Author Topic: Equipment Qestions For A New Guy  (Read 4435 times)

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Offline Imgolden

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« on: September 09, 2008, 07:54:39 am »
I have been riding mtbs for about five years now and recently decided to get into touring. In the spring i plan to do the Transamerican route starting in Utah. However, I am pretty green when it comes to equipment and especialy the cycles themselves. I am a little over six foot and about 150 pounds. I don't want to spend more that $1,000. I have done a little research and i liked the look of the Jamis Auroras and Bianchi Volpes. Do you have any advice on a proper rig for me? Also, what are the pros and cons of having a trailer (B.O.B) versus a couple pairs of panniers? The trailer seems more economical... And one more thing, what clothes do you suggest for cold weather riding? I want to keep training with winter coming and i live in Utah so i am looking at about 10 degrees farenheit at the coldest.
Thanks for your help everyone! :)


Offline staehpj1

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2008, 09:27:29 am »
I assume that you mean that you will ride the Western Express to the TA since the TA does not go through Utah.  If you go east from there you will be missing the best parts of the Trans America in my opinion.  If possible for an east bound TA I would start in Oregon.  Your call though.

No experience with the Jamis Auroras and Bianchi Volpes, but I was happy with my Windsor Touring ($599 including shipping) for the TA last summer.  The most popular touring bike right now has to be the Surly LHT complete and it is under $1000 including shipping.

I have tried both and prefer panniers to a trailer.  Some like the BOB trailer.

The Nashbar or Performance waterproof panniers are cheap, durable, often on sale, and we were well satisfied with them.  We liked the Blackburn EX-1 rack on the rear and performance or nashbar clones of the Blackburn Lowrider on the front.  All of that stuff is reasonably priced and it goes on sale often.  Ours was all still like new after 73 days on the Trans America.

For cold weather riding pile top with a shell over it and a pair of winter weight tights (maybe windproof in the front) work well.  Hands and feet are the hardest part of staying warm.  Shoes loose enough to wear thick wool socks help.  Tight shoes cut off circulation too much for cold weather riding.  Some kind of booties over them help too.  Down to 10F I am OK with some Cannondale long fingered gloves that I have.  Sorry don't know the model.

You might find our journal of the Trans America interesting and useful.  Also read other journals on cgoab.
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/staehling2007



Offline paddleboy17

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2008, 10:16:20 am »
I had a Bianchi Volpe, and I don't think you will have any problems with it.  Depending on how much climbing you expect to do, you might want to get your like bike shop to swap out the crank, derailleurs, and rear cluster for LX.

Since you are looking at a Volpe, you are most of the way to touring with panniers.  On road, I prefer to tour with panniers, off road, I prefer to tour with a trailer.

As I have gotten older, I have become less hard core.  At my most extreme, I did not like to ride in sub 30F weather as my facial hair would freeze and do painful things.  It is your call, but how about doing weight training on those cold days?

You will want booties if it is under 40F.  Get yourself a silk or synthetic balaclava too (fleece is overkill).

Good luck.

Danno
Danno

Offline Imgolden

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2008, 12:17:02 pm »
Thanks for the replies everyone! It really helps. yes exactly, the western express from Cedar city utah. and i know what you mean, i rode oregon back in july. Magfificent place, im still not set on my route. I went to my local bike shops today and they both recomended Trek 512s and Specialized Tricross. Both are out of my range however. Why do you prefer panniers to a trailer? Could you please explain why? I also swim competively but i just wanted more time on the saddle... Thanks again!


Offline staehpj1

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2008, 09:31:39 am »
On trailers vs panniers...

I think the extra weight of a trailer is a handicap.  That may vary though.  If you choose heavy panniers and racks it can be just as bad.  Some of the weight of a trailer is offset by a lighter bike if you use it with a road bike rather than a touring bike.

If you ride with others it is hard to draft behind a trailer.

