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Messages - RussSeaton

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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.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« on: December 29, 2012, 03:17:23 pm »
Amusing video.  Cannot see the bike in the video.  Assume its a modern racing bike with factory built wheels.  Not the bike I would take loaded touring.  The gearing can be converted to allow loaded touring.  Costly though.  New triple crankset with 22 or 24 inner ring, new chain, new cassette with 32 or 34 cog, probably want a new long cage rear derailleur too.  (Triple crankset would also require a new/different shifter for the front derailleur.  Your current double shifter will not work with a triple.  Shimano has double mountain cranks that will work with your double shifter.  40/28 or 38/26 rings.  Can put a 22 ring on instead.)  You would easily spend 1/3 the cost of a new touring bike.  Wheels you have may also be problematic.  Not designed for loaded touring.  Could buy regular handmade wheels for $3-400 a pair.  Basically it would be easiest to get a new loaded touring bike and leave your racing bike alone.

You asked about bags.  Pretty much any panniers will work fine.  Whether you go with the ultra stylish and expensive Arkel or Ortleib brands.  Or the cheap but functional Nashbar brand.  All panniers hook onto the racks and haul gear.  They are not a wear item.  So if you treat them well, they should last a long time.  Abuse them and they won't.  Cheap to expensive, they all work the same.

You hinted at ultralight touring.  Adventure Cycling sells bags for this.  Probably a few articles at Crazy Guy on a Bike about this type of touring.  A rear rack only would work for this.  But you still need better gearing for your bike.  So a new bike would still be likely.

You mentioned racks.  There are expensive, medium, and cheap racks.  I've found they all work the same.

General Discussion / Re: 2007 Trek Madone 5.0 for touring across the states
« on: December 28, 2012, 11:54:43 pm »
If you have the triple crankset, then you are OK.  Replace the 30 tooth inner chainring with a 24 tooth ring.  And still get the new 10 speed cassette with 11-32 or 11-34 gearing.  24x32 or 24x34 is a low enough gear to get you up any mountain.

Replacing the cassette will require a new chain.  If you have a short cage rear derailleur, you may also want to replace it with a long cage rear derailleur if you change the cassette.  Short cage will work, but may be problematic.
I agree with the triple crank being a necessity and the change of the granny to a 26 or 24T being highly recommended. 

The stock Ultegra rear deraillure will not work and it's not just cage length.  Ultegra rear derailleurs of that vintage, long or short cage,  are rated for a 27T largest cog and, while Shimano is conservative, it is very unlikely that anything bigger than 30T is going to work and even a 30T can be problematic.

 If you are going to fit an Xx32 or Xx34 cassette you will have to get an MTB rear derailleur.  Any of Shimano's 9-speeed MTB rd's will shift perfectly with your STI brifters.  Do not use one of the new 10-speed MTB rear derailleurs.

Ignore most of the previous email.  You do not need a new rear derailleur.  A short cage or long cage Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur will shift a 32 rear cog.  Probably a 34 too.  But definitely a short cage shifts a 32 cog just fine.  Anyone who says it does not work does not know what they are talking about.  They seem to believe things written on paper are true without testing it in the real world.  My brother has an older Trek OCLV frame with a Shimano 600 short cage rear derailleur.  It shifts onto a 32 rear cog just fine.  Now the cage length will affect whether you have chain droop in some combinations.  Long cage allows you to use more gears without chain droop.  But both cage lengths will shift onto a 32 cog just fine.

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