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Help an old tourer understand something

Old 12-06-23, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
That’s the point where it gets silly. You are trading a reasonable low center of gravity, ease of packing, ease of moving the luggage off the bike, ease of mounting the panniers on the bike, and improved handling for a bit better aerodynamics
I think you mean to say massively improved aerodynamics. A bikepacking setup in certain configurations may have no more frontal surface area than no bags at all whereas panniers add a surface area of... well I don't have the time to measure it but it's a lot.


in a situation where you really don’t need better aerodynamics.
isn't that sort of subjective though? I can easily understand why someone would want to travel more clicks in a day and use aerodynamics to achieve that. I don't tour that way but I'm not telling people what they do is unnecessary. Horse for courses and all that.

​​​​​​​If you need to go that much faster, why not just have someone follow you around in a sag wagon.
That would require a car. And another person to boot. Those may not in fact be something everyone has access to. And even i they did, to me that sounds like serious drag that detracts from the whole adventure side of touring.

​​​​​​​As I say about most large group sponsored “tours”, they are too much de France and not enough Tour. It’s not a race.
​​​​​​​You're sort of gettin it.
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Old 12-06-23, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
I think you mean to say massively improved aerodynamics.
Studies:
https://www.cyclingabout.com/speed-d...sting-results/
https://www.cyclingabout.com/fascina...cycle-touring/

Granted, not everybody cares about aerodynamics.

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Old 12-06-23, 12:33 PM
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Off topic but to the concept of change - I've been walking this past years. Started carrying weight in a backpack a couple of months ago. (I've got the physical consequences of riding to the moon and walking just a few times around the block - low density bones, poor control muscles in my feet ...) Up to 15 pound in my small Black Diamond soft pack was fine but a 25 pound barbell plate meant the shoulder straps creased and hurt. Also, clearly that pack cannot carry that weight long. It's way too nice a bike quick trip pack to kill.

So, I went to REI. Figured a small frame pack might be just the thing. Frame packs no longer exist! I pulled out my 1990s NOS REI frame pack from the attic (given to me by my hiking/ mountain climbing brother but my last camping hike was 2 years before that gift). Using thin plywood between, I solidly lashed the weight to the middle of the bare frame. Put the pack back on. Works! (I need to dial this thing in - it's like a bike fit! Just as important but a whole new game for me. 40 years ago I could heft an ill fitting pack and just do it. No longer!)

Rucking is the new thing according to the NY Times. (Walking with weight.) Now that article said it is done carrying up to 20 pounds. But, based on my walk yesterday, more on a dialed in solid frame is sweet. And heavier weights are easier pick up and put on with a frame. You can set it down on the frame tips, not fabric on a dirty floor. (All sounding kinda pannier vs frame pack, no?) I might even build a bookshelf like table for the front step. Top at table height. Leave the frame standing on it leaning against the house. Walk up, arms through the straps and go. REI 's got that table. Easy! Soft packs? Not so easy.
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Old 12-06-23, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
Off topic but to the concept of change - I've been walking this past years. Started carrying weight in a backpack a couple of months ago. (I've got the physical consequences of riding to the moon and walking just a few times around the block - low density bones, poor control muscles in my feet ...) Up to 15 pound in my small Black Diamond soft pack was fine but a 25 pound barbell plate meant the shoulder straps creased and hurt. Also, clearly that pack cannot carry that weight long. It's way too nice a bike quick trip pack to kill.
... .
Since you are in Portland, I suggest the backpacker poncho, it covers both you and your pack in the rain.

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Old 12-06-23, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
I think you mean to say massively improved aerodynamics. A bikepacking setup in certain configurations may have no more frontal surface area than no bags at all whereas panniers add a surface area of... well I don't have the time to measure it but it's a lot.
The study that tcs linked to says 17 minutes over 62 miles. I’m sure that is going to make a very large difference (Hint: It’s called “touring” not “racing”.)


isn't that sort of subjective though? I can easily understand why someone would want to travel more clicks in a day and use aerodynamics to achieve that. I don't tour that way but I'm not telling people what they do is unnecessary. Horse for courses and all that.
The trade off is a stable bike with a predictable ride for an unstable bike with a much higher center of gravity, poorer packing options, and greater difficult moving the bike and baggage.

​​​​​​That would require a car. And another person to boot. Those may not in fact be something everyone has access to. And even i they did, to me that sounds like serious drag that detracts from the whole adventure side of touring.
If speed and minimalism is the goal, why not just go the most minimalist way possible? If the worry is about aerodynamics, speed, and/or distance, why not just optimize it?


