Author Topic: Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?  (Read 13291 times)

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Offline matthuffman

Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« on: April 10, 2006, 10:35:38 pm »
Hello all!  I'm planning a TransAm trip this summer or next, but also am an ardent mountain biker.  I want to buy a new bike, but I wanted your input on which bike (or even which type of bike) to look for.  It needs to be able to go cross-country and keep me comfortable, but also should be good for some pretty heavy singletrack.

Some have said hybrids would be good, others suggested a light mountain bike with skinnier tires.  Any suggestions?


Offline JayH

Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2006, 04:52:02 pm »
I would buy a mountain bike and not a hybrid for many reasons. Use skinny tires on the road and whatever your favorite tire for the off-road parts.

I use a mountain bike ('95 Marin team) hardtail to bike commuter, and also long distance (road) touring and find it works for me (plus, I'm to cheap to buy a real touring bike).  

However, I find the longer wheelbase MTBs to be better because they will be more stable on the road versus the short wheelbase ones that are more for "east coast singletrack" so-to-speak.   Best thing would be able to try them out loaded and see what works best but that is usually not an option. I use Old Man Mountain racks front and rear on my Marin. I use a QR rack for the front which has an old Marzocchi Bomber Z1 fork on it and the back, I use a OMM red rocks which mounts to my V-brake arches on the seatstays.  

Jay


cyclesafe

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Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2006, 07:03:32 pm »
Stay away from hybrids.  They do nothing well.  Instead buy a 29'er hardtail.  Better on the road and some argue better on the trails.

Racks are an issue, but doable.  But, I'd go with a BOB rather than racks and panniers due to cost, weight, handling, and organization.


Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2006, 04:02:03 pm »
I would agree for something like a trans-Am trip to go with the BoB or Burley trailer for a MTB. For off-pavement touring, I still only use rear panniers. The BoB is okay, but I don't like the "runaway semi" feeling I get on steep downhills, particularly on singletrack.

The longer the wheelbase of your bike, be it road or MTB, the smoother the ride you'll have. (One of the reasons a Suburban rides smoother than a Jeep) You will also want a more upright stem and bars, with good barends (like a police bike) so you are not in an MTB racing position all day, every day.

Ride safe,
Hans

Hans Erdman, WEMT
Backcountry Trail Patrol-MN
www.trailpatrol.org
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Offline matthuffman

Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2006, 04:21:40 pm »
Thanks for all the help guys.  I think I'll need a little time to catch up on the jargon, but after I recover from this flu, I'll have more time to post.  But thanks again for all the help.


Offline Dan

Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2006, 12:38:49 am »
I'm also too cheap to buy a dedicated touring bike and have used my 2000 trek 8000 for a northern tier and great divide tour.  The northen tier I used the stock wheels (rolf satellite paired spokes) with a 1.0 slick in front and a 1.5 slick in back with two rear panniers.  For the divide I got a beefier set of wheels with 32 spokes and used 2.0 tires with 2 panniers in front and 2 panniers in the rear.  I'd recommend rack/panniers over trailer due to bike handling, organization, ease of travel (car/plane/taxi/train/etc) Cost seems about equal with a good quality rack/pannier vs. trailer.  Then after a tour I put on the lightweight tires/wheels and take off the racks and I'm good for the local singletrack.  When getting a newer mt. bike make sure it has brake bosses on the fork and rear seat stays(for OMM rack attachment. Many newer mt. bikes don't have the brake bosses since they use disk brakes.  Good Luck!


Offline TomB

Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2006, 04:13:44 pm »
I am touring using a hybrid (Trek 750) for the last 10 years, including Great Divide tour 3 years ago. The only problem with hybrid is 700C tires do not come in thick sizes (700C x 38 is maximum one can get). It is OK on the pavement, but a notch too little on gravel, or single track. So if you go to Europe get a set of 700Cx 42, or 47 and you'll be OK.
My observation is, that "touring bicycle" is dissapearing, people using mountain bikes and hybrids.


cyclesafe

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Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2006, 04:52:11 pm »
29'er tires fit 700c rims.  These are available in the same width as other mountain bike tires.  

Steep downhills with a touring bike are made more hazardous by the more aero position, compared to a mountain bike.  If there is to be any single track, a mountain bike is beter, if mostly road, a touring bike.  A hybrid has the worst characteristics of both.  


Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2006, 07:47:51 pm »
TomB wrote on 04-15-2006 @ 12:13 PM "My observation is, that "touring bicycle" is dissapearing, people using mountain bikes and hybrids."

Actually, compared to 9 years ago, there were 11 more solo dedicated touring bike models listed in the current Buyers Guide issue of Adventure Cyclist than in the March 1997 issue. Not a "boom" by any means, but definitely not "disappearing" either.

