Author Topic: Is my bike suitable for the Great Divide?  (Read 414 times)

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Offline bgit

Is my bike suitable for the Great Divide?
« on: July 09, 2018, 03:06:02 pm »
I'm new to this forum but excited about potentially tackling a portion of the Great Divide with a friend.  This website has been awesome but I do have some confusion regarding bike choice.  I currently have a 2005 Giant Iguana Mountain Bike.  It has 26" x 2.1" tires and is a 27 speed.

I haven't looked at Mountain Bikes since I bought the Iguana and learned after going to a bike shop today that they have changed quite a bit.  The salesperson at the store basically said that he would choose a touring mountain bike without front suspension in order to hold gear on the forks.  He also said the route would be miserable without at least 27.5 tires.  Specifically, he suggested either the Trek 1120 or Trek 920 because of their geometry and he said they are built to carry equipment used for long rides.  He did tell me that he has never completed any rides as long as the divide though.

Being a newbie when it comes to equipment for the Great Divide it sounds like what he is saying makes sense, however, I would prefer to use the bike I have unless I'd be making a poor decision.  Also, I would be open to modifying my bike as needed.

Looking forward to others opinions, great website, and thanks in advance!

Offline Iowagriz

Re: Is my bike suitable for the Great Divide?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 11:37:06 pm »
As long as your current bike is serviced and in good shape, you will have no problems.  Put new tires on it and have fun. It may be harder to pack what you need onto your bike, but you'll figure that out.  Enjoy!

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Is my bike suitable for the Great Divide?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2018, 09:09:12 am »
Does AC still have any Old Man Mountain front racks in their store?  That would be the easy way to mount front panniers.  Otherwise, I suspect you'd be dealing with various "bikepacking"/ultralight gear and carrying options.

I think the salesman OP ran into wants to sell him a new bike.  I can't think why OP would need a new bike...

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Is my bike suitable for the Great Divide?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2018, 11:52:39 am »
Unless your drive train is worn out, I don't see why you cannot use the bike that you have.  You should consider new tires, something smoother and narrower than what you have.  I like 1.5" wide tires.

Minouri also makes racks that mount to  rim brake posts.
Danno

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Is my bike suitable for the Great Divide?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2018, 12:42:42 pm »
I am going to take a wild guess and say the store is a Trek dealership.   :)

As for tires, here is what ACA has to say:

"As for a tire recommendation, we recommend a 2.25” width with a low-profile tread pattern and thick sidewalls."

Have you read through this?:

https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/adventure-cycling-route-network/great-divide-mountain-bike-route/

The Logistics tab contains particularly useful information/tips.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Is my bike suitable for the Great Divide?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2018, 02:07:15 pm »
I need to read with better comprehension...

I rode a Great Divide section in New Mexico (Pie Town to Silver City).  I recall a lot of washboard, for which a wider tire could be better.  Actually bigger tires, 27.5 and 29, would be better for washboard, but I made it through with just a 26" mountain bike.  I did use a trailer instead of panniers.  A few years later, two of my buddies did more of the Great Divide, again on 26", mountain bikes with BOB trailers.  They did just fine.

I remember the bike shop I was working with being concerned about thorns, and that might be where the thicker sidewall thing comes from.  If you can make tubeless work, this might be a great situation for tubeless tires.  Your bike being a 2005, who knows how difficult a tubeless conversion would be.

If you still feel compelled to get a new bike...I bought a Salsa Cutthroat and I just love it.  I have a touring bike so I am not ready to embrace frame bag based bike packing.  I still think about doing something with my BOB trailer and my 26" mountain bike.  There is nothing wrong with proven technology.
Danno

Offline bgit

Re: Is my bike suitable for the Great Divide?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2018, 07:52:21 am »
Thanks everyone!  So, just to clarify, I would be able to find attachments for my current bike.  Also, 29" or 27.5" tires are not required in order to have an enjoyable ride.

However, I was wondering if anyone could compare riding on variable with 29" or 27.5" as opposed to 26".  Also, I've ready some articles about how to properly switch from a 3x to 1x gear system and was wondering if doing so would be an advantage?   Finally, what are the advantages to riding with a trailer compared to panniers?

Offline Iowagriz

Re: Is my bike suitable for the Great Divide?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2018, 09:37:32 am »
I found the switch to 29ers to feel more supple on the gravel and MTB trails when compared to 26". But, we all rode 26" for many, many years and did just fine. I'd say you're #1 concern is "Does your current bike fit you perfectly? Can you ride it for 8+ hours a day?"

