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Messages - RussSeaton

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Gear Talk / Re: Touring bikes...
« on: March 13, 2013, 05:23:55 pm »
I suspect the Specialized bike you linked to would work OK for a loaded tour.  Might not be ideal though.  Gearing is 34x30 low.  Not super low for a loaded bike.  You could probably change the cassette and go lower but extra hassle.  Since your trip is a loaded tour with camping and cooking and you are carrying everything, it makes sense to get a loaded touring bike.  Surly LHT, Trek 520, REI Novara Randonneee are all candidates.  $1200-1500 in the US.  All are identical.  All will work fine.  Racks, fenders, bags, super low gearing is all possible with these.  Make sure you get super low gearing when you buy the bike.  You already have a Specialized racing bike.  So might as well get a strong, do everything loaded touring bike for its partner.  Use it for commuting and groceries when you get back home.  And riding across the USA here.

A loaded touring bike is probably what you want for a loaded tour.  If after you start you decide to go ultra light and carry minimal gear, that is good.  The bike will still work.  You won't notice a problem riding it.  Once you get some bags on a bike, they all ride the same.  10 pounds, 20 pounds, or 30 pounds.  They all ride sort of bad.  So having a light bike or a heavy bike won't matter.  When I say bad I don't mean awful, horrible, terrible.  Just bad as in not quick and agile and light.  Its got pounds of bags hanging on it.  Its no longer a quick lively bike.  Its a beast of burden.  You're not going to sprint up the hill carrying luggage on the bike.  So whether its the Surly LHT, or Cross Check, or that lighter Specialized bike, it makes no difference.

Gear Talk / Re: 2013 summer tour bike
« on: February 22, 2013, 12:37:27 pm »
Based on the bikes you listed, I assume this Spain tour is not loaded.  A vehicle will be carrying any gear.  Overnights will be at motels.  Spain has mountains and lots of little roads that were just thrown down on whatever ground was there.  Meaning they are steep roads.  Gears as low as possible will be appreciated.  Even if you are not carrying any gear.  Pretty sure the low gears on all of these bikes can be lowered by putting on a new cassette.  32 or 34 tooth rear cog.  And the triple crankset bike can have the inner chainring changed to a 24 tooth.  Compact cranksets with a 34 chainring and 32 or 34 rear cog will get you a low of about 26 or 28 inches.  Low enough.  The triple will get lower.

Trek or Specialized, either side of a coin.  Both are large conglomerates making most of their bikes in China.  Both use the same parts from Shimano to equip their bikes.  The bikes you listed are 8, 9, or 10 speed cassettes.  Sora, Tiagra, and one grade lower than Sora are the derailleurs, shifters, cranksets, brakes, etc.  I suspect all will work OK.  Never notice much difference.  8 and 9 are kind of older technology now.  Parts are still available.  But 10 speed is more current  Does this make a difference?  Probably not.  The most expensive Specialized bike has Tiagra 10 speed.  So its parts are higher end than the other bikes.  Thus it costs more.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bikes...
« on: February 20, 2013, 04:14:53 pm »
The LHT is their fully loaded tourer and the Cross Check would be a slightly lighter tourer but both have fittings for front and rear racks, fenders, wide tires, etc.  For the price, you can't do better. probably can do better.  Surly/QBP thinks their stuff is gold plated.  The person who started this thread is from Sweden.  Not the US.  So if they buy a Surly in Europe they will pay that extra price.  Doing a search I found the Surly LHT for 945 Pounds in UK.  $1.55 per Pound equals $1465 for a LHT.  In the US the LHT costs $1275.  $190 upcharge for Britain.  Then I found a place in Sweden selling the LHT for 12699 Swedish Krona.  6.35 Krona per $1.  So that works out to $2000.  A $725 premium.  If you buy a Surly in Europe you are paying more than the US price.  A Surly may be a poor economic choice in Europe.  You can likely find a much lower cost alternative that will perform the same.  In the US the Surly LHT is competitive with others like the Trek 520, REI Novara Randonee, and othr touring bikes.  All are similar in price and components and function.  But in Europe Surly adds a premium because of its "American" name.  More than likely you will find other brands with the same function at a lower cost in Europe.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring bikes...
« on: February 18, 2013, 01:48:40 pm »
You have a bike now that fits.  Right?  So you know its geometry.  Find the 5 or 6 touring bikes sold in the world on the website and compare their geometry to your bike.  You should be able to find one that fits.  Then find a Portland bike shop that sells that brand.  Buy it and arrange for them to have it when you land.  And ask about racks too.  Assume you will bring your own panniers from Sweden.

