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-   -   Supported tour - cross country (https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/537725-supported-tour-cross-country.html)

southbound123 05-03-09 07:13 PM

Supported tour - cross country
 
My 16 year old son will be doing a cross country supported tour this summer - Portland, OR to Savannah, GA in 30 days. Average day is 115 miles and the peak is 150.

Last summer he went unsupported on a Cannondale T2000 (now called Touring 1). He outgrew the bike and also doesn't need to carry weight this time.

We are looking for advice on a suitable bike. It was recommended we get a relaxed geometry road bike, non-carbon frame, 32-36 spoke wheels (700 x 23/25), bar end shifters, triple chainring, Brooks saddle. The non-carbon frame has a chance of being repaired in the field. Bar end shifters instead of STI, which are not repairable. The support van will stock Shimano parts.

We looked at the Cannondale Six-5 and the Specialized Roubaix (which has a carbon frame, but it was a proxy for the Sequoia, which was not in stock). My son felt comfortable on the relaxed geometry bikes and prefered the Specialized Roubaix. Concidentally, he fits perfectly on my two year old entry-level Specialized Roubaix Triple which has a carbon fork and a chrome-moly frame.

Questions:
1) If you believe we should avoid the carbon frame, shouldn't we also avoid the carbon fork?
2) My Roubaix wheels are 24 spoke (front) and 28 spoke (rear). Would we need to change out one or both? If so, where does one begin to look?
3) How likely is it the STI shifter will break?
4) Do you agree on the triple chainring versus a compact double? There will be lots of mountains.
5) Are there other bikes under two thousand dollars that we should consider?

One advantage of getting him a new bike, instead of giving him mine, is that we can ride together at home.

Thanks in advance for all your advice.

-Southbound

gorshkov 05-03-09 07:49 PM


Originally Posted by southbound123 (Post 8848040)
My 16 year old son will be doing a cross country supported tour this summer - Portland, OR to Savannah, GA in 30 days. Average day is 115 miles and the peak is 150.

Last summer he went unsupported on a Cannondale T2000 (now called Touring 1). He outgrew the bike and also doesn't need to carry weight this time.

We are looking for advice on a suitable bike. It was recommended we get a relaxed geometry road bike, non-carbon frame, 32-36 spoke wheels (700 x 23/25), bar end shifters, triple chainring, Brooks saddle. The non-carbon frame has a chance of being repaired in the field. Bar end shifters instead of STI, which are not repairable. The support van will stock Shimano parts.

We looked at the Cannondale Six-5 and the Specialized Roubaix (which has a carbon frame, but it was a proxy for the Sequoia, which was not in stock). My son felt comfortable on the relaxed geometry bikes and prefered the Specialized Roubaix. Concidentally, he fits perfectly on my two year old entry-level Specialized Roubaix Triple which has a carbon fork and a chrome-moly frame.

Questions:
1) If you believe we should avoid the carbon frame, shouldn't we also avoid the carbon fork?
2) My Roubaix wheels are 24 spoke (front) and 28 spoke (rear). Would we need to change out one or both? If so, where does one begin to look?
3) How likely is it the STI shifter will break?
4) Do you agree on the triple chainring versus a compact double? There will be lots of mountains.
5) Are there other bikes under two thousand dollars that we should consider?

One advantage of getting him a new bike, instead of giving him mine, is that we can ride together at home.

Thanks in advance for all your advice.

-Southbound

From what you have said about the tour, the Roubaix sounds like close to an ideal bike. I have had one for three years, and it has been great. I use it mostly for day rides and the occasional race, and its not a touring bike by any stretch of the imagination (no braze-ons anywhere). However, the long-distance ride quality is excellent, so it could be great for your purposes. The main reason I can think of to go with something else is if he were to do some unsupported touring in the future.

1) I don't think you should necessarily avoid the carbon frame. The main reason not to tour on a carbon bike is because carbon frames can't carry panniers. Yes, they cannot be repaired properly, but the chances of anything catastrophic happening to it are very low. Repairing aluminum frames will also undo the heat treating, so if frame failure is a legitimate concern, you should probably go with steel. And yes, if you want to avoid a carbon frame for repair reasons, you should also avoid carbon forks/stays.

2) 32- or 36-spoke wheels are a very good idea, mostly because they are easier to true should they be damaged.

3) New STI levers are not going to break unless you abuse them. I still prefer bar-ends myself, but that isn't so much for reliability as because they are compatible with almost any drivetrain components. Caveat: stay away from Sora, get 105 if you can afford it. I would also recommend using 9-speed rather than 10-speed, because the 9-speed chains are stronger, and because it is compatible with MTB cassettes if you need a granny gear.

4) The gearing will depend on fitness level. I think a compact double with a 12-27 cassette would be fine, but I'm not the one riding this tour. Your call.

