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Why is my FX 7.3 a bad choice for touring Western Europe?

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Why is my FX 7.3 a bad choice for touring Western Europe?

Old 03-18-08, 04:12 PM
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Why is my FX 7.3 a bad choice for touring Western Europe?

I am planning a solo tour next year from Amsterdam to the south of France, including some train travel, most likely from April to the end of June. I picked up an 80's C'dale touring bike recently and that relit the fire under me, but for some reason I feel like my Trek might be the machine to take.

Either one will get about the same treatment. New cranks, handbuilt wheels, nice saddle and handlebars mainly. They both have front and rear rack eyelets.

C'dale rear wheel is about 3/4" farther back, though the Trek isn't exactly tight quarters. Bottom brackets are about the same height, both are aluminum, but the C'dale has a steel rather than aluminum fork ( though with bigger tires and weight I am less concerned about vibrations on either).

Both have adequate tire/fender clearance. Trek would get Trekking bars, C'dale would probably stay with drops.

Seeing as how I think I would be fine with the Trekking bars, as many other people are, give me some reasons not to take the Trek. I know I am not limited to these two bikes, but can justify a bit more on a nice set of wheels if I build on what I have. Oh, I will be traveling fairly light. Hostels and cheaper hotels / B&Bs on the menu with an enclosed hammock and light sleeping bag just in case. I don't require much variety in fashion and use minimal toiletries. 40-50 mile days, tops, unless I get a good tailwind and have somewhere to be.

Have done limited runs on the Trek as-is with my topeak trunk bag w/ mini panniers loaded down with about 20 lbs. Not the best test, but I felt fine during a 25 mile day trip.

Thanks
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Old 03-18-08, 04:18 PM
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Why is my FX 7.3 a bad choice for touring Western Europe?

It's not, my wife uses the FX 7.2 WSD for touring all over europe. The link above is her bike and some details, and the link below is the tours we've done.
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Old 03-18-08, 04:35 PM
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the trek fx series is really underrated. they're built and spec'd pretty well and they all have low rider mounts on the fork up until you get into carbon fork territory.
same goes for the trek SU bikes, they're really solid as well.
i'd say take it.
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Old 03-18-08, 05:36 PM
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Interesting, thanks for the replies. I had some eventual touring in mind when I was buying it, but couldn't afford/justify what the shops were trying to to push me towards. Figured I would get the FX to get into shape and test the waters first.

Constructive criticism welcomed.

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Old 03-18-08, 05:56 PM
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I notice you've got a World Voyageur listed in your signature line. Why not use it? I still consider it the best touring bike I've ever owned, and am always keeping my eye opened in the hope that I can find another one.

When you come down to it, just about anything within reason can be made into a good touring bike. Oh, I've got a few limitations for myself, mainly being a steel frame and reasonably gentle frame angles with a longish wheelbase. Beyond that, the sky is the limit, just pick your components carefully.

Case in point (and, I'll admit, a chance to show off, as I've just finished it): My main tourer is a late 60's Dutch Magneet Sprint. In stock form this bike was what would have been described a few years later as a Bike Boom Special: The frame is lugged seamed steel tubing (gaspipe). Original components were steel rims on three piece hubs with wingnuts and 27x1-1/4 gumwalls, 42/52 cottered crank, 14-28 five speed freewheel, Campy Valentino drivetrain, Racer brakes.

Riding it in almost stock form, I discovered that the frame was incredibly comfortable (bloody close to that beloved Voyageur). In it's current incarnation, I'm running a Stronglight 99 crank (32/42/48), SunTour V-GT/Compe V combination with bar end shifters, Weinmann centerpull front/Synchro rear brake (little matter of cable clearance on the rack), 14-32 five speed freewheel, alloy Weinmann rims with Maillard hubs and 27x1-3/8 lugged tyres, and aluminum mudguards. Just did two 40 mile days as a debugging run, and am looking forward to my first 150 mile weekend within the coming month:



Yeah, it weighs a bit. I don't care. It's very comfortable on the long haul, and I can see myself going just about anywhere with it. My usual standard is 100 miles a day, and I'll do that with ease. All this on a bike that, in original spec, wouldn't have been looked at twice for anything more than riding around the neighborhood on a summer's evening. Fortunately, I had very good memories about how nice the Dutch made frames for their mass market bikes back then.

