Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: bglaser496 on July 31, 2013, 02:23:41 pm

 
Title: Road bike for touring??
Post by: bglaser496 on July 31, 2013, 02:23:41 pm
Planning a 3 week trip from Seattle to Big Sur in October, camping along the way.  I have a nice road bike.  Can I use this and pull a trailer or do I need a touring bike which would allow panniers?  I assume my road peddles and shoes will be fine for such an adventure. 
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: John Nelson on July 31, 2013, 02:58:54 pm
A road bike with a trailer is fine. For comfort, you might want to see if you can get any wider tires on it. Most road bikes will take a 25, and some a 28. Road shoes are fine if you have another pair of shoes handy to switch to at stops. Most use MTB shoes, however, since you get off the bike often. Check your gearing. If you're young and strong and you have a compact double or triple, road bike gearing might be good enough. Otherwise, you'll probably wish you had lower gears--the coast can be pretty hilly. Check your brakes for good stopping power--you'll need it for the extra weight. Don't fill up the trailer just because there's room. Have fun.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: dasy on August 15, 2013, 04:41:07 am
it is interesting,but do you prepare the cycling equitment?such as cycling suit,cycling bag,cycling camera and so on.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: JayH on August 15, 2013, 08:49:40 am
If you plan on using panniers, need to check if there are eyelets on the road bike and also feet clearance on the rear panniers...  There are options if you don't have eyelets but you need to do an inventory first...

I agree that double sided MTB pedals and MTB shoes are generally the way to go, but how comfy are you walking around in road shoes is the issue here...

Jay
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: indyfabz on August 15, 2013, 09:27:36 am
Is the bike sufficiently geared to allow you to pull the extra weight without constant struggle? A B.O.B. trailer, for example, weighs 13 lbs. without the dry bag.

Is the rear wheel strong enough to handle the added stress of the trailer?

+1 on recessed cleats and MTB shoes, especially if you think you might be walking on gravel roads. I have done supported tours that have required walking on gravel paths/roads leading to campgrounds and rest stop parks. That can take its toll on road cleats.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: aggie on August 15, 2013, 10:39:18 am
I used my road bike (Trek 5200) for a short tour pulling a BOB trailer so it is possible.  I recommend that you get a rear wheel with 36 spokes and keep your load as light as possible.  I was breaking a spoke every 500 miles or so on my 32 spoke wheel.  I'd also go with as big a tire as your frame will permit.  I was using 23's and at the border of AZ/NM I somehow blew out the sidewall.  (A little inconvenient in the middle of nowhere.)  Road shoes will be ok but you'll want to either have another pair of shoes handy or cleat covers.  It's nice to do a little exploring at some interesting sites and it's awkward to walk in road shoes.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: paddleboy17 on August 15, 2013, 12:12:52 pm
You should plan at least one overnight trip to try out your stuff.  Better to learn what you don't like early, while you can still make changes.  You may like or dislike the bike and trailer, and you may like or dislike your gear too.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: WonderMonkey on October 31, 2013, 10:44:45 pm
I like the Burley Travoy because it attaches to the seat post and therefore distributes the weight.

(https://scontent-b-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/11755_10200413181066375_1271301810_n.jpg)
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: DaveB on November 01, 2013, 09:06:34 am
I recommend that you get a rear wheel with 36 spokes and keep your load as light as possible.  I was breaking a spoke every 500 miles or so on my 32 spoke wheel.
I believe your wheel was poorly built and insufficiently tensioned from the start and the broken spokes were the result of that, not from having an inadequate spoke count.  A trailer doesn't add much extra load to the rear wheel, certainly not as much as panniers.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: johnsondasw on November 02, 2013, 02:28:22 am
I've been using road bikes for 33 years touring and have used both panniers and trailers.  I've always used 700x23 (or equivalent) and have never had a problem.  I have toured only on paved roads, however. I always carry several extra tubes and an extra tire.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: DaveB on November 02, 2013, 08:49:26 am
I've been using road bikes for 33 years touring and have used both panniers and trailers.  I've always used 700x23 (or equivalent) and have never had a problem.  I have toured only on paved roads, however. I always carry several extra tubes and an extra tire.
There are "road bikes" and there are "road bikes". 

