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Not sure if I call this bike MTB or hybrid

Old 08-28-07, 08:21 PM
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Not sure if I call this bike MTB or hybrid

Hi all I am new to the idea of touring and I think I have a decent start bike to start off with. I am not sure if it is a MTB or a hybrid. It is cheap bike with cheap components itís a Kona Smoke. It has been my dedicated commuter for my 34 mile round trip and it has been a blast to start to commuting with. I have a few multi day trips plan in the future one is a short 190 round 2 day trip from my house to Paris, TX. The other one will be a week long trip from the DFW area to Corpus Christi, TX. I have been doing a lot of reading and I am thankful for all the information on this site.

As you can all imagine I have tons of newbie questions and I have read the newbieís guide but I am still lost on a few things? What are a decent set of panniers to start off touring with. Right now I am using a cheap set of Performance Bike bags but they are way to small for touring. I am looking at a lot of them and wondering how much space I will need. I do not want to start off with a set that is too small. What are some feature that everyone wishes or are glad they have on the panniers.

I am also in the market for a front rack but I am lost on all the different types or styles. Is it all personal preference or there a style that works better then others? I am leaning towards the Tubus Tara or possibly the Delta Front Loader. I notice there is a huge price difference and unfortunately price might have to affect my decision. I am hoping there is not too much of a draw back with the Delta. Any one have any experience with either of these racks?

Here is a picture of me and my ride while commuting home one night (I hope this file is not to large)
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Old 08-28-07, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by scubaluke
Hi all I am new to the idea of touring and I think I have a decent start bike to start off with. I am not sure if it is a MTB or a hybrid. It is cheap bike with cheap components itís a Kona Smoke. It has been my dedicated commuter for my 34 mile round trip and it has been a blast to start to commuting with. I have a few multi day trips plan in the future one is a short 190 round 2 day trip from my house to Paris, TX. The other one will be a week long trip from the DFW area to Corpus Christi, TX. I have been doing a lot of reading and I am thankful for all the information on this site.

As you can all imagine I have tons of newbie questions and I have read the newbieís guide but I am still lost on a few things? What are a decent set of panniers to start off touring with. Right now I am using a cheap set of Performance Bike bags but they are way to small for touring. I am looking at a lot of them and wondering how much space I will need. I do not want to start off with a set that is too small. What are some feature that everyone wishes or are glad they have on the panniers.

I am also in the market for a front rack but I am lost on all the different types or styles. Is it all personal preference or there a style that works better then others? I am leaning towards the Tubus Tara or possibly the Delta Front Loader. I notice there is a huge price difference and unfortunately price might have to affect my decision. I am hoping there is not too much of a draw back with the Delta. Any one have any experience with either of these racks?

Here is a picture of me and my ride while commuting home one night (I hope this file is not to large)
The two biggest differences between Hybrid and MTB are "usually" that a mtb has 26" wheels vs 700 for Hybrid. Another is that a hybrid usually has an adjustable stem with a bit of a rise on the handlebars for a more relaxed position that can be adjusted. Other than that they are fairly similar.

One thing to consider when you are counting the cost of front and rear racks (you will have to consider heel strike with a non touring specific bike), panniers, eyelets/brazeons. is the possibility of using a trailer. A set of quality racks and panniers wind up at about the same cost as a trailer on sale, and the option of just unhooking, thereby returning your bike to commuting figuration is a plus.

I bought my Burley Nomad trailer for $225 and free shipping on the internet this year. You can use that as a bench mark. I've seen Bobs on Ebay used for under $300 only slightly used or on blowout. I've even seen one for 200 on craigslist.

Investigate the plusses and minuses of a trailer vs. panniers. There is plenty of material where it is debated to death here and elsewhere.

Good luck.
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Old 08-28-07, 11:30 PM
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It's a hybrid.

Very sensibly put together, good choice for the price.
Personally I'm not so keen on the handling, maybe it improves with a load (it feels like it would be better with front panniers than unladen).

I'd suggest you do a search on "front rack" or "pannier" or whatever, also the "tips" and the Africa bike and the MTB to the Atlantic (or is it pacific) threads.

