Author Topic: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America  (Read 464 times)

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Offline Miner shack

MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« on: November 16, 2020, 02:37:45 pm »
Planning on doing Denver to Yorktown VA in 2021 as a hybrid TransAmerica and Non stop USA rails trails and dirt. I am vacillating on the need for a LHT if I just put some 43 mm tires on my MTB. I’ve done half the GDMBR with the MTB and didn’t seem bothered by the asphalt sections and wondering if there is anybody who sees a quantifiable and justifiable advantage to the Surly vs a hard tail mountain bike. Just curious. I pull a BOB and intend to continue that on this trip. Thanks

Offline John Nettles

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2020, 03:59:56 pm »
First, welcome to the ACA forums. 

I would think the Surly would be measurably quicker and more comfortable but have not first hand experience.  That said, since you have already done portions of paved road with no issues on the MTB, I would probably just use that.

Tailwinds, John



Offline jrswenberger

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2020, 09:23:27 pm »
I've done many miles touring off the pavement with my LHT and 26" x 50mm tires. If you're fully loaded for a cross-country trip, you likely aren't going to be trying much single track so the LHT wouldn't be very limiting. If you are mainly on some sort of pavement to somewhat maintained trails, it comes down to which bike you are more comfortable pedaling for many hours.

Either way, enjoy the ride!!!

Jay
« Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 07:56:49 pm by jrswenberger »
ACA Life Member 368

Offline staehpj1

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2020, 06:27:24 am »
A lot of this comes down to personal preference.  I have ridded the TA on a regular touring bike and 4 panniers, have since done quite a bit of touring on a light road bike with ultralight camping gear, and have also done a bit of mixed surface touring with a rigid mountain bike with UL gear.  Any of those setups would work okay for a coast to coast trip like the TA.  My comments on my experiences with those setups are as follows:
  • My first tour was the Trans America fairly heavily loaded with a standard touring bike.  It is still a very popular way to tour, but personally I probably will never go back to that style of touring.  I have found I much prefer the feel of a lighter load and don't mind dealing with less stuff and much lighter gear for camping and cooking.
  • On subsequent trips I went lighter and lighter until I was riding an older road race bike with 14# of UL backpacking gear and clothing.  I found I really liked this style of touring even on a long coast to coast style tour. I tend to go with pretty skinny tires, but others might go fatter on the same bike.
  • I did a little mixed surface or all off road touring on an older rigid MTB.  I packed it with very light backpacking gear.  I used 26"x2,1" tires with lots of small low knobs.  I think they were Kenda Slant Six tires.  They rolled surprisingly well on the paved sections.  The bike was fitted with drop bars since I really like drop bars and don't mind them even on fairly tight and technical single track.  I personally wouldn't pick this bike for a coast to coast trip, but don't see why someone else wouldn't.  It could be fitted with different tires if going pavement only and more narrow ones would be fine on the same rims, but some folks like to tour on wide tires any way.

Edited to correct typo on tire size.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2020, 10:22:50 am by staehpj1 »

Offline John Nettles

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2020, 10:07:08 am »
I used 20"x2,1" tires with lots of small low knobs.


Is this size accurate??  That seems like it would be a small (non-folding) bike for an adult.



Offline staehpj1

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2020, 10:21:07 am »
No that was a typo.  It should have read 26x2.1".  I'll edit the original post to correct that.

Offline John Nelson

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2020, 09:37:24 pm »
If it was me, I’d prefer the LHT. But you’re not me.

Offline hikerjer

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2020, 10:07:42 pm »
I've always felt that for extensive touring a decated touring bike is preferable. After all, that's what they are built for.

Offline staehpj1

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2020, 06:34:23 am »
I've always felt that for extensive touring a decated touring bike is preferable. After all, that's what they are built for.
Yes there is definitely a case to be made there and it is the most likely candidate for folks carrying a heavy load.  The biggest reason why that may not be the case is if the rider decides that they want to pack much lighter than the heavy loads that the touring bikes were designed to accommodate.  It is possible to tour with light enough gear that many may find a less truck like bike more fun to ride.  I know that I did when I went lighter.  IMO the lighter you pack the less sense the less sense the touring bike makes.  That said some folks may like them regardless of the load, even unloaded.

With heavier loads the case for something other than a touring bike is harder to make, but some may still reasonably choose something else like a mountain bike or a road bike and a trailer.

Personal preference allows for lots of choices.

Offline hikerjer

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2020, 08:38:20 pm »
Personal preference allows for lots of choices.

Very true.  RYOR.

Offline BikePacker

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2020, 08:37:48 am »
with the MTB and didn’t seem bothered by the asphalt sections and wondering if there is anybody who sees a quantifiable and justifiable advantage to the Surly vs a hard tail mountain bike. Just curious. I pull a BOB and intend to continue that on this trip.
I did asphalt via a MTB hardtail + single track trailer on the Northern Tier Anacortes to Marblemount, as well as, the Skyline Drive and an across a state group ride and all was great.  Have a full blown touring rig now; however, actually found the MTB to be an overall slightly more comfortable spin.
Wish you a wonderful tour Miner .... send us updates.

Offline Miner shack

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2020, 09:46:44 am »
What size tires did you use?

Offline BikePacker

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2020, 07:12:43 am »
What size tires did you use?
On both MTB and Tour Bike 1.9"x26".
Added point(s) of info on the MTB ... it has no front suspension (one of the early Schwinn Moabs) .... Also, on the MTB, replaced the handlebar with a little wider one + added Bar Ends, reversed positioned & located just inside the grips thus providing vast counter hand fatigue gripping options.  Work so well, for me, ... did the same with bar ends on my Tour Bike. 
« Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 07:32:07 am by BikePacker »

Offline Miner shack

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2020, 09:48:40 am »
Thanks. I use bar ends myself. Have used Jones H loop bar on some rides which worked well too. Have considered aero bars attachment with them for this ride just for additional positioning.

Offline staehpj1

Re: MTB vs long haul trucker Trans America
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2020, 10:23:55 am »
Thanks. I use bar ends myself. Have used Jones H loop bar on some rides which worked well too. Have considered aero bars attachment with them for this ride just for additional positioning.
The bar choice is obviously a very personal one, but I never found anything that was quite as comfortable as the on the hood position of my drop bars so I run drops even on the rigid MTB.  I still run regular MTB bars on the MTB with front suspension though, but have not toured on it and have no plans to at this time.