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Old 01-15-13, 04:43 PM   #1
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Clyde plus mountain bike wants to do short tours, opinions on bike welcomed

Hi, Let me preface this with I am a clydesdale rider, a super clyde in fact but have been riding since 2009 regularly and lately I have been considering trying some short tours come warmer weather but before I buy myself a bonefied touring bike wanted to get some opinions on using a mountain bike that I already have to see if its something that I want to pursue further.

The bike is a 2009 K2 Zed, its a 24 speed which is ridden and tested since 09, works as it should and I have upgraded lots of things on the bike, what I am getting at is I feel the bike is completely reliable and pretty comfortable. I am going to install a surly instigator fork to replace the fairly cheap suspension fork that is on there currently sometime this year and get some smoother rolling tires. I am planning on installing a rear rack on it that can take panniers (Ibera PakRak or a Topeak Super Tourist) and it already has a small front rack installed mind you it wouldn't hold much.

Is there any reason to not try some shorter tours with a mountain bike set up this way? I have read a little bit and found that some people do in fact use older steel bikes this way but I suppose I am just looking for some tips or confirmation that its a good/bad/ok idea from someone that has actually done it or has enough knowledge to confirm.

and for fun an image of the bike as it sits today, I got rid of the smooth tires in the image last fall so will need to replace them.

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Old 01-15-13, 05:42 PM   #2
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Great idea, I'd start with an OMM front rack and panniers with a Topeak or similar platform rear rack. Go with front panniers with rear rack carrying top loads. Check out Schwalbe Fat Apples for comfy and relatively fast road tires. If you're a big guy no reason to not enjoy the cush of big tires.
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Old 01-15-13, 09:18 PM   #3
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You're an experienced wrench who knows what he wants. As the mtb is what you apparently ride all the time, be a good one to tour on. Be better without a shock fork, but maybe you can lock it so it won't adsorb energy you put in the pedals. Bike weight vs standard touring model may be a factor to consider. Total weight hauled is magnified by mileage pedaled and hills climbed.

I'd be remiss if I didn't suggest that you check out recumbents for touring. Totally comfortable ride. I started on DF's but would never return.

Congrats on the weight loss. Impressive. My local wrench lost nearly as much with two years of commuting 40 miles rt to the bike shop and changing his eating habits.
The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me
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Old 01-15-13, 09:40 PM   #4
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OMM is Aluminum tubing, Tubus is ChroMoly Steel tubing .. both will work ..

though, if the off the beaten path is tempting, BoB Has a suspended single wheel trailer

then You just put all Your stuff in the one Bag.

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-15-13 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 01-15-13, 10:28 PM   #5
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Push, I used my mountain bike at first to day tour. I don't have a fork that can be locked out and it wasn't a hinderance, but the dampening is set fairly stiff to deal with technical off road riding. I do suggest adding some bar ends for an additional hand hold. My mountain bike has an inexpensive Blackburn rack and it's fine...within reason which is about 20-25 lbs. max. Obviously if you're going to load more weight than that the Tubus or Old Man Mountain racks are the ticket. I have an inexpensive set of Nashbar panniers and top bag that have held up well to all but my dog when he was puppy. Again frequent or longer tours lend themselves to upper tier bags.

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Old 01-16-13, 06:09 AM   #6
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I am unfamiliar with this particular bike. When I looked it up, the 3.29 has 29” tires. Does the 3.2 have 26”? If you are planning to tour on the road, you may want to put road tires on the bike. In 26” Conti Sport Contact and Vittoria Randonneur Pro are available in 1.6” which I find is a good size for Clydes like you and me to tour on. If this bike is a 29er, then Sport Contact or Randonneur Hyper, both in 700x37c should be considered.

From what I could see from very small photos, the bike appears to have disks and no mounting eyelets. The Old Man Mountain racks can take care of that. For first, short tours you may want to consider credit card touring, staying in motels, which will not require full camping gear and the accompanied weight. You could get by with a rear rack only.

From your list of mounts in your initial post, you also have a 1988 Specialized Rockhopper comp. That probably has a steel frame and fork and may have frame eyelets. You wouldn’t need to buy a replacement fork. You could leave the K2 for off-road and modify the Rockhopper for touring. Many people happily tour on mountain bikes.
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