others. It's complicated! As a general rule, it is possible to identify factors that contribute to shimmy, but I have never identified what causes a bike to shimmy.

How this relates to high trail vs low trail: I can put a small saddle bag with a few tools and a spare tube etc on a high trail bike and it won't shimmy at all. Put a bigger saddle bag on it, and it will tend to shimmy a bit. Put a handlebar bag on it, with any weight in it, and the shimmy is really bad. A low trail bike, on the other hand, may shimmy with nothing in the handlebar bag, but once the handlebar bag is loaded with all the stuff I put in it for a brevet, it doesn't shimmy any more.

So, whether high trail or low trail is better suited to appropriate for randonneuring, that probably depends on what you carry and how you like to carry it. I have found that having snacks, camera, sunglasses, etc, all close at hand in the handlebar bag, allows me to spend more time riding and less time stopped. I can take off my gloves or reflective vest and stuff them into the handlebar bag without stopping. I like having the map case , and I like the fact that the big front bag blocks my view of my headlight. All in all, the handlebar bag is something that works for me, and therefore low trail works for me.
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04-26-19, 07:46 AM
#37
joewein
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There's one member of our rando club who shows up with a different bike for almost every brevet, including a fat bike, a flat bar 7-speed shopping bike, a 1980s road bike with downtube shifters, a 26" MTB and many others. The only time that I know of that he didn't finish was when a tubular tire of the classic road bike punctured and he couldn't fix it. You can ride almost anything as long as you have the legs for it And it's true that in randonneuring people largely don't judge you by your equipment choices.

I rode my first 4 randonneuring seasons (including my initial brevet, a 300 km) on a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket folding bike (20" - ETRTO 451 wheel size). While the folding bike had some drawbacks, it was great in many other ways, including low gearing, a dynamo hub and low-trail geometry which besides working well with front loads also means less sensitivity to cross winds. I only switched to my 650B gravel bike (Elephant NFE) after I figured out how to get the same low gearing as on the Bike Friday on a big wheeled bike (with a Sugino OX601D "compact plus" crank in my case).
04-26-19, 04:55 PM
#38
Richard Cranium
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I'm currently doing 100k training rides on a Mt. Bike and 26x2" nobby tires, and averaging 13.5-13.7 mph
Some of your comments demonstrate that you a have a good understanding of your cycling needs. Since you are a larger rider, selecting a bicycle with a wider gear range and fitting the wheels with at least 28mm tires may be a great hedge against mechanical issues during long cycling events.

Please consider this: selecting a long distance bicycle isn't about how far you can ride it - its all about how many hours you can ride it.

For cyclists with less experience, a comfortable handlebar-to-seat-height ratio is important. The "long" road-worthy bicycle-handling supplied by correctly inflated tires with a large enough tread contact patch for stability and comfort is critical. Much less important for the sub 160lb riders......
05-15-19, 03:10 PM
#39
Craptacular8
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Touring/Sport Touring BIke

Originally Posted by AllWeatherJeff
Thread title pretty much says it all.

However, to expand:
I'm doing my first 200k rando/brevet this summer.

I only have flat bar bikes and am in search of a new drop bar bike for the longer distances.

The only bikes I can find in my price (\$1,200-1,500) range are touring bikes / comfy-geometried, glorified commuters.

Will these types of bikes fit the bill? Will the weight be significant hindrance once I crossover to the 300k, 400k and longer randos/brevets?

The Salsa Journeyman would be worth a test ride. I've seen one on our group ride, and know it took racks. I think the Sora version is right at your price cap, but, to me, Sora is pretty darn decent. I've got bikes that have Ultegra, but honestly, the Sora shifting isn't that far away in performance. I can't speak personally for the Claris version, though the recent review in ACA's magazine was quite favorable.

Every manufacture has their take on a any road bike. I have a 2017 Specialized Diverge. In Sora, it would be in your price range. It will take racks....to me only a rear, but I think Spec say both front and rear.....

For a stock triple, Kona Sutra would be nice. LBS gave me one to try out on a test ride. I was expecting it to feel "tourey" for lack of a better term, but it seriously rides much more like a "Sport Touring" bike of yesteryear. Comes with a triple, 9-speed cassette 11-34, brooks b-17, fenders and a rear rack already on it. It was a smooth, fun bike on my test ride. If I didn't already have one in that catagory, I'd probably have bought it too, lol, but I already have an All-City Spacehorse...also a sport tour/rando bike....at least that was their marketing when I bought my frame/fork. As a complete bike, above your price range. It was at that limit when I was shopping. I didn't think I had the legs for a double at the time, so I opted for a frame and fork build up by my LBS. They built it with a triple, bar-ends, and better wheels/tires than stock with some other nice touches for the same money. It's really been a great bike. I've ended up using it for gravel, credit card touring, and really just about any kind of ride, except for group rides. It will take a front load, only downside apart from the weight (if you're weight conscious), is the toe overlap in smaller sizes. Otherwise, it's been quite lovely.
05-15-19, 05:08 PM
#40
Carbonfiberboy
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Search Craigslist for "carbon fiber road bike." My local CL has 257 pages of them. In the opinion of most local randos, a carbon road bike works best. At least that's what the vast majority ride, and what I've ridden. Just get the right size, make and model don't particularly matter. You'll save enough money so that you can put on a big cassette, different saddle and stem, etc. I'm still riding the same bike I bought in '99, by preference. I don't see that new carbon bikes are particularly better. I ride 23mm tires, use an Ortlieb large saddle bag and a top tube bag and that's it. I don't do gravel brevets, but the bike would work for that too, different tires, but not as well as a carbon gravel bike.

