Author Topic: Advice on bike options?  (Read 9797 times)

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Offline jeremy

Advice on bike options?
« on: July 14, 2006, 10:47:15 am »
I don't even have enough money to be on a budget, but I have a dream.  I'm in the beginning stages of planning a tour across America.  I'm wanting to do this as a charity ride for warm blankets international (they help rescue human trafficking victims www.warmblankets.org).  So I need a proper bike.  The most cost effective option would be to buy a trailer and go with what I have, however I'd prefer to have at least a steel frame.  I've been watching ebay for some time, and it seems every bike set up for touring sells pretty high compared to their non touring counterparts.  So my question is Would it be cheaper to outfit, for instance an old lugged Raleigh Grand Prix with proper components for touring and buy a trailer, or just buy a new trek 520?  Along with that is the question, do they still make components that would fit on an old raleigh frame.  I think the frame  was made in the seventies.  Any thoughts would be appreciated.
jeremy

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -- Helen Keller


Offline RussellSeaton

Advice on bike options?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2006, 12:14:44 pm »
"The most cost effective option would be to buy a trailer and go with what I have,"

Yes.  As long as it has low enough gears to go up whatever hills you don't want to walk/push up and a way to carry the gear you NEED.



" however I'd prefer to have at least a steel frame."

Why?  Frame material is not important.


"  I've been watching ebay for some time, and it seems every bike set up for touring sells pretty high compared to their non touring counterparts."

Touring bikes are a niche market.  The people who want an official touring bike want an official touring bike and will pay for an official touring bike.


"  So my question is Would it be cheaper to outfit, for instance an old lugged Raleigh Grand Prix with proper components for touring and buy a trailer, or just buy a new trek 520?  Along with that is the question, do they still make components that would fit on an old raleigh frame."

Depends on how much outfitting you want to do.  Presumably you have a 5 speed freewheel in back and a double crankset.  New 5 or 6 speed freewheels to fit your current hub and frame spacing of 120mm are available everywhere.  Nashbar has a 6 speed for $10 on sale now.  You can go to your local bike shop and they will dig up a 5 speed freewheel from the basement.  Get one with as big a rear cog as possible.  You will need a new long cage rear derailleur to clear the big cog most likely, and take up the chain wrap.  $10 to $25 at Nashbar.  You're using friction shifters so any rear derailleur will work.  Local bike shop may have an old one laying about for $5.  Triple crankset and bottom bracket.  Nashbar has mountain bike cranks for $35 or less on sale.  42-32-22 rings.  Nice and low gearing.  Square taper bottom bracket to fit, $10.  Triple front derailleur to clamp on your seattube.  $10 or so at Nashbar.  Any will work since you are using friction downtube levers to shift it.  New 5-6-7 speed chain, $4 Nashbar.  All of these gearing changes total less than $100, before 10% or 20% discounts at Nashbar.  Your Raleigh uses standard British threading for the bottom bracket and rear derailleur hanger.  No problem finding parts.  Freewheel has to be the right width, more or less, to fit between the rear dropouts.  No problem finding parts.

Racks to carry your gear are cheap too.  $40 for a Blackburn Expedition in back and $40 or so for Blackburn low rider in front.  For the rear, you may not have official eyelets to bolt the rack on.  You can use P-clips to put the rear rack on and do not put much weight on it and it should work.  For the front you can bolt the low rider arond the fork leg with the included U bracket and use a P-clip at the dropout.  Should work fine.  Less than $100.

I would also suggest you acquire a fair amount of bicycle mechanical skill before doing your tour.  Make sure you can overhaul everything on your bike and it is working good when you start.  Know how to true wheels since they might fail if your bike has been abused in the past and was not of the highest quality when new.  Maybe rebuild your wheels before the trip.


Offline jeremy

Advice on bike options?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2006, 09:20:09 pm »
Wow, That's a quite thorough response.  I appreciate your time.  The bike I ride now is a GT zr4000.  It's an aluminum fairly inexpensive bike I got on clearance 3 years ago.  I have about 7000 miles on it, and just had to replace a bottom bracket.  It has a really stiff frame, and a stretched out riding position that I wouldn't want to be in for days on end.  I read that the steel frames dampen the vibes, and the Raleigh's geometry is a bit more relaxed. That's why I was thinking it would be more comfortable. It would need all the things you mentioned including wheel rebuild, plus a headset.
 I have some mechanical skills concerning the bikes that I have, just limited knowledge of interchangeability concerning the last three decades of components and frames.  So thank you for your suggestions.  

