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Messages - RussSeaton

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Gear Talk / Re: Gearing for Touring Bike
« on: July 12, 2015, 07:26:35 pm »
No the OP could be the owner of Surly LHT or a Co-Motion Pangea, they both come in 26".  As for gearing, we found that a 38 front and 17 rear seem to work just perfect giving you plenty of range for flats and the most demanding climbs.  :)  8)  :o

There have probably been 10 million more 26 inch mountain bikes sold than Surly or Co-Motion bikes sold.  Kind of implies the person is using a 26" mountain bike for touring.

You recommend a 38 tooth front chainring and a 17 tooth rear cog for climbing mountains on a touring bike.  Professional Tour de France riders use easier gears than that for climbing mountains.  And they don't carry panniers and gear on their bikes.  38x17 low gear.  Sure.

I am interested in doing the TransAmerica Route in 2016.  I have a Trek FX 7.5 with 48/36/26 and 11/26 gearing - I think that should get me by ok.  I have a rear rack and small panniers large enough for 20 lbs.

It sounds like you already have most of the gear necessary for a loaded tour.  The bike should work fine.  Change the inner chainring to a smaller one and maybe put a larger cassette on the rear wheel.  Easy to do.  That will get you low enough gearing for any mountain or hill, loaded or unloaded.  I don't recommend it, but you can use just a rear rack and rear panniers.  You already have them.  You could also figure out a way to attach a front rack to your bike if you want front panniers too.  Easy.  Cheap Nashbar panniers work just fine.  You do not have to spend much money on racks or panniers, or anything else.  Other than some camping stuff, you already own everything you need for a loaded tour.

Regarding motel costs.  They are unbelievably expensive in the USA.  Everywhere they are expensive.  I seriously doubt you could find any room for less than $50 anywhere in the USA.  Once a year I ride in rural Iowa and stay at motels for a couple nights.  $60-70 is what they cost.  One might assume, incorrectly, that a rural town in farmland in the middle of the week would be somewhat cheap.  HaHaHa.  All motels everywhere in the USA are expensive at all times.

Gear Talk / Re: Gearing for Touring Bike
« on: July 07, 2015, 05:17:13 pm »
I have 26" wheels, 26x32 is my lowest gear. Would it be best to go with a 22" in the front?

26" wheels kind of implies you are using a mountain bike for touring.  Fine.  If you have a triple crankset and 26 teeth is the inner chainring, then that implies a mountain bike crankset too.  Mountain bikes come with triple cranks that use 64mm bolt circle diameter inner chainrings that sometimes use 28 or 26 or 24 or 22 tooth inner chainrings.  Your easiest way to get lower gears is to replace the 26 tooth inner chainring with a 22 tooth inner chainring.  Assume its 64mm bolt circle diameter.  A low gear of 22x32 should be low enough for about any climbing.  And it should be pretty easy to replace the inner chainring.  And your middle and outer rings should stay the same and these are the ones you use 99% of the time.  The inner chainring is rarely ever used so changing it is fine.

This is a 22 tooth inner chainring with 64mm bcd.  Should fit your crankset.  If you have any doubts, then take the bike to a bike shop and have them change the chainring.  Should take a 22 tooth.

General Discussion / Re: Winter Cycling
« on: June 28, 2015, 01:37:44 pm »
For tires you want carbide studded tires with as many carbide studs as possible.  And you want the tire as wide as possible too.  Wide allows you to put very low pressure in the tire.  You can then get more tread and studs on the snow, float on top of the snow.  Instead of a narrow tire that cuts through the snow and does not put much tread on the ground.  I have ordered stuff from Starbike in Germany.  Including Schwalbe studded tires.  With the Euro to Dollar rate at about $1.12/1 and not paying the VAT Value Added Tax if in the USA.  Your price is about the same as converting the Euros directly to Dollars.  Cheap compared to US bike shops.

As for clothes to stay warm, as many as you can put on.  Those chemical warmer things for toes and fingers are also good.  But the best advice is to keep your rides short, short, short.  1 hour maximum or less.  Ride hard for 30 minutes then get inside and get warm.  Then a few hours later go for another short ride.  Short, quick rides in the cold.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Bike Selection
« on: June 20, 2015, 07:49:35 pm »
The day I made my decision I went to Richardson Bike Mart. I asked to see touring bikes. They showed me an ugly green Trek 520. Low gear was 30 front, 34 rear. Useless. I left.
I drove to Plano Cycling, a Co-Motion dealer. Two hours later I had been measured, selected colors and written a check for a custom Americano. Stock low gear on the Americano: 24-34.

