Author Topic: Do I need a new bike?  (Read 5190 times)

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Offline math0845

Do I need a new bike?
« on: July 12, 2006, 09:22:17 pm »
I am contemplating riding the pacific coast from B.C. down to San Diego.  My basic question is whether or not my Cannondale R600 would be a good enough bike, or do I need to consider buying a new bike before I undertake such a ride?  I am brand new to the idea of a cross-country ride, but I do ride 2-3 times a week, usually 30 to 40 miles each time.  I would be unsupported and almost certainly solo.  Thanks for your help.  I really appreciate whatever comments anyone may have.


Offline DaveB

Do I need a new bike?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2006, 11:04:05 am »
If you are going to do fully loaded touring, you will have problems mounting adequate racks on your Cannondale. The "R" series means "road" so it is unlikely to have the dropout and/or fork eyelets needed to properly mount racks and the short chainstays will probably cause your heels to hit full size rear panniers.  

If you are going to do lightly loaded "credit card touring" satisfactory rack mounts can be made using P-clamps since the load will be light and the panniers small.

Another possibility is to ger a BOB or similar trailer as these can be towed by nearly any bike and you Cannondale will be fine for that use.

One more problem with your Cannondale is gearing.  If it has a double crank and is geared 53/39 you will probably not have sufficiently low gears.  If it has a triple you are most of the way there. You could fit a road triple with a 26T granny in place of the standard 30T and use a 12x27 cassette which should do the job.

So, the answer is; maybe.


Offline RussellSeaton

Do I need a new bike?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2006, 12:29:15 pm »
Everything has pretty much been covered by the other post.  Ability to haul what you want to haul, and low enough gearing for you are the considerations.  If you go ultra light credit card touring, then you don't need much extra stuff.  This sort of takes care of gearing concerns.  You can climb mountains with road bike racing gearing if you have minimal extra baggage.

If you have a double crank and 7 or 8 or 9 speed, you're easiest way to get fairly low gears is to get a new cassette ($20-30 on sale mail order) of 11-32, 11-34, 12-34, 12-32, 14-32, etc.  And a new mountain bike long cage rear derailleur, assuming Shimano.  The Deore is $30 at Nashbar frequently.  You need the mountain bike long cage to clear the 32 or 34 cog, a road long cage usually will not clear the 32 or 34 cog.  And a new chain, $10.  A 39x34 is 30".  Fairly low, especially with minimal baggage.  This is by far the easiest and cheapest way to get low gearing on a double crank bike.

Another option is to get a very cheap compact crankset with a 34 inner ring ($40 Nashbar right now).  But you would still need a new cassette with 32-34 big cog and long cage mountain rear derailleur and chain and botom bracket.  But you would have a 34x34 low gear, 27".  For an extra 3" lower gear its not worth the hassle and cost of a new crank and bottom bracket.

Here is Jobst Brandt's list of gear he takes on his annual Alps credit card tours of 3,000 kilometers.
http://www.trentobike.org/General/Packing_List.html



Offline math0845

Do I need a new bike?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2006, 03:48:15 pm »
Let me start by thanking Russell and Dave for taking the time to give me a little guidance.  As this trip would be more roughing it and less credit card, I would have to say that my bike would probably not be ideal unless I bought a B.O.B. (which I guess just means credit card used at a different time).  

One additional question would be whether it would be perhaps better to attempt this on my mountain bike, a Gary Fisher Tassajara.  While I don't ride it near as much as my Cannondale, I am comfortable on it and it seems from reading through the forum, that many people do tour on mountain bikes.  Once again, thanks for your help and any further comments would be both helpful and appreciated.


Offline RussellSeaton

Do I need a new bike?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2006, 06:26:49 pm »
Even with slicks and bar ends I would never ever ever ride a mountain bike on the road for more than 25 or so miles.  I hate the handlebars.  So unless YOU are comfortable and have ridden your mountain bike on the paved roads on 60 to 80 mile trips, it makes sense to either get a new touring bike ($1000 more or less minimum) or get a BOB trailer for use with your road bike ($300).  As already mentioned, putting racks on your road bike and using panniers probably is not an option due to no built in way to mount racks 100% securely on the front and back.  And the cost of putting a triple on the road bike.  But if you are comfortable riding your mountain bike for 60 to 80 miles at a time, then it is by far the cheapest method to go.  Just add a rack to the back, and get a rigid fork for the front ($50 Nashbar) and some low rider racks to bolt onto the rigid fork.  I like the idea of a rigid fork and bolt on low rider racks better than Old Man Mountain racks which can be used on suspension forks.  For paved road riding.  Off road is different.


Offline biker_james

Do I need a new bike?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2006, 09:04:30 am »
If you are comfortable on it, by all means take your MTB. I've often thought mine would be good for touring. I agree that you need bar-ends to have different hand positions, and some slick or semi-slick tires for reduced rolling resistance, and so you don't go nuts from the noise of knobbies on the pavement. I'm less convinced that you "need" to get a rigid fork-I've seen a ton of people touring with front suspension and no complaints. You might lose a little efficiency when standing and pedalling, but you don't spend a lot of time doing that on tour. Whichever bike you take, just make sure its in good shape before you leave, and enjoy your trip.


Offline RussellSeaton

Do I need a new bike?
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2006, 11:49:45 am »
"I'm less convinced that you "need" to get a rigid fork-I've seen a ton of people touring with front suspension and no complaints."

With a suspension fork you need the fairly expensive Old Man Mountain front rack.  Undoubtedly a nice rack.  But a cheap steel rigid fork is $50 or less, low rider racks are $30 or so.  You're $50 or more cheaper going with a rigid fork and normal bolt-on rack than existing suspension fork and OMM rack.  And you get the benefit of no suspension for paved road riding and a pound or more less fork weight.