Author Topic: TransAmerica with MTB  (Read 1213 times)

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Offline trockenthal

TransAmerica with MTB
« on: July 22, 2011, 02:35:26 pm »
Hi,
I am planning to ride the TransAmerica Route in summer 2012. Since I need to buy a new MTB for all year round training, I would use it for the trip. I am interested in the 29er concept (2000$ to 2500$). I would use only rear panniers.
Any advice from someone that has already done it with MTB? In particular:
which gear set (front/rear). New 29ers have a 50/34 - 12/27: very similar to road compact series;
which tube;
aluminium vs. carbon.
Thank you

Online jsieber

Re: TransAmerica with MTB
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2011, 02:47:43 pm »
Others will chime in with more advice, but I would recommend that you have a triple up front for climbing with the extra weight of your gear. A trailer might also be a good option to consider for touring with a mtb bike in case using only rear panniers does not give you the room you need. Using only rear panniers might also put more weight on the back of the bike only and have an adverse effect on handling.

As far as frame materials, I would consider steel for touring due to the nice ride quality it provides. Aluminum is light and stiff, but those are not necessarily the qualities that you look for with a touring bike. 

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: TransAmerica with MTB
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2011, 09:31:36 pm »
As a general rule, nobody complains about gearing being too low when touring loaded.  A mountain triple can get you below 20 gear inches; the compact double you list stops at 30 inches.  You may be fit enough to get up 15-20% grades (yes, really!) unloaded with a 30" low, but I'd bet you'd be walking when you put a load on.  22-32-44 up front, 11-34 in back is my suggestion.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: TransAmerica with MTB
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2011, 12:20:13 am »
... Since I need to buy a new MTB for all year round training, I would use it for the trip. I am interested in the 29er concept (2000$ to 2500$).

The TA has been done many times on mountain bikes and a few times on department-store bikes. One guy rode XC on a unicycle!

But why not a touring bike? Your budget will get you a good one, which is excellent for training and much more versatile than a 29er. It is fine off pavement (although not for cleaning logs and jumping off rocks) and a decent club ride machine when unloaded.

Consider that you will spend 4,000 to 4,500 hours on this bike doing the TA. Training an hour a day, five days a week for a year is only 260 hours. I'd spend my  money on the main item.

You can learn a lot by browsing here, but get a good grounding and a summary from Schubert's article in the ACA archives at http://www.adventurecycling.org/resources/201004_TouringBikeBuyers%27Guide_Schubert.pdf. The April 2011 issue is not yet in the archives, but if you can find a copy, Stephen Lord's "Find Your Way to the Perfect Touring Bicycle" covers the same ground from a different slant, and arrives at nearly the same advice.

The touring bike has reached its present form for very good reasons, which you will know after reading these. Of course you can ignore them, the main penalty being discomfort.

I expect the replies you get here will 1) try to get you onto a touring bike, or 2) try to get you to modify a MTB to become more like a touring bike. Do take advantage of all that experience and get the right tool for the job.

Fred