Author Topic: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?  (Read 1537 times)

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Offline npronger

~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« on: May 18, 2014, 02:47:34 pm »
This summer I'm biking from San Francisco, CA to Portland, ME. I have my "Iron Horse" mountain bike I've had for about 6 years. It's been very reliable and sturdy and recently got a thorough tune up. The mountain wheels have been replaced with hybrids.

Does anybody have any touring experience on a mountain bike? Any advise? Should I really buy a used road bike or stick with my faithful steed?

Also, if I was to buy a bike, I don't want to spend more than $500.

I'd appreciate any helpful advise!

Offline yumadons

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2014, 05:49:37 pm »
Stick with faithful steed. Have been C2C twice on a mountain bike. Slower but 1) you already own it and 2) you know it's reliable.

Offline John Nelson

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2014, 07:18:57 pm »
It'll take you longer, but you'll make it if you have the time.

Offline indyfabz

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2014, 06:28:40 am »
FWIW, I did a group tour from Seattle up to the Northern Tier thence to Bar Harbor, ME. The strongest participant in the group rode a full suspension MTB towing a B.O.B. with a lot of weight.

Offline npronger

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2014, 09:02:44 am »
Wow, impressive! Alright, I feel a bit better now about riding the MTB with hybrid wheels. If it does slow me down a little in the begining (which is probably just my extra weight!), I can always take an extra hour riding everyday to stay on track.

Thanks for the helpful replies


Offline DaveB

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2014, 09:09:38 am »
The one real problem with MTBs is their straight handlebars which give only one hand position.  This can be a problem and cause numbness (aka "handlebar palsy") on successive long days of riding.  At a minimum, if you don't already have them, add bar ends to give you another hand position.

Offline npronger

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2014, 10:35:49 am »
At a minimum, if you don't already have them, add bar ends to give you another hand position.

Very good point, thanks for the tip!

Offline JDFlood

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2014, 04:43:20 pm »
I would load up and do a couple long weekend trips. I have a mountain bike that I occationally use on the road. I got road tires for it. And I do not like the handling down hill. It is not nearly as stable as a road bike at high speeds even with the shocks locked out. There are a lot of passes in the West, which I love. But would not enjoy if I had to ride my brakes. Maybe your bike is more stable.

Offline Galloper

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2014, 08:41:45 am »
I did a couple of weeks touring last October on my BMC hardtail and thought it made a very good tourer.   Interestingly, it weighs about the same as my Dawes Karakum and the larger tyres and suspension fork make for a comfortable ride.   I was quite surprised at how harsh my LHT felt when I got back on it some weeks later.

Offline RandomGuyOnABike

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2014, 03:57:11 pm »
In addition to bar ends, I would also add a set of aerobars. They give you additional attachment points as well as a different riding posture / position.

Offline yumadons

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2014, 11:36:54 pm »
Interestingly, I NEVER had hand numbness on my mountain bikes. Just got a road bike & experienced it for the first time. Not sure if it's because of the harder (bouncier) ride or because I put more weight on my hands riding in the drops, but I really need the extra hand positions on the road bike. After adding aerobars, I use the drops way less, really love cruising on them. Don't know if they'd be comfy on a mtn bike or if it's worth giving up the handlebar bag for.

Bar ends are really useful on my Raleigh mtn bike as they let me lean down and get way forward (for a mountain bike):

  http://bicyclelife.topicwise.com/doc/page/pic/?pic_id=1388490

On my more upright Schwinn High Sierra mtn bike, the riding position is too upright for bar ends to be comfortable or useful.
 

Offline RandomGuyOnABike

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2014, 11:55:56 pm »
Aerobar / Handlebar bag is definitely a tradeoff to be sure!

I went with the former due to issues with my back (spinal osteoporosis) - it allows me to stretch my back out when it starts to get painful to ride. The alternative I came up with due to the lack of a handlebar bag was the Revelate sweetroll (or harness) and a mountain feedbag.

Speaking of the feedbag, can I highly recommend one? Even if you have a handlebar bag, there are just waaaay too many uses for it :)  All of my bikes are outfitted with one, lol. Speedway coffee + Revelate Designs Feedbag = happy biker :)

Offline BikePacker

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2014, 07:39:31 pm »
I did the Northern Tier (N.T.) on an old all-terrain type (no front shocks/hardtail) fully loaded/self-contained and loved every bit of it.  I did have the above mentioned end-bars mounted and did use them from with some frequency.  The fat tires on your MTB'll give you the greatest freeeeeeeddddooooommmm to get of the pavement whenever you want (watch for the spurs) to explore.
Btw, regarding down hill speeds, also mentioned above, at least on the western side of the N.T., the bike shop owners will alert you that there are now enough coyotes out there to be a problem at high speeds....they can not hear you coming & will just wander out in front of you.... at high speed you have less control to avoid them than at low speed.  Go slower and enjoy the view, I say  ;).  Best wishes on a great trip.

Offline staehpj1

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2014, 06:31:25 am »
The one real problem with MTBs is their straight handlebars which give only one hand position.  This can be a problem and cause numbness (aka "handlebar palsy") on successive long days of riding.
I like drop bars better for touring, but find that I can manage flat bars by spending some of the time with the heels of my hands resting on the bars and my hands loosely draped forward above or on the brake levers.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: ~4,000 mi cross country tour on mountain bike?
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2014, 07:40:35 pm »
Interestingly, I NEVER had hand numbness on my mountain bikes.

Yeah, me too - I never had any numbness. Unless I do a crazy ride for 30 days with no rest days and pull off 125 mi/day - then I get numbness after a couple of days - even with drop bars.

Lucas