I had an '83 Trek 400 and now have a Surly Pacer as my rain/errand bikes.  Both are certainly "road bikes", not dedicated touring bikes, but have drop out eyelets to accept a rack, long enough chainstays to avoid heel interference with reasonable size panniers and I have them geared suitably.  I would not hesitate to use either for touring and many other older road bikes share their capabilities.   

Then there are "road bikes" that are dedicated sports/racing designs with short chain stays, tight tire clearance, no eyelets and tall gearing and these are far less suited to use for anything but the lightest touring in reasonably flat areas.   
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: johnsondasw on November 03, 2013, 01:04:03 am
My touring has been on a 1969 Dawes (cost $120) a 1976 Nishiki 10 speed (cost $200, used panniers), a 1997 Bianchi Eros (cost $1100, used panniers) and a 1995 Specialized carbon fiber Roubaix (cost $1850, used Burley Nomad trailer).  All of these worked great.  We can get too hung up on the idea we need a special touring bike. If you are planning on going off pavement a lot, then yes, you want a different bike than any of these four I have used.  Otherwise, I have just always ridden the one bike I had at the time and made it work. I have never specially outfitted a bike for a tour--no gearing changes, no special mounts, etc.
 
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: DaveB on November 03, 2013, 08:49:58 am
The Dawes, Nishiki and probably the Bianchi were frames with sufficient chainstay length, etc. that they weren't single-purpose racing frames.  The Specialized, maybe, maybe not, but since then road bike frame design has gotten more and more (uhhhh) specialized and les and less versatile.   Yes, you can tour on nearly anything with two wheels but some designs are far more suitable than others.

If you were able to tour on a road bike with standard OEM gearing while pulling a trailer I assume you limited your self to relatively flat areas or are extremely strong.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: johnsondasw on November 04, 2013, 12:16:43 am


If you were able to tour on a road bike with standard OEM gearing while pulling a trailer I assume you limited your self to relatively flat areas or are extremely strong.
[/quote]
I don't know what OEM gearing is but the Specialized has a triple in front.  The terrain was extremely hilly with a 14 mile 2000 foot gain to start the first day.  I'm not extremely strong, in fact on that tour was 59 years old. I also had just received a pacemaker implant that was miscalibrated (I found out later) and did not respond well to exercise, allowing my max heart rate to rise to only approx 120 bpm.   I do have a strong will and will keep plugging away for hours if necessary.  Two days later, we had a 18 mile gain of about 2800 feet.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: Pat Lamb on November 04, 2013, 09:11:09 am
johnsondasw, without knowing the details of those climbs, I think you've proved DaveB's point.  The average grade for the climbs you cited is 3% or less.  While climbing 2,000 or 3,000 feet is quite respectable, 3% hardly compares with some of the steeper grades (10% or more) in the Appalachians, Ozarks, or even the long 6% climbs in some of the Rockies passes.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: DaveB on November 04, 2013, 06:54:39 pm
I don't know what OEM gearing is but the Specialized has a triple in front.  The terrain was extremely hilly with a 14 mile 2000 foot gain to start the first day.  I'm not extremely strong, in fact on that tour was 59 years old. I also had just received a pacemaker implant that was miscalibrated (I found out later) and did not respond well to exercise, allowing my max heart rate to rise to only approx 120 bpm.   I do have a strong will and will keep plugging away for hours if necessary.  Two days later, we had a 18 mile gain of about 2800 feet.
"OEM" means "Original Equipment Manufacturer" and implies that you used the components the bike came with from the maker and you didn't modify it.  That said, I didn't realize that model Specialized came with a triple crank and, as pdlamb calculated, the grades you mentioned may have been very long but were not very steep.  Around me, a 10% grade is considered modest. 

I didn't mean to disparage you but we do get posters here who want to tour on sports/racing bikes and don't realize the limitations of the gearing and frame clearances that comes with them.   
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: johnsondasw on November 05, 2013, 12:46:59 am
Well, for me 10% is hard.  I have ridden consistent mountain grades of 10-14%, but I'm slow at them. The two hills mentioned in the preceding post were very low grades for the first half but in the second halves had consistent 6-9% grades.  The Specialized did come with a triple.  I like that.
   
