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Most desirable tubing for an XL touring bike ?

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Most desirable tubing for an XL touring bike ?

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Old 09-28-18, 08:12 PM
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Most desirable tubing for an XL touring bike ?

Interested in hearing opinions on the preferred tubing (past or present) for an XL bike as far as handling under a load and being somewhat lively unloaded? Which current production bikes have tubing other than 4130 ?

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Old 09-28-18, 11:23 PM
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Assuming standard 32mm or wider touring tires, I say aluminum tubing. I like aluminum in general for hauling weight due to the more stable handling. Not adding as much weight as steel to the heavy load that youíre already carrying is a bonus too. Especially as a large rider and presumably naturally carrying more weight, I think the decrease in frame flex would be a benefit. It sucks putting down the power or descending a mountain and feeling your frame flex and get squirrelly. Iím not exactly sure whoís making them, though. I think maybe Koga, but not sure. Theyíre out there, though.
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Old 09-29-18, 05:00 AM
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Lively unloaded and stiff enough with a heavy load so that it is not a wet noodle, if you are lucky enough to find it, patent it.

Wall thickness and diameter will be important factors in the design.

Most frame builders will use the same diameter and wall thickness for every size within a model, so for your extra large frame you might find some bikes that have a reputation for stiffness in the smaller sizes are as lively as you want in your larger frame size.

I do not consider my size large Lynskey Backroad to be lively, but it is stiff enough for a load. With a lighter weight set of wheels it might be somewhat lively, it is Titanium tubing.

If you find your lively frame, you will need a very stiff rear rack. I am quite happy with the stiffness of the Tubus Logo rear rack.
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Old 09-29-18, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
Which current production bikes have tubing other than 4130 ?
I haven't looked since last year but English company Dawes were still putting out a Reynolds Ultra Galaxy 631 framed bike as well as Reynolds 520 Super Galaxy.

Earlier years included different Reynolds frames including 531ST (super tourist) which may still be in stock in various UK bike shops.
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Old 09-29-18, 08:28 AM
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I haven't looked at Dawes, thanks for the suggestion. From what I can gather, the bike with stiffness under load and lively unloaded has already been patented...it's just out of production and i can't find one. I've always leaned toward steel, but maybe it's time to consider aluminum. Is it fair to say that aluminum tubing is improving while steel tubing is going backwards ?

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Old 09-29-18, 03:36 PM
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For off the peg i'd vote alu for on tar and good condition gravel.

Just did baby shoe pass and on my way to Smith Rock riding my last edition American made jumbo c-dale T-series.

My custom steel rig is just so dead when utility riding around town. Yeah it's stiffer than the old lugged miyata but...
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Old 09-29-18, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
...Is it fair to say that aluminum tubing is improving while steel tubing is going backwards ?
No, I don't think so. If anything, steel has reached a pinnacle and Aluminum is just catching up.

There is only so much one can do with the design requirements of handlng loads well plus being lively unloaded without radically rethinking materials or design because the two are working at cross purposes.

Materially, enter carbon fiber bikes or hybrids like steel/aluminum frames and CF forks. Design wise isomer and other flex stays, suspension systems and fatter road tires.

One could look at reducing the load requirement as much as possible and how it is carried and then go with the best road frame that could handle it. There are far better ways to carry moderate loads than the traditional panniers and hb bag system that centralize the load within the frame instead of at each end creating sway.

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Old 09-29-18, 05:09 PM
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Co-Motion uses Reynolds 725 on some bikes.
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Old 09-29-18, 05:41 PM
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Maybe you need more than only one more bike, one for a load and one unladen.
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Old 09-29-18, 05:53 PM
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I also donít think steel is going backward. I think itís mostly just staying where it is. People have been working on making it better for 100yrs. Not much left to do with it. Itís great in some applications, which is why I love late 80s and modern steel road bikes. For touring, it either has to be thick heavy tubing, which makes it stiff enough but heavy, or thinner walls which ride great unloaded, but flex when loaded. AL is great for heavy loads and not having a beast of a bike, but is a stiffer material. Running skinny tires gives a stiffer ride for sure, but higher volume tires and the weight of a touring load smooth it out considerably. The stiffness allows it to still handle a load well. Pair it with a stiff rack and the bike will handle very well and feel secure when climbing and turning. Personally I think the only reason you donít see more touring bikes in AL is because a lot of the market think theyíre going to have a frame break in Africa and have to have it welded back together by a guy with a couple car batteries and some wire. Good luck with that. I think youíre better off wrapping a broken frame in a thick layer of fiberglass than a backwoods weld job. Interestingly, Iíve found more bikepacking bikes in AL than road touring bikes. Those are the people riding the harsh terrain and stuck in the middle of no where if the frame breaks. Itís just such an unlikely problem. Then there are the people who think of harsh riding AL race bikes of the 90s and early 2000s. A frame designed for all day comfort and larger tires isnít going to ride like that. Carbon could be a great option, but thereís no way the touring crowd is going to buy that bike, just based on the stories of catastrophic failure. Hell, I wouldnít even though logic tells me that theyíve been doing it long enough and itís been perfected enough that itís reliable. They make big air, hard hitting downhill mountain bikes and wheels out of carbon these days. Iím certainly not riding my touring bike that hard...

