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Is The Touring Bike Slowly Dying Out?

Old 06-17-23, 11:24 PM
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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)
Maybe in the US, but in the UK and Europe, they are larger
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Old 06-18-23, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by rivers
Maybe in the US, but in the UK and Europe, they are larger
I believe you are correct on that. Most people on this forum are in USA, your profile on your posts does not indicate where you are from, thus I assumed USA.
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Old 06-18-23, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuck Naill
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.
I was doing some daily mountain bike rides while car camping with a friend in North Dakota at campsites on the Maah Daah Hey trail. We saw several bikepackers that were badly dehydrated that when they made it to a campground, their first question was where is the water. A bad mechanical on a bike could have been serious for those bikepackers. When I was a boy scout decades ago, one of my scout leaders that had fought in WW II in the South Pacific taught me that you ALWAYS make sure that you will have adequate water, I almost never make camp at the end of a day without some water left in my water bottles. I do not consider some left over water to be excess weight that needs to be avoided.

I don't consider AT through hikers to be normal backpackers or hikers, I consider them to be competative atheletes. Not competative in the sense of trying to go faster than the competition, but they are always focused on trying to make more miles per day to the point that achieving a goal takes precidence over everything else, enjoying the experience is not even on the list.

Last summer on my backpacking trip (Superior Hiking Trail, not AT) I camped for two nights and traveled for a day with a guy that had through hiked the AT. The difference between what he was doing and what I was doing was notable.

We both met at a municipal campground where we both stopped to re-supply. I added about 12 pounds of food to my pack and my pack was up near 40 pounds. He got very little food to add to his pack and his pack was under 20 pounds. He could pick up his pack with one hand and hold it up in the air to put his other arm through the shoulder strap. But that night I figured out his system. He ate very little food, he said he tried to replenish his lost calories on his stops to resupply in civilization. I on the other hand was only running a calorie deficit of maybe 1000 calories a day, thus I carried about two pounds of food per day.

His water filter was badly clogged, he was not backflushing it, he did not want to carry the weight of the syringe used to backflush it. He said he went through three water filters on the AT. I was maintaining my water filter with the stuff needed for backflushing. I managed to get his filter to work much better using my gear, but his remained badly clogged. If you would rather keep buying new filters instead of carrying the few grams needed to maintain your filter, that helps explain how his pack was so light. As a curiosity, I just weighed my syringe for blackflushing, it is 28 grams, or almost exactly one ounce that he was unwilling to carry.

His tent, he explained that there are small specialty companies that make super ultra light gear for thru hikers, his tent was one of those, he said it cost about $600 new, I assume that was a pre-pandemic pre-inflation price. I was pretty happy with my 1325 gram one person trekking pole tent. But I was also carrying extra bigger tent stakes, I cut a pole for it to use instead of a trekking pole, and I carried a ground sheet, luxuries that he was unwilling to carry.

I do not recall how many shoes he said he went through on the AT, but it was several. I am from a generation where your hiking boots are supposed to last for several years, his were lasting a few months at most.

When I do another two weeks this summer on the Superior Hiking Trail, I will try to drop a few pounds from my pack compared to last year, but I am doing it to enjoy the trip, not log the most possible miles in a day like those competitive through hikers. I will consider myself a winner if I have a smile on my face most of the time I am there.
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Old 06-18-23, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by rivers
Maybe in the US, but in the UK and Europe, they are larger
Which is a shame. I've travelled to Europe a few times in the last 25 years, and I always admired how sensible the car sizes were compared to the US. Sometimes, we couldn't spot a pickup truck for days!
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Old 06-18-23, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Which is a shame. I've travelled to Europe a few times in the last 25 years, and I always admired how sensible the car sizes were compared to the US. Sometimes, we couldn't spot a pickup truck for days!
Very much so. I've lived in the UK for the past 12 years, and there are more and more SUVs on the roads. Problem is, a lot of our roads are single track with passing places barely big enough for my kia picanto, never mind a F150 or range rover or orher large vehicle.
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Old 06-18-23, 12:45 PM
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I considered starting a new thread, but decided to just continue this one. (Note to administrators, if you think this should be a new thread, please make the change.)

