Author Topic: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast  (Read 4773 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline wallybeagle

gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« on: May 30, 2019, 10:06:50 am »
Hi All;

This may seem redundant, but I'm exploring and deliberating about what geometry/build to use for a coast to coast tour, self sustained.
I likely will carry 30-40 lbs on a rear rack as an estimate ( not sure about a front rack). I like the concept of a gravel/touring that affords multiple use after the tour.
I'm concerned about long enough chain-stay and heel strike as well as weight distribution.

Thoughts and suggestions?

Mitch

Offline paddleboy17

Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2019, 12:54:51 pm »
I have done one trip on a gravel bike and a bunch of trips on a traditional heavy touring bike.  A traditional gravel bike setup allows for about 30 pounds, with most of the weight in the front.  Sure you can put a rack on one, but I don't know how well it will handle with all that weight in the back.   My gravel bike kit was 31 pounds, and I cannot imagine traveling cross country that way.  I carried no stove or food, and little in the way of extra clothing.   

Are you concerned about chain stay length because of fit issues or to make room for rear panniers?

Which bikes are you thinking of?

Danno

Offline wallybeagle

Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2019, 02:10:42 pm »


Hi;

I do plan on carrying a stove, sleeping bag, tent, extra clothes- all ultralight. I'm looking at a Lynskey GR270 and they assure me that it can manage a fairly significant load. I finding titanium appealing. Adrenaline Bikes in Orange, CA reports that one of their employees used this bike to tour across as well.
But I hear your voice about not traveling across country that way.
As mentioned, I'm concerned about the rack panniers being set too far back which would throw the bike out of balance and heel strike (size 46- 13 shoes). I'm 210 lbs and 6'3" .
I may lean back to the CoMotion Deschutes, a steel loaded touring favorite made in Portland,OR.
Other considerations- Kona Sutra, Salsa Vaya, Habanero Ti bikes in Mesa ,AZ

What did you use for loaded touring?

Offline paddleboy17

Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2019, 02:20:14 pm »
My touring bike is a lugged version of a Waterford Adventure Cycle.  Basically it is a Co-Motion Americano.  Waterford was able to build either a TIG welded or lugged frame.  I run 35mm wide tires on it, just perfect for pavement and rail trails (not so good on loose gravel or cratered roads).

My grave bike is an Apex equipped Salsa Cutthroat.  It will ride over just about anything.

Danno

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 1676
  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2019, 04:56:28 pm »
Wally,

Are you talking about buying a new bike or which one?  If you already have both, go with the traditional bike for the C2C as you will probably not want to go "touring" after that day's ride.  However, if you want to do both, perhaps look at some of the bikes by Surly that might be able to tour and gravel. 

Personally, I only do fairly rideable gravel/dirt, i.e. actual non-paved roads not single track or double track unless really needed, so my touring bikes work fine.  Granted, I also have a "off-pavement" bike that makes non-paved easier but would not hesitate taking my "pavement" touring bike on off-pavement if needed.

Basically, it boils down to what you want to do.  If you have to get a new bike and trying to choose, perhaps consider buying a used traditional then sell it when you are done with the C2C and buy a gravel.

Tailwinds, John

Offline wallybeagle

Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2019, 07:59:55 pm »
Yes, John, I'm buying a new bike. The quandary is finding a bike that can manage a loaded C2C tour and be able to navigate some dirt roads post tour. Hence the gravel/tour concept, if it exists without committing to a light adventure touring capacity bike.
Point well taken; sell the traditional tour for a gravel bike, although I may tour again!
 

Offline John Nelson

Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2019, 10:12:51 pm »
You can tour on anything, but a touring bike is designed for exactly what you want to do. It has at least a dozen features that will make it work better for that purpose than some other bike. Some of those features you haven’t even thought of yet, but you will appreciate once you’re out on the road.

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 1676
  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2019, 10:16:51 pm »
Point well taken; sell the traditional tour for a gravel bike, although I may tour again!
That is why bikers tend to have 2 or more bikes.  Nasty habit this cycling is.

Offline staehpj1

Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2019, 07:31:58 am »
Not sure any of my experience is relevant, but...

I have found that I don't like to use my traditional touring bike any more.  I much prefer to ride my various other bikes.  I greatly enjoyed my TransAmerica and other tours i did on my touring bike, but the bike itself always felt like a tank.

I did the ST on a 1990-ish Cannondale crit bike, skinny tires and all, with 14# of ultralight backpacking gear.  It did take a bit of getting used to at first, but I greatly enjoyed the bike on the trip.  The only real concession was an improvised 39/26 ultra compact double crank (a triple with the big ring removed).

I rode an old rigid mountain bike on a mixed road/dirt tour again very lightly loaded.  Again the bike itself was fun.  I was surprised, but that was true even on the paved parts.  Maybe it had more to do with the fact that it was lightly loaded, but the touring bike never felt that fun to ride even unloaded.

I have a road bike with a triple that I think I'll use on my next road tour again with ultralight gear.  I may splurge on a bigger tarp and a few other items than my last trip, but still expect to hold the load to 15# base.

