Author Topic: Newbie with a really dumb question  (Read 4066 times)

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Offline fiddler4060

Newbie with a really dumb question
« on: October 08, 2009, 03:24:43 pm »
I've really enjoyed reading this forum and am super excited about touring. Here's my deal... I'm a road biker and ride about 150 miles a week (or more). I live in South Florida and I really want to start touring with my goal being to ride from S. Florida to Wisconsin next summer. I plan on doing a bunch of smaller rides between now and then. Here's my question: I have a fairly decent road bike (Trek Pilot) with 700c x 23 tires. My wheels are 24 spoke. I do not planning on packing panniers and prefer my BOB trailer. I'm seeing that all of the touring bikes have much beefier wheels with 36 spokes seemingly the norm. I'm concerned that my wheels are too light for touring, even with the trailer. Is it practical to have a second set of wheels, just for touring, thus saving me the expense of buying a whole other bike for my touring?

Offline whittierider

Re: Newbie with a really dumb question
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2009, 03:44:20 pm »
Wouldn't be a bad idea.  The stock Bontrager wheels on Treks is the bike's only minus.  One of our sons and I have had six Bontragers, and every single one of the rims cracked in the first several thousand miles, and that was without any loading other than 8 pounds of water, a very large seat bag, and our 130- and 168-pound bodies.  We have not had a rim of any other brand crack.  Now we're on wheels built by Peter White with Velocity Aerohead and Aerohead O/C rims, 32 spokes rear and 28 front.  After the first few years we haven't had any trouble so far, but that shouldn't mean much yet considering they have a lifetime warranty.  These wheels are no heavier than the Bontragers either-- just better built.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 03:46:00 pm by whittierider »

Offline fiddler4060

Re: Newbie with a really dumb question
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2009, 06:39:47 pm »
Wouldn't be a bad idea.  The stock Bontrager wheels on Treks is the bike's only minus.  One of our sons and I have had six Bontragers, and every single one of the rims cracked in the first several thousand miles, and that was without any loading other than 8 pounds of water, a very large seat bag, and our 130- and 168-pound bodies.  We have not had a rim of any other brand crack.  Now we're on wheels built by Peter White with Velocity Aerohead and Aerohead O/C rims, 32 spokes rear and 28 front.  After the first few years we haven't had any trouble so far, but that shouldn't mean much yet considering they have a lifetime warranty.  These wheels are no heavier than the Bontragers either-- just better built.

That's exactly right! I have already replaced my cracked Bontrager rims with stronger Shimano rims (at least the guy at the bike shop told me they were stronger). But I wasn't thinking touring yet at replaced them with 24 count spokes. I think I'll go ahead and get a heftier set of wheels built for touring. Thanks.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Newbie with a really dumb question
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2009, 09:48:27 pm »
Your "really dumb question" isn't very dumb.  I've been thinking about the same thing with my Trek Madone 5.5.  I use a trailer, too, and don't want to buy another bike for touring, so I appreciate your question.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline alfonso

Re: Newbie with a really dumb question
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2009, 03:47:09 am »
I agree with johnson: this question is far from dumb. I'm glad to hear that you have a Trek Pilot and like it; I ride one too. Interestingly mine (now some 3-4 yrs old) came Alex rims rather than Bontragers. I have had no trouble with them.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Newbie with a really dumb question
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2009, 12:28:24 pm »
A set of normal wheels would probably be best.  Besides probably being stronger than low spoke wheels, its also easier to replace spokes if one should break while touring.  You can carry spare spokes or any bike shop will have spokes available.  Low spoke count wheels use poprietary spokes and may not be in stock at a bike shop.

Your Pilot bike will not be able to use very wide tires.  Likely 28mm is the widest.  Anything wider won't fit the fork, brake calipers, or rear chainstays.  28mm with a trailer is likely good enough.

Offline tonythomson

Re: Newbie with a really dumb question
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2009, 01:29:10 pm »
Hi Fiddler, I think that your question has been fully answered with a big YES change them.  I carry my load in panniers and use 700X32 and cross the spokes 4 times to add strength, never ever had any problems.

However my reason for getting in touch is totally different as I am planning to leave Kissimmee Fl for Vancouver but in April but looking for a route from Tallahassee to Fulton where i will pick up the ACCA's UGRR .  Not being from USA I don't have any local knowledge so just wondered if you had any ideas about this part of the route or are you going a completely different way.
Thanks Tony
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline fiddler4060

Re: Newbie with a really dumb question
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2009, 02:26:29 pm »
Thanks for all your replies... Yes, I am definitely going to change out the wheels. I'm going on a little two day trip down to the Everglades with my son this weekend on the lighter wheels... but next week I'll get the new ones. A concern I thought of after I posted was if it would mess up my drive train but I'm thinking that if I just make sure my rear cassette is the same it shouldn't... right? I also looked at the spacing and I think Russ was right and the 28mm tires will just about max it out. Thanks.

Tony, I plan to take the Atlantic coast from Ft. Lauderdale up to St. Augustine, pick up the Southern Tier to Mobile, head north on the UURR until the first point it crosses the Great Rivers route and then take that up through Iowa where I'll make a right turn to Madison, WI. We're leaving May 15th (or slightly earlier). I know a lot about South Florida and a bit less about Wisconsin but not much in between... which is why I am so excited about this trip!

Offline mikedirectory2

Re: Newbie with a really dumb question
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2009, 07:04:30 pm »
Not dumb at all!  Thanks for bringing this up : )
May the skies be blue and the road be flat... Happy Riding.

Offline MrBent

Re: Newbie with a really dumb question
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2009, 09:15:40 am »
While you're at it, consider gearing, too.  If you haven't pulled weight before, it can be a bit of a shock, especially when you hit the hills, of which you find very few in Florida :)

Get some lower gears on that rear wheel for happy touring and happy knees.

Scott

Offline tonythomson

Re: Newbie with a really dumb question
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2009, 09:51:05 am »
Hi Fiddler, might even cross paths as I leave Kissimmee at end of April, picking up the ST briefly at Tallahassee until Marianna Fl then heading NW to meet UGRR at Fulton.  It is this bit that i was hoping someone might know about. 

Have fun and enjoy your trip, previous guy is right get the gears as low as you can - I had mountain bike block fitted to my bike - worked well over the Rockies.

Cheers Tony
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline fiddler4060

Re: Newbie with a really dumb question
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2009, 02:47:24 pm »
Wow... you couldn't be more right about the "happy knees," Mr. Bent. I just came back from two days in the Everglades with my 18 year old son. It was sort of a trial run to see what it's like pulling the trailer fully loaded. My son is 18 and as fit as any so he slowed it down to 16mph or so while I drafted. I had all the gear. Dumb macho Dad. Yesterday seemed to be no problem but today we had a strong headwind and I kept up fine, but at a rest break around mile 20 I noticed, "Wow, my knee is really starting to hurt." I guess i wasn't spinning enough. I've never had that happen before. By the end of the ride (40 miles) I was barely doing 10, basically operating on one leg. Hope it's not serious.
Lower gears... couldn't agree more. Now I understand it.

Offline randyberlin

Re: Newbie with a really dumb question
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2009, 03:58:19 pm »
I've been credit card touring on my Pilot for 3 weeks (about 1500 miles) every year for the last 5 years. On my third tour I pulled a spoke through the rear rim.
It really is a very comfortable bike to be on all day.
I've had great luck with 700c x 28 ultragatorskins.