If anyone wants to see the latest in bikepacking bikes, some of which look REALLY expensive, look at these links:
https://bikepacking.com/bikes/2023-t...e-rigs-part-1/
https://bikepacking.com/bikes/rigs-o...divide-part-2/

No, these are not typical. These are built and packed with gear for those that want to suffer for a few weeks. I doubt that there is a single camp stove carried on any of them. Maybe the one with a trailer has a stove? I suspect bivy bags outnumber tents.

I only looked through about a third of the photos, I will look at them more later. But I was surprised at a few topics:
  • A lot of bikes have rear racks, very few look like metal, I think Tailfin has a near-monopoly for those that use one.
  • A couple have full size rear panniers. The 70 liter Ortliebs seem really out of place here. And one bike with full size rear panniers also has fenders and I think that bike has 40 spoke wheels.
  • The latest in wide range 1X systems appear to be prevalent, huge number of cassettes that look like 10-51 or 10-52.
  • There are a few double and triple cranks but you almost have to look for them to find them. There are a few single speeds too.
  • Pinion and Rohloff are just barely represented. Word search found one pinion and two Rohloffs, both chain and belt were used.
  • I was surprised how many solid forks there were, don't get me wrong, there are a lot of suspension forks too.
  • Almost no rear suspension.
I found that if I just wanted to page through the photos, I could click on any photo except the first, and then I only got the photo on the screen without text. Could page from bike to bike photo by clicking the right or left arrows.
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Old 06-18-23, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53
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 06-19-23, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
...If anyone wants to see the latest in bikepacking bikes, some of which look REALLY expensive, look at these links,,,
Some pretty hardcore marketing going on there, but I suppose that's the business the magazine is in.

As I breezed through the pics and some of the following text it reminded me of a recent thing on local news about Swifties waiting to get into a Taylor Swift concert..that combined with the typical Oscar's interview that starts with, "..who are you wearing?.."

Without the buzz surrounding "new and different" the manufacturers have little to push new sales. I don't doubt the gear works for some and I'm sure this trend will have longer legs than fat bikes. Hard for me to get too excited about it all. I'll stick with 4 panniers and a triple up front.
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Old 06-19-23, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by fishboat
... I'll stick with 4 panniers and a triple up front.
Those people are in a race, so I understand the lack of panniers.

And I can see the desire to have a sequential shifter with a single chainring and a 10-52 12 speed cassette. Rohloff produced the sequential shifter with a 14 speed gearbox that has about the same range, and I am fortunate to have one of those on one of my bikes. And I like that for some purposes.

But I have several derailleur bikes with triples and eight speed cassettes that give me more effective range and more gears than a 1X system with a 10-52 cassette.

But the manufacturers have figured out that there is a lot more money to be made selling 10-52 12 speed cassettes than my eight speeds cassettes. And with those small chainrings, they will wear out chains and chainrings faster than you would with larger chainrings.

I would really like to know what the lifespan is of their chains, cassettes, and other components on that race.
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Old 06-19-23, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
...
I would really like to know what the lifespan is of their chains, cassettes, and other components on that race.
I think it often takes 2 chains to make it through the distance, and sometimes a 2nd set of tires.
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Old 06-19-23, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by fishboat
Some pretty hardcore marketing going on there, but I suppose that's the business the magazine is in.


As I breezed through the pics and some of the following text it reminded me of a recent thing on local news about Swifties waiting to get into a Taylor Swift concert..that combined with the typical Oscar's interview that starts with, "..who are you wearing?.."


Without the buzz surrounding "new and different" the manufacturers have little to push new sales. I don't doubt the gear works for some and I'm sure this trend will have longer legs than fat bikes. Hard for me to get too excited about it all. I'll stick with 4 panniers and a triple up front.
I was recently in a cycling event and saw a husband and wife team with bikes kitted out with low rider racks at the front and pannier racks at the back for each of their bikes and a towing attachment to tow their daughter on her 20 inch bike. They weren't fully loaded at the time but had recently completed a multi day tour. Taking a closer look though, these bikes were anything but traditional touring bikes. They were actually both Giant Revolt Advanced 0 bikes. Carbon frame and fork and carbon rims. It was interesting to see but also got me thinking about the limited and eclectic mix of bikes which offer low rider mounts. So may gravel bikes don't offer anything on the fork while others offer those 3 mounting points and a limit of 3 kgs per side for bikepacking. I guess what I mean is there are some bikes which you'd think would be more likely to offer such an option that don't, and then there's something like that which is a little out of left field.
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Old 06-20-23, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Nomad2
... I guess what I mean is there are some bikes which you'd think would be more likely to offer such an option that don't, and then there's something like that which is a little out of left field.
Yup.

