Author Topic: Road bike for touring??  (Read 5511 times)

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Offline DaveB

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2013, 06:54:39 pm »
I don't know what OEM gearing is but the Specialized has a triple in front.  The terrain was extremely hilly with a 14 mile 2000 foot gain to start the first day.  I'm not extremely strong, in fact on that tour was 59 years old. I also had just received a pacemaker implant that was miscalibrated (I found out later) and did not respond well to exercise, allowing my max heart rate to rise to only approx 120 bpm.   I do have a strong will and will keep plugging away for hours if necessary.  Two days later, we had a 18 mile gain of about 2800 feet.
"OEM" means "Original Equipment Manufacturer" and implies that you used the components the bike came with from the maker and you didn't modify it.  That said, I didn't realize that model Specialized came with a triple crank and, as pdlamb calculated, the grades you mentioned may have been very long but were not very steep.  Around me, a 10% grade is considered modest. 

I didn't mean to disparage you but we do get posters here who want to tour on sports/racing bikes and don't realize the limitations of the gearing and frame clearances that comes with them.   

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2013, 12:46:59 am »
Well, for me 10% is hard.  I have ridden consistent mountain grades of 10-14%, but I'm slow at them. The two hills mentioned in the preceding post were very low grades for the first half but in the second halves had consistent 6-9% grades.  The Specialized did come with a triple.  I like that.
   
I'm not feeling disparaged.  I'm happy being out there at 65 years old biking, hiking, and rock climbing most days of the week.  In crap weather, I'm often in the gym lifting weights or indoor climbing.

There are huge commercial pressures to upgrade and buy the best, most expensive, newest, etc.  In the past I have gotten caught up in that a little.  I almost always regret it and have learned to make do with what I have, ergo the touring on whatever bike I have and making it work. I'm not saying that's the way for everyone, but buyer beware.  For a while I had an expensive CF Trek that cost more than double the Specialized.  It was fast, responsive, and, sad to say, fragile.  Sometimes the value curve does not rise proportionally to the cost curve.

   

May the wind be at your back!

Offline DaveB

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2013, 09:05:22 am »
There are huge commercial pressures to upgrade and buy the best, most expensive, newest, etc.  In the past I have gotten caught up in that a little.  I almost always regret it and have learned to make do with what I have, ergo the touring on whatever bike I have and making it work. I'm not saying that's the way for everyone, but buyer beware.  For a while I had an expensive CF Trek that cost more than double the Specialized.  It was fast, responsive, and, sad to say, fragile.  Sometimes the value curve does not rise proportionally to the cost curve.
You are reinforcing my original argument that not every "road bike" is a suitable touring bike. The older road bikes you mention were versatile enough to do double duty as tourers, even the Specialized which came with a triple crank.  Would the Trek you refer to have been a useful touring bike?

We often get questions on this forum asking if this or that bike can be used for touring and some posters say; "yes, any bike can be a touring bike."  I believe that's misleading.  A 16 pound carbon frame racing bike that barely clears 700-23 tires and is geared 53/39 with an 11x23 cassette is not going to be a rewarding touring bike.   

Offline staehpj1

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2013, 10:22:59 am »
We often get questions on this forum asking if this or that bike can be used for touring and some posters say; "yes, any bike can be a touring bike."  I believe that's misleading.  A 16 pound carbon frame racing bike that barely clears 700-23 tires and is geared 53/39 with an 11x23 cassette is not going to be a rewarding touring bike.

I will have to disagree, because there are so many variables.   I agree that it might not work for all riders or all situations, but it certainly can for some.

First it depends on the rider, the terrain, and the load.  Going ultralight, touring in flat country, and/or being a very strong rider can make that bike work OK and for some situations it might even be ideal.  I know that I rode the ST with a road bike with 23 mm tires and a double crank set and it worked out fine.

