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Messages - paddleboy17

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General Discussion / Re: Loaded Tour Bike Handling
« on: June 10, 2015, 01:00:16 pm »
While I'm on the subject can anyone explain why touring bikes allies bar-end shifters.

Simple answer is that it's the only way to use modern mountain bike gearing with drop bars.  Shimano used to have the same pull in their mountain and road group derailers.  That meant you could use road shifters (STI) to shift mountain derailers in the rear (with clusters over 27 teeth).  When they went to 10 speed, and now 11, the pull ratio was different between mountain and road.  You can still get by with STI and 9 speed gearing if you can get the parts, but the bigger bike manufacturers are slowly tossing in the towel and going to newer models for parts availability.

Bar End shifters were popular on touring bikes before Shimano introduced a different pull ratio in Dynashift mountain bike groups.  I suspect Bar End shifters were a reaction to down tube shifters.

In Shimano's implementation of the brifter, you end up with a very complicated and non servicable mechanism.  I cannot speak for non Shimano brifter implementations, but I suspect they are also complicated and not servicable.  Shimano brifters can stop shifting due to gunked up lubricants and wear.  A Bar End shifter is a much simplier, and much more reliable mechanism.  As longs as nothing fractures in the shifter, and there are a least a couple of strands of metal in the cable, a Bar End shifter will shift.  Plus you have infinite trim points on the front derailleur and non-indexed shifting should something drift or stretch.

I have 9 speed Ultegra brifters on my Paramount, and one of them recently stopped shifting. I had tried all of the documented tricks for getting my brifters working again, including 20 minutes of flooding it with citrus degreaser followed by water followed by wood alcohol, and then more degreaser.   I thought about going to Bar End shifters, but ended up buying a set of Micro-Shift shifters.  The Micro-Shifts are ok, but not as smooth as the Ultegra's were.  I gave the Ultegra's to a buddy who was going to canabalize them for parts.  He got them working again, by giving them a long soak in an ultrasonic degreaser.  I have a lot of cool stuff but I don't have an ultrasonic degreaser tank.

If you want reliability, get Bar End shifters, as brifters are a crap shoot.

A touring bike does not need the responsiveness of a race bike.  I will take the time it takes to move my hands to shift in exchange for a more reliable mechanism.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Rack Decisions
« on: June 08, 2015, 12:56:25 pm »
I think you can get a way with a cheaper rear rack but not in the front.  Any front rack induce shimmy will make your life miserable. 
You do not have to invest in Tubus racks, but don't get no name bargain racks either.  I think you need at least a front rack rated to 30 pounds (50 would be better) and a rear rack rated to 40 pounds (more is better).

Gear Talk / Re: Trek 520 Disc - Compatible Fenders
« on: June 01, 2015, 12:34:38 pm »
I would make a bracket to allow you to attach the fender to the rack.  You should be able to fabricate something with brackets found in a better hardware store (look in those wonderful 2" thick drawers with obscure fasteners).  A web site catering to touring might have bracket for mounting a rack to a bike that does not have braizons that could also be repurposed.

General Discussion / Re: Flying With Touring Gear
« on: June 01, 2015, 12:24:24 pm »
I have shipped a bike and gear from Detroit to Portland (Oregon) several times.  I just put my panniers in two trash suitcases and that worked fine.  My wife and flew Southwest, and I only had to pay to ship the bike ($75).  I had no issues other than the bike case and extra suitcases was overwhelming to move about.

My last trip, I shipped everything FedEx ground for about $160 to a local bike store (arrangements previously made).  I had no issues, and it was worth the extra money to not have to deal with the bike and gear at the airport.  TSA thoroughness varies from airport to airport.  The staff at PDX opens (and sometime closes) everything, and they will seize "inappropriate items" like pepper spray (and leave you a note saying that they did).  I am going the FedEx ground route wherever possible.

How much for a prototype like the one you show?

General Discussion / Re: Green-lighted to go cross-country! (questions)
« on: February 06, 2015, 12:25:21 pm »
You can always do some practice rides and decide then if you want to stay with your Trek or not.

As for mucking with the machinery...

I have 4 bikes, and the one that is closest to how it left the bike shop, is the $5000 full custom touring bike.  Even it has a different saddle and seat post.

My point is that you should do as many overnight trips as you can in order to determine what you need.  You might very well be happy with what you have, or you might make significant changes to a new bike, or some variation.

I had a Thermarest pad.  Big Agnes claims any 20" pad will work.  I have to put mine in slightly inflated, it won't go in fully inflated.  I did my fall trip with a 15F down bag.  I was so impressed that I retired my MSR 45F summer bag and replaced it with a BA 45F synthetic bag.  It seems to make a lot of sense to have the pad be part of the bag.

I am going a different route...

Big Agnes has a line of sleeping bags where there is a pocket to put your mat in.  I did a fall hang where it got down to 32F both nights and I was quite comfortable in my Big Agnes bag.
Wherever my bag went, my mat was forced to follow.

General Discussion / Re: what bike/
« on: January 05, 2015, 11:57:14 am »
There are lots of bikes that could work for you in your budget. 

At this point, it is probably more important to establish a dealer relationship.  Touring is specialized, so not every dealer can support you.  Elsewhere on this site are reviews of bikes, and that would be a good guide once you decide on what features are important for you.

