Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Best all-terrain tourer?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Best all-terrain tourer?

Old 10-10-10, 10:50 PM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
RaiderInBlue47's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 102

Bikes: Ross Professional Gran Tour (SS Conversion)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Best all-terrain tourer?

After finishing my first tour earlier this week (which was fantastic, by the way!), it's easy to say I'm hooked! My next tour won't be until December and will probably be a 3 day tour but next summer I'm gearing up for a nice ride across Tennessee, East to West!

Anywho, I've been touring on an older steel bike (Ross frame) and it's holding up fine for me. However, I want to start looking into getting a dedicated touring + casual road day trip bike.

Here's the catch: I want it to be able to perform on gravel, mud, dirt, asphalt, concrete, anything I throw at it.

Basically, I'll pay anywhere up to $1200 for a bike that could ride PanAmerican Highway-type terrain, where it'll mostly be on normal roads but might find its way onto a gravel trail or really crappy concrete or a muddy dirt road in the pouring rain.

My first thought is maybe a Cyclocross bike? Or a hardtail 29 inch mountain bike? Or are there some dedicated touring bikes out there that'll ride well with knobby tires and can take that kind of beating? Or maybe I just need a LHT with some knobby tires?

What would you suggest? And, as far as cargo goes, I used an old military rucksack for my 3 day trip. I'm 17 so it didn't bother my back a bit, but I know I'll want something more...liberating in the future? For all-terrain touring, panniers or a BOB trailer?

Thanks!
RaiderInBlue47 is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 12:04 AM
  #2  
Life is a fun ride
 
safariofthemind's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 643
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Welcome to the touring life! It's fun ain't it?

Before going farther, search this forum for the keywords "mtb", "mountain bike" and "cyclo cross". Many folks use cyclocross bikes like the Surly Cross Check. Also check crazyguyonabike.com and look for people who have toured off road and what they used. Many examples there. 1200 is plenty, but you'll have to choose between used and new, converting a hardtail mtb machine or buying a stock commercial build. Depending on how rugged your off road touring is, even a normal touring bike like a Long Haul Trucker will do fine with the right tires. My 2 cents: stick to 26" tires for off road use but 700c/29er is fine if you intend to stay in the US. Remember to budget for racks, fenders, panniers, etc.

Last edited by safariofthemind; 10-11-10 at 12:09 AM.
safariofthemind is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 01:07 AM
  #3  
Real Men Ride Ordinaries
 
fuzz2050's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 3,723
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
I have yet to meet a touring bike that can't handle some rough treatment. I don't really have a mountain bike any more, when I want to hit the trails I just strip off the rack and fenders, throw on some knobby tires (or sometimes I don't) and just ride as is. A touring bike with 32mm slick tires is surprisingly competent on light cross country. I would not hesitate to take my bike across gravel, mud, even mild single track. Just stay away from major drop offs.

By the way, if you haven't used drop bars off-road, you are in for a treat, wide drop bars work incredibly well off-road.
fuzz2050 is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 03:24 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Hsinchu County Taiwan ROC
Posts: 106

Bikes: 2007 Bianchi Volpe

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hi, Before I bought my Volpe I read Adventure Cycle Touring by Lord. There's a new edition out. Highly recommend it for bike buying advice. Here you will read lots of positive about Surly LHT. Cycle cross is the way to go for my environment.
meyers66 is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 04:40 AM
  #5  
Member
 
psmiffy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: England
Posts: 31

Bikes: Thorn Exp, Marin Commuter, Giant Hybrid

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thorn in the UK do an all Terrain Tourer - but I would suggest that it is a bit more than $1200
psmiffy is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 06:46 AM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Right where I'm supposed to be
Posts: 1,630

Bikes: Franklin Frames Custom, Rivendell Bombadil

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 115 Post(s)
Liked 208 Times in 126 Posts
I'd suggest getting a bike that can take the bigger tires, at least 42-50mm.... and a long wheelbase, like 18". This eliminates cross bikes, and for good reason, they are not intended for your purpose.

