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Converting a commuter to a touring?

Old 04-01-16, 01:19 AM
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suncruiser
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Converting a commuter to a touring?

Maybe I'm insane for this thought, but I have a commuter type bicycle (trek District 8) that I feel like I might be able to convert to a touring machine. Has anyone done anything like this? Bike already has 36 spoke wheels on it, was thinking drop bars, improved brakes (tektro novela-they work but I'm not a fan) triple up front and I'd be golden
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Old 04-01-16, 01:38 AM
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Yes, well, you could do that. But if you're replacing the entire groupset, including the disc brakes, you'll be spending a fair amount. And if the bike fits you with flat bars it probably won't when you instal drop bars, because the reach will be greater when riding on the hoods or in the drops.
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Old 04-01-16, 01:40 AM
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imi
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Converting a commuter to a touring?

Some things to consider. With drop bars will the "reach" still fit? Will the shifters and front derailleur manage a tripple?
How are you planning on carrying your gear? If panniers, will they fit on the rack without "heel strike"?

oops, chasm beat me to it 'bout reach
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Old 04-01-16, 03:36 AM
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I'm not familiar with your bike, but if it is comfortable you can tour on it and have a good time. You can tour on just about any bike.
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Old 04-01-16, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
I'm not familiar with your bike, but if it is comfortable you can tour on it and have a good time. You can tour on just about any bike.
Are you trying to build a "touring bike" in the technical sense, or do you just want a bike to tour on? If it's the latter, just get on your bike and ride. I have used the same GT Outpost not only for mountain biking, but for commuting, recreation, and touring for 20 years now. All I did was add a rear rack, panniers, and some slick tires.

Don't get caught up in the hype and the lingo. As ironwood said, you can tour on just about any bike.
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Old 04-01-16, 05:13 AM
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Flat bars can be a pain, I think, to ride on for long days in the saddle. If using a flat bar bike as a touring bike, I'd swap out the bar to a trekking or butterfly bar. That's a reasonably priced job esp. if you do the work yourself. All your existing parts will work on the new bar and you gain more hand positions which is a big help if riding long days.
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Old 04-01-16, 10:11 AM
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One more vote for "ride what you got." See if you can mount racks on it, if you don't already have them on for commuting. Go out for an overnight ride or two, or a week, and find out if you really enjoy it. (You probably will!)

Low gears are nice, and you can probably change out the crankset for a reasonable price, maybe a mountain double. Beyond that, you're heading for "it costs more to change the components than to buy a cheap tourer and I'm still stuck with this old frame" territory. New front derailer, new brakes, new brifters (have you priced STI shifters lately?!), new bars, and shop labor -- see if anybody near you carries Fuji Touring bikes instead.
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Old 04-01-16, 10:35 AM
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2 guys from Sweden passed thru Here a couple years ago in November

they were riding commuter step through Frame bikes with Shimano 8 speed IGH.

They had started in Anchorage AK, & took the Al-Can Highway . and were headed down the West Coast across the southern tier,

and planning to fly home from Florida..
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Old 04-01-16, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
I'm not familiar with your bike, but if it is comfortable you can tour on it and have a good time. You can tour on just about any bike.
+1 - None of the bikes I've ever toured with have been "tour" bikes. I don't care for touring frames.
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Old 04-01-16, 12:38 PM
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It is common to see people touring with flat bars in Continental Europe. If you like the bars on there, try it the way it is, but you might want some bar ends to give you more hand positions.

As noted above, the reach can be wrong if the bike was designed for flat bars. A friend of mine uses the bars that I think he calls bull horns. But he uses a bike with the geometry for drop bars. I prefer drop bars myself, but a lot of people never use the drops, the bullhorn type bars might be right for such people.
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Old 04-01-16, 02:02 PM
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Your 1x8 drivetrain would work just fine for touring- you don't NEED a triple, and if you do feel the need for a lower gear, I think you can get away with smaller edits. A quick google search tells me your chainring is a 45t (probably on a 130mm bcd crank) with an 11-32 cassette. You can definitely get smaller chainrings, down to about 40t (again, assuming 130mm bcd). Your rear derailer should be able to handle a 34t big gear, maybe a 36. Modifications like that should drop your entire set of gear ratios by about 12% (just from the chainring), with the lowest gear on the cassette (34 or 36t) around 20% lower than it sits currently. Then you keep your old chain, cassette, and chainring to use as spares and nothing is wasted.

