Author Topic: Touring capable road bike  (Read 1708 times)

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Offline Patco

Re: Touring capable road bike
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2020, 05:47:43 pm »
My wife switched from a Trek Pilot 2.1 WSD (woman specific design), which had an aluminum frame with carbon stays, to a Waterford, which is a steel bike. She enjoys riding the Waterford far more than the Trek, particularly when loaded.  With the Trek she felt like she was being bounced around, particularly on rough pavement, but with the Waterford the ride is far more stable and her control is enhanced. Not all steel bikes are the same.

Offline canalligators

Re: Touring capable road bike
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2020, 05:33:49 pm »
A sporty bike with a load on it becomes a non-sporty bike.  Perhaps even dangerously so.

If by "sporty" you mean nimble and fast, I suggest that you don't want nimbleness on a loaded touring bike.  And you won't get fast.  You want stability, capability of carrying the desired load, rain protection, reliability and durability.  That all translates to a heavy-ish bike that to some degree will be a dull handling bike.

Each to his own, but as much as I enjoy riding a sporty bike, I do not want or expect my touring bike to be one.  You might ask yourself or your spouse why the bike has to have sporty handling to be an enjoyable ride.  I like riding all kinds of bikes, some of which are quite sluggish handling.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 05:36:12 pm by canalligators »

Offline RonK

Touring capable road bike
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2020, 09:58:41 pm »
My wife is now 70 and has had road bikes rather than touring bikes.  Her last one has to be, I'm guessing, over 25 years old.  It is a Cannondale SR400.  She's no longer doing triathlons and would like a sporty bike that's capable of being used for touring.  I did the Northern Tier last year, but I suspect future tours for the two of us will be shorter - 7 to 10 days timeframe.  She's done weekends in New England with me, but is willing to try something longer.
Firstly JW, my compliments to yourself and your wife to be still cycling and willing to consider touring at age 70.

I'm approaching 70 myself and can perfectly understand her wish for ride that is nimble and easy to handle. And the responses here are entirely predictable.

I'm a lifelong roadie, I appreciate bikes that ride and handle nicely. My first touring bike was a Surly LHT. It's probably the most over-rated bike I've ever owned, it was a slug to ride and I couldn't get rid of it quickly enough after only one tour.

Despite the entrenched ideas and disapprobation of the retro-grouches who typically frequent touring forums, I went my own way and built a titanium tourer with a carbon fork and integrated brakes/shifters. That carried me over many 1000's of kms, and despite dire predictions the sky didn't fall down - not even once (I still have this bike, but it now languishes unused).

Later I built a titanium bike with a Rohloff hub - but the Rohloff is probably even more over-rated than the LHT, and like the LHT it didn't last long before I got rid of it.

Currently to lighten the ride even further I've built up a Salsa Fargo (steel with carbon fork) and adopted a bikepacking setup. Now I'm looking around for a more versatile bike, one I can take on local bunch rides as well as bikepacking trips - just as your wife desires. BTW, if the the idea of bikepacking interests or appeals, take a look at this page. Bikepacking 101

The good news is - such bikes do exist, and in fact they are becoming more and more common at the same time as traditional touring bikes are disappearing.

They are called gravel bikes. They are built robustly enough to tackle unsealed roads without sacrificing ride and handling qualities, have suitably low gearing options and appropriate tyres for light touring.

A comprehensive list of such bikes can be found here: Riding Gravel: BikeFinder

As you can see there are many choices. I've spent a fair bit of time looking into these bikes, and have picked the Norco Search XR as a likely candidate for my next bike. You can get a Search XR in steel, alloy or carbon, but my choice is for carbon with a 2X crankset. Norco Search XR C3

Carbon is a mainstream material for bicycle construction, has been for decades now and the engineering requirements are well understood by the manufacturers.

I'm betting you are NOT going to set out on a self-supported world tour. You don't need a bullet-proof bike that will last another 20 years. Don't be afraid to make unconventional choices - disregard the naysayers here and get your wife the bike SHE wants.

A happy wife is a happy life.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 02:40:50 am by RonK »
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline jwrushman

Re: Touring capable road bike
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2020, 10:43:48 pm »
Gronk,

Thanks for the link to Riding Gravel: Bikefinder.  I started browsing it tonight and will have to spend more time tomorrow.   The Norco Search XR C3 is a beautiful bike!