All touring bikes are very similar.  Whether you have the first five rides on it in Sweden or the US won't make any difference.  20+ years ago I started a long loaded tour with a bike I had ridden 3-4 times total.  Loaded once.  Worked just fine.  Realized years later it fit awful.  But that did not matter.  I still rode it just fine.  So having a perfectly fitting bike is not necessary.  Or having a bike you are familiar with.  Any bike will work.  Riding with loaded panniers is not some mythical and mysterious technique.  You ride the same.  Bike is heavier and slower, but you ride it the same.  In five minutes you will be familiar with it.

Now I'm not exactly advising you to buy the bike in the US.  By the time you pick up the bike in the US, get it fitted.  Get racks and bags on it.  Test ride it a bit.  You will add 2-3-4 extra days at the start of the trip.  You have to pay for that lodging.  So the extra $2-300 in lodging you pay is the same amount of money you saved by buying the bike in the US instead of Sweden.  You don't come out ahead either way.  Might as well get a bike in Sweden and bring it to the US and start the trip the day after you arrive.  Save hundreds in lodging costs.

20-30 pounds of gear is not exactly lightweight.  So a full on loaded touring bike will probably work just fine for you.  A lighter racier bike will not be much easier or nicer to ride and may have compromises with your gear weight.  I have a touring bike and racing bikes.  The racing bikes are nicer to ride unloaded.  But the touring bike rides OK too.  So you may be wise to just get a loaded touring bike.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: February 12, 2013, 08:08:53 pm »
For paved roads, the east and midwest have the western states beat.  There are numerous county and state paved roads connecting all of the small towns in the east and midwest.  All of the farm towns up and down every river.  The west does not have many towns.  And the few roads connecting the few towns are main, highly traveled roads.  The west does have the advantage of every paved road being a scenic road through the mountains.

Gear Talk / Re: Ironman and Europe Tour on one bike??
« on: February 07, 2013, 12:53:14 pm »
I toured western Europe 20 years ago.  Assuming things are still similar, you can get by without camping.  Hostels, pensiones, cheap rooms, etc.  Towns are really close together in western Europe so you are never more than 20 miles from a town to sleep and eat.  Its not like the western US where you can go 100 miles between any towns.  So you could get a very nice sort of high end road bike with a triple crankset or compact crankset and large rear cog, put on aero bars for the triathalon, and use this one bike for lightweight touring and the triathalon.  Carrying minimal gear is possible with a seatpost rack and rack bag or large saddlebag like a Carradice.  And maybe a handlebar bag after you remove the aero bars.

Gear Talk / Re: Generator Hubs and USB Devices
« on: January 21, 2013, 06:55:32 pm »

Busch&Mueller Luxos IQ2 U model is able to charge USB devices while riding.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Quick Release Skewers Too Short with Rack Fitting
« on: January 13, 2013, 07:27:14 pm »
Try Old Man Mountain.  They have racks that mount through the front dropout.  They sell skewers.  They might be longer than normal to fit their racks.

Gear Talk / Re: '13 Trek Madone 2.1
« on: January 11, 2013, 06:08:16 pm »
A seatpost rack and bag will work fine for light touring where you stay in motels.  Or a Carradice bag on the back of the saddle.  Looking at the Trek website, your bike comes with either a compact 34x30 or triple 30x30 low gear.  Good enough for light touring.

Seatpost rack with side racks to keep panniers out of spokes.

Rackbag with side pockets that fold out to become panniers.

Carradice bags on back of saddle.  Attach with toestraps.

Adventure Cycling sells the bags that go inside the main triangle.

You can put a rear rack onto your bike.  Just use P clips to attach the rack to the seatstays at the top and bottom.  May not be the prettiest, but it works fine.  Your frame is aluminum so it will be fine with P clips.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Friday Touring and Travel
« on: January 10, 2013, 06:05:49 pm »
I have friends who ... travel all over the world and they have a pair of BFs they've had for about 20 years. They use their trailer transports. But not for touring. They tell me the only thing the BF trailer is really good for is tranpsorting their ultralight traveling gear from the train to their hotel. Then they take off on their Bike Fridays for self-guided excursions but they never take the trailers.

The bikes go in the trailers for transport on trains and planes and buses. When they arrive sompelace, the bikes are assembled and the trailers haul their gear.

I'm guessing your friends leave the Bike Friday trailer/hardcase at the hotel they start and end the trip at.  They always start and end their bike trips at the same town/airport.  Never coast to coast or cross Europe type trips.  Always loop tours.

Routes / Re: northern tier route Aug to Oct.
« on: January 10, 2013, 06:00:01 pm »
I finsihed Northern Tier in Oct, 2003, riding west to east. I finished before maximum fall foliage color. I encounterd hurricane winds, hail, torrential rain, and snow flurries, with temperature down to the 20s. Many campgrounds were closed.