A Salsa Fargo seems like it would suit you.

I'd suggest a Rivendell Hunqapillar or Bombadil, but that's beyond your range. The Bombadil is friggin' awesome.

The LHT is Bike Forums favorite cheap bike, this may or may not be a good thing. It would work okay.

Last edited by Garthr; 10-11-10 at 06:50 AM.
Garthr is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 08:33 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,200
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 137 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 81 Times in 64 Posts
RIB47, when I hear "all -terrain" I'm thinking there's some hills and steep sections involved in which case carrying the least amount of gear and having it well secured would be as important as the bike design. Otherwise crappy roads can be dealt with using fatter tires. Your criteria for "dedicated touring, casual road trip day bike AND PanAmerican Hwy type terrain" covers one hell of a range, at least you're not asking for fast single track riding over logs and ruts which points to a mtn. bike with shocks. If you're thinking of road trip day bike AND loaded rough terrain tourer you're asking for a lot. If you're light you can pull it off better than if you're heavy.

Cross Check or similar bike that can take fat tires would fit the bill. You might consider having two sets of wheels. Light road wheels/tires and heavy touring wheels/tires. Keeping the load light with fat tires taking up the shock can get you through a lot of rough stuff but at some point shocks become worthwhile. For $1200 you've got some compromising to do. LHT with 26" wheels and two sets of tires would be another thought if your dedicated touring involves some weight.

Last edited by LeeG; 10-11-10 at 08:57 AM.
LeeG is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 08:41 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
BigBlueToe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Coast, CA
Posts: 3,392

Bikes: Surly LHT, Specialized Rockhopper, Nashbar Touring (old), Specialized Stumpjumper (older), Nishiki Tourer (model unknown)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I hope Nancy Sayer weighs in. She and her family are riding from Alaska down to the tip of South America, and probably have more experience with the type of riding you described as anyone.

If I had to choose a bike that would work for regular touring as well as rough-road touring, I might go with a Surly LHT with 26" wheels. You can mount narrow, slick, road tires, but you can also put on pretty stout knobbies.
BigBlueToe is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 08:49 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,200
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 137 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 81 Times in 64 Posts
Originally Posted by Garthr
I'd suggest getting a bike that can take the bigger tires, at least 42-50mm.... and a long wheelbase, like 18". This eliminates cross bikes, and for good reason, they are not intended for your purpose.

A Salsa Fargo seems like it would suit you.

I'd suggest a Rivendell Hunqapillar or Bombadil, but that's beyond your range. The Bombadil is friggin' awesome.

The LHT is Bike Forums favorite cheap bike, this may or may not be a good thing. It would work okay.
Cross Check with rear wheel at the back of the drop-outs is about about 17.75" which is a smidge longer than the shorter Hunqapillar.
LeeG is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 09:13 AM
  #10  
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Uncertain
Posts: 8,651
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by psmiffy
Thorn in the UK do an all Terrain Tourer - but I would suggest that it is a bit more than $1200
It certainly is. If there's a better off-road tourer than this I don't know about it, but it's more than double that budget and when you're NOT off-road, is way more bike than you need.

OP, I agree with others. Put the right tyres on almost any decent touring bike and you'll be surprised at how competent they are off-road. Cross bikes are great too, but aren't as well set up for fully loaded touring.
chasm54 is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 11:05 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,296
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 49 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 7 Posts
Do they sell the Giant Expedition where you are? They sell them locally for around 1200 euros on sale (~ $1700). Very sturdy bikes. I wouldn't hesitate to take it a few thousand kilometers on dirt roads.
jeffpoulin is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 11:13 AM
  #12  
Life is a fun ride
 
safariofthemind's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 643
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I own the Cross Check with 700 wheels and Marathon 40mm tires. It can handle off road just fine. I donīt do stunts or bunny hop so canīt talk to that kind of activity but for trails it is just fine and dandy. It is a tad twitchier than my ancient Jamis Diablo mtb with rigid fork and 26 inch knobbies but the Cross Check is much more comfortable on pavement. Itīs a compromise.
safariofthemind is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 01:36 PM
  #13  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,355 Times in 862 Posts
Double Suspension .. https://www.tout-terrain.de/2/product...ana/index.html

OK you said best in the heading , But then said a price point ceiling in the text.

but Pan American Highway was mentioned namely Alaska to the straights of Magellan ,
Tierra del Fuego.

so which part makes it all terrain for you?

