Author Topic: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer  (Read 3057 times)

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Offline unfdad

Hi...I am most likely going to invest in Co-Motion tandem touring bike to be able to tour with my vision impaired brother (he lives in NY and I live in FL).  I currently ride an aluminum hybrid bike but am interested in getting a light weight road bike that I can ride with group rides and daily training rides and found a good deal with a Carbon Trek Domaine 4.5 bike; the sales rep indicated this bike would be OK to take on long distance touring if I was going to carry my gear with a BOB trailer.  Does anyone have any recommendations if this is a workable solution to get max use out of one bike or do I need to invest in a good road bike for daily rides and then also invest in a touring style bike for long distance travel when I want to do this by myself?  Thanks all for any/all thoughts.  Don

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2013, 02:09:34 pm »
A carbon racing bike will work for a touring bike if using a BoB trailer.  I know a kid who uses a Trek carbon race bike and a BoB trailer for a short tour each summer.  He is not in mountains so does not need low gears.  I would suggest you get a racing bike with very low gears.  A triple crankset and big cogs on the cassette.  11-32 or 11-34 cassette.  My touring bike has a 10 speed cassette, so 9 or 10 speeds works fine on the rear wheel.  STI brake-shift levers also work well for a touring bike.  You do not have to have bar end shifters on the end of the bars.

Offline unfdad

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2013, 03:53:22 pm »
Thanks RussSeaton!  This bike only has a double crankset but was told that it was actually more effective with a proper rear cassette but they were easy to swap out.  Is this something I would want to get two separate configurations...one for daily use with double cassette...then when I am going to go on extended tour ride go with the bigger option of the 11-32/34 cassette and replace the crankset to a triple (assume the cranksets can be replaced?).

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2013, 04:14:47 pm »
Make sure the crankset has a 38 or 39 tooth inner chainring.  Or better yet if it is 110mm bcd compact and will accept a 33 or 34 tooth inner chainring.  Only use the 11-32 or 11-34 cassette when touring.  Otherwise use a 12-27 or maybe 12-25 cassette.  Hopefully you will end up with low enough gears.  39x34 low gear is pretty low.  Unless you are climbing a mountain or steep hill.  Then you will want even lower.  If you are touring where its not too hilly or steep, then 39x34 is probably low enough.  Not ideal, but you can manage.  May need a new long cage rear derailleur is using a 11-34 cassette.  And new longer chain.  Putting on a triple crankset might not work because you need a triple shifter to shift between all three chainrings.  You currently have a double shifter so won't work.  You could buy a double mountain bike crankset with 38-22 chainrings.  That would work with your current double shifter.  But cost is starting to add up with new cranksets and new cassette and new chain and new rear derailleur.  Triple would also likely need a new front derailleur.  Try to make it work by just replacing the cassette, chain, rear derailleur.  Still costly, but...  Your problem is you are converting a racing bike with racing gears to a low gear touring bike.  It gets costly to change all the parts.  It can be done sort of, but its costly.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2013, 04:22:45 pm »
I don't think you cannot realistically swap the crankset back and forth. If you go to a triple, you're going to want to stay there. Swapping the cassettes is much more feasible, but can only be done within the limits of the rear derailleur. It'd be much better to have two bikes, one for each purpose. You can't have too many bikes (unless you live in a small apartment).
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 04:24:39 pm by John Nelson »

Offline aggie

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2013, 05:13:49 pm »
I've used my Trek 5200 (carbon) to tow a BOB Trailer on a tour.  Changing the crank back and forth will not be practical.  The best option is to get as large a cassette as your derailleur can accommodate.   I'd also change the tire size to one that is as large as the gap between the chain stays will allow.  The bike will ride better and will help prevent blowouts (my rear sidewall blew out at the AZ/NM border).  Also have a bike shop re-true the rear wheel.  Better yet have them re-spoke it to a 3-cross.  It will help prevent broken spokes during the ride (again personal experience).

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2013, 01:31:23 am »
I've done light touring with a CF Specialized Roubaix and a Burley Nomad trailer.  I have a triple and am glad I do.  It all worked great, even though I use 700x23c tires.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline Falconetti

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2013, 09:06:43 am »
I would have thought that it is possible to tour with a lightweight road bike pulling a bob trailer but it is rather like taking a Formula 1 racing car and attaching a caravan.    I could ride a 25 mile time trial on my restored old school Dawes Galaxy tourer....but i probably wouldn't.    Yes it will work but it isn't matching the bike to the task.    The rigors of touring are very different to the type of wear and tear a carbon road bike is designed to endure and carbon fibre frames are very easy to trash.    Apart from the gears I would have thought the very light wheels would be trashed pretty quickly on a reasonable tour.     Just my opinion.   

