Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Gear Talk => Topic started by: dancingcyclist on February 16, 2014, 10:42:11 pm

 
Title: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: dancingcyclist on February 16, 2014, 10:42:11 pm
Looking for input. Been road riding for years, ready to start touring and looking into bikes. Right now I'm leaning towards a Raleigh Sojourn or a Jamis Elite, or ???. Any and all help is welcome.  :)
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: bogiesan on February 17, 2014, 12:56:14 am
Recumbent.

Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: DaveB on February 17, 2014, 07:56:30 am
The almost automatic recommendation: Surly LHT
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: staehpj1 on February 17, 2014, 10:00:04 am
Choose packing style first, and maybe go as far as assembling the whole kit first, then choose the racks, bags, and bike that best suit it.

The LHT is the usual standard recommendation for heavy touring, but I personally find it a bit of a tank for my touring style.  I recommend that you at least consider a very light packing style and a sportier bike.  If you pack light you can ride one of your road bikes.  I find that style of touring more pleasant.  I find riding a very lightly loaded bike is much more pleasant and find having only a very streamlined and well thought out packing list to provide a simple lifestyle and a greatly reduced need to dig through a ton of gear and clothing.  You can easily get by on 20 pounds of stuff and still cook and camp comfortably without breaking the bank.  By spending a bit more (still way less than the cost of an LHT) and packing even more carefully you can cut that load in half.

If that sounds interesting, check out my U/L article at:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Ultralight
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: Cyclesafe on February 17, 2014, 11:03:00 am
Choose packing style first, and maybe go as far as assembling the whole kit first, then choose the racks, bags, and bike that best suit it.

This is the very best advice a noobie could get.  Sadly, it will be ignored.

OP, only you know what sort of touring you plan to do.  As you are well aware, the heavier you are, the more you handicap yourself as to terrain and distance.  A road bike is probably limited to, well, the road, so if you plan to see significant gravel, then another bike, that can take wider tires, like an LHT etc must be considered instead.

Not everyone wants to go ultralight.  I certainly don't.  But I have made item by item comparisons to the ultralight gear lists and have consciously chosen to take the extra weight / bulk and suffered the need to have racks and panniers as a result.  The longer you are potentially exposed to the elements and the more food / water you'll need to carry, the less practical ultralight becomes.  Don't be one of those guys who blows by me on the road who is freezing / hungry when I catch up with them at camp.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: dkoloko on February 17, 2014, 12:32:07 pm
None of the replies so far focus on choosing between the two bikes you are considering. Going by specs, I'd choose the Elite for the better derailleurs. As far your kit is concerned, IMHE, you'll make many changes before settling on what suits you most.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: amsocrates on February 17, 2014, 01:19:46 pm
That's a Jamis Aurora Elite right.  I've been looking at one to upgrade
my 25 year old Bruce Gordon Hikiri.  Reasonable choice.

John
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: DaveB on February 17, 2014, 02:15:44 pm
None of the replies so far focus on choosing between the two bikes you are considering.
Yes, he mentioned those two bikes but also said; "Any and all help is welcome" so I added another well regarded bike to the list for his consideration. 
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: Ben the Slow on February 17, 2014, 03:34:24 pm
I am also new to touring (and I have no recent cycling experience).  I picked the Jamis Aurora Elite over the LHT due to a)my touring will be on roads in the USA so either bike will work), b)the Jamis has better components including the disk brakes, c)the costs are not that far apart.  I will go cross country this June so that'll be the real test.

my observation, the LHT, 520, the Jamis, they've all be used by many people for many long tours, just be happy with your choice
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: John Nelson on February 17, 2014, 05:07:38 pm
Having met hundreds of touring cyclists on the road, it seems to me that most of them are traveling heavy, many more use panniers than trailers, and more than half use all four panniers. So if you have no idea what you're going to like, and if you believe in the wisdom of crowds, you might consider a bike that can go loaded.

Comparing the Jamis Aurora Elite with the Raleigh Sojourn, I'll note that both have road-bike gearing. If running heavy, I strongly prefer touring bikes to have mountain bike gearing to get lower gearing. The Raleigh, however, has lower gearing than the Jamis. The Jamis has a lowest gear of 27 gear inches. The Raleigh has a lowest of 24 gear inches. Note that the LHT and the 520 have a lowest gear of 20 gear inches, which I think is just about right. Both are suitable for heavy loads, having 36-spoke wheels, and a steel frame and fork. The Jamis has higher quality derailleurs, but costs more (probably due in part because of that). Both have wide tires (Jamis has 32 and Raleigh has 35--I would personally prefer the 35, but that's not much difference and easily replaced). The Raleigh comes standard with a Brooks B-17 saddle, which I consider a great plus.

