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Messages - RussSeaton

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Routes / Re: Des Moines, IA to Knoxville, TN Starting Nov. '13
« on: August 22, 2013, 03:58:42 pm »
Do you know RAGBRAI was in Des Moines this year?  It went over to Knoxville, then Oskaloosa, Fairfield, Ft. Madison.  Seems like that would work pretty well for a route over to the Great Rivers South route that Adventure Cycling has.  It starts in Muscatine, but Ft. Madison is very close to Muscatine.  RAGBRAI route is below too.  Seems like you could use the maps below to get a pretty good route down to the middle of Tennessee.  The Adventure Cycling map goes to Tupelo Mississippi.  But first goes by Nashville.  I think Nashville is a bit west of Knoxville.

Gear Talk / Re: do I have too much crap?
« on: August 16, 2013, 02:43:07 pm »
I am a fan of putting all the weight or most of the weight in the front panniers and as little as possible in the rear panniers.  I have toured with only front panniers and no rear panniers.  And with front and rear panniers.  Always putting the heavy stuff in the front panniers and the light stuff in the rear panniers.  Touring bikes get more stable and controllable with weight on the front wheel.

Make sure the crankset has a 38 or 39 tooth inner chainring.  Or better yet if it is 110mm bcd compact and will accept a 33 or 34 tooth inner chainring.  Only use the 11-32 or 11-34 cassette when touring.  Otherwise use a 12-27 or maybe 12-25 cassette.  Hopefully you will end up with low enough gears.  39x34 low gear is pretty low.  Unless you are climbing a mountain or steep hill.  Then you will want even lower.  If you are touring where its not too hilly or steep, then 39x34 is probably low enough.  Not ideal, but you can manage.  May need a new long cage rear derailleur is using a 11-34 cassette.  And new longer chain.  Putting on a triple crankset might not work because you need a triple shifter to shift between all three chainrings.  You currently have a double shifter so won't work.  You could buy a double mountain bike crankset with 38-22 chainrings.  That would work with your current double shifter.  But cost is starting to add up with new cranksets and new cassette and new chain and new rear derailleur.  Triple would also likely need a new front derailleur.  Try to make it work by just replacing the cassette, chain, rear derailleur.  Still costly, but...  Your problem is you are converting a racing bike with racing gears to a low gear touring bike.  It gets costly to change all the parts.  It can be done sort of, but its costly.

A carbon racing bike will work for a touring bike if using a BoB trailer.  I know a kid who uses a Trek carbon race bike and a BoB trailer for a short tour each summer.  He is not in mountains so does not need low gears.  I would suggest you get a racing bike with very low gears.  A triple crankset and big cogs on the cassette.  11-32 or 11-34 cassette.  My touring bike has a 10 speed cassette, so 9 or 10 speeds works fine on the rear wheel.  STI brake-shift levers also work well for a touring bike.  You do not have to have bar end shifters on the end of the bars.

General Discussion / Re: Complete newb, TA in 2014
« on: August 12, 2013, 03:52:33 pm »
For touring bikes the standard is:
Trek 520
Surly Long Haul Trucker
REI Novara Randonee

With distant second being
Nashbar steel touring bike
Bikes Direct Motobecane steel touring bike

The first set is $1200-1500 each.  Second set is $700-800 each.  Bike only.  These are not the only touring bikes.  There are others I am not aware of.  Second set will need a mechanic to inspect the bike and overhaul it.  First set comes from a bike shop so should be good to go.  All the bikes above will work perfectly.  Its just the second set will need more inspection and adjustment before starting out.  No racks or bags unless the bike happens to come with a rear rack.  I use the Nashbar mountain bike panniers and am happy with them.  $50 pair.  Nashbar front lowrider rack too.  No longer made.  Blackburn Expedition rear rack.  So you don't have to spend lots of money on bags and racks.  Or on a bike either.  If you are judicious you can put it all together for $1000.  You will want to change the front chainring to the smallest possible.  22 or 24 teeth.  And maybe change the rear cassette to a 34 or 32 big cog.  Get the lowest gears possible.

1.  Depends how much you are going to carry.  Cyclocross bikes have forks which do not accept front racks, particularly lowrider racks.  Touring forks accept these racks so you can haul four panniers.  Cyclocross bikes are good for rear rack only loads and a handlebar bag.
4.  No lock or a light minimal lock to use when you go into stores.

