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Outfit my Trek 4300 or buy a new Touring bike?

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Outfit my Trek 4300 or buy a new Touring bike?

Old 01-04-15, 02:45 PM
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Buffalo Buff
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Outfit my Trek 4300 or buy a new Touring bike?

Currently a Trek 4300 is my only bike. You can see it here. I also have a nice road bike in the mail.

I'm debating between using my Trek 4300 for my next tour, or buying a new bike for this specific purpose.

If I use the trek again, this time I'd want to add fenders, slicks, a rear rack and possibly panniers. I can travel very light, never needed more space than that hiking backpack allowed me.

My main concern is weight. How much weight could I save going to a lighter frame?

I know the Trek and know I could make it work for this role, but it's also a heavy bike. Mine is a 61 inch frame I believe, and I'd guess it weighs in the 35-40lb ballpark.

Last edited by Buffalo Buff; 01-04-15 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 01-04-15, 03:42 PM
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My wife had (grandson took it over) a Trek 4300 that she used mainly for commuting. If your route is primarily on roads, I think if you put 1.5" slicks on it, it would work for touring. It depends on your route, the length of the tour, your interest in touring, budget, and future touring plans; whether you buy a new bike or not.

If you have not toured much, it would give you a good idea what it is all about at a relatively low cost. It is easy to install fenders and a rear rack. The only reservation I'd have is heel strike. I'm assuming that because of the large frame you are a big person and might just have big feet. The chainstays may be a little shorter than a "touring" bike and you might hit the panniers with your heel.

Most dedicated touring bikes come in at about 25-35 pounds, so you may save some weight, but only you will know what that will be, and will it be significant.

Last edited by Doug64; 01-04-15 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 01-04-15, 03:51 PM
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That's a fine bike to start touring with. You may want to hold onto it since you may want to some rough stuff touring as well in which case the MTB will come in handy. Old Man Mountain makes racks that works with mtbs, Old Man Mountain: Pannier Racks For Any Bike
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Old 01-04-15, 04:19 PM
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I would be surprised that your bike weighs over 35lbs. I'm assuming you're accustomed to drop bars or are making the transition to drop bars from your Mtn bike given your purchase of a road bike. A touring bike capable of carrying two pair of panniers and your size, assuming your weight is commensurate w your height will not be light, especially after adding racks and gear. In other words the reason to get a touring specific bike is for it's handling carrying weight not to get a light frame. I bet a Surly LHT frame weighs as much or more than that 4300 frame.
A touring specific bike will be at least $1000. I'd work from your intended load and riding posture. If your budget is more around $400 than $1000 replace the front fork with a solid one. Put a front platform rack on the front that can hold panniers close to the fork crown. I find low riders and 26" wheels puts the bags too close to curbs. Get a rear platform rack but don't use panniers as the short chainstays put the weight to far back just put the load close to seat and on top of rack.
If you are thinking of a lighter bike than the 4300 because you want a bike for fast riding then look for a posture on the bike conducive for higher output. Once you load up a light bike with touring stuff it's no longer light.
Check out a REI Randonee
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Old 01-04-15, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Buffalo Buff View Post
If I use the trek again, this time I'd want to add fenders, a rear rack and possible panniers. I can travel very light, never needed more space than that hiking backpack allowed me.

My main concern is weight. How much weight could I save going to a lighter frame?

