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Getting on in years and want to buy a great touring bike for long tours

Old 08-06-23, 09:07 PM
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Getting on in years and want to buy a great touring bike for long tours

I was thinking of possibly Titanium, or steel. I am going on road, so maybe a Rolloff and Gates belt. I'm 6'2", so a big frame with an upright position is wanted. I don't think I want carbon involved.

All this being said, I am open for suggestions. My budget is pretty high as I am selling off a collection of bikes that are worth some money and cycling is my favorite activity, so I don't mind spending on this bike. I also want hydraulic brakes.

What do you all think? I enjoy reading and watching videos from cycling about. Is he an okay source?
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Old 08-06-23, 10:30 PM
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You might want to consider a custom made Co-Motion touring bike. My wife has over 28,000 on her Co-Motion that I gave her as a retirement present 12 years ago. She has toured 22,000 miles in 11 countries. Co-Motion builds excellent bikes, and has great customer service. Their shop is less than an hour drive from our place, and they did all the measurements and adjustments there.

Co-Motion Cycles

Wisconsin

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Old 08-06-23, 10:37 PM
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Yah for sure, start with a disc Rohloff14 is the KING of Gears. They aren't broken in until 10,000 miles. Mine has 20,000 miles including 2 tours around 4,000 miles. Get the external shifter and long brace arm. Just use a wrap around strap and a 6 mm bolt. I never tried a belt. Hydro has no advantage, IMO.
Yesterday I rode a hundred rolly miles to a lake and home. Easy as pie, even with it at 75 lbs. I have a DIY chain case. My last chain has had NO cleaning or added lube in 4,000 miles.
For my front hub I have a SA XL-FDD dyno DRUM brake. You NEED dyno lights, mine are always on. My first one has done 31,000 miles with ZERO fuss or squealing and 100% reliable in any weather. I have old style 80d swept steel bars. As comfy as anything.

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Old 08-07-23, 03:31 AM
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While your budget is high do you need any more than a Surly Disc Trucker? I'm 6ft3 230 pounds and my 2008 rim brake Trucker has perfect predictable handling as a loaded tourer. Can coast hands free from 25mph down to walking speed. Very stable steering. Handling fine with heavy loads like full camping gear and up to near 4 gallons fluids.

Not sure how good stock wheels are - mine was built from a frame but your budget could accomodate an upgrade if required.
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Old 08-07-23, 03:53 AM
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I had an ‘08 LHT. Loved it. Someone stole it from inside my house. Replaced it with a ‘11 model.
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Old 08-07-23, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by irc
While your budget is high do you need any more than a Surly Disc Trucker? I'm 6ft3 230 pounds and my 2008 rim brake Trucker has perfect predictable handling as a loaded tourer. Can coast hands free from 25mph down to walking speed. Very stable steering. Handling fine with heavy loads like full camping gear and up to near 4 gallons fluids.

Not sure how good stock wheels are - mine was built from a frame but your budget could accomodate an upgrade if required.
Though I am a fan of the Truckers (rim or disc depending on user/rider preference), I am not sure that fits the OP's goals.

As for stock wheels - I have toured very heavy before on mine and I was fine with everything. The wheels have held up fine for several years. As with everything, maintenance is required every once in a while for best service life.

As to the OP's goals - if a Trucker is in the realm of consideration I would go the frame and fork direction, then build up with higher end drivetrain, headset, and wheel set components.

As to materials if wanting to go the custom route as mentioned earlier - I would still lean towards steel for a touring bike. When you get to exotics (titanium, and even aluminum alloys) then frame repairs on-the-go become more and more difficult. Of course, TIG welding is the best route to go. However, oxy/acetylene welding (not just brazing) is possible also. When you get to other metals outside of carbon steels then filler metal becomes a challenge. Speaking of TIG welding, shielding gas also becomes a challenge. When you get outside of North America (thinking world touring in more remote parts of the world) - I would not want to hang my hat on being able to get an exotic frame repaired, should that be required. With carbon steel you can weld with more rudimentary methods - including stick/smaw welding, which you will find in even the remote parts of the world. It would not be ideal to do so, but it is a "way out" if you need it.

