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Touring bike for every day?

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Touring bike for every day?

Old 04-19-17, 08:21 AM
  #1  
Piratebike
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Touring bike for every day?

Over in the hybrid form a guy was considering getting rid of his hybrid and going with a touring bike for his riding pleasure. Most recommended against it. I had a different take....

I have a bike for almost every different given riding situation. But if I had to get rid of all my bikes but one, my 520 would be my keeper. No it is not as fast as my Madone road bike. Yes it is heavier than my FX fitness bike or my Duel Sport bike. No it won't go where one of my mountain bikes can go. But my 520 is more comfortable on the road than any of my others. It rides like a big Cadillac. it can be used for commuting and errands with the racks. It just fits my overall needs better than any one of the others. So if I had to chose, my 520 would be my every day one and only bike. How about you?
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Old 04-19-17, 08:24 AM
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It's a fine every day bike. It can haul stuff and you can ride it where you want including gravel roads. Yes it is one of the best designs for an all around bike.
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Old 04-19-17, 08:25 AM
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Love my Vassago Fisticuff...just long enough to a light touring load, sprightly enough to be really fun and fast unloaded with road slicks, and enough clearance to throw on small 29x2.1 tires in the summer and rip up buff single track and dirt/gravel adventures. Keep it light and simple with an SS drivetrain and it's ready for whatever.
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Old 04-19-17, 08:30 AM
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After this tour, l will be in Edmonton where I hung last year's touring bike. It will become my city commuter. I could ride my touring bike all day (ha-ha), and enjoy riding either of them.

Yes, I agree a touring bike makes a great commuter/hybrid. Funny thing is both of my touring bikes started life labeled as hybrid, or urban bikes.



-Snuts-
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Old 04-19-17, 09:58 AM
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Isn't the "adventure" bicycle supposed to be the bicycle that does it all? It is nice to have the money and storage for purpose specific bicycles. But if it was only 1 bicycle it would probably be my 920.
Do you or would you ever change out the cassette for specific purposes?
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Old 04-19-17, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
Isn't the "adventure" bicycle supposed to be the bicycle that does it all?
Hardly. Adventure bikes are "jack of all trade, master of none" bikes.
Basically, they can do most, but it isnt always elegant.
Adventure bikes wont crap the bed where other bikes might in certain applications, but they are hardly a genuine 'do it all' bike. Nothing I know of is.


My gravel bike, which is called a monstercross or adventure bike, is a blast on gravel. I could use it for loaded touring in Florida. Its fun on simple singletrack. Its good for pavement riding up to 15mph. It would be fine to commute on.


But besides gravel day rides, which is what I built it to do, it doesnt do any of those other things very well.
- the gearing is terrible for touring since I didnt set it up for that, so I would be limited in where it would be useful.
- The gearing and geometry are terrible for more technical singletrack, given my (limited)skills.
- The geometry, tires, and cockpit setup are limiting for a road ride where I want to go faster.
- Commuting could be competently done, but wouldnt be as ideal as a different setup.
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Old 04-19-17, 10:47 AM
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There're pretty fine lines separating the CX/gravel/adventure/touring classifications, but I agree they all make great all-arounders. I have an old Tricross Comp that's my 'fast' street ride, capable of slow single track, and I'm rigging for unpaved rail trail touring, but it would be my #2 choice for any only-bike.

A 'commuter' (Brompton folder) get my #1 vote - the ultra-portability opens many more options for me, than it forfeits (rough off-road and ~4% speed/efficiency), and is THE bike that has rekindled my interests in bicycling and short touring again.
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Old 04-19-17, 11:06 AM
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I know where a couple LHTs park around Detroit and Ann Arbor, so someone else must think so!

I'd wonder, though, if the seeming lack of a simple general purpose bike offering from the manufacturers (i.e., the old sport touring style bikes) have people just gravitating towards the most similar style currently offered: the one that takes wider tires, racks, fenders, etc. It is amazing the wide variety of specialization in current catalogs.
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Old 04-19-17, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
My gravel bike, which is called a monstercross or adventure bike, is a blast on gravel. I could use it for loaded touring in Florida. Its fun on simple singletrack. Its good for pavement riding up to 15mph. It would be fine to commute on.
I have the same bike and its my do all bike. It does all the functions I need, which are those listed above.

I put my road wheelset on it if I want to go fast, gravel/touring wheelset on if I want to go slow.