The reason that carbon race bikes work so well for brevets is that brevets are the same as racing TdF stages, just not so fast. You need a bike that needs little attention, goes where it's pointed, climbs well, descends well, and is comfortable for long hours. Guess what? That's also the pro spec. They have it down.

What you don't need is a stiff bike that's built to carry a lot of crap. Leave all that stuff at home. Just take what you need, which isn't much, not really.
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05-20-19, 03:08 PM
#41
AllWeatherJeff
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Welp,

I test rode a lot of bikes , mostly touring bikes and a few drop bar gravel bikes-- Surlys, a Jamis, a Marin, Treks, Salsas, Konas, a Specialized, and a few others I cant recall at the moment.

Until last Saturday when I found myself atop one of the R.E.I. CO-OP bikes. Specifically the ADV 3.2. I guess it falls into the gravel bike category...kinda-- not sure really.

What I do know is that of all the bikes I tried it was the most comfortable (exceedingly so), and has exceptionally responsive steering -- albeit all the touring bikes I tested were un-loaded.

Several of my initial prerequisites were quickly scuttled after the test ride:

It comes with 650b wheels, and a 2x Deore XT drivetrain with bar end shifters. Also, the 40/28 x 11-36 10spd, falls a little short on the low end for climbing. But I've been shedding weight at a decent pace with the long distance training rides (down to 217 from 228 in ~6 weeks) that the 28x36t will likely cut the mustard as I near the 200lbs and sub-200lbs boundary. I think deore also makes a 38/26 that might be an option for swap out should the need arise (?).

The bike I test rode was already 'spoken' for, but the bike I ordered should be ready to ride by Saturday or Sunday.

Here's a link to the specs and tech:

Any opinions welcome
05-20-19, 08:31 PM
#42
Oso Polar
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the 40/28 x 11-36 10spd, falls a little short on the low end for climbing
Have you actually tried climbing the well known (to you) hills or you are judging just by gearing difference alone?

E.g. I went from Trek 3500 with its triple - lowest gear being 28x34 - and 26" wheels to Jamis Renegade Escapade with 29" wheels and double, lowest gear 34x32. In theory first bike should be much better in climbing, gearing is way lower, in practice, however, Jamis does a much, much better job - climbing is way easier on it. I've no idea why - geometry difference, lack of suspension fork or what...

BTW, 28x36 is IMHO a very low gear, you'll need to spin like crazy to move somewhere (very slowly). And 40x11 is IMHO also incredibly low high gear - unless you normally spin at something like 120 RPM.

Last edited by Oso Polar; 05-20-19 at 08:37 PM.
05-20-19, 09:13 PM
#43
AllWeatherJeff
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Originally Posted by Oso Polar
Have you actually tried climbing the well known (to you) hills or you are judging just by gearing difference alone?
Good point. I am judging only by gearing difference (inches gained per pedal revolution)-- I use the gear ratio calculator on sheldonbrown dot com.

Originally Posted by Oso Polar
E.g. I went from Trek 3500 with its triple - lowest gear being 28x34 - and 26" wheels to Jamis Renegade Escapade with 29" wheels and double, lowest gear 34x32. In theory first bike should be much better in climbing, gearing is way lower, in practice, however, Jamis does a much, much better job - climbing is way easier on it. I've no idea why - geometry difference, lack of suspension fork or what...
It might have a lot to do with the roughly 10 lbs difference in weight between the two bikes. The trek 3500 at 31 lbs vs the Jamis at 21 lbs.

Which is why I am certain that losing another 15-20 lbs of fat will make a world of difference. I've lost 11lbs since march, (25lbs since 2017) and there is a very noticeable decrease in effort on the climbs that are a regular part of my weekly miles. Of course, some of that ease of effort is related to increased strength, but at least part of it has to do with the decrease in girth.

My GT 3x hardtail tops out between 31-32 lbs. And my Marin 29er is a tad under 30lbs with the hardcase tires.