F

Offline unfdad

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2013, 09:40:40 am »
Hi all....certainly appreciate all your suggestions....some such as a re-spoke 3 cross is a new term to me but will research.  After reading these kind responses I am beginning to see the wisdom that attempting to do to varied types of rides may be better served by getting two bikes.  I have had a history of heart disease and last fall I had a pulmonary embolism that put a major setback in my fitness but things are coming back to normal and my desire has been to retire next year, continue backpacking on the AT and take up long distance bike touring.  I have thought that a light weight road bike would serve me better on my daily rides (I have an old aluminum Raleigh hybrid....but average only 14-16 mph on my 40-55 mile rides and see many people with true road bikes going quite a bit faster and thought I would need a better bike to get involved with group rides and week long tours.  So guess I am back to thinking about 2 bikes though am not sure I would like to ride a touring bike where the gear-shifters are at the end of the handles.

Offline Falconetti

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2013, 11:45:55 am »
I think the idea of a specific touring bike would be a good way to go in the long run but in the end it is whatever works for you.    I now know a lot about what constitutes the right bike for me because I bought the wrong bike along the way a few times.   As for not wanting certain features such as bar-end shifters.    Touring bikes are the ultimate personalized machine and tend to evolve to closer and closer versions of perfection....for one rider....you !    Don't worry, all parts and features are upgradeable.    Just buy quality and a credible bike fitter and discuss the type of riding you want to do.    Best of luck with it.

F

Offline aggie

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2013, 12:12:03 pm »
If you can afford it you may be happier with the ride if you have a bike for touring and one for regular road riding.  I did one tour with my carbon frame bike but then I bought a bike that is customized just for touring and with the components I wanted.  It is way more comfortable for touring than my road bike even though it will pull my trailer.  I still use my road bike for rides around home or supported tours and my touring bike for self-supported tours.

Offline unfdad

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2013, 12:48:40 pm »
Thanks for the latest suggestions....I should be able to afford two bikes since it seems like there are major advantages to each.  I believe that I will look for a carbon framed bike that should make daily and van supported touring enjoyable and then look at getting a quality touring bike for my self sustain trips I hope to take.  In my research I've read that Surly LHT and Trek 520 are both good touring bikes but not looked at them and am concerned about the weight of using a steel framed bike...is this something that should be of concern or is the advantage for durability the reason for this?  I'd appreciate any advice on what would be an idea bike for touring (brand and make) along with the options that I should look at.  Thanks again!  Don

Offline tomtom

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2013, 03:22:27 pm »
Rather than contemplate whether to invest in two bikes, I would challenge the idea of purchasing a bike like the Domaine at all.

Given your comments about your health and the likely type of riding you'll be doing, a bike like the Domaine seems ill suited to your needs.  Lightweight, attractive carbon bikes are natural to lust after, but practically speaking, they aren't that useful to many folks.  Do you want to ride VERY fast in group rides?  Do you want to race competitively?  Do you want to try and beat your friend's time on local climbs on Strava?  Those are the things that carbon racing bikes are fun/useful for.

My suggestion would be to buy one bike:  a "light tourer."  There are various terms . . . credit card tourers, randonee bikes, etc.  Basically a reasonably light, but sturdy road bike with some practical design considerations.  Examples would be an older Salsa Casseroll, a Soma Smoothie ES, etc.  The big benefit versus a true road bike like the Domaine is these bikes will take larger tires, fenders if need be, etc.  They are arguably too light for extended touring with full bags, but they are ideal for pulling trailers, or for lighter touring.  And without gear, they are plenty light/fast enough to suffice for group rides, centuries, or general fitness riding.  Whereas a true touring bike like a Surly LHT feels pretty clunky for those purposes.

In this category, I personally prefer designs which take long reach sidepull brakes rather than cantilevers.  Hence my comment about an older Casseroll rather than the newer ones. 

If you really are desperate for carbon, at least consider some of the more practical versions.  Older Giant OCR Composite frames were very light, but could take 700x28 tires and long reach sidepulls, for example.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2013, 03:45:18 pm »
Re: weight: Try to look at it this way: When you add up your body weight and gear weight, how much, measured in percentage, does a heavier bike add? Depending on your body weight and gear weight, a bike weighing 20 lbs. more could add only a signle digit percentage amount to your total weight.  Keep in mind that you were considering adding 18 lbs. of trailer and dry bag (before any gear), which is more than a decent set of racks and panniers would weigh.

Offline cgarch

Re: Can a carbon road bike work for bike touring if using a BOB trailer
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2013, 03:46:48 pm »
I'm all for a reasonably light but strong bike for touring. We tour with our CF tandem (Calfee if you must know) with a Bob and a few panniers. Works perfectly fine. If I ever get around to my next single bike it will be a CF (custom) with the additional goodies for touring (eyelets, etc.).