One of my touring bikes has a titanium frame. Lots of people look at the bike and say, that must be a really light weight bike. But it is not, the titanium frame probably only knocked a few pounds off the total weight of the bike. And the frame was designed for touring so there is enough titanium in the frame that you can ride with four panniers and not feel like you are riding a wet noodle. It still has touring weight wheels, etc., so it is a heavy bike.

In other words, it is the ultimate in bling, a titanium touring bike is not cost effective by any measure. In my case, I got very lucky and got a new frame with factory warranty for better than half price in my size, it fits great. I had always wanted a titanium frame and that is why I got it.

And, I really like it too. I have only used it for three weeks of touring during the six years I have owned it, probably 95 percent of the miles on it are not on a tour.
Pictures of your loaded rigs?

I consider my titanium touring bike to be my light touring bike, I have two touring bikes that have steel frames that I would use for carrying heavier loads.
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Old 06-20-23, 01:42 PM
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It's not that touring bikes are dying, they're just evolving. The quiet, safe and enjoyable stretches of pavement are dying, and the riders are taking to a more natural environment for said safety and enjoyment.
I have toured on the following:
1976 Raleigh Super Course
1984 Trek 720
1983 Trek 520
1986 Nishiki Colorado
2012 Soma Saga
2016 Salsa Fargo
The last 2 modern bikes blow the old ones out of the water, there is no comparison, they are superior.
Lament the 10,000 more cars than seems reasonable* in so many places.

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Old 06-21-23, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by venturi95
It's not that touring bikes are dying, they're just evolving. The quiet, safe and enjoyable stretches of pavement are dying, and the riders are taking to a more natural environment for said safety and enjoyment.
I have toured on the following:
1976 Raleigh Super Course
1984 Trek 720
1983 Trek 520
1986 Nishiki Colorado
2012 Soma Saga
2016 Salsa Fargo
The last 2 modern bikes blow the old ones out of the water, there is no comparison, they are superior.
Lament the 10,000 more cars than seems reasonable* in so many places.

* a quote stolen from Bodfish
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1982 Trek 720
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Old 06-21-23, 11:56 AM
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Many of the bikes with "three pack" fork mounts are hiding a low rider mount as one of the three. Salsas do, for instance.

My Stormchaser has a bewildering array of accessory mounts and configuration options, but it's dedicated to 1x MTB cranks, and they sure didn't intend it to have a rear rack
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Old 06-21-23, 11:59 AM
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Salsa Warbird, the gravel bike of reference, and its hidden lowrider mount. Also has fender eyes on the fork ends, a hidden fender hole in the crown, and routing for a dynamo hub. I donít know if itís a touring bike but itís definitely a touring bike fork

Salsa also still sells the Marrakesh, a bog-standard chromoly touring bike, with a Shimano triple and barcons and racks included for about two grand



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Old 06-22-23, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN

I would really like to know what the lifespan is of their chains, cassettes, and other components on that race.
Here is what ACA says about its route with respect to equipment, and it's not talking about racing:

"The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is extremely hard on equipment. The weight of your gear exponentially multiplies the stress of riding steep, fast, rough downhills. Wheels, tires, and drivetrains (chains, cassettes, bottom brackets, chainrings) take a lot of abuse and might need replacing along the course of the entire route. Suspension equipment on the bicycle helps to mitigate the abusive nature of the terrain. That said, nylon pivots of some full-suspension bikes wear out extremely fast and are not recommended. Suspension seatposts, good handlebar grips, and front-suspension forks help smooth out the many miles of washboarded and chuckholed roads. Weighting a suspension fork with panniers works well, evens the weighting of the bike, and adds little extra stress to the fork. Trailers also work well and lighten the rear triangle of the bike."
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Old 06-22-23, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Here is what ACA says about its route with respect to equipment, and it's not talking about racing:

"The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is extremely hard on equipment. The weight of your gear exponentially multiplies the stress of riding steep, fast, rough downhills. Wheels, tires, and drivetrains (chains, cassettes, bottom brackets, chainrings) take a lot of abuse and might need replacing along the course of the entire route. Suspension equipment on the bicycle helps to mitigate the abusive nature of the terrain. That said, nylon pivots of some full-suspension bikes wear out extremely fast and are not recommended. Suspension seatposts, good handlebar grips, and front-suspension forks help smooth out the many miles of washboarded and chuckholed roads. Weighting a suspension fork with panniers works well, evens the weighting of the bike, and adds little extra stress to the fork. Trailers also work well and lighten the rear triangle of the bike."
Thanks.

