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Is The Touring Bike Slowly Dying Out?

Old 06-07-23, 01:08 AM
  #51  
elcruxio
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
Go back and read my post. You are obviously out on a rampage. I didn't tell people how to tour correctly. Don't be deliberately silly. Instead, I mentioned one possible, different way of touring that many people don't ever imagine. Funny how you read that wrong.
I do not believe the concept of light weight touring or short duration light weight touring is unknown to anyone. So it must then be, that if someone is carrying a lot of stuff, they perhaps have a reason for it. And it isn't up to you to decide what people need or need not bring on tour. Doing a weekend tour can be fantastic with four panniers and rackback, if you're carrying camera gear, a portable grill and sausages to feed an army to a nice campsite. Or you can take your credit card and nothing else to ride across Europe.

You used two separate notions to deride people who carry a lot of gear without any consideration for the reasons they might do so.

The old and always funny kitchen sink methaphor and the new to me "tours look like nails". Also that whole "people often think" that you seemingly expanded upon is a strawman. It would have been so easy to just point out that "hey, I did this thing and it was cool!" without throwing extra insults in the mix.

So basically you saying that it's not required to bring an ocean liner bike and a kitchen sink on tours as you manage to cross countries with a folding bike is you saying that those other people doing things different from you are stupid or ignorant of the truth. They clearly haven't even considered the possibility of being right.

Why does this grind my gears so much? Because you're nothing new. Someone like you pops up on a yearly basis and starts throwing shade on people who dare tour with anything more than a bubble wrap sleeping pad, space blanket, one set of clothes that gets washed once a month and a pop can stove that's used to heat water in a pot folded out of aluminum foil. It gets so tiresome.
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Old 06-07-23, 01:30 AM
  #52  
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I think this thread and the 1x thread show that there is no "right" way to tour, there's only right for me. While it's easy and fun to get lost in a gear discussion gear isn't the point of any of this however you choose to travel by bike should be cool by all of us.

Yesterday after work I got my Disc Trucker frame set, it's going to be built as a 1x with 44mm knobbies and have panniers and a frame bag it should be great for dirt road travelling and will replace my Karate Monkey for that use.
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Old 06-07-23, 03:22 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris
I think this thread and the 1x thread show that there is no "right" way to tour, there's only right for me. While it's easy and fun to get lost in a gear discussion gear isn't the point of any of this however you choose to travel by bike should be cool by all of us.
....
Yup.

I think the OP was just noticing that a lot of the models that were commonly sold that had been designed for use with four panniers had disappeared from the marketplace. And many of us think of that when we think of the term "touring".

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Old 06-07-23, 08:23 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by tcs
Surly for whatever reasons decided to say "we have discontinued the LHT and are introducing a new model, the Disc Trucker". I think any other company would have just said "this year the LHT has been upgraded to fit disc brakes". But I'm surprised, then, that Surly didn't change the name of the bike again when they tweaked the geo and went to through axles. Shrug. Their company, their branding decisions.
What? Both models were sold for years together. Then, after many years, Surly dropped the model that was more antiquated and kept the already existing disc model.

This is all just a big nothingburger. Surly did nothing wrong with killing off a rim brake model. Surly did nothing wrong by continuing to offer a disc brake model. The DT is still very much available, as are many other touring frames/bikes.
Maybe the traditional touring bike is slowly dying out. Or maybe the traditional touring bike as a segment is slowly shrinking to properly fit the amount of interest in traditional touring.
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Old 06-07-23, 08:24 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
​​​​​​
"Your Thru-what is broken/bent?"

That's the likely response when you are gonna get in the middle of no where and you've rolled into a bike repair shop. KISS! Everyone knows and stocks QR or fixed axles. Thru-axles, not so much.
How does a thru axle get bent? The weight is taken on by the wheel, not the thru axle. The thru axle slides unweighted in and out of the frame.
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Old 06-07-23, 09:11 AM
  #56  
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Thru axles never get bent. Ron doesn't know what he's talking about.
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Old 06-07-23, 09:47 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
I think the OP was just noticing that a lot of the models that were commonly sold that had been designed for use with four panniers had disappeared from the marketplace. And many of us think of that when we think of the term "touring".
Which itself was just an era.








Sheldon Brown wrote the bulk of his Bicycle Glossary in the late 1990s and the 'touring bicycle' entry

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_t...ml#touringbike

is dated to that era. While you're contemplating how you would update the entry, here's a fun cycletouring video to watch:

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Old 06-07-23, 10:05 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by tcs
Which itself was just an era.
...
Sheldon Brown wrote the bulk of his Bicycle Glossary in the late 1990s and the 'touring bicycle' entry

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_t...ml#touringbike

is dated to that era.
...
Yeah, it is quite dated.