I still have a dedicated road bike, but I don't really need it anymore. I just keep it for sentimental reasons/group rides as it was my first build.
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Old 04-19-17, 11:28 AM
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A classic sports touring bike is what people think of as an all-rounder.

They fall in between a touring bike and a road bike.

A touring bike feels and rides like a tank. You would want something a bit lighter to serve as an every day commuter.

My adventure bike fills the ticket in that role for me.
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Old 04-19-17, 11:57 AM
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I ditched my hybrid for my Long Haul Trucker and never looked back. I know some people like hybrids, but I consider it a mistake to have ever made it my main bike. In fact, my wife got a little annoyed when, not too long after buying the hybrid, I found an old, split-apart, Sears bike on Craigslist for $50, and it became my new, favorite ride. Until the Long Haul Trucker was built, anyway. That became my commuter and tourer until I got the Troll. For a short time the Troll was my only bike, and that was fine, too. Now I have a folding bike for when the Troll is being repaired, but otherwise it's the Troll, whether I'm going to work, to play, or to camp my way across the state. If you don't need to carry much to work, I could see the appeal of a light, fast bike commuter for when you don't need your tourer, but it wouldn't be a hybrid, and for me, I'm doing fine with one bike that simply gets set up a little differently depending on what I'm doing with it.
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Old 04-19-17, 12:16 PM
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I got a Specialized Sequoia Elite at the end of the year. Just about the perfect bike for the area and roads/trails I ride. Very comfortable ride. I have a Diverge and Cannondale Lefty sitting in the garage that I thought I would use from time to time. I haven't touched them and don't even think about them.
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Old 04-19-17, 12:18 PM
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I recently put together a Troll with a Rohloff hub and love it. It can be used for everything.
Am I giving up my hybrid? No way!!!! After 17000 miles and 8000 touring miles it looks like crap but rides just fine. If I'm going out for the evening and locking up a bike outside a nightclub its' not going to be my Troll. Theft is a genuine concern. The crappy looking Hybrid has real value to me (but not the thieves).
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Old 04-19-17, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Hardly. Adventure bikes are "jack of all trade, master of none" bikes.
Basically, they can do most, but it isnt always elegant.
Adventure bikes wont crap the bed where other bikes might in certain applications, but they are hardly a genuine 'do it all' bike. Nothing I know of is.
That kind of describes "hybrids" doesn't it? "Adventure bikes" are just the latest incarnation of "hybrids" with all the attendant warts. Ditto for cyclocross, commuter, sport tours, and several over classifications of bikes over the years. Cyclocross bikes were touring bikes that were used on off-road tracks in the off-season in their original incarnation. Mountain bike gearing came from touring bikes.

The very thing that touring bikes are built for...carrying heavy loads on a stable, predictable bicycle...makes them idea for all the things that "hybrids" have been trying to address for ages. Cyclocross and sport tour bikes, even mountain bikes, have all eventually evolved into less utilitarian and more competition oriented bikes. Touring bikes have stayed...mostly...true to their roots which means that they are still designed to carry stuff because they still have rack mounts.

Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
My gravel bike, which is called a monstercross or adventure bike, is a blast on gravel. I could use it for loaded touring in Florida. Its fun on simple singletrack. Its good for pavement riding up to 15mph. It would be fine to commute on.
Does your bike start doing "crazy Ivans" at 15mph? And 15 mph? I do over 15 mph on pavement with a mountain bike mounted with knobbies. My cyclocross bike that I use for commuting will easily do at least 3 times that without doing anything crazy.

Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
But besides gravel day rides, which is what I built it to do, it doesnt do any of those other things very well.
- the gearing is terrible for touring since I didnt set it up for that, so I would be limited in where it would be useful.
- The gearing and geometry are terrible for more technical singletrack, given my (limited)skills.
- The geometry, tires, and cockpit setup are limiting for a road ride where I want to go faster.
- Commuting could be competently done, but wouldnt be as ideal as a different setup.
One of the biggest problems with road bikes is that they have steeper head angles than mountain bikes and, oddly enough, shorter top tubes. But the shorter top tube is more than made up for with a longer reach forward due to the drop bars. The drop bars also put a lot of weight forward. All that conspires to make a bike with twitchy handling where you don't want twitchy handling.

It's hard to get yourself centered for climbing so the wheel spins out and pushing the rider forward makes the bike more prone to throwing the rider over the handlebars...which never ends well. You end up yoyoing from frustration on climbs to terror on descents. Frankly, I wouldn't ride any of my road bikes off-road for very far. I rode my touring bike on the C&O from Harper's Ferry to Cumberland and that was more than enough for my tastes...and I have pretty good mountain biking skills.