​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​You're sort of gettin it.
​​​​​​​Nope. And you missed the point.
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Old 12-06-23, 11:25 PM
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Again, old tourer here, Glad to say speed is not a requirement for my tours. Oh, I like to get my kms in, but when you're in beautiful country I prefer to rubber neck than head down pounding. There are many, many road cyclists in my area, and more than once they've stopped to ask what town they are in because they don't look up while riding
Nothing against speedsters, to each their own,
BTW, I do have a bikepacking rig for my MTB, but don't use for more than a few days trip
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Old 12-07-23, 02:52 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
Greetings all
I understand how "bikepacking" has taken off. The minimalist baggage with out the use of racks or panniers.Yet as time continues, I see more and more bikepackers keep the 10 litre saddle bag, yet have heavily loaded handlebars, forks and frame, where it looks like if the rider brakes too hard they'll do an olly. Seems, in order to call themselves bikepackers, they must avoid rear panniers at all costs.
Or is it just my perception?
Right, try it, and you will see that your bike behaves nearly like a normal road bike without weight in the back. NO left right left right left right wobbling like with two 20L panniers in the back.
Most of the time the forks of these bike use a LOW TRAIL fork, that makes steering easy with weight on the fork.

P.S. and it's not about speed, it's about bike handling.
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Old 12-07-23, 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
Some interesting posts here and completely agree about not wanting panniers when riding trails for clearance, but what about those who never leave the road?

Is there a purpose or is it just fashion?
The ones who never leave the road maybe love to move in between cars all the time. They miss the beauty of off road cycling without motorised metal boxes.
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Old 12-07-23, 03:52 AM
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[QUOTE=Tourist in MSN;23088609]
Originally Posted by Steve B.

Thanks for mentioning that, the majority of bikepackers that I have seen were wearing a backpack, but virtually nobody that I see with panniers does that.

Somebody must be then a real beginner! or maybe a experienced ultra distance racer )) they carry their food, if needed in foldable backpacks.
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Old 12-07-23, 04:04 AM
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Tools, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Cooking, Clothing Off the Bike (including warm stuff), Off the Bike Shoes, One Camera 24mm lens .... all one needs is there.

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Old 12-07-23, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
The study that tcs linked to says 17 minutes over 62 miles. I’m sure that is going to make a very large difference (Hint: It’s called “touring” not “racing”.)
If it's not racing, why are we usign racing metrics?
The way I understood the results was that in the same time one would have ridden 100km with panniers, that same person would have ridden 107,9km with frame bags. If one wants to ride say, 200km per day the difference would be 15,8km per day. In a six day riding week the pannier rider would cross a distance of 1200km whereas the frame bagged rider would ride 1294,8km. Almost a hundred clicks a week is nothing to frown at.

That's of course not counting gear weight, which would be less with frame bags. Panniers are heavy.

Also, on top of all that, when using frame bags one would be free of the constraints of needing a frame with rack eyelets. That way one could use a lighter more aerodynamic bike that would allow for even more speed. Even though my road bike has rack eyelets, I'm not mounting any on it. Once you mount racks on a bike it somehow traverses itself into the utilitarian bike dimension after which it's no longer as fun as it used to be. It doesn't help if you take the racks off. The damage has been done. The bike will begin accumulating stickers, scratches and at some point when the first flakes of snow drift over the horizon you might notice the drivetrain has suddenly turned into a single speed and the frame material has morphed into steel.


The trade off is a stable bike with a predictable ride for an unstable bike with a much higher center of gravity, poorer packing options, and greater difficult moving the bike and baggage.
Honestly I haven't found any of my bikes to become unstable due to frame bags. I don't have a full complement, but if I do head out in the archipelago I do need to carry enough stuff to survive the night should I miss the last ferry for whatever reason.

Pannier stability also requires fairly hefty racks. I "upgraded" the rear rack of my tourer from a Tubus Cargo to a Tubus Fly and that thing is seriously wobbly with surprisingly light loading. The tourer is mainly in commuter duty so it carries a 15" laptop on one side and change of clothes and lock on the other and that's enough to cause it get this irritating wobble especially when riding out of the saddle.

You could argue that a large saddle bag also causes wobbles, but that would depend on the frame bag. Mine doesn't if it's cinched down properly.

Front panniers divide opinions. I like them, if they don't cause speed wobbles, but they are pretty prone to doing just that. Adjusting them is tricky. Some people hate the slow steering response they create.

