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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.

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Old 06-05-11, 10:42 AM   #1
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Touring retrofit using my commuter bike. Good idea?

I have been doing a lot of research to find what my ideal touring bike would be. Truth be told, I am probably a year or two away from really getting started on that, but I keep researching anyways.

I decided to check out the specs on my current commuter bike and was surprised to find that the geometry (see it here, I have the 52 cm model) seems absolutely ideal for touring.

Great gearing (probably need a 34T on the cassette, maybe drop the chainrings, too), long chainstay and wheel base, relaxed seat tube and head tube angles(well, HT for sure), long head tube (I don't know what the point of having a long head tube is yet, but I've seen mention of it from other posters here), long trail (which I prefer).

A couple of issues (some are simply upgrades that need to be made): the frame is aluminum (this is the biggest issue), the BB might be a tad high (might prefer 80mm), the fork doesn't have braze-ons for front panniers, I'll have to change the handlebar and shifters, it needs a better rack, and I'll need 36H wheels.

I'm not sure what the largest tire my frame can handle is, but it would be nice to be able to be able to put on 700Cx42s if needed. Is there a measurement to take to find that out, or do you just have to eyeball it?

I should also note that the dynamo and light (which sucked) are no longer on my bike (I have a Blackburn Flea now), and the front fender is gone, too. I already replaced the tires with Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700Cx38s, and I put SPDs on.

The point here is that I'm now thinking that my best bet is to just convert this frame into a full-fledged tourer. I don't know if I have a question other than if you guys think that this is a good frame to work with. I was just so shocked to see how well it fits from a geometry and spec standpoint.
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Old 06-05-11, 10:56 AM   #2
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Aluminum frame wasn't bad for short term touring and at least it is the bike you got now that ready to hop up and ride!

And if you think touring is what you really want to do, then you can bought some nice cr-mo touring bike after that.

Because in long term you will never know when it will crack like this.
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Old 06-05-11, 11:37 AM   #3
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I like Trekking bars and are an easy swap-over from a straight bar setup.
1 bike uses those, Grip shifter and brake levers slide right on,
open rear tubes face the center.

.. though Ergon's GC3 , grip/bar end combinations are good too,
Intend to try a set on my Bike Friday, when my order hits the door.

Nothing wrong with a well designed Aluminum frame,

the record holder for fastest round the world solo bike tour
did it on a Aluminum framed bike .

hammer on ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-05-11 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 06-05-11, 12:02 PM   #4
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Brittain, At the least I'd add bar ends. I don't worry about aluminum frames after nearly two decades owning them so modify to your heart's content.

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Old 06-05-11, 12:16 PM   #5
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Why wait two years? Start with short weekend overnight trips. You can tour on any bike, depending on how long, how far you want to go and how much stuff you want to carry. You will figure all that out as you start riding and camping.
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Old 06-05-11, 01:50 PM   #6
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I'll second the thought of using it like it is for now. Nothing wrong with that, just ride it on a few overnighters and see how it goes. Plenty of people tour on flat bar bikes, they make most front racks with u-bolts that will attach to regular forks, and I'm willing to bet the 26/32 low gear combo is low enough for 99% of what you need.

Don't over-think it. Most of what you need to know, you can only find out for yourself by trial and error. The bike looks plenty up to the task.
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Old 06-05-11, 01:57 PM   #7
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Like others have said, You have a good bike, get going.

This guy rode 2,200 miles, camping all the way.

Fred "The Real Fred"
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Old 06-05-11, 05:25 PM   #8
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go for it
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