Author Topic: Top Touring Bikes for Ultralight TransAm?  (Read 2676 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline boulderbiker

Top Touring Bikes for Ultralight TransAm?
« on: September 14, 2012, 06:51:43 pm »
Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum & and new to touring. I'm an avid mtn biker and an ultralight backpacker (typically <10 lbs. base weight) with 1,000+ miles of solo, thru-hiking under my belt in wilderness conditions. I'm now considering a TransAm bike tour. I'd like to translate my ultralight hiking expertise onto the bike, but know nothing about touring bikes and their accessories.

For my ultralight needs, what are the best touring bikes I should consider buying for <$2,000?
And, what other ultralight bike accessories would you recommend?

Thanks for the help and advice!

Offline DaveB

Re: Top Touring Bikes for Ultralight TransAm?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2012, 07:46:04 pm »
If you can really keep your camping gear under 10 pounds, you don't need a touring bike at all.  Any sports/fitness road bike fitted with a seatpost clamp-on rack and a set of small panniers will do it.   Remember that unlike backpacking, you need to carry very little food with you during the riding day as you can buy what you need along the way near camp or at lunch stops. 

Probably the ideal bike would be a light Cyclocross bike as they will take wider touring tires and even fenders and most non-pure racing models have dropout eyelets for a rack.   The Surly Cross Check is one good choice but there are lots of others.  Unless you are a very stron rider consider gettin a triple crank and low gears on any bike you buy.  Even lightly loaded, there are some very tough hills out there.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Top Touring Bikes for Ultralight TransAm?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2012, 08:01:48 am »
Excellent points, Dave. The how-to section and buyers' guides here can help you narrow your selection and get you very close. After that you must find a way to test ride some of those bikes before you make a purchase decision. You can't commit to a mutli-thousand-mile bike trip without knowing if your butt and back can stand the steed. There are dozens of great touring bikes. If you're not targeting a tour-specific frame, there are literally thousands of bikes from which to chose.

Me, I'm always going to recommend you look carefully at a recumbent for the hedonistic comfort and heads-up position that gives you a constant 180-degree view.

As DaveB has indicated, if your equipment mass is so low, scrimping on the bike is not necessarily, umm, necessary. Unlike the single ultralight backpack, tho, you will need some kind of racks/panniers or light frame bags. Lots of panniers on the market but only one or two frame bag systems designed for ultralight touring.

Welcome to the family and please let us know how your search for a bike progresses.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline boulderbiker

Re: Top Touring Bikes for Ultralight TransAm?
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2012, 01:26:38 pm »
Thanks for the advice. Sounds like I should consider a cyclocross or relaxed geometry road bike. Touring bikes seem to be overkill for my gear weight.

Offline dkoloko

Re: Top Touring Bikes for Ultralight TransAm?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2012, 03:35:21 pm »
The cyclocross bike recommendation is seemly to allow wide tires. For such a low weight load I don't think tire width is that much of a consideration. There are two major types of touring bikes. randonneuring and fully loaded touring. The first, comparatively, typically has brifters (shifter/brake levers), rear rack braze-ons, no front rack braze-ons, two waterbottle braze-ons instead of three, lighter tubing, and narrower tires. For your purpose I would get a randonneuring bike, and use one pannier, or two small front panniers, front or rear. A randonneuring bike will allow more flexibility if later you wish to do more fully loaded touring (cook, camp). It will also be more considerate than a non-touring bike of heel clearance (not hit pannier), fender clearance (if wish to add), etc.

Offline DaveB

Re: Top Touring Bikes for Ultralight TransAm?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2012, 04:45:58 pm »
The cyclocross bike recommendation is seemly to allow wide tires. For such a low weight load I don't think tire width is that much of a consideration.
The ability to accept wide tires wasn't the only point but many racing/sports bikes won't accept anything wider than 700-23 so the ability to use 700- 25 is a nice feature.  A randonneuring bike is also an excellent recommendation and, to my thinking, fill the same niche as a cyclocross frame.   Again, the OP has to avoid pure racing CX bikes but most aren't that narrowly focused.

Offline boulderbiker

Re: Top Touring Bikes for Ultralight TransAm?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2012, 08:13:36 pm »
Thanks again for the feedback everyone! I'd never even heard of Rando before. Lots to think about and investigate...

Offline phish814

Re: Top Touring Bikes for Ultralight TransAm?
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2012, 09:20:21 am »
With a load that light you could always go real nuts and ride a Trek Domane 4.5.  I believe it will accept a rack (it definitely takes fenders) but it also takes a 28mm tire and is ridiculously comfortable for a pure road bike