I'm not feeling disparaged.  I'm happy being out there at 65 years old biking, hiking, and rock climbing most days of the week.  In crap weather, I'm often in the gym lifting weights or indoor climbing.

There are huge commercial pressures to upgrade and buy the best, most expensive, newest, etc.  In the past I have gotten caught up in that a little.  I almost always regret it and have learned to make do with what I have, ergo the touring on whatever bike I have and making it work. I'm not saying that's the way for everyone, but buyer beware.  For a while I had an expensive CF Trek that cost more than double the Specialized.  It was fast, responsive, and, sad to say, fragile.  Sometimes the value curve does not rise proportionally to the cost curve.

   

Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: DaveB on November 05, 2013, 09:05:22 am
There are huge commercial pressures to upgrade and buy the best, most expensive, newest, etc.  In the past I have gotten caught up in that a little.  I almost always regret it and have learned to make do with what I have, ergo the touring on whatever bike I have and making it work. I'm not saying that's the way for everyone, but buyer beware.  For a while I had an expensive CF Trek that cost more than double the Specialized.  It was fast, responsive, and, sad to say, fragile.  Sometimes the value curve does not rise proportionally to the cost curve.
You are reinforcing my original argument that not every "road bike" is a suitable touring bike. The older road bikes you mention were versatile enough to do double duty as tourers, even the Specialized which came with a triple crank.  Would the Trek you refer to have been a useful touring bike?

We often get questions on this forum asking if this or that bike can be used for touring and some posters say; "yes, any bike can be a touring bike."  I believe that's misleading.  A 16 pound carbon frame racing bike that barely clears 700-23 tires and is geared 53/39 with an 11x23 cassette is not going to be a rewarding touring bike.   
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: staehpj1 on November 05, 2013, 10:22:59 am
We often get questions on this forum asking if this or that bike can be used for touring and some posters say; "yes, any bike can be a touring bike."  I believe that's misleading.  A 16 pound carbon frame racing bike that barely clears 700-23 tires and is geared 53/39 with an 11x23 cassette is not going to be a rewarding touring bike.

I will have to disagree, because there are so many variables.   I agree that it might not work for all riders or all situations, but it certainly can for some.

First it depends on the rider, the terrain, and the load.  Going ultralight, touring in flat country, and/or being a very strong rider can make that bike work OK and for some situations it might even be ideal.  I know that I rode the ST with a road bike with 23 mm tires and a double crank set and it worked out fine.

Second, the gearing can be modified.  I used two rings on the ST tour mentioned above.  I was using a 39-26 paired with a 12-28 in that case and I am a not so fast over 60 rider.

Also, I have met a few younger riders that happily, toured on full on road bike gearing.  I met such a rider on the Pacific Coast, he was doing a big loop and had already completed some seriously tough mountain miles on the Sierra Cascades route on his road bike and a trailer.  He said it was working out fine and he wasn't packing particularly light.  He was using a BoB trailer with about 30 pounds of gear.  He seemed to be making the best time of any of the riders I met on that tour.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: johnsondasw on November 05, 2013, 11:35:31 am
Good post, Staehj.  I guess that's my point.  This all started because I don't think we have to go out and get a special bike for touring, but can often make use of the bike we have. I  have seen people out there touring with all different configurations, bikes, loads, wheel sizes, etc.  I have a friend who tours sometimes on a Bike Friday, and another one who uses his mountain bike.  I've used a rack that clamps on to the seat post and put panniers over that. My sister toured down the Calif coast from Seattle to SF in the early 1970s and carried almost all her stuff in a backpack!  At that time she did not know there were any alternatives. The list goes on.   As in so many things in life, each to his own. 
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: John Nelson on November 05, 2013, 11:48:30 am
Although you can tour on anything, the more suitable the bike, the less risk of problems. If you choose to tour on an bike not quite as well suited to the endeavor, then hopefully you have some schedule flexibility. Some people have more time than money, and others have more money than time.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: Bike Hermit on November 20, 2013, 03:28:42 pm
Not a fan of trailers. The single wheel trailers put a lot of torque on the bike frame and when loaded can affect the handling of the bike...sometimes in a scary way. Two wheel trailers take a lot of room. Also, more mechanical liabilities with trailers. Why not look at frame bags like those from Revelate Designs, or racks from Old Man Mountain made for bikes without attachment points.   
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: Wild Dave on November 21, 2013, 06:22:58 am
http://www.thule.com/en-us/us/campaigns/thule-pack-n-pedal/thule-pack-n-pedal
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: RussSeaton on December 03, 2013, 10:30:50 pm
There are huge commercial pressures to upgrade and buy the best, most expensive, newest, etc.  In the past I have gotten caught up in that a little.  I almost always regret it and have learned to make do with what I have, ergo the touring on whatever bike I have and making it work.

