Author Topic: What is the best bike to tour with?  (Read 2632 times)

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Offline wdolanaca

What is the best bike to tour with?
« on: June 08, 2010, 09:25:54 pm »
I plan to do the Northern tier self-supported and would love to ride my TREK Madone road bike with a trailer.  Am I crazy for considering this?

Offline jimbo

Re: What is the best bike to tour with?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2010, 10:11:48 pm »
I am not a bike techy and I am sure you will get some well qualified replies..here is my less than techy unqualified reply ( I did the NT on a trek 520...standard steed for the job)

What size tires will you be using on the Madrone? I am trying to imagine a 700x25 pulling a trailer.

Offline John Nelson

Re: What is the best bike to tour with?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2010, 10:28:52 pm »
It can be done. It's not ideal. You can drive a nail with a wrench if that's all you've got, but a hammer works better if you have one.

Offline whittierider

Re: What is the best bike to tour with?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2010, 10:50:33 pm »
I think you'll find your answers in these two topics:
http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=5642.0
http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=5057.0

Edit:  I'll add something about low gearing, since that was mentioned in one of the topics I linked to.  I just found out there's a 12-36 9-speed cassette from Shimano and an 11-36 10-speed XX-series cassette from SRAM, getting you down pretty low without changing the crankset.  Until recently, the biggest cog I had ever seen was a 34T.  Of course either way, 34 or 36, you'll need a mountain-bike rear derailleur (preferably normal-high though).  The derailleur will work with your road shifters, and you don't need a new crankset.  With Shimano's CS-HG61 29er 12-36 cassette, you get 12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32-36.



If you have a chapaign pocketbook, there's SRAM's top-of-the-line XX 11-36:

« Last Edit: June 08, 2010, 11:21:25 pm by whittierider »

Offline Tourista829

Re: What is the best bike to tour with?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2010, 01:00:46 am »
Whittierider, good post. Since you seem pretty knowledgeable. Questions, if I could pursue the above topic you introduced, with the new rear cassettes. I currently have a Race Face Crank. I believe 22, 32, 46. (I would have to check) Would the 12-36 work? If I follow this low gear set up, it would yield a 16.8 inch low gear with a 700c wheel. Is this too low a gear, on a steep climb, to keep the bike upright, unless you used a very high cadence? What gear range percent from the lowest gear to the highest gear would it be. I would think it would have to be well over 600%.  Appreciate your comments. Thanks Bob

Offline whittierider

Re: What is the best bike to tour with?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2010, 02:56:32 am »
Quote
I currently have a Race Face Crank.  I believe 22, 32, 46.  (I would have to check.)  Would the 12-36 work?

(46-22)+(36-12)=48.  I don't know if any of the rear derailleurs are specified to be able to take a 48-tooth total difference; but the reality is that it doesn't have to.  You do need to have a long-enough chain to avoid breaking anything if you accidentally go into the large-large combination (46/36 in your case); but the derailleur doesn't need to be able to take up so much chain so as to use the small half of the cassette when you're in the tiny ring.  If you set your drivetrain up this way with a long-cage MTB rear derailleur, the chain may drag on itself near the pulleys or even sag at the bottom if you accidentally shift into one of those small cogs when you're in the granny ring; but at least it's not going to destroy anything.  Just plan to use the middle chainring if you want a gear ratio in that range.  On any of my bikes, the granny ring gets used with only the 3-4 biggest cogs, and beyond that I'm into the middle ring's range anyway.