For some reason you forgot to mention the Americano frame is $2000.  Complete bike around $4000.  Trek 520 is around $1500 I think for the whole bike.  Richardson Bike Mart is a high end shop in Dallas.  If you had told them up front you wanted to spend $4000 on a touring bike, I suspect they would have found you one.  Depending on what year you looked at the Trek 520, it may have used a Shimano triple crankset that could take a 24 tooth 74mm bolt circle diameter inner chainring.  If so, the Trek 520 would have the exact same gearing as the Americano, for $2500 less cost.  For the green color, can't help you.  But I think there are companies that paint bikes for a few hundred dollars.  You'd still be a couple thousand less than the Americano.

Gear Talk / Re: Gearing for Touring Bike
« on: June 18, 2015, 03:21:43 pm »
Its very helpful to know what your crankset is, in addition to the cassette.  I use a 11-32 ten speed cassette on my touring bike and it works fine.  But I also have a triple crankset with a 20 tooth inner chainring.  A 20x32 low gear is very low.  I have not ridden in Montana but guessing its Rocky Mountains are similar to Colorado.  The Rocky Mountains are not very steep.  Long, but not steep.  So you don't need a super low gear.  But if you already had problems in Canada, maybe you do need some extra low gearing.

You can get lower gears two ways.  Make the cassette bigger or make the crankset smaller.  You have a 32 tooth cassette now.  More than likely you can accommodate a 34 tooth cassette.  But if you try to use a 36 tooth cassette, then maybe the rear derailleur hanger will not be long enough to allow the rear derailleur to get underneath the biggest cog.  May or may not have problems with getting a long road derailleur to clear a very big cog.  Mountain derailleurs will generally clear big cogs.  So changing the cassette may or may not be an easy thing.  Have to try it to know if it works.

Not sure what crankset you have now since you did not provide that crucial information.  Lets assume its one of those road triple that only takes down to a 30 tooth inner chainring.  Getting a mountain crankset that takes a 22 tooth inner chainring will be pretty easy.  Making a big change on your inner chainring helps your gearing much more than a small change in the cassette.  And changing the inner chainring leaves the outer and middle rings alone, and these are the ones you use most of the time.  The inner chainring is really only used to climb mountains and hills.  Otherwise its never ever used.

General Discussion / Re: Loaded Tour Bike Handling
« on: June 06, 2015, 04:12:31 pm »
Based on specs given for the Raleigh Sojourn bike, it uses a Shimano FC-R453 triple crankset.  It has 130mm bolt circle diameter chainrings in the outer and middle positions.  And 74mm bcd ring in the inner position.  Your crankset can accept a 24 tooth inner chainring.  They are cheap and easy to find.  If you want to spend money you could put 48-38 rings on the outer two positions and 24 inner ring.  That would be a fine combination for touring.

As for your rear derailleur and cassette, it depends.  Your rear derailleur may or may not be able to get underneath a 34 tooth cassette cog.  You may be stuck with your 32 cog.  For some reason people forget there is a derailleur hanger bolted below the rear dropout.  It is what the derailleur attaches to.  If it is not long enough to allow the derailleur to get low enough, then the derailleur will not clear a 34 cog.  Its a combination of how long and low the derailleur hanger is and the derailleur itself.  But put a 24 inner ring on your crankset and the 32 cog will be OK.  Going up to a 34 cog won't get you much lower.

As for your bad handling.  Put as much weight as possible in the front panniers.  People forget they are on top of the bike and the bike is hauling their weight.  If you weigh 200 pounds, about 75% of your weight is supported by the rear wheel.  25% of your weight supported by the front wheel.  So that is 150 pounds on the rear and 50 pounds on the front.  You could put all of your baggage on the front panniers and you would still only be about equal in weight distribution.  I have toured with just front panniers only, no rear panniers at all.  Handling was perfect.  I always put the heavy items in the front panniers.

Routes / Re: Southern tier in the summer time
« on: June 01, 2015, 02:53:11 pm »
But on the other hand the early morning rides in the desert are really nice starting around 4:30 am.

4:30 AM?