You don't make the NorthEast sound very pleasant for bicycling in the fall.  Personally, I think once you get outside the May-September period, you can easily experience bad weather anywhere in the north half of the country.  May can be wet and cold.  June-July-August can be hot and windy.  But the vast majority of the time the days are pleasant for riding.  I would not plan a vacation of riding in the NE or NW for October.  Or the upper midwest states.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« on: January 02, 2013, 03:36:51 am »
Hey y'all!  Thanks a bunch for the responses.  Ya, I'm stuck right now between going the SLHT route or buying a triple crank plus 32 spoke wheels.  I'm going to keep reading ACA and the net.

A triple crankset isn't really an option for you.  Your bike has Shimano STI shifters.  Your front derailleur shifter is for a double crankset only.  It will not shift a triple crankset.  Only a double.  As mentioned, Shimano makes mountain bike cranksets in double setup.  Nashbar sells them.  40-28 or 38-26 chainrings.  You can replace the small ring with a 22 ring for cheap.  Your STI levers will shift this double crankset just fine.  If you went with a triple crankset you would also need a triple STI lever for the front derailleur.  Expensive.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« on: December 31, 2012, 09:28:53 pm »
Whether he goes heavy with bags or trailer, or ultralight with bags, he needs much lower gearing to get any gear over the mountains.
Many thousands of cyclists who ride the mountains every day with standard road bike gearing might disagree. If the load is light and the rider is fit, standard gearing is fine. Given the option, my preference is low gearing too, but it's not a requirement in all situations.

Even pros (super strong amateurs) go with 39x27 or a compact crank with 34 ring when they ride the mountains.  So non pros probably need quite a bit lower to get up a mountain.  Especially if carrying any baggage.  I've met cyclists who use 39x32 gearing in the Rockies.  Unloaded.  Add 10-15 pounds of bags and I'm doubtful many can make it without at least 39x32 or 34x32 gearing.  The Rockies are sort of easy in grade compared to the Appalachians.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« on: December 31, 2012, 03:27:43 pm »
For about the cost of making your completely unsuitable bike into a near-miss tourer you could purchase a purpose built touring bike properly equipped right out of the showroom. 
Given that the OP said they "would be using road shoes, lugging lightweight sandals, probably going stove-less, tarp, bug net, quilt, night lights, bike supplies, zero pairs of duplicate clothing, maybe a pair of sil-nylon baggy shorts for zeros in town", I will suggest that a "purpose built touring bike" might not be the best choice.  Something like an LHT or whatever is pretty gross overkill if we are talking a 10 or 15 pound base gear weight.  I know that while I own a touring bike I still prefer to ride a road bike for ultralight touring even when camping and cooking.
It isn't the only lack of luggage capacity that makes his current bike unsuitable, it's the gearing.  Correcting that will be quite expensive.

As DaveB points out, its really his current gearing that makes his current bike unsuitable.  The fact he is thinking about doing ultralight touring isn't really the driver.  Whether he goes heavy with bags or trailer, or ultralight with bags, he needs much lower gearing to get any gear over the mountains.  A loaded touring bike fits the gearing requirement no matter how much gear he takes.  As you point out its not the ideal for ultralight gear.  But it works.  He could get a road racing type bike with a triple crankset, or maybe compact crank and 32 rear cog.  That might be the best bike for ultralight touring.  Converting his current bike to suitable gearing will cost hundreds of dollars.  New wheels would also be nice.  Its probably not the best use of money to convert his current bike when for about the same money he can have a new/different loaded touring bike.  Maybe use it for trail riding or commuting when not touring.  His current race bike is no good for those tasks.  A new racing bike with low gearing also would not be ideal for those tasks.

Routes / Re: Chicago to New Orleans in April, exp cyclists, beg tourists
« on: December 31, 2012, 03:16:55 pm »
April?  Chicago to New Orleans.  April is not a great bicycling month in the midwest.  It can be fine.  It can also be cold, windy, and rainy.  When riding from Chicago south to the end of Illinois (half the distance to New Orleans almost) you will see lots of farmers planting.  They are planting in April because that is a good time to get plants in the ground.  One of the key parts of that is moisture.  Rain.  Freshly planted crops love water.  Rain.  They also love warm weather too.  But the heat can wait until June and July.  Water is key to the beginning of a plant growth cycle.  Water and rain is not great for bicycling usually.  Cold, cool rain is even worse.  In April you could be miserable until you get out of south Illinois.  It could also be wonderful and mild temperatures.  But we don't have droughts and dry warm springs every year.

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