Author Topic: bike vs. bike  (Read 6459 times)

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Offline captronk

bike vs. bike
« on: December 19, 2015, 02:51:51 pm »
I'm going to buy a touring bike. I test rode two, the Trek 520 disc and the Salsa Vaya 2015. What I experienced from the Trek I got from the Salsa. I was expecting the Trek to act more like a solid road bike and it felt nimble and agile to me. The Salsa felt as if it just wanted to go ina straight line and nowhere else. I remember from a Giant Perigee road bike I had that it felt as though it wanted to go in a straight line and no wherer else. For road loaded road touring is a bike that wants to go in a straight line better? or the nimbleness?
Please just tell me what a road bike is supposed to do, not the personal preference. I'm trying to figure out what is theoretically correct.

Thanks.

Offline staehpj1

Re: bike vs. bike
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2015, 04:51:47 pm »
I think it is personal preference. I like my bikes a bit more nimble than dedicated touring bikes tend to be.  Some people feel the opposite. 

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: bike vs. bike
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2015, 05:45:46 pm »
It's really hard to decide between touring bikes based on test rides.  Still, since most of us don't do loaded touring for most of our riding, I encourage test rides to figure out what's fun to ride unloaded.  If a bike is fun to ride, you'll be encouraged to ride it more, which leads you to think of long trips, which can lead to training, planning, and eventually riding those long tours.

It's so difficult to pick a touring bike because (most of the time) your test rides are not fully loaded.  The bike is going to feel different when you load it up.  Put a load on the bike and it won't feel as agile.  And you can tune your loading strategy to get you the feel you want, to some extent.  For instance, the Trek you mention should probably be loaded equally front and rear, because it can handle the load without compromising handling too much.  You might want to load the rear of the Salsa a bit more to shift the center of gravity to the rear.  That'll make the Salsa feel a bit more twitchy (which some people call responsive).

My style leans toward a heavier load and a touring bike to carry the load and me, while Pete is one of the main proponents of ultra-light loading and normal road bikes.  Your (OP's) description of the Trek sounds like you'd enjoy riding it more, so that sounds like the bike you'd want to buy and ride.

Offline staehpj1

Re: bike vs. bike
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2015, 07:26:30 pm »
My style leans toward a heavier load and a touring bike to carry the load and me, while Pete is one of the main proponents of ultra-light loading and normal road bikes.
That is true enough, but even when I was doing heavy touring I still didn't like the more truck like touring bikes.  So I don't think they are a slam dunk for everyone, even fairly heavily loaded tourists.  It is tough for someone new to touring to know what they will prefer until they have at least a few hundred touring miles under their belt.  For someone who doesn't know, I do think erring on the truck side is a safer bet, since some folks don't find the twitchier bikes as safe.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: bike vs. bike
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2015, 10:23:04 pm »
Amongst my nine current bikes, they all ride well.  Stable, able to ride in a straight line with minimal input or attention from me.  Yet they are not sluggish or boring either.  They all ride right.  Even the touring bike when its fully loaded or unloaded.  I had a bike that was very twitchy, dangerous because it could not be ridden in a straight line.  Riding no hands was impossible.  It was a horrible handling bike.  I'd suggest test riding numerous bikes, not just touring but racing bikes as well.  Figure out what good handling is and most important, what awful handling is.  Then you can ride the touring bikes again and figure out which is best.

Offline captronk

Re: bike vs. bike
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2015, 06:58:05 am »
Russ,

You gave me some input that reinforced what I was thinking. Both the bikes were not twitchy. Both are very stable and predictable- and all the adjectives used to describe how the bikes or any bike handles is helpful to the point that I'm thinking correctly in how bikes handle and how they are designed. So I pick the correct one for me, as soon as I can figure out what I want to use it for.

Thanks.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: bike vs. bike
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2015, 11:04:51 am »
Some road bikes are fine for fully-loaded long distance touring. The Raleigh Technium frame built in the 1980s went a very long way before the chain stay broke twice on the right where it connected to the dropout.

Offline PeteJack

Re: bike vs. bike
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2015, 12:49:26 am »
I've got a 520 with 51000 miles on it so I may be a bit biased. I use it for touring and all my daily riding and love it. The main complaint I had was the SD-7 V-brakes that came with it which were noisy and ineffective. No matter what I tried, all kinds of pads, toe-in etc they were still poor at braking and very noisy. I thought disk brakes would be the answer. About a year ago I replaced the front SD-7 with a Single Digit Ultimate. It was night and day, the Ultimate is silent and very effective. I can now brake on the steepest hills from the hoods without having to reach from the drops to get the extra leverage. I don't even toe-in the pads, the classic fix for squeal, they are silent all the time. I don't think I'll bother with disks if I ever get a new bike, they are a heavy complicated (to me) faff, my wife's bike has them and I don't like them. The Trek website says the current model has Shimano T400 brakes, I've no idea how good they are but I suspect they are cheaper than Ultimates which are $120 each on the web compared to SD-7s that are $25. Ya gets what ya pays for.

