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Light to UL bicycle

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Light to UL bicycle

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Old 11-28-15, 12:32 PM
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Light to UL bicycle

So I want to do some light - UL touring. I've been looking around and keep coming back to the Trek 720. I think I like the 14 L fork bags. A 7L handlebar bag. I'ld probably put on a rear rack and 20L panniers on that, colder weather probably 30L. bags. I would go to 34-46 chainrings from the 36-50 it comes with. I would consider the FSA MTB crankset with 27-39 that Wouldn't cost much more. Nashbar. So what do you think of this setup as a fast and light tourer? What do you ride for fast and light? Opinions appreciated.
Please & Thank you.
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Old 11-28-15, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
What do you ride for fast and light? Opinions appreciated.
I ride a road bike that isn't meant for touring, and try to take the absolute minimum amount of gear I can to stay perfectly comfortable throughout the tour.

Here is what it looked like on a recent trip:



With this setup I did ten centuries back to back, and never felt exhausted at all. I woke up feeling great each morning, and every day I had as much time as I wanted to take photos, find some food to eat etc. The beauty of packing so light and riding fast is it gives you more time to do other stuff!

Here are some general pointers for going fast and light:

- Bags weigh you down too, not just gear. Select bags that are very light for their capacity, like my Revelate Viscacha. Switching from this rear rack and bag to my Viscacha saved me a few pounds! Racks weigh a ****load. Avoid them. Use bikepacking style bags instead.

- Don't bring cookware. I'm not implying you can't bring it and still pack light (You can!). But if you want to be as fast and light as you can, this helps. Why spend time in camp cooking in you can just eat while riding? I pick up some bananas in the morning and stuff my jersey pockets, and when I've gone through those I pick up a box of granola bars when I stop for water. I'd rather spend my touring time on the road than watching a pot boil.

- Don't rely on outlets to charge your electronics, bring a backup battery. I used this one and it worked very well. Killer battery life on it. Relying on outlets makes you less independent and its a huge timesink if you charge something during the day when you're not camped out.

- Be in good shape and be able to keep up in a fast group ride. Should go without saying. If you aren't fast on a naked bike you won't be fast on a loaded bike.

- Bring less clothes. You don't need a weeks worth of fresh laundry. A few pairs of cycling shorts will get the job done. Bring some liquid soap and learn to do laundry in a sink, its quicker than a laundromat. Strap wet clothes to your bike or the outside of your bags and let the wind dry them, or hang them up while you camp.

- Bring multipurpose items. My battery charges all my electronics. My headband keeps my head warm and doubles as a sleeping mask. My bike headlight works great as a camp light, since it has a very low power "walking" mode. Paracord has all sorts of functions.

- Be able to go 20 miles on a single water bottle. The less you have to stop for refills the further you'll go. Most people drink more water than they need to while they bike. You can go pretty far on a single bottle. My last century I didn't even bother with a second bottle, just stopped halfway for a refill and that was that. Obviously you never want to push this too far and get dehydrated...you need to know your limits before pushing them on a tour

YMMV and everyone has their own approach. None of this is gospel, its just stuff that has worked for me.

Last edited by Buffalo Buff; 11-28-15 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 11-28-15, 05:03 PM
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If you're going ultralight, pretty much any bike can work. $2k is a lot of money for a bike with a pair of attached dry bags. I like this guy's attitude about light weight bike touring, Ultralight bicycle touring

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Old 11-28-15, 05:47 PM
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Light carbon bike with revelate design seatbag,framebag and a handlebarbag total 30-35L

1kg tent, 500g sleeping bag, 500g sleeping mat, 1kg cookingsystem TOTAL 2KG
Clothes 3kg, mix stuff like iPad mini +powerbank xtra tire and simple repairkit 1,5kg
the bags 1kg TOTAL 7,5KG

this is is my dream set up for my specialized sirrus carbon flatbar road bike. Maybe summer 2016 Norway-Amsterdam or Paris
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Old 11-28-15, 06:07 PM
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If I were looking for a bike for light touring, the all city space horse is a pretty versatile bike.
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Old 11-28-15, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
So I want to do some light - UL touring. I've been looking around and keep coming back to the Trek 720. I think I like the 14 L fork bags. A 7L handlebar bag. I'ld probably put on a rear rack and 20L panniers on that, colder weather probably 30L. bags. I would go to 34-46 chainrings from the 36-50 it comes with. I would consider the FSA MTB crankset with 27-39 that Wouldn't cost much more. Nashbar. So what do you think of this setup as a fast and light tourer? What do you ride for fast and light? Opinions appreciated.
Please & Thank you.
Not sure how much stuff you are carrying, but that is a lot of capacity, more suitable for fairly heavy touring IMO.

Just for a comparison, all my stuff for a backpacking trip fits easily in a 45 liter pack even when I need to carry a bear canister and 5 days of food. Since I never need to carry the bear canister or that big load of food on a bike tour I find I need much less. Without the need for a bear canister and all that bulky food on tours I can get by on a fraction of that capacity.