If exotic metal is desired - something that would help is to have some filler metal with you. TIG rods look like spokes, and aren't that much different in size. That filler can be used with both TIG and Oxy/Acetylene welding. So if you have a frame issue that needs repaired - if you can find a place that can do the welding you have what they need at the ready. If you have an aluminum alloy frame, for example - even a well equipped welding outfit that does "aluminum" probably won't have the ideal filler metal for your specific alloy and would have to order it in. If you aren't planning to take a week or two off of your trek waiting for filler metal and a frame repair, have a couple sticks of filler with you.

Or just go for steel (chromoly variants) and have some more peace of mind knowing it is much much easier to repair, should you need to, than any other exotics.

As to carbon framests - I will never have carbon parts of any type that are load bearing. Carbon has some benefits, however the quality and risk of damage when you over-stress them (such as in a crash) is way too high for my liking. Carbon components cracking when cruising down a hill on a loaded touring bike doesn't sound like a good time. Yea, there are probably a ton of riders that swear by carbon bikes and have never had an issue, but there are some that have.

Best of luck with what ever you decide and happy touring!
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Old 08-07-23, 06:08 AM
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I am currently riding a LHT that has seen a number of long tours. Bu I am considering a new frameset. After building 2 steel frames and forks I am looking at building a touring frame that has a step through capability. We bought one in Rotterdam in 2016 at the end of a tour for my wife.
So I am starting to look at various parts to build this frame and have started conversations with a few people already.
We leave in a few weeks for 6 weeks in Europe for our next tour. Maybe I will come across so e frame styles!
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Old 08-07-23, 06:45 AM
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I think cycling about is a good source, but I do not look at it that much. They have made a few errors, but they were not materially important.

Buy a lower budget touring bike off the shelf. Perhaps used. Do some touring. Once you have done several weeks to several months of touring, you will have a much better idea on what you want. You did not even say if this is for heavily loaded touring in remote places (carrying a lot of food), lighter touring where food and supply replenishment is frequent, or credit card touring where camping gear is left at home.

My first touring bike, things did not go so well, the frame was defective and the manufacturer refused to replace on warranty. I tried it on two tours, finally gave up and eventually put the frame in the recycle bin. The financial loss was more favorable than the continued frustration.

My second, third and fourth touring bikes are ones I still have. But I learned from that first and second one a few things that changed my thinking for the third and fourth one I built up.

My second one is what I now consider my medium touring bike, last used it on a tour in 2017, but I still have it and may use it again. It is a 3X8 derailleur bike, steel frame.

My third one is a S&S coupled, chain drive, Rohloff bike with heavy duty steel frame. It is a heavy bike, but is great for long distance where grocery stores are infrequent. Last tour I used it on was summer before covid (2019). With the couplers, it is the bike I take on airplanes for foreign tours, even if a lighter bike might work as well.

My fourth touring bike was an extravagance. I have always wanted a titanium frame. I found a new titanium touring frame in my size on Ebay for less than half of new price. Did not need it, but bought it, and really like it. Used it for two tours, but mostly used or riding around locally on gravel trails. Last tour with this bike was this past April (2023) and last time I rode it was four days ago for a 65 mile ride with friends. It has a 3X8 derailleur drive train. I consider this my light touring bike.

Titanium vs steel vs aluminum, I really like my titanium bike, but it is pure bling. The higher cost for titanium compared to steel is not worth it because you are only saving a couple pounds of weight on a touring bike that will carry a load. As noted above, I got mine at a great price, otherwise would not have spent the money on it. In USA, aluminum is rarely considered for touring bikes, but there are some very good reputable bike companies in Europe that use aluminum for their touring bikes, Koga and Santos to name a few. And Cannondale built some very good aluminum touring bikes too. But if you go with aluminum, I would recommend only getting one with a lifetime warranty on the frame.

I like my Rohloff, but for some things I like a derailleur. There are advantages to both, and I am glad I have touring bikes fitted with both. When I plan to go on a tour, I can decide which bike to use based on the merits of both drivetrains.

