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Touring on a road/racer bike?

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Touring on a road/racer bike?

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Old 03-06-09, 12:19 PM
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zrblue
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Touring on a road/racer bike?

Just been to my lbs to check out what they had in stock as im after a new road bike. I told the guy of my summer plan to cycle from Oslo in Norway to Paris, roughly 1200 miles. In particular i want another road bike, however, the guy in the bike store told me that a road bike would last a 1200 mile tour, the chances of it coming back in one piece are minimal. He recommended a hybrid, such as the Dawes Discovery 301 for the tour.

Can anyone shed any light on this? I was of the opinion that touring was possible on any kind of bike, and ive always toured on road racers, just never to this 1200 mile distance. Also, can anyone give me any feedback on the Dawes Discovery 301?
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Old 03-06-09, 12:49 PM
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MichaelW
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If you are prepared to travel ultralight, then a mid-level road bike will do the job. Make sure it has:
-threaded eyelets that are usable,
-as much tyre clearance as you need
-suitable gearing
-a fork with some vertical stem adjustment, not cut very low.
Well tensioned std pattern wheels, no fancy stuff. A 32 spoke should be OK for ultralight touring.
Low end road bikes are fitted with cheapie components (such as bottom bracket bearings) which may not last. High-end racers lack any eyelets and the tubing is stiff but too thin for touring.
A touring bike would be more suitable but you could also use a cyclo-cross or light-tourer.

Plenty of people tour on hybrids, they are quite practical and can tackle the same kinds of tracks and trails as tourers and CX bikes. They may be a bit upright for some people and you need to provide a variety of hand positions. Dawes are a decent brand but at this price point , a little more money buys a lot more bike. the 301 has steel handlebars rather than lighter alu.
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Old 03-06-09, 03:41 PM
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Don't know about the Dawes, but I will say that I know folks who rode road bikes across the US. Their trip was over 4000 miles. You either need to travel very light, get stouter wheels than come on some road bikes, or use a trailer.
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Old 03-06-09, 04:16 PM
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There's probably a bit of miscommunication here....

Many serious touring bikes for use on asphalt fall into the "road bike" category -- just not the "road race" group. Since you're mentioning Dawes I assume you're in Europe / UK; I don't know the brands too well over there, but Cannondale's touring bike is likely available. Thorn makes good bikes, and Mercian makes some great old-school frames.

If you want something a tad sportier than a true touring bike, many cyclocross bikes are an excellent choice (notably Bianchi Volpe, Surly Cross Check, Kona Jake).

A racing-oriented road bike isn't a good choice, less due to "ruggedness" and more due to comfort and lack of touring amenities like rack mounts, fender clearance and so forth.

You can use a hybrid, but the main problems are: 1) not enough hand positions, and 2) might be too upright of a position. That will slow you down and, for many people, winds up being uncomfortable on longer rides.

Might want to try another LBS....
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Old 03-06-09, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
A racing-oriented road bike isn't a good choice, less due to "ruggedness" and more due to comfort and lack of touring amenities like rack mounts, fender clearance and so forth.
I mostly agree that a racing-oriented road bike is not the best choice for most touring. That said it is possible to use one and I know of folks who have done multi month tours on one using a trailer. The advent of really light weight trailers helps. The Extrawheel can be built up with a light wheel and weigh in at about half of what a BoB weighs. Combine that with lightweight gear and touring on a a racing-oriented road bike (with lower gearing) starts to look way more possible.

Don't get me wrong though, I am not advocating it as the preferred choice for most touring.

BTW: For me comfort is not one of the major issues though. My road race style bike is supremely comfortable and my touring bike has a similar riding position. A feel a lot better after a century on my road bike than one on my touring bike. To my way of thinking that is a good measure of the kind of comfort I care about.

Edit: I should have said that a touring specific bike is really the best choice for most touring. I am not a fan of hybrids. Also as Bacciagalupe said the Cyclocross bikes are a reasonable compromise if you want something on the sportier side, but still suitable.

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Old 03-07-09, 06:13 AM
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The standard touring bike in the UK is the Dawes Galaxy. It is the UK equivalent to a Trek 520. The Galaxy makes a good all rounder for commuting, grocery getting, riding trails as well as its natural home of European camping/touring.
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Old 03-07-09, 07:52 AM
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Jim from Boston
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Originally Posted by zrblue View Post
Can anyone shed any light on this? [touring on a road / racer bike] I was of the opinion that touring was possible on any kind of bike, and ive always toured on road racers, just never to this 1200 mile distance. Also, can anyone give me any feedback on the Dawes Discovery 301?
A similar thread was started on the Touring Forum on 1/10/09, "Using Road Bikes":

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=501067

I posted to that thread:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I just posted this PM yesterday about our cross-country tour on Merciers with fully loaded panniers in 1977:

[My fellow subscriber had written:]

"...Riding across the country is very cool..... Isn't Mercier also a classic brand that is highly sought after?...

[I replied:]

I don't know about the value of a Mercier as an antique. Back in' 72, I think it was a pretty high quality bike, costing ~$250 at that time, but we did not get a top of the line model, i.e. not Campagnolo equipped. They did have sew-up tires and we actually used the bikes for touring pretty well in Michigan and Ontario.

We then used them to ride cross country and the sew up tires we're the worst part of the trip due to an excessive number of flats, the difficulty of repair, and the need to take a couple days off to find a city with a shop that sold them, but we made it. Back in '77 it was a lot harder to get good information--no Internet!

At the end of the trip, I vividly remember taking off the heavy panniers and easily hoisting the bike high above my head.
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Old 03-07-09, 09:21 AM
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It depends. If you're talking heavy, full-load touring, then either a proper, purpose-built touring bike or a hybrid/mtn bike is better. A road racing bike is actually better for long distance, but only if you're not carrying much weight.
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