If you ever feel the need to add a front derailer, you can get cable stop adapters that clamp on to your frame (the housing from your shifter needs to stop against something) from Problem Solvers. Or maybe your bike has a cable stop brazed on somewhere already.

Or just HTFU, go ride your bike and forget all of this
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Old 04-01-16, 02:41 PM
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And there is always Greasy Finger shifting .. doing a Lot of hills chain on a smaller chainring

mostly flats ? pick the chain up with your fingers and place it on the big ring.

A rear Derailleur, just for the chain slack. dont even need a cable hooked up to it.
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Old 04-01-16, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
And there is always Greasy Finger shifting .. doing a Lot of hills chain on a smaller chainring

mostly flats ? pick the chain up with your fingers and place it on the big ring.

A rear Derailleur, just for the chain slack. dont even need a cable hooked up to it.
Good point, your crank may have bolt holes for a smaller chainring on the back side of it already.
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Old 04-01-16, 03:11 PM
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And without a front derailleur the small ring can even be on the outside

(but the countersink around the mounting hole is usually what indicares inside or outside )

Surly's Long wearing stainless steel chainrings dont have that , aluminum ones usually Do.
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Old 04-01-16, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Flat bars can be a pain, I think, to ride on for long days in the saddle. If using a flat bar bike as a touring bike, I'd swap out the bar to a trekking or butterfly bar. That's a reasonably priced job esp. if you do the work yourself. All your existing parts will work on the new bar and you gain more hand positions which is a big help if riding long days.
Other things you can do with an EXISTING straight bar to get more hand positions is, #1 add bar ends INBOARD of the brake levers/shifters or #2 add a pair of clip on aero bars. I've done both with very good results on long rides or into headwinds.

Cheers
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Old 04-01-16, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by suncruiser View Post
Maybe I'm insane for this thought, but I have a commuter type bicycle (trek District 8) that I feel like I might be able to convert to a touring machine. Has anyone done anything like this? Bike already has 36 spoke wheels on it, was thinking drop bars, improved brakes (tektro novela-they work but I'm not a fan) triple up front and I'd be golden
first define what touring means to you. how much gear will you carry?
hotels or camping? fully self-supported? what distance daily? and how
about the terrain.....into the mountains?

gotta know what the bike is supposed to be able to handle before you can
convert it.

you want a triple? need shifters and front derailler and cranks and bottom
bracket and chain......and cassette.....and will rear derailler handle the
much longer chain?

and what size tires do you want for comfort and to handle whatever load
you're carrying over whatever surface you'll be riding? will the rims be
wide enough? will they fit between the chainstays?

lotsa options for bars, but will they work with all the clamp-on bits?
trekking bars, drop bars, flat bars with bar ends, bullhorns, and and and...
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Old 04-01-16, 09:01 PM
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And +1 for bar ends on your flat bars. You see? Not all solutions involving bicycles have to be complicated.

Do you drive the same car to work that you drive when you go on vacation?
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Old 04-01-16, 11:17 PM
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If you can do the work it won't cost you much. Left thumb shifter, cable stop, cable, derailleur, bottom bracket (maybe) and a set of cranks. The Shimano FC-M311 are a good option for cranks. No new chain needed, the M311 comes with a 42 main ring. You could get the lot off Amazon for under 100 bucks. Whack on a set of Trekking bars and you're away. The District 8 already has front and rear rack eyelets.
For heavily loaded touring you might want to go for a 34T rear. The Acera derailleur will cope with that easily.
And before you ditch the brakes, have you tried a better compound pad and better cable?
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