I worked as a bike mechanic before I went to college, so I am happy to build up my own bikes with the parts I want. So, I have rather unusual mixtures of parts on my bikes. I am 69 years young.

I prefer drop bars. Most people touring in USA use drop bars, the top of the bars are about the same height as the top of the saddle. That said, many people never use the drops, however I can't imagine pushing all day into a strong headwind without drop bars. I used to detest using the drops, but after I lost about 15 percent of my body weight, much of that in abdomen area, suddenly drop bars were much more comfortable to use. I however see a lot of European bikes with flat bars, so drop bars are not a must, it is more of a personal preference.

If camping, consider a dynohub for battery charging. I bought dynohubs for my third and fourth touring bikes. I now use a Cycle2Charge for battery charging, used to use a Sinewave Revolution. Those are devices to take the power from a dynohub and convert it to USB power. When touring, the dynohub is used 90 to 100 percent of the time for battery charging, not lighting, I use battery powered taillights for touring.

One final note. You said you are 6' 2" and need a large frame. The vast majority of bike manufacturers use the same diameter of tubing with the same wall thicknesses on every size frame they build within a model. Thus, a 120 pound rider on a small frame bike will have tubing that is just as strong as the 240 pound rider on the big frame. And, to make things worse, that larger frame has longer tubes so there will be more flex for a given amount of force applied to it. The result is that larger frames often have more flex than smaller frames. So, if you plan to carry a heavy load, consider that when you select your frame. If you go custom, have a conversation with the builder before you buy.

I rambled a bit here but perhaps this will cause you to think about setting priorities and thinking about how the bike would be used.
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Old 08-07-23, 07:20 AM
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Thanks so much for the replies so far. I will have to respond later to them as I am off to work. Lots of great information. I am not interested in a Surly. I have one that I will be selling. Looking for something different. Co-Motion sounds interesting.

My first ride will be and unsupported coast to coast in the US. I will be camping much of the time, but probably every 4 days or so will get a room. That is my goal. I'm a commuter and have only done the MS150 as an over night trip, but I have ridden plenty of 100's and so-on in my hilly area.

Again, thanks.

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Old 08-07-23, 07:28 AM
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Co-Motion.
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Old 08-07-23, 07:31 AM
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One thing I appreciate now that I’m getting up in years is a sloping top tube.
I didn’t really think about it when I bought my Surley Troll but I really like it now. Kicking my leg over the luggage on the back rack is getting harder and harder.
love my hydraulic brakes and my insanely tall steering tube for upright riding position.
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Old 08-07-23, 07:39 AM
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Getting on in years and want to buy a great touring bike for long tours...My budget is pretty high...Looking for something different.
You don't know it yet, but you want an Alex Moulton NS Stainless.



Ah, but you said long tours. Here's 'round the world' Colin Martin touring in Nepal on his Moulton NS.


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Old 08-07-23, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by h_curtis
.... Looking for something different. Co-Motion sounds interesting.

My first ride will be and unsupported coast to coast in the US. I will be camping much of the time, but probably every 4 days or so will get a room. That is my goal. I'm a commuter and have only done the MS150 as an over night trip, but I have ridden plenty of 100's and so-on in my hilly area.
...
If you get a Rohloff or Pinion, you need to figure out what gearing you want. The standard Rohloff comes with a 16T rear sprocket if chain drive. I got chain drive for mine. Before I bought it, I knew in advance that I wanted the lowest practical gearing I could get for hill climbing with a load for touring. But when not touring, I wanted higher gears for riding around near home. I calculated that for my 26 inch diameter rear wheel that if I wanted to pedal at 3.5 mph with a cadence of 72 in the lowest gear using the generic 16T sprocket, that I would need a 36T chainring. That is what I use when touring.

But from riding around near home on derailleur bikes, I knew what kinds of high and low gears I would want for riding up hills without a load on the bike, and also did not want to spin out on shallow downhills. For that I use a 44T chainring in front, same rear sprocket, and add four chain links.

