Author Topic: New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?  (Read 825 times)

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Offline goofylbj

New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?
« on: May 02, 2020, 11:46:21 am »
All,

First time writer thinking about getting into touring once COVID dies down and considering a partial TransAm (3-4 weeks) this summer. I was training for now-cancelled RAGBRAI and bought a Checkpoint AL3 thinking I'd use it for Iowa, then just as a commuter/fun bike. Reading the forums, it seems like it could also work as a touring bike, albeit the gears might not go low enough for some of the hills.

I'm 35 years old and in decent (And improving with training) shape, so I'm not too worried about the ride, but despite years and years of riding bikes, I'm brand new to road bikes and gear. And, I've only done some very light touring before, mainly with a stuffed backpack. This being a whole new ballgame, was curious what everyone thinks about what I absolutely need to take into account with this bike.

Already put on Bontrager GR1 TEAM ISSUE 700 X 40C tires to ride more on gravel than the standard issue.. beyond mounts, water bottle holders, etc, anything else I'm missing? I should add that its too late to exchange the Checkpoint and I'm inclined to use it if possible! Whole new world here. TIA!




Offline John Nelson

Re: New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2020, 01:24:53 pm »
Do you plan to camp? Do you plan to cook? Are you considering the plains (warmer) or the high country (colder)? I'm trying to get an idea of how much gear you will need.

The bike looks good. It seems to have mount points for a rear rack. Not sure about a front rack. The gearing is fairly low, not as low as most touring bikes, but it should be okay for a young, strong rider.

Offline goofylbj

Re: New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2020, 01:30:42 pm »
Thanks for the lightning fast reply, John!

So, I would like to camp and am now leaning towards the Eastern Express as I'm located near the C&O canal and always wanted to bike to Pittsburgh. Seems like a natural fit and the reviews seem alright? Though I understand it isn't ACA-approved.

So, given the time frame (Mid-June through July), I'd imagine I don't need much cold weather gear? Looking to go light if possible.

Thanks!
Josh

Offline toadmeister

Re: New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2020, 07:21:30 pm »
Is the checkpoint aluminum or carbon?

As I've gotten older I no longer like the stiffness of aluminum transmitting vibration into my body.   Wider low pressure tires help mitigate this.   YMMV.

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Offline goofylbj

Re: New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2020, 07:32:25 pm »
It is indeed aluminum with a carbon fork. Happy to have not forked out the many more $$$ for the carbon model :)

Offline toadmeister

Re: New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2020, 07:36:58 pm »
It is indeed aluminum with a carbon fork. Happy to have not forked out the many more $$$ for the carbon model :)
Carbon fork is a big help.   Aluminum is fine for lots of people.

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Offline John Nelson

Re: New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2020, 08:33:15 pm »
Because you have a carbon fork, the use of a front rack is discouraged. Not entirely impossible, but not necessarily a good idea.

So that suggests you go with rear panniers only. The chainstay length on your bike is shorter than on most touring bikes. That means that you may have trouble with heel strike. If you shift the weight to the rear to eliminate the heel strike, you may then unweight the front wheel and thus have trouble with steering and handling. So you will need to make every effort to keep your gear weight down and as far forward as you can without creating heel strike. All of this suggests that if you decide on panniers, you will need to try it out thoroughly in a variety of conditions, especially steep uphills and steep curvy downhills.

Or consider a trailer instead of panniers. Or see if you can find a safe solution for front panniers on a carbon fork without stressing the fork.

Offline goofylbj

Re: New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2020, 08:45:03 pm »
Thanks, John. Why would the carbon fork make a difference? Sorry still all very new to this.

Well-noted on the panniers... need to give some thought to that one...

Offline John Nelson

Re: New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2020, 11:23:42 pm »
Carbon forks usually don't have mount points for a rack, and it is not recommended to use any kind of clamp on carbon.

There are some front racks that don't require fork mounting points. I'm not sure how well they work. You might check them out. Look into the Tubus Smarti, although I'm not sure they still make it.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2020, 11:34:55 pm by John Nelson »

Offline goofylbj

Re: New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2020, 11:51:54 pm »
Ah, gotcha.

Searching and found some interesting bikepacking bags... seems like a minimalist alternative perhaps?

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2020, 09:03:12 am »
I was going to suggest something like bikepacking as well; though, if you're going sufficiently ultralight to fit everything into bikepacking bags, you might be able to pack it into smaller panniers (in Ortlieb speak, Sport Packer panniers instead of Bike Packer).  Pete Staehling has put together some pages on packing light:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1mr&doc_id=9738&v=Ee

You might also consider some combination of B&Bs and motels so you don't need the camping gear (depending on your circumstances).

On the bike: your 700cx40 tires will do great soaking up vibrations, as well as give you some traction and flotation on reasonable gravel and dirt paths.  Ride it a lot, starting now!, and seek out the nastiest, meanest hills near you to train for a long loaded ride.

Offline goofylbj

Re: New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2020, 09:10:35 am »
This is awesome!!!!!! Thanks -- loving this link.

I'm hoping to spend a few nights not camping, but kinda worried about COVID closures still at the moment. Though, I suppose campgrounds would have the same issue... finger's crossed!


Offline Jmack0571

Re: New to Touring: Have Newish Checkpoint AL3 - thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2020, 04:14:11 pm »
Did you figure out your gear set up?  I have a checkpoint as well and finally think I have my gear sorted out. Work in progress!!