Offline froze

Re: Touring capable road bike
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2020, 08:16:21 pm »
There are a lot of good touring bikes on the market, you just have to pour over the specs and find one that suits your needs, and consider any future needs that might happen.

When I did my research for my touring bike I limited the price of the bike to $2,000 or less, and after looking at all the bikes in that price range sold in the USA, the best one for me was the Masi Giramondo 700c, and it's been a great bike so far.  I wanted components that would last a long time and be easy to find replacements for, I did not want Hydro disk brakes, I wanted bar end shifters, I also wanted the lowest gear ratio I could find so my old knees could haul touring gear up steep mountain roads, and I wanted racks on it; the Masi came with all that I wanted; in fact the brakes are extremely good, they went as far as to put 180mm rotors on the front and 160 on the rear instead of the standard 160 all around that I saw on other touring bikes, that was cool they thought of that.

Is the Masi the best touring bike in the world? of course not, it only cost me $1,500, I'm sure I could have spent $5,000 and got darn close to the best one in the world, but I didn't want spend that kind of money.  So the Masi meant all my requirements and did so for less money then I had top budgeted for.  The only thing I really don't like on the Masi is the tires, my god, they put on tires that weigh 1,600 grams a PIECE!  So as soon as Schwalbe tires get back in stock I getting a pair of Almotions which will take off at least 1,000 grams per tire; it seems that most bikes come with crappy tires, seats and no pedals.

Offline David W Pratt

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Re: Touring capable road bike
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2020, 04:15:11 pm »
First, the most important criterion is what she likes.  That being said, I have a Bruce Gordon Rock and Road.  I have enjoyed it for recreational riding on paved and dirt roads and on supported and self contained tours.  It weighs about 30lb. but it carries me and 40lb. of gear without complaint.  It has a ~19" low.  Unfortunately, Mr. Gordon retired, and then died so they are no longer being made, but I have seen used ones.  That is not to say there are not other comparable bikes out there, but consider the used market.  Mine was built in 1992and is still in fine shape. I did 400+ miles on the Erie Canal Towpath last summer with zero mechanical problems.
Good luck

Offline froze

Re: Touring capable road bike
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2020, 04:20:42 pm »
First, the most important criterion is what she likes.  That being said, I have a Bruce Gordon Rock and Road.  I have enjoyed it for recreational riding on paved and dirt roads and on supported and self contained tours.  It weighs about 30lb. but it carries me and 40lb. of gear without complaint.  It has a ~19" low.  Unfortunately, Mr. Gordon retired, and then died so they are no longer being made, but I have seen used ones.  That is not to say there are not other comparable bikes out there, but consider the used market.  Mine was built in 1992and is still in fine shape. I did 400+ miles on the Erie Canal Towpath last summer with zero mechanical problems.
Good luck

Those Bruce Gordon bikes were really very good bikes, and extremely difficult to find used, of course they weren't massed produced either so just finding one due to that reason alone would be difficult.  Nice bike you have, among the best there was.

Offline gottobike

Re: Touring capable road bike
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2020, 07:03:25 pm »
Ditto on the previous suggestion regarding gravel bikes. They seem to fill the niche between road and touring very well.
For sporty handling, frame material might be less of a consideration than frame geometry. As frame geometry varies considerably within the same model, a smaller frame (ie, 52cm)  may not handle as well as a medium (56cm) or large (60).
If looking for a small frame, avoid the popular new fat 700c 29'er frames as too many compromises are made to fit the big wheels into small frames. This includes steep (74 degree) seat tubes and slack (71 degree) head tubes. For retaining the sporty feel of a road bike, frame geometries around 72-73 for seat tube, 71.5 to 72.5 for headtube with 70-75 mm bb drop and relatively short chainstays may deliver the road-bike feel.
Many of the options in this category will not accommodate front racks. It may be worth looking into bike packing bags as many are rackless or have floating racks (Arkel) that are not mounted to frame. A gravel bike packing kit with front bag, frame bag, and seat post bag typically comes in at about 30  litres, about half the volume of traditional front/rear panniers for a touring bike. This volume should support a 30 lb payload very well and by balancing the load with the heaviest load in the frame bag, should not have too much impact on handling.
The benefit of a bike packing kit is that there is no additional cost, weight and potential failure of racks, may be mounted on bikes with carbon forks and they work well on sportier frames as they do not require long chainstays for heels to clear rear panniers. Also, by removing the bags you have your sweet handling sport bike back, something you will never have with a full on touring bike.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 08:32:17 pm by gottobike »