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Tourning on a non-touring frame

Old 05-23-10, 04:20 PM
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gattm99
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Tourning on a non-touring frame

I have lots of riding experience but zero loaded touring experience. I have a rack I got cheap from somewhere, and some rear paniers I got for 5 bucks at a Goodwill store. My backup road bike is a steel (reynolds 853) framed Schwinn Peloton from 1997. I'm considering doing some light touring this summer. Probably carrying a tent, a sleeping bag, some clothes and a few odd and ends, and probably not more then a few days at a time. My Schwinn doesn't have rack eyelets but I've seen little bolt on eyelet things. Should I try to find a true touring frame or just try to adapt my scwhinn.

The Schwinn can run 28mm tires, and I've got 32 spoke standard box wheels for it.
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Old 05-23-10, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by gattm99 View Post
I have lots of riding experience but zero loaded touring experience. I have a rack I got cheap from somewhere, and some rear paniers I got for 5 bucks at a Goodwill store. My backup road bike is a steel (reynolds 853) framed Schwinn Peloton from 1997. I'm considering doing some light touring this summer. Probably carrying a tent, a sleeping bag, some clothes and a few odd and ends, and probably not more then a few days at a time. My Schwinn doesn't have rack eyelets but I've seen little bolt on eyelet things. Should I try to find a true touring frame or just try to adapt my scwhinn.

The Schwinn can run 28mm tires, and I've got 32 spoke standard box wheels for it.
Run what ya brung! You can tour on anything you want. FWIW I frequently do short overnight tours on a Raleigh Twenty. First tour I ever did was ~20 miles one way and was done on a single speed Western Flyer coaster brake with stuff in a front basket.

Aaron
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Old 05-23-10, 11:13 PM
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I'm thinking about this now too, I have the money to buy the bike I've been wanting, the LHT. Well, I did have it until I loaned it to family. (it's okay, family is more important.)

But here's my issue. I've just started riding again on an old Panasonic DX-3000, nice bike, but too small. I'm enjoying just riding, feels great!

My son is five and is starting to like going with me on short rides and the road bike I have now with 25mm tires are not all that adept on gravel trails, I'm just waiting for a flat every time he decides to go that way. This is a new thing during the last week, his riding with me I mean. It's important to me that he learns to ride safely and that I can ride where he wants to go. And just riding on these gravel trails is making me miss trailing riding my old mountain bikes that I had as a kid.

A LHT would work fine on these trails at the speed we travel, and will for the next couple years at least. However, I can get something like the Kona Jake for about 500 less. (Canadian) With that I could buy the tent I want (for the two of us), a new sleeping bag and ultralight sleeping pad.

I don't plan on doing more than weekend tours with light gear, maybe a week long tour thrown in once or twice a year. Mostly I will be riding around the city for exercise, for fun, for groceries, etc. Some of my rides will be "long" (~100 km) rides around the city. I'm ready for my first 50 km ride, I was going to do it this weekend but things came up. When I'm out riding I'd like to be able to get off the road and ride down a trail I spot, head out around some lake trails too.

I love this forum, I love that I've not rushed out and spent all my bike money without waiting and doing research. I've learned a lot here and some of them are things I knew all along... you can tour on ANYTHING, you can tour on a skateboard, roller blades, a unicycle or a giant custom-made kids tricycle if it floats your boat.

For me a Jake (or similar cyclocross bike) with different gearing might be all I require. I'm starting to look at it this way... it might not be the right way... but honestly, another thing I've learned here is that there is no "right way" to tour... I live in North America and if something happens to my bike I'm not far from help. I also don't plan on being far from home, there are many places I want to explore that are near me and they will keep me busy for a good while as I get the rest of my gear sorted out.

I'm starting to look at a touring specific bike as something that is great if you have the need for it, I don't know if I do anymore. My dream is to eventually cross Canada on by bicycle, I'd get a touring bike for that, hands down! But to go away for a weekend... I think if it holds a rack and gets you there safely and comfortably that's what matters. And if it can do a weekend, it can do a week every once in awhile! Beyond a week I think is when a touring bike will start to pay off. You're taking more gear, you're going further and stressing the bike over longer periods of time, the control while loaded is probably better than a road or cyclocross bike, chainstays are typically longer as is wheelbase, better balance, geometry, etc. Lots of reasons to get a touring bike and I agree with most of them.

I'm more confused than ever about my own journey. I'm also more educated than ever because I've taken the time to really soak in everything this forum has to offer.