Since my wife is anything but a climber, after the first time we tried an 8-mile-long 9-10% grade (4,000 feet elevation gain in 8 miles) on the tandem, I replaced the 28-tooth granny ring with a 24, and the 11-28 cassette with a 13-34.  That gave us a low gear of about 19".  Was it too low?  No-- we didn't go very straight, but it sure beat walking and pushing the bike (or me riding it and her walking).  This is a road tandem, and the big ring is a 52.  So the range it came with was (52/11)/(28/28)=4.73, meaning the highest gear was 4.73 times as high as the lowest.  Changing the small ring to a 24 and the cassette to a 13-34, it became (52/13)/(24/34)=5.67, meaning the highest gear was 5.67 times as high as the low.  Right before I made the change, on the same trip we also spun it up over 50mph for the first time, and could have reached 60 if it weren't gusty, so I figured we didn't need the top end to be so high.  A family of four passed us doing about 10mph more, and their jaws were all dropped as they looked at us.  That made it extra fun.  Since then I've gone faster though.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2010, 02:58:52 am by whittierider »

Offline rvklassen

Re: What is the best bike to tour with?
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2010, 09:12:01 am »
Whittierider, good post. Since you seem pretty knowledgeable. Questions, if I could pursue the above topic you introduced, with the new rear cassettes. I currently have a Race Face Crank. I believe 22, 32, 46. (I would have to check) Would the 12-36 work? If I follow this low gear set up, it would yield a 16.8 inch low gear with a 700c wheel. Is this too low a gear, on a steep climb, to keep the bike upright, unless you used a very high cadence? What gear range percent from the lowest gear to the highest gear would it be. I would think it would have to be well over 600%.  Appreciate your comments. Thanks Bob
If you have a 22 granny, it's hard to see why you would need more than a 28 tooth large cog on a single.   Our low gear is 24/34 on the tandem, but tandems are more finicky about climbing (unless you happen to have a team whose optimal cadence matches).  If it turns out you have a 24 granny, you might do well switching to a 12-34 cassette.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: What is the best bike to tour with?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2010, 12:36:26 am »
I plan to do the Northern tier self-supported and would love to ride my TREK Madone road bike with a trailer.  Am I crazy for considering this?

No, you're not crazy.  I've toured with my a CF bike and a Burley Nomad, and will this year do the same with a Madone.  I use 700x23c tires for all riding and touring--never had a problem due to skinny wheels.  For longer tours I will use a set of wheels with more spokes than the stock ones.  I think it's a fine idea to go with the Madone.   
May the wind be at your back!

Offline fiddler4060

Re: What is the best bike to tour with?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2010, 01:45:15 pm »
I've done short tours on my Trek Pilot 700x23 wheels pulling a BOB. I was constantly worried about my wheels. Flats really aren't the issue... I don't think I had any more flats than I have road biking unloaded. Gearing is an issue though. I looked into changing my gearing and beefing up my wheels but decided that I like my road bike the way it is so I took the plunge and bought another bike specifically for touring (the very affordable Surly LHT). I love the Surly and in retrospect I'm really glad I got the second bike. It's really nice having a bike set up specifically for tour and one specifically for road biking.

Offline litespeed

Re: What is the best bike to tour with?
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2010, 03:59:11 pm »
I have a titanium Litespeed Blue Ridge that I saved up 3 years for. It cost me $3350 (now $3400 I believe) - a true lifetime investment. I changed two things to the stock bike: I changed the Ultegra triple at the crank to Deore XT. This lets me climb most any hill. I also had custom wheels made -wide Sunrims to replace the Mavic Open rims. This lets me use tires up to 38mm - a real increase in comfort over the 28's on the old rims. I use Bruce Gordon racks and Ortleib panniers. This is my most valued possession and beloved companion every summer - sometimes part of the fall and spring too. It will undoubtedly outlast me unless a truck runs us over and wipes us both out.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 06:29:51 pm by litespeed »

Offline CastAStone

Re: What is the best bike to tour with?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2010, 12:20:46 am »
Shimano also now makes a 10-speed 36; the brand new XT and SLX cassettes. They came out just a couple weeks ago. They're tightly geared for the high 6 gears, then flail out quickly for the low gears. The new SLX and XT cranks are 42-32-24.

So if I were touring on a Madone, one of these cassettes and an XT RD (the 2009 model; the brand new one takes up less chain) would be my only change. I LOVE the XT RD.