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Old 08-23-12, 12:16 AM   #1
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This road bike... on a tour?

Hi, all. Been reading the forum for a few weeks -- incredibly helpful. The tips and tricks sticky especially. I'm planning to do a tour (my first) of Indochina/China next year and am wondering about whether my road bike can handle it -- and how.

I have read other threads here and done some googling about the issue, and it seems to me the overall consensus is that road bikes generally can function as tour bikes (I could be wrong about this, of course). But I'm not very knowledgeable about bikes and my bike is very cheap. To make matters worse, I'm living in Taiwan and can't find any specific English-language info about my current bike, and very little in Chinese too. The bike is a Merida road bike R-902. It has an aluminum frame. It also has 52/42T chainring alloy crank, Flywheel SHIMANO TZ21 14-28T, front speed control lever SHIMANO SLA050-2 and back shift lever SHIMANO SLA050-7. I can't even find weight info, but I can tell you it is really light. Like really, really light (I am very articulate, right?) Here is the Chinese page:

I don't know if any of this is of any significance. My unintuitive intuition just feels like "this bike is so light, how could is handle the weight of panniers?" But I am too clueless -- I don't want to install a rack and panniers on it without checking with you pros, and at the same time don't want to chuck it in for a touring bike without being sure I need to.

What would the issues be? Mainly weight? If it is doable, what sort of things should I consider (or should I definitely) replace?

You guys are the best!
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Old 08-23-12, 02:03 AM   #2
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Tyre clearance and high gearing is more of an issue. If you are travelling very light, you can tour on a midrange roadbike.
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Old 08-23-12, 05:05 AM   #3
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It could work. How well would depend on your touring style. If you pack heavy it would be a poor choice IMO. Then again you could carry quite a bit if using a trailer.

A road bike is actually my first choice for mostly good road touring these days, but that is because I have gone to a very lightly loaded touring style. I do tend to want lower gearing than road bikes come with by default though. I should note that my very light style of touring is not commonly adopted by folks touring in less developed nations. I can say that it works well in the rural US, but I can't speak to how it would work where you are headed. How bad are the roads where you will be going? If really bad you may not be able to fit tires as wide as you will want.
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Old 08-23-12, 09:10 AM   #4
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People ride the coast, here, on all sorts of stuff.

.. you got contingency plans to get spares for broken stuff?

internet prompted mail drops Perhaps?
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Old 08-23-12, 11:31 AM   #5
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Looking at those cranks, the 36 spoke wheels and what looks to be a metal dork disc on the rear wheel, the bike doesn't seem to be really, really light. Might not even be really light. As noted, the gearing could be too high for comfort. Also, you will have to come up with a way to attach a rack, but that's doable even without the standard attachments found on "touring" frames. Heel strike (you heels hitting the panniers) could be an issue depending on the length of chainstays, the profile of your panniers and the size of your feet.
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