Yes.  But it also makes sense to buy a dedicated loaded touring bike if that is your goal.  Why not get a bike designed for your purpose and that is more or less guaranteed to perform that function correctly.  Spending money.  Buying a new bike.  These are not bad, evil actions.  They are just actions.  Good, bad, indifferent.

If your goal is to tour loaded, sleep in a tent and sleeping bag, cook your own meals, live off the land.  Then it makes sense to start with a bike designed to carry panniers and climb mountains.  Surly Long Haul Trucker, Trek 520, REI Novara Randonnee, Co-Motion Americano, and a half dozen others are all loaded touring bikes.  Loaded touring on these bikes is almost guaranteed to be successful.  They were built specifically for loaded touring.  It makes lots of sense to buy one of these bikes if you want to do loaded touring.  You may or may not be able to make other bikes work.  But these are all pretty much guaranteed to work perfectly.  Nothing wrong with that.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: johnsondasw on December 04, 2013, 12:02:28 am
I agree Russ.  Nothing wrong with that.  I do most of my riding at this age (65) on unloaded one day rides, but can and do use my CF lightweight bike for tours on occasion and have not had problems hauling a Burley 2-wheeled trailer or motel (credit card) touring with light weights.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: froze on December 12, 2013, 10:28:30 pm
If you can afford it get a touring bike it would eliminate a lot of hassle, but if money is tight and you want to go with what you've got then just do it!  Touring with a road bike does not present more problems, just a different type of challenge.  A road bike won't be as stable loaded with gear as a touring bike would be so you will have to keep a diligent mind on handling issues but it won't drive you nuts either.  You can find used touring bikes and lot of the time they've been used little, or there are nice new ones that cost less then $1500 new like the Kona Sutra a ready to tour bike that comes with full racks, fenders, and disk brakes for under $1200; or the Jamis Aurora which comes with front and rear fenders but no racks but it is a beautiful bike for under $1100; or the Motobecane Gran Turismo from Bikes Direct for $700 which is equipped similar to the Trek 520 but for hundreds less and had had many high reviews, comes with a rear rack too.  There are other touring bikes that can be found for under $1500 but those three I feel represent the best value for the money.

Otherwise if you want to stay with your road bike then keep reading.

It's no big deal to put MTB pedals, or pedals with toe straps on a road bike, then you can use whatever mtb shoe you want.

They also make brackets for panniers to go on bikes without eyelets for pannier racks, see item2, item 3, item 4, and for oversized forks item 5:  http://www.thetouringstore.com/TUBUS/Fit%20Solutions/FIT%20SOLUTIONS%20PAGE.htm

You can also change your front and rear gearing to make it a bit easier to climb grades with a load.

Invest in a set of SKS RaceBlade fenders, it will keep spray off you and the bike.

Put on the widest most durable tires you can get that will fit your bike, if you bike is a modern race bike then it's doubtful you can put anything wider than a 25.  The best for the money is the Panaracer Pasela TG folding, than since flats are a pain when touring get a pair of Panaracer FlatAway tire liners but do not get those cheap poly plastic liners they don't work as good, and their heavier.  Also get a pair of thick tubes like thorn resistant tubes.    A better tire, but more expensive, is the Schwalbe Marathon Plus but it is heavy due to the flat protection technology.

The only questionable problem you might have is relative comfort of being on a race bike day in and day out.

