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selecting the right touring bike

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selecting the right touring bike

Old 07-05-23, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
I had the exact same model... that got stolen
That's a crummy thing to happen.
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Old 07-11-23, 12:48 PM
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From all the people I've asked on this topic, there is no straightforward answer, most of the old sages seem to say that the best bike to go touring on is the one in your garage..
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Old 07-11-23, 01:19 PM
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I would much prefer to have modern brake/gear shifters. I had Campy end shifters on a bike I raced in the 1970's but was delighted when I bought a bike in 2000 with the modern "brifters" and found I was making gear changes much more often on varying terrain and easy to change gears even when up out of the saddle.

I never broke a spoke with my 4-cross lacing but my riding companion broke a spoke twice on his 3-cross laced wheels and he was lucky that we could true the rim with the new spoke and not need to replace it when we were several days riding away from the nearest bike shop.

It is very different when one needs to be 100% self sufficient and make it to their final destination without outside assistance. Too many people expect to use their smartphone to summon help and bail them out of situations that a smart person would have avoided in the first place.
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Old 07-15-23, 07:10 AM
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I can actually ride my son's outgrown mountain bike (It's a Gary Fisher Napa - men's) but it's a little big for me, but I can ride it still because of the sloping top tube, but because it's too big, it's not comfortable to ride for long, but the gearing is great and it's zippy.

But I worry about loading up a bike with gear when it was never built for that. wouldn't that cause problems?
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Old 07-15-23, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by mams99
I can actually ride my son's outgrown mountain bike (It's a Gary Fisher Napa - men's) but it's a little big for me, but I can ride it still because of the sloping top tube, but because it's too big, it's not comfortable to ride for long, but the gearing is great and it's zippy.

But I worry about loading up a bike with gear when it was never built for that. wouldn't that cause problems?
Often a stem has to be changed to adjust the reach on a bike or handlebar height when a different user uses it, easy to do if it is a threadless stem and most better bikes these days have such stems.

Some bikes can take more weight if you are staying on pavement and avoid the worst of the potholes and other bumps, the better brands and a few notches up from the bargain basement models can handle light touring rather well. But, a heavy rider with heavy camping gear might be overstressing things. If older, depends on how well maintained and how much use it has had.

If you did short tours where you are close to home and have a phone number you can call if you have a breakdown and need extraction, it can be worth a try.
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Old 07-15-23, 10:50 AM
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That's just it - I'm a heavy rider (200) and I want to be able to go afar so that I don' have to rely on someone coming to rescue me.

That's what I'm finding is that lots of things can "make do" but if I want to really do what I want to do, I need to get the right bike.
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Old 07-15-23, 01:17 PM
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simpler than it seems

All road bikes will support a 275 lb load of the rider and gear. The most I have ever taken on a multi-day tour in kit weighed 25 lbs and this was with camping and cooking equipment. When it became financially viable I stopped taking camping gear and stayed in motels and ate in cafes along my route.


Even with a 50 lb load, which would be stupid, a modern road bike can support your weight and the gear with no problems for the bike. On the other hand the more weight on the bike the tougher it is going up long steep grades and the more difficult to get back up to speed with a series of rolling hills. Along the California coast for example one starts and ends the day at sea level but can over a 100 mile section of road have 5000 feet of elevation gains to overcome.


The basic problem is having a frame that is comfortable for 100 miles of riding each day. Anyone can bicycle at 10 mph and if they do that for 10 hours they will travel 100 miles. The only consideration is how many hours of daylight there happens to be.


A concern with women is that they tend to have shorter arms for their height than men and few bicycles take this into account. Terry is one company that makes bikes for women and so they come with a frame geometry and saddle and narrower handlebars right from the factory. Ordinarily I would advise a male rider to get a slightly larger than normal size frame for touring with greater than average amount of fork rake. For a women this generalized advice does not apply.


Any bike that you can ride comfortably for 6-10 hours day after day is good for touring. Saddles can be changed as can the handlebars and the stem and the seat post. The objective in part is to feel comfortable in the saddle and with your hands resting on the top of the brake levers without feeling scrunched or too stretched out.


In general the "endurance" frames are well suited to touring. Carbon fiber frames cost 2-4 times as much and the weight saving of a couple of pounds is of no real importance for touring. Frame flexing is more of a concern and that is where shorter or stronger chain stays or a more upright position can make hill climbing easier for the rider. More expensive bikes have more expensive wheels and components that are of no real benefit for the touring rider.


A very good value in a hill climbing bike with relaxed geometry is the Giant Contend AR3 that sells for $1,350 which leaves room for changing the cassette or saddle or stem to customize the bike for your needs.


The wider the tire the more load it can support at a given PSI. To support a 240 lb load a 25mm tire needs to be at 115 PSI. The same load with a 37mm tire can be supported with the tire at 80 PSI. A medium width of 32mm can be at 95 PSI and support that amount of weight. The key consideration is the width tires provided on the bike and how wide a tire the factory rims will allow to be used.


Fortunately today's bikes come with rims that are wider and allow for much wider tires. The road bike I bought in 2001 has 19mm rims and the widest tire I can use is a 25mm wide one. By way of contrast the Specialized road bike I bought in 2021 has rims that can accommodate up to a 38mm wide tires.


As for dismounting it is much easier if the height off the ground of the top tube and saddle are lower by tilting the bike to one side. My wife has had to take this approach after having a hip replacement done.
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Old 07-15-23, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
All road bikes will support a 275 lb load of the rider and gear. The most I have ever taken on a multi-day tour in kit weighed 25 lbs and this was with camping and cooking equipment. When it became financially viable I stopped taking camping gear and stayed in motels and ate in cafes along my route.
....
A lot of road bikes would feel like a wet noodle at 275 pounds.
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Old 07-15-23, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mams99
I can actually ride my son's outgrown mountain bike (It's a Gary Fisher Napa - men's) but it's a little big for me, but I can ride it still because of the sloping top tube, but because it's too big, it's not comfortable to ride for long, but the gearing is great and it's zippy.

But I worry about loading up a bike with gear when it was never built for that. wouldn't that cause problems?
Depends on the bike and how the load is carried.
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Old 07-17-23, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
All road bikes will support a 275 lb load of the rider and gear.
What they can do and what they can do well are two separate things. When I was into long distance cycling I had a Trek 720, a 1969 Schwinn Paramount with factory triple, and a merlin extra light titanium frame bike with Shimano 7800 group set. All were fantastic bikes for long distance but the Merlin did not like to carry extra weight, ride quality went down hill in a hurry. The Paramount was good with an extra 25 pounds or so before ride quality went down. The Trek on the other hand felt better with weight on than riding it without a load. In the summer I was bike commuting at work and would load cases of soft drink on my paneers before hitting work, the Trek would not mind that one bit.

I would not trust a store bike fitter. "fitting" for a bike has to do with what you want to do with it. For a fast road bike I happily go down to a 52cm frame, for a touring bike I prefer a 55cm frame. For a road bike it is fine if I'm in a more compact efficient posture, for touring I'm cruising, I want to be able to stretch in the bike. Same body, different purposes and different ideal bike geometries.
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Old 07-24-23, 03:37 AM
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I'd go with the Claud Butler.

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Old 07-25-23, 02:40 AM
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Originally Posted by irwin7638
I'd go with the Claud Butler.
Yup, my tourer for the last few decades has been the Claud Butler Majestic - gradually upgraded until only the frame remains original. https://glorydays.cc/shop/bikes/claud-butler/majestic/



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