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Want to build a FAST light tourer for riding to work that I may use for other rides

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Want to build a FAST light tourer for riding to work that I may use for other rides

Old 04-13-15, 08:00 PM
  #1  
twodownzero
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Want to build a FAST light tourer for riding to work that I may use for other rides

I have a road bike and I used to ride it more, but I've been slacking in my cycling. It's really fast and I love it for a weekend ride where the road is smooth and I can ride 20-80 miles but other than that, I have to get my kit on and go, and that's a lot of work. I like riding it after work but not so much riding TO work.

I have this idea to ride to work on a bike that is 1) almost as fast as my road bike 2) MUCH more durable and on 26" tires that are at least 1.5" wide, 3) drop bar, and 4) with panniers so I can carry my laptop/clothes to change.

I have a shower at work so it's no big deal at all to shower before changing.

All commuter bikes seem to be flat bar, not aero at all, etc., which I think is actually fine for just riding to work but not fast enough for anything else. I want a bike I can ride to the farmer's market, to the bar to get a beer, around town, or virtually any ride that isn't a 20+ mph hill climbing/endurance challenge, at which time I can ride my 17 lb road bike.

I really want 26" wheels to avoid toe overlap because I am only 5'5" and I need a small frame size. I am tempted to build a Surly Disc Trucker, but I fear it might be a bit stiff given that it's made for heavier touring. If there's another disc brake, 26" tire frame on the market, I'm all ears.

I'm okay with spending $1500-2000 to build this bike. It must be steel, somewhat fast, durable, drop bar for somewhat aero in the drops, have heel clearance for bags, and did I mention durable? Higher spoke counts, 30 pounds, etc. are okay. I'd rather not have it ride really stiff if I don't have to.

I know I'm not alone in wanting a more aero commuter. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.
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Old 04-13-15, 08:11 PM
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You could go 650b, like this Grand Randonneur Frame Set (v.2) | SOMA Fabrications.

I wouldn't be too worried about a touring bike being too "stiff." Both soma and surly make 26 inch wheel touring bikes in your size.
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Old 04-13-15, 08:23 PM
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Any number of frames will do what you want. It's a matter of degree. Toe overlap can also be addressed with frame design. My Super Sport has none, with 32mm tires on 27" rims, which are about an inch larger diameter than a racing bike's tire. That said, Surly makes a 26" version of the LHT and a 650B version of the Straggler in small sizes.

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Old 04-13-15, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I wouldn't be too worried about a touring bike being too "stiff." Both soma and surly make 26 inch wheel touring bikes in your size.
Maybe I'll start running the numbers and working on building a disc trucker. I like the idea of disc brakes, it comes with 26" wheels in my size, and I would have no problem building it up however I want.

I guess what I'm looking for is a Jamis Aurora Elite....but with 26" wheels.
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Old 04-13-15, 10:16 PM
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My wife ride an xs entry level road bike, ALU framed. She is 5'1" and isn't bothered by the toe overlap, have you had problems with this before? I ask because an ALU framed bike could work fine, and especially with 28mm and up sized tires, with lower pressures, the ride is fairly good.
I mention this in case you find a lht to be just too sluggish.
My tricross pretty much fits your requirements and similar bike may be options for you, even if not steel.
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Old 04-13-15, 10:26 PM
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Why not just pack as light as possible and use the road back with something like an Ibera clip on rack & commuter bag? I use that setup and its a blast. I could never ride on of those 30+ pound commuter derp machines, going fast is way too ****ing fun.
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Old 04-13-15, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
My wife ride an xs entry level road bike, ALU framed. She is 5'1" and isn't bothered by the toe overlap, have you had problems with this before? I ask because an ALU framed bike could work fine, and especially with 28mm and up sized tires, with lower pressures, the ride is fairly good.
I mention this in case you find a lht to be just too sluggish.
My tricross pretty much fits your requirements and similar bike may be options for you, even if not steel.
My current bike has pretty heavy toe overlap and while it's not an issue while cruising down the road at missile speed, it's not ideal for this build and I'd like to avoid it if possible. The only time you ever steer far enough for it to matter is at very low speeds, but to answer your question more directly, yes, I have managed to hit my toe with my front tire before, but it's rare.

Originally Posted by Buffalo Buff View Post
Why not just pack as light as possible and use the road back with something like an Ibera clip on rack & commuter bag? I use that setup and its a blast. I could never ride on of those 30+ pound commuter derp machines, going fast is way too ****ing fun.
I do commute on my road bike now, but I find myself not riding as much as I otherwise would because I'm riding a bike that isn't as durable as a more deliberately-built bike would be. I also think a more "comfortable" road-ish bike for longer rides might be a nice thing to add to the stable.

When I do commute, I have to wear a backpack, which is less than ideal.
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Old 04-13-15, 11:28 PM
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I have Bianchi Volpe, which I loved it for every day bike + light tourer.

