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-   -   New Offroad Tourer Recommendations (https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/861638-new-offroad-tourer-recommendations.html)

BaWolf 12-08-12 12:32 PM

New Offroad Tourer Recommendations
 
I am not sure if I should be starting a new thread, this is my first post but I wanted to get some advice. I've done a decent amount of road cycling and am going to be testing myself this summer with a supported tour. I will be in Africa for around two months. As far as bikes go I'm looking most heavily at the Salsa Fargo, potentially the Surly Disc Trucker as well. I would like a steel frame disc brakes as well. I was wondering if I could get advice on some other potential alternatives I am looking to spend under 3k ideally; I was entertaining the idea of getting a custom built Fargo with a combination of 105/xt components or looking at other 29er frames as well. I am leaning towards getting a 29er frame as roughly 1/2 of my riding will be paved and there are some parts where it will feel much more like singletrack as opposed to road touring. Another reason I"m looking at a 29er frame build is that I'm looking to be able to use this for singletrack post touring. Thoughts would be appreciated on drop down 29er i.e. Salsa Fargo, Touring specific ie. Surly LHT or potentially cyclocross ie. Ritchey Swisscross build. Thanks in Advance.
Ben

fietsbob 12-08-12 12:47 PM

got Dosh? Tout Terrain PanAmerica is a purpose built Dual suspension touring bike.
http://www.en.tout-terrain.de/bicycl...ricana-xplore/

Note the Pinion transmission, the previous version used a Rohloff+ chain tensioner,
or a Derailleur drive train.
http://www.en.tout-terrain.de/bicycles/panamericana/

want to forgo the suspension, Bruce Gordon has great racks and the frames , made in California.
by him,self.. 700c or 26" types..
or Co Motion made in in Eugene OR.. R& E in Seattle..

international subcontracted, Thorn, and Koga Miyata combine design with TW building factories,
like Surly, Salsa, and most brands..

26" tires have become a world wide favorite, 29er will be rare to find a spare.
haul extra or 2, with..

BaWolf 12-08-12 12:55 PM

Yeah, as far as the 26" 29" debate, I've read a fair bit about that. Right now, other than this supported tour in Africa, the vast majority of riding will be in the States. That being said, I would definitely have to load up on spares. The ease of finding a 26" tire is definitely tempting but as far as riding and speed, being able to slip a 700cc tire on a 29er for flat roads would be extremely nice. As far as suspension goes, I would entertain having a front fork as long as it was adjustable with a reliable lock-out. The one hesitation with a front fork is the additional wait that it brings unless I spend a fair bit more, most entry-midrange forks I've looked at are a bit hefty. My plan was to get a cane-creek thudbuster as an alternative for some support. I have heard great things about Thorn and definitely need to take a closer look at some of their bikes. One more question is in regards to flat-bar, drop-bar or a flared drop-bar like on the fargo. As far as positioning goes; I'll be riding on average 6-8 hours a day so I want to make sure I've got multiple positions. Any suggestions with regard to bars?

MassiveD 12-08-12 01:48 PM

My experience with really advanced ideas on gear, that may be correct and ahead of their time, is that they are a pain in a group of folks running non-fancy gear, when you are the only gear-head. So point one as this is a supported tour, is to find out what the pros run, and stay as close to that as possible. Or what the average client runs, look at their pictures.

For a long trip like that, sounds awesome, I would buy a bike that is perfect for that demand (or as I said above, what people think perfect is). I would not compromise because of some other need when I get home. Some care with the components will mean that at worst you can recycle most of the components if you need to move on to a different format. The moment people want a world touring bike, but they also race criteriums, and with the economy as it is, maybe they will be delivering pizzas... Sounds reasonable, but the are designing a Zebra. Come to think of it...

Cross is a game with bikes evolving to meet relatively non-real demands. I would not buy one of those frames unless I was playing that game. All bikes are a big step up from walking, and cross frames are not the least practical bikes out there, but I see no reason to run a cross frame unless playing that game.

There are drop bars designed for offroad. I got a set of the original Dirt Drops when Rivendell found some NOS ones. There are other things like that around. Idea is to combine the wide control of the flat bar, with a drop. This is dandy particularly if you are wide in the shoulders anyway. Maybe a bit more of a compromise if you are really narrow. Nitto Noodle?

http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/hb1.htm

k_randomfactor 12-08-12 01:50 PM

Surly Ogre (29er) or Troll (26er)?

Zero experience with them, but I've been looking at bikes (a lot... a lot), and they were (are) on my radar.

Sus corrected forks, disc compatible, and they seems to get good reviews among the bikepacking crowd, as well as being legit on trails.

Kinda glad there isn't a Surly dealer close, cuz then I'd reallyreally want one.:D

fietsbob 12-08-12 02:13 PM

Lowering temptation . Any dealer with QBP parts account can order the bikes, But ..

they ship COD. that might not encourage stocking them, for small shops..