Mountain bike tires can be found a lot of places , more so than 700c,

[406 more often too. say on a bike friday type touring bike.. ]

benefit for when you need to catch a Bus
something like a pre suspension 80's mountain bike frame can be the basis for a good touring bike .
the tubby tires will be your suspension then, and weigh less than all the Mech for suspension. like the forks..
Add a thudbuster seatpost and the riders backside is suspended a bit.

the BoB trailer with a suspended wheel was made to tow behind a mountain bike
to ride single track into the back country.

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-11-10 at 03:31 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 01:55 PM
  #14  
Life is a fun ride
 
safariofthemind's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 643
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I took "best" to mean the OP was excited about his/her new found enjoyment, as opposed to "the ultimate bike, no price barred".

"Best" is such a subjective thing, as in, "best for what purpose?".

On the other hand he has narrowed down the mission and the budget so we can work out what we would think best for this mission. His profile says he is a college student so we can use that as a starting point. Plenty of us have walked in those shoes before...
safariofthemind is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 02:03 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Right where I'm supposed to be
Posts: 1,630

Bikes: Franklin Frames Custom, Rivendell Bombadil

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 115 Post(s)
Liked 208 Times in 126 Posts
Originally Posted by safariofthemind
I took "best" to mean the OP was excited about his/her new found enjoyment, as opposed to "the ultimate bike, no price barred".

"Best" is such a subjective thing, as in, "best for what purpose?".

On the other hand he has narrowed down the mission and the budget so we can work out what we would think best for this mission. His profile says he is a college student so we can use that as a starting point. Plenty of us have walked in those shoes before...

Yep, let's keep this in perspective of the OP. Really, a LHT frame with 26" wheels as BigBlueToe mentioned would suit him fine , most likely...... as you can use up to 2.1" tires with it. The new Surly Troll looks interesting ,but the chainstays are short at 16.5".

Last edited by Garthr; 10-11-10 at 02:09 PM.
Garthr is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 02:15 PM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Right where I'm supposed to be
Posts: 1,630

Bikes: Franklin Frames Custom, Rivendell Bombadil

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 115 Post(s)
Liked 208 Times in 126 Posts
Originally Posted by LeeG
Cross Check with rear wheel at the back of the drop-outs is about about 17.75" which is a smidge longer than the shorter Hunqapillar.
I thought the Hunqapillars were 46cm, the same as the LHT. The LHT has a 2" longer wheelbase than the Cross-Check, going by the specs. The rougher the road, a longer wheelbase is great.
Garthr is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 03:15 PM
  #17  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,355 Times in 862 Posts
Ross could be equipped with strong pannier racks, and a modern drive train to be a pretty good tourer.
really the important part is getting the fit dialed in so the weeks of riding all day can be fairly comfortable.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 04:34 PM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Dublin, OH
Posts: 576

Bikes: Serial bike flipper

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 92 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 73 Posts
+1 on the Fargo.

I'm clearly biased, since I own a Fargo, but unless you really want the 26" wheels, I can't see buying a LHT instead of a Fargo. The Fargo rides great loaded up, and gives you the option of mounting up real mountain bike tires. Disc brakes stop well in all kinds of muck, and the increased standover height is nice when mounting a loaded bike or riding dicey terrain.

Me on my last trip:


Parked next to my buddy's LHT:
seat_boy is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 05:00 PM
  #19  
Life is a fun ride
 
safariofthemind's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 643
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Looking good and sporty seat_boy. You seem to have a minimal package to tour with, what were you carrying? Were you going off road too?
safariofthemind is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 06:09 PM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Dublin, OH
Posts: 576

Bikes: Serial bike flipper

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 92 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 73 Posts
No off road, save for a few gravel paths through a metro park. No problem for the 35mm Paselas I was running.

