Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Practical Touring

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Practical Touring

Old 11-04-03, 03:51 PM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Krispy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oklahoma City, OK USA
Posts: 198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Practical Touring

Ever since doing OK Freewheel (7 day tour across the state of Oklahoma) this past June I've had the itch to do more touring. Because of my work a tour across the USA is something I can only dream about for now. On the other hand my work is flexible enough that I can take extended weekends and the occasional 1 to 2 weeks of vacation time.

Since I would rather do loaded touring as opposed to credit card tours I will need a bike that will work for this purpose. My road bike (Litespeed Arenberg) is not a good candidate because it does not have braze ons and the chain stays would be too short to effectively mount racks and panniers. My mountain bike (Specialized Stumpjumper FSR xc Pro) is a full suspension bike and when riding on pavement feels like the suspension is sucking all the energy from my pedal stroke. So I now need to find the right bike for the kind of touring I'll be doing.

Obviously there are already on-going discussions about 26" vs. 700c wheels, racks and panniers vs. trailers, Ti vs. Steel, etc. etc. so I'll leave those issues for those threads. My question is about the practicality of the kind of bike I choose to buy or build.

If I were doing a cross country tour I wouldn't hesitate to buy a bike specifically built for touring. Since I will only be occasionally touring I'm tempted to think that if I buy a bike such as the Bruce Gordon BLT, or the Trek 520 that it will not get much use between tours. I'm thinking that I can get more all around use out of a bike like a cross bike or a rigid frame mountain bike that I could also mount racks and panniers on when I want to tour. If I go that route I'm leaning toward a titanium frame such as the Habanero or Zion.

So what would actually be better a touring bike that when not touring would make for a slightly heavy but comfortable bike for long rides or rainy days or a cross bike or mountain bike that would be lighter for general riding but not necessarily built for touring? Has anybody been down this road before? Am I trying to be too practical ?
Krispy is offline  
Old 11-04-03, 04:25 PM
  #2  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 27

Bikes: 2009 Surly Crosscheck Complete

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The bike I'm riding right now as my all-around, go-anywhere bike is a Cannondale T900 (Aluminum) touring bike that I bought used a few years ago. Now the T900 is definately a touring bike and has all the features on would want for a long haul. It also fills all my needs for riding to the grocery store, going to classes, or doing any three day to three month tour. From my experience I would recommend a touring bike as the best all-purpose, durable, and fastest bike you can buy. True-blue racing bikes and high-end road frames are something I've never been able to get into because they're so expensive and I'd worry about nicking them up. And since I'm not a mountain biker I don't think a mountain bike's durability is worth the extra effort they need to fly along roads. Many people have come up to me and asked me about my bike in regards to a friend or relative who wants something like a high-end hybrid. I'm also thinking about taking off my rack and using a lower stem when I'm not touring to make it a little bit quicker around town and for day-rides.

To sum it all up: unless your into mountain biking or racing, by all means get a touring bike- it'll be like a new family member.
JLahr is offline  
Old 11-04-03, 08:51 PM
  #3  
Passing!
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Red Lock Trail Head, Northfield Ohio
Posts: 291

Bikes: Trek 1988-520 & 2003-7500, 2004 Specialized Allez Sport & Stumpjumper Comp

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
Krispy,

I don't have a road-bike (till spring) so I can't say "categorically", but when I bought my 520 back in the late 80's I bought it first because it was a touring bike, but mainly because it was a perfect "all purpose" solution for me. Sure it was practical, but I wouldn't go as far as to say "TOO" practical. It is extremely comfortable riding fully loaded, and amazingly fast and nimble with all the bags off it. It's a little dated now, still has the original bio-pace, down-tube shifters, and for that matter still has the original wheels, and components. I have replaced the tires, and brake pads and that's about it. I still ride and love the thing, and if my other bike is in the shop it more than fits the bill at this point in time! I guess all I'm trying to say is, you may find you like it enough that it will get some use. The newer model seems like an excellent value considering the component package and "off the shelf" setup.

I have honestly considered buying another 520 just for the better components that will be hard to find in the price range on a true Road-bike. That plus the fact, I honestly can't imagine with my riding style, not having a trunk bag to pack all the stuff in for my day/night trips when food, lights and change of clothing come in handy and just won't quite make it into the ole saddle bag!!
Ohio Trekker is offline  
Old 11-04-03, 09:47 PM
  #4  
hello
 
roadfix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 18,692
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 193 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 51 Posts
If I could only own only 1 road bike, I would definitely look at cyclocross bikes.... with its mix of road and mtb parts, on-road off-road capability, wide range of gearing choices....either road or mountain setup, & can easily be converted to a tourer. These bikes are pretty versatile, I would say...

