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Bike Type for Fully Supported Tour

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Bike Type for Fully Supported Tour

Old 08-14-15, 07:02 PM
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OneOldSeaDog
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Bike Type for Fully Supported Tour

Hi,
I am about 9 months out from a fully supported cross country tour for charity. I will be riding the northern route from Bar Harbor to Seattle. I need a new bike since the current one is a mountain bike. I have talked to several LBSs and several people who have done this tour previously including the sponsor of the tour. Half say get a touring bike. Half say a road bike. Some say get what you want to ride when the tour is completed. Right now I have narrowed it down to the Surly Disc Trucker or the 2016 Cannondale Touring Ultimate in the touring class or the Trek Domane 4.5 disc or Cannondale Synapse 105 Disc if I decide to go with a road bike. I am leaning to the touring bike because I would like a small trunk bag to put in a rain jacket, sun tan lotion, etc. Also because the touring bikes are more sturdy. On the other hand I love the ride of the Domane and Synapse. Looking for advice. Thanks, Frank
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Old 08-14-15, 07:14 PM
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My 74 year old friend rode from Long Beach, Ca to San Francisco, Ca to RAGBRI, and after finishing RAGBRI he went on to Washington, DC. His ride was fully supported, he rode a road bike with triple. He rode ever fliping mile. He did not ride a touring bike because his adventure was supported.
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Old 08-14-15, 07:18 PM
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Light road bike, 23 mm tires, with seat post rack. Bar height adjusted for comfort. I'd add aerobars. Wouldn't leave home without them on an upright. Fun, agile combo for long rides.
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Old 08-15-15, 04:06 AM
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Frank, Welcome to the forum.

Either style will work for a supported tour, as will something in between, like a CX bike. With probably just a different set of tires your mountain bike becomes a candidate.

Buying something you'll want to ride after the tour is good advice.

Brad
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Old 08-15-15, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
Light road bike, 23 mm tires, with seat post rack. Bar height adjusted for comfort. I'd add aerobars. Wouldn't leave home without them on an upright. Fun, agile combo for long rides.
Can't argue with this advice. Differences being 25 mm tires and a handlebar bag.

Brad
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Old 08-15-15, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
Can't argue with this advice. Differences being 25 mm tires and a handlebar bag.

Brad
+2. Especially on the 25c. Maybe even 28s if they will fit. I did the NT route many years ago. You are almost certainly going to encounter roads where wide tires will be appreciated.

I would definitely NOT buy an LHT. Heavy and slow.
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Old 08-15-15, 05:20 AM
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A friend of mine did a fully supported southern tier ride with a small group about a half year ago. He has several bikes to choose from and had previously toured cross country with a full load of camping gear. He decided to bring his touring bike (Canondale Aluminum frame, fenders, 35mm or 37mm tires) instead of a road bike with skinny tires. The rest of the group rode skinny tire bikes. At the end he said he was quite happy with the touring bike because he had a total of four flats, some of the people with skinny tires had up to four flats per day when they were in thorn country.

I think a compromise in between might be best, if I was going to do a ride like that I would look for a lightweight rando style bike, use 32mm tires, tire liners in thorn country but otherwise skip the liners, fenders, large handlebar bag mounted low on a 2nd stem, and for those days when I wanted to carry more clothing or more water - a good sized rack pack on a seat post mounted beam rack. A seat post mounted rack means no carbon seat posts.

The skinny tires might be a bit faster but with more flats and a harsher ride, that would not be my choice for many long days in the saddle.

Don't rule out rim brakes, if you find a great rando bike it might not have discs.

Start looking for the saddle you will want now, assuming you will want one that is not stock on the bike you ride.
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Old 08-15-15, 06:02 AM
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Personal preference, but I wouldn't even consider a touring bike for that kind of ride. Now that I have gone to a very light packing style I don't even use my touring bike for unsupported touring, so I certainly wouldn't use it on a supported ride.

For me a road bike with fairly low gearing and 25 mm tires would be the ticket. That is what I used on the Southern Tier (minimalist camping and cooking) and I liked it much better than my touring bike. If there is clearance and you want a bit cushier ride you might go to 28 mm tires, but I didn't. Ideally I'd avoid super low spoke count wheels or take spare wheels since you are fully supported. I wouldn't specifically choose disc brakes myself, but if I already had a suitable bike with them I'd use it