Gear Talk / Re: Fenders and tires for a Surly Disc Trucker with 26" rims
« on: August 01, 2013, 02:59:04 pm »
If you know you are riding the C&O Canal Path, and it is rock/gravel/dirt, then by all means get wider tires.  Assuming the price is right.  Wider tires are better for unpaved surfaces.  You should be able to find some tires around 2 inches wide with a fairly smooth tread.  You want smooth tread, not knobbies.  For all around riding, paved, unpaved, whatever, the 1.5 inch Continental tires you currently have are great all purpose tires.  Nothing is better for all riding.  But specifically for unpaved trails, wider is better.

1.5 inch tires are fine for paved roads.  That is roughly 38mm in metric.  Ample for a loaded touring bike.  Going narrower or wider does not really get you much extra.  Narrower might possibly be a little faster.  Maybe.  Wider might be a little more comfortable.  Maybe.  But 1.5 inch width is a great tire size for all roads.  Paved and unpaved.

As for fenders, look online for some designed for 26 inch tires.  I'm sure they are out there.  Make sure the front fender goes as low as possible and has a flap.  You don't want water spraying on your shoes.  And try to get the rear fender to go down as far as possible and has a flap.  To keep water off anyone following you.  You may have to bolt on flaps yourself.  You can buy them online I am sure.  Or make them out of pieces of rubber or milk jugs.  Cutting up a wide mountain bike tire would probably work as a flap.  Bolt on with screws and washers.

Gear Talk / Re: Uncoventional bike conversions?
« on: July 30, 2013, 06:51:15 pm »
It kind of depends on your definition of long distance bicycle touring.  Do you mean fully loaded, camping, cooking, carrying four panniers?  Or motels and restaurants and carrying minimal gear?  For fully loaded you kind of need a touring bike like the Surly Long Haul Trucker or Trek 520.  It comes with a fork that can mount lowrider racks on the front and can carry four panniers front and back.  Only loaded touring bikes come with forks that can mount racks on the front and carry panniers on the front.  So about any other bike won't work too well for fully loaded touring.  The BoB trailer can be pulled by any bike so I guess any bike can be a loaded touring bike.  But for carrying four panniers, you need a loaded touring bike.  Nothing else will work.  I know that many years ago people toured across the country with only rear panniers.  You could do this today I suppose.  Its not as good as having four panniers, but...  So any bike that can fit a rear rack could be a loaded touring bike.  If you are going minimal with motels and restaurants, then your gear should be very minimal.  And about any bike should be able to carry minimal gear.

Gear Talk / Re: My "new-to-me" bike!
« on: July 30, 2013, 06:10:17 pm »
Would you wear your SPDs on days you are not riding the bike at all? How about having to replace those clips?

I wear my SPD cycling sandals as my only shoes when on tour.  In addition to flip flops for the shower.  Cycling sandals work great for walking around town or the campgrounds.  They are super comfortable on and off the bike.  Replacing the clips?  Do you mean replacing the SPD metal cleats on the bottom of the sandals?  SPD cleats never ever need replacing.  They are steel.  They are recessed into the sole of the shoe so see little wear on pavement.  When you are clipped in to the pedal you are not wearing the cleat on the pedal mechanism.  SPD cleats last forever.