George
roadfix is offline  
Old 11-05-03, 07:27 AM
  #5  
One less car
 
Jay H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: The Berkshires, MA
Posts: 981

Bikes: '08 Soma Groove (commuter/long distance tourer), '97 Lemond Zurich (road commuter/tourer),'01 Seven Axiom Ti, '03 Look KG381i, '01 Santa Cruz Superlite X

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
First, you don't have to just use touring bikes just to tour, what about going to the bank, getting groceries, commuting to work, etc. I used to always run errands with my bike and eventually took to commuting to work, now I bike almost everywhere and have grown to love my old hardtail ('95 Marin team) that I use. It is setup with a '98 Marzocchi Bomber Z2 fork on the front and I use a rear rack to commute and run errands on. I have a front rack for when I use it to go on long tours. Don't worry abour braze ons, you can get racks that use the brake bosses and in the worst case, the QR. Though if you don't have a bike now, then by all means, get one with eyelets. If it's a steel bike, you can also have somebody weld eyelets on, for that matter.

So, having said that, the 'Cross bike is a great idea for multipul uses and the most variety of options, not just touring. I would be kind of wary using any high-zoot, bike for theft purposes. It's nice to be on a tour without worrying about whether your primary mode of transportation is going to walk away without you.

I would have no problem going across country with my loaded MTB, I am absolutely comfy on the thing, I have done 120mile days credit card touring on that bike and in my opinion, speed is overrated!

Jay
Jay H is offline  
Old 11-05-03, 07:31 AM
  #6  
X-Large Member
 
Istanbul_Tea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: NYC, NY
Posts: 580

Bikes: 2004 Rivendell Atlantis, 2004 Thorn eXp, 2004 Bob Brown Cycles Custom

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Perhaps a Surly Crosscheck is just the ticket?
Istanbul_Tea is offline  
Old 11-05-03, 04:13 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Krispy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oklahoma City, OK USA
Posts: 198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the advice everybody! I talked to a couple of LBS and one will have the Trek '04 520 in stock later this month and another will have the Surly cross bike in too. Another shop will soon have both models of the Cannondale touring bikes. The others are expecting new Cross bikes the next couple of months. I guess I just need to be patient and wait a little while longer so I can go test ride them all.

Although I'm still tempted to go the Ti mountain bike route, Jay H has a good point about theft. A shiny titanium frame could potentially be asking for trouble. Although I might consider spray painting it with gray primer for the tour and then strip it back off afterwords.

Now for another question about practicality. When I look at some of the stock touring bikes I see a lot of them with 105 and XT components. Some I see with components even less costly. I know I would be waisting money to put XTR and Dura-Ace components on a touring bike but will I be sacrificing reliability if I equip it with anything less than 105 and XT components?
Krispy is offline  
Old 11-11-03, 03:18 PM
  #8  
Infamous Dumpster Diver
 
Buddha Knuckle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: West Philly, PA
Posts: 191

Bikes: '89 Nishiki Cascade (set-up as a tourer); '99 Gary Fisher Aquila; late 80's John Howard (by Dave Hesch); '70 Schwinn 3spd

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Krispy,

Perhaps you could experiment with what you have before buying yet another bike?

A blasphemous word from the IBH.

Seriously, why is the litespeed such a bad option? Can't you mount some juicy tires and a rack on it? If you put slicks and a firm rear shock on the FSR, would you break even with comfort gained versus energy sucked? What do you ride to grab groceries at the present time? More practical options than buying a new bike are sitting in your garage at this very moment!

That being said, if I were you I'd buy a 'cross bike or an old steel Kona hardtail.

Peace,
BK
Buddha Knuckle is offline  
Old 11-11-03, 04:01 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Krispy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oklahoma City, OK USA
Posts: 198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Buddha Knuckle
Krispy,

Seriously, why is the litespeed such a bad option? Can't you mount some juicy tires and a rack on it?
BK
There are no braze-ons for mounting racks. Even if there were the chain stays are short so I would most likely have trouble with my heels hitting the panniers.
I also will need to check on the tire clearance. I don't have much even when running a 700x23. The bike was just not set up to tour on. On a long day ride it does better than the average racing bike because of the ti frame but it was never meant for loaded touring.

Originally Posted by Buddha Knuckle
If you put slicks and a firm rear shock on the FSR, would you break even with comfort gained versus energy sucked?
BK
I've put slicks on my FSR and locked out the shock for a road ride on several occasions. I'm not sure if it's because my frame size is wrong or what but the steering gets really squirrelly at speed. Of course that brings me back to the issue with my FSR being the wrong size frame in the first place.

Originally Posted by Buddha Knuckle
What do you ride to grab groceries at the present time?
BK
My wife usually does that!

Originally Posted by Buddha Knuckle
More practical options than buying a new bike are sitting in your garage at this very moment!
BK
Well that wouldn't be much fun. Right now there are two Volvo's parked there. I don't get much exercise driving them.
But I think you meant my bikes. They stay in the house with me.

Originally Posted by Buddha Knuckle
That being said, if I were you I'd buy a 'cross bike or an old steel Kona hardtail.

