Author Topic: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?  (Read 5098 times)

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Offline trichris

Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« on: December 29, 2012, 01:36:41 pm »
I want to get into road bicycle touring, with the goal of experiencing the TransAm. Probably sometime during the seasons of spring through fall.

Can you please recommend a setup of bags to use or the style of setup that you would feel comfortable using in a semi relaxed touring fashion?

i.e. not a FKT attempt, grams and durability of gear counts, 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. Maybe the ability to lug a 6 pack or a bottle of wine out of town with. Maybe some luxury item that I can't think of.

The objective of the trip would be, to be as comfortable and be traveling as efficient as possible while pedaling the bike.
I've thru-hiked the AT with Ray Jardine gear. I'm familiar with sewing his kits.

I'm feeling weary of the whole no rear rack on a touring road bike and using a frame bag cause of knee banging.

The bike I've got now I'm assuming, is not suitable for touring. (It's in the video below) Alu frame, no eyelets, carbon handle, fork and seat-post, big gears, blade spokes.
"Juggling Torches on Bike Rollers"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8G7egB1-gk

Thanks
-Chris

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #1 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.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 03:25:05 pm by RussSeaton »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2012, 04:41:41 pm »
It sounds like you will be packing really light.  If so, consider using light weight dry bags or stuff sacks instead of panniers.  That has worked well for me on a couple trips.  I really enjoyed carrying a light load and touring on a road bike.  I do like lower than normal gearing though.

Edit:
To be clear, when I said "lower than normal gearing", I meant lower than normal gearing for a road bike.

Also I'll clarify that I do own a touring bike, but much prefer to ride a road bike for light weight touring with bivy + tarp camping and cooking.  It isn't terribly hard to get your base gear weight to the 10-15 pound range, if packing as you describe.  For that I'd definitely not want a full on touring bike.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 04:46:06 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline DaveB

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2012, 09:38:54 am »
  Basically it would be easiest to get a new loaded touring bike and leave your racing bike alone.
+100.  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.  You not only get a truly suitable touring bike but, after the tour, you have an excellent town/errand/bad weather bike to use and save your racer for better days. 

Even if you are a strong rider and pack fairly light, you will want the low gears a touring bike provides and, of course, fitting racks is a no-brainer on them.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2012, 09:43:25 am »
Ah, Jardine, Mr Ultralight. I had a copy of his book and enoyed a few seasons of scrambling to Idaho's high mountain lakes with tennis shoes and a tarp and an alcohol stove. Reduced my backpack base load from 35-50 pounds to 15 with Ray's book.

You will be replacing the bike although that's not absolutely necessary. You can hack a rear rack, seat bag, and handlebar bag onto any bike with some patience. If you're taking an experienced ultralighter's approach to your kit, that's all the carrying capacity you need. As long as you have a phone and are taking an established route you really don't need much in the way of heavy spare parts or specialized bike tools.

My standard advice to newbies around here is to spend several hours reading AC's how-to sections, consider buying a membership, visit all of the major bike touring websites, visit your local library and check out everything they have on the topic, get your new bike in time to put 1,000 miles on it before setting off, do a couple of overnights to tweak your gear and get comfortable with the different routine and consider paying for one or two supported bike tours this season, just to see if this is for you, before hitting the road on a self-supported trip.

Welcome to the forum, hope you enjoy the research.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline bogiesan

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2012, 10:32:05 pm »
Wanted to add one more observation. Ultralight packing, as perfected by through-hikers on the Long Trails, is a bit different than most approaches to bicycle touring. But it's also directly adapted to some types of long distance or endurance touring that relies on stealth camping. For many long distance hikers, the ultralight kit allows one to pack up quickly and easily, walk till one is done, and to set up camp quickly and easily. It really doesn't matter where camp is as long as some basic needs are met. You can do the same on a bike; lots of people use this technique of stealth camping.

For those who may not know much about ultralight travel, one of the delightful advantages is you carry very few items, only the most essential gear. Setting up and striking camp takes only a few minutes, literally. You can't lose stuff, you  don't need to keep track of a bunch of stuff because you don't have any. 
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline staehpj1

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2012, 10:50:16 am »
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.

Offline DaveB

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2012, 01:11:49 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.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #8 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.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2012, 07:14:13 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.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #10 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.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2013, 11:20:50 am »
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.

I have even met some who were packed pretty heavy and doing well with standard road bike gearing, even in the mountains.

Me I prefer lower than standard road bike gearing, but can manage fine without resorting to different derailleurs.  Given that, the cost of getting moderately lower gearing isn't that bad.

Offline trichris

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2013, 08:36:07 pm »
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.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #13 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.

Offline trichris

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2013, 09:10:59 am »
Oops!  I didn't know that.  Darn it.  Thanks Russ.