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Old 09-29-18, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Maybe you need more than only one more bike, one for a load and one unladen.
Would you mind calling my wife and telling her ? Actually, I'm going to take the racks off my XO-2 and let it go back to be an all-rounder, so I have unladen covered. The extra weight just killed the ride quality and at 58.5, it's a bit too small anyway.
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Old 09-29-18, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
Interested in hearing opinions on the preferred tubing (past or present) for an XL bike as far as handling under a load and being somewhat lively unloaded? Which current production bikes have tubing other than 4130 ?
Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
Is it fair to say that aluminum tubing is improving while steel tubing is going backwards ?
1- a bike thats meant to handle weight well wont then feel lively when unloaded. Conversely, a bike thats meant to feel lively when unloaded wont handle weight as well.
Life just doesn't work that way.

2- with that said- quality double butted cromo tubing that is oversize(OS) works great for an XL size frame touring bike. 9/6/9 tubing is thin enough to feel fun when riding and thick enough to handle loaded touring.

- OS tubes are stiffer than traditional sized tubes.
- .9/.6/.9 will be great if the weight makes sense. A 220# rider with 40# of gear may be fine while a 260# rider with 40# of gear may feel some flex.
- .9/.6/.9 wont be as lively or as light as .8/.5/.8 tubing on the same bike.


you need to decide if you value the unloaded feel or the loaded feel more.

also- more important than material details is geometry. Geometry will affect how a bike feels when riding more than small tubing differences.
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Old 09-29-18, 08:35 PM
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Check out the Diamondback Haanjo 5C EXP Carbon. I've been riding the 2017 version for about a year & very pleased. This may be the worlds lightest production touring bike at ~22 lbs & complete bike is an amazing value at $2,000. Steering geometry is fairly sporty, wide stock tires let me cruise faster over bumpier/looser surfaces while the CF frame/fork really do seem to absorb some vibration compared to steel. I'm a lightweight rider but it feels strong enough for a heavier rider. Largest size is 59cm but top tube is a bit sloped.
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Old 09-30-18, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
1- a bike thats meant to handle weight well wont then feel lively when unloaded. Conversely, a bike thats meant to feel lively when unloaded wont handle weight as well.
Life just doesn't work that way.

2- with that said- quality double butted cromo tubing that is oversize(OS) works great for an XL size frame touring bike. 9/6/9 tubing is thin enough to feel fun when riding and thick enough to handle loaded touring.

- OS tubes are stiffer than traditional sized tubes.
- .9/.6/.9 will be great if the weight makes sense. A 220# rider with 40# of gear may be fine while a 260# rider with 40# of gear may feel some flex.
- .9/.6/.9 wont be as lively or as light as .8/.5/.8 tubing on the same bike.


you need to decide if you value the unloaded feel or the loaded feel more.