As for your situation I say go have fun, take your current bike and have a blast! Figure out what worked for you on the first trip and what did not, maybe you'll be perfectly happy with what you have.

And to quote above;

Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Run what ya brung!
I like that. Well said.

Last edited by a1rabbit; 05-23-10 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 05-24-10, 12:19 AM
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A cyclocross bike can be a great touring bike as long as you can spend the time and money to set it up properly. I bought a cx bike one size too large, which makes it perfect for road touring and replaced the crankset with a 24-36-46 triple. Another nice bonus to the "one size too big" frame is that the handlebars are at the right height (just under saddle height) without a huge spacer stack or a funky stem... gives me a long and not-so-low position which is noticeably great after mile 50 or so on the road.

Getting the fit right is a trick, as these bikes were made for an aggressive offroad racing position, and a shorter reach to be more maneuverable through the rough and on rapid mounts/dismounts. They are great gravel path runners, loaded or not, but I spent a good $400 above the cost of the bike and about two months dialing in the perfect components/position for touring.

To the OP: you can tour on anything, just make sure you do a thorough mechanical once over first. Also keep in mind that many little fit issues will be hiding in your bicycle... and will come creeping out after half a day or so of riding with a load. I have found that most of the issues and problems when touring on a non-touring bike come from problems with the fit not taking into account the very different riding style that loaded touring demands.

Last edited by sunset1123; 05-24-10 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 05-24-10, 05:44 AM
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Thanks for the replies, it sounds like I'm going to be good on my schwinn.
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Old 05-24-10, 08:08 AM
  #6  
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I think you have two options: ride what you have, make it work, and save your money; or buy a real touring bike with good racks, quality panniers, and enjoy touring, albeit with less money.

I started on a Raleigh Gran Prix, bought used in 1973. I had a rear rack from the local department store (think Wal-mart, but it was a Fred Meyer.) I sewed my own panniers. I slung my sleeping bag between the drops on my handlebars with string - it worked great! The bike was heavy, and 10 speeds, and steel 32-spoke rims. I had a ball! I broke a spoke once or twice, but I could still ride it.

I now have a touring setup that is everything I could want - LHT frame, hand-chosen components, hand-built wheels, excellent quality racks and panniers, etc. - and I'm still having a ball! I don't want to go back to the setup I had in the 70's, but if I was once again a poor college student, I wouldn't hesitate to ride it somewhere.
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Old 05-24-10, 10:46 AM
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try it out! I've actually gone on overnights on a road bike by stuffing everything into a messenger bag (granted, we just slept under the stars with no tent...). I hear a couple things that are nice about touring bikes as opposed to regular ones though - chainstay length is longer (I've found I've routinely kicked off panniers from an older racked up road bike), and they usually handle better under load (low BB, frame material). Your load's probably going to be less than 50, so the Schwinn should probably do OK under load anyways. The panniers being kicked off can be quickly remedied with two bungees.

I'd recommend taking it out for a few loaded rides, then plan a short overnight trip, see how that works out.
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Old 05-24-10, 10:46 AM
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It's nice to see a thread where not everyone is pushing touring specific bikes as the only true and sane option, even for a short trip.

When I was a kid I did weekend tours on a mountain bike with a backpack. Did not even have a pannier. Hell, I did not even have a pump or spare tire. I had a patch kit... I guess with schrader valves i figured I could walk to a gas station if needed. We had a blast.

I honestly think that when someone like me (new to the hobby, sport, lifestyle, etc.) asks what kind of bike they need to do a tour that the first question people should ask them what kind of tour they are going to do. That's a good place start from. A two-day close to home tour requires a much less tour oriented bike than a 15 day tour.

Just my opinion mind you.
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Old 05-24-10, 07:34 PM
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The "run what ya brung" is an old drag racing term (just for the record)

You can do a bike tour on any kind of bike you chose, distance is immaterial. People like Joff Summerfield did an around the world tour on a Penny Farthing, Heinz Stücke has been touring the world for many years on a 3speed! To each their own as long as they are riding along!

Aaron
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Old 05-24-10, 08:19 PM
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I once read, "People had been bike touring long before there were touring bikes." So enjoy what you have if you're not about to drop some $$$. I ride a cheap, heavy mountain bike with a few upgraded components, and relish the fact that I have a decent tourer for little money. Someday I'll splurge on that perfect ride, but in the meantime you just make-do.
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Old 05-24-10, 08:26 PM
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If you go into touring with the mindset that you will deal with whatever comes up, then you'll be fine on any bike. If you go into touring with any other mindset, you won't have fun on any bike.
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