But now I have a GT Grade Alloy 105 which is quicker and has screw holes tapped at dropouts. To put on a rack, you simply replace stock seat post clamp with seatpost clamp with rack mount.

or this

GT Grade Alloy 105 review - BikeRadar

The clip below is the carbon frame, which I don't think has screw holes for rack mount, but can see how versatile this gravel bike is.

Below is the Alloy 105 version which I recommend
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Old 04-14-15, 12:35 AM
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Camargue Frameset - Frames

The Camargue is a touring frame for folks who ride mostly on unpaved, roads. It can carry a substantial load for long unsupported trips, yet handles very well even with no load at all. It can be ridden with traditional racks and panniers or bike packer style. Being a mid-trail design it works well with both front and rear loads.

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Old 04-14-15, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
I do commute on my road bike now, but I find myself not riding as much as I otherwise would because I'm riding a bike that isn't as durable as a more deliberately-built bike would be. I also think a more "comfortable" road-ish bike for longer rides might be a nice thing to add to the stable.

When I do commute, I have to wear a backpack, which is less than ideal.
Where are you riding that would mess up a road bike?

Is the backpack so you can fit a laptop or something?
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Old 04-14-15, 06:42 AM
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I have a Soma Saga Disc, whenever I think its a little stiff I lower the 38mm tyre's pressure a few PSI....

Get the Disc Trucker with 26" wheels, tyres make more difference in ride than the frame's material.
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Old 04-14-15, 07:36 AM
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twodownzero
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Originally Posted by Buffalo Buff View Post
Where are you riding that would mess up a road bike?

Is the backpack so you can fit a laptop or something?
Yes, and clothes for when I get to work.

Where would I be riding? Paths. Roads with debris, potholes, etc. While late to work. And avoiding others who are, too.
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Old 04-14-15, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
I have a road bike and I used to ride it more, but I've been slacking in my cycling. It's really fast and I love it for a weekend ride where the road is smooth and I can ride 20-80 miles but other than that, I have to get my kit on and go, and that's a lot of work. I like riding it after work but not so much riding TO work.

I have this idea to ride to work on a bike that is 1) almost as fast as my road bike 2) MUCH more durable and on 26" tires that are at least 1.5" wide, 3) drop bar, and 4) with panniers so I can carry my laptop/clothes to change.

I have a shower at work so it's no big deal at all to shower before changing.

All commuter bikes seem to be flat bar, not aero at all, etc., which I think is actually fine for just riding to work but not fast enough for anything else. I want a bike I can ride to the farmer's market, to the bar to get a beer, around town, or virtually any ride that isn't a 20+ mph hill climbing/endurance challenge, at which time I can ride my 17 lb road bike.

I really want 26" wheels to avoid toe overlap because I am only 5'5" and I need a small frame size. I am tempted to build a Surly Disc Trucker, but I fear it might be a bit stiff given that it's made for heavier touring. If there's another disc brake, 26" tire frame on the market, I'm all ears.

I'm okay with spending $1500-2000 to build this bike. It must be steel, somewhat fast, durable, drop bar for somewhat aero in the drops, have heel clearance for bags, and did I mention durable? Higher spoke counts, 30 pounds, etc. are okay. I'd rather not have it ride really stiff if I don't have to.

I know I'm not alone in wanting a more aero commuter. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.
5,000 miles on a LHT

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Old 04-14-15, 10:00 AM
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I am only 5'5" and I need a small frame size.
Bike Friday NWT. they build to order In Eugene Oregon USA. BTO, thus Drop bars and drivetrain is a Menu Choice.

Let go of the Big wheel thing , 20" wheels are great ! stonger and lighter so also faster accelerating .. I have a Disc Braked Pocket Llama.

to Go Touring It also saves you Fees on Air plane accompanied Luggage costs.

https://www.bikefriday.com/bicycles/touring/1490

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Old 04-14-15, 12:12 PM
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yeah it sounds like you want a LHT or another Surly of some sort. steel plus fast.

or just use your road bike (that's me)
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Old 04-14-15, 12:21 PM
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You'll have to see yourself with a test ride, but lht are not known to feel nippy...
I realise you want to go 26 in but I wouldn't only think steel because of reliability, I've ridden both steel and alu and both have been perfectly reliable over many years. The reason I suggest alu frames is for frames that may feel stiffer and accelerate faster when hammering for a light changing to red or whatever. My tricross is much more fun to ride fast than my old steel tourer--but of course these preferences are personal and how you find the ride of a given bike.
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Old 04-14-15, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by skimaxpower View Post
Camargue Frameset - Frames

The Camargue is a touring frame for folks who ride mostly on unpaved, roads. It can carry a substantial load for long unsupported trips, yet handles very well even with no load at all. It can be ridden with traditional racks and panniers or bike packer style. Being a mid-trail design it works well with both front and rear loads.

