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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 03-26-12, 12:22 AM   #1
Niles H.
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Light Weight Bikes for Touring?

What are some of the options for touring bikes that weigh twenty pounds or so? (Plus or minus a few pounds -- bikes at the lighter side of the spectrum of touring bikes, that are light or maybe even very light, as touring bikes go, but not radically ultralight -- not sub-fourteen-pound bikes, say, but somewhere in the range of sixteen to twenty-three pounds or so, and still capable of handling light to moderate rack-mounted touring loads, not just a frame bag or handlebar bag.)

For the bikes sold and designed as touring bikes, which are among the lighter/lightest ones?

Also, which bikes are among the lighter bikes that, although not touring specific, would still be suitable or work well as tourers? (to be used for touring that is non-superultralight, self-contained, with rack-mounted loads -- or for dual use, sometimes ultralight, sometimes moderately light, or, on some trips or portions of trips, even moderately heavy at times -- bikes that could be used both ways; maybe some of the lighter, minimalist steel mountain bikes for example?)

Last edited by Niles H.; 03-26-12 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 03-26-12, 12:36 AM   #2
Niles H.
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Some people don't seem to care how much the bike weighs; but there are others who do. Some of us, especially those of us who ride in the mountains a lot, do appreciate going light at times. Depending on the person and the nature of the tour, weight can be more of a factor on some tours than on others.

Not all of us can or will reduce the touring load by losing a lot of body weight; and even those who can and do save weight this way, might still appreciate the lighter gear, at times, or enjoy riding lighter bikes.

Last edited by Niles H.; 03-26-12 at 01:37 AM.
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Old 03-26-12, 03:31 AM   #3
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In the UK we have Audax style, light-touring bikes, which have racing-weight frames for 18-20lbs build weight but rack and fender mounts, usually long drop caliper for 28mm tyre clearance.
The classic setup is with a large saddlebag but they can take light camping loads on rear panniers. Some people load the up quite heavily.
You need to keep the load from tipping the bike back since they the chain-stay length of a medium tourer.

UK explorers, the Crane brothers used ultralight touring bike made from Reynolds 753 (pro grade racing steel) to ride to from New Dehli the centre of the asian landmass in Mongolia in mid 1980s. They were skirting the very extreme of lightweight cycle touring but the ultralight movement has made an impact on cycling.
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Old 03-26-12, 04:11 AM   #4
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I've taken a number of trips on my '87 Trek 560 which is a "sport" frame built up in the 20lb range. The biggest drawback has been the tires and lack of fenders. There is not enough clearance for anything but 28mm and, although I loaded the bike, if I were to do it again I would pull a trailer and keep the load off the bike itself.

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Old 03-26-12, 04:52 AM   #5
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Actually I have grown to like light road bikes for touring. As my gear weight got lower and lower a 30 pound bike made less and less sense for me. My last tour was with a 14 pound gear weight on a 1990 Cannondale 3.0 criterium bike. Despite the fact that it's short wheelbase, short chainstays, lots of toe overlap, steep head tube angle, and super responsive handling are all usually considered bad traits for a touring bike, I really enjoyed my Southern Tier ride on it. It is very stiff and very responsive. The ride is a little harsh, but I find it OK, especially since I went from 23mm gatorskins to 25mm gatorskins.

I would consider riding a modern carbon fiber road bike, but like the simplicity and cheapness of my 3.0 Cannondale with down tube shifter, 7 speed free hub, and ultra compact crankset (actually a triple with the big ring removed).

Since I decided to leave my 3.0 in Florida at my daughter's house after my last tour, I am trying to figure out what to replace it with. Another one just like it is one option and a newer carbon fiber bike is another. If I can find one at a cheap price in my size I will probably pick up another 1990-1995 3.0 in either the criterium or road race model.

Forgot to mention: Please contact me if you have a 52cm 1990-1995 Cannondale 3.0 for sale at a reasonable price.

Last edited by staehpj1; 03-26-12 at 05:02 AM.
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Old 03-26-12, 08:54 AM   #6
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bikes are a name branded frame and stuff bolted onto it,
all components are someone's choice.
bike companies a Product Manager does the selection and parts cost math..

if you get a bare frame then the decisions are yours..

but the pricing is, each, not in lots of a thousand.
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