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-   -   Is it possible to use my bike? (https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/516077-possible-use-my-bike.html)

Radiohead84 03-02-09 12:22 AM

Is it possible to use my bike?
 
Hi. I've been into cycling for the past two years. I haven't been able to do it as much as I have wanted to but I am looking into doing a tour. Not sure how long yet, but I have a good amount of time with no commitments, and I want to go cycling and see parts of the country. This might involve touring for a time and then taking a mass transit at other times.

Anyway, I am in the starting phase of the idea. The bike I ride right now is a Bianchi Brava. I understand that to load a bike with touring equipment its best to have a touring bike, but I thought I would ask anyway. Anyway to modify my bike a bit to make it work? I do love my bike. The Brava is made out of steel so it is a stronger body but I guess a lot of it deals with the frame and clearance.

Like most things in life..I want to spend as little amount as money as possible..so i would rather not buy a whole nother bike for touring as I don't know if I would ever do this again.

thanks!

LeeG 03-02-09 01:05 AM

It's doable if you can fit 28-32mm tires on the frame and not carry a big load on the rear wheel. I'd stick with one set of panniers on front lowriders and a bag on the rear rack. Some frame bags would help to bring weight into the middle of the bike.

arctos 03-02-09 01:33 AM

Much depends on strength of wheels, the rider weight, style of touring-(self-contained camping or ?), weight of equipment carried and type of road surfaces expected.

I believe that the Brava has a carbon fork which may limit how much you could carry up front for equipment weight distribution other than with a handle bar bag. Are there mounting points for a rear rack? How much heel clearance from hitting rear panniers? How wide a tire fits the bike?

You may just want to try short trial run trips with various configurations of carrying stuff to see how the bike handles the load. Then you can decide if you need a different bike or just some changes to the Brava. Everyone starts touring with what they have and evolves with experience. Good Luck!

AsanaCycles 03-02-09 01:41 AM

you can always use Old Man Mountain racks.

Newspaperguy 03-02-09 01:49 AM

It depends on how long a tour you're planning. For a week or two, you'll have no problem with just a rear rack and panniers and a handlebar bag. If you're going for longer tours, you may want to look at either swapping out the front fork for something else, or using a trailer.

RepWI 03-02-09 07:58 AM

I think a trailer is a solution for you.

Mr. Jim 03-02-09 10:47 AM

Sounds like a trailer would work fine. I used a trailer with a my Giant TCR for touring before selling it and buying a LHT instead.

DuckFat 03-02-09 11:06 AM

Yep, get a BOB trailer.

Captain Jake 03-02-09 11:17 AM

My suggestion was going to be a trailer, many people beat me to it.

Radiohead84 03-03-09 01:08 AM

Thank you for the information guys.

It seems to me that almost all the pictures I see around of people touring is with panniers on the side of their bikes. I rarely see any trailors.

Is there a reason why people do not like trailors as much? I imagine it makes the bike a little bit hard to deal with, turn, and stop.

Radiohead84 03-03-09 02:19 AM

I guess I should say some more.

One of my main concerns is space. If I do this I plan to do a mixture of camping, and staying at friends, or friends of friends, houses or backyards. With the trailer...its more stuff to move inside and such.

neilfein 03-03-09 08:21 AM

You can tour on any bike. A dedicateed touring bike makes it easier and more fun, but it's fun no matter how you do it. Go for it!

Where are you considering touring? If roads exclusively, a two-wheeled trailer makes the most sense - you can get a used child trailer and convert it into a cargo trailer. For any kind of trail, such as packed dirt or limestone, I'd go for a Bob or other 1-wheel touring trailer.

skookum 03-03-09 08:32 AM


Originally Posted by neilfein (Post 8458970)
You can tour on any bike. A dedicateed touring bike makes it easier and more fun, but it's fun no matter how you do it. Go for it!

Where are you considering touring? If roads exclusively, a two-wheeled trailer makes the most sense - you can get a used child trailer and convert it into a cargo trailer. For any kind of trail, such as packed dirt or limestone, I'd go for a Bob or other 1-wheel touring trailer.

So true. You may have to modify your goals somewhat, use public transporation for parts of your tour, but if you've got a bike, then go!

northboundtrain 03-03-09 09:45 AM

The trailer will certainly be more of a hassle when you are trying to put the bike on a bus or train.

Sounds like your approach might lend itself to a lightweight set up anyway, so it's quite possible to tour with your road bike. Last year, I did exactly such a tour with a Lemond racing frame. I used a rack similar to the Old Man Mountain that I attached to the rear with the QR skewer and P-clamps on the seat stays. I also clamped two water bottle cages to the fork. My load was approximately 25 lbs with four full water bottles.