Given the two above, I'd probably go with the Raleigh. But I'd rather have a Surly Long Haul Trucker or a Trek 520 instead of either of those two. If you decide to go ultralight, I'd look for a good aluminum road bike with 32-spoke wheels.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: saafrican on February 22, 2014, 09:38:21 am
Try a recumbent !!!!,   I am 70 and can easily do 100 mile days. , no sore butt, back ,neck wrists . I also have 3 very fancy CF  bikes that hang from the rafters because the lightening P38 recumbent is sooooo much more comfortable .
Look on ebay or Craigslist for a decent recumbent , check out reputable  builders and dealers. one test ride will really open your eyes ?
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: staehpj1 on February 22, 2014, 11:43:24 am
Try a recumbent !!!!

The key word there is "try".  Don't buy one without trying first.  Some folks love them and some do not.  Riding one is very different from riding a diamond frame.  You may love it but do not assume that will be the case.  I tried one and was totally unimpressed, I'd ride one only if I could no longer ride a diamond frame.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: ZiZohn on February 22, 2014, 09:24:10 pm
I have a couple recumbent, bikes, as well as Carbon Fiber diamond frames. I will be doing the Southern Tier with Adventure Cycling self-contained later this year. I was worried about the climbs I'd encounter during the ride, plus the difficulty with shipping a 'bent, so decided not to use my recumbent and instead had a Surly Disc Trucker built. Yes, the recumbent is very comfortable. But I don't climb as well on the recumbent and also ride a couple MPH slower overall average speed. I realize speed doesn't matter much when fully loaded, but the climbing is an issue. Also, even though the Surly and my recumbent both weigh about the same, I find it is harder to push my recumbent uphill than it is my uprights. But that is just me, maybe someone else doesn't have the same issues on a recumbent.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: Cyclesafe on February 23, 2014, 10:30:49 am
The grades on the Southern Tier are only in the first 100 miles out of San Diego and the Texas hill country.  I rode with a guy in his late 60's who was on a recumbent and he did OK.  OTOH, I'm with Pete.  I'll stay with my diamond frame. 
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: zonesystempro on February 23, 2014, 12:03:42 pm
If you can afford to ... have a custom touring bike made. Yes it will cost you more but I had one made and the difference between my trek and custom touring bike was unbelieveable. Sooo much more comfortable to ride and all the components and gearing needed for a great touring experience. Cheers!

Mike
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: PeteJack on March 03, 2014, 01:34:28 pm
Congratulations on retiring and getting into touring. You'll wonder why you ever bothered with work and if you're like me you won't miss it. I ride a Trek 520 that I love dearly solely because the guy at the bike shop said I should. I don't have any recommendations but at the Bike Expo yesterday I saw some front wheel drive recumbents (https://www.google.com/search?q=front+wheel+drive+recumbents&client=firefox-a&hs=Gxt&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=FcoUU4j0O4_ooASLkoCIAQ&ved=0CCkQsAQ&biw=1631&bih=859), a new one to me, the man selling them said they were as good as uprights for climbing. Anyone know about these? They don't look very practical for touring. A trailer perhaps?
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: Tom Lilley on March 18, 2014, 09:11:02 pm
What ever bike you get should have minimum 32mm tires, 36 spokes, Disc brakes and Surly racks.

Retiree Tom
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: DaveB on March 19, 2014, 08:49:35 am
...at the Bike Expo yesterday I saw some front wheel drive recumbents (https://www.google.com/search?q=front+wheel+drive+recumbents&client=firefox-a&hs=Gxt&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=FcoUU4j0O4_ooASLkoCIAQ&ved=0CCkQsAQ&biw=1631&bih=859), a new one to me, the man selling them said they were as good as uprights for climbing. Anyone know about these? They don't look very practical for touring. A trailer perhaps?
I believe your salesman need a physics lesson. Front wheel drive is not better for climbing traction since the weight transfer is rearward and that tends to unload the front wheel. For cars that are front end heavy anyway it's obviously not a problem but bicycles are rear wheel weight biased so a steep climb is likely to allow wheel spin if the front is driven.  Beyond that, climbing on a bike is power and torque limited and recumbents don't allow the rider to use his/her full weight over the pedals so low gears are required.  Which wheel is driven has nothing to do with it.