Second, the gearing can be modified.  I used two rings on the ST tour mentioned above.  I was using a 39-26 paired with a 12-28 in that case and I am a not so fast over 60 rider.

Also, I have met a few younger riders that happily, toured on full on road bike gearing.  I met such a rider on the Pacific Coast, he was doing a big loop and had already completed some seriously tough mountain miles on the Sierra Cascades route on his road bike and a trailer.  He said it was working out fine and he wasn't packing particularly light.  He was using a BoB trailer with about 30 pounds of gear.  He seemed to be making the best time of any of the riders I met on that tour.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2013, 11:35:31 am »
Good post, Staehj.  I guess that's my point.  This all started because I don't think we have to go out and get a special bike for touring, but can often make use of the bike we have. I  have seen people out there touring with all different configurations, bikes, loads, wheel sizes, etc.  I have a friend who tours sometimes on a Bike Friday, and another one who uses his mountain bike.  I've used a rack that clamps on to the seat post and put panniers over that. My sister toured down the Calif coast from Seattle to SF in the early 1970s and carried almost all her stuff in a backpack!  At that time she did not know there were any alternatives. The list goes on.   As in so many things in life, each to his own. 
May the wind be at your back!

Offline John Nelson

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2013, 11:48:30 am »
Although you can tour on anything, the more suitable the bike, the less risk of problems. If you choose to tour on an bike not quite as well suited to the endeavor, then hopefully you have some schedule flexibility. Some people have more time than money, and others have more money than time.

Offline Bike Hermit

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2013, 03:28:42 pm »
Not a fan of trailers. The single wheel trailers put a lot of torque on the bike frame and when loaded can affect the handling of the bike...sometimes in a scary way. Two wheel trailers take a lot of room. Also, more mechanical liabilities with trailers. Why not look at frame bags like those from Revelate Designs, or racks from Old Man Mountain made for bikes without attachment points.   

Offline Wild Dave


Offline RussSeaton

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2013, 10:30:50 pm »
There are huge commercial pressures to upgrade and buy the best, most expensive, newest, etc.  In the past I have gotten caught up in that a little.  I almost always regret it and have learned to make do with what I have, ergo the touring on whatever bike I have and making it work.

Yes.  But it also makes sense to buy a dedicated loaded touring bike if that is your goal.  Why not get a bike designed for your purpose and that is more or less guaranteed to perform that function correctly.  Spending money.  Buying a new bike.  These are not bad, evil actions.  They are just actions.  Good, bad, indifferent.

If your goal is to tour loaded, sleep in a tent and sleeping bag, cook your own meals, live off the land.  Then it makes sense to start with a bike designed to carry panniers and climb mountains.  Surly Long Haul Trucker, Trek 520, REI Novara Randonnee, Co-Motion Americano, and a half dozen others are all loaded touring bikes.  Loaded touring on these bikes is almost guaranteed to be successful.  They were built specifically for loaded touring.  It makes lots of sense to buy one of these bikes if you want to do loaded touring.  You may or may not be able to make other bikes work.  But these are all pretty much guaranteed to work perfectly.  Nothing wrong with that.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2013, 12:02:28 am »
I agree Russ.  Nothing wrong with that.  I do most of my riding at this age (65) on unloaded one day rides, but can and do use my CF lightweight bike for tours on occasion and have not had problems hauling a Burley 2-wheeled trailer or motel (credit card) touring with light weights.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline froze

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2013, 10:28:30 pm »
If you can afford it get a touring bike it would eliminate a lot of hassle, but if money is tight and you want to go with what you've got then just do it!  Touring with a road bike does not present more problems, just a different type of challenge.  A road bike won't be as stable loaded with gear as a touring bike would be so you will have to keep a diligent mind on handling issues but it won't drive you nuts either.  You can find used touring bikes and lot of the time they've been used little, or there are nice new ones that cost less then $1500 new like the Kona Sutra a ready to tour bike that comes with full racks, fenders, and disk brakes for under $1200; or the Jamis Aurora which comes with front and rear fenders but no racks but it is a beautiful bike for under $1100; or the Motobecane Gran Turismo from Bikes Direct for $700 which is equipped similar to the Trek 520 but for hundreds less and had had many high reviews, comes with a rear rack too.  There are other touring bikes that can be found for under $1500 but those three I feel represent the best value for the money.