For budget gear I recommend Topeak racks/panniers. For better quality go Tubus and Ortlieb. Can't comment on front racks, though.

Last edited by Cave; 08-28-07 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 08-29-07, 01:16 AM
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A hybrid is good for touring, my wife and I tour on hybrids for a couple of years now without a problem.
Front racks I would go for the ones that hang low, trying to keep the center of gravity as low as possible, it makes for a more stable ride.
Tubus racks are nice but pricey, I'm sure you can do beter (price wise) with a bit of research.
And for bags I would go for the Arkel. They're not water proof but much more handyer, being side loading and with all the pockets. More details on our page.
cheers
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Old 08-29-07, 01:37 AM
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One thing is to determine whether you have mid fork braze-ons for racks, a place to put a screw on the outside of the fork about 2/3ds up. Not to worry there is a rack that will fit regardless, however, without those BOs some of the racks won't make much sense.

For me the biggest decision with front racks is whether you need extra carrying space on the top, as with the rear rack, and as with the rear rack, why not. So that pushes me in one directions. If all you want to carry is a pair of paniers, just sellect a rugged low rider. I would spend some money, get chromo, but to be honest that probably is the second rack for most people... For low riders anything decent with the racks low and a loop over the top is probably going to get it done.

On panniers I have simple taste. I could see the point ot waterproof paniers, in which case I would get the Otlieb Rollers. Short of that I prefer solidly made, simple as possible, top loading cordura. Waterproofness comes either from rain covers, or garbage bags inside. For all this stuff on the cheap the sellection offered by MEC is OK for starters. I am still using mine after nearly 20 years.

Be careful, there is a lot of eye candy out there that weighs a ton. All those extras add a lot of weight, while, if you keep the weight and volume down the cheap crap like solid alloy racks, will actually hold up.
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Old 08-29-07, 01:37 AM
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From what I'm seeing in the picture, your panniers should work well on your two-day blast and probably on your one-week tour. I'm a strong believer in using the equipment you already have for the first few tours. This gives you a benchmark for when you're buying the gear you want. It also lets you find out what you'll need, before you buy.

To pack with small panniers, load your gear in the panniers and then strap your tent, sleeping bag and mattress pad on top of your rear rack. This may look a bit unnerving because your load will sit as high as your seat, but it's not too bad. I've done numerous short tours with a set-up like that. It works for me.

If you're going this route, it's a good idea to have waterproof bags for your tent and sleeping bag or to carry some large plastic bags for them. It's not a lot of fun crawling into a wet sleeping bag after a day on the road.

For the front rack, I prefer to go with a conventional rack, not a low-rider. My reasoning for this is because I will use the front rack to strap some gear — a tent, rain wear, extra water bottles or otheritems I want to keep separate and access quickly.

Please remember my suggestions aren't necessarily the last word. They're just suggestions I've found from years of cycling and touring. Others have different methods that work for them.
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Old 08-29-07, 08:27 AM
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Thanks all for the information. Some of the compents on that smoke will be changed out before my trip as I have already bent a rim on it. I am going to build up a a new set of 36 hole rims. If I can locate a BOB fairly cheaply will pick it up. Even if I do not use it touring I am looking for one any way for trail maintence days and grocery runs.

Once again thanks all for the information I am off to do some more research.
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Old 08-29-07, 09:50 AM
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Hey, Scoob - good to see you up in here.

If you're planning to make the Soldier Ride to Corpus in March, it sounds like Mad Duck's willing to carry our stuff to San Antonio, then we can put it on the ride support truck with the rest of the folk's gear. On bike, you'll likely just need clothing for weather changes and a repair kit with tubes and patches - Mad Duck will stay within 30 minutes at all times to fix our nasties. I'm not gonna know what do do with all that luxury. I'll prolly just run a rack trunk for myself.
If you're not planning to be on the Soldier Ride, just forget I said anything...
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Old 08-29-07, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by truman
Hey, Scoob - good to see you up in here.