It is a pain to fly with a bike and trailer.  If you ship it instead it is another thing to ship.

I like the compartmentalization of multiple panniers.

Trailers are awkward to park in some places where space is limited.

I have heard of folks having problems with trailer handling on high speed descents (I have not seen this myself)

OTOH...

Trailers are easy to pack and carry a lot.  

Trailers allow the use of a regular road bike (assuming low enough gearing).

Trailers seem to be preferred by many off road tourists.

Trailers can be quickly detatched to go ride unencumbered.


Offline whittierider

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2008, 09:45:01 am »
The subject of trailers versus panniers was recently discussed at length at http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/viewmessages.cfm?Forum=9&Topic=2160 with a little more at http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/viewmessages.cfm?Forum=9&Topic=2528


Offline Imgolden

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2008, 04:43:20 pm »
That really helps a ton. It seems panniers are allot better....
How much room should i expect to need? I know it is a very hard question. But how much room do you guys, personaly, need? Just so i can maybe get an idea of how big of panniers to purchase.


Offline staehpj1

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2008, 04:43:33 am »
The panniers we used were 2310 cubic inches for the rear and 1056 for the front.  I think they are quite adequate for any length tour.  My preference is to carry tent and maybe sleeping pad on top of the rear rack.

The tent gets folded along it's long axis so the bottom is on the outside with the fly rolled up with it, but in a way that the moisture is kept out of the tent. It doesn't get any wetter even if it gets rained on during the ride.  I never put the tent inside the panniers because the bottom and fly are often damp and sometimes wet.


Offline RussellSeaton

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2008, 06:33:55 am »
I toured with Nashbar mountain panniers.  No longer made.  Top opening models.  They were about 2200 cubic inches.  Used the same panniers on the front and back.  I'd recommend bigger than smaller panniers.  Its easy to use the various cinch straps to take up any extra room and compress the panniers.


Offline staehpj1

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2008, 09:14:18 am »
FWIW: Those Nashbar mountain panniers may be rated at 2200 cubic inches but in practice we found that they held WAY less that our 2310 cubic inch rear waterproofs.  It seemed like half as much fit in them and they seemed closer to our 1056 cubic inch front ones.

My two riding companions used 1 each (on one side in the front with a Nashbar waterproof on the other side).  They kept the stuff they wanted to get to quick in the mountain panniers.  They were kind of flimsy and flopped around.  After a while they tended to get into the spokes until I tywraped a stick to the rack to keep them from rubbing.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 9-11-08 @ 9:14 AM

Offline valygrl

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2008, 10:53:30 am »
HI Imgolden,

with respect to bike selection, the Volpe is more of a light touring bike, if you are going self-supported, camping & cooking, you might want a more fully-loaded touring specific bike.  

Here are some of the usual suspects, very roughly in ascending price order:
Fuji Touring / Windsor Tourist
Novarra Randonee (REI house brand)
Surly Long Haul Trucker
Trek 520

The Surly is the "cool" one right now.

RE: Your route, (you may already know this) the Utah section includes some very remote, mountainous, high altitude riding, so starting your first tour there might be a bit of a slap in the face.  Make sure to do some test riding fully loaded and be prepared to do some long sections without services (including water!).  I'm not telling you not to do this, by ANY means, just be ready for challenges right out of the gate.

For high-quality relatively inexpensive Panniers, try Lone Peak (www.thetouringstore.com), or the REI or performance house brand.

Finally, www.crazyguyonabike.com is where people post their online tour journals, many of them include equipment lists so you can get an idea of the range of stuff people take with them.    You can also look for riding partners and used gear and maps there.

Happy planning, happy touring!


Offline RussellSeaton

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2008, 12:43:41 pm »
"FWIW: Those Nashbar mountain panniers may be rated at 2200 cubic inches but in practice we found that they held WAY less that our 2310 cubic inch rear waterproofs.  It seemed like half as much fit in them and they seemed closer to our 1056 cubic inch front ones."