Older road bikes are a pretty good fit for this. I used my old 1990 Cannondale Crit racer and found it a good choice. Some of the newer endurance road bikes or adventure road bikes would be a good choice as well. I definitely wouldn't ride a tank like an LHT for that kind of ride.
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Old 08-15-15, 07:00 AM
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A touring bikes are designed to carry an extra load and therefore tend to be overbuilt and sluggish even when unloaded. I'd go for something a little lighter weight, more in the endurance category, or a cross bike. But comfort is what you should be looking at the most. I'd also be sure to have tough tires 25mm or 28mm.
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Old 08-15-15, 07:03 AM
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I think it would depend on how many kms you plan on riding a day. Long days on hard riding bikes looses its appeal pretty fast, I would look for comfort over everything else. I wouldn't consider tires under 30mm, they are just too hard for me and offer no discernible advantage, other than a hard ride.
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Old 08-15-15, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
I would nix the truck bag as unneeded extra weigh and complexity. A rack & truck are probably 2 lbs, plus you'll end up carrying more, just because you can. I'd go with seat bag or small frame bag that'll come in at less than half a pound.
I agree. A handle bar bag might be another option, but personally I could typically manage with a tiny seat wedge with a few tools and everything else in jersey pockets. If I take a bigger camera than just my cell phone I do go with the handlebar bag for quick access.
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Old 08-15-15, 08:57 AM
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I would nix the truck bag as unneeded extra weigh and complexity. A rack & truck are probably 2-3 lbs, plus you'll end up carrying more, just because you can. I'd go with seat bag or small frame bag that'll come in at about a half a pound.

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Old 08-15-15, 09:01 AM
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Given its "fully supported " meaning there is a motor vehicle hauling your stuff,
if you like riding your Domane all day long day after day , it will be a good choice..

you already own one?

British style saddlebags will have the space for the rain gear you may want handy, & tube and tire pump ..

A Handlebar Bag is nice to stow your snacks and camera in, maybe a energy drink too..
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Old 08-15-15, 09:03 AM
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I did a 4200 mile cross country ride in The Hot Summer of 2009 with 42 riders.

Took a touring bike, wish I had taken a road bike.

Triple with 700 X 28 tires would have been best.

Have the ability to carry 4/5 bottles.
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Old 08-15-15, 10:55 AM
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Having ridden both, I'd choose the Domane. I usually ride with a handlebar bag and seat bag which lets me carry tools and whatever I might need if it starts to rain and gets cold.
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Old 08-15-15, 01:36 PM
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I say to go out and try a Surly, you might even be turned off by the lift test, before even riding one. After trying the Trek and Cannondale, you will find out really soon what a boat anchor they tend to be.
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Old 08-15-15, 06:21 PM
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Not a cross continent ride but I did a fully supported 8 day tour (just over 500 miles) on a Giant Defy 1. I carried anything I needed for the day in my pockets and small seat bag. Of the bikes you listed, the Synapse would be great. By the way, I rode 25mm Gatorkins and had 0 problems with flats.
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Old 08-16-15, 07:02 AM
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I agree that you probably do not need or want a dedicated touring bike. Good advice to get something you will enjoy after the tour. My choice would be something with "endurance" geometry with a taller headtube than a "race" bike. Usually such a bike will have clearance for 28mm tires, my current favorite is the Panaracer Gravelking. Avoid a rear rack or trunk, they are clumsy and you'll bang your knee when mounting or dismounting. I like a seat pack large enough for spare tube, tools, CO2, wallet, etc. and a small handlebar bag for a jacket and phone.
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Old 08-16-15, 07:14 AM
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What's wrong with using your mountain bike?
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Old 08-16-15, 07:22 AM
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Just guessing- mtb could weigh 40 pounds, have flat bars and a 42t big ring....
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Old 08-16-15, 08:58 AM
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I'd personally go with a bike that could fit 32-40c tires, just because it'll be so much easier on your hands and butt all day every day to have more cush.

Look into 'randonneur' bikes. Those are made for 300k+ rides, with a small bag on the bars, like you want. You don't have to go all out French style or anything, but look at how they're set up - bars level with the saddle, comfy position on the bike, fenders.
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Old 08-16-15, 10:50 AM
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On a fully supported tour definitely go with the road bike
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Old 08-16-15, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by schnee View Post
...
Look into 'randonneur' bikes.....
That is what I meat above when I said rando style bike, but I can't spell randonneur.
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Old 08-16-15, 11:54 AM
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Get a bike that will be a good bike after the ride. If fully supported, no need to go for a touring bike which may be less than optimal later and not really needed on the ride itself. But room for 28c tires (and fenders if you live in a rainy area) could be very smart.

I saw a Comotion disc braked bike yesterday at a bike shop that looked like a nice ride, I believe it was the Camino (Co-Motion Cycles | camino). The specs and geometry suggest it would be a very good bike for that tour. (Takes fenders and 28c tires. Comes compact with 11-speed. There is little you would have to do to get this bike ready.) Comotion is well known in the northwest as making very good bicycles for decades so it isn't like you are getting an unknown quantity even if you have never heard of them. And as an 853 steel bike, you will have a bike that both rides great and isn't what everybody has.

Ben
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Old 08-16-15, 11:58 AM
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If you consider the Comotion, think about contacting them. They ride. They may well have good advice on bags, racks, etc. to dial your bike in.

Ben
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