Some of that depends on how bulky your gear is and how you pack. My gear all packs pretty small and I tend to compress everything to it's minimum size, so YMMV. I suggest getting all of your gear together and seeing how it packs in stuff sacks or duffels to get a better idea of how much capacity you need. Then decide what bags, racks, and so on you need. I think it makes sense to do all that before thinking about what bike to use.

So my recommended best practice:
1. Work up the gear list.
2. Figure out what racks/bags that requires.
3. Choose the bike based on all that.

Obviously if you are planning to use stuff you already have for items 2 and 3 it may prevent using this approach, but even then keep in mind the way the dependencies go.

Last edited by staehpj1; 11-29-15 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 11-28-15, 08:01 PM
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That 720 will work nicely for light touring. As others have suggested make a gear list and then have a look at other people's setups and decide what you like and how much space you'll need. I use 2 bags with a total volume of 30 liters.
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Old 11-28-15, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
So I want to do some light - UL touring. I've been looking around and keep coming back to the Trek 720. I think I like the 14 L fork bags. A 7L handlebar bag. I'ld probably put on a rear rack and 20L panniers on that, colder weather probably 30L. bags. I would go to 34-46 chainrings from the 36-50 it comes with. I would consider the FSA MTB crankset with 27-39 that Wouldn't cost much more. Nashbar. So what do you think of this setup as a fast and light tourer? What do you ride for fast and light? Opinions appreciated.
Please & Thank you.
Cool bike. "Fast and light tourer"

1. Eliminate panniers/fork bags. The chainstays of the 720 aren't especially long, in other words not optimal for rear loads. That's why it's shown with front fork bags. Panniers/fork bags add windage which is counter to "fast" and they aren't needed for light loads. The 720 has great features but I wouldn't consider rear pannier placement on the list.
Basically keep the load within your profile on the bike.

Basic rear rack w plate. The cheapest lightest rear rack to hold a dry/ stuff bag snug on top. Something less than 8" in diameter held lengthwise. What was in panniers goes there.

Front load spread to front bag and frame bags.

wrt what I did ride on when I was fast and light 30yrs ago was a variety of road bikes w no braze-ons. As described above a Blackburn rear rack attached to the holes in the Campy dropouts w Army Surplus poncho folded on bottom, camp pad on that then sleeping bag stuff sack lined with a couple medium garbage bags. Spare pants, clothes and windbreaker in bag. About ten lbs worth strapped down tight.
Front handlebar bag was a about the size of a 8liter dry bag with horizontal zip nod plastic stiffener. Suspended by four Velcro straps on brake hoods and drops. Maybe 2 lbs of stuff. Fast means your front profile doesn't look much different loaded or unloaded as everything is within the outline of your body.

Last edited by LeeG; 11-29-15 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 11-29-15, 09:16 AM
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$1900 to get a bike that isn't geared how youbwant and still needs money spent to get it how you like?
Seems really expensive just to start riding without much packed on the bike.

With that said, it's a great looking bike. Disc brakes, carbon fork, very good components, creative fork dry bag mounts.


Boy, $2k to just start riding though? It seems that even with the components on that bike, it's expensive compared to others.
Hey, if you like it and it fits great, that's really the most important since you plan to be in the saddle for hours on end.
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Old 11-29-15, 10:29 AM
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the 720 is nice.. those 2 fork mounted Dry bags are the right size for carrying a Growler , in Each.

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Old 11-30-15, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
$1900 to get a bike that isn't geared how youbwant and still needs money spent to get it how you like?
Seems really expensive just to start riding without much packed on the bike.

With that said, it's a great looking bike. Disc brakes, carbon fork, very good components, creative fork dry bag mounts.


Boy, $2k to just start riding though? It seems that even with the components on that bike, it's expensive compared to others.
Hey, if you like it and it fits great, that's really the most important since you plan to be in the saddle for hours on end.

I'm not trying to be pissy, but what others of a simular wt. ??
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Old 11-30-15, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
I'm not trying to be pissy, but what others of a simular wt. ??
I don't take your question as being pissy.
Reading thru the 720 info, it’s an endurance geometry drop bar bike with an aluminum frame, carbon fork, and disc brakes.
I don’t know what the weight is, but I would guess 21-22.5# depending on the frame size and selected tires.
Even if its 21-22#, there are options from Giant, Specialized, Trek(other options from them), GT, Cannondale, Diamondback, and others which would fit the bill.

For the record though, you mentioned you plan on having 41 liters of storage during warm trips and 51 liters of storage during colder trips by using fork bags, a rear rack and bags, and a handlebar bag.
I am no expert in ultralight touring, but I would figure at that point, just get a good bike that is stable and fun to ride since you will be carrying so much.
There are tons of ‘sport touring’ bikes around to fit this need, though most do not have disc brakes.

On a related note, the Trek Crossrip LTD sure looks like it is a similar brother to the 720, only a few hundred cheaper.