Also carbon bikes are really not designed to use a clamp on pannier rack to the stays, over tightening the bolts could crush the CF tube.  There is a reason CF bikes are not used for heavy touring because the CF is too fragile for loaded touring unless you go with a backpack then you raise your center of gravity making the bike more unstable.  But you could use a CF race bike if your into ultralight touring or credit card touring.  Most modern CF race bikes will allow up to a size 25 tire a few will only let you use 23 and nothing larger.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: Westinghouse on December 17, 2013, 11:34:17 pm
I have used a road bike for very long, pannier-loaded tours. It works just fine. My last big tour was Stuart, FL to San Diego, CA, 54 days total with 43 days on the road at age 61 in the winter of 2009-2010.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: DaveB on December 18, 2013, 08:10:57 am
I have used a road bike for very long, pannier-loaded tours.
It would be interesting to know what model and what vintage your bike was.  As I said above, many older road bikes had the attributes currently found on touring frames.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: Westinghouse on December 18, 2013, 10:09:43 am
It's a 1980s  Raleigh Technium frame with all your specifications as mentioned in your previous post. It's just long enough for rear panniers. Right now I am looking at another run of the ST. I have been looking for a female companion for it around here. Sorry to say' most think it a hardship to cycle across this small town. Cross-country is unthinkable for them.

The road bike frame is sweet, tight' aluminum thermally bonded to chromoly, a little bit heavy, and able to withstand a nuclear blast.. It is surprisingly responsive under aheavy load.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: mzimmerm on February 12, 2014, 07:51:42 pm
I have a fairly new Trek Domane 6 series. Great road bike. All carbon. Last summer did the "Cycle Greater Yellowstone" tour which was 450 miles in 6 days of riding with plenty of elevation. This ride was 100% supported, so only weight was me and a backpack.

I am now planning a month long "tour" that will be completely self-supported. My wife and I are planning to start in Portland Oregon the first of May- travel to Astoria- then south to San Francisco. I weigh 195 and will now need to carry tents, food, water, etc. etc.
I have heard and seen all recommendations for carrying the load.
Gut tells me the bike will be too heavy with panniers only. And that the wheels wont support.
Should I do a trailer? And swap out wheel(s)?
Maybe I can carry the majority of the weight on the trailer- then get panniers for my wife's bike and she can carry less weight.
I DON"T want to damage my great road bike in any way!!!
Thoughts?
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: paddleboy17 on February 12, 2014, 10:40:00 pm
If you can afford a Cf road bike, I am guessing that you can afford to add a Surly Long Haul Trucker or it's equivalent to your fleet.  I don't think you current bike will do what you want unless you are ultra light weight with your gear.  Trailers do work, but they work best with a long wheelbase bike that can take and dampen the loads of the trailer.

I am reminded of the saying, "when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: mzimmerm on February 12, 2014, 11:33:01 pm
Fair enough.
I was just hoping to save the expense of another bike.
Do you recommend the Surly? I AM an REI fan and a member. Will this bike effectively hold the panniers and the gear that I need for a 1 month long trip? I assume you prefer panniers versus the trailer? (I have seen this pretty consistently).
Is it geared sufficiently for the climbs on the Calif coast?
This is our first LONG trip as a couple. We WILL focus on traveling light as we have heard over and over.....but.....
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: paddleboy17 on February 13, 2014, 06:53:18 am
I said Surly LHT or equivalent.  There are lots of threads devoted to the merits of the different sub $1500 touring bike.  I would start there.

There are also threads devoted to panniers vs trailer.  I have done both and prefer a trailer off road and panniers on road.

Sounds like you need to budget for two bikes, a his and hers combo so to speak.  You also need to research gear.  Be sure to plan some trial trips.
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: mzimmerm on February 17, 2014, 05:35:19 pm
All fantastic advice.
Already looking at touring bikes and panniers (at REI).
I wasn't sure if I really needed a touring Bike.....until now.
I think I prefer the Novara Randonee. Shifting/Brakes/includes rack/price.....etc....all seem favorable.
Appreciate the comments.
Thanks
Title: Re: Road bike for touring??
Post by: Pat Lamb on February 17, 2014, 09:32:50 pm
The Randonee is a road bike, to my mind, that has some (limited) off road capability.  One carried me across the continent a few years ago.  Most REIs carry at least one Randonnee, and if you order by April, they can get one your size.

That said, the Fuji Touring is also a road bike with good load-carrying capability, and it has the best price for low gears among the major brands.  It's just difficult to find.

Either way, make sure you get someone who knows what they're doing to help fit you to the bike.