With the a negligible difference in weight between the GT and the Marin, the GT with a 22x30 (18.7"/rev) provides modestly better relief on steeper climbs than the Marin with a 26x36. (19.7" /rev). I think the lower psi on the GT 26x2" knobby tires adds to the sense of ease in climbing.
05-20-19, 09:23 PM
#44
joewein
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I agree with Oso Polar, the 40/28 by 11-36T is quite low gearing, both at the low and high end of the range: That's a 20.4 gear inch low gear and a 95.6 gear inch high gear (assuming 650B x 42 mm or 700C x 23mm). At 80 rpm it equates to 4.9 and 22.7 mph. While there is no real downside to very low low gears, a high gear as low as that one may limit you to coasting on many downhills because the alternative would be too high a cadence for smooth pedalling.

To me your range is more typical for a loaded touring setup for hilly routes, but if it works for you, use it! My own gearing is in the 22-100 range, considerably lower than almost all the people I ride with, but it works for my legs and knees.
05-21-19, 07:30 AM
#45
clasher
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I had my carbon roadie setup with a triple and the gear range was 21"-100" and I never managed to run out of gears on descents, even on the highwood in the Rockies. I was around 220lbs when I was riding out there and found the low gears enough to get up all the hills as well as the shorter, steeper hills found in Ontario. I did my first 1200 on that setup too. I do walk up parts of hills if I find my speed around ~7km/h since I find my legs feel better doing that rather than grinding up a hill... usually I only walk a bit of the hill and it's almost always on the longer brevets. The nice thing about the XT crank on that REI adventure bike is that it looks like a regular 104bcd so it should be possible to fit other chainrings to it if you want to get a 44/30 going in the future it wouldn't be a huge expense. You might even be able to run 44/28 with that front derailleur if you like to tinker.
05-21-19, 02:09 PM
#46
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Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

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Originally Posted by AllWeatherJeff
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It comes with 650b wheels, and a 2x Deore XT drivetrain with bar end shifters. Also, the 40/28 x 11-36 10spd, falls a little short on the low end for climbing.
...
I did my first 200k brevet a few weeks ago, road triple of 52/42/30 and an 11/32 cassette, 700c wheels. The brevet was hilly and my lowest gear was higher than the 28 to 36 on a 650b wheel that you cited.

I have done plenty of bike touring with the weight of my camping gear and food on the bike with a 24 chainring and 32 sprocket in the back for my lowest gear, that is quite similar to the 28 chainring and 36 sprocket that tested.
05-22-19, 06:47 AM
#47
unterhausen

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I'm perfectly happy on my bike with a 42-11 high gear. In reality, that's a fairly high gear for a randonneur, and if the OP ever decides he wants to ride with large packs of people for some reason, he can get a bigger chainring. I don't think he will ever find the need though. I am pretty sure that even on a ride like PBP, 40-11 is plenty of gear.
05-22-19, 07:34 AM
#48
AllWeatherJeff
Old Dog, New Tricks

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I guess if the gearing seems too low I can always swap out for a larger 2x set.

However speed/large gearing has never been a focus of my riding. I ride primarily for the enjoyment, and for the health and meditative-like benefits of longer rides. I average around 14-15mph on my sub 40 mile rides and 110-13mph on anything in the 100-200k range depending on the amount of climbing.

I developed severe patellar tendonitis training and racing (in big gears) as a junior in the late 1980's and it took more than a decade to finally get back the full use of my knees. When I got back onto a bike in 1998 it was withwith a large dose of preventative caution. And I decided that a ~100inch rollout was more than sufficient for the top end of my speed range, even on descents.

I'll stick with the 40x28 for now -- The high end will be useful when riding in group rides and in groups on long brevets. If it turns out to be lacking, I can swap our for a larger pairing. Though, the swap that seems most likley woul be for a slightly smaller 2x pairing --if it exists for the deore xt-- when we move back to northern California later this year.
Thanks a lot for all the insight !
05-22-19, 08:41 AM
#49
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member

Join Date: Aug 2010
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Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

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Originally Posted by AllWeatherJeff
...
I developed severe patellar tendonitis training and racing (in big gears) as a junior in the late 1980's and it took more than a decade to finally get back the full use of my knees. When I got back onto a bike in 1998 it was withwith a large dose of preventative caution. And I decided that a ~100inch rollout was more than sufficient for the top end of my speed range, even on descents.
...
I used to stand on the pedals to accelerate from where I stopped for a stop light, to power up hills, etc. Quit doing that about 8 to 10 years ago, now I always stay in the saddle and gear down. My knees are so much happier now.

On shallow downhills I like having a couple really high gears, but spend less than one percent of my time in those gears so they are not really that important to me. But last year I bought a new road bike, the highest gear was 50T chainring and 13T sprocket, I bought a new cassette to get a 12T sprocket, but I do not really need anything faster than that. But there are two long shallow hills I occasionally ride down where that high gear is really nice.

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