That is why I chose chain drive, I wanted two different gear ranges. If you go with belt drive, changing sprockets and belts is a much more complicated endeavor, so you want to make sure your gearing is right the first time for all things because I assume you will only have one set of gears for all purposes.

That said, every belt drive owner that I have talked to has been very happy with belt drive Rohloff. But I have only talked to a few in Europe, Rohloffs with belt drive are very rare in USA. If you get a belt drive Rohloff, you should get the tools to change rear sprockets for when it wears out. Very few shops have such tools, so you should get them yourself.

You mention you are 6' 2", if you weigh over 100 kg, Rohloff has different criteria for ratio of chainring to sprocket size.

If you get flat bars, the Rohloff twist grip should work just fine. If you go with drop bars, you need a different option for the shifter. I use the Hubbub adapter to mount the Rohloff shifter on the right end of handlebar.

I am clueless on Pinion, and yes you did not mention it yet, but I assume you will check out the Pinion 18 speed too.

Rohloff has been experimenting with ways to put a Rohloff hub on a through axle frame. If I was shopping for a new bike with Rohloff, I would probably want one with conventional dropouts instead of one that uses through axle. If you have a bike custom made, that is something to discuss with the frame builder.

A gal that I used to work with rode a Rodriguez. She rode hers in Europe and Africa, along with in USA. One more name to checkout. That is all I know about the company.
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Old 08-07-23, 12:27 PM
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.$02 is to not get fixed on frame materials as a touring bike is essentially a truck. Maybe a nice handling truck but not exactly the place where light weight materials matter unless you ride ultralight and your body is ultralight. But if I was walking around with wads of dough a custom Pinion gearbox w Gates drive would be cool. Actually a custom Pinion drive w geometry similar to Rivindell’s ClemSmith Jr would be it although I’m not sure a disc fork would give the spring the Clem has. Ok, hydraulic disc rear and normal rim brake front.
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Old 08-07-23, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO
If exotic metal is desired - something that would help is to have some filler metal with you.
This is a great suggestion, but honestly I think having ideal filler rod would be just the tip of the issues to an aluminum/titanium repair out in the countryside. I'm mainly thinking of post-weld problems like heat treating and oxygen contamination. IMO one cannot realistically count on being able to repair an aluminum or titanium frame out there. I would stick with steel of some kind if frame failure is a legitimate concern. We live in a great time for custom steel bicycles so one can still go extremely blingy if that's the desire.
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Old 08-07-23, 02:41 PM
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The Crossmaxx 28" Pinion Tour has ultra powerful hydraulic disk brakes - excellent for emergency stops, as I had to do recently.

See
Bike Review - Crossmaxx 28" Pinion

It may be aluminium, but the frame is STRONG.
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Old 08-07-23, 09:12 PM
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First off you need to decide what type of touring bike you want. Most north american bikes have drop bars, in europe not so many drop bar bikes. I switched from drops to alt bars and like the more upright position at my age,65.
One might think a Rholoff or pinion with belt drive is the ultimate but they are not for everyone. Try one out before dropping the big bucks. Lots of great european and north american bikes to choose from. Enjoy shopping
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Old 08-08-23, 07:38 AM
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I totally agree. First thing is to decide on belt or not, Rholoff or not... this will narrow it way down. Also drop or flat bars?

Cycling About is a great video source. He is a belt/Rholoff advocate. Main drawback to belt/Rholoff is cost.

Originally Posted by garryg
First off you need to decide what type of touring bike you want. Most north american bikes have drop bars, in europe not so many drop bar bikes. I switched from drops to alt bars and like the more upright position at my age,65.
One might think a Rholoff or pinion with belt drive is the ultimate but they are not for everyone. Try one out before dropping the big bucks. Lots of great european and north american bikes to choose from. Enjoy shopping
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Old 08-08-23, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
You might want to consider a custom made Co-Motion touring bike. My wife has over 28,000 on her Co-Motion that I gave her as a retirement present 12 years ago. She has toured 22,000 miles in 11 countries. Co-Motion builds excellent bikes, and has great customer service. Their shop is less than an hour drive from our place, and they did all the measurements and adjustments there.