I ride 1x systems and live then. But honestly wouldn't convert for the Divide route. 3x will give you a higher top end and lower bottom end. Again, as long as the bike is in good mechanical condition it will be fine.  Add new tires and go enjoy.

Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk


Offline paddleboy17

Re: Is my bike suitable for the Great Divide?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2018, 10:00:53 am »
Thanks everyone!  So, just to clarify, I would be able to find attachments for my current bike.  Also, 29" or 27.5" tires are not required in order to have an enjoyable ride.

However, I was wondering if anyone could compare riding on variable with 29" or 27.5" as opposed to 26".  Also, I've ready some articles about how to properly switch from a 3x to 1x gear system and was wondering if doing so would be an advantage?   Finally, what are the advantages to riding with a trailer compared to panniers?
I can give you some answers, but a lot of this will be my opinions and I think you should get others thoughts as well.

Consider a wash boarded road.  Cars tend to be of a certain length and height, and so all wash board tends to be similar.  A 26" wheel will pretty much roll completely into a wash board rut before rolling out.  In other words, if you were to take the arc of a wash board rut and extend it to draw a circle, that circle would have a diameter of about 26 inches.  The larger wheel sizes do not roll completely into a washboard rut, instead there is a point where the wheel is supported by the rut peaks and part of the wheel is in air spanning the two rut peaks.  So the impact of the rut is not as severe.  If you are able to bring in a soft tire as you tend to see in tubeless mountain bike tires, the ride quality is even better.  Because they are smaller, 26" wheels accelerate more quickly.

As for 1X, 2X, and 3X drivetrains. 

A 3X drivetrain has redundant ratios that show up because you have both 3 front chain rings and in your case, 9 rear chain rings.  That is neither good nor bad.  The upside of 3X drivetrains is that you can chose from your redundant combination a combination that minimize how much the chain has to flex side to size. 

In a 2X drive train,  you will give up some redundant combinations, and you may give up some range (probably on the high end).  If you use one of the new derailleurs designed for 1X drive trains (they have longer cages and more powerful springs which can span bigger chain rings), you might not loose any range at all.  Riding is simpler because there are fewer redundant combinations to decide between, and you only have to visualize what you can do with two front chain rings.  2X chain life is probably shorter than 3X chain life since the chain will have more side to side flexing.

In a 1X drive train there are no redundant combinations.  1X is possible because they use a derailleur that spans 42 teeth instead of the 32 teeth found in traditional long cage derailleurs.  Compared to a 3X drive train, there will be less range, so you will have to decide what range you need to cover.  This is done by changing the front chain ring.  Shifting decisions are easy to make as there is only a rear derailleur.  I would expect chain life to be shortest of all for 3X drive trains.

My touring bike is a traditional 3X9 drivetrain.  I opted to use bar end shifters with a non indexed shifter on the front derailleur and I have to problem keeping the front derailleur in a happy position.  I took a mid-90's steel mountain bike frame and made a  gravel bike out of it by putting drop bars on it and converting the 3X8 drivetrain into a 2X10 drivetrain.  The low end of the range is enough for anything I will find where I ride, but there is no high end to the range.  I do not find chain life for a 2X drive train to be intolerable.  Finally, when I bought a Salsa Cutthroat and it came in a 1x11 configuration.  I would like more low end, so at some point in the near future I will put a smaller front chain ring on the bike which will give me more low end capability and less high end capability.  I have only been riding the bike for a couple of months so I cannot comment on chain life.

A loaded bike needs more low range gearing than non-loaded bike.  When I did part of the Great Divide in New Mexico with my buddies, we carried a lot of water because you could not resupply every day.  We also rode in March and had temperature spans of 20F to 85F.  So I cannot see doing this ultra lite.  I do not think I would want to do this with a 1X drivetrain.

As for trailers vs panniers.  I generally prefer panniers, except when off road (I prefer a trailer as the bike is too wide with panniers).  I started with a trailer because it was cheaper.  In New Mexico, none of us had road bikes geared low enough, so we all used mountain bikes.  We wanted to leave the front suspension forks alone, so trailers allowed us to use the mountain bikes pretty much as is.  I later migrated to panniers as the coupling between trailers and bikes has certain amount of back lash and I found that annoying.  A lot of what I remember about riding the Great Divide Trail in New Mexico was that there was gravel two track and hard pack two rack and some narrow roads that had wash board.  I think riding over wash board with panniers would be unpleasant.
Danno