A four pannier bike is stable that much is true. However that is then the only thing the bike is. Stable. Extremely so. Changing directions can be a chore at slower speeds.

If speed and minimalism is the goal, why not just go the most minimalist way possible? If the worry is about aerodynamics, speed, and/or distance, why not just optimize it?
Only the Sith deal in absolutes.

But isn't that argument pretty much the same as demanding that in the name of maximalism one not only packs four panniers but framebags, a rack bag, handlebar bag, pizza rack bag and a trailer as well? If you're taking stuff, why not take as much as you can possibly carry? If the objective is comfort (or any other goal one may have), why not optimize it?
​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​
Nope. And you missed the point.
Potentially by purpose as I don't really understand what organized tours have to do with any of this.

This discussion is gathering a rather worrying implication of "the correct way of conducting vacation activities".
I mean I'm a kitchen sink tourer and always will be. We carry so much stuff (and people) that we had to get an E-bike to carry all of them. And we're getting a second one at some point. However I won't criticize someone for wanting to tour differently from how we do it.
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Old 12-07-23, 09:12 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by str
Tools, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Cooking, Clothing Off the Bike (including warm stuff), Off the Bike Shoes, One Camera 24mm lens .... all one needs is there.

That's a beauty! BTW, my partner and I recently returned from Andalucía. I was there for work and then we stayed another week to bicycle from Malaga to Seville. We had visited your website before the trip and were inspired. Great travel photography! Thank you for sharing.

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Old 12-07-23, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
BTW, I do have a bikepacking rig for my MTB, but don't use for more than a few days trip
Same. I don’t think I’ve been out for more than 5 days/4 overnights with bikepacking gear.
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Old 12-07-23, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by str
Right, try it, and you will see that your bike behaves nearly like a normal road bike without weight in the back. NO left right left right left right wobbling like with two 20L panniers in the back.
Most of the time the forks of these bike use a LOW TRAIL fork, that makes steering easy with weight on the fork.

P.S. and it's not about speed, it's about bike handling.
I don’t know what kind of bike you use for touring with panniers but I’ve never had a bike with a load do what you have described. I agree that weight on the fork makes the handling better but bikepacking bags don’t put the weight on the fork. They put all the weight up high which doesn’t improve handling over even heavily loaded rear panniers only.
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Old 12-07-23, 09:57 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I don’t know what kind of bike you use for touring with panniers but I’ve never had a bike with a load do what you have described. I agree that weight on the fork makes the handling better but bikepacking bags don’t put the weight on the fork. They put all the weight up high which doesn’t improve handling over even heavily loaded rear panniers only.
The last time I used panniers was 2019, shown here in the picture with front panniers. I learned to bring less stuff. I need the same stuff going 1 week holidays or for 4 weeks holidays. now when I go for longer I use on each fork leg 5L bags (second picture).



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Old 12-07-23, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
That's a beauty! BTW, my partner and I recently returned from Andalucía. I was there for work and then we stayed another week to bicycle from Malaga to Seville. We had visited your website before the trip and were inspired. Great travel photography! Thank you for sharing.


thanks you John, nice to hear. Never have been in Sevilla, must be very nice. Looks cool with the folding bikes!
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Old 12-07-23, 10:13 AM
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I've cycled to Alaska, the Yukon, and the NWT six times.
And did some pretty gnarly roads/trails.
Love the rough fire roads in the Canadian national parks.
(I ditched my low-rider front rack well before then.)

Panniers work fine for any road/trail that is not a rough single track.
Granted, I add an additional bungee cord or compression strap.
(I learned that after a pannier flew off and down the hill.)
But if you are trying to cover any distance, brutal trails don't make sense.

Even if rough trails are not technically in wilderness -
I tend to think they are best left to hikers/horseback.
There are some places where bikes seem out of place.

And as for roads being filled with metal boxes -
Folks around here know I search out empty roads.
The kind where you may see one pick-up all day.
And they slow down to ask, "Are you lost?"

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Old 12-07-23, 10:34 AM
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Jamawani nice place/road
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Old 12-07-23, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
If it's not racing, why are we usign racing metrics?
Well…exactly. It’s not racing. Bicycle touring is a vacation. It’s not about who can get to the “finish line” fastest. Point A and point B don’t matter. It’s what is between point A and point B that matters.


