Author Topic: light tour bike  (Read 2217 times)

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Offline fastrog

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2020, 09:46:43 pm »
thanks again


Offline fastrog

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2020, 10:17:45 pm »
throwing a wrench in the works: i had a beautiful trek 1100 aluminum road bike more than 30 years ago. many miles in many states. after moving to florida, switched mostly to MTB. sold the 1100 to a friend who sadly did not ride it.  he might sell it back. i also have a trek fx 7.3 alum about 12 years old. since i understand aluminum  has a shorter life expectancy, would it be crazy to retrofit either of them? i guess at this point i'm leaning toward  a used road bike if i can find one, or a new mid-range one.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2020, 09:31:57 am »
Aluminum frames are a complex issue.  The very first aluminum frames were not very stiff, and hence not very well received.  Since then, aluminum frames have been very stiff, and this brings up the problem of stress relief.  WW2 era steel liberty class cargo ships had a tendency to spontaneously crack in half as square cargo hatches did not distribute stress evenly.  There is a similar issue with 1950's Comet passenger jets--square windows caused tails to break off.  With aluminum bike frames, the issue is how the frames were joined.  Aluminum frames sometimes crack at the welds.  I am good friends with our field failure engineer and he thinks aluminum is a great material for bike frames.  I  get the impression that a lot of progress has been made in using and joining aluminum.
 
i had a hard time finding specs on your 1100, but i will take a stab at it anyways. 

I think if you frame was going to crack, it would have done so by now.  Trek might have glued yours together in stead of TIG welding it.  The frame will be stiff, so it will depend on the tires to be a little soft in order to provide a good ride quality.  You can play with tires to get a balance between ride effort and ride quality.  The only thing bad I can find about the 1100 is the down tube shifters (something about the bracket being delicate).  So you could upgrade to bar end shifters or brifters.

Did you like riding the 1100?  Why did you get rid of it?

By the way, I think the support you wife has been giving you is wonderful.  You are a lucky man.
Danno

Offline TCS

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2020, 02:32:31 pm »
I ride supported on the Transam...Still suffered the hills in the Ozarks and portions of the Rockies. Still seems harder than it should, so looking for help before resuming in Missoula in June.

I read this and thought, 'I'd so slap that fella on a Trek Domane SL with a bigger cassette (and perhaps a riser stem).'

Quote
I guess at this point I'm leaning toward a used road bike if I can find one, or a new mid-range one.

In 2020's market, I'm seeing carbon fiber framed, Ultrega drivetrain, tubeless-ready road bikes in the $1500~1600 range.  Would upgrading the old 1100 really be cost-effective?
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline fastrog

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2020, 05:37:15 pm »
you are right, danno, she is a saint. she has full internet and as a professor she can work with her post-grad students in brazil and chat with her may cousins there. as a physical geographer, she also sees lots of things she has read about and studied. back to bikes. yes, the 1100 has downtube shifters, which i would likely move.  but those who say it is not worth upgrading are probably right. for starters i will try to look at some lightly used road bikes like a madone. if i find nothing, think about a new mid-price to lower and roadie. thanks again everybody.

Offline TCS

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2020, 12:47:21 pm »
Yeah, for a long time mainstream 'road' bikes were designed around (and would only fit) very narrow tires, the wheelbases were relatively short and the frames were engineered to be as stiff as possible.  You can still buy plenty of bike models like that, but these days there are also relatively light, relatively aero road bikes designed to fit 38~45mm tubeless tires with meter plus wheelbases and frames engineered with vertical flex. 

We've really entered into some salad days for light/supported touring bikes.
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline fastrog

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2020, 04:25:23 pm »
ha ha. my 70-year-old brain is overhelmed with the choices. danno has suggested salsa, which i have heard good things about. i have been a trekkie for years because the small town i lived in had one bike shop and their better bikes were treks. broke the mold with the surly, which will stay with me in case i get into gravel and/or unsupported. new question: i just found a merlin in my size for $1,200. too good to be true?