Co-Motion Cycles
I will look into this maker. Thanks. Love the picture and also like the idea of your wife that retired and road the heck out of that bike. That is my plan.
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Old 08-08-23, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53
Yah for sure, start with a disc Rohloff14 is the KING of Gears. They aren't broken in until 10,000 miles. Mine has 20,000 miles including 2 tours around 4,000 miles. Get the external shifter and long brace arm. Just use a wrap around strap and a 6 mm bolt. I never tried a belt. Hydro has no advantage, IMO.
Yesterday I rode a hundred rolly miles to a lake and home. Easy as pie, even with it at 75 lbs. I have a DIY chain case. My last chain has had NO cleaning or added lube in 4,000 miles.
For my front hub I have a SA XL-FDD dyno DRUM brake. You NEED dyno lights, mine are always on. My first one has done 31,000 miles with ZERO fuss or squealing and 100% reliable in any weather. I have old style 80d swept steel bars. As comfy as anything.
Thanks for the advice. Looking at the hub for sure. Thanks again.
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Old 08-08-23, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO
Though I am a fan of the Truckers (rim or disc depending on user/rider preference), I am not sure that fits the OP's goals.

As for stock wheels - I have toured very heavy before on mine and I was fine with everything. The wheels have held up fine for several years. As with everything, maintenance is required every once in a while for best service life.

As to the OP's goals - if a Trucker is in the realm of consideration I would go the frame and fork direction, then build up with higher end drivetrain, headset, and wheel set components.

As to materials if wanting to go the custom route as mentioned earlier - I would still lean towards steel for a touring bike. When you get to exotics (titanium, and even aluminum alloys) then frame repairs on-the-go become more and more difficult. Of course, TIG welding is the best route to go. However, oxy/acetylene welding (not just brazing) is possible also. When you get to other metals outside of carbon steels then filler metal becomes a challenge. Speaking of TIG welding, shielding gas also becomes a challenge. When you get outside of North America (thinking world touring in more remote parts of the world) - I would not want to hang my hat on being able to get an exotic frame repaired, should that be required. With carbon steel you can weld with more rudimentary methods - including stick/smaw welding, which you will find in even the remote parts of the world. It would not be ideal to do so, but it is a "way out" if you need it.

If exotic metal is desired - something that would help is to have some filler metal with you. TIG rods look like spokes, and aren't that much different in size. That filler can be used with both TIG and Oxy/Acetylene welding. So if you have a frame issue that needs repaired - if you can find a place that can do the welding you have what they need at the ready. If you have an aluminum alloy frame, for example - even a well equipped welding outfit that does "aluminum" probably won't have the ideal filler metal for your specific alloy and would have to order it in. If you aren't planning to take a week or two off of your trek waiting for filler metal and a frame repair, have a couple sticks of filler with you.

Or just go for steel (chromoly variants) and have some more peace of mind knowing it is much much easier to repair, should you need to, than any other exotics.

As to carbon framests - I will never have carbon parts of any type that are load bearing. Carbon has some benefits, however the quality and risk of damage when you over-stress them (such as in a crash) is way too high for my liking. Carbon components cracking when cruising down a hill on a loaded touring bike doesn't sound like a good time. Yea, there are probably a ton of riders that swear by carbon bikes and have never had an issue, but there are some that have.

Best of luck with what ever you decide and happy touring!
Yeah, no Surly. Not a big fan to be honest, but I am selling one. My ECR. I want something more than that. I did commute on it for years and it held up okay. Had to change my upper chainring that was very faulty. The components aren't very good really. I really ride my bikes.
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Old 08-08-23, 07:38 PM
  #22  
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https://www.rodbikes.com/catalog/mak...hift-main.html
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Old 08-09-23, 09:19 PM
  #23  
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+1 for Co-Motion I love my Cascadia!
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Old 08-10-23, 05:21 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by h_curtis
... I am going on road, so maybe a Rolloff and Gates belt....
I re-read your original post and that sentence jumped out at me. My heavy touring bike has a Rohloff hub and my medium and light touring bikes have 3X8 derailleur drive trains.