That guy from Texas with the seven yellow shirts has re-energized the "road" sector of bicycling, and road bikes are now out-selling mountain bikes. The touring bikes are part of that "road" sector.

I have had several mountain bikes and bought my first road bike, a Marin Venezia, last year, which I love to ride. I am looking at a touring-specific bike either later this summer or next spring. Yes, I am a Lance fan, but he is not at all why I bought the Marin. This organization (ACA) has more to do with it than anything.

Check out the March issue of AC for a good listing of the available options for road (and a couple of off-road) touring bikes. If you are buying a new MTB, look for one with a 43-45 chainstay and comfortable geometry for long rides.

Ride safe,
Hans

This message was edited by Trailpatrol on 4-18-06 @ 7:20 PM
2WX: The Two-Wheeled Explorer
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"St. Louis to the Western Sea if nothing prevents."--John Ordway, Corps of Discovery

Offline RussellSeaton

Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2006, 06:58:45 pm »
As mentioned by cyclesafe, the "29" inch mountain bike tires are actually 700C tires.  So if your road/touring/hybrid bike has clearance at the fork crown and chainstays, you can put these "29" inch mountain bike tires on.  Almost certainly your road bike does not have clearance for these 2" wide "29" inch mountian bike tires, but they will go on the same rims.  Bruce Gordon sells a 700Cx43mm tire that has a fairly mountain bike looking tread.  Most likely these would fit your road style bike.


Offline TheDaltonBoys

Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2006, 10:36:11 am »
....and if  using a "29er" AND a BoB, make sure to get the longer fork required.  Enjoy the Voyage.....Mark of the Dalton Boys


Offline matthuffman

Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2006, 10:28:24 pm »
I don't want to turn this in to a pissing contest between lovers of different companies, but if I do go for the mountain bike (like many of you have been suggesting) and just add skinny tires, do any of you have suggestions on which brands to check out?  Anything besides the obvious (Cannondale, Trek, Specialized and Raleigh)?

Thanks again for your help.


Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2006, 11:36:08 am »
Bruce Gordon "Rock and Road", Surley LHT, or the REI/Novara Safari are certainly worth the look.

Ride safe,
Hans

www.trailpatrol.org

This message was edited by Trailpatrol on 5-19-06 @ 7:40 AM
2WX: The Two-Wheeled Explorer
www.twowheeledexplorer.org
"St. Louis to the Western Sea if nothing prevents."--John Ordway, Corps of Discovery

Offline matthuffman

Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2006, 03:50:29 pm »
Are those the brands for the things to carry my stuff or the actual bikes themselves?  I found the panniers online, but couldn't find any bikes.

Thanks.


Offline tgpelz

Right bike for mtn biking and one TransAm trip?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2006, 06:43:24 pm »
I use a mountain frame with front shock, front disk brake, seat post shock and 1.5 in tires for road work and 2.0 tires for "trail" work.  I don't do off road riding.

The 2.0 tires are the Schwalbe brand which are quite puncture resistant.  

I both tires, I use the self sealing slime tubes.

I have both front and rear panniers and occassionally, I also hook up a BOB tailer.   I use the trailer when I am carrying camera equipment.  I put the camera stuff in the trailer, as I have the panniers all organized the way I want them.

I like the MTB frame because I am sitting more upright.  I find that that position is more confortable for long trips than the position required for the more traditional road bike.

I also like the MTB frame because it seems to handle the large load I carry.  My bike, when loaded with 10 plus liters of water, tent, food, sleeping bag, clothing, chair, table (not a joke, I carry both) stove, water purfication, jackets, etc, is about 170 pounds.   Than add my large self, I wanted a frame that handles it.

All of  this easily fits into two duffle bags for airline travel.   The bike fits into a large bike box I got Nashbar.    

The MTB frame with shocks requires you to compress the shock to fit in.  Or, you must remove the rear deraillier, in addition to the seat, handlebars, etc.

For travel in the US, my wife and I put our bikes in the back of a private airplane (after removing the wheels, pedals and seats.

I guess that most any bike you are comfortable with will work for touring.  You will have to modify it to your taste and experience.  

My Trek is 13 years old.   The only thing original on it is the frame.

In summary, I would not go out a buy a "touring" bike.  I would find a bike I enjoyed riding and modify it so that it is comfortable to ride while touring.

Regarding panniers.   I would not buy inexpensive panniers.  After a couple of years you will realize why they were cheap and hate it that you wasted your money.

I used some Cannondale panniers for over 10 years.  Four years ago, I bought some Arkel panniers and love them.  

My wife likes her Jandd panniers.  My sister likes her Ortlib.

I hope that this rambling is understable and helps your decision making.

Tom