BK
I'll check on that. I did ride a friend's Binachi Volpe this weekend. It was an older model before they started tig welding them. It was lugged and road really nice. If it weren't too big for me I would have tried to buy it from him. Of course he probably wouldn't want to part with it anyway though. It did make me reconsider whether I really need a titanium frame for a touring bike. I was very impressed with the ride of that steel frame.

Thanks
Krispy is offline  
Old 11-13-03, 04:03 PM
  #10  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Krispy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oklahoma City, OK USA
Posts: 198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Istanbul_Tea
Perhaps a Surly Crosscheck is just the ticket?
I wasn't able to find a Crosscheck to test ride. However, I test rode the Surly Karate Monkey yesterday. It rode like a tank! I would have thought the frame would have been more compliant than that but it about beat me to death just riding on the street. Every expansion joint in the street jarred the whole bike. I was very dissapointed.
Krispy is offline  
Old 11-18-03, 11:24 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
markm109's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: SE Michigan
Posts: 295

Bikes: '03 Litespeed Blue Ridge; '15 Litespeed T5; '17 Jamis Renegade Exploit; '17 Salsa Fargo 27.5+

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
A good all around bike that I picked up was the 2003 Litespeed Blue Ridge. It is advertised as a cyclocross bike, but it also is setup for racks and fenders for touring, and also isn't bad for light racing, esp. if you put road wheels on.

I just got it and have ridden it twice besides test rides at the store. It is wonderfully smooth - better than the Lemond Zurich I was looking at, and what sold it was the multifunction capability. I spent more than I planned but definitely got more for the buck.
markm109 is offline  
Old 11-18-03, 12:14 PM
  #12  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Krispy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oklahoma City, OK USA
Posts: 198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by markm109
A good all around bike that I picked up was the 2003 Litespeed Blue Ridge.
Congratulations on your new Blue Ridge! I really enjoy the way my Litespeed Aernberg rides and I bet the Blue Ridge is even more comfortable since it has a more relaxed geometry. Please tell me more about it. Do you plan on doing loaded touring with it? If so how is yours equipped, i.e did you trade out the fork for one with braze-ons etc.?

The main reason I shyed away from the Blue Ridge is because I was told that I could not buy just the frame. Since I would be changing the crankset/chainrings, cassette, front and rear derailures, shifters, wheelset, fork, and saddle it would make more sense for me to find a bike that already had most of the components I wanted or just buy a frame and build up my own.
Krispy is offline  
Old 11-18-03, 09:12 PM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
markm109's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: SE Michigan
Posts: 295

Bikes: '03 Litespeed Blue Ridge; '15 Litespeed T5; '17 Jamis Renegade Exploit; '17 Salsa Fargo 27.5+

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It came with full ultegra except brakes. I had them put on a 12/23 rear cassette and tires with a less agressive tread for now - I kept the cassette and cross tires to put back on later. I also had a flight deck computer added and put a better saddle on it.

This is my first road bike since the 10 speed schwinn I had in college. I've been riding a Gary Fisher Tassahara for the past few summers and wanted to move into the road / touring scene but didn't want to lose too much comfort. I wanted a bike that was fast for cycle club rides and also one I could do touring on, since that appealed to me as well. Don't know if I'll ever do cyclocross races but the durability that this bike was designed for fits me fine since I'm 6'1" and 235lbs.

I think I made a good decision, but definitely paid more than I intended. The bike just felt a part of me with a very smooth ride when I test road it - the other bikes I tested, Lemond Zurich, Specialized Allez Comp Cro-Mo, and Trek 5200 were nice, but they felt different - nice but not like the Blue Ridge, it felt like it was an extension of me. All the reviews I read said to buy a bike that fits and feels good, so I did. The Blue Ridge felt natural, not like the others where I felt I would have to learn to like them.

What is wrong with a carbon fork for touring? I've seen others mention it needs to be changed?

Mark
markm109 is offline  
Old 11-19-03, 12:13 AM
  #14  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Krispy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oklahoma City, OK USA
Posts: 198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by markm109
What is wrong with a carbon fork for touring? I've seen others mention it needs to be changed?

Mark
The picture on the Litespeed website shows a fork that does not have braze-ons for mounting a front rack. If you are going to do loaded touring you will probably want a fork that can accommodate a rack.

The local Litespeed dealer basically told me that I couldn't buy just a frame and I couldn't customize the order if I wanted XT components instead of the Ultegra or change out the fork. After reading your post about how much you liked your Blue Ridge I decided to make a long distance call to the next nearest Litespeed LBS which is about a two hour drive away. They had a whole different tune! They are supposed to be calling Litespeed to see if I can customize the order or just buy a frame. They are supposed to call me back tomorrow to let me know what is possible and also if there are any year end deals on the '03 models.

That's a lot more than my local Litespeed LBS was willing to do for me. You'd think that after buying one Litespeed from them they'd want to get off their lazy @ss to help me buy another! I sure hope your LBS gives you better service!
Krispy is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.