I would order this frameset right now if it came set up for disc brakes!
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Old 04-14-15, 07:52 PM
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Velo Orange has some frames that may fit your needs in 26" wheels. Polyvalent MK3 Frame and Fork - Polyvalent - Frames. you can build it with tekking bars. I built the Pass Hunter up with about 95% VO parts including the bars. I used indexed 9 speed on the rear and friction for the front triple. Its 700 though but the polyvalent is 650b.

Just another option. I found the frame I bought to be very nicely finished. The Camargue mentioned above is also a nice option.

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Old 04-14-15, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
You'll have to see yourself with a test ride, but lht are not known to feel nippy...
I realise you want to go 26 in but I wouldn't only think steel because of reliability, I've ridden both steel and alu and both have been perfectly reliable over many years. The reasonI suggest alu frames is for frames that may feel stiffer and accelerate faster when hammering for a light changing to red or whatever. My tricross is much more fun to ride fast than my old steel tourer--but of course these preferences are personal and how you find the ride of a given bike.
Don't rule out 700c tyres. I have steel 26" tyres tourer, and I was reasonably happy with it. But with GT Grade Alloy 105, I was blown away. The modern gravel tyres are as good as 26" 1.5 tyres, giving the same soft ride, while much quicker response. PANARACER GRAVELKING is a good example, so is the Continental Ultra Sport II
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Old 04-14-15, 08:27 PM
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IMO the LHT can not be classified as a "fast" bike. I have a LHT , and very seldom use it for anything but touring. Lately, I've even used other bikes for touring rather than the LHT. However, I realize that "fast" is a subjective and relative thing, and the LHT works for a lot of folks.

I have a lot of touring miles on both the LHT and a Bianchi Volpe. For me the Volpe is the better of the two for a good all around bike. I ride it almost every day as my around town bike. If it is raining, I'll use it for club rides rather than my road bike because it has fenders, and I'm planning on using it on a long tour this summer.

One of my biggest issues with the LHT is the very long top tube. It is also heavier. With my body build it was hard for me to get the fit dialed in. I could never get it quite right. Conversely, the Volpe was easy to dial in, and is a pleasure to ride. It tours well, is agile, and quick enough for most club rides. I believe that the Tricross would have similar characteristics. My point is to look at the geometry and dimensions, and test ride them if you can to see if they meet your expectations for "fast".

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Old 04-14-15, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
I would order this frameset right now if it came set up for disc brakes!
You don't need disc brakes for the type of riding you say you're going to do with this future bike. The Camargue would be an awesome ride. If you said that you plan to take this future bike on some singletrack mountain bike rides in possibly muddy conditions, then you'd probably want disc brakes. Disc brakes would be overkill. Just like using a Long Haul Trucker for carrying a laptop would be overkill.
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Old 04-14-15, 09:33 PM
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The whole issue of toe overlap is a tricky one. I remember buying a bike once many years ago, the store installed fenders on it, I rode away and in two minutes caught my toe in the front fender, pushing it into the wheel and bending the fender, folding it into itself. The bike I've owned since didn't have the issue and/or front fenders so I can appreciate not having overlap to deal with. I guess with discs this would allow 26 inchers more easily. I personally wouldn't go the 650 route, just from tire availability and all that.
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Old 04-14-15, 09:47 PM
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Here is my Surly Crosscheck light touring build.Awesome for commuting,groceries,light touring.The original owner put around $2200 into it and I bought it for $1600 on Ebay last June.I have included a link to the original info on it in case you want to go that direction you could contact the original owner on build details.I was putting 200miles/week on it but have backed off recently due to a sore knee.Can't wait to get back riding it.By the way the Topeak expandable panniers are perfect.
2013 PRICE DROP: Surly Cross Check Touring Build - SRAM Rival WiF For Sale

ETA If at possible I would try to go 700c versus 26inch if you want a "fast" commuter.I am not real familiar with the toe overlap but the Crosscheck geometry does have a relatively long top tube which should help out with that issue.

Last edited by RWTD; 04-14-15 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 04-14-15, 10:48 PM
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"Fast" is largely about getting your position as aero as possible without hindering power output, and reducing power lost elsewhere, like from rubbing brakes or heavy tires.

I converted a free 80's MTB to drop bars a few years ago, and I get going pretty fast on it. I've never ridden an LHT, but imagine the ride is similar, what with the stiff frame and long chainstays.
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Old 04-14-15, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
"Fast" is largely about getting your position as aero as possible without hindering power output, and reducing power lost elsewhere, like from rubbing brakes or heavy tires.

I converted a free 80's MTB to drop bars a few years ago, and I get going pretty fast on it. I've never ridden an LHT, but imagine the ride is similar, what with the stiff frame and long chainstays.

Exactly,however he did specifically mention 26x1.5" tires which are usually pretty heavy.I would consider a 26" LHT more for an expedition build than a light touring build both due to weight and geometry.
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