The nice thing about mountain bikes is that while they aren't the best road bikes, they can do road a whole lot better than a road bike...cyclocross, hybrid or touring...can do single track. If I'm traveling somewhere that is off-road oriented, I'll take any of my mountain bikes first.
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Old 04-19-17, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
That kind of describes "hybrids" doesn't it? "Adventure bikes" are just the latest incarnation of "hybrids" with all the attendant warts. Ditto for cyclocross, commuter, sport tours, and several over classifications of bikes over the years. Cyclocross bikes were touring bikes that were used on off-road tracks in the off-season in their original incarnation. Mountain bike gearing came from touring bikes.

The very thing that touring bikes are built for...carrying heavy loads on a stable, predictable bicycle...makes them idea for all the things that "hybrids" have been trying to address for ages. Cyclocross and sport tour bikes, even mountain bikes, have all eventually evolved into less utilitarian and more competition oriented bikes. Touring bikes have stayed...mostly...true to their roots which means that they are still designed to carry stuff because they still have rack mounts.



Does your bike start doing "crazy Ivans" at 15mph? And 15 mph? I do over 15 mph on pavement with a mountain bike mounted with knobbies. My cyclocross bike that I use for commuting will easily do at least 3 times that without doing anything crazy.



One of the biggest problems with road bikes is that they have steeper head angles than mountain bikes and, oddly enough, shorter top tubes. But the shorter top tube is more than made up for with a longer reach forward due to the drop bars. The drop bars also put a lot of weight forward. All that conspires to make a bike with twitchy handling where you don't want twitchy handling.

It's hard to get yourself centered for climbing so the wheel spins out and pushing the rider forward makes the bike more prone to throwing the rider over the handlebars...which never ends well. You end up yoyoing from frustration on climbs to terror on descents. Frankly, I wouldn't ride any of my road bikes off-road for very far. I rode my touring bike on the C&O from Harper's Ferry to Cumberland and that was more than enough for my tastes...and I have pretty good mountain biking skills.

The nice thing about mountain bikes is that while they aren't the best road bikes, they can do road a whole lot better than a road bike...cyclocross, hybrid or touring...can do single track. If I'm traveling somewhere that is off-road oriented, I'll take any of my mountain bikes first.

1- sure, how I described adventure/gravel is similar to how SOME hybrids are set up. Many other hybrids though are heavy, cheap, and have a useless suspension. The catch all of 'hybrid' describes everything from a flatbar roadbike to BSO offerings. Classic early 90s hybrids apply to your comments for sure.

2- my 15mph comment was meant as 15mph average. So sometimes going 4mph and sometimes going 40mph...as well as everything between. No, the bike wont do some sort of Russian submarine maneuver if it exceeds 15mph.
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Old 04-19-17, 02:39 PM
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I've read touring bikes described as handling like a tank. But the funny thing is, when I switch to my sporty bike, it rides like a twitchy speedster for about 5 minutes. Then it disappears under me. The same thing happens when I change back to the touring bike -- it rides like a tank for about 5 minutes, then disappears under me, and I just enjoy the ride.

Note 5 minutes is about enough to get "downtown" on my commute (typically on the tourer), or to the bottom of the nearest ridge (on either bike).
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Old 04-19-17, 02:50 PM
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These distinctions between types of bikes are almost meaningless. Any of these types of bikes are fine for touring. Or commuting. Sure, I know the differences, and I could explain the technical details deeply. If I could ride with my eyes closed, I could tell you which kind of bike you put me on. But as for suitability, most bikes do just fine.
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Old 04-19-17, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I've read touring bikes described as handling like a tank. But the funny thing is, when I switch to my sporty bike, it rides like a twitchy speedster for about 5 minutes. Then it disappears under me. The same thing happens when I change back to the touring bike -- it rides like a tank for about 5 minutes, then disappears under me, and I just enjoy the ride.
+1. I ride an LHT for touring and commuting and a custom ti road bike for "sport" rides. Same thing happens when I switch, and sometimes forgetting that they have different shifting systems.
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Old 04-19-17, 03:06 PM
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I don't foresee choosing to have only one bike. Where's the fun in that?
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Old 04-19-17, 09:41 PM
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I bought Disc Trucker for the semi all-round style & allowing 50mm tires. But it's heavy & not esp comfortable on bumpy roads/trails. Sensible thing would be alu-frame version w/suspension-fork option.
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Old 04-19-17, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
not esp comfortable on bumpy roads/trails. Sensible thing would be alu-frame version w/suspension-fork option.
Since when are aluminum frames more comfortable over bumps? Sensible thing would be a more compliant (read not overbuilt for load hauling) higher quality steel frame and more supple tires. Enter the raft of high quality ADV/gravel bikes that have hit the market in the last few years...try taking a ride on an all city nature boy with quality 853 tubing, a decent wheelset, and some nice supple 35c tires and nobody in their right mind would lump it in with the harsh riding ALU frame crappy forked hybrids of the last 15 years. Personally, I don't really get kicks out of rocky technical single track, but would rather crank out long days on mixed terrain and buff single track on a comfortable and quick gravel bike. The fact that I can load it up and ride cross country on the same bike is a definite bonus.
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Old 04-19-17, 11:17 PM
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Humm...