A GT Grade Alloy 105 costs $1300, weighs 22# stock, has endurance geometry, has 43cm chainstays, and has disc brakes.


Drop the disc brake requirement and the options grow 10x and get $900 cheaper than the 720 for the same components.
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Old 11-30-15, 10:21 AM
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Dirt roads or pavement? Or both?

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Mine?

IMG_4726 by Mike, on Flickr

I didn't like the panniers for choppy dirt roads... and I have a love hate with the Ortlieb bar bag (I've had it since my Trek 520...)
Recently got a frame bag, will put my Mark's Rack back on the front (tiny little thing) to help with the front bar - roll and hold my light, and will go back to my bikepacking bags:

IMG_9474a by Mike, on Flickr

Porcelain Rocket El Gilberto custom frame pack by Mike, on Flickr


28 or 32mm tires (up to 40 if I pull the fenders)
12-36 10 spd rear
30/44 front (have another crank that i need to put on with 28/42
pretty stanrdard Mavic Open Pro wheelset(s) 1 with dyno hub
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Old 12-01-15, 12:34 PM
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I don't see any particular need for a disc brake.
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Old 12-01-15, 01:10 PM
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thinking of something like this? here's the writeup.

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Old 12-01-15, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
I don't see any particular need for a disc brake.

If disc brakes arent a need, then your options are literally dozens of potential bikes with the similar specs to the 720 and for $600-800 less.


With that said- you havent said what specs you are looking for, beyond whats on the bike you mentioned.Knowing now that you don’t even need one of the main specs of that bike, what other things on that bike are you agnostic about?Is less than 105 components ok?Because then you have hundreds of bikes to choose from and would save up to $1000 compared to the 720.

You are interested in a bike for light/ultralight touring, one that is in itself light.If that’s really the only firm requirement, there are multiple options from every major brand and a ton from smaller brands which will weigh under 23# and be comfortable for many miles each day.
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Old 12-02-15, 06:11 AM
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Why not a lightweight steel bike like a Cross Check or a Jamis Quest or something? With light loads a steel bike will be much more comfortable, especiallly on 28 or 32mm tires. Those examples both have eyelets for rear racks. My Quest Elite weighs 20 lbs, although better wheels would add a pound. Still, I have Easton EA70's and I'm thinking of mounting 28mm Vittoria Randonneurs and doing some light touring on it, based on some of the recent examples I've seen here.
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Old 12-04-15, 06:12 PM
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I've done a bit of research today. Jamis in steel sounds interesting. The Trek Domaine, with rim brakes and no front bags cost a lot less, with Tiagra drivetrain even less. Specialized in steel Tiagra and tubus racks. If can keep gear wt. down, maybe I don't need front bags except a handlebar bag.
So yea there's other stuff out there. Your opinions still appreciated.
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Old 12-04-15, 07:17 PM
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Lot of cyclocross bikes out there that could fill your need. Many have rear braze ons for a rear rack if desired and more importantly, you can put anything from 23-37 mm tires on it so you can ride anywhere you want and are not stuck on pavement. I did enjoy riding the Trek Domani though, nice ride.
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Old 12-05-15, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Lot of cyclocross bikes out there that could fill your need. Many have rear braze ons for a rear rack if desired and more importantly, you can put anything from 23-37 mm tires on it so you can ride anywhere you want and are not stuck on pavement. I did enjoy riding the Trek Domani though, nice ride.
I got really seduce by the Trek 720 fork bags. I'm waking up little by little. A cross bike was what was I was thinking to begin with.
Thanks
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Old 12-05-15, 06:36 PM
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A CX bike posing as a Long Haul Trucker with 35 lb of gear. I've ridden it with 20 to 40lb. with no issues. It handles very nicely bare.

This one is set up with low mountain bike gearing, and also does well on gravel and dirt roads and trails.


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Old 12-05-15, 08:56 PM
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One LBS mentioned
Raleigh Willard also Clubman
Marin $ corner Lumborg
Giant Anyroad
Teravail Sparrow

your thoughts?
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Old 12-05-15, 09:50 PM
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Squeeze, what are you riding now and have you toured on any bikes other than your present one?
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Old 12-06-15, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Squeeze, what are you riding now and have you toured on any bikes other than your present one?
I now have a Trek 5200 w/ 9speed, the predacesser To the Madone 5.2 . And a Giant momentum around town bike upright bars 1x7 speed.
I toured on a mid 70's Motobecane "performance" bicycle. 3x5, low gear was 38x28 Stronglight had a double with a front chain guard easy to change to triple. Light touring set-up.
Thanks for asking.
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Old 12-06-15, 04:05 PM
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Sounds like you want less racy than the Trek but not as truck-like as a full tourer. You might like the Gunnar Sport. Gunnar Sport ? Long distance riding in comfort from Gunnar Cycles USA It uses caliper brakes (a big plus IMO) and can take a 32mm tire, maybe some bigger. No funky press fit bottom bracket either. You can pick your color. Most important, you can gear it any way you like.
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