I was mostly curious about the 1X drivetrain, looks like most of them are running a 10-52 cassette or something similar. Was curious if a cassette would last for the whole distance. And I was wondering how many chains they need on that route.

And a number of them are using dynohubs, curious if any of those failed and if so which models.
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Old 06-22-23, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Thanks.

I was mostly curious about the 1X drivetrain, looks like most of them are running a 10-52 cassette or something similar. Was curious if a cassette would last for the whole distance. And I was wondering how many chains they need on that route.

And a number of them are using dynohubs, curious if any of those failed and if so which models.
Iíve ran across people in the race twice while riding the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway in Montana. Itís a paved portion of the route. (It was dirt until around 2008.) At least once, the winner had already reached the finish, so they were way behind. It was neat to see all the different setups. Wish there had been mutual time to talk.

One of the times some of them came into the Wise River Club, where I was having lunch, before the 24 mile climb to the nearly 8,000í summit I had just come down from in rain, sleet and even a little snow. The amount of stuff they were ordering was crazy. One guy got a giant milkshake. That was in 2016, so 1X was probably rare(r) compared to today.
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Old 06-23-23, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Thanks.

I was mostly curious about the 1X drivetrain, looks like most of them are running a 10-52 cassette or something similar. Was curious if a cassette would last for the whole distance. And I was wondering how many chains they need on that route.
If you donít do the 500 miles in Canada, the route is only 2500 miles long. My mountain bike chains last 3000 to 3500 miles and cassettes (not 10-52 1x) last through at least 3 chains. I wouldnít expect to go through more than one chain on that kind of trip even given the amount of dirt involved.
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Old 06-23-23, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Here is what ACA says about its route with respect to equipment, and it's not talking about racing:

"The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is extremely hard on equipment. The weight of your gear exponentially multiplies the stress of riding steep, fast, rough downhills. Wheels, tires, and drivetrains (chains, cassettes, bottom brackets, chainrings) take a lot of abuse and might need replacing along the course of the entire route. Suspension equipment on the bicycle helps to mitigate the abusive nature of the terrain. That said, nylon pivots of some full-suspension bikes wear out extremely fast and are not recommended. Suspension seatposts, good handlebar grips, and front-suspension forks help smooth out the many miles of washboarded and chuckholed roads. Weighting a suspension fork with panniers works well, evens the weighting of the bike, and adds little extra stress to the fork. Trailers also work well and lighten the rear triangle of the bike."
Part of the reason that I bought this beauty in 2008 was for doing parts of the Great Divide. It has a bit of suspension on the rear to take the edge off hits without the problem of pivots. I havenít used it on that route but Iíve used it in a lot of other places in Colorado for bikepacking.

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Old 06-24-23, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by irwin7638
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.
I like that bike. I like how it's more upright also. I hate leaning.

This suites me just fine, until I find something else... (I have changed the seat)

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Old 06-24-23, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Thanks.

...And a number of them are using dynohubs, curious if any of those failed and if so which models.
I can almost guarantee that all of the SON hubs made it with no issues.
I've had mine (the original "soup can" model) for over 20 years (most of the time in the damp Puget Sound area) on my commuter/touring bike.
Still running strong on the original bearings, Zero issues so far, knock on wood.
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Old 07-19-23, 02:33 AM
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Compared to well, almost everything else, touring bikes have always been a niche market served by small production runs. They were a dying breed when I started 20 years ago.

Doesn't bother me at all. I'm into vintage lugged steel, I would never spend money on a shiny new offering when so many amazing pieces are out there waiting to be rebuilt into something even greater than when they started.
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Old 07-19-23, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by abdon
Compared to well, almost everything else, touring bikes have always been a niche market served by small production runs. They were a dying breed when I started 20 years ago.
It's actually a PITB... it's hard to find touring specific bikes and even knowledgeable bike shops push the gravel bikes and know NOTHING about touring bikes. So, I keep searching for a touring bike secondhand in my size, location, and price range. HAH!!! Not much luck!
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