Offline canalligators

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2020, 06:42:24 pm »
Aluminum frames are a complex issue.  ...

I think if you frame was going to crack, it would have done so by now. 

Not necessarily so.  As I understand it, aluminum fails after some number of stress cycles.  With continued use, it will get weaker.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2020, 10:50:40 pm »
When aluminum frames break, it is usually where tubes are joined (TIG welded).  So you are right about the frames lasting a finite number of duty cycles.

 I don't think the 1100 frame are TIG welded.  I think there is a really good chance it is a bonded (glued) frame.  Bonded aluminum frames are supposed to be pretty durable.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 10:53:50 pm by paddleboy17 »
Danno

Offline fastrog

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #24 on: February 29, 2020, 12:12:45 am »
i think you are right about the 1100. as i recall it was glued. anyway, it would need lots of updates after all this time. i'm leaning toward something like a merlin i saw advertised. my size for $1,100. thoughts?

Offline paddleboy17

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2020, 12:31:40 pm »
I have to confess that I do not know very much about Merlins.  $1100 sounds really good--sure it is not just for a frame?

As for your old Trek 1100, I think there is an element of what condition it is in.  We have already established that there is nothing wrong with a bonded, aluminum frame.  I think those came with Shimano R-X 100, which was not a bad group.  My Paramount came with 7 speed R-X 100, and other than the down tube shifters, it was OK to ride.  I am 62 and even if I wanted to deal with down tube shifters, I don't feel flexible enough to want to deal with them.  When 8 speed came along, frames were suddenly 4 mm wider at the rear drop outs.  That extra chain ring went at the high end. Since then, all that has transpired is to make the spacers between gears thinner, and to provide more resolution between the highest and lowest gear.  In my mind, the only real revolution has been in 1X drivetrains, with rear derailleurs that can span a 42 tooth ring instead of a 32 tooth ring.   So if you like riding the 1100, and it is in good shape, then you may not have to do too much to it.  I would upgrade the shifters.  I have had good luck with Microshift's shifters.  This is a Taiwanese company, and my experience has been limited to their 11 and 10 speed shifters, but they do make barcon, brifter, and thumbie style shifters, and they have all broad 7 speed shifter product line.  New 7 speed Microshift shifters are around $100.

For any used bike that you look at, you will need to decide how expensive it will be to replace parts that are either worn our or just not what you want.  I am pretty handy, and I have made some upgrades that might otherwise have made sense, especially if I had my LBS  do the work.  Truing wheels and building wheels I farm out, but I am up for almost anything else.  If you need the LBS to do all that, then you might as well just buy a new bike.

My Paramount is the same vintage as your Trek 1100, and around 2000, I replaced most of the 7 speed R-X 100 parts with 9 speed Ultegra parts, and a new 9 speed wheel set based on Durace hubs.  I think I spent $1000 in upgrades, and it only made sense because I really like riding the bike.  I was also single (again) in those days, and did not have to report my spending to a higher authority.  My steel frame has enough flex that I could wedge in new 130mm wide wheels in my 126mm rear drop outs.  Your Trek might not be so forgiving, but you could borrow a wheel set and see how it works out.  A few years back the lube in the Ultegra shifters dried out (brifters have that problem),  and I replaced the brifters with ones from Microshift.  The Microshift brifters were way better than the Ultegra shifters.  My local roads are not what they used to be, and I just don't have the roads to make the Paramount my only road bike.  She is still a delightful ride, when I can find good blacktop.

Since then I have taken a mid 90's steel mountain bike and turned it into a 2X10 gravel bike complete with drop handle bars. I think that was a $300 conversion, with new stem, drop bars, barcon shifters,  crank,  and brake levers.  I maybe spent an additional $100 on chain, cassette,  and bar tape, but that come out of my maintenance budget and not my upgrade budget.  I may have had stems, bars, and brake levers in my spare parts bin.  The shifters came with a cable kit.