also- more important than material details is geometry. Geometry will affect how a bike feels when riding more than small tubing differences.
Thanks. I'm leaning towards a custom frame with geo similiar to the rocky mtn sherpa 30.
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Old 09-30-18, 07:38 AM
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I think a frame with 2OS tubing would work well for this application. Seems like all the better tubing in that size is .8/.5/.8, which is going to be fairly strong. 4130 vs. something better is really a matter of dent resistance.
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Old 09-30-18, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Check out the Diamondback Haanjo 5C EXP Carbon. I've been riding the 2017 version for about a year & very pleased. This may be the worlds lightest production touring bike at ~22 lbs & complete bike is an amazing value at $2,000. Steering geometry is fairly sporty, wide stock tires let me cruise faster over bumpier/looser surfaces while the CF frame/fork really do seem to absorb some vibration compared to steel. I'm a lightweight rider but it feels strong enough for a heavier rider. Largest size is 59cm but top tube is a bit sloped.
Wow. I had no idea Diamondback was making something like that. That looks like a totally sweet bike. Have you toured on it? If it werenít through axle I would seriously probably start saving for one. Have you ridden one of the AL ones with standard dropouts?
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Old 09-30-18, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
I also don’t think steel is going backward. I think it’s mostly just staying where it is. People have been working on making it better for 100yrs. Not much left to do with it. It’s great in some applications, which is why I love late 80s and modern steel road bikes. For touring, it either has to be thick heavy tubing, which makes it stiff enough but heavy, or thinner walls which ride great unloaded, but flex when loaded. AL is great for heavy loads and not having a beast of a bike, but is a stiffer material. Running skinny tires gives a stiffer ride for sure, but higher volume tires and the weight of a touring load smooth it out considerably. The stiffness allows it to still handle a load well. Pair it with a stiff rack and the bike will handle very well and feel secure when climbing and turning. Personally I think the only reason you don’t see more touring bikes in AL is because a lot of the market think they’re going to have a frame break in Africa and have to have it welded back together by a guy with a couple car batteries and some wire. Good luck with that. I think you’re better off wrapping a broken frame in a thick layer of fiberglass than a backwoods weld job. Interestingly, I’ve found more bikepacking bikes in AL than road touring bikes. Those are the people riding the harsh terrain and stuck in the middle of no where if the frame breaks. It’s just such an unlikely problem. Then there are the people who think of harsh riding AL race bikes of the 90s and early 2000s. A frame designed for all day comfort and larger tires isn’t going to ride like that. Carbon could be a great option, but there’s no way the touring crowd is going to buy that bike, just based on the stories of catastrophic failure. Hell, I wouldn’t even though logic tells me that they’ve been doing it long enough and it’s been perfected enough that it’s reliable. They make big air, hard hitting downhill mountain bikes and wheels out of carbon these days. I’m certainly not riding my touring bike that hard...
That is such a great post, but poses far many more questions than answers...what is the future of bike touring ? Carbon with ultralight in frame compartments ?

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Old 09-30-18, 05:38 PM
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That would be really interesting. Maybe a main triangle thatís just a big compartment with a side that opens up, all of it built right into the frame? You could even have a couple shelves built in there! Then a couple more built in triangle boxes, going back right off of the chain stays. They could open from the bottom up and provide rain cover for opening them in the rain. Lighter weight than racks and bags, protects your stuff better, and could probably be more aerodynamic too? I bet the compartment doors arenít cheap to replace when the bike falls over, though...
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Old 09-30-18, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post

Wow. I had no idea Diamondback was making something like that. That looks like a totally sweet bike. Have you toured on it? If it werenít through axle I would seriously probably start saving for one. Have you ridden one of the AL ones with standard dropouts?
I haven't toured on it yet & I haven't tried the AL versions. I've done local rides up to 50 miles & tried moderate loads (groceries) in the panniers...it feels pretty solid just like the Trucker.

Tubus Logo Classic rear & Tubus Tara Big Apple front racks work nicely. I love the plush ride of the wide stock tires but the frame feels as if it would still be fairly comfortable with faster/narrower tires ie 40-42mm/1.5"-1.6". Only things I swapped out were pedals & saddle. I'm not sure if thru-axle should be a deal-breaker.
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Old 10-07-18, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
Assuming standard 32mm or wider touring tires, I say aluminum tubing. I like aluminum in general for hauling weight due to the more stable handling. Not adding as much weight as steel to the heavy load that youíre already carrying is a bonus too. Especially as a large rider and presumably naturally carrying more weight, I think the decrease in frame flex would be a benefit. It sucks putting down the power or descending a mountain and feeling your frame flex and get squirrelly. Iím not exactly sure whoís making them, though. I think maybe Koga, but not sure. Theyíre out there, though.
Try bending aluminium back into shape without it fracturing. You can't. Try finding someone who can weld aluminium in a far flung place. You won't. The same applies to new-fangled materials like carbon fibre. Try repairing that if it fails.

The only answer is good old-fashioned, but tried and tested steel. Steel alloys have continuously evolved with the times, ever since good old Reynolds 531. With lighter, but stonger tubing, but still retaining the advantage of steel.

You can't beat the "feel of steel." Remember only "steel is real", especially in a touring bike. Where reliability and durability, are more important than anything else.
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Old 10-07-18, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jitenshajin View Post
Try bending aluminium back into shape without it fracturing. You can't. Try finding someone who can weld aluminium in a far flung place. You won't. The same applies to new-fangled materials like carbon fibre. Try repairing that if it fails.

You can't beat the "feel of steel." Remember only "steel is real", especially in a touring bike. Where reliability and durability, are more important than anything else.
All true. However when you hit XL sizing the criteria the OP asked for "ain't gonna happen in off the peg steel."

Recently I was chatting with a 50+ gentleman riding a 25in mid 80's lugged Japanese bike showing a lot of seat and stem length. He had down sized in his 50's due to flexibility issues and was surprised how much stiffer the bike was compared to larger sizes in the same genre.

Total bikes = N+1- wife aggro; Always the answer.
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Old 10-07-18, 12:34 PM
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Oversize the down tube of Lynskey bikes, made for touring of titanium were positively huge.. *

Aluminum, in order to not flex and possibly crack from that flexing is also made in larger tube sizes
and thanks to hydroforming , aluminum gets increased shapes to meet the stresses of that joint.

