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"The weight of the touring bike is not that important..."

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"The weight of the touring bike is not that important..."

Old 06-06-18, 06:37 PM
  #1  
Abu Mahendra
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"The weight of the touring bike is not that important..."

..."because it's going to be loaded with many more times its weight". According to this mantra, the weight of the touring bike is essentially irrelevant because its 11-14kg weight is going to be swamped by the 30-odd kilos loaded on it as luggage. But what about when the touring load (as in CC Touring) is actually a fraction, say, one half of the weight of the bike? Does the mantra still hold?
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Old 06-06-18, 06:51 PM
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weight

We believe in the idea of LESS is MORE!
Doesn't matter where the weight comes from, bike or gear, one still has to haul it up every hill!
R&J
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Old 06-06-18, 06:54 PM
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False. Obviously written by someone who has never toured before. This somewhat depends on how fussy you are. If a tourist does not care, they could indulge in all sorts of types of self torture: i.e. ; road touring with two inch tyres, dragging a boat anchor on a chain behind their bike or bringing along a kitchen sink.
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Old 06-06-18, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
False. Obviously written by someone who has never toured before. This somewhat depends on how fussy you are. If a tourist does not care, they could indulge in all sorts of types of self torture: i.e. ; road touring with two inch tyres, dragging a boat anchor on a chain behind their bike or bringing along a kitchen sink.

ahhh, but that depends on WHICH two inch tire!
Last week I went for a ride with a friend, I still had my 2in Supremes on my bike, he had 32mm touringish tires. On a downhill section at a slow speed, I said to him, hey lets try coasting and see how our bikes compare.
He outweighs me by probably 70lbs, I had one pannier on, light load, him too.
Was completely surprised to see my bike pulling ahead of his rather easily. Sure, I know there are all kinds of factor, rubbing brakes, hubs, etc. I was surprised though because I had just regreased my hubs and I generally cram a lot of grease in, and find that the hubs take a bit of riding to run more easily, but nope, my ******ed tyred bike pulled ahead of him, at only 20 or 25kph, so not at a speed that aero would make a diff (and we both have drop bar bikes, both had one pannier on, mine was bigger in fact, and my bars at easily at seat height on my tough expedition bike, and I suspect teh bikes weigh very similarly also.

buuuuut all that to say, that yes, I'll take a lighter bike any day of the week. I know my Troll weighs less than a stock one because of some of the components, 32spoke wheels vs heavier 36h stock ones with heavier rims, lighter tires, etc, and as a light guy, I appreciate less weight any time, regardless of the total weight of bike and load. Its still 5lbs or whatever less overall if a bike is heavier.
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Old 06-06-18, 07:09 PM
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If my touring bike is 27# or 30#...i dont think it matters much, if at all.

if my touring bike is 27# or 39#...thats more significant.

like most generalizations, this mantra has some truth and some inaccuracies.
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Old 06-06-18, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
..."because it's going to be loaded with many more times its weight". According to this mantra, the weight of the touring bike is essentially irrelevant because its 11-14kg weight is going to be swamped by the 30-odd kilos loaded on it as luggage. But what about when the touring load (as in CC Touring) is actually a fraction, say, one half of the weight of the bike? Does the mantra still hold?
there is no mantra.

There is power to weight. Total weight. If you weigh 50 kg carrying 10 kg and your bike weighs 12 kg a 14kg bike is a barely noticeable difference. If you weigh 80 kg, have the same motor as the 50kg guy and carry 12 kg it would be even less noticeable. Given that touring isnít about acceleration and the power outputs are not high but steady worrying about bike weights is misdirected. The power to weight ratio of the motor is most significant then after that the total load on the bike. A few kg on the bike is academic for TOURING.
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Old 06-06-18, 07:35 PM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by gracehowler View Post
We believe in the idea of LESS is MORE!
Doesn't matter where the weight comes from, bike or gear, one still has to haul it up every hill!
R&J
i agree. But one still hears, "oh what's a 200 grams here, 300 grams there if you are carrying 20kg of luggage anyway?"
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Old 06-06-18, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by gracehowler View Post
We believe in the idea of LESS is MORE!
Doesn't matter where the weight comes from, bike or gear, one still has to haul it up every hill!
R&J
I also agree. Five lbs. is 5 lbs no matter where it is located. And you know it is about acceleration when riding through places like Chicago or Cleveland where there are dozens if not hundreds of stops and starts. There are also the hills.