Quote
What ever bike you get should have minimum 32mm tires, 36 spokes, Disc brakes and Surly racks.
+1 On the tire and spoke recommendation but other rack makes (Blackburn, OMM, Tubus ) are also very good and disc brakes are by no means a requirement or even desirable at their present state of development.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: Tom Lilley on March 19, 2014, 10:03:13 am
I have a Tandem and Touring bike both with Disc brakes and it is the best braking system on the market. Some Road bikes are now coming our with a front disc break. So try it first.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: Ben the Slow on March 19, 2014, 10:09:08 am
Good quality mechanical disk brakes are well proven amd provide Improved wet weather performance and increased mechanical advantage to the tourer.  That said traditional braking systems have been used by many thousands of riders.  You do not need disk brakes, but please do not be worried about reliabilty or performance.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: DaveB on March 19, 2014, 03:44:17 pm
  You do not need disk brakes, but please do not be worried about reliabilty or performance.
I still read way too many reports of noise, disc run-out, slow wheel changes, alignment problems and pad clearance issues to recommend disc brakes to the rider who isn't pretty well versed in mechanical issues.  Yes, they work.  No, they aren't simple, even mechanical discs, and hydraulics bring an entire set of issues of their own.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: Ben the Slow on March 19, 2014, 04:11:53 pm
You can't go wrong with conventional rim squeezers.  I'll go cross country this summer on disk brakes, the Gucci factor got to me ;-)
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: PeteJack on April 21, 2014, 08:06:03 am
There are good rim squeezers and not so good rim squeezers. My 520 came with Single Digit SD-5 brakes and for years I put up with noise and poor performance. On a steep downhill I just couldn't stop by braking from the hoods, I had to reach round to the drops and squeeze like hell. And they were almost impossible to center, I'd use up all the adjustment on one side without it lifting off the rim. Eventually I sprang big bucks $111 for a Single Digit Ultimate as opposed to $17 for a replacement SD-5 on the front. It's like night and day: powerful, modulated braking from the hoods, silent, center perfectly. Everything a vee brake should be. While I was at it I replaced the brake levers with Tektro RH520s  I do believe the new levers are a help too i.e. they have better ergonomics.

I've still got the old SD-5 on the rear and it seems plenty adequate so it's staying. I reckon you don't want too powerful braking at the back, locked wheel etc.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: Old Guy New Hobby on April 21, 2014, 10:33:58 am
Quote
I've still got the old SD-5 on the rear and it seems plenty adequate so it's staying. I reckon you don't want too powerful braking at the back, locked wheel etc.

You never know about unfamiliar roads or braking in sketchy weather. I usually try to apply equal pressure front and back, and release if the rear wheel skids. It's easy to survive rear wheel skids. Front wheel skids, not so much. Of course, this works best if front and rear brakes have similar stopping power.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: Pat Lamb on April 21, 2014, 11:01:17 am
On a steep downhill I just couldn't stop by braking from the hoods, I had to reach round to the drops and squeeze like hell.

Being able to brake from the drops is a good skill to have for any brakes.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: DaveB on April 21, 2014, 12:09:44 pm
Being able to brake from the drops is a good skill to have for any brakes.
It's good as a skill.  It's not so good as an absolute necessity.

As to SD5's defects, I've never used them but I did have SD-7s on one bike and they were very strong and powerful.  Noisy but strong.  One thing I did do was change the OEM pads for Kool Stop Salmons which improved the feel and control, particularly in wet conditions.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: PeteJack on April 21, 2014, 01:18:03 pm
Quote
I've never used them but I did have SD-7s on one bike and they were very strong and powerful
After I'd bought the Ultimate it occurred to me SD-7s have done the trick and been a lot cheaper, about $30. I guess I'll never know.
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: SamSpokes on April 25, 2014, 09:02:55 am
Personally I think your bike choice depends heavily on the terrain you intend to cover, the distance you want to go and how much weight (or creature comforts) you intend to carry.

Could you give us an outline?
Title: Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
Post by: JDFlood on May 11, 2014, 09:31:22 pm
It's hard to choose a bike until you are experienced. You might. Try a cheap tour bike like a Trek 520 and see how it goes. I did... Realized I weighed too much with panniers and got a custom bike. I have credit card touring and a full loades touring. The trek is great for commuting.