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Old 01-24-15, 05:55 AM   #1
azza_333
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Has anyone toured in Japan

If anyone on this forum has toured in Japan before?
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Old 01-24-15, 06:18 AM   #2
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Yes. Hokkaido.
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Old 01-24-15, 06:30 AM   #3
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Yes. Hokkaido.
What kind of distance did you cover, and what tyres would you recommend, is Japan a place where I should expect a lot of flats if I use light light tyres, or should I go with something like marathon plus tyres?
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Old 01-24-15, 06:36 AM   #4
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What kind of distance did you cover, and what tyres would you recommend, is Japan a place where I should expect a lot of flats if I use light light tyres, or should I go with something like marathon plus tyres?
I don't know what the rest of Japan is like, but where we were there were beautiful paved bicycle paths and lovely little paved roads. The roads are as good or better than they are here in Australia.

I'm not sure what we used for tyres, but we could have easily gotten away with just about any sort of 70x25s. or 700x23s.


Our Japan photos start on this page ... they're the ones which have a name starting with JP ...
https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...etail/?page=13
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Old 01-24-15, 06:45 AM   #5
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The bicycle path out of Chitose ...




The bicycle road into the campground at Lake Shikotsu ... no cars allowed, just bicycles ...




On the way to the campground outside Tomakomai ...




Bicycle path along the coast near Shiraoi ...

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Old 01-24-15, 12:29 PM   #6
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My wife and I did a 10-day ride in Hokkaido in Jul 2013. Great place to ride and we want to go back.
Here's the Crazy Guy link for the blog from that trip.
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/12432

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Old 01-24-15, 02:46 PM   #7
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Toured/"Lived" in Japan for 6 months in 2014. Great country, extremely nice countryside and interesting people. Did Osaka to the top of Honshu (April to June), then followed the coastline around the majority of Hokkaido to Sapporo and the second time in Japan (Sept to Dec) I ended up hanging around Yamanashi pref (Mount Fuji) which was lovely and has some awesome rides.

Japan can have terrible weather. Typhoons, monsoons, wind, "Yuki" (snow), and can be extremely hot and cold. Please plan accordingly..... I've had weather varying from -10C on a mountain pass in the Japanese Alps to 40C+ during a heat wave in Furano Hokkaido and dealt with a 3 day mega rainstorm in Monbetsu Hokkaido.All that was in a few week periods.

Overall though, Japan is super fun to tour. I would recommend learning some basic Japanese before you leave as English doesn't exist outside of the major cities.
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Old 01-24-15, 05:25 PM   #8
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Toured/"Lived" in Japan for 6 months in 2014. Great country, extremely nice countryside and interesting people. Did Osaka to the top of Honshu (April to June), then followed the coastline around the majority of Hokkaido to Sapporo and the second time in Japan (Sept to Dec) I ended up hanging around Yamanashi pref (Mount Fuji) which was lovely and has some awesome rides.

Japan can have terrible weather. Typhoons, monsoons, wind, "Yuki" (snow), and can be extremely hot and cold. Please plan accordingly..... I've had weather varying from -10C on a mountain pass in the Japanese Alps to 40C+ during a heat wave in Furano Hokkaido and dealt with a 3 day mega rainstorm in Monbetsu Hokkaido.All that was in a few week periods.

Overall though, Japan is super fun to tour. I would recommend learning some basic Japanese before you leave as English doesn't exist outside of the major cities.
I plan to ride(loaded with 55lbs of gear) the entire length of Japan from Cape Sata to Cape Soya, I'm trying to figure out what tires would be best suited for the ride, ive already settled on 700X32c, but are punctures likely in Japan can I get away with light tires or do I need to go with heavy marathon plus tires?
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Old 01-25-15, 02:18 AM   #9
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I plan to ride(loaded with 55lbs of gear) the entire length of Japan from Cape Sata to Cape Soya, I'm trying to figure out what tires would be best suited for the ride, ive already settled on 700X32c, but are punctures likely in Japan can I get away with light tires or do I need to go with heavy marathon plus tires?
I would go with a mid level protection tire for Japan at best. The roads are 90% pretty good but you will do some sidewalk riding at times which can be pretty rough. 32C will be totally fine, as there is nearly zero dirt roads in Japan. I found 8 km of gravel roads over 7000 km of riding in Japan and I had to search very hard to even find that.