I have a hard time separating out how much of what I feel about the bikes is the load I carried and how much is the bikes themselves, but I think even if I were to carry more weight I'd still be more likely to avoid a traditional touring bike.  A gravel grinder just might be the exact bike to fill that niche.

So, not sure any of that is helpful.  Take it for what it is worth.

Oh, and if you are open to it at all, I highly recommend considering going as light as you can.  I was amazed at just how far in that direction I could comfortably go and how nice it was to ride with an unladen bike.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2019, 09:58:03 am »
Let me toss in one more vote for the "heavy" touring bike.  Note the quotation marks.

I tend to use one of my touring bikes for commuting, group rides, long weekend rides, etc., just because it's always set up and ready.  I get some guff, along the lines of "You'd ride so much faster on a light bike."  That's not my experience, though; when I do pull out the lighter bike, even though it's at least eight (8) pounds lighter, the bike disappears within a quarter mile of getting on it.  I suspect if I took off the next 40 pounds I might speed up more...

What I do notice is the load.  Light commute load, hardly there.  Heavy load (add lunch, shoes, coffee, electronics, etc.) and the bike starts to feel like a slug.  Similar to Pete's experience, I usually find the threshold between light and heavy loads around 10-15 pounds.  I usually do a couple apple runs every fall; the touring bike is a joy to ride out to the orchard, and I have to enjoy the apple cider and stop to munch an apple coming back.  The bike disappears, but the load endures as long as it's on the bike.

My recommendation, as usual, is buy what you like.  We're all susceptible to analysis paralysis, and subconscious influence.  You read the web pages marketing the latest and greatest, or the glossy magazines with marketing reviews of the latest fad, and it's obviously the wonderfulest thing on the planet. 

After all your reading, go find some bikes and test ride them.  If possible, load them up and ride them 3-5 miles.  I did something like that some years ago.  Called around, and the nearest place that had the model I wanted and one I wanted to try, was 200 miles away.  I went down and test rode everything I could find in one afternoon, and brought a totally different model home, and rode that model across the country two years later.  So try as many as you can yourself, and buy the one you want to ride.

Offline StuartN

Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2019, 12:03:06 pm »
For what it's worth I ride my disc trucker on the gravel roads in Rowan, Stokes, Davidson and Cabarrus Counties, all around where I stay in NC.

Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk


Offline wallybeagle

Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2019, 02:59:31 pm »
Let me toss in one more vote for the "heavy" touring bike.  Note the quotation marks.

I tend to use one of my touring bikes for commuting, group rides, long weekend rides, etc., just because it's always set up and ready.  I get some guff, along the lines of "You'd ride so much faster on a light bike."  That's not my experience, though; when I do pull out the lighter bike, even though it's at least eight (8) pounds lighter, the bike disappears within a quarter mile of getting on it.  I suspect if I took off the next 40 pounds I might speed up more...

What I do notice is the load.  Light commute load, hardly there.  Heavy load (add lunch, shoes, coffee, electronics, etc.) and the bike starts to feel like a slug.  Similar to Pete's experience, I usually find the threshold between light and heavy loads around 10-15 pounds.  I usually do a couple apple runs every fall; the touring bike is a joy to ride out to the orchard, and I have to enjoy the apple cider and stop to munch an apple coming back.  The bike disappears, but the load endures as long as it's on the bike.

My recommendation, as usual, is buy what you like.  We're all susceptible to analysis paralysis, and subconscious influence.  You read the web pages marketing the latest and greatest, or the glossy magazines with marketing reviews of the latest fad, and it's obviously the wonderfulest thing on the planet. 

After all your reading, go find some bikes and test ride them.  If possible, load them up and ride them 3-5 miles.  I did something like that some years ago.  Called around, and the nearest place that had the model I wanted and one I wanted to try, was 200 miles away.  I went down and test rode everything I could find in one afternoon, and brought a totally different model home, and rode that model across the country two years later.  So try as many as you can yourself, and buy the one you want to ride.

I definitely plan to go as light as possible short of taking a large risk. The feedback seems roughly 50-50 re a gravel bike and 'loaded touring', I'll do what I can to tests ride given some are a distance or online. Folks report that they use both concepts and they work.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2019, 03:05:41 pm »
I have 5 bikes.  Surely you can end up with 2 bikes.
Danno

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2019, 04:30:19 pm »
I have 5 bikes.  Surely you can end up with 2 bikes.

Lagging behind.  Must buy bike.

:)

Offline markusl

Re: gravel bike or traditional touring for coast to coast
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2019, 11:15:46 pm »
Depends on the bike. I had a Gunnar Crosshairs (which was stolen, still breaks my heart) that was definitely not a long haul touring bike. I did some overnights, commuting and grocery shopping with that bike using only rear panniers and it handled just fine. But I would not want to do fully loaded, long distance touring on a bike like that.

Seems like you should pick the right tool for the job and get a traditional touring bike.  It’ll be more stable at a range of speeds when loaded. It won’t be as snappy and nimble as a gravel bike when you go off road, but that doesn’t seem to be your primary purpose.