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can u tour on any road bike?

Old 08-12-09, 07:26 PM
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ql151
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can u tour on any road bike?

Hi, I was wondering if you could tour on any road bike or if you have to have a touring bike
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Old 08-12-09, 07:40 PM
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check this site

Everybody has his own opinion on that. Check this site out for a broad overview of touring and bikes.

http://www.biketoledo.net
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Old 08-12-09, 07:46 PM
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would I have problems with the wheels or frame if i had a heavy load on a racing bike
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Old 08-12-09, 07:57 PM
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Just pack light, or get a trailer. A double wheel keeps the most weight off your wheels and frame, if you don't ride single track you won't notice much difference over a single wheeled one.

If it's a nice road bike, I'd not want to load it up and add extra stress.
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Old 08-12-09, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ql151 View Post
Hi, I was wondering if you could tour on any road bike or if you have to have a touring bike
I think it all depends on how much stuff you want to take, what kind of weather you plan to ride in, and how many compromises you're willing to put up with.

The biggest challenge with most racing bikes is figuring out how to haul your gear. Most race bikes aren't designed to accepts racks and panniers. There are ways to make them fit, but heel strike can be a problem due to the short chainstays on most race bikes. Adding lots of weight may affect the bike's handling. Similarly, most race bikes aren't designed to accept fenders so riding in bad weather might not be terribly enjoyable.
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Old 08-12-09, 08:04 PM
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The closer the bike is to a touring bike the more options you have. You can tour on anything, but on non-touring bikes you may need to make compromises. There are many different ways to tour.

A heavy load on a racing bike is one example of the need for creative thinking.

You can tighten a bolt with a pair of pliers, but you wouldn't do that if you had a wrench available. Using the pliers may be a bit frustrating, but it'll eventually get the job done.

Last edited by John Nelson; 08-12-09 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 08-12-09, 08:05 PM
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You may run into a few problems. The aggressive position isn't really optimal for 50+ mile rides, day after day, for most riders. Racing frames aren't set up for carrying loads, either.

However, using a trailer will likely avoid most of the geometry and load issues.
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Old 08-12-09, 09:50 PM
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I've toured with my Cannondale road bike and a BOB trailer...45lbs of gear on the trailer and quick access stuff in a trunk bag on the rear rack. My Cannondale's dropout mount points and rubber P clamps made mounting the rack easy. The BOB is rated for 70lbs max. But I didn't carry any cookware, and hence very little food.
Go for it.
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Old 08-13-09, 04:56 AM
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Sure you can. Lots of folks have. I met quite a few going coast to coast on road bikes. The things you need to work out are:
  1. Gearing - Road bikes typically have gearing that is way less than optimal for loaded touring especially in the mountains.
  2. Durability - This can be a problem for wheels mostly. The rear wheel in particular. The solution is either a stronger rear wheel, a very light load, or a trailer.
  3. Geometry - This may or may not be a problem. Personally I kind of like a responsive bike.
  4. Riding position - Some find this to be problematic. I actually find aggressive road bike posture more comfortable. it keeps the weight off of the butt. You do need to have a form developed that lets the legs carry most of your weight and therefore doesn't put a lot of weight on the hands. This requires some core strength and not everyone can pull it off.
  5. Heel clearance - The shorter chain stays of a road bike make for a lack of heel clearance. Small panniers help. A trailer is another answer. Going really light and using a large seat bag in lieu of panniers is another answer.

My recommendation is to shoot for 20 pounds of gear weight including panniers and set a limit of 30 pounds max unless camping in really cold weather. This does not include water or food which are typically picked up daily or how ever often is possible. I think that goes better with the idea of touring with a road bike and makes for a comfortable ride. But that is just my opinion, some people like to carry much more.
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Old 08-13-09, 06:58 AM
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has anyone either had a good expierience touring on a racing bike or a bad expierience on a racing bike
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Old 08-13-09, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ql151 View Post
has anyone either had a good expierience touring on a racing bike or a bad expierience on a racing bike
I had bugs get in my eyes and someone yelled at me. My bike was very lightly loaded so it was easy to lift.
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Old 08-13-09, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ql151 View Post
has anyone either had a good expierience touring on a racing bike or a bad expierience on a racing bike
I toured on a racing bike once. I had a great experience, but I would never do it again.

- The riding position is not comfortable for long rides
- The wheels generally not rugged enough to stand up to the weight of the extra gear, increasing risk of rim or spoke failure (though I lucked out)
- Difficult to find a good way to carry things (hard to attach racks, bags, etc.)
- Gearing is generally too high
- Often there is not enough clearance to mount wider tires (for comfort under load). Almost never is there enough clearance for wider tires + fenders (if you are expecting lots of rain)


As I said, I survived. Wouldn't do it again.

This topic has been covered here at length - worth doing a search and scanning some older posts.
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Old 08-13-09, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ql151 View Post
would I have problems with the wheels or frame if i had a heavy load on a racing bike
Yes, you might. Racing bikes are built for speed, agility and lightness, rather than strength, comfort and durability (as touring bikes are). So a racing bike frame will likely be substantially weaker than a frame built for touring. They use thinner tubing to get the weight down, and that might or might not result in failure should you attempt loading the bike up. Racing bikes just aren't designed for that.