I have already written two long posts, much of that with detail about Rohloff bikes. So I will keep this one short. I see the Rohloff as the right choice if I am going somewhere like here, where I need something that won't break because I will be far from help:



When I took the photo above, I was about 100 km from any paved roads, and much further from any bike shop.

And I see a derailleur bike as being my choice if I am going someplace like here:



Paved roads where I am closer to a post office or a bike shop, a derailleur system is more likely my choice. It will give me more than the 14 gears offered by the Rohloff. Derailleur systems with a triple crank can give you a much wider range than the Rohloff 526 percent. And when originally specifying the system, a derailleur system can give you narrower steps between gears.

Triple cranks are getting rare and not many new bikes come with a triple any more. That might have to be an add on later, which may include a different shifter and front derailleur.

Others have suggested Co-Motion, in a previous post I mentioned that a former co-worker loved her Rodriguez touring bike. Both of those companies build up custom bikes, I am sure they could fit a 3X derailleur system.

I did a five week tour in eastern Canada in 2019, most of it was on pavement and where gravel was an option I could choose between gravel trails vs paved roads. I would have brought a derailleur bike for that trip if I had an S&S coupled derailleur bike, but my only S&S coupled bike is my Rohloff bike so that is the reason I rode my Rohloff bike on that tour. (That trip had complex transportation to and from, the S&S couplers were a priority on that trip.) The bike was great on that tour, but I spun out on a lot of the long shallow downhills because the Rohloff 526 percent gear range resulted in not having the higher gears that I have on my derailleur bikes.

On the other hand, if you are not mechanically inclined and would rather have a bike mechanic do your mechanical work, a Rohloff can work great for you for all types of trips, pavement or gravel, but your total gear range is still only 526 percent.

That said, finding a mechanic in USA that knows how to work on a Rohloff is rare. A neighbor is a bike mechanic, works at one of the larger bike shops in my community, my Rohloff bike is the only one he has ever seen, nobody has brought a Rohloff into his shop for any work. So, if you do not want to learn how to do an oil change, it is unlikely that you will find any local mechanics that know how to do that either.

A Pinion 18 would give you a wider range than a Rohloff, I suggest you look at that also if you really want to avoid derailleurs. Someone on this forum has toured with his Pinion drive bike.
2022 Scotland Trip - The Hebridean Way
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Old 08-10-23, 09:21 AM
  #25  
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Nonsense ^^^^^^ If you have no high gears, then it's because you chose stupidly low gears. I have no such problem at 44/ 16T > 20.8 to 109.6, it was 46/ 16T on my last tour. With a big tailwind I was cruising at 27 mph one day. Every 1 off the low takes 5 off the high GI.

OP wants ONE bike that needs NO FIXING and so did I. Only my SA XL-FDD drum brake and Rohloff14 (and SA 3 speed) does this. Even spokes gets even tension with near zero chance of breaking, no broken hangers, no complicated 1x/ 2x / 3x., no CROOKED chainline 80% of the time. NO front/ rear DOUBLE shifting.
R14 can shift 3 or 4 gears at a time including while stopped. I do this EVERY hill dip.
There is NO such thing as between gears, dropped chain, crunching or grinding from shoving the chain. LOL.
The rear cog is now a SIMPLE circlip change, like on SA hubs. Get the sliding dropout and it's an easy change.
There is ZERO need for defaileurs or their mechanics. LOL. Riding thru slush or mud CAN and does clog them. My first tour in China I didn't have a chain cover and had 30 miles off and on of wet CLAY. Fenders and rim brake clogged, but NOT my chain.
My shifter is on the top tube, where it belongs. I mostly shift up with my left hand and down with my RH. The cable never moves.
None of my bikes have a ****mano part.

Pinions are 5% LESS efficient. FACT. A Rohloff can be put on any 135 mm frame. Mine has a bolt axle.

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 08-10-23 at 10:19 AM.
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