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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.


Old 11-05-17, 02:06 PM
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As I read the debates on double versus triple chain rings in my last post it makes me think of how divergent our opinions are. Mostly this is fine, if we don't think our answer is right and everyone should be doing what we do, and, if we are polite, then I generally enjoy the different perspectives. I've been cycling for years but I'm still open to learning. For fun though I thought I'd put together a list of things we disagree on:

  • Wheels Size - 700C, 26", 650B this debate comes up again and again
  • Disc Brakes - What everyone should tour with or unnecessary and hard to get spare parts in remote areas?
  • STI/Brake Shifter - The only way to shift or completely unreliable and totally inappropriate for tour
  • Triple versus Double Crank - Are triple crank DoDo birds on the way out or the only crank choice for touring?
  • Wide Tires - Is the move to wider tires at lower pressure the right answer for touring or just the latest trend?
  • Panniers - Ortlieb or Arkel? Which is best?

Without debating the above, any other hot topics I'm missing?

EDIT/UPDATE - Wow great input everyone! It is really interesting to see the range of things we disagree on. I think it would make an interesting adventure cycling article.

Last edited by Diamond; 11-05-17 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 11-05-17, 02:16 PM
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Clipless pedals vs toe clips vs flats.

I use clipless pedals and really like them.
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Old 11-05-17, 02:21 PM
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Traditional rack setup vs rackless bikepacking.

As with most everything else, there is really no right or wrong way.
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Old 11-05-17, 02:21 PM
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Tubes vs tubeless
drop bars vs flat
clipless pedals vs platform
solar panels vs hub dynamo
panniers vs frame bags
steel vs modern materials
schrader vs presta
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Old 11-05-17, 02:32 PM
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You missed a bit on the panniers question. It's not so much about brand (anymore than anything else is) but about whether they're necessary, how large, and using front panniers.

IMO- besides the usual personal bias issues, we have plenty of debate about touring because it encompasses such a wide spectrum.

We have experienced light tourists, traveling in style and using lodging, folks packing more and camping at least some of the time, folks like myself that mix lodging and camping, but don't cook on the road, other than some coffee or other simple stuff.

Then there's touring in the "civilized" world where spare parts can be managed easily, either bought locally or using the excellent logistics available, vs. touring in more remote areas where one has to be nearly 100% self reliant, and cannot count on getting service parts easily.

So, I expect disagreement, and feel it's part of the forum, and take the attitude that I'm free to ignore any post I don't like.
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Old 11-05-17, 03:04 PM
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The big disagreement is how much weight to carry. Some of the ultra light packers are downright evangelical about it. I have seen several groups of riders seriously dehydrated by the time they get to a campground because they did not want to carry very much weight in water. Once I gave a rider half of one of my water bottles because I was not sure he would make the next half mile to where there was a water supply. On the other extreme, at one time on one of my trips I had two weeks of food on my bike along with the gear I would need for sub-freezing weather, that was a very heavy bike.

Derailleur vs IGH (Rohloff, Shimano, etc.) vs a gearing system built into the frame (pinion). And of course the single speed folks. (Since I have a Rohloff touring bike and two derailleur touring bikes, I chuckle at these arguments as they usually are arguing about meaningless points.)

For the non-derailleur bikes, chain or belt?

There is a small group of front-only pannier proponents.

Some believe that GPS is totally unnecessary if you can read a map, others won't leave home without one.

How many spokes do you really need?

Fenders or not?

Leather seat or not?

How many sprockets do you really need on a cassette (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, are they up to 12 yet?).
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Old 11-05-17, 03:34 PM
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As long disagreements don't become personal, it can all be very entertaining as well as educational. I really feel this forum above all others remains quite civil most of the time. As you glean through the debate, there is a wealth of knowledge to be gained here, which far exceeds what is available at most any bike shop. That being said, I have a friend whom I call the Touring Queen because she has crossed the U.S. a dozen or more times in every conceivable direction as well as traveled abroad and the one time she offered sound advice on this forum, she was emphatically told that she was doing it all wrong : )
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Old 11-05-17, 04:14 PM
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Probably something in the shelter category, e.g. tents, hammocks, tarps, etc.

Also the topic of stealth camping and related opinions about it...

As far as the disagreements go, I see a bunch of them as differences in both perspective and style. In my opinion, there isn't necessarily just one way to tour, nor one ideal set of equipment. There are some choices that may not best suited for some riders but that often sorts itself out fairly quickly. I often learn something when people describe rationale *behind* their choices and so appreciate the discussion.
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Old 11-05-17, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
I really feel this forum above all others remains quite civil most of the time.
Until Squeezebox pops in with a sock, and its like chickens fighting over a grasshopper.
I'm thinking that I spend about 40% of my daily productive time patiently waiting for people to get out of my way.
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Old 11-05-17, 05:03 PM
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Threaded versus threadless. Threadless is the only way to go, unless of course it's not.
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Old 11-05-17, 05:27 PM
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Eastbound vs westbound.
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Old 11-05-17, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Diamond View Post
It is really interesting to see the range of things we disagree on.
No it isn't.
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Old 11-05-17, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
No it isn't.
What is interesting and what is not
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Old 11-05-17, 09:27 PM
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I thin that you are going to start word war three of bike touring.
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Old 11-05-17, 09:34 PM
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Helmet vs no helmet
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Old 11-05-17, 10:17 PM
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Cable vs Electronic shifting


Etap vs. DI2
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Old 11-05-17, 10:24 PM
Bikes are okay, I guess.
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Solo versus otherwise.
Riding at night versus not.
Accordion music or not.
Shirts versus skins.
Fuzzy dice versus hula girls.
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Old 11-05-17, 11:14 PM
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godzilla vs. megalon!

.....awright kiddies, raise yer hand if ya played hookie an' seen this'n at the pitcher house...
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Old 11-06-17, 12:02 AM
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There is a difference between different preferences and disagreements over "facts". I am under the impression that in this forum, most disagreements reflect differences in preferences. As such they can provide the stimulus for a thoughtful conversation that can change the way we think about an issue.

I can think, as of now, about one disagreement based on facts -- should we or should we not clean chains in order to get more mileage out of them. Assuming the we all prefer more miles/kms, the debate should focus on "is it worth the effort". But cost/benefit ratio notwithstanding, we are confronted with diametrically different advices, coming from credible sources, some saying that cleaning chains (with solvent) should be avoided (Shimano's position), others saying that we should (Wipperman, Sheldon Brown).

The "there is no right or wrong answer" applies to differences in preferences, so these "disagreements" will go on forever. The situation is different when disagreements are rooted in objective facts.

Last edited by gauvins; 11-06-17 at 06:42 AM.
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Old 11-06-17, 06:18 AM
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Are red bikes really faster?
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Old 11-06-17, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Are red bikes really faster?
Of course! Just look at them.
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Old 11-06-17, 07:09 AM
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Interesting thread. If, you go back to the original post and clean it up, stick in links to previous threads relating to the said subjects/debates, it could be made into a sticky for future first-comers to navigate through.
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Old 11-06-17, 09:08 AM
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I disagree with your disagreements list.
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Old 11-06-17, 09:33 AM
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Lycra or not. Real cyclists wear Lycra.
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Old 11-06-17, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Riding at night versus not.

I don't remember a thread like this. Touring, I go to bed with the sun, but some other times when I'm not as tired, night riding can be fun.
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