By Contrast, now, major brands, like Trek Corp. ships to Dealers
with a long enough credit rotation,
to sell the bikes and then pay the bills to inventory them.

rjl33 12-08-12 04:10 PM

I have a 2011 Salsa Fargo that I love. In early October I toured across Iowa with it, riding gravel roads for about half the trip. I had Clement Xplorer tires at 40c. The Fargo rides great on unimproved roads and gravel, as well as pavement, and with Panaracer Rampage tires it is a capable mountain bike. Other than a Brooks B17 and racks, my Fargo is stock. I also have a Specialized Tricross which I toured across Wisconsin last year. The Tricross is livelier on pavement, the Fargo very comfortable on all surfaces. For me the Fargo could be a one-bike solution by changing tires for different riding conditions. I recommend the Fargo highly.

Chris Pringle 12-08-12 06:40 PM

The category of bikes you are referring to is known as "gravel grinders" or "all 'rounders." It's a booming category in the bike industry that's been getting quite a bit of attention in shows like NAHBS.

For a standard fare, Surly and Salsa are pretty much the only two large bike companies producing bikes meeting most of your criteria. You may have to make a few compromises here and there with each frame.

There are some small boutique shops producing gravel grinder frames. The Rawland Nordavinden and Black Mountain Cycles frames come to mind (both 29ers.)

If the above options still don't work, you will need to go custom (and increase your budget.) For a trip to Africa, I would go with:

* 26" wheels - Having ridden so many bikes, I don't know if I buy into the whole 29er vs 26" and now vs 27.5" (650b.) All of them have pros/cons that even out at the end in regard to speed (the big point of debate.) But touring has never been about stepping on the podium. I know this... given the popularity of 26" wheels (rims and tires) in developing nations, this alone can make the difference between finishing on the saddle Vs. finishing sitting in the back of the van (in your supported tour.)
* S&S couplers - Half of the cost for these would be recouped in your very first trip to Africa.
* Disc brake braze-ons with auxiliary brake mounts for V-brakes or canti brakes
* Wheels that will support disc brakes (primary) and rim brakes (back-up)
* Wide tire clearance - something like 2.1" w/ fenders and 2.4" w/o fenders
* Handlebars (drop bars) that will give you the option for on/off-road situations + several hand positions. The Salsa Cowbell 2 and 3 are optimized for this.

I would avoid using a suspension fork, unless a big portion of the tour includes singletracks... It's just one more mechanical part to worry about. I would go for the ability to fit bigger tires instead.

The Salsa Vaya Travel or the Surly LHT Deluxe are the framesets I would go for if I couldn't afford going custom. For custom, my choices would come down to the Rodriguez UTB or the Co-Motion Pangea (Thorn if you're in Europe.) I went with a Rodriguez UTB earlier this year on a similar build.

bwgride 12-08-12 10:38 PM

Surly Troll is extremely versatile and would be high on my list. It has the ability to run either disc or canti/V-brakes, wide tire clearance (2.5") and it can even handle some 29ers despite being 26", space for extra water bottles on fork, front fork that can take rear racks, etc.

BaWolf 12-09-12 10:53 AM

I was originally leaning towards the Fargo, as far as your Fargo goes do you and the Fargo 2 with SRAM build (Apex shifters) or the the 3 which is majority Shimano with bar end shifters. As far as the shifter debate goes, I prefer riding with integrated brake/shifters but I have heard from some of the shops that I have gone to that durability on bar-end shifters is much better. I was wondering if someone could speak to the significance or how much of a difference there is?

BaWolf 12-09-12 10:58 AM

With regards to the S&S couplers there are two minor issues with that. One the cost is significantly more even though I know if would be recovered in the airline fees. Secondly, I know most of these bikes have a fair bit of heft but I was wondering how much weight they added to the frame? I'm definitely going to have the check out the vaya travel and LHT deluxe in one of the shops by me that carries QBP bikes

Chris Pringle 12-09-12 11:51 AM

Durability on bar-end shifters and STI is about the same as several members here will tell you. Many have run STI shifters for years with no to very little issues. So, it's a toss-up really. Yes, go with what you like best.

S&S couplers will add between $400-$800 to the cost of the frame. Do consider that you might have to pay at least $400 R/T to fly with your bike to Africa. The set of couplers will only add 8 oz to the total weight of the frameset.

The LHT deluxe might not be so difficult to find. I doubt many shops carry the Vaya Travel. It will most likely be special order directly from QBP. Do test-ride the regular Vaya as the bike will be virtually the same as the Travel version.

corvuscorvax 12-09-12 01:13 PM


Originally Posted by BaWolf (Post 15029327)
Yeah, as far as the 26" 29" debate, I've read a fair bit about that. Right now, other than this supported tour in Africa, the vast majority of riding will be in the States. That being said, I would definitely have to load up on spares. The ease of finding a 26" tire is definitely tempting but as far as riding and speed, being able to slip a 700cc tire on a 29er for flat roads would be extremely nice.