Most panniers are made for proper touring bikes and are a little long for a road bike. You can always mount them in such a way as to avoid heal strike, but bike handling is compromised the further back the load is relative to the rear axle; you get the tail-wagging-the-dog effect. (At least that's my unscientific theory). I did have a bit of a front end shimmy when riding no-handed, but otherwise the bike handled pretty well.

I would suggest using drybag stuff sacks in lieu of panniers. They are more compact length-wise, so the load's center of gravity will be further forward. I used the Sea to Summit 13 liter bags. I attached the bags to the rack with webbing stuff sack compressors and an extra strap cinched around the middle. It worked well enough, although the bags are not quite as accessible as regular panniers. Next time, I would also have a frame bag that mounts inside the main triangle in the top-tube-seat-tube corner for stuff such as wallet, sunscreen, food, etc. that I want to be able to access during the day. A medium to large seat bag should be able to accomodate your tool/repair kit. You won't be able to carry much food, so you'll need to buy meals one at a time almost. This means eating out of convenience stores and small groceries a lot of the time.

To sum up, yes, by all means, you can use your road bike. Use the largest tires you can while still having enough clearance with the frame to allow for a wheel to go a little out of true, try to keep your load between the two axles as much as possible, and use ultra-light camping gear to keep the weight and bulk down.

neilfein 03-03-09 10:34 AM

I was able to achieve a balanced setup on a mountain bike with front panniers and a trunk rack. The OP's frams is steel, but probably significantly lighter than my old tank. Might the same principle apply if he swaps out the fork? Is that even possible?

kayakdiver 03-03-09 10:58 AM

You can tour on anything like mentioned above. I toured with two guys last summer across North Dakota that did just fine on road bikes... 23mm tires and and light racks.

Was the setup they had ideal? Not really. Did it work? Sure did. Would I have wanted to be the one riding the bikes they had? Nope.

Did they have a blast? Sure did. Did I look down on them because they had something other than a LHT? Nope.

You mention spending as little as possible. I have ortliebs and axiom waterproof panniers. Both keep my stuff dry. The axioms are much less money and work great. Mounting is very secure. More so than my Ortliebs.

Don't get to hung up on this stuff. You mentioned that you love the bike. Go with the one you love!

my 2 cents.

Newspaperguy 03-03-09 07:02 PM


Originally Posted by neilfein (Post 8459654)
I was able to achieve a balanced setup on a mountain bike with front panniers and a trunk rack. The OP's frams is steel, but probably significantly lighter than my old tank. Might the same principle apply if he swaps out the fork? Is that even possible?

I know the conventional wisdom around here is to carry the bulk of the weight in front, but I've done nicely with the weight on the rear wheel. Normally, I only have a tent, some extra water and a handlebar bag in front. The rest of my gear is on the rear rack. On my last tour, I had rear panniers, a rack trunk and a handlebar bag. The bike handled beautifully and most of the time I forgot I was carrying a load.

Radiohead84 03-03-09 08:53 PM

I went to the bike store near by today and talked to the guy there a bit. They said they do not sell a lot of touring bikes now because most people that do it just use road bikes because they don't want to have two bikes for just those things.

I checked it out and I think that I can fit panniers on the back of my bike..which is good. I forgot to ask about the tires.

My fork is not made out of steel. How do I figure out which forks I can replace it with for my bike and which would be the best deal.

I recently checked out a packing list of things that people usually bring on a long tour(including camping equipment), and maybe I am bad at spacial relationships, but it seems like a lot of stuff to pack into just panniers!

Newspaperguy 03-03-09 09:14 PM


Originally Posted by Radiohead84 (Post 8463895)
I went to the bike store near by today and talked to the guy there a bit. They said they do not sell a lot of touring bikes now because most people that do it just use road bikes because they don't want to have two bikes for just those things.

For most road riding, a touring bike will work well. For touring, commuting, riding for transportation and riding for recreation, a touring bike will handle conditions well. It's not as good for racing, but that's the only limitation that comes to mind right now.

Originally Posted by Radiohead84 (Post 8463895)
I recently checked out a packing list of things that people usually bring on a long tour(including camping equipment), and maybe I am bad at spacial relationships, but it seems like a lot of stuff to pack into just panniers!

For a week or two on the road, I can manage with rear panniers, a small bag under the seat and a handlebar bag quite nicely. The only things that don't fit are my tent, mattress pad and tarp. For a longer trip or a trip under more primitive conditions, I'd add a pair of front panniers.

I've been touring for a while and after every tour, I do a review of how it went. I include a section about the gear I packed, what I used and what I needed but didn't have.

stephenboyd 03-03-09 10:43 PM

I did a two week tour last summer on a Giant OCR2 road bike. I used 25c tires, two rear panniers (ortlieb), and a handlebar bag. I camped (tarptent, light sleeping bag) all but 2 nights, and had only two flat tires. It can definitely be done.


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