Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: damselfli on November 02, 2004, 08:32:40 pm

 
Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: damselfli on November 02, 2004, 08:32:40 pm
Questions for tour-savvy people:
I have never been on a "tour" longer than 2 days, but touring self-supported across the country is my dream. In replacing my 30yr old racer, I am going to splurge on a touring bike, but it will be my only bike and I like to ride a lot during the week (35-50 miles typical day out), and I cruise - here on the sandbars of Florida - on my 32pound 10spd at 16-20mph.

That said, I'm torn between 2 choices (and 2 companies):
Independent Fabrication's "Independence" vs. "Club Racer" .... OR
CoMotion's "Americano" vs. "Norwester".

How much weight should I count on needing to carry in order to go across country self-supported? Could a Club Racer or Norwester take me on a cross-country tour?

Having no direct experience makes it so hard!
Please help!

Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: Peaks on November 04, 2004, 08:40:36 pm
Well, I'm not familiar with the two choices you cited.  

First, people do long distance tours on all types of bikes.  Road bikes, touring bikes, hybrid bikes, recumbents, and even modified mountain bikes.  But, probably the most common is a touring bike.  

The escentials for a long distance tour are a seat that agrees with your anatomy, good bike shorts, and a granny gear.  

How much does gear weigh?  Probably around 30 pounds.  The heavy items are usually tent (5 pounds or so), sleeping bag (4 pounds), and paniers or trailer,

Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: rootchopper on November 04, 2004, 11:22:52 pm
I have heard of people carrying much more than 30 pounds.  For simple one week trips I take 30 pounds of stuff without cooking gear or extra layers of clothes for cold weather.  

If you decide to tour with trailer you can pull a whole lot of weight without stressing the bike nearly as much as you would with panniers.

I would strongly recommend that you actually ride the bike before you buy if this is at all possible.  Bike fit is key. Also, I agree with Peaks that a saddle that fits your behind is worth finding before your tour.  (I am partial to Brooks leather saddles FWIW.)  A granny is necessary only if you are fond of your knee cartilage.

I think the bikes you are considering will have the necessary braze ons for fenders and racks.  If you are carrying panniers, you will also need enough clearance in the rear (a long chain stay) so that your heels don't hit your panniers as you pedal.  

If you are opting for straight handlebars, consider some sort of extensions for the bar ends to give your hands more positions.

Good luck.

Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: damselfli on November 05, 2004, 01:44:06 pm
Thanks for the input! I'm trying to gather gear and find weights for gear I don't have.
The main difference in CoMotion's Americano and NorWester is the Americano has wider rear hub spacing - allows for a much stronger rear wheel w/ symmetrical spokes (less chance of spokes breaking, better to carry more weight). Downside is that it would be harder to find replacement hub (if that was EVER necessary, which I tend to doubt), and that the seat tube post is a bigger diameter, so maybe fewer choices of seat tubes to fit (don't know how that will impact my choice of saddles - maybe not at all?). Maybe not as nice for club rides and centuries (which I hope to do frequently).

Both bikes can be made with 44.5cm chainstay length. And none of the bikes I'm looking at are available to ride anywhere in the state of Florida - as far as I can tell.



Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: judyrans on November 05, 2004, 06:06:19 pm
One disadvantage of the Co-Motion Americano's wider rear hub spacing is that it won't fit on any trainer. So, you can't use a trainer to stay fit when the weather is too nasty to want to ride outside. This also means that you can't put it on the trainer to adjust the cleats on your new shoes. It's no problem if you use rollers for winter training.

If you know of a trainer that can adjust to that wider spacing, please let me know.

Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: rootchopper on November 06, 2004, 12:43:48 am
I suppose anything can break on a bike tour but as I think about my ridiing, loaded and unloaded, over 30 years I've never had a hub fail.

I've broken and immobilized brake and shifter cables, snapped a chain or two, popped a half-dozen spokes (all rear wheel), tacoed a rim (rear tire exploded, and still don't know what happened), snapped a pedal off while riding (I crashed; it was ugly), snapped a seat rail, and broke a fork (after 13 years of riding through 5 New England winters and multiple crashes).  

In fact the two problems that stumped me where a broken V-brake noodle and a metal ratchet in an old Sun Tour shifter.  Any machine is only as reliable as its cheapest part.

Good luck with the bike purchase.


Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: DaveB on November 06, 2004, 12:48:51 am
If you know of a trainer that can adjust to that wider spacing, please let me know.