Last edited by Doug64; 06-06-18 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 06-06-18, 09:10 PM
  #9  
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I can see both views, and from my long trips through very mountainous areas, I can certainly feel when I carried more water, more food, and a melon in my bags going up the hills.
Now, sure, we get a lot stronger on a long trip and at a certain point, you kinda just shrug with extra weight, but there still is a diff and especially climbing, you really do feel an extra 5 or 10lbs total weight, and within reason, a lighter bike to begin with does help, along with everything else.
To me, chosing stuff like a slightly lighter seat, or lighter racks vs godawful heavy things like Surly racks, lighter tires (my supremes are almost half of Marathon Plus or whatever, and roll a lot better) , my body weight allows me to successfully use 32h wheels that are a lot lighter than the stock troll wheelset, all of this adds up.
I always mention about handlebar bags, that my Ortlieb one weighs a lot lot less than some others on the market. I regret a bit not buying Plus fabric rear panniers to go along with my plus front ones, again , a little lighter than the regular material.
For sure, at a certain point, money comes into play of course, but Im glad my Troll weighs in at just over 30, and not 35 or more, but then I think the fact that Im a slight guy skews it a bit, and that I notice some extra weight more than other stronger riders. A much stronger rider can push a much much heavier bike along at the same speed I push my lighter one.
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Old 06-06-18, 09:31 PM
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The mantra sort of holds in some senses in all cases but not really. For touring you want a strong durable frame (generally) but with today's modern materials and processes you can make lighter weight stuff that is still quite strong and can last a while. Also with modern camping equipment that load can go down significantly so you don't need something maybe as stout as the 70s/80s because your gear might be lighter?

Going from my Surly Disc Trucker to my Co-Motion Cascadia, I lost about 3-4 pounds of weight with a nicer frame and fork and some more premium components and while that wasn't really the whole goal it was a nice side effect.

For credit card touring specifically you still would want something you can ride for a long distance and that won't crap out on you but if you aren't carrying much you don't need as much stoutness but clearance for wider tires and extra bottle cage mounts and maybe rack and fender mounts will still be useful.
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Old 06-06-18, 09:38 PM
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The personal context to my questioning the mantra was my just-concluded crossing of South Korea from one end to another on a 9.5kg folding bike and 4.6kg (including rack and two bagsg) of luggage. My 'luggage' was less than one half the weight of the bike.

Last edited by Abu Mahendra; 06-06-18 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 06-06-18, 10:12 PM
  #12  
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Weight is important in a theoretical sense but it does not take into consideration two important points:

1. The intended purpose of the tour.
I just completed a 780km trip in less than 4 days with very minimal gear. No cooking gear, one set of clothes (with weather layers), no book or entertainment other than an ipod. It was successful even though it was spartan because the main goal was to do a quick tour of that distance. My enjoyment was in riding farther faster. The weight was important to the goal.
A couple of years ago I did a week long Gulf Island tour with my son and brother that covered only a fraction of that distance and had a full kitchen kit, cards, books and extra gear of all sorts. It also was a success despite the additional weight because the main goal was to enjoy the day to day experiences like meals and games with my family, not how many km's I could crank out.

2. Disposable income.
Each person has only so much disposable income to dedicate to the act of touring and weight savings is partly a function of what you can leave behind and the reality of the cost of the weight you must bring. While some basic weight saving choices don't cost too much there is a point where additional savings depend on paying more for the product. How far down that rabbit hole one goes depends on how deep your pockets are and how important that weight savings is.
Added to that idea is the law of diminishing returns wherein increased cash outlay yields some, but minor, weight savings. Chasing grams can be an addictive challenge but at some point it becomes an activity in itself divorced from the enjoyment of a bicycle tour. The enjoyment primarily comes from creating an increasing light rig instead of enjoying a tour with it. At that point, usually, one can garner as much enjoyment with x amount of weight as another with y. I don't think that's 70lb's vs 10lb's but maybe 15lb's vs 10lb's might be closer, depending on the main goal of the ride.

I've been looking at this years Trans Am race and the bikes being ridden. Many of the scratches have very nice lightweight bikes but, for one reason or another, that did not help them. Besides weight there are many other things that go into a successful tour. No offense intended to any racers - simply meant as an observation.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 06-06-18 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 06-06-18, 10:51 PM
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All I know is how much I am cussing and cursing when I am trying to load my bike, bring them up some steps or on a long uphill. That is when a difference of 10+ lbs shows it's face
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Old 06-07-18, 01:13 AM
  #14  
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Awsome, but the thread is about weight of the bike relative to the luggage load in it. It is not about the amount/weight of load relative to how fast/far you want to go.

Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Weight is important in a theoretical sense but it does not take into consideration two important points:

1. The intended purpose of the tour.
I just completed a 780km trip in less than 4 days with very minimal gear. No cooking gear, one set of clothes (with weather layers), no book or entertainment other than an ipod. It was successful even though it was spartan because the main goal was to do a quick tour of that distance. My enjoyment was in riding farther faster. The weight was important to the goal.
A couple of years ago I did a week long Gulf Island tour with my son and brother that covered only a fraction of that distance and had a full kitchen kit, cards, books and extra gear of all sorts. It also was a success despite the additional weight because the main goal was to enjoy the day to day experiences like meals and games with my family, not how many km's I could crank out.

2. Disposable income.
Each person has only so much disposable income to dedicate to the act of touring and weight savings is partly a function of what you can leave behind and the reality of the cost of the weight you must bring. While some basic weight saving choices don't cost too much there is a point where additional savings depend on paying more for the product. How far down that rabbit hole one goes depends on how deep your pockets are and how important that weight savings is.
Added to that idea is the law of diminishing returns wherein increased cash outlay yields some, but minor, weight savings. Chasing grams can be an addictive challenge but at some point it becomes an activity in itself divorced from the enjoyment of a bicycle tour. The enjoyment primarily comes from creating an increasing light rig instead of enjoying a tour with it. At that point, usually, one can garner as much enjoyment with x amount of weight as another with y. I don't think that's 70lb's vs 10lb's but maybe 15lb's vs 10lb's might be closer, depending on the main goal of the ride.

I've been looking at this years Trans Am race and the bikes being ridden. Many of the scratches have very nice lightweight bikes but, for one reason or another, that did not help them. Besides weight there are many other things that go into a successful tour. No offense intended to any racers - simply meant as an observation.
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Old 06-07-18, 03:11 AM
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**never mind**

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Old 06-07-18, 03:18 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
for LOADED touring, where you have front and rear racks and bags, carrying 40 pounds of gear, plus water?

an extra pound is meaningless. given
you will be riding a more robust frame,
which means heavier, than a road bike.

the difference in pushing 70 pounds vs.
pushing 71 pounds is nothing.

for CC touring, you don't need no
heavy-duty frame. ride your 7 pound
crabon racer with 10 pounds of gear.

in that case, an extra pound might
make a difference of say....45 seconds earlier finish.


thing you're ignoring is the cost. you
can spend $1000 to cut one pound off
the weight of your bike.

spend that same $1000 on your gear...
lighter stove, ultralight tent, lighter
bags....can cut 10 pounds easily.
None of the two scenarios are what i am talking about. The scenario is when the load weight is a fraction of the bike weight.
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Old 06-07-18, 03:43 AM
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**never mind**

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Old 06-07-18, 05:57 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
touring when the weight of gear carried is "a fraction" of the weight of the bike itself? ("a fraction of" implies a yuuuuuge difference, fraction in my mind 1/20 or less)

if the gear weight is "a fraction" of the bike weight, then gear weight is insignificant. it's the same as riding your bike naked, "touring" or not.

senseless question really, in terms of loaded touring.

you could simply ask about the difference in work involved in pushing bikes of various weights.
Simplest fraction, one that is appropriate for the question about the mantra, is 1/2. A load of one half the weight of a bike--especially when the bike is not really light--is not insignificant. Unless, of course, the weight difference between, say, a bike weighing 10kg and another weighing 15kg is all the same to you.

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Old 06-07-18, 06:18 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
..."because it's going to be loaded with many more times its weight". According to this mantra, the weight of the touring bike is essentially irrelevant because its 11-14kg weight is going to be swamped by the 30-odd kilos loaded on it as luggage. But what about when the touring load (as in CC Touring) is actually a fraction, say, one half of the weight of the bike? Does the mantra still hold?
I think the argument you quote, whether it's a mantra or not, does not hold. I agree with the above post, that you might as well be discussing the weight of the bike itself. And that has been discussed ad infinitum.

My current touring load, which I consider close to "ultra-light" at about 15 pounds (that's self supported, not credit card, touring), is about half the weight of my old touring bike. So I feel I can respond to your question with some experience. I bought the bike decades ago to carry 50+ pound loads. It's too heavy for my current use and that bothers me. But it's not in my budget to buy another, lighter bike. Thus economics figure in, as mentioned above.