I know the Trek and know I could make it work for this role, but it's also a heavy bike. Mine is a 61 inch frame I believe, and I'd guess it weighs in the 35-40lb ballpark.
Where do you plan to tour? I have a heavy -entry level - touring bike w/fenders, racks, disc brakes. Weight is of most concern to me on hills, particularly the uphill side. Like your 4300 appears to be, my bike was made to go on both paved and dirt/gravel roads. On paved roads, I really encountered bicycle envy when lighter bikes (powered by younger riders) passed me. My solution was to buy (off CL) a vintage touring bike with lugged triple butted frame and lighter narrower tires, to save myself a few pounds for paved road only touring. I am using the Safari beast for training rides because it is so comfortable, and plan to use it for non-paved tours. I don't have definite weight numbers, am guessing 3-5 lbs max. To me, it is worth it because the Miyata bike only cost $150 plus another $150 in upgrades.
I don't know how much difference there will be in touring speed, maybe only a little.
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Old 01-04-15, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by DeadGrandpa View Post
Where do you plan to tour? I have a heavy -entry level - touring bike w/fenders, racks, disc brakes. Weight is of most concern to me on hills, particularly the uphill side. Like your 4300 appears to be, my bike was made to go on both paved and dirt/gravel roads. On paved roads, I really encountered bicycle envy when lighter bikes (powered by younger riders) passed me. My solution was to buy (off CL) a vintage touring bike with lugged triple butted frame and lighter narrower tires, to save myself a few pounds for paved road only touring. I am using the Safari beast for training rides because it is so comfortable, and plan to use it for non-paved tours. I don't have definite weight numbers, am guessing 3-5 lbs max. To me, it is worth it because the Miyata bike only cost $150 plus another $150 in upgrades.
I don't know how much difference there will be in touring speed, maybe only a little.
I've thought about doing something like that. I've got a few bikes bookmarked from CL like this one that I considered buying and adding a rack. I'm just wondering what the cost and weight difference would be between doing that and adding a rack & slicks to my 4300.

Doug64, I'm undecided where my next tour will be. I was thinking about going somewhere south of NC sometime soon, nothing in specific. Maybe trying to get to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, but that's coming up quick and doesn't leave much time for preparation. I do know I'm going to ride to NYC sometime in 2015, but I have no particular route or timeframe in mind yet.
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Old 01-04-15, 05:29 PM
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lighter tires should maybe drop a pound. another pound or so if
you get rid of the suspension fork.

you travel light, so can go with a pair of smaller front panniers on
lowriders, and avoid the heel strike problems.

skip the full-size rear rack, get a seatpost mounted platform rack
for lighter stuff.

**remove reflectors for added weight savings!**
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Old 01-04-15, 05:33 PM
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If you do decide to keep the mtb, you'll want to think about trekking bars. They're easy to put on because you're existing brake levers and shifters will work. They give you extra hand positions and will be very useful for a long day in the saddle.

Used touring bikes are tough to find and they tend to command a premium.

An old school mtb can work very well as a touring bike as it has a longer wheelbase. This bike might do you just fine:

Diamond Back Apex 18-speed mountain bike.

That's a nice bike and will be easy to mod for touring. Plus I'll bet it has at least a 41 inch wheelbase by the looks of it which will be a big advantage with panniers (longer chainstays help); and it has eyelets. You can add drops to it as well if you like or go with a trekking bar.

I set up a vintage mtb from that era for touring (also with u-brakes); it's a tough bike with nice long chain stays.

Last edited by bikemig; 01-04-15 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 01-04-15, 06:42 PM
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Depends. I would add slicks, racks, and swap in a suspension corrected rigid fork to the 4300 if it fits you. Also butterfly bars. Depending on what you pay for another bike, you are probably not going to have a great deal of cost difference. On the positive side, the 4300 probably has low gears needed for climbing steep hills without modification.

Both options have their advantages.
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Old 01-04-15, 07:34 PM
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How many trips do plan to take? I wouldn't change just for one trip.

The Trek 4500 uses the same frame as Trek 4300. In 2013, I rode a Trek 4500 on Tour D'Afrique, a supported ride from Cairo to Capetown. Here is photo of the bike as I outfitted it for the ride: http://www.bike2013.com/wp-content/g...5_edited-1.jpg Similar to your bike, except I added a rear rack, switched saddles and added bar-end grips.

After returning from Africa, I rode the Trek 4500 from Portland, OR to Fort Collins, CO. Here is photo of same bike outfitted for that ride including an Extrawheel Trailer: http://www.bike2013.com/wp-content/g...e/dsc_0459.jpg The amount I might save with lighter frame is overshadowed by amount I might save by taking less gear. I do notice that the Trek 4500 rides a little slower than my Trek 520 (both with gear) but not enough to make a huge difference. (I also notice now ~18 months after the Portland ride that riding my Trek 4500 I was likely faster in 2013 - than I was riding my Trek 520 this past week in 2014 - so my conditioning matters more than the bike).