Offline DaveB

Re: bike vs. bike
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2015, 09:30:12 am »
I've got a 520 with 51000 miles on it so I may be a bit biased. I use it for touring and all my daily riding and love it. The main complaint I had was the SD-7 V-brakes that came with it which were noisy and ineffective. No matter what I tried, all kinds of pads, toe-in etc they were still poor at braking and very noisy.
I had SD-7's on a Surly Cross Check and the braking power (with Kool Stop Salmon pads) was plenty good but they were very squeal prone and nothing I did quieted them down reliably.  Substituting road brake pads and holders for the OEM ones helped a bit but not enough.  My solution was to sell the bike and replace it with a Pacer and caliper brakes.  These are always quiet.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: bike vs. bike
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2015, 10:28:00 am »
When it comes to brakes there is something to be said. It might be a mundane subject, and definitely materialist, and when it comes to cycling long distances carrying a load of gear, and traversing hills and mountains, brakes are very important items which can, in fact, mean the difference between injury and death, and staying upright among the living. All my bikes used the horseshoe-shaped caliper brakes, the kind they had on the old "English racers" in the 1960s-70s-80s. All my tours---about 40,000 miles through 19 countries, including the Rockies and the Alps, got along just fine with these kinds of brakes. On the southern tier it required two sets of pads for the back wheel and one for the front, because of wear, of course. On one crossing of the southern tier I got all the way across on only one set of pads, and those on the front. There were no brakes on the back. A one-brake tour is definitely not recommended, and if it is, it is recommended against. There was at least one very interesting experience resulting from the one-brake tour that had a salutary affect on me.

I am at the top of this long and steep hill, beginning to descend. It is raining. The  speed increases. I work the brakes to lower the momentum to be ready to stop at the 4-way intersection at the base of the hill, with fast-moving traffic going past. Braking power is 90 per cent gone. Water and small debris from the road coat the pads and rim. I squeeze the brake lever as hard as I can and just keep rolling along toward the lines of cars and trucks speeding along at 90 degrees from the road I am on. Because of caution and experience, my decision to start braking early in the descent brings me to a hault in the intersection, just short of traffic.

Offline PeteJack

Re: bike vs. bike
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2015, 10:54:04 am »
I had SD-7's on a Surly Cross Check and the braking power (with Kool Stop Salmon pads) was plenty good but they were very squeal prone and nothing I did quieted them down reliably.  Substituting road brake pads and holders for the OEM ones helped a bit but not enough.  My solution was to sell the bike and replace it with a Pacer and caliper brakes.  These are always quiet.
Looks like it's a design issue with the 520, some marriages are just not made in heaven. Possibly the SD-7 and 520 forks are just not made for each other so to speak. I also replaced the original levers (no idea what brand they were) with Tektro SR520s, it may have been a combination of the two replacements that fixed my problem. The back brake is still the original SD-7 and it's just fine, quiet and works well.

Back to the OP's question. I find the 520 a really comfortable ride and on fast downhills with four panniers very stable. To my mild surprise when I got my rig weighed at the ACA HQ on my last tour from Jasper to Portland I found I was hauling 45 lbs! No wonder I was slow on the hills.

On the Trek website the three main beefs are: uncomfortable saddle (The original was horrible I now have a B17 - ahhh joy), brakes could be better (see this reply) and heavy (It is a steel touring bike though MrsJ's Novara Safari is considerably lighter)

I had a similar experience to Westinghouse; whizzing down the hill into Idyllwild CA. The stop sign was obscured by foliage and I ended up braking way too late and shooting across the intersection. Luckily there was no traffic. With lousy brakes stopping becomes like planning for retirement you have to think so far ahead.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: bike vs. bike
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2015, 01:54:50 pm »
The saddle is important. See those cheap, off-the-rack saddles on some bikes. They may be of some good benefit to you, if you are a masochist. See how they are sort of high in the center, and the way they slope down around the outside edges? No-no--emphatically---NO! You can get comfortable saddles for $25.00 or so. Get advice from experienced riders. See CGOAB.com. Look at the photos. What about those saddles? Many, some, those are what you are looking for. Test ride it.

Offline reed523

Re: bike vs. bike
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2015, 08:44:41 pm »
This is a little off topic but I hope you think it's worth mentioning.  The Vaya can flex a bit around the bottom bracket on a bigger rider when fully loaded.