Other issues with racing bikes with respect to loaded touring:

1. They will have shorter wheelbase, which makes for a quicker but less comfortable ride when you're in the saddle all day long.
2. Shorter chainstays probably mean less heel clearance for panniers, if you try to use those. Heel strike as you're pedaling might force you to move the panniers back behind the rear axle, in which case you are destabilizing the bike, which may result in handling issues (wobble, shimmy etc).
3. Lack of rack eyelets - you don't have to have eyelets for racks, there are options that use clamps and/or the quick release skewer (see Old Man Mountain, they make great options for such bikes). But eyelets certainly make it easier to mount both racks and fenders.
4. Steeper frame angles - this is a geometry issue. Racing bikes need to be nimble and agile, not slow and comfortable. So when you're riding a bike all day long with twitchy "quick" steering, you will probably be more fatigued as a result. A good touring bike will feel a bit like a cadillac and not want to wander with the steering.
5. Wheel clearance - a good touring bike allows for mounting larger tires. Bigger tires contain more air, and thus they give a cushioning effect which is a bit like suspension. Also, larger tires allow the bike to go on rougher roads without risking damaging the rims or getting pinch flats. Many people like touring on slimmer tires, and you can certainly do that, especially if you are cycling mostly on good roads. But some of the nicest touring roads are the backroads, where there is less traffic, better scenery - and also often less surface maintenance, more cracks and potholes etc. So a "real" touring bike will have the clearance for those bigger tires, which makes it more flexible. Also, the wheels with wider rims will be stronger than the thin racing wheels.
6. Tubing selection - as I said above, a touring bike will be heavier, in part because it is built of thicker, stronger tubing. This is good if you're carrying a load. You don't want to put a big load, for example, on a lightweight carbon fiber racing bike. It just wasn't built for it, and it might fail suddenly and catestrophically if you're not careful. Certainly avoid putting big loads on lightweight carbon racing forks.
7. Riding position - racing bikes are made for a lower, more aerodynamic riding position. This is great for some people even when touring, but many others find it better to have a little more upright position when you're in the saddle for hours day after day.
8. Gearing - racing bikes generally have two chainrings, whereas touring bikes have three. This is important when you're hauling loads up hills - you want gears that go low enough, and you want a good range of gears so you don't have big steps between them. Racing bikes are generally geared higher than mountain bikes; the first thing many people change even on purpose-built touring bikes is the gearing, to be more similar to mountain bike gearing. You won't be standing up on the pedals so much on a loaded touring bike; the handling just doesn't really allow for it. So you need the appropriate gears to just settle in and crank it out. You will rarely be going all that fast, unless you're carrying very little or have a big tail wind, so the big gears on a racing bike will go unused most of the time.

It kind of depends how you want to carry the load. One good way to do it might be to look at the BOB trailer - this way, you can keep most of the load off the bike itself. I haven't done this myself, however, so I don't know how practical it is carrying a loaded BOB behind a lightweight racing bike... there might be handling issues there, too, I have no idea. There is more tortional force put on the rear triangle, apparently, since the trailer attaches at the rear hub.

If you pack ultralite, and aren't going to be going into any areas that risk extreme weather (e.g. Yellowstone, the mountain passes etc) then you can pack lighter, which will make the range of possible bikes correspondingly wider.

Having said all that, people can and do tour on just about any bike. It's just good to be aware of the potential issues going in.

Neil

Last edited by NeilGunton; 08-13-09 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 08-13-09, 02:07 PM
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I toured on a custom Lippy touring bike. Had all the special eyelets. 27x 1 1/4" tires. Rode it from Utah to Colorado. It also had a BAD shimmy at high speeds. 37/49 with 13-30freewheel.

I toured on a Maserati road bike made of Columbus tubing and had steep angles 74degrees head/seat. Rode it down the coast of Ca. then took the train to Redding and rode it around Shasta, down to Tahoe, and back to the Bay Area. I put on a Blackburn rear rack, replaced fork with longer rake road fork and used 700x28 tires and carried 13lbs of gear. It was a much more secure ride than the Lippy. 42/52 with 13-28 freewheel.

If you're skinny, fit,young and carry very little gear you can ride a different bike than if you're older, fat or carrying more gear.

I was basically making sequential long distance fast training rides and not really touring and smelling the roses.
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Old 08-13-09, 02:19 PM
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When I first started touring,I rode a Ross road bike(along time ago).Loaded it up with 4 panniers.Lord knows how much it weighed,ALOT!
Started off from LA to Sants Barbara,and made it to Capenteria before the back wheel started spitting spokes out.Had the rear wheel rebuilt,made it thru the rest of the trip OK.

Moral of the story,racing wheels are not happy with too much weight on them.

Rims and wheels in general have come along way since then,but.......
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