I put lighter wheels and tires on it (nice salvaged wheels from a road bike), cut six inches off the seat post, and I replace accessories with lighter ones as attrition demands. I deleted the handlebar bag and front rack since their payload-to-weight ratio was unsatisfactory. I'm a gram weenie on a heavy old steel bike, and that may be a little weird.
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Old 06-07-18, 07:20 AM
  #20  
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I'm in the @mstateglfr camp. Yes, extra weight is extra weight, no, I'm probably not going to notice an extra couple pounds frame weight, yes if there is a ridiculous difference the equation changes and you compare an old Schwinn Continental to a lightweight randonneur.

If you are talking lightweight CC touring, you can ride on pretty much anything you want, I can put a saddlebag big enough for some clothes and my wallet on anything. It is really not much different than asking "does bike weight matter for my organized century", it is all down to personal preferences. I far prefer my 27ish# gravel bike to my 21# road bike for casual riding where my total load is about 1#, so my opinion would still be no.
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Old 06-07-18, 07:27 AM
  #21  
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My "touring" for the last several seasons is day long ride in the hills in the spring and autumn to a nice old hotel with a very good kitchen and wine cellar.
The classic British club rider's design, re-imagined w/ "modern" materials by Soma, carries a Carradice seatbag and small Arkel H-bar bag w/ all of the kit and necessaries for a weekend trip.
No "lighter" than my '74 International which has done similar duty for decades it's still lively enough to be fun to ride, handles chip seal roads with aplomb and handles with predictable grace at pace when "loaded" or not.
The traditional club design is harder to find than overbuilt touring or ultralight racing bikes in today's marketplace but worth looking at for fast paced rides on secondary roads with a self-support load.

-Bandera
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Old 06-07-18, 07:28 AM
  #22  
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Don't forget to weigh your bike with the engine.
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Old 06-07-18, 07:44 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by brianmcg123 View Post
Don't forget to weigh your bike with the engine.
5.3%. That was the weight of the load as a percentage of bike+engine.
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Old 06-07-18, 07:55 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
But what about when the touring load (as in CC Touring) is actually a fraction, say, one half of the weight of the bike? Does the mantra still hold?
It doesn't hold no matter what the scenario as frame weight should always be a consideration.

In this specific instance, increase in frame weight almost always means lower quality tubing, less pronounced butting or none at all, or a host of other compromises that degrade the riding experience. In example; the half pound going from a reasonable quality frame at 4.4 pounds to a lower quality frame at 5 pounds is a relatively large change and has a noticeable effect on the how the overall bike rides.

So IME, the weight matters, no necessarily because it takes additional power to ride the bike but because how well a bike rides for a given rider is largely effected by frame flexibility which is always tied to weight.
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Old 06-07-18, 08:01 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
Awsome, but the thread is about weight of the bike relative to the luggage load in it. It is not about the amount/weight of load relative to how fast/far you want to go.
Ok, but the question sort of answers itself.

I don't think such a mantra exists for touring but it is more a recognition that weight itself is not the most important or sole, consideration. Almost anyone who's done more than one tour knows weight matters.. to a degree. You do have to push that load around somehow. But the function of a loaded tour is rarely speed and is more likely enjoyment of the day to day experience so weight of gear needed for that enjoyment is biased by that function. For that kind of tour (loaded or expedition) you also chose a bike with a different set of criteria, primarily strength, reliability and hauling capacity, not speed; so the gear to weight ration doesn't matter as much. It doesn't matter (as much) because the goal is not speed over distance.

If you go lighter like CC touring or fast touring you change the function in two ways: Either the enjoyment comes via CC touring from easier riding by pushing less weight on a more efficient bike or via more distance quicker in the case of a fast tour. In both cases the criteria of the bike changes. It now becomes not about carrying weight but rolling easier/faster and so the ratio of gear to bike becomes more important as weight does effect those things. You don't buy a carbon fiber bike for its weight carrying capacity or even its robustness - you buy it because it is lighter and will be easier or faster to ride because it is lighter. If that is the primary goal adding extra gear weight works directly against it.

I've never heard of a 1/2 gear to bike weight ratio. Such arbitrary settings are almost meaningless IMO. For CC touring perhaps but longer term expedition? Plus it does not take into account the particular preferences of individuals and treats all like cookie cutter riders. One person may find value in taking a laptop, another a camera, some like to wear street clothes, others not etc... I know as a man my personal hygiene kit can be as little as a toothbrush (no paste). I shower and wash by using campground soaps when I find them and don't comb my hair. I also don't wear deoderant in bear country. For a woman it may be different, along with feminine products they may have longer hair needing a brush/shampoo or other such stuff. Why try to stuff ones personal choices into an arbitrary weight box?

Last edited by Happy Feet; 06-07-18 at 08:14 AM.
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