I could see having two bikes. One a light rigid mtb that I could switch out wheelsets/cassettes for depending on terrain. I run slicks, touring tires and even knobbies on mine. One can also swap out crank chain rings and even forks for suspension if one wants.

The other would be a winter beater around town bike. Theft and salt can do wonders and I would not want to subject a bike I had a lot invested in to the elements or leave it parked outside shops.
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Old 04-20-17, 08:39 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by john_mct View Post
Since when are aluminum frames more comfortable over bumps?
Since forever. Aluminum, as a material, is much less stiff than steel. Aluminum frames have to use larger diameter tubes to get around that lack of stiffness which makes them a bit stiffer than a smaller diameter steel tube but aluminum doesn't translate the vibrations as much as steel does.

Originally Posted by john_mct View Post
Sensible thing would be a more compliant (read not overbuilt for load hauling) higher quality steel frame and more supple tires. Enter the raft of high quality ADV/gravel bikes that have hit the market in the last few years...try taking a ride on an all city nature boy with quality 853 tubing, a decent wheelset, and some nice supple 35c tires and nobody in their right mind would lump it in with the harsh riding ALU frame crappy forked hybrids of the last 15 years. Personally, I don't really get kicks out of rocky technical single track, but would rather crank out long days on mixed terrain and buff single track on a comfortable and quick gravel bike. The fact that I can load it up and ride cross country on the same bike is a definite bonus.
The problem with this approach is that using a more compliant steel frame (or aluminum frame) and putting a load on it opens the door for the more compliant frame to wiggle under load. This often results in the dreaded "death wobble" at high speeds. The frame can flex too much and set up oscillations which are bad.

On the other hand, you can take the stiffer frame of an aluminum bike (due to the tubing size not because of the material) and add the same tires you are talking about and end up with a nice ride that is stiff enough to avoid the death wobble. Cannondale touring bikes are stiff for the parking lot ride but once you have a load on them, they aren't. The ride is very comfortable and, because the frame is a bit stiffer, I can pedal out of the saddle which is not something I could do on my old steel touring bike.

And, finally, if steel is so wonderful, why has everyone and his bother moved away from steel mountain bikes? Even in the days before front suspension, there were a lot of manufacturers moving in that direction.
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Old 04-20-17, 08:47 AM
  #24  
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The main criteria for a touring bike for me is that is it is a great bike for both touring and everyday use. I spend far more time riding places locally than touring.
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Old 04-20-17, 09:00 AM
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You can use a touring bike that was built to carry panniers for other non-load bearing purposes. But if you wanted to bike tour on a bike that is incapable of carrying panniers, you are out of luck. Thus, the touring bike would end up being the go-to bike for anyone that wanted a single bike for all purposes if that person also wanted to bike tour with a load of camping gear.

Exception, some people tour with lighter duty bikes with trailers, they could get by without the load carrying ability of a touring bike.

But, if I wanted a single do it all bike and if it did not need the load carrying ability of a touring bike, I would pick a rando bike. One that is comfortable for the long distance would still work great for shorter rides. It could serve great as a credit card touring bike. A rando bike would likely have fenders, thus it would likely be a good commuter too. And it should do well with some grocery store type panniers. Also, some of the ultra light campers that can get by with bike packing gear don't need the load carrying abilty so for them a rando bike would also work great.

Based on the above, my do-it-all bike with the capability for loaded touring would be my Thorn Sherpa. But that was a tough call because I have three touring bikes, the Sherpa is in the middle of those three for ride and capability.

If loaded touring capability was not needed, my one do-it-all bike would be my Velo Orange Pass Hunter which is essentially a rando bike with cantilever brakes.
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