So my two cents are (1) add a rack and touring on Trek 4300 should be fine and (2) if you really do want more of a touring bike, then get one for that reason more than because you think 4300 isn't up to the task.
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Old 01-04-15, 09:48 PM
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I'm in the same boat. I've got a Trek 3500 and used it for my first overnight trip. I bought a rear rack, some small panniers, loaded it up and took off. When I got back I made the decision that If I was going to use the Trek I was going to have to buy a Bob Yak, (which seems like a great way to go) or buy a touring bike. You'd be surprised how hard it is to get all your stuff on a bike. I decided I needed a Surly Disc Trucker. Since I didn't have $1500 and I really want to know everything I can about my bike I decided to build my own. (great wintertime project) I'm not sure if I've made the right decision or not, but this spring when I get my Trucker finished I'll know for sure.
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Old 01-04-15, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Buffalo Buff View Post
I've thought about doing something like that. I've got a few bikes bookmarked from CL like this one that I considered buying and adding a rack. I'm just wondering what the cost and weight difference would be between doing that and adding a rack & slicks to my 4300.t.
The weight in your 4300 isn't the frame it's the tires. You don't give your weight but I'd much rather build up a known quantity inthe 4300 than that old Schwinn.

Panaracer Ribmo or Tserv in 26"X 1.75" are very nice riding tires
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Old 01-05-15, 06:15 AM
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The bicycle weight of a touring bike is only important with respect to air transportation. You weigh 200lbs, your luggage 30 and your bike 35 thats 13% of the total. Buy a bike for 1500$ and save 8 lbs thats only a 3% reduction !!.
You could either pack 8lbs less, or loose 8 lbs of bodyweight, thats free! Or shop more often, so you have 8lbs less food on the bike.

If you don't ride in the alps for competition, the weight doesn't matter at all.

Why do you want slicks? Are you racing? If you drive on wet roads and occasionally gravel, you need a profiled tyre and they are also available with low rolling resistance but the most important property of a tyre is puncture resistance. Its a pest to patch tubes on a loaded bike, at the side of the road and risky racing downhill on a flat tyre

As long as the bike isn't a chinese or indian workbike, don't be concerned about weight but think about stability and reliability because a crash or breakdown will be a major annoyance or halt your trip. 8 lbs more or less will not.
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Old 01-05-15, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by pbekkerh View Post
The bicycle weight of a touring bike is only important with respect to air transportation. You weigh 200lbs, your luggage 30 and your bike 35 thats 13% of the total. Buy a bike for 1500$ and save 8 lbs thats only a 3% reduction !!.
You could either pack 8lbs less, or loose 8 lbs of bodyweight, thats free! Or shop more often, so you have 8lbs less food on the bike.
I look at that a different way. Those choices are not either or choices. You can can pack 8 pounds less (if you have more than you need) AND lose body weight (if you need to) AND you can shop more often . Using your numbers that would be a 24 pound reduction that I assure you would be quite noticeable to most riders.

Personally I think it makes a lot more sense to think of the percentage of reduction for each item. We make scores of decisions with small impacts and they all add up.

I have gone from packing ~45 pounds base gear weight, to ~30 pounds, to ~20, to ~8-14 pounds of gear. I lost body weight at the same time. As the gear weight went lower I picked lighter sportier bikes to carry it. I still managed to camp and cook comfortably. Most of the individual choices were insignificant when expressed as percentage of total bike/rider/gear weight, but the overall change to the experience was profound.

BTW, who carries 8 pounds of food on a road tour, left alone 8 pounds more than necessary?

All that said I'd suggest the OP take the 4300 on a tour or a few tours and then decide if they want something else.
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Old 01-05-15, 07:24 PM
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Am I wrong or wouldn't a Yak trailer fix any weight issue?
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Old 01-06-15, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by jargo432 View Post
Am I wrong or wouldn't a Yak trailer fix any weight issue?
There is still extra weight involved, it's just not all on the bike.

Brad
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Old 01-06-15, 06:15 AM
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Buffalo Buff, I used my mountain bike before I built my first touring bike. The experience was invaluable in determining what I wanted out of my touring bike. My mountain bike doesn't have a lock-out feature in the fork, yet it was never a problem.

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