I'm pretty sure the Americano uses a 140 mm tandum rear hub so it's only 10mm, or less than 1/2-inch, wider than a standard road hub and only 5 mm wider than a MTB hub.  My Performance "Travel Trak 2000" trainer (made by Elite in Italy) has a mounting screw that opens way wider than the rear dropout spacing on my road bike and sure looks like it would accomodate another 10mm.


Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: 2010 on November 07, 2004, 12:27:13 am
     I am doing much of the same homework & I am just about set with the Americano! My big choice is durability. I figure that I would rather have it (durability) and not need it, than need it and not have it!  Does that make sense?  Thats my philosophy with most of my equipment so I tend to over pack.  But hey! Whats the hurry!  Speed isn't my thing...Text
Text
:)

Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: damselfli on November 08, 2004, 02:39:18 pm
Such a dilemna! I am riding 75mi/week now and planning centuries and other 'non-touring' rides...  The CoMotion guy (Alan) says if he had to pick one bike to keep, it would be his NorWester, because it can do anything. He also feels that riding with more than 40 lbs is not as much fun (more work?). Again, my lack of experience with loaded touring makes it hard to choose, but I am leaning toward the Norwester because I can buy a second set of wheels for 95% of my riding and have the heavy duty set for touring. If I understand it correctly, I couldn't do that on the Americano?? He also says that people mistakenly think of the Norwester as a "lesser" bike - it's just different.
BTW I am told that I pack alot, but I can live with one med suitcase for 10 weeks...
Would one do better than the other for some off-road (or rather dirt road) travel?
Other thoughts?

Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: DaveB on November 13, 2004, 02:33:45 pm
but I am leaning toward the Norwester because I can buy a second set of wheels for 95% of my riding and have the heavy duty set for touring.

A friend got a Co-Motion Norwester last year and has done exactly what you propose.  He has a set of light wheels with 700x23 tires for unloaded recreational riding and a set of sturdier wheels with 700x35 tires for touring and back road/trail use. He loves it.  The Norwester has plenty of clearance for wide tires and fenders but is reasonably light and responsive with the lighter wheel and tire set.  

The Americano is a bit too much a dedicated tourer while the Norwester is far more versatile and plenty rugged when needed.

BTW, if you deal directly with Co-Motion, put all of your requirements in writing and keep a copy of the order.  I purchased a Co-Motion Co-Pilot (a single bike with S&S couplers) a few years ago and my friend, described above, got his Norwester last year  We both ordered directly from Co-Motion and they managed to screw up both orders initially.  They were very good at quickly correcting the mistakes at their expense but there were delays and difficulties we didn't anticipate.  

This message was edited by DaveB on 11-13-04 @ 10:39 AM
Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: driftlessregion on November 14, 2004, 03:06:03 am
If you're willing to pay for an IF or Co-Mo, don't forget Waterford's Adventure Cycle (www.waterfordbikes.com).

Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: damselfli on November 15, 2004, 09:46:24 pm
Thanks to all for great input! I've decided to go with the Norwester, which seems to be the best fit for my biking style. I guess I could have bought the bike direct, but am placing the order through my LBS, and will have to play the waiting game for the details of the order to come through. Will definitely get things in writing (think I'll ask salesman at CoMo to fax me a confirmation of the order and specs)... Any other details on that Norwester (spec-wise) would be appreciated...
I am so excited!
Thanks again for the help!


Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: FrankB on November 17, 2004, 11:26:06 pm
I bet you will be happy with the Nor-wester.  I got mine 8-15-04.  I went through my LBS. Co-motion only has 3 dealers in Texas and I guess that is good.
For fit I talked to LBS as well as Dwan Shepard of Co-motion. He was very helpful about size of load, extending chainstay length, and recommendation of equipment,etc.  I chose the Co-pilot and my bike weighs 24 pounds. It is heavy duty enough for anything I do; the touring option standard tire is Continental Top Touring 700x32 and I am most impressed with the durability looks of the hubs, spokes, and rims. In addition to local rides and weekend trips, I have only done a 6 day, 350 mile trip but am looking forward to more. Enjoy.  

Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: damselfli on April 06, 2005, 07:55:54 pm
Thanks to all who replied here.

I got my Norwester mid-February, and have logged over 400 miles on it. It's a fabulous ride, I am extremely pleased with it.

Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: DaveB on April 06, 2005, 10:03:09 pm
Glad you are pleased with the bike.  Did you have any problems or mis-communication with Co-Motion like we did?

Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: damselfli on April 06, 2005, 10:21:34 pm
My LBS ended up ordering just the frame and fork from CoMotion, and building it up for me. No problems with the order from CoMotion - it was just what I wanted - and more! Nice details, great paint job. Only thing I don't like (and need to tell them): the location for the shift cables to feed (these neat receivers welded to the sides of the head tube) position the shift cables so that they pull on the front brake when I try to turn the front wheel in a sharp turn (while walking -ie every time I go for a ride, I have to maneuver around the furniture in my living room!)...
The down side to the LBS build-out: while they told me they could build out with Ultegra for the road config and then switch the inner front chainring later for touring, after researching online I am beginning to suspect that they won't actually be able to do that w/ the new Shimano Ultegra 10spd setup... I may have to buy another entire chainring set to get good (low) gears for climbing strenuous hills w/ a full load. I am already committed to buying a second wheel set and rear cogs, but that too seems to be limited by Shimano. I am still trying to learn about it.

I placed another post about panniers... getting ready for a summer tour (I hope!)

Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: RussellSeaton on April 07, 2005, 12:49:41 am
10 speed Ultegra crankset uses 130 mm bolt circle diameter outer and middle chainrings so anything from 38 to 53 or bigger teeth rings will fit these two positions.  The inner chainring uses 74 mm bcd so will fit 24 to 30 teeth rings.  Shimano website shows the 130/74 spec.

Your biggest problem is with the rear cogset.  27 teeth is the largest Shimano 10 speed cog there is.  12-27 is the biggest Shimano 10 speed cassette.  Shimano does show a 16-27 junior gearing 10 speed cassette if that appeals to you.  IRD Interloc Racing Design makes a 12-28 10 speed Shimano compatible cassette so you can get a slightly lower rear cogset.

If you go to the smallest inner ring of 24 teeth, and use the biggest 27 tooth 10 speed rear cassette there is, you end up with the maximum low gear of 24 gear inches.  Maybe low enough for some.

Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: damselfli on April 07, 2005, 01:29:50 pm
I set my goal for gearing at 18-20 gear-inches for the low end (after reading Sheldon Brown and many other's comments on gearing). I made this clear to my LBS, but when he went to order the components he called saying he couldn't get the 9spd any more. I had originally looked at the Shimano XT 46-34-24 chainring with 11-34 cog (the spec on CoMotion's Norwester touring configuration).

I trust that Sheldon Brown and other experienced touring cyclists know what they are speaking of when they say one needs these low gears (for loaded touring).  I also trusted my LBS.

Looks like I might be stuck. I noticed Harris Cyclery sells special sets by S.B. for touring, and was hoping I could get one to work w/ my front chainrings.

Title: checklist for bike purchase
Post by: RussellSeaton on April 07, 2005, 05:57:04 pm
I'm a firm believer in sub 20 gear inch low gears.  I used a 24x32 low gear in the Alps and Dolomites in 1992 and wished for a lower gear more than a few times.

"Looks like I might be stuck. I noticed Harris Cyclery sells special sets by S.B. for touring, and was hoping I could get one to work w/ my front chainrings."

You are stuck with a low gear of 24x27 unless you change your entire crankset.  Sheldon Brown cannot sell you much to get lower gears.  Your Ultegra 10 speed crankset will take a 24 tooth inner chainring because your triple cranks uses the standard 74mm bcd.  But the problem is the rear cogs for Shimano 10 speed systems.  The largest 10 speed rear cog makes is a 27 tooth.  That is it, nothing bigger for 10 speed.  Interloc Racing Design makes a 28 tooth for Shimano 10 speed.  Using the Shimano 27 tooth rear cog, the lowest gear you can possibly get with Ultegra 10 speed is 24x27.  About 24 gear inches.

An expensive solution is to replace the crankset with one that takes a 20 tooth inner chainring.  58mm bcd.  The TA Zephyr from Peter White Cycles comes to mind as the very high end.  Plus a new bottom bracket.  You can get it with any chainrings you want and a 20 tooth inner chainring.  A 20x27 low gear is about 20 gear inches.  Your 10 speed Ultegra will shift 9 speed cranks just fine.  And the 10 speed chain will work on 9 speed chainrings just fine.

The Shimano STI and front derailleurs are sort of designed to shift well with large chainrings, 53-50, so a mountain bike crank of 44-32-22 may not work well with STI.  And the STI may not shift mountain bike front derailleurs designed for 44-32-22 very well I have heard.  Your bike shop would have to experiment to find a setup that worked well.  Some ingenious bike shop may be able to fit a 9 speed 30 or 32 rear cog onto a 10 speed cassette and get everything to work.  Maybe.