Bicycle Travel > Gear Talk

Outfitting a Trek 7.5 FX for a full summer tour

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stiker:
I made a post in the routes section http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=11117.0, but i also wanted to ask in here specifically about gear. I plan to bike from South Carolina to California this summer. I have a Trek 7.5 FX with nothing but a water bottle mount and bike lock. I would like some help or ideas about gear i should get for my trip. I want to start buying it early. Any help is appreciated!

DaveB:
Assuming your bike has the same specs as those on Trek's current web site you will need:

1. Lower and better gearing.  It comes with a compact 50/34 crank and an 11x34 9-speed cassette.  That gives a barely low enough low gear (27") for loaded touring by a strong rider and an absurdly high top gear(122").  A triple crank with a 22 or 24T granny ring and a 44 or 46T big ring would be a lot more useful. 

2. The wheels are also suspect for loaded touring having only 24 spokes.  Usually the minimum recommended spoke count is 32 and 36 is even better.

3. The pedals should be replaced with those that, at a minimum, take toe clips and straps.  MTB-type clipless pedals and matching shoes would be far preferred.

4.  Obviously you need racks. Rear only if you are going lightly loaded (credit card touring) or front and rear if you are carrying a heavy, full camping and cooking load. 

5. Panniers to match the racks and your luggage volume.

5A.  A travel trailer such as the BOB can be substituted for 4 and 5 above. There are partisans on both sides of which is better.

6. Other minor items include a frame or mini-pump, additional water bottle cages and/or a hydration pack, multitool for on-road repairs, extra tubes and patch kit, etc.     

Frankly, given the deficiencies of that bike for what you plan to do, buying a more suitable true touring bike might be more cost effective and satisfactory.

ezdoesit:

--- Quote from: DaveB on October 23, 2012, 07:19:27 pm ---Assuming your bike has the same specs as those on Trek's current web site you will need:

1. Lower and better gearing.  It comes with a compact 50/34 crank and an 11x34 9-speed cassette.  That gives a barely low enough low gear (27") for loaded touring by a strong rider and an absurdly high top gear(122").  A triple crank with a 22 or 24T granny ring and a 44 or 46T big ring would be a lot more useful. 

2. The wheels are also suspect for loaded touring having only 24 spokes.  Usually the minimum recommended spoke count is 32 and 36 is even better.

3. The pedals should be replaced with those that, at a minimum, take toe clips and straps.  MTB-type clipless pedals and matching shoes would be far preferred.

4.  Obviously you need racks. Rear only if you are going lightly loaded (credit card touring) or front and rear if you are carrying a heavy, full camping and cooking load. 

5. Panniers to match the racks and your luggage volume.

5A.  A travel trailer such as the BOB can be substituted for 4 and 5 above. There are partisans on both sides of which is better.

6. Other minor items include a frame or mini-pump, additional water bottle cages and/or a hydration pack, multitool for on-road repairs, extra tubes and patch kit, etc.     

Frankly, given the deficiencies of that bike for what you plan to do, buying a more suitable true touring bike might be more cost effective and satisfactory.

--- End quote ---

+1

stiker:

--- Quote from: DaveB on October 23, 2012, 07:19:27 pm ---Assuming your bike has the same specs as those on Trek's current web site you will need:

1. Lower and better gearing.  It comes with a compact 50/34 crank and an 11x34 9-speed cassette.  That gives a barely low enough low gear (27") for loaded touring by a strong rider and an absurdly high top gear(122").  A triple crank with a 22 or 24T granny ring and a 44 or 46T big ring would be a lot more useful. 

2. The wheels are also suspect for loaded touring having only 24 spokes.  Usually the minimum recommended spoke count is 32 and 36 is even better.

3. The pedals should be replaced with those that, at a minimum, take toe clips and straps.  MTB-type clipless pedals and matching shoes would be far preferred.

4.  Obviously you need racks. Rear only if you are going lightly loaded (credit card touring) or front and rear if you are carrying a heavy, full camping and cooking load. 

5. Panniers to match the racks and your luggage volume.

5A.  A travel trailer such as the BOB can be substituted for 4 and 5 above. There are partisans on both sides of which is better.

6. Other minor items include a frame or mini-pump, additional water bottle cages and/or a hydration pack, multitool for on-road repairs, extra tubes and patch kit, etc.     

Frankly, given the deficiencies of that bike for what you plan to do, buying a more suitable true touring bike might be more cost effective and satisfactory.

--- End quote ---
The gears would really be that big of an issue? Im planning on getting a trailer rather then panniers. I was planning on camping and cooking my own food a lot. Since the weight would be behind the bike instead of on it would the spokes be as big of an issue?

RussSeaton:
With a BoB trailer, the wheels may not be as susceptible.  But they are still not ideal.  You're better off with more spokes.  If one of the 24 spokes breaks, the wheel will be unusable.  It will rub the brake pads.  And it likely takes special spoke wrenches so regular DT ones won't work.  And it will be about impossible to find a replacement spoke.  The wheels are a liability.

You can get a tiny bit lower gearing by putting on a 33 tooth inner chainring.  About 1 gear inch lower.  Might not notice the difference.  Without the triple crankset, your gearing is not good for touring.  You want low gearing around 20 gear inches or lower for loaded touring.  Even with a trailer.  It might be fairly easy to put on a Shimano double mountain bike crankset to get lower low gearing and lower high gears too.  Might be the easiest to substitute just the crankset and put on a smaller inner chainring.  Then when the tour is over, put back on the original crankset.  Not cheap, but easiest.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_529026_-1___202429
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_502591_-1___202428

A triple crankset was suggested.  Problem with this is you will also need a new shifter for the front derailleur to handle a triple crank.  Very expensive.  So to get good low gearing, you have to stay with a double crankset.  See links above.

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