The way I understood the results was that in the same time one would have ridden 100km with panniers, that same person would have ridden 107,9km with frame bags. If one wants to ride say, 200km per day the difference would be 15,8km per day. In a six day riding week the pannier rider would cross a distance of 1200km whereas the frame bagged rider would ride 1294,8km. Almost a hundred clicks a week is nothing to frown at.
May I quote you? “Why are we using racing metrics?” Again, it is supposed to be a vacation. Relax. Enjoy the scenery. Have some comforts at the end of the day. Smell some roses!

​​​​​​​That's of course not counting gear weight, which would be less with frame bags. Panniers are heavy.
No. What goes in panniers can be heavy, although the load can still be on a par with those used in bikepacking bags. A bit of discipline can result in a load in panniers that is about the same as the load carried in bikepacking bags. As for the bags themselves, it’s a bit of a wash. My bikepacking bags weight about the same as a set of panniers and handlebar bag. That’s mostly because bikepacking bags are smaller and I use more of them.

​​​​​​​Also, on top of all that, when using frame bags one would be free of the constraints of needing a frame with rack eyelets. That way one could use a lighter more aerodynamic bike that would allow for even more speed. Even though my road bike has rack eyelets, I'm not mounting any on it. Once you mount racks on a bike it somehow traverses itself into the utilitarian bike dimension after which it's no longer as fun as it used to be. It doesn't help if you take the racks off. The damage has been done. The bike will begin accumulating stickers, scratches and at some point when the first flakes of snow drift over the horizon you might notice the drivetrain has suddenly turned into a single speed and the frame material has morphed into steel.
Talk about race metrics! I have many bikes. The ones with rack eyelets are the ones that get used the most because most of my riding is utilitarian. My fast road bike and my dual suspension mountain bike are the lowest mileage bikes in my stable. That’s mostly because I can’t carry anything on them. If I go for a winter ride, I need somewhere to put my clothing as it comes off. I take my road bike with a rack. If I’m going to my volunteer job, I need clothes and lunch. That means using my road bike with a rack or my mountain bikes with racks. If I’m going into the mountains for a mountain bike ride, I’d better be prepared for inclement weather as well as other supplies. That means using a rack.

Additionally a bike designed to be light and aerodynamic wasn’t designed to carry much more than the bike rider as a load. Adding 40 lbs to it is going to strain it and can result in severe handling problems…look up death wobble. A touring bike is heavier because the frame is designed for carrying the load.

As to look, all of my bikes…including the ones I don’t ride much…are tools to be used. Every scratch, scrap, and ding is a scar worn proudly. The saddest bike in existence is a 10 year old bike that looks like it walked off the showroom floor. I see a lot of them at my co-op that are donated because someone bought them and didn’t ride them.

​​​​​​​Honestly I haven't found any of my bikes to become unstable due to frame bags. I don't have a full complement, but if I do head out in the archipelago I do need to carry enough stuff to survive the night should I miss the last ferry for whatever reason.
Granted mine are used only for off-pavement touring and often on difficult jeep trails but I have experienced instability due to the high load. I’ve only ever crashed a pannier loaded bike once and that was my fault because I wasn’t watch and ran into my daughter when she stopped. I’ve turned turtle on a bikepacking mountain bike several times, usually when going down a drop. The fork compresses which increases the head angle. The extra load compresses the fork more than usual which make the problem even worse. The rear end lifts and I can’t react fast enough to get far enough back over the rear wheel or I don’t get far enough back because I’m not used to carrying the weight that high and over I go.

​​​​​​​Pannier stability also requires fairly hefty racks. I "upgraded" the rear rack of my tourer from a Tubus Cargo to a Tubus Fly and that thing is seriously wobbly with surprisingly light loading. The tourer is mainly in commuter duty so it carries a 15" laptop on one side and change of clothes and lock on the other and that's enough to cause it get this irritating wobble especially when riding out of the saddle.
I have many Tubus racks. I don’t own the Fly but I wonder if the lack of stiffness is due to the narrow profile. I have a couple of Vegas that have never been wobbly. I also have several Airys that are narrower than any of the other racks and they aren’t wobbly either.

​​​​​​​You could argue that a large saddle bag also causes wobbles, but that would depend on the frame bag. Mine doesn't if it's cinched down properly.
It can be minimalized but the seat bag sway can’t ever be gotten rid of. It’s always there. Panniers never sway.

​​​​​​​Front panniers divide opinions. I like them, if they don't cause speed wobbles, but they are pretty prone to doing just that. Adjusting them is tricky. Some people hate the slow steering response they create.
I don’t know how you or others pack the front bags but I’ve never had a speed wobble caused by the bags. Balance the load left to right and any kind of wobble shouldn’t be a problem. The balance doesn’t have to be much more than what you can determine by hefting a bag in each hand.