Personally only had a single flat there and it was a chunk of metal 4 inches imbedded in my tire and went right through to the rim HAHA. They do an awesome job of keeping the road free of nasty stuff.

Off topic: 700C stuff is pretty easy to find in Japan, but be aware that "Mama Chari" bikes are 27" wheeled not 700C. All other parts are really easy to find if you experience a breakdown. 26", 650b and 29" stuff is DIFFICULT to find in Japan . If you need a 700C related part, use Amazon and get it shipped to a 7-11/Lawsons/etc. 2 days max to get anything from Amazon, regardless where you are.

Also, you will need plenty of lighting for Japan as you will ride a crazy amount of tunnels. There many 8000+ meter tunnels and there are areas where you will ride most of your day in tunnels and rock sheds than in the open road.

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Old 01-25-15, 04:24 AM   #10
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The Japanese are wonderfully patient and polite people.

And the other strong memory involves the vending machines to roll out cans of hot coffee just like cans of soda.

It's also worth remembering that bikes aren't generally allowed on Hokkaido trains unless you have a folder, and tandems on Hokkaido are illegal.

We used 700x28C tyres on our touring bikes. No issues really, although beware the very large step-up on the driveway crossings... if you don't have enough inflation in your tyres, you'll end up with pinch flats.

We will go back to Hokkaido and explore much more than we did last time.
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Old 01-25-15, 05:43 AM   #11
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I would go with a mid level protection tire for Japan at best.
do you think gatorskins would get me the 4000km with little chance of punctures? what do you define as mid level protection?
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Old 01-25-15, 05:53 AM   #12
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do you think gatorskins would get me the 4000km with little chance of punctures? what do you define as mid level protection?
What kind of roads do you currently ride on? Can you go 4000km with little chance of punctures on those roads?

And ... whatever tyres you bring, you'll be bringing a couple tubes and a patch kit, just in case. Even on the best roads, punctures can happen unexpectedly.
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Old 01-25-15, 06:03 AM   #13
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What kind of roads do you currently ride on? Can you go 4000km with little chance of punctures on those roads?

And ... whatever tyres you bring, you'll be bringing a couple tubes and a patch kit, just in case. Even on the best roads, punctures can happen unexpectedly.
currently I've got marathon plus tires, but 1100g a tire, so I don't want to go climbing through the Japanese Alps on them.
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Old 01-25-15, 04:39 PM   #14
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currently I've got marathon plus tires, but 1100g a tire, so I don't want to go climbing through the Japanese Alps on them.
Why? A few hundred grams difference in tyre weight is piddling compared with what your other gear might weigh.

The tyres we used were Schwalbe Duranos. I'd happily tour on the the Marathon Plus tyres.

You seem to be almost implying that Japan is some third world country with poor roads. It's far, far, from it.
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Old 01-25-15, 05:51 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=Rowan;17499541]Why? A few hundred grams difference in tyre weight is piddling compared with what your other gear might weigh.QUOTE]

a few hundred grams difference? gatorskins or marathon racers are about 350-400g each, so by my calculation I will be shedding 1.5kg by swapping out my marathon plus tires.
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Old 01-25-15, 07:07 PM   #16
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a few hundred grams difference? gatorskins or marathon racers are about 350-400g each, so by my calculation I will be shedding 1.5kg by swapping out my marathon plus tires.
What bike are you using? What gear do you intend to carry? How much water?

Personally, after using Gatorskins a lot for randonneuring and touring, I think you'd be lucky to get 4000 reliable kilometres out of them.

For me, the time when weight counts is when it comes to the book-in counter at the airline terminal.

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Old 01-25-15, 07:53 PM   #17
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What bike are you using? What gear do you intend to carry? How much water?
Personally, after using Gatorskins a lot for randonneuring and touring, I think you'd be lucky to get 4000 reliable kilometres out of them.
I'm using a 2015 Kona Sutra, I intent to carry camping and cooking gear, and about 2L of water.

