Author Topic: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?  (Read 3608 times)

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Offline DaveB

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2013, 09:15:17 am »
I have even met some who were packed pretty heavy and doing well with standard road bike gearing, even in the mountains.
The fact that something can be done doesn't mean it should be done.  I wonder how "well" those riders were really doing and if they wouldn't have wanted lower gears at the time.  Also, the Rockies and other western mountains have very long climbs but usually a pretty modest grades.  I don't think the gearing that lets you get by in those mountains would work nearly as well in KY, WV or central PA.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2013, 02:56:24 pm »
"Should" and "well" are such imprecise words, I wonder if they shouldn't be used.  :)

While my own preferences are for lower gears and sturdier (= heavier) bikes, there is such a wide diversity of bikes, loads, routes, and riders that it's really difficult to lay down any absolutes.  A fit 20-year-old with Pete's lightweight 15-pound load can probably climb any reasonable* hill with standard road bike gearing (34-30 low, or the like).  OTOH, there's people whose bike plus load weight exceeds 100 pounds; if they're overweight, older, tired, ill, or in poor condition, there may be no gearing available that will let them climb some of the tougher hills.  (Either way, I doubt that anyone never wishes for lower gears, including pro cyclists!)

Any absolute statement of gearing requirements, or bicycle requirements, therefore needs to be caveated.  Heavily.

If you're going to talk about an average cyclist and his/her needs, it's be wise to specify the age of that average cyclist, the average load, the average peak grade and distance.  And the average temperature and average ride distance before reaching that peak grade.  For the average 45 (+/- 15) year old cyclist, carrying an average 40 (+/-10) pound load, climbing an average 12 (+6/-4)% grade, an average off-the-shelf loaded touring bike, with an average 22 (+0/-3) gear-inch low sounds about right.  Variances to deviations to these averages may be appropriate.

*There are roads in the Appalachians and Sierras that are not reasonable.  They're fun to come down, though!

Offline nun

Re: Recommend a road, touring bag setup?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2013, 11:01:47 pm »

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.

I've found that with a lightweight bike and gear load low gearing and eyelets become increasingly unnecessary. The dogma of needing a heavy bike with 20" gearing to carry a heavy load on a tour should be questioned more often.

I currently tour on a Cervelo RS with gearing of 113" to 37", for $200 for a new derailleur and 12/36 cassette I could change that to 104" to 25". It's relatively easy to get gear weight below 20lbs and under 15lbs can be achieved with a bit of effort and the use of unconventional bags like dry sacks. This type of setup is not for everyone, but it is achievable with a little though and careful choice of gear. For full disclosure I'm 51, 190lbs, and an average cyclist and this setup has worked well touring in Western Massachusetts and New Hampshire where there are some reasonable climbs. The total weight of bike and gear is 38lbs and I have everything for 3 season loaded touring on reasonable roads. Here is a detailed list of my gear choices and setup

http://wheelsofchance.org/2012/12/25/gear-list/

« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 11:26:13 pm by nun »