If the frame feels good, set it up. You won't regret it.
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Old 03-18-08, 06:22 PM
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Well, I know the WV is a touring bike, but I never really even considered it. I hesitate to say it for fear of a public flogging, but i don't really like riding it much.

I haven't given it much of a chance in a while but, no matter what I try, it always feels awkward. Steering is twitchy, and can't get comfy even for a short ride. I think some of it may be the randonneur bars.

Having no braze-ons or eyelets and paint that chips so easily just makes it undesirable to me.

It is beautiful (as is yours BTW), but I actually have it on the market locally right now...

I might give it a try tomorrow now that I am more comfy with drop bars in general, haven't ridden it in a while. I still highly doubt it would be my choice for this mission though.

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Old 03-20-08, 12:48 PM
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I toured (fully loaded) with a 2000 7500FX and it was fine. This was touring in the Canadian Rockies and the bike weighed about 85 lbs loaded. But the 2000 7500FX had a co-mo fork and I had added a MTB drive train on it (XT crank, FD, RD) along with a B17 saddle, bar-ends, fenders, Mavic A317 wheel set, Time ATC's, etc. The 7500FX has almost exactly the same geometry as the Trek 520, but the Al frame is a bit harsh riding if the road surface is rough.

I would think twice about putting a front rack and panniers on an Aluminum fork, also the stock, low-spoke count wheels are too light to be dependable.
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Old 03-20-08, 01:20 PM
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Well, I wouldn't consider 32 spokes to be low count, nor are they very light, but some hand built wheels are being seriously considered. Since I am going light, not taking camping essentials, will likely never be too terribly far from a bike shop (or a bus/train/taxi) almost makes me want to give it a go on the factory wheels. They are still true and have had some decent encounters with potholes. I weigh 150 lbs.

If I do anything in the way of front panniers, it won't be much weight. I'm not sure I should be too concerned just because it's aluminum. Should I be? They would mostly be extra space for hauling groceries and gifts to mail back home along the way.

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Old 03-20-08, 04:12 PM
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I wouldn't wory about the wheels, my wife never had a problem with hers, +/-8kgs in the front bags and about 12kgs in the rear bags.
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Old 03-20-08, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tdister
I'm not sure I should be too concerned just because it's aluminum.

it's not, as far as i know
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Old 03-20-08, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Fueled by Boh
it's not, as far as i know
Not aluminum? Trek specifies it as an alloy...I just know a magnet doesn't stick.

The 7.2 is Hi-ten, the upper models all get carbon forks.

Sorry if i misunderstood
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Old 03-20-08, 07:05 PM
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if it isn't magnetic it might be the alu alloy they use. either way, if it has low rider mounts, i would imagine its rack friendly. stock forks and frames are usually over built.
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Old 03-20-08, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by tdister
Well, I wouldn't consider 32 spokes to be low count, nor are they very light.
Maybe it was just the 7500FX or the 2000 model year, but I got 20-spoke front, 24-spoke rear Rolf Vector's (Later models had a similiar Bontrager wheel). They are a fun wheel set, fairly tough but no way they are suitable for loaded touring.

I eventually decided to keep the Mavic's on the 7500FX and cut down the rear axle on the Rolf Vector to 130 mm and rebuilt it so it is a spare/trainer wheel for my Lemond.
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Old 03-20-08, 10:22 PM
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The 7.5 and up also get the low spoke count wheels. I was very close to upgrading too, somewhat glad I didn't now.
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Old 03-22-08, 10:23 PM
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My husband and I rode the Camino de Santiago in Spain last September on our Trek FX 7.3 (his) and 7.5 (mine). They were fine for the combination of roads and trails that we rode - but for road riding, I'd use something else! I'd planned to make the TREK my in-town bike, but have reverted to my old road bike (a Bianchi Eros Donna) because it's so much faster on the 4- 10 mile rides I do around town. I think for effort expended there are better choices for road riding than the TREK FX.
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Old 03-23-08, 09:16 PM
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A pure road bike just won't work though. I have been told to expect gravel paths and know to expect cobblestone roads. I would like to use a 35c tire and air them down a little when useful.

I have tried 32c on my C'dale tourer and it was already getting tight. Not sure if fenders would work, especially with an even larger tire., and it has more room than most road bikes. Much of the speed difference between my FX and a typical road/touring bike would vanish given they had the same wheels/tires, right?

I am no too interested in having drop bars
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