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Messages - damselfli

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General Discussion / Pannier comparisons?
« on: April 07, 2005, 07:43:05 pm »
I appreciate your input. The panniers have been a difficult decision for me because of comments I've read about wet gear (no fun) and weight. But I really like the way the Arkels are made - both for rugged construction and ease of use (removable pockets!). If Arkel offered their next size down w/ the waterproof liners, I'd probably be buying them. I am hoping that w/ experience I will be able to reduce the wt I carry (and if I don't cook, that's easy).

Do you try to stuff your tent and your sleeping bag into your panniers, or carry them on top?
Do you wait for dew to dry out on the tent, or carry it wet? Maybe I should go take AC's training course, so I can see how others do these things.

General Discussion / Pannier comparisons?
« on: April 07, 2005, 01:51:13 pm »
Actually I found Ortliebs for $285. And I priced Arkels at $564 w/ rain covers. While you are concerned about my finances, you'd feel better knowing that I've been saving my pennies (riding a 1974 Fontan 10 spd) for 31 years. Please don't judge me on this; I see it as an investment, worthy of consideration.

In reading, I've found that quite a few tourists cite weight as a real issue. Some suggested 24 pounds as ideal - I can't figure out how they can do that. But I am trying to stay below 40# (not counting water and fuel). That's over 30% of my body weight.

I agree the Cordura is rugged; it could last a lifetime.

General Discussion / Pannier comparisons?
« on: April 06, 2005, 07:47:09 pm »
Shopping for panniers, I have narrowed down to the Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus/Front Roller Plus (single hole top load drybag) with the Arkel GT54/GT34 (waterproof main compartment, side loading, all the bells and whistles). These new Arkels have a waterproof lining built-in to the main compartment; it uses the same waterproof zipper that Ortlieb uses on the bike tourer products.
I have no experience w/ any panniers.
Does anyone have experience w/ the Arkels?
Is it true that unless you use a totally waterproof bag, your stuff will all get wet?
Weight is an issue - I like to travel light - but on self-supported cross-country touring, need space for camping and minimal cooking gear.
The other concern I have is in fetching the panniers in exchanges at airports, trains, etc. Arkels are quite a bit heavier.

All suggestions appreciated.

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« 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.

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« 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!)

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« 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.

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« 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!

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« 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?

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« 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.

General Discussion / checklist for bike purchase
« 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!

General Discussion / Why are you here?
« on: April 06, 2005, 08:00:36 pm »
researching for gear information and logistics for self-supported touring.

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