But you will still need a dealer that can fit you to a bicycle and then make that bicycle work for you.  Try to avoid a dealer that caters to the racing community.  There is very little overlap between a racing bike and a touring bike.

General Discussion / Re: Knees.... not the bees knees...
« on: October 14, 2014, 12:15:53 pm »
I agree that you should get yourself checked out at an appropriate medical facility, right away.

It might be a good idea to go to a good bike shop and make sure that you and the bike fit each other.

Lastly, are you riding with good technique?  If you ride with a cadence below 80, you could be doing soft tissue damage.  Yes,  I know that a famous racer rode with a slow cadence  (Eddie Merx?), but for most of us, a cadence of 80 - 90 is what you should maintain.  If I climb hills with too slow of a cadence, I get pain similar to what you describe.

General Discussion / Re: Handlebar Grips
« on: September 22, 2014, 06:53:19 pm »
Have you had your fit to the bicycle checked? 

I would expect your bicycle to have a relaxed fit, and no issues like this.  Also, is your saddle level?  A saddle too nose down would put pressure on your hands.

General Discussion / Re: importance of componentry
« on: July 30, 2014, 01:05:36 pm »
It is important to know what application a component group was designed for because price is not the only consideration.  Durace is designed for racing road bikes and focus is on weight and not durability.  So Durace generally not a good choice for touring bikes because it not durable enough.  People who race well enough to buy Durace are generally superb athletes, so you are not going to find gearing appropriate for touring either.  There is one and only one exception to Durace not belonging on touring bikes, Shimano in their quest to maximize income, puts a Durace sticker on a barcon shifter.  Components from other vendors racing groups are limited as Durace, and that includes XTR.

I do not believe that there is a touring specific group.  Shimano at one time had a trecking group but it did not seem to be a good match for touring.

I will continue to stick with Shimano components, but similarities exist for Cane Creek, SRAM, etc.

Feel free to choose from road (Tiagra, 105, Ultegra) and mountain (Deore, LX, XT) groups to get what you want.  Buy the best group you can afford, just remember that weight that rotates is more important that weight that does not.  The importance of rotating weight is amplified by the radius it rotates on.  So in a hub, durability is more important than weight.  In a rim, durability and weight are important.

General Discussion / Re: brooks saddle break-in how long
« on: July 30, 2014, 12:38:51 pm »
I guess it depends on what exactly is meant by "broken in". I found it pretty comfortable right out of the box, but then it seems to get more comfortable as time goes by. When does the breaking in stop and the breaking down start? Hard to say, but I would say that my saddle got progressively more comfortable throughout the first 4000 miles.

I don't think they ever stop breaking in... That said, what is "breaking in".   

You buy a new saddle.  Once you start riding, your pelvic bones hammer away at the saddle until dips start form that match your pelvic bones.  Your left pelvic bone is slightly bigger, so it works longer to create a bigger dip.  Those dips form because the leather stretches in response to your body's protrusions.  As you get older and your protrusions change, the leather continues to stretch and adapt to fit you.

The saddles have tension mechanisms because of stretch too, and that is still technically "breaking in".  As long as you can apply tension, the saddle is still useful.  When there is too much stretch, we retire the saddle.  Brooks is generous with their leather choices, so over stretch does not happen too often.


General Discussion / Re: importance of componentry
« on: July 11, 2014, 12:35:34 pm »
I previously owned a Tiagra equipped bike and was well pleased with the way that the components held up.
105 has a long history too, but it tends to show up more on the go fast bikes and not touring bikes.
You might also consider LX (or is it Deore now) mountain bike parts.  This is what you resort to when you need some climbing ability.

For the most reliable shifting, there is always a Shimano Barcon shifter.  Sometime Durace and sometimes Ultegra, but somewhere upwards of a $100.

Brifters are easier to use but not as reliable.

I think I would skip Claris and Sora if you could afford to do so.

General Discussion / Re: general advice on making a tour happen
« on: July 03, 2014, 12:57:14 pm »
I think shimmy is a common problem in store bought touring bikes.  If you read the fine print, they are called lite touring bikes.  Some people can get away with putting panniers on them, and some can't.  Lite touring bikes may have the mount points, but they are not really designed to take panniers front and rear.  I had a Bianchi Volpe that wiggled like an exotic dancer, and that is why I spent the big bucks on a Waterford heavy touring bike.   My base pannier pack is 15 pounds each (4X15, so 60 total), so I don't think I travel overly heavy. They do not sell ready made heavy touring bikes in bike store, although I hear good things about Long Haul Truckers.

My Waterford will flex but it immediately dampens out the vibrations.  This is what generally makes it a rock solid ride.  Once had the front wheel not fully seated, and the Waterford shimmied like my old Bianchi.  Once I re-seated the wheel, the Waterford was back to being rock solid again.

This summer I am taking a tour and I am not taking my Waterford.  I have been modifying an old steel KONA mountain bike that belonged to one of my kids.  The KONA got drop handle bars, bar end shifters, and brake hoods.  I also but one of the Schwalbe Marathon tire variants on, maybe 26x1.5.  The KONA is not as stiff as my Waterford, but it is a lot stiffer than my Bianchi was.  I had problems getting a front rack that worked but I finally ended up with a Minoura steel rack.  The Minoura clamps to the brake boss and the axel.  The KONA fork is rigid steel, but shaped like a suspension fork and has been a bear to fit a rack to.

You might try a better front rack as I believe that is where a lot of shimmy dynamics start.

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