Touring Bags - His pop quiz with the baby in the Carradice bag was cute. I admit I got the wrong answer to the quiz.

He used the word Cluster to refer to both cassettes and freewheels, I have only considered freewheels to be clusters, but Sheldon is always right so I was in error.
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Old 06-07-23, 03:02 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN

I just love this image.
It just reeks of fun and camaraderie and good times.
What an adventure it must have been.
(sorry for the distraction)
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Old 06-10-23, 10:12 PM
  #60  
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When I started cycling if you wanted a ďseriousĒ bike you could buy a racer, or a tourer, or early mountain bikes. Each type were pretty similar and even between the different types they still were fundamentally similar. Now a single vender will have fast gravel, bikepacking gravel, touring, mountain style with rigid fork and plus tires, steel, aluminum, combinations, etc. then you factor in the bike hacker types restoring old rigid mountain bikes or old road bikes. Itís all pretty cool and offers far more options than used to exist. I just checked out bombtracks tourer and wow is it a tight machine.

funny thing though is that when I was touring the Great Lakes waterfront trail last year (2022), I only saw one loaded bike with bikepacking bags.

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Old 06-13-23, 06:25 AM
  #61  
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There's been an evolution in mounting the load since people are pursuing more off road/gravel road touring. The bikes aren't much different except they allow for larger tires. People have just found different loading configurations than the traditional panniers. I've never had a problem with the traditional packing configuration and don't intend to change.
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Old 06-14-23, 08:57 AM
  #62  
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Not dying out, just transitioning into something that looks different, as many of you have described. Cannondale lists 9 touring e-bikes on their website. I have the Tesoro Neo SL EQ.

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Old 06-15-23, 01:13 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by yeamac
Not dying out, just transitioning into something that looks different, as many of you have described. Cannondale lists 9 touring e-bikes on their website.
I entered 'touring' on the Cannondale website. All I got was e-bikes. Speaks volumes.

Well, still better than I did on Specialized!

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Old 06-15-23, 02:44 PM
  #64  
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Instead of "Is the Touring Bike Slowly Dying Out?", the better question would be "Is the Touring Cyclist Going the Way of the Dinosaur?" Just about any bike, be it road, hybrid, or mountain, can be a touring bike. The exception being your lightweight road bikes. The question is, are people touring today as much as they were decades ago?

As for the bike nomenclature, "gravel" bikes are the new "touring" bike. I think it all has to do with marketing and sales. More of the general population buys a gravel bike vs. a "touring" bike. To sell bikes, manufacturers are dropping the name "touring" and adopting the name "gravel."

I haven't done extensive research, but Cannondale's gravel bike, the Topstone, has 4 water bottle mounts on the frame. Comes with wide tires. Mountain components on a relaxed road frame. That sounds just like a classic "touring" bike to me.

Regardless, gravel bikes are very well suited for touring.

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Old 06-15-23, 02:54 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by tcs
I entered 'touring' on the Cannondale website. All I got was e-bikes. Speaks volumes.
Yes, e-bikes are very popular and very profitable.

As for Cannondale's "touring" bike, it is basically the "Quick" fitness/hybrid series. In fact, the Tesoro Neo SL replaced the Quick Neo SL in 2021.

And as a touring bike, the Tesoro Neo SL EQ has ONE water bottle mount. ONE. 1. Uno. Did I say, "one?" On a touring bike! What a joke!!! Especially considering on this "touring" e-bike, which is a prime candidate for the external extended battery, because, you know, you might be "touring" and cycling longer distances ... when you have the extended battery installed, that requires a frame mount because it weighs over 4 pounds. So when you add the extended battery, that leaves ZERO bottle mounts left to hold your water bottles! What a GREAT touring bike! (/sarcasm)

The Topstone Neo SL, Cannondale's gravel e-bike, has 4 bottle mounts. All things considered, the Topstone is more suited for touring than the Tesoro line, but again, it just a name, so I try not to get all worked up about it, although I still do, because who puts one water bottle mount on a touring bike!? There is room for 4 bottle mounts on the Tesoro Neo just like on the Topstone Neo. What an oversight. Not sure what Cannondale was thinking there.
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Old 06-15-23, 04:15 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by yeamac
I haven't done extensive research, but Cannondale's gravel bike, the Topstone, has 4 water bottle mounts on the frame. Comes with wide tires. Mountain components on a relaxed road frame. That sounds just like a classic "touring" bike to me.

