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Messages - RussSeaton

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Trek has produced the 520 for years. Comments have been weak rear rack and not low enough gearing. I am turned off by the Kona by the high front rack braze-ons. Front rack bags should be centered on front axle for maximum stability.

Not low enough gearing on the Trek 520?  Bizarre.  It comes from the factory with 26x32 low gear.  Fairly low.  It has a crankset with 64mm bcd inner chainring.  So tell the bike shop to put a 22 tooth inner chainring on it before you buy it.  Easy.  22x32 is low.  And you could also tell them to put a 11-34 9 speed cassette on it before you buy it.  22x34 is very low.  You can also buy these parts from Nashbar for $34 cassette and $16 chainring.  $50 for super low gearing.  Can't complain about that.  Kona is the same gearing as the Trek.  So do the above to both bikes before you buy them.

Kona does have a high front rack for some reason.  It has two holes for bolting the rack on the fork.  Picture shows it using the lowest hole already.  Guessing Kona believes this is a semi mountain bike.  Have heard mountain bikes have high racks for clearance off road.

Long ago I had a Trek 520 touring bike and toured on it.  Worked fine.  Looking at the specs on the two bikes you mention, it appears they are pretty similar.  About the same components on both.  Just different brakes.  I like the simplicity of V brakes.  Others might like the supposed better stopping of disk brakes.  Looks like the Kona comes with fenders and front rack too.  Same price for both.  $1500+sales tax basically.  Trek will be about $80 higher once you put a front rack and fenders on it.  Your choice.  Doubt there is much difference in these two bikes.  Both will work.  You test rode both so that can help make up your mind.  The extra weight and sluggishness of the Kona may be due to the extra 2-3 pounds of the front rack.  Weight wise they should be about the same once equipped the same.  And if carrying four loaded panniers, the raw weight of the bike means nothing.  Handling will be identical once loaded with full panniers.  Steering will be sluggish.  That is what you get when you hang 20 pounds of panniers on the fork.  You can put a 22 tooth inner chainring on both bikes.  Great.  Have the bike shop do this before you leave the shop.  Make it part of the purchase price or you walk away.  Both bikes have 36 spoke wheels.  Blue Kona with blue fenders looks better.  If that matters.  The less sloped top tube on the Trek looks better to me than the radically sloped Kona top tube.  Guessing warranty is comparable.

I think both of these bikes will work perfectly for loaded touring and commuting where you are carrying weight/bags.

In summary, Ha.  These are the differences between these two bikes.
1.  Brakes.  Disc or V.
2.  Front rack and fenders come with the Kona, have to buy them extra for the Trek.
3.  Cost.  About $80 more for the Trek once it is outfitted the same.  Not enough to care about.
4.  Different length top tubes.  Trek has a 1+ cm shorter top tube.  This may make a difference in the small size you are looking at.

General Discussion / Re: Doin' it well
« on: May 25, 2013, 04:28:27 pm »
You had 400 miles planned over 6 days of riding.  About 70 miles per day average.  Reasonable mileage per day.  Under normal riding conditions its a very good average mileage to maintain.  Assuming you start at 8 AM and finish at 4 PM, that gives you 8 hours to ride, eat, rest, see.  Works out to 9 mph average including nonriding time.  Reasonable to me.  But you had bad weather take all the fun out of the ride.  Can't blame you for ending the ride early.  I don't like to be oustside in bad weather.  Sounds like your sore knees and muscle fatigue is due to not enough training miles.  You need to ride more, get stronger and in condition.  Do lots of short fast rides to get in shape.  Do some weekend tours.  Take off Friday evening and ride 30 miles.  Then ride 40-50 miles on Saturday and Sunday back to home.  And ride 30 miles in the evening during the week.

General Discussion / Re: In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« on: May 25, 2013, 04:07:58 pm »
You must tell us what model of crankset you currently have and what size of chainrings.  And you must tell us what size cassette you have on the rear wheel.  Number of cogs and largest cog.  Giving the model year of the bike and/or components would also help determine what type of bottom bracket you have.

Gear Talk / Re: Disc Compatible Dynamo Hub
« on: May 24, 2013, 04:47:26 pm »
Schmidt and Supernova make dynamo hubs for centerlock.  And Schmidt makes it for 6 bolt.  Shimano also makes a 6 bolt.  Buy your dynamo hubs from Starbike unless you love to pay twice the cost.  Your choice.Ā6 boltĀShimano 6 bolt

General Discussion / Re: Tents
« on: May 01, 2013, 05:21:35 pm »
One door or two doors?  The tent I use on RAGBRAI is a good sized four man tent with two doors and two vestibules.  I sometimes share this tent with another person.  Not once have we ever used more than one door and vestibule.  We put the sleeping pads in it so our feet are at the door we use and our heads are at the door we do not use.  We never ever use the other door and vestibule.  So I don't think having more than one door would matter at all to me.

General Discussion / Re: 3 years to retirement.
« on: May 01, 2013, 01:00:57 pm »
Yes you can replace the suspension fork with a rigid fork.  Probably the best bet is to have your local Trek shop do it.  They can probably order an appropriate fork from Trek.  Ordering a fork online would also work if you want to do the mechanical work yourself.  If touring loaded you would want a fork with lowrider pannier mounts.  Gearing can also be lowered on your bike.  A 22 tooth inner chainring can replace the 28 tooth your bike currently has.