5) You might look at cyclocross bikes.

valygrl 05-03-09 10:29 PM

I assume he is doing Pactour. (If I'm wrong, I'm sorry, stop reading now :) )

Have you or he done a Pactour before?

I think this thread belongs in Long Distance cycling, not touring. Those tours are much more like back-to-back 200k-300K brevets for a month than like a tour, the way we use that word here in this forum.

I've done 2 of the one-week desert camp trips with Pactour. They do an incredible job with the support, there is a van full of parts. - if the STI shifter breaks there will be a new one on the van for purchase and the staff will install it that night or during the ride. If a wheel breaks and can't be repaired, there will be a new wheel available for purchase on the spot, in the van. There will NOT be a day spent in a local welding shop field-repairing a frame - if the bike is that bad off, you'll be overnighting him a new bike, or he'll be borrowing /renting one from Pactour. The info about field repairing is more relevant to long self-supported tours in third world countries than about a 30 day ultra-distance road riding event. It sounds like you heard some bike advice that would be relevant to loaded touring - good advice, but not relevant I think to your situation.

A road racing or endurance road bike would be the appropriate bike, and a loaded-touring style bike would be a terrible liability - get a good quality road bike that fits perfectly and get a lot of miles on it starting right now.

People ride all kinds of bikes on those trips but generally lightweight road/race or road/endurance style bikes, sometimes with aero bars - are the norm. Carbon is FINE - better than aluminum, for comfort on the long miles. I saw a lot of carbon and titanium on my week-long trips (often same people who do the long trips) - very little aluminum with the exception of some c'dale race bikes, and a smattering of steel and a recumbent.

A triple would be good, but a compact double would probably be fine too. He won't have to carry more than two water bottles and clothing - aid stops are closely spaced enough. A big seat-wedge or similar is good for carrying extra clothes, but not required. Abnormally low gearing is not needed, but that said, I personally ride a triple anyway, living in Colorado and riding in the mountains all the time, there's no reason not to.

I agree with everything gorshkov said, except the cross bike - too heavy, not appropriate for this particular trip.

Anyway, Hope this helps and I hope I guessed right about Pactour, otherwise, oops, sorry.

:)

staehpj1 05-04-09 04:44 AM

Not having done a fast crossing, My advice is of dubious value, but here are my opinions on that any way...

1) If you believe we should avoid the carbon frame, shouldn't we also avoid the carbon fork?
I personally would probably prefer it rather than avoid it for that trip.

2) My Roubaix wheels are 24 spoke (front) and 28 spoke (rear). Would we need to change out one or both? If so, where does one begin to look?
I don't see anything wrong with those wheels for that trip. Being supported can the support vehicle carry spare wheels?

3) How likely is it the STI shifter will break?
It isn't something I would worry about.

4) Do you agree on the triple chainring versus a compact double? There will be lots of mountains.
I'd probably use the triple, but the compact double could work fine.

5) Are there other bikes under two thousand dollars that we should consider?
I am a cheapskate, so all the bikes I would consider are under $2000.

BigBlueToe 05-04-09 08:28 AM

To me, a fully supported tour where you're not carrying any weight is just like a whole bunch of training rides around home. When I ride my "fast" road bike I expect it not to break down. An occasional flat tire isn't too unusual, but if I were breaking spokes, breaking shifters, etc., I wouldn't be happy. Hopefully, if you buy a new bike and it's properly set up, he'll have no mechanical issues.

Questions:
1) If you believe we should avoid the carbon frame, shouldn't we also avoid the carbon fork?
I wouldn't avoid either. He won't be carrying any weight, other than what he would on a normal bike ride.

2) My Roubaix wheels are 24 spoke (front) and 28 spoke (rear). Would we need to change out one or both? If so, where does one begin to look?
Again, if the wheels are sturdy enough for normal riding, they should make this tour. If not, there are lots of places to get wheels, including building them yourself. If you have a good local mechanic, explain the situation and have him/her build the wheels.

3) How likely is it the STI shifter will break?
It seems unlikely to me. If STI shifters had a tendency to break every 3,000 miles, who would buy them?

4) Do you agree on the triple chainring versus a compact double? There will be lots of mountains.
I'm a proponent of triples. Why not? Do you really get that much of an advantage by using a double? My triples always work fine. On a recent century there was a hellacious hill - really steep and it lasted for several miles. I put my triple to the lowest combination and cruised up - slowly, but with not much pain. Others were walking. Sure, there were strong riders powering up on doubles, but I'm a recreational rider. I say your son would be happy to have a triple.

5) Are there other bikes under two thousand dollars that we should consider?
Lots. Too many for me to try and suggest any.

One advantage of getting him a new bike, instead of giving him mine, is that we can ride together at home.
That's reason enough for me, as long as you can afford it.

Thanks in advance for all your advice.
You're welcome.


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