Regardless, gravel bikes are very well suited for touring.
Educate us & get us up to speed. Cannondale just shows pics of bare bikes. Got a picture of one of these new classic" touring bikes outfitted for the classic USA tour: coast-to-coast?
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Old 06-15-23, 05:13 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by yeamac
...
As for the bike nomenclature, "gravel" bikes are the new "touring" bike.
....
Maybe the manufacturers that are run by marketing depts think that, but there have been several threads over the past half dozen years about people buying a gravel bike and then they want to go touring on it, only to find that a 1X drive train often lacks the range that is desired for touring.

My road bike (10 speed with a compact double) has a gearing range of 355 percent, my rando bike has a range of 504 percent, but my derailleur fitted touring bikes have a range of 558 percent. The more weight you put on a bike (or in the case of a rando bike, the more tired you are), the wider total range you should have for drive train.

I have occasionally complained that for touring, my Rohloff fitted touring bike with a range of 526 would be a lot nicer if I had one more gear, I often spin out on shallow long downhills. One more gear would be about 595 percent.

Some of the newer 1X gravel bikes are coming out with a range of nearly 500 percent on a 12 speed (13 speed for Campy) system, so they are getting closer to what you will likely want for touring. But then the next question is how much will it cost to replace a cassette and chain later on that type of bike.
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Old 06-15-23, 05:55 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by yeamac
Instead of "Is the Touring Bike Slowly Dying Out?", the better question would be "Is the Touring Cyclist Going the Way of the Dinosaur?" Just about any bike, be it road, hybrid, or mountain, can be a touring bike. The exception being your lightweight road bikes. The question is, are people touring today as much as they were decades ago?
That is something that has been said since forever. At least for close to 50 years. It’s usually said by people who have never tried an “actual” touring bike…one that is long wheel based, has long chainstays, has relaxed geometry, and have a frame that doesn’t go all wiggly at inconvenient speeds. I’ve touring “on just about any bike” and can tell you that they aren’t equal. Mountain bikes can be loaded with gear and you can head off into the rough and tumble world of 4x4 roads…with emphasis on the “tumble” part. The load is carried about 18” to 24” higher than loads on road touring bikes and the handling suffers for it. As I said above, I expect to end up on the ground at least once per trip and never have crashed on a loaded touring bike.

Road bikes can be loaded with typical heavy rear loads and thrown down hills but be aware that when you reach the bottom you may need something to calm your nerves. The handling is dicey. The rear biased load causes the bike to wander with the slightest input from the rider. And, if that weren’t enough, heel strike will drive you nuts even when not riding down hill.

As for the bike nomenclature, "gravel" bikes are the new "touring" bike. I think it all has to do with marketing and sales. More of the general population buys a gravel bike vs. a "touring" bike. To sell bikes, manufacturers are dropping the name "touring" and adopting the name "gravel."
Yes, “gravel” is what they are calling touring bikes but gravel bikes are more like race bikes than “touring bike”. They are the same bikes as the “sport tour” of old or even “cross bikes” of more recent vintage and have the same issues as above. They are even shorter than cross bikes with even tighter geometry. “Tight geometry” is antithetical to loaded touring (see above).

I haven't done extensive research, but Cannondale's gravel bike, the Topstone, has 4 water bottle mounts on the frame. Comes with wide tires. Mountain components on a relaxed road frame. That sounds just like a classic "touring" bike to me.
Let’s take a look at the Topstone. It has 3 water bottle mounts. The mount on the top tube is mean for a top tube bag. You could mount a water bottle there but it might be a bit hazardous for the dangly and/or delicate bits. The bike lacks any kind of mounts on the fork which are somewhat de rigueur for most gravel bikes of this era. There’s really no way of carrying even a fork bag on those forks.

The mountain gearing is a bit tall for most any kind of touring. The original gearing has a low of 23” which is high for road touring and really high if you get into anything rough. A change to a 32 tooth chainring will give you more of a road touring low of about 19” but the high gear suffers with the bike spinning out at around 25 mph. Having a gear closer to that original 103” gear would allow you to pedal for longer. Coasting for extended periods because you run out of gears is hard on the knees. Changing the gears to a 28 tooth chainring drops the low to 16” which is much better for rough 4x4 roads doesn’t do much for the high gear. It would then spin out at 20 mph.

I don’t have a 1x system but I do have mountain bike gearing…old school mountain bike gearing. I My touring bike gearing ranges from 15” to 113” which means I can climb up most anything rather easily and still fly down the back side.



