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Touring with a Carbon Bike

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Touring with a Carbon Bike

Old 01-14-06, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by tcwolf
Oh and Bob S. I also toured with tubulars - Vancouver through the Canadian Rockies and back - without a flat. So I agree with you, a lot wider range of equipment can work than people usually think...

I agree that a wide range of equipment can work... tires are not frames though. You can keep changing tires, should they decide not to cooperate.

Try it out. See how it rides.

Does you local LBS carry BOB's? When I was debating between panniers and a trailer I arranged to try a Burley Nomad at a friendly LBS. Brought a bunch of books in stuff sacks and rode round town, out onto a country road and back. About 5 miles. Not really enough to "test" ride - but enough to get the feel for it.

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Old 01-14-06, 06:07 PM
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A few things I'd wonder about carbon bikes for touring purposes. Not negative thoughts, just questions.

1. Are there carbon forks out in the market that permit a tire larger than 28 mm in width and fenders? Can you put a low rider rack on a carbon fork?

2. What is the rear tire clearance usually?

3. If you were clipped by a car, fell, and scratched the frame, what are the likeliest consequences? Nothing?

4. Someone mentioned the introduction and mass production of carbon fiber material in other sports, including wind surfing. It seems to make sense, but wind surfing and bicycle touring are very different things.

Jan Heine puts together a great magazine called Vintage Bicycle Quarterly. In one issue, he or someone else imagines a possible design for a carbon touring bike that looked VERY interesting. The article argued that carbon could be a great touring material, but that manufacturers haven't really considered its full potential for a bicycle. Their design, IIRC, looked very much like a scooter, and used hollow body shapes completely unlike normal tubing, and fenders, lighting, and a trip computer were integrated in a manner very much like a scooter or motorcycle, but as a lightweight carbon bicycle. One could argue, I suppose, that the reason carbon hasn't really caught on for tourists is that the current way of using it in bicycles doesn't lend itself to a substantially better touring bicycle, and so doesn't warrant the extra cost, etc.

I remember the Rivendell Quarterly had an article where they compiled a list of twenty or thirty carbon forks and tested their clearances for a true 27 mm tire, and found one or two only that could fit one. Obviously, regardless of the possibilities of the material, if I wanted to buy a touring frame, I would demand that I have greater clearances, and I would want to be able to put fenders on. I just went for a ride in a pretty good rain in the Catskills (what kind of January weather is this? where's the snow?) and I would have been miserable w/o my fenders.

Since touring calls forth different sets of priorities than road racing, and carbon bikes in general do not really attend to those priorities at the moment, than it's not really true that the touring forum is in the 70s. Many tourists simply haven't seen a carbon bike that meets their needs. Certainly the material could; after all, if it can be used for aerospace and other things...

Has anyone found a carbon fork that clears a 35-38 mm tire and fenders?
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Old 01-14-06, 06:40 PM
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As an ex pro/elite rider I've had the pleasure of ride some cracking bikes in my life and have gone through my fare share of brakeages and bikes, but one thing i firmly beleive in is, is the right tool for the right job. Yeah my 15lb mountain stage road bike could have a bob trailer attached but how long would it last is the question? the same is true if I wanted to race my mountain bike on the cobbles of Belguim it'd survive but I certainly wouldn't be in the bunch sprint at the end though. So if you want to use it, it'll do the job but for how long would it last and would you want to replace it every year or so when the chainstay become wipey because all of that extra lateral movement caused by the trailer when climbing out the saddle.
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Old 01-15-06, 12:49 AM
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One neat thing about carbon is you can pretty easily add stiffness, glue-ons, whatever you want, if you aren't too much of a priss about what the end result looks like.
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Old 02-06-06, 11:17 PM
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tcwolf...I'd be interested in learning what you decided to do. I am faced with the same situation (have the same bike too). Inlaws wanna do Lands End - John O'Groats in England then down the Rhine in Germany to who knows where. I'm not into buying multiple bikes, I'd rather see if I can use my Roubaix. If I have to, I'll take the 850 ::barf::. I threw out the idea of a rack and am seeing if I can get away with pulling a Burley Nomad. What did you decide? Did you test ride anything?
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Old 02-07-06, 10:10 AM
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Winwood's muddy carbon cross & muddy carbon cross disc have lots of tire clearance, and eyelets for fenders. But they don't have lowrider eyelets. Nashbar sells the same fork for $150 (disc version). These all have aluminum steer tubes.

Some manufacturers are putting carbon forks on their high end fitness/flatbar/comfort road bikes, and I've noticed some of these have lowrider eyelets. The trek fx hybrids, specialized sequoia's and schwinn supersports often feature these types of forks. I'm not sure what kind of tire clearance they have, and since they are oem equipment, they may be difficult/impossible to get as a retail fork.

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Old 02-11-06, 02:06 PM
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Truthfully, I haven't decided. I'm considering replacing the seat post and going with a seat rack and trunk bag which can hold 20lbs. Then I'm on my credit card and moteling it. I don't want to buy another bike and I don't want to bend the frame. As for testing with the Bob, I think I'll let my friend who just bought a Roubaix on his Amex card be the tester...
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Old 02-11-06, 02:53 PM
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Stuck in the 70's ?

IN 2006 the best touring bikes are made from the best material for the job. That material is steel.

The most repairable material for a frame in case of damage is steel.
If you are touring in remote places, steel can be repaired (welded) in just about any small town gas station. Even in places more remote than that.

Steel will take a lot of abuse in a crash or from baggage handlers. It will bend before it breaks more than Aluminum or Carbon. This means you might be able to bend it back. You can bend back a bent steel derailleur hanger many times. Aluminum may break when you try and bend it back.

Many places can't weld Aluminum or Titanium.

Steel can be cut, drilled, tapped, welded, brazed, ground with a grinder, bent back etc. Just about anywhere.

Steel is the best choice for real long range touring.
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