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Touring Bike Information

Old 05-09-10, 09:17 AM
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Touring Bike Information

I'm looking to purchase a touring bike. I very much prefer speed to comfort but I imagine on a long ride comfort becomes important. I'm pretty sure my friends will be riding non touring bikes that are faster and I want to be able to keep up.

I want to be able to carry some load, but I also want the fastest bike possible that can do that. Does anyone have any recommendations in this regard? Either for a specific bike or components I could change to gain some speed?

I tried the Bianchi Volpe which I liked and the Raleigh Sojourn which I didn't like, it was way too heavy, although the bike I tried was too big for me and it already had stuff on it that I think I would need to add anyway that the Volpe didn't have when I tried it. Also I didn't like the bar end shifters on the Sojourn.

Thanks for any wisdom you can throw my way.
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Old 05-09-10, 09:31 AM
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Some touring bikes are equipped with mountain bike gearing while others tend to go closer towards the road bike side.
Look around for the specs: If you get a model that is equipped or equip it with thin tires (ex: 700x28 or 700x32) and a road bike gearing (ex: Shimano 105) plus a drop bar and a light steel alloy then you cannot be slower than the others.

Comfort and stability comes basically from the frame geometry, wheel base, and a proper fit.
Unless the others are riding a full fledge road racer you should be more than ok

I am not familiar with the american market, but here in Europe I would recomment the "Cannondale Tesoro" range with a quick change of tire thickness.
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Old 05-09-10, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by lexshmex

I want to be able to carry some load, but I also want the fastest bike possible that can do that. Does anyone have any recommendations in this regard? Either for a specific bike or components I could change to gain some speed?
You seem to be suggesting you want to do some "lightly loaded" touring (you say "some" load) but still have a reasonably lightweight bike.

There are a bunch of bikes you can buy that can carry a light to medium load that would weigh (fully loaded) around 23 to 25 pounds vs. 28 to 32 pounds (the weight of a heady duty touring bike like the Surly LHT).

- Salsa Casseroll
- An aluminum-framed cyclocross bike, like the Specialized TriCross
- A semi-custom bike (if you have the $$$$), like the Co-Motion Nor'Wester Tour
- A Jamis Aurora Elite is a bit lighter than their base model Jamis Aurora

In terms of component weight savings -- one thing that some people do is have a rugged set of touring wheels/tubes/tires for fully loaded touring while keeping a lighter set of "training" wheels for their recreational riding. The weight savings between big, fat touring tires and a lighter set of tires are considerable. You also can ditch the full second water bottle, the big touring saddle bag (get a small flat kit for around town), and maybe even consider a lighter weight saddle for training rides. It all sounds trivial, but between wheels, tires and other gear on your bike you can pick up 2 to 4 pounds without really having to deal with component upgrades elsewhere on the bike.
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Old 05-09-10, 11:43 AM
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I just read a journal of a guy that is touring on a Trek Madone CF bike. How fast do you want to be? I'm sure someone here can find the link to his journal and it is an eye opener for sure especially to all the CF haters that say it can't be done.
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Old 05-09-10, 11:48 AM
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It can be done. Sounds like the OP should just buy a regular road/racing bike. If his gear load is minimal, he can get by with a seatpost rack, or a Tubus Fly rack. Many road bikes will accept 700x28 tires, which is probably more than enough for light touring.
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Old 05-09-10, 10:10 PM
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I have both the Volpe and a LHT(at least for awhile). There is not a lot of difference in ride between the two with 28 mm tires. I've ridden about 100 miles of training rides with my wife in the last couple of weeks on the LHT. It definately takes more work to stay up with someone on a fast road bike. I seldom go larger than 28mm , and have done quite a bit of touring on 25mm tires. 25's are about as large as you can mount without defalating the tire so it will fit between the brake pads (sidepull brakes). The bikes below were taken on several multi-week trips, which would qualify as "light touring" We were fully self contained, but very selective about what we carried. The bikes are stock road bikes with 25mm tires. They do have eyelets so they will accept racks. I fabricated the panniers with more taper to eliminate "heel strike". My wife's bike is a small framed Specialized Allez with 25 mm tires. I also fabricated her panniers to accommodate the short chainstays. The bike in the picture is the same bike I rode today (23mm tires) to chase our son who races cyclocross, and my wife who is training for a triathlon on our annual Mother's Day ride. Everything is a compromise. If you can find a "light" bike with eyelets on the rear drop outs, you can mount a rack. However, the trouble with most road bikes is the short chainstays.

FWIW-IMO-- Comfort sometimes trumps speed on long tough days.


Last edited by Doug64; 05-09-10 at 11:22 PM.
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