​​​​​​​A four pannier bike is stable that much is true. However that is then the only thing the bike is. Stable. Extremely so. Changing directions can be a chore at slower speeds.
That’s just a load of road apples! I have been down any number of twisting mountain roads on a touring bike with 4 panniers at speeds that lots of people on unloaded bikes are uncomfortable with. I have never had a problem “changing directions”. I can track stand a loaded touring bike and I can do tight switchbacks on a loaded bike. For example, this is a GPS trace from my bike computer. In particular this was on a bicycle path in Petosky, MI that passes under a road and climbs up a hill. If you look at the speed traces, they are higher than walking speed but just barely. I did not walk the path.




And this is the bike I rode that bike path on. Weight in the panniers is between 45lb (20kg) and 55 lb (24kg).



​​​​​​​Only the Sith deal in absolutes.
Well that is a silly Star Warsian statement! Scientists deal in absolutes all the time. Science doesn’t work without absolutes.

​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​Potentially by purpose as I don't really understand what organized tours have to do with any of this.
It’s the attitude of organized “tours” and the attitude of a lot of “tourists”. They both use…what did someone say…oh, yeah, “race metrics”.
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Old 12-07-23, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
The study that tcs linked to says...
Off-topic trigger warning!

One of the interesting things that's come out of these studies: that IGH vs derailleur efficiency delta that folks obsess about? As a practical matter, you can't even pick that out of measurement noise over a 100km tour day.
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Old 12-07-23, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by str
The last time I used panniers was 2019, shown here in the picture with front panniers. I learned to bring less stuff. I need the same stuff going 1 week holidays or for 4 weeks holidays. now when I go for longer I use on each fork leg 5L bags (second picture).
Using panniers doesn’t necessarily mean a huge load. For a 2 night, 2 day bikepacking ride, I carry 22 lbs of gear. For a 5 week (or any length trip), I carry a 37 lb load. Most of the 15 lbs is from extra clothes to deal with weather and so that I don’t have to do laundry every night as well as more cooking stuff that I don’t need on a short trip. I can live on freeze-dry for a few days but I’m not going to eat it for weeks on end.
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Old 12-07-23, 11:23 AM
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Beautiful photo and words. Thanks for sharing.

Originally Posted by jamawani
I've cycled to Alaska, the Yukon, and the NWT six times.
And did some pretty gnarly roads/trails.
Love the rough fire roads in the Canadian national parks.
(I ditched my low-rider front rack well before then.)

Panniers work fine for any road/trail that is not a rough single track.
Granted, I add an additional bungee cord or compression strap.
(I learned that after a pannier flew off and down the hill.)
But if you are trying to cover any distance, brutal trails don't make sense.

Even if rough trails are not technically in wilderness -
I tend to think they are best left to hikers/horseback.
There are some places where bikes seem out of place.

And as for roads being filled with metal boxes -
Folks around here know I search out empty roads.
The kind where you may see one pick-up all day.
And they slow down to ask, "Are you lost?"

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Old 12-07-23, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Off-topic trigger warning!

One of the interesting things that's come out of these studies: that IGH vs derailleur efficiency delta that folks obsess about? As a practical matter, you can't even pick that out of measurement noise over a 100km tour day.
I think my Rohloff hub has about the same drag as a conventional derailleur drive train in gears 8 to 14. Gears 1 through 7 have a bit more friction because a third planetary gear is used, those lower gears are like low range in the transfer case on a 4X4 pickup truck. But I am not in those gears very much.

I suspect that Rohloff hubs with an eccentric bottom bracket (like mine) might even be slightly better than a derailleur system, chainline is always spot on and you do not have any jockey wheels tensioning the chain.

But a Rohloff that has a jockey wheel or two for the chain tensioner has additional friction on the chain, both at the jockey wheels and also because it tensions the chain a bit more.

Rohloff hubs need to be broken in with several thousand miles of use to loosen up the seals and polish the gears a bit.
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Old 12-08-23, 12:03 PM
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Any way that puts you on a bike to spend time in the wider world is the right way to do it. Spend the night out and you are touring. But heck that's just what I call it. If it makes you happy to call it something else that's fine too.
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Old 12-11-23, 02:52 AM
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Cycle Across Bannau Brycheiniog - 2023 Day 02

Many would say might say this is too much for a six-day tour, but it works really well for me.
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