It was a three day/two night trip. I carried:
- sleeping bag and pad
- eating gear and quite a bit of food (most of two day's worth of food, the rest we picked up along the way)
- mostly clothes for each day, plus rain jacket and pants
- camera, book, headlamp, toothbrush, etc.
- and to cap it all off, a 4 person Coleman tent (I weighed it when we got back: 12 pounds!) It was my buddy's tent, but I was carrying it.

Basically, everything you would need except the stove, which my friend was carrying. The total bike + gear was 70 pounds to start. The Fargo with racks, cages, etc weighs about 32 pounds, so the balance was gear.

This trip is inspiring me to go lighter, though. I want to see if I can get everything in the handlebar bag and a Carradice saddlebag, then use my Crosscheck as a light tourer.


Originally Posted by safariofthemind
Looking good and sporty seat_boy. You seem to have a minimal package to tour with, what were you carrying? Were you going off road too?
seat_boy is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 06:30 PM
  #21  
Life is a fun ride
 
safariofthemind's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 643
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have my Crosscheck set up for light touring also. Just a rear rack and frame bag right now but I am looking for a porteur rack so I can carry something like a Carradice for short tours, or a Pelican case on longer rides. 40 lb max load. Once the custom w/Rohloff on order arrives, the cross bike will be dressed with Honjo fenders and narrower tires for shorter duration rides and credit card touring.

To the OP, this is a good example of the range of what "all terrain" means. The other extreme is what are called "expedition bikes" like the Thorn Nomad and other Rohloff equipped internally geared hub machines. Expedition bikes are 5K plus fully outfitted but are capable of amazing feats, climbing the Himalayas and the Andes without skipping a beat. For crossing TN you need nothing like that. An MTB or a bike like seat_boy's is plenty.
safariofthemind is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 06:38 PM
  #22  
Bicycle Lifestyle
 
AsanaCycles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Pacific Grove, Ca
Posts: 1,737

Bikes: Neil Pryde Diablo, VeloVie Vitesse400, Hunter29er, Surly Big Dummy

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
you can google bikepacking, and bikes of The Tour Divide.

this is my set up
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
20..jpg (86.5 KB, 73 views)
File Type: jpg
IMG_1086..jpg (84.5 KB, 52 views)
File Type: jpg
IMG_1084..jpg (99.9 KB, 51 views)
File Type: jpg
IMG_1172..jpg (90.9 KB, 67 views)
AsanaCycles is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 06:46 PM
  #23  
Life is a fun ride
 
safariofthemind's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 643
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
That's a Hunter custom frame isn't it? Seen a couple of nice journals online ot people doing amazing things in the mud on those.
safariofthemind is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 07:30 PM
  #24  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,200
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 137 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 81 Times in 64 Posts
Originally Posted by Garthr
I thought the Hunqapillars were 46cm, the same as the LHT. The LHT has a 2" longer wheelbase than the Cross-Check, going by the specs. The rougher the road, a longer wheelbase is great.
the CrossCheck has long horizontal dropouts the LHT has vertical, there's about an inch of range from the front to the back of the dropouts. The 16.7" measurment is at the front of the dropouts. Long chainstays are good for rear weighted loads, lax head angles and fat tires are good for rough roads. If you look at mtn bikes they have shorter chainstay lengths than most touring bikes.
LeeG is offline  
Old 10-11-10, 07:41 PM
  #25  
Bicycle Lifestyle
 
AsanaCycles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Pacific Grove, Ca
Posts: 1,737

Bikes: Neil Pryde Diablo, VeloVie Vitesse400, Hunter29er, Surly Big Dummy

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by safariofthemind
That's a Hunter custom frame isn't it? Seen a couple of nice journals online ot people doing amazing things in the mud on those.
yes, its a custom Hunter
AsanaCycles is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.