Do you think that I would get the distance out of Marathon Racers? 3500km is the distance, I just rounded upto 4000
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Old 01-26-15, 12:08 AM   #18
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I would go for something stronger than the Gatorskins but lighter than the Marathon Plus.... Or just use whatever you've got and live with them

Consider not bring cooking gear to Japan. The food is exceedingly good there and it's not a huge difference in price between eating out or cooking. There are stores in nearly every town, lots of great restaurants and 7-11 everywhere.... But if you do cook, bring a kerosene/gasoline (exceedingly easy to get fuel) or canister stove (Usually easy, Sports Depot always have them, along with many outdoor shops). Fuel for alcohol stoves very hard to find however, took me weeks to find a source for some fuel...

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Old 01-26-15, 04:08 AM   #19
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I would go for something stronger than the Gatorskins but lighter than the Marathon Plus.... Or just use whatever you've got and live with them

Consider not bring cooking gear to Japan. The food is exceedingly good there and it's not a huge difference in price between eating out or cooking. There are stores in nearly every town, lots of great restaurants and 7-11 everywhere.... But if you do cook, bring a kerosene/gasoline (exceedingly easy to get fuel) or canister stove (Usually easy, Sports Depot always have them, along with many outdoor shops). Fuel for alcohol stoves very hard to find however, took me weeks to find a source for some fuel...
Yep on that alcohol thing. I spent ages looking for it in places such as hardware stores and finally got a hold of some very watered down rubbing alcohol or something similar at a pharmacy; it was not very successful as a cooking fuel because it spent most of its energy evaporating the water! Next time, I would take the butane burner option for my Trangia.

I have to say the 7-11 food surprised the hell out of me. I was impressed with the quality and freshness and we used 7-11 more than several times. We also had fun trying out some of the concession stands beside Lake Shikotsu. Of course, McDs is ubiquitous, and it's simple to order from the menu sheets just by pointing at the pictures.

Agree with Sparky about going with what you have got. When it comes to touring, having reliable and durable tyres in particular removes a doubt.
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Old 01-26-15, 04:16 AM   #20
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One other thing we found -- and it may have been a unique experience -- was that the campground we stayed at on Hokkaido was remarkable for the way it was manicured. The place was adjacent to a spa. There was not a blade of grass out of place and the facilities were all squeaky clean. The Japanese love camping, too. they would arrive en masse, set up these huge tents like a small city, stay the night, then pack up and go the next morning -- all organised with military precision and involving the whole family.

Oh, and if you happen to stay in a hotel, make sure your licence to drive the toilet is up to date .
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Old 01-26-15, 05:02 AM   #21
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Does anyone have any experience with Marathon Racers or Marathon Supremes? and would they recommend them for a trip like mine?

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Old 01-26-15, 03:15 PM   #22
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We don't actually know much about a trip like yours. What part of Japan? How much is your load going to weigh? What's your previous touring and/or riding experience?

And I am not quite sure why you are fixated on your tyres. Especially as you have got some advice from some pretty experienced touring cyclists.

You now have a very narrow audience in this thread... as you can see, not many people have toured in Japan, and it's unlikely any of us have experience with the tyres you are now asking about.

However, my experience with semi-racing tyres (23 and 25C) used for moderate to heavyweight touring loads is that they tend to wear faster with a load on the rear wheel, are a little more prone to sidewall failure, and provide a harsher ride than wider profile tyres.

On specific tyre models, it's a question you should pose in a new thread.
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Old 01-27-15, 03:58 AM   #23
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We don't actually know much about a trip like yours. What part of Japan? How much is your load going to weigh? What's your previous touring and/or riding experience?

And I am not quite sure why you are fixated on your tyres. Especially as you have got some advice from some pretty experienced touring cyclists.

You now have a very narrow audience in this thread... as you can see, not many people have toured in Japan, and it's unlikely any of us have experience with the tyres you are now asking about.

However, my experience with semi-racing tyres (23 and 25C) used for moderate to heavyweight touring loads is that they tend to wear faster with a load on the rear wheel, are a little more prone to sidewall failure, and provide a harsher ride than wider profile tyres.

On specific tyre models, it's a question you should pose in a new thread.
The full length of Japan South to North, my load about 20-25kg, no previous experiences yet
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Old 01-27-15, 04:04 PM   #24
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Here are some journals that might serve as a useful resource:

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/sear...cs&title=japan
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Old 01-30-15, 06:14 PM   #25
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Japan is one of the cleanest countries I have been in -- especially compared to some of their Asian neighbors -- road debris isn't really an issue. I ran Schwalbe Kojaks on a brompton with no issues.
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