Not sure how this is possible assuming both panniers have accurate size descriptions.  Volume is simply a mathematical equation.  From recollection I'd say the Nashbar panniers are roughly 14" high, 10" wide, 8" deep.  That gets to 1120 cubic inches per pannier.  2240 for the pair.  They are more or less rectangular shaped with one main pocket so easily accomodate almost anything.



"My two riding companions used 1 each (on one side in the front with a Nashbar waterproof on the other side).  They kept the stuff they wanted to get to quick in the mountain panniers.  They were kind of flimsy and flopped around.  After a while they tended to get into the spokes until I tywraped a stick to the rack to keep them from rubbing."

I toured Europe one summer and have done several other 1 to 2 week tours with these panniers since and never experienced them getting into the spokes.  I used Blackburn racks front and rear so they may have provided more support than the racks your companions used.  As for being floppy, the more you stuff them, the more they hold their shape.  But they have a compression strap so you can easily squish them to keep them from being floppy.


Offline staehpj1

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2008, 06:14:25 am »
"Not sure how this is possible assuming both panniers have accurate size descriptions.  Volume is simply a mathematical equation.  From recollection I'd say the Nashbar panniers are roughly 14" high, 10" wide, 8" deep.  That gets to 1120 cubic inches per pannier.  2240 for the pair.  They are more or less rectangular shaped with one main pocket so easily accomodate almost anything."[list=1]
  • Accurate size descriptions cannot always be assumed.
  • The state of the closure changes the volume greatly.  My recollection is that the mountain bike pannier had a drawstring closure on the top and the waterproof had a rolldown closure.  If they measure the one without cinching down the drawstring and the other with the top rolled down a couple rolls the difference would be quite significant.
  • The mountain bike panniers had a large pocket and a large top compartment in the flap if I remember correctly.  Pockets are best not stuffed full in my experience and usually hold a few items for quick access.  My experience has always been that for panniers or packs, if a significant portion of the volume was pockets, I could fit a lot less gear in them.

"As for being floppy, the more you stuff them, the more they hold their shape.  But they have a compression strap so you can easily squish them to keep them from being floppy."

I agree that IF they were stuffed full this would not have been a problem.  It this case they were not.  The things that stuffed well were mostly stuff they wanted to keep dry so they were in the other three waterproof panniers.

The items in these panniers were items that fluctuated in volume a lot like food and snacks.  There was also a water bladder in them (complete with hose and bite valve attached up on the bar).  The additional items were clothes taken off or expected to be needed later in the day.  The pockets contained thing that needed to be accessible like sunscreen and so on.

So in this case they might have been stuffed at times and fairly empty at others.  This was the source of the problem.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 9-12-08 @ 6:16 AM

Online DaveB

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2008, 07:36:27 am »
Quote
You will want booties if it is under 40F.  Get yourself a silk or synthetic balaclava too (fleece is overkill).

I agree about the booties, particularly in <40° weather.  Neoprene booties are heavy and bulky but work when nothing else does.  Sidetrak neoprene booties are a decent compromise between bulk and warmth.  

I disagree about fleece balaclavas being overkill. In the 30's and below they are a great comfort and don't get soggy with sweat.  A helmet cover is also a worthwhile addition in the cold or rain and Suguoi makes the best one I've found.  



Offline staehpj1

Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2008, 09:32:39 am »
I disagree about fleece balaclavas being overkill. In the 30's and below they are a great comfort and don't get soggy with sweat.

Different strokes...
Personally I can't stand them and wouldn't even consider one until it is in the low teens.  By the low teens I am usually not riding much and turn to running and indoor rowing.

I am not knocking balaclavas for those who like them, but...  If you are like me and don't care for balaclavas, I have found that a bit of Vaseline on the face (especially at the cheekbones) works well to prevent windburn and mild frostbite.