I live in SE Michigan, and I make a half hearted attempt to ride through the winter.  I have been using a mountain bike for winter riding, but I wanted to use the homemade gravel bike instead.  I updated the bike once again with a new stem, Jonesbar, thumb shifters, and new mountain bike style brake levers.  I went for the cheaper single butted aluminum Jonebar handle bars, and I think I had a total outlay of about $250 for new parts.  I have spare stems, just not one long enough.  I like the new setup better for winter riding. 

You can make a lot of upgrades with just a multi tool and a cable cutter in your tool box.

Back to your bike issue.  Keep the Straggler, and add a roadbike.  A buddy and I went back and forth of specs (he thought I was crazy for promoting shorter wheel base bikes).  We both agreed on 700C rims with tires in the 25mm to 32mm range.  Said bike should fit you, and be comfortable to ride.  A more relaxed geometry is going to be more comfortable.  Ride quality trumps most of your frame choices.  I know you are attracted to a titanium frame.  With the right alloys, a steel frame will be a pound and a half lighter, just as comfortable, and a lot cheaper.  If you are bound and determined to get a lighter frame anyways, then I would look at aluminum or carbon fiber.  Newer aluminum frames have these elastomer inserts to improve ride quality.  Carbon frames are just plain awesome as long as you don't crash them, and you regularly grease all the threaded inserts.
Danno

Offline froze

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #26 on: April 12, 2020, 02:44:50 pm »
sorry of what i'm going to say has been already said I didn't want to take the time to read every single post.

I would keep the Surly, it's a quality bike, no sense in retiring it for something lighter.

So since you are not doing loaded touring you need to make changes to the bike that will make it more comfortable.

The first think I would do, and I think I glanced over someone who said this already, is to change the wheels to a lighter pair, and use lighter narrower (700x32c would be idea) tires with less rolling resistance.  The Surly LHT came with 700c wheels that would fit 56-62cm tires, those are much too wide for the kind of touring your doing, and fat tires weight a lot.  So get a set of rims built that will support a 32 to 40 size tires and go more on the narrower end of the spectrum.  Unless you need those wide rims and fat tires for some intense gravel riding you could save a bit of money and remove the hubs from the wheelset and put them on the new wheelset and save a bit of money, your bike shop can do that for you.
If you are doing riding on gravel than a 32mm tire maybe too narrower, though I can ride gravel with that size with no issues but some people don't feel as comfortable on narrower tire, so with that same new rim you can put a 40mm tire on and be more than fine.

Really the only other change you need to make is to change the rear gear cluster to 11-36 or better yet a 12-38 range.  Then check your front chain rings and get them to be 44/32/24, your current chain rings are 50/39/30, those are a bit on the taller side, and if you're struggling with weight going up mountain roads than you need to relieve that excretion by going with a better set of chainrings.  Of course changing the chainrings to what I said you will lose some top speed, but if flying down a mountain grade at 50 mph is not important than change those gears.

Another alternative if you want to keep some of your top speed is not to change the chainrings and instead use a 11-40 cassette, the Deore derailleur you have will handle that large of a rear gear even though Shimano says it only handles 32.  I would do this route first and see if it works for you, if you still need a lower gear ratio than go with the new chainrings, personally since you're not loaded I would not change the chainring gears, I would do the cassette only.  After the cassette is changed you will need to do minor rear derailleur adjustments.

So really all you need to do is some simple re-adjustments to the bike you have and can save yourself a ton of money over buying another bike! 

I suggest you go to your local bike shop and have tell them what you want done.  A custom built touring wheel, like what you have now but narrower, can be built for under $450 including hubs for the pair.  You can get a Sunrace 11-40 cassette for just $50.  So for $500 plus labor for the cassette and deraileur adjustments, also brake adjustments for the narrower rims, you got away a lot cheaper than finding a $2500 lighter touring bike.