Regardless, gravel bikes are very well suited for touring.
So are tradition touring bike. They are even well suited for gravel riding and gravel touring. I’ve done hundreds of miles of gravel roads, tow paths, and gravel rail trails on my touring bike with traditional panniers.
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Old 06-15-23, 07:00 PM
  #69  
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The thing about “gravel bike” as a category is it encompasses a very wide range of designs, from racers that are basically road bikes with clearance for 42 mm tires, to bikes that could reasonably substitute for a classic touring bike. So caveat emptor - research is definitely required if the idea is to do four pannier touring on a gravel bike.

It might be worth noting, or not, that the “traditional” touring bike often referred to here is mostly a development of the 70’s and 80’s and front panniers weren’t really commonplace before then. But clearly people were traveling and camping by bicycle before that and it went fine. I think the touring bike proponents will say, yes, and then the form was perfected with the ability to carry weight low on the front fork as well as on the rear rack. It’s a reasonable argument and a classic touring bike with modern parts is a pretty compelling package if that’s what you want to do. For me the appeal of the gravel bike and bikepacking trend is mostly the explosion of options for strapping gear to the bike(s) I already have. That’s not a 1:1 replacement for that 70’s and 80’s idea of bike touring, though.
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Old 06-15-23, 11:56 PM
  #70  
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The whole Cannondale lineup is a fricking JOKE. They look like they are trying to outdo the Marin's for seat stays half way down the seat post. LOL
ZERO chance of properly mounting the rear rack.
My 15th gear on my Rohloff14 is WALKING and pushing at 3.3 mph. LOL. It's not that much slower actually and for sure NOT more tiring.
I used the 115 GI just about every day. Full speed for the going back up from dips.
Bike's in the old days had a big roll hanging from the handlebar. Like where I have my aero CF nose trunk, that also holds 2 water bottles on the back side.
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Old 06-16-23, 06:29 AM
  #71  
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About 5 years ago I rode beside a male female couple who were doing a coast to coast cross Canada tour and were passing through Winnipeg. They were from Italy and their bikes were laden in the traditional 2 x 2 bag configuration, plus a little more atop the rear panniers. Can't remember the bikes they rode. By their looks, they had certainly gotten some sun along the way.
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Old 06-17-23, 02:18 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by yeamac
Instead of "Is the Touring Bike Slowly Dying Out?", the better question would be "Is the Touring Cyclist Going the Way of the Dinosaur?" Just about any bike, be it road, hybrid, or mountain, can be a touring bike. The exception being your lightweight road bikes. The question is, are people touring today as much as they were decades ago?
Being younger, I don't have a perspective on what things were like back in the day, but it seems to me like the touring bike -> gravel bike change also has something to do with larger changes in society and economics. Cars are bigger and more dangerous than they used to be, making off-road trips more appealing. Bikepacking bags mean that "any bike is a touring bike". Clearly, some do that for performance reasons and because of suspension forks and whatnot, but for many people new to traveling by bike, the ability to adapt a current bike or just get one do it all gravel bike is more appealing when you're spending too much of your income on rent or basic necessities. Touring is often done over the course of weeks, while bikepacking trips are probably more often just weekend trips. And there's probably a self-reinforcing cultural aspect to it. You probably have a friend with a gravel bike, so you're more likely to be a part of that cycling sub-culture.
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Old 06-17-23, 06:01 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by harrier6
...Cars are bigger and more dangerous than they used to be, making off-road trips more appealing. ...
Perhaps the bikes are better for off road now than decades ago, but cars are smaller now than they used to be. Example:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_yacht_(automobile)
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Old 06-17-23, 06:19 PM
  #74  
Chuck Naill
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A 40 something and I were discussing Appalachian Trail hikers in the '70's and now. He said folks were embarking on the trail to check off something on their bucket list whereas back in the day folks were discovering themselves. That might explain a recent 911 call that a bear was bothering them. Maybe preventing them from their bucket list. Getting in the way, I suspect. Mean bear.
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Old 06-17-23, 06:53 PM
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GamblerGORD53
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Perhaps the bikes are better for off road now than decades ago, but cars are smaller now than they used to be. Example:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_yacht_(automobile)
Yah cars are quite smaller, but still a Tesla far outweighs the kings of chrome >> 1958 Oldsmobiles and Buicks. Cars aren't half the sales they used to be.
Just a few days ago I saw a news story about how E pickups are upwards of 8,000 lbs. Dwarfing anything not E. They will CRUSH anything they hit and then there's the huge fire risks. They will never be the solution to anything.
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