Titanium can be made in to special shapes , but that gets expensive..


Got the dosh, chat them up https://lynskeyperformance.com/

* I see some pretty nice bikes , that people buy and go touring upon, bring on the OR coast , a destination.

where people come from around the country and globe to enjoy the coast road,
or begin or end their transcontinental tours...




....
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Old 10-07-18, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
Personally I think the only reason you donít see more touring bikes in AL is because a lot of the market think theyíre going to have a frame break in Africa and have to have it welded back together by a guy with a couple car batteries and some wire. Good luck with that. I think youíre better off wrapping a broken frame in a thick layer of fiberglass than a backwoods weld job.
Where are you going to get the fibreglass from?

If you could get fibreglass, how effective would it be especially if the rear drop out had snapped. This tends to be the part of the frame under most stress. I have had a few frames fail in that particular place, rather than anywhere else. There is not much space between the drop out and the hub, which needs to rotate freely with no fouling.

You often see touring cycles massively loaded on the rear, with little on the front. Surely, that is asking for trouble, especially if the rider is heavy.

Personally, I would try and find the bloke with the two car batteries and a stick welder. He might make a rough repair, but hopefully it would hold and you can have a proper frame repair later.

If I had the choice of a fibreglass repair, which is epoxy resin (basically plastic), with small strands of glass in it. Or a repair using steel, which is much stronger and that the bike is already made out of. I would choose steel every time.
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Old 10-07-18, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jitenshajin View Post
Try bending aluminium back into shape without it fracturing. You can't. Try finding someone who can weld aluminium in a far flung place. You won't. The same applies to new-fangled materials like carbon fibre. Try repairing that if it fails.

You can't beat the "feel of steel." Remember only "steel is real", especially in a touring bike. Where reliability and durability, are more important than anything else.
As I said in my post above, I wouldnít try to bend or weld AL, Or steel. If I were in the middle of Africa and my frame broke, Iíd use something like a heavy layer of fiberglass/resin to bind the frame until I get to where I need to be for proper replacement. I think I have a lot better chance of that than some rando guy in a small village with a couple car batteries and some wire, or the farmer with the very powerful arc welder that he uses to fix his heavy duity broken farm equipment. But you go for it and hope your frame isnít damaged further. Worst case scenerio with fiberglass is it cracks and you have to try again. As for ďsteel is real,Ē I also mentioned that I love steel. Itís fantastic for wonderful riding road bikes. Late 80ís race bike are a joy to ride. The frame flexes and soaks up road vibration beautifully. I donít want a flexy touring bike. Thatís when things get sketchy going down a fast descent, or youíre trying to put down power and you can feel the load swaying around as the bike flexes under you. No thanks. The tires will soak up the road vibration. I currently have two touring bikes, both of which have seen real touring miles. One is an $850 steel frame-set. The other is a cheapo AL frame and decent cyclocross fork, both of which I found at the local co-op. If I went on a road tour tomorrow, no question Iíd take the AL bike. If I went on a gravel/off-road trip Iíd take the steel bike, to smooth out the ride, but try to pack lighter so that the frame isnít trying to twist-steer itself on the trail. One option for steel is to make it stiff by using thicker, heavier tubing. If you donít mind the extra weight, that may be a good option. Personally, I see no point and prefer a lighter bike that handles hauling a load well.
As for where the fiberglass is coming from, if thereís someone with a welder handy, you can probably find something like fiberglass or epoxy of some sort. You find what you can and make do, just like youíd be doing with the village welder. As for rear dropout failure due to a poorly loaded bike with a massive load on the rear and nothing in front(which I would argue is the opposite of the best loading for a bike. More weight should be in front low rider panniers), well, you did that to yourself. Research and using your equipment properly is the way to hopefully avoid such issues in the first place. Heavy rear loads result in things like poor handling, unnecessarily heavy, 40 spoke rear wheels(unless youíre a large person) that still fail, and rear triangle frame failure. A well built AL or steel frame isnít going to break if you arenít abusing it.

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Old 10-09-18, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jitenshajin View Post
Try bending aluminium back into shape without it fracturing. You can't. Try finding someone who can weld aluminium in a far flung place. You won't. The same applies to new-fangled materials like carbon fibre. Try repairing that if it fails.

The only answer is good old-fashioned, but tried and tested steel. Steel alloys have continuously evolved with the times, ever since good old Reynolds 531. With lighter, but stonger tubing, but still retaining the advantage of steel.

You can't beat the "feel of steel." Remember only "steel is real", especially in a touring bike. Where reliability and durability, are more important than anything else.
You are exaggerating the benefit of steel.

I'll call BS on that "feel of steel".
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