Otherwise if you want to stay with your road bike then keep reading.

It's no big deal to put MTB pedals, or pedals with toe straps on a road bike, then you can use whatever mtb shoe you want.

They also make brackets for panniers to go on bikes without eyelets for pannier racks, see item2, item 3, item 4, and for oversized forks item 5:  http://www.thetouringstore.com/TUBUS/Fit%20Solutions/FIT%20SOLUTIONS%20PAGE.htm

You can also change your front and rear gearing to make it a bit easier to climb grades with a load.

Invest in a set of SKS RaceBlade fenders, it will keep spray off you and the bike.

Put on the widest most durable tires you can get that will fit your bike, if you bike is a modern race bike then it's doubtful you can put anything wider than a 25.  The best for the money is the Panaracer Pasela TG folding, than since flats are a pain when touring get a pair of Panaracer FlatAway tire liners but do not get those cheap poly plastic liners they don't work as good, and their heavier.  Also get a pair of thick tubes like thorn resistant tubes.    A better tire, but more expensive, is the Schwalbe Marathon Plus but it is heavy due to the flat protection technology.

The only questionable problem you might have is relative comfort of being on a race bike day in and day out.

Also carbon bikes are really not designed to use a clamp on pannier rack to the stays, over tightening the bolts could crush the CF tube.  There is a reason CF bikes are not used for heavy touring because the CF is too fragile for loaded touring unless you go with a backpack then you raise your center of gravity making the bike more unstable.  But you could use a CF race bike if your into ultralight touring or credit card touring.  Most modern CF race bikes will allow up to a size 25 tire a few will only let you use 23 and nothing larger.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2013, 11:34:17 pm »
I have used a road bike for very long, pannier-loaded tours. It works just fine. My last big tour was Stuart, FL to San Diego, CA, 54 days total with 43 days on the road at age 61 in the winter of 2009-2010.

Offline DaveB

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2013, 08:10:57 am »
I have used a road bike for very long, pannier-loaded tours.
It would be interesting to know what model and what vintage your bike was.  As I said above, many older road bikes had the attributes currently found on touring frames.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2013, 10:09:43 am »
It's a 1980s  Raleigh Technium frame with all your specifications as mentioned in your previous post. It's just long enough for rear panniers. Right now I am looking at another run of the ST. I have been looking for a female companion for it around here. Sorry to say' most think it a hardship to cycle across this small town. Cross-country is unthinkable for them.

The road bike frame is sweet, tight' aluminum thermally bonded to chromoly, a little bit heavy, and able to withstand a nuclear blast.. It is surprisingly responsive under aheavy load.

Offline mzimmerm

Re: Road bike for touring??
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2014, 07:51:42 pm »
I have a fairly new Trek Domane 6 series. Great road bike. All carbon. Last summer did the "Cycle Greater Yellowstone" tour which was 450 miles in 6 days of riding with plenty of elevation. This ride was 100% supported, so only weight was me and a backpack.

I am now planning a month long "tour" that will be completely self-supported. My wife and I are planning to start in Portland Oregon the first of May- travel to Astoria- then south to San Francisco. I weigh 195 and will now need to carry tents, food, water, etc. etc.
I have heard and seen all recommendations for carrying the load.
Gut tells me the bike will be too heavy with panniers only. And that the wheels wont support.
Should I do a trailer? And swap out wheel(s)?
Maybe I can carry the majority of the weight on the trailer- then get panniers for my wife's bike and she can carry less weight.
I DON"T want to damage my great road bike in any way!!!
Thoughts?