Can somebody explain to me the rationale behind the widespread notion that 700c wheels "ride better" or faster or anything else on the road than 26" wheels? I can think of no physical or engineering reason for concluding that the difference between the wheel sizes is anything but minimal, given similar width/pressure tires. Especially on the road.

Chris Pringle 12-09-12 08:17 PM


Originally Posted by corvuscorvax (Post 15031995)
Can somebody explain to me the rationale behind the widespread notion that 700c wheels "ride better" or faster or anything else on the road than 26" wheels? I can think of no physical or engineering reason for concluding that the difference between the wheel sizes anything but minimal, given similar width/pressure tires. Especially on the road.

I did a search. I found this article that happens to be written by the owner of R+E Cycles in Seattle. It explains the dilemma the average consumer faces when they walk into many shops in North America and they are told 700c (29er) rolls faster than a 26" wheel. It seems like almost every decade the bike industry comes up with a new wheel size or recycles an old one: 27" in the 70s, 700c in the 80s, 26" for MTBs in the 90s, 29er for MTBs in the first decade, now 27.5" (650b) is the new rage (popular in the 40s and 50s in France.) These are all attempts by the bike industry to convince people their older bikes are obsolete and need to be replaced by something new -- something that will perform better and faster. Remember, speed is about feeling comfortable (fitting) on the bike and how much you train (the engine!) For touring, 26" means convenience. There have been several accounts of people (here and in various blogs) who have been stranded for days or weeks in many places around the globe (even in small towns in the U.S.!!) because they couldn't find replacement rim or tire while surrounded by lots of 26" at the dingy LBS or at the local WalMart.

corvuscorvax 12-09-12 09:07 PM


Originally Posted by Chris Pringle (Post 15033091)
I did a search. I found this article that happens to be written by the owner of R+E Cycles in Seattle.

Even if I basically agree with the conclusions of that article, the physics in it is horrible.

BaWolf 12-10-12 06:23 PM

Thanks for all of the input, I'm actually traveling now but will be back home in a little over a week to go to a few shops in my area. I think I'm going to try to test the LHT, Vaya Travel, Fargo 2, along with the Ogre/Troll (common theme all QBP bikes)... Once I decide on a frame I'm sure I'll have some more questions on gearing/trekking cranks/Rohloff etc...

jbphilly 12-10-12 07:23 PM

Troll owner here. It's a fantastic bike. Great as a mountain bike and commuter and tourer. I'm sure there are other bikes that do those things better than it, but not that do ALL those things as well as it does - that's the price of versatility.

If you were doing a lot of touring in the third world, I'd say go for the Troll due to the 26 inch wheel thing. But since you say you will be mostly touring in the US except for a supported tour in Africa, I don't think you need to feel restricted to 26". Both sizes will work fine.

I got the Troll rather than some other possible bikes because of its wheel size, but I may well have gotten an LHT, or a Novara Safari, or Fargo, or another bike instead if it weren't for that. I'm really happy I went for the Troll because of its capability as a mountain bike, which while bike shopping I'd just viewed as icing on the cake. But off-road, bigger wheels do make a difference, apparently: I've heard they roll over stuff better, ride smoother, that kind of thing. I personally think I'd be inclined to use them if I were buying a new bike. On the other hand some bikes, like the Troll, can take both 26 and 650b (otherwise known as 27.5"), assuming you're using disc brakes which I highly recommend.

Anyway, pick your wheel size and go with it, but you do have more options with the 29er, assuming you're average height or tall rather than short. Since you want to ride singletrack, I'd be inclined more towards the mountain-bike oriented rides like the Fargo or Ogre/Troll than the more road/mixed ones like LHT or Vaya. I think they're more versatile, although my inclination to avoid carrying heavy loads also means a full-on touring bike might be overkill for me anyway. The Fargo is supposed to have more of a touring geometry though, whereas Troll/Ogre are just straight up mountain bike geometry. On the other hand the Troll/Ogre have the awesome dropouts which make attaching all kinds of crap easier.

Chris Pringle 12-10-12 08:09 PM

^^^^
It would be sweet if Surly offered the Troll with S&S couplers. They really have been pushing that bike for worldwide expedition touring.

BaWolf 12-11-12 09:37 AM

I agree the Troll with couplers would be ideal, do you know if there are any mountain frames produced that have either S&S or Ritchey's system. Aside from price with getting something custom, I'm a little worried about the time because I want to get a fair bit of riding on the bike before I head in march. the majority of this would be indoors as I'm from Wisconsin but I will be doing a 5-day trip out in California in February as a test/gauge for myself. I guess with that in mind, how many miles should I have to make sure the bike is "broken in" before I head to Africa?

Jude 12-11-12 12:13 PM

As many as you can. It's too bad bad you won't have much of a chance to ride it on singletrack, but take whatever chances you can to do practice tours and see how it handles when loaded different ways.


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