Bicycle Travel > Gear Talk

Recommend a road, touring bag setup?

(1/4) > >>

I want to get into road bicycle touring, with the goal of experiencing the TransAm. Probably sometime during the seasons of spring through fall.

Can you please recommend a setup of bags to use or the style of setup that you would feel comfortable using in a semi relaxed touring fashion?

i.e. not a FKT attempt, grams and durability of gear counts, would be using road shoes, lugging lightweight sandals, probably going stove-less, tarp, bug net, quilt, night lights, bike supplies, zero pairs of duplicate clothing, maybe a pair of sil-nylon baggy shorts for zeros in town. Maybe the ability to lug a 6 pack or a bottle of wine out of town with. Maybe some luxury item that I can't think of.

The objective of the trip would be, to be as comfortable and be traveling as efficient as possible while pedaling the bike.
I've thru-hiked the AT with Ray Jardine gear. I'm familiar with sewing his kits.

I'm feeling weary of the whole no rear rack on a touring road bike and using a frame bag cause of knee banging.

The bike I've got now I'm assuming, is not suitable for touring. (It's in the video below) Alu frame, no eyelets, carbon handle, fork and seat-post, big gears, blade spokes.
"Juggling Torches on Bike Rollers"


Amusing video.  Cannot see the bike in the video.  Assume its a modern racing bike with factory built wheels.  Not the bike I would take loaded touring.  The gearing can be converted to allow loaded touring.  Costly though.  New triple crankset with 22 or 24 inner ring, new chain, new cassette with 32 or 34 cog, probably want a new long cage rear derailleur too.  (Triple crankset would also require a new/different shifter for the front derailleur.  Your current double shifter will not work with a triple.  Shimano has double mountain cranks that will work with your double shifter.  40/28 or 38/26 rings.  Can put a 22 ring on instead.)  You would easily spend 1/3 the cost of a new touring bike.  Wheels you have may also be problematic.  Not designed for loaded touring.  Could buy regular handmade wheels for $3-400 a pair.  Basically it would be easiest to get a new loaded touring bike and leave your racing bike alone.

You asked about bags.  Pretty much any panniers will work fine.  Whether you go with the ultra stylish and expensive Arkel or Ortleib brands.  Or the cheap but functional Nashbar brand.  All panniers hook onto the racks and haul gear.  They are not a wear item.  So if you treat them well, they should last a long time.  Abuse them and they won't.  Cheap to expensive, they all work the same.

You hinted at ultralight touring.  Adventure Cycling sells bags for this.  Probably a few articles at Crazy Guy on a Bike about this type of touring.  A rear rack only would work for this.  But you still need better gearing for your bike.  So a new bike would still be likely.

You mentioned racks.  There are expensive, medium, and cheap racks.  I've found they all work the same.

It sounds like you will be packing really light.  If so, consider using light weight dry bags or stuff sacks instead of panniers.  That has worked well for me on a couple trips.  I really enjoyed carrying a light load and touring on a road bike.  I do like lower than normal gearing though.

To be clear, when I said "lower than normal gearing", I meant lower than normal gearing for a road bike.

Also I'll clarify that I do own a touring bike, but much prefer to ride a road bike for light weight touring with bivy + tarp camping and cooking.  It isn't terribly hard to get your base gear weight to the 10-15 pound range, if packing as you describe.  For that I'd definitely not want a full on touring bike.


--- Quote from: RussSeaton on December 29, 2012, 03:17:23 pm ---  Basically it would be easiest to get a new loaded touring bike and leave your racing bike alone.
--- End quote ---
+100.  For about the cost of making your completely unsuitable bike into a near-miss tourer you could purchase a purpose built touring bike properly equipped right out of the showroom.  You not only get a truly suitable touring bike but, after the tour, you have an excellent town/errand/bad weather bike to use and save your racer for better days. 

Even if you are a strong rider and pack fairly light, you will want the low gears a touring bike provides and, of course, fitting racks is a no-brainer on them.

Ah, Jardine, Mr Ultralight. I had a copy of his book and enoyed a few seasons of scrambling to Idaho's high mountain lakes with tennis shoes and a tarp and an alcohol stove. Reduced my backpack base load from 35-50 pounds to 15 with Ray's book.

You will be replacing the bike although that's not absolutely necessary. You can hack a rear rack, seat bag, and handlebar bag onto any bike with some patience. If you're taking an experienced ultralighter's approach to your kit, that's all the carrying capacity you need. As long as you have a phone and are taking an established route you really don't need much in the way of heavy spare parts or specialized bike tools.

My standard advice to newbies around here is to spend several hours reading AC's how-to sections, consider buying a membership, visit all of the major bike touring websites, visit your local library and check out everything they have on the topic, get your new bike in time to put 1,000 miles on it before setting off, do a couple of overnights to tweak your gear and get comfortable with the different routine and consider paying for one or two supported bike tours this season, just to see if this is for you, before hitting the road on a self-supported trip.

Welcome to the forum, hope you enjoy the research.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version