If you're planning to make the Soldier Ride to Corpus in March, it sounds like Mad Duck's willing to carry our stuff to San Antonio, then we can put it on the ride support truck with the rest of the folk's gear. On bike, you'll likely just need clothing for weather changes and a repair kit with tubes and patches - Mad Duck will stay within 30 minutes at all times to fix our nasties. I'm not gonna know what do do with all that luxury. I'll prolly just run a rack trunk for myself.
If you're not planning to be on the Soldier Ride, just forget I said anything...
Nice to se you over here also. Cool I had not heard anything offical yet so I am just wanting to prep incase we are doing this unsupported. There are a few trips that I have been thinking about for awhile, this was jsut the kick in the pants I needed to start doing my research on it.

One I am thinking of doing is DFW to Yellowstone but that will have to wait.
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Old 08-29-07, 10:18 AM
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We should talk. I've got a few in the fire as well.
And it's entirely possible that support could fall through - March is a long way off, so it definitely pays to be prepared. Still need to work out a ride home from Corpus, too - I don't plan to burn all my vacation for that one trip,and my company hasn't yet agreed to give me the days free.
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Old 08-29-07, 11:18 AM
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Looks like an MTB to me, with the 26" wheels. Plenty good for rugged touring if it has all the usual attachment points. It has the gearing and the strength. It has the semi-upright posture, which you can easliy modify to fine tune. Very similar setup to my old school Trek 930.

On panniers: I have to admit that I haven't actually toured, but I ride as much as most tourers and more than some others on a daily basis. Also, it rains here alot. Not the drenchers of Texas, but steady, annoying wetness most of the year. My chief consideration is waterproofness. After wasting my money on cheap failures, I've pretty much settled on Ortliebs. Same stuff as an inflatable boat. I don't much care about the safari pockets on some panniers - just more seams to fail and let in water. When I feel like it, I just hose down the bike - panniers and all. The crud washes right off. Go for simplicity.

Also, because of the vinyl clad material, you can apply adhesive reflector tape to the sides of the bags.

NOTE: There are other bags that are not cheap failures. I was referring to the catalog type house brand generic bags - not the high end competitors to Ortieb. I just like the material and rugged simplicity of Orts.
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Old 08-29-07, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by truman
We should talk. I've got a few in the fire as well.
And it's entirely possible that support could fall through - March is a long way off, so it definitely pays to be prepared. Still need to work out a ride home from Corpus, too - I don't plan to burn all my vacation for that one trip,and my company hasn't yet agreed to give me the days free.
Well I am blessed in that I write the schedule for my departent and unless we fire three people in a week I can pick my days off. Right now I am going to plan as we are non supported and everything that I do will just be making my bike stronger (new wheels) and more verstial for my commuting and other trips. Worse case senario we can always jump onto Southwest and fly back we will just have to pack our bikes and either ship or fly them back. You said you have some of the route worked out. You have a PM by the way.
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Old 08-29-07, 12:18 PM
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The Smoke is an mtb derived bike, hybridized, but closer to a mountain bike. A friend has one and it makes a great commuter, very sensible. For touring I might want to swap gearing.
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Old 08-29-07, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by wadaminute
The Smoke is an mtb derived bike, hybridized, but closer to a mountain bike. A friend has one and it makes a great commuter, very sensible. For touring I might want to swap gearing.
What is decent gearing for a touring bike. I can swap cassettes pretty eazy I do not want to think about having to change the chain rings.
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Old 08-30-07, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by scubaluke
What is decent gearing for a touring bike. I can swap cassettes pretty eazy I do not want to think about having to change the chain rings.
My old Trek 930 had something on the front that I can't recall because I immediately swapped it out for my even older 48-38-28 Sakae OvalTech chainrings. Superb on hills with a load, and adequate speed on the flats with the high ring.

But, on to the rear: It has a new 7-speed freewheel with 13-32 cogs. Pretty typical MTB setup for that vintage. I used to have a 13-34 and kinda wish I had kept it. The low gear is really nice because I could almost rest on the longer hills.
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