Gear Talk / Re: Flashlights for bike are needed
« on: May 30, 2015, 01:22:56 pm »
Sometimes flashlights can be the right choice for a bicycle.  Use a small LED flashlight that takes 2 or 3 AA or AAA batteries.  It will run for an hour or two and provide enough light to ride good enough.  And can be used to see around camp or fixing a flat at night.  Use a TWOFISH Cycleblocks holder to strap the light to the top of your handlebars.  Link below.  And a small flashlight that is 4-6" long and 1-1.5" diameter.  Small.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring without fenders - big mistake?
« on: May 20, 2015, 11:11:51 am »
Why wouldn't you have them on a loaded touring bike?  My bike already weighs 30 pounds, so an extra 1/4 pound ain't gonna matter much.  They don't seem to cause any problems in the dry.  And they do help in the wet.  Don't see much downside to having them on the bike.  I bolted them onto my current bike about 10 years ago and have not touched them since.  Claiming they add extra wind resistance isn't applicable to a loaded touring bike.

Gear Talk / Re: How heavy is your touring bike (unloaded)?
« on: May 20, 2015, 11:04:40 am »
30.2 pounds for the aluminum Redline Conquest Tour loaded touring bike.  Including fenders, lowrider rack in front, rear rack, pedals, 2 bottle cages, computer, rear blinkie, and a little compass bobble on the handlebars.  No tire pump or saddlebag.  Your question prompted me to take the scale to the basement and weigh the bike, first time I ever weighed it.  Bike has 35mm Specialized tires that weigh about 2 pounds each.  I would not worry much about the weight of your Bruce Gordon bike.  Its probably around 30 pounds, like all the other bikes mentioned here.  Seems like a good weight to me.  The tires alone will make it feel very different than a racing bike.

I am planning on using my 29er to ride the GDMBR however as I have experienced before on my 26er a Stump Jumper there is too much pressure on my hands.  Although I didn't notice it ridding single track for an hour or two I do notice it riding gravel rail trails and dirt roads even for as little as an hour.

The bar position is about level with the seat so I don't want to go higher.  Thinking using an offset seat post to move the seat reward which I believe would result in a more up ride position.

Your 29 and 26 mountain bikes both put too much pressure on your hands when riding gravel roads.  But not single track because when riding single track you are always moving your hands and body every few seconds.  On gravel you stay more stationary with your hands and body so weight will put pressure on your hands.  Your mountain bikes do not fit.

There is no law against having your bars even or above your saddle.  If it improves comfort, do it.  An offset seatpost moving the saddle rearward will stretch you out more and put more weight and pressure on your hands.  Moving the seat rearward will not put you in a more upright position.  Based on you writing this, I surmise you do not know how bikes fit.  So I advise you to find someone who can fit you to a bicycle.

Simple and easy step would be to put a shorter and higher stem on the bike and see if it makes you more comfortable.  $20 mail order isn't too much to try.  Try that for both the 26 and 29 bikes.

My father lives in France (southwest, not too far from Bordeaux), and the last two years, when visiting him, I've been using a bike I bought there and left with him to take a weeklong tour.  This has been reasonably light credit-card touring, just rear Ortlieb panniers pretty much;

For those of you who have done both touring in Europe and touring in the US,

I have quite a bit of European touring.  Rome to Brussels.  Southern Portugal and SW Spain.  Shorter, smaller areas in the USA.

Overnight costs.  Europe is 1/4 or 1/3 the cost of USA.  The US is unbelievably expensive for housing.  Campsites in the US are as expensive or more expensive as motels/pensiones/hostels in Europe.  You get a private room with a bed and small breakfast and maybe shared bathroom in Europe for the same price you pay for a campsite at a park in the USA.  Adventure Cycling seems to promote camping.  It lists all the campsites on its maps.  The people on this forum all seem to camp and cook their food when biking.  I am not sure if that is because USA bikers love camping and cooking or because they would be in the poor house if they tried to motel and restaurant in the USA.

Restaurants are cheaper in Europe too.  Convenience stores are bigger and more plentiful in USA.  Slim pickings for convenience stores in Europe.  But there are lots of grocery stores, every town has one.  Much less traffic, less traveled roads in Europe.

I'd advise you to fly back to Europe and tour again there.  Skip the US.

Gear Talk / Re: Need advice
« on: March 21, 2015, 05:33:17 pm »
You need a hybrid bike.  They have 9 or 10 speed cassette and triple crankset.  Good for touring.  And will have upright 3-speed style handlebars.  Good for sitting upright and not bending your neck.  Surly Ogre and Surly Troll look appropriate.

Gear Talk / Re: Tubeless?
« on: March 17, 2015, 10:32:53 am »
Not familiar with tubeless.  But don't you need an air compressor to seal the tire against the rim when inflating?  You need a lot of air blown into the rim very quickly to seal the tire against the rim and inflate.

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