Gear Talk / Re: OCD bike tech and extra spare parts?
« on: April 29, 2013, 06:26:33 pm »
The glueless patches (Park brand) are not permanent.  They work for a week or two and then leak air.  So do not count on glueless patches fixing a hole in your tube permanently.  They are temporary patches.

When touring I carry a spare tire.  Plus tire boots in the saddlebag.  On at least one occassion I had a tire blowout and it could nto be booted.  I think the bead gave way and the tire would not stay mounted anymore.  So a new tire was the only choice.  Carrying boots and a spare tire is wise.

I'd suggest using thread locker on bolts and screws on your bike.  May not need spare bolts or screws if you use thread locker.  Thread locker keeps bolts in place.

Rear derailleur hanger?  I suppose since your wife and you have the same bike then its easy to take a spare hanger.  But otherwise, skip it.  You can always rig the bike up single speed if the hanger breaks.  Assume you have a chain tool in your kit to shorten the chain and make it single speed length.

General Discussion / Re: How to Blog? Crazyguyonabike?
« on: April 28, 2013, 06:15:54 pm »
Guess I have a different opinion of the Crazy Guy forums.  The forums do not get much use.  I assume it is a large website.  So I would expect much more forum activity.  I like this forum better.

General Discussion / Re: Do we need to do any training?
« on: April 22, 2013, 03:27:52 pm »
August?  Its April now.  That leaves May-June-July to train for the trip starting in August.  Lot of time.  No you don't need to train any.  Seems like you already ride now.  You can get on the bikes and start riding.  Probably ride 60-70-80 miles each day just fine.  Not saying riding with gear before the trip would not be good.  You have several months to take Friday-Saturday-Sunday loaded trips.  Do that every other weekend for the next three months and you will be in great physical shape.  And know how your bike behaves loaded.

General Discussion / Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« on: April 17, 2013, 02:25:28 pm »
Don't you find it somewhat humorous or ironic that you post this two days after someone set off two bombs at the end of the Boston Marathon?  3 dead, 140+ injured last I heard.

"the replies that reinforce those fears are very disappointing"  You will have to provide a few quotes to support this.  I remember most people giving both the good and bad sides.

Gear Talk / Re: Trailer Plus Bags
« on: April 14, 2013, 11:31:54 pm »
Why would anyone on earth need panniers and a trailer?  My panniers are about 2350 cubic inches for the pair.  4700 total.  The BoB Yak sack is 5600 cubic inches.  Plus a handlebar bag.  That is a combined total of 10300 cubic inches plus.  About 169 liters.  I guess this confirms there are plenty of nonsensical people in the world.

General Discussion / Re: touring without "eating out"
« on: April 10, 2013, 05:32:28 pm »
I can't add much but I'll try.  I know you said you wanted to avoid restaurants, but maybe you can fudge that a bit.  Convenience stores and many grocery stores have ready to eat food available.  Hot dogs usually at the convenience stores.  Fried chicken and pasta salad and mashed potatoes at the grocery stores.  Maybe supplement your cooking with this food.  As far as cooking, rice and pasta are good for carbohydrates.  Canned tuna and chicken are good for protein.  Add a can of vegetables too.  Macaroni and cheese boxes are good and easy to cook.  Add a can of tuna or chicken into them.  You would need two or three boxes for enough food.  Rice, pasta, mac and cheese, tuna should all be easy to find.  Maybe even convenience stores carry them.  Don't even need a grocery store.

Gear Talk / Re: No Stove
« on: April 06, 2013, 01:41:57 pm »
I did the TransAm without a stove last summer, and I have to admit that subsisting for days at a stretch on nothing but granola bars and peanut butter sandwiches did get me down a little. I rode for a while with some folks who had stoves, and it was a particularly miserable experience to be the only person gnawing on trail mix while everyone else was eating hot soup.

Correct me if I'm wrong, if you are riding across the country without a stove, then you will be eating every supper at a restaurant or buying food from a store to eat that night.  Granola bars and peanut butter sandwiches are OK I guess while riding and you have no good place to stop for food.  But never ever supper.  When you set up camp for the night you are in town or close to town or you just went through a town.  There should always be a place to get real food close to your camp spot.  Or get food before getting to your camp spot.  I would never tolerate granola bars and peanut butter sandwiches for supper ever.

Gear Talk / Re: Racks
« on: April 03, 2013, 12:45:05 am »
how much am I looking to support on the rear racks? Is is worth the price to pay for a nice rack or am I better off putting than money into the bike somewhere else? 

Speaking of, are these ( ) panniers suitable? I've been looking at the Ortlieb Classics and while they hold a little more they are also significantly pricier.

Roughly, 20-30 pounds per rack.  Most fully loaded tourists with four panniers, handlebar bag, have about 40-60 pounds total.  Its best to have less if possible.  But most folks tend to carry more than less.  You may read about people carrying 100+ pounds of gear and/or trailers.  But don't emulate those people.  They would have more fun if they carried half as much.  Try to get by with as little as possible.  You won't suffer that much.

Most racks will work fine.  The Blackburn racks listed above have been used for decades and are high quality for not much money.  You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars for racks.  $80 of Blackburn racks will last for decades of touring.

Most panniers will work fine.  I use Nashbar mountain panniers.  About $80 for four panniers.  Used them for many years.  As long as the bags attach sort of securely to the racks, they will work fine.  You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars for functional panniers.

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