Gear Talk / Re: Surly Disc Trucker v. LHT
« on: July 03, 2013, 10:45:13 pm »
The leather Brooks bar tape is not a good idea.  Leather is slick when wet.  Wet from sweat or rain.  It will be very hard to hold onto your bars.  The leather used for the bar tape is also very thin.  It has no padding.  It will be about like grabbing the hard aluminum bar directly.  No comfort at all.  About like the old time Benotto plastic handlebar tape.  There is a reason different materials are used for different parts of bicycles.  Leather is not a good idea to use for handlebar tape.  The foam stuff used for tape now days works good.  It provides cushion so its comfortable.  And it has some texture to it so you can grab it when its wet and not have your hands slip off.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring crankset
« on: June 27, 2013, 02:38:31 pm »
Ramps and pins on the chainrings are good.  They help shifting.  Essential, no.  Helpful, yes.  You have a nine speed 11-32 cassette.  I suspect you will ride most of the time on the middle or outer ring and do all shifting with the rear derailleur.  Shift the front rarely.  So you could easily do without ramps and pins on the chainrings.  They help shifting but they cost more.  Your choice.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring crankset
« on: June 26, 2013, 07:41:19 pm »
The person has a 11-32 cassette.  A 22x32 low gear is 18.2 gear inches.  A 24x32 low gear is 19.9 gear inches.  If you think you can tell a 1.7 gear inch difference in a gear, you're living in a fantasy world.  Yes the percentage difference is important.  But you somehow forget it depends on what number its a percent of.  I get 8.3% difference between 22 and 24.  8.3% difference of 20 gear inches is about 1.7 gear inches.  8.3% of 100 gear inches is 8.3 gear inches.  It depends on what gear you are talking about.  Big difference between small gears and large gears.  Have you ever thought that is why the small cogs on a cassette change by one tooth.  While the large cogs change by 3 or 4 teeth.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring crankset
« on: June 25, 2013, 03:36:13 pm »
I wholeheartedly endorse using mountain bike triple cranksets on touring bikes.  The 44-32-22 possible chainrings make lots of sense combined with the 11-32 or 11-34 9 or 10 speed cassettes available today.  More high gears than you need and low enough low gears.  Great.  But the person starting this thread already owns a Sora crankset and bottom bracket with 130mm bcd outer and middle rings and 74mm bcd inner ring.  So its cheaper and easier to just change the chainrings than to buy and install a new crankset and maybe bottom bracket too.  Putting a 24 tooth inner ring on his current crankset gets him a low of 24x32.  I toured Europe using that low gear so its low enough.  Cost wise he would be best to just replace the inner chainring with a 24 tooth and leave the 52 and 42 alone.  Just ride in the 42 and 24 rings all the time.  He has bar end shifters so he can shift anything fine.  If he wants to get crazy he could buy a new cassette for $34 from Nashbar and get 11-34 9 speed cassette.  Little bit lower gearing.  Not worth the money but...

Nashbar has Shimano XT cranksets in 44-32-22 for $200.  And a Race Face crankset in 44-32-22 with bottom bracket for $100.  So if he goes low cost he can end up with a mountain bike triple crankset for only about $30 more than replacing the chainrings  Worth it?

Gear Talk / Re: Touring crankset
« on: June 24, 2013, 04:11:25 pm »
If it were me, I would invest in a mountain bike compact triple crank set and the tools to do the job.  It sounds like the crank would be more that you want to budget, but the tools could be cheaper than what the dealer would charge you to do things.

Why are you advising the author to throw money in the toilet?  Your advice is very expensive compared to changing the chain rings.  The mountain bike triple you recommend can get down to a 22 tooth inner ring.  He currently has a road triple crankset with 130mm bcd for the outer and middle positions and 74mm bcd for the inner ring.  He can put a 24 tooth ring on his current crankset.  There is so little difference between a 22 and 24 inner ring that its not worth talking about.  You're advising him to spend an extra $100 to get two less teeth on the inner ring.  Big waste of money.  Cheapest and easiest is for him to just leave the outer and middle rings alone at 52-42, and replace the inner ring with a 24.  $15 plus the labor of changing the inner ring.  Or he could spend the extra $60 and change the outer and middle rings to 48-38 or 46-38 for fun.  But changing the crankset is throwing money in the toilet and flushing it down the drain.

For fun I went to Amazon and typed in "Sugino chainrings".  Came up with a $15.23 24 tooth 74mm bcd ring, $21.70 for a 130mm bcd ring, and $33.25 for a 50 tooth 130mm bcd ring.  If you looked closer I'm sure you could find other tooth counts for about the same price as listed here.  So for $70 in rings the author can have a 50-38-24 crankset using the crank and bottom bracket he already owns.  Minimal labor to change rings.  Your idea of a new crankset would not get within $100 of the $70 listed here.  And not have much better gearing either.  What is the point of spending more money than you need to?

Also do a search on Amazon for "Vuelta chainrings".  Vuelta and Sugino are comparable.  I came up with a $79 total for Vuelta 48-38-24 rings.

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