« Last Edit: April 12, 2020, 02:49:48 pm by froze »

Offline fastrog

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2020, 02:59:21 am »
thanks to all for the advice. for now i will keep the straggler. i was impressed by the physics lesson (was it danno?) about wheel/tire weight. i had been running schwalbe marathon plus tires (700x35) for their bombproof reputation. and the reputation is deserved. no flats over two years from yorktown to missoula, plus thousands of training miles. but they were sluggish, compared to gatorskins and armadillo i ran  on my previous two bikes.  so a few weeks ago i switched out for schwalbe marathon supremes in a 32. world of difference. easier pedaling and better response. we'll see if flats become an issue.  may be some placebo effect there, but it seems a world of difference. another factor may be that i have lost 17 pounds since originating this thread  in february. (someone on here had nicely enough suggested that it was my fat ass that was the problem, not so much the weight of the surly.) i took the point, as well as a diagnosis of diabetes about the same time.) still planning/hoping to return to missioula about june 20 and finish the transam to florence.

Offline froze

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2020, 09:41:27 pm »
If you want a lighter touring bike, and you're not sure about aluminum, and quite frankly I don't blame you, then you only have 3 choices. One is to go th expensive route but an expensive bike like the Rivendell, which would be custom built for you, or Waterford, which makes the Rivendell, is another expensive choice for a lighter touring bike.  The other choice is to go with Titanium which would be lighter than the above steel bikes I mentioned but price wise maybe the same.  The last choice, and this one would be controversial to some of you, but to find a very good condition Schwinn Voyageur SP, those bikes were not only beautifully made but are probably the same or better than a Rivendell or a Waterford! The best years for those were 1983, 84, and 85 and the 86 Passage, those 4 years were Schwinns finest years for a making touring bikes, in fact dare I say Schwinn made the finest touring bikes in the world during those years.  Both the Voyageur SP and the Passage can be found for under $850 in excellent condition, and they weighed on average 25 pounds if memory serves me correctly, but that is really light for a touring bike when modern touring bikes under $2,000 will weigh over 32 pounds.

I have Schwinn Voyageur, but not an SP, it's a bit tall for me so I'm saving it for my grandson who will probably be taller than my 6' height and it's got low miles on it and would do quite well touring.  You can pick up the lower end Voyageur for less money than the SP, around $350, but the weight is about a pound more but it's a highly capable bike for light to medium touring.  The same years apply to for the best regular Voyageur as it does for the SP models.  Then there was the Schwinn Le Tour Luxe, 1985 was the only year to consider for this model, in 1985 Schwinn pulled all the stops on this bike and made a stunner and capable touring bike, I did a couple of short tours on mine before being hit by a car and it did very well, that was a bike I would have had no second thoughts about going across country on, the only thing I would have done to it was to change the gears to make them lower for climbing steep grades with loads. 

You don't have to worry about getting parts for those bikes, they are plentiful, the simple stuff like cables, gears, pedals, brake pads, wheels, hubs, spokes, etc can all be found in bike shops today; the more difficult stuff like derailleurs, brake levers and calipers can be found on Ebay rather easily if you stayed with original factory equipment.  Some of those models came with 27" wheels, you can either replace them with 700c but that may require new brake calipers, or you stay with 27" and go with Panaracer Tour Guard series of tires and those will work excellently for light to medium touring.

Another option for older touring bikes is the Trek 520, 620, 630, 640, 720 and 728 from 82 to 85, these were also well recognized in the touring world back then (as the model numbers go up so does the quality).

Offline John Nettles

Re: light tour bike
« Reply #29 on: July 19, 2020, 10:53:07 pm »
.... in fact dare I say Schwinn made the finest touring bikes in the world during those years.
I would say the Specialized Expedition would give it a serious challenge.  That was one heck of a touring bike.