I've read too many warnings about bike handling with panniers loaded if the geometry isn't right.  That's why I was thinking of a trailer.  Would you concur with that line of reasoning?    


Offline DaveB

Advice on bike options?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2006, 11:49:53 am »
Depending on exactly when in the '70's your Raleigh was made, it is likely to have Raleigh's proprietary threading for the bottom bracket and headset.  The bottom bracket will have "English" dimensions for everything except thread pitch (26 tpi instead of 24 for English threading).  That is a deal breaker for fitting any new cartridge bottom bracket, particularly if you want to use a Shimano Octalink or an ISIS crank.  

Sheldon Brown has a good article about these older Raleighs and what to do with them:  Look here:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/raleigh26.html

I expect by the time you get the Raleigh set up suitably for your needs, the cost will exceed buyin a suitable bike outright.  One possibility is too look for a good used Trek 520 or Cannondale T-series bike.


Offline driftlessregion

Advice on bike options?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2006, 12:01:29 am »
The Gran Prix never had a great frame (anyone want my old one?). The Trek frame is made with Reynolds 531, one of the best tubing ever made for touring. Not much of a question in my mind. Happy touring to you!


Offline RussellSeaton

Advice on bike options?
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2006, 03:42:22 pm »
"The bike I ride now is a GT zr4000.  It's an aluminum fairly inexpensive bike I got on clearance 3 years ago.  I have about 7000 miles on it, and just had to replace a bottom bracket.  It has a really stiff frame, and a stretched out riding position that I wouldn't want to be in for days on end."

Sounds like a normal mountain bike.  It will work fine.  Bottom brackets should last more than 7000 miles.  But they are cheap and easy to replace.  $20 before sale prices at Nashbar.  Even if you have to replace the bottom bracket every year, $20 is not too much.  Stretched out riding position can be fixed by a shorter and higher stem.  Nashbar has an adjustable stem in 95, 110, 125mm lengths.  $25 or less on sale.  I have one on my touring bike.  It adjusts from -40 degrees to +40 degrees.  Should work fine for you.  Bar ends for an extra hand position.  $10 or so.  Slicks and smaller tubes to cut down on rolling resistance.  $30 total at most.



"I read that the steel frames dampen the vibes, and the Raleigh's geometry is a bit more relaxed. That's why I was thinking it would be more comfortable. It would need all the things you mentioned including wheel rebuild, plus a headset."

I think you would be better off with your newer, currently being ridden mountain bike.  It already has OK componenets and low gears and can have its fit adjusted very cheaply.

 

"I've read too many warnings about bike handling with panniers loaded if the geometry isn't right.  That's why I was thinking of a trailer.  Would you concur with that line of reasoning?"

The handling problems with panniers are due to having a less than stiff frame and the extra weight of the panniers causing the bike to wiggle around a bit.  Pretty much confined to pre 1980s bikes when larger size and thicker steel tubing became more common.  With your aluminum mountain bike frame, there would be no handling problems with panniers.


Offline jeremy

Advice on bike options?
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2006, 07:51:27 pm »
I guess I should have specified the GT ZR4ooo is a road bike.  
I was under the impression that the instability of loaded panniers was an issue related more to the head tube angle and wheelbase.  


Offline RussellSeaton

Advice on bike options?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2006, 10:41:48 am »
Your best bet is probably to use your currently ridden GT road bike.  Make sure it has low enough gears by either getting a big cogset in back and/or a triple crankset in front.  And whatever else needs changing.  This can be done fairly cheaply if you do the work yourself and watch for sales on parts.  Less than $100.

Save up and buy one of those BOB trailers or another type of trailer to haul your gear.  Probably easier and more of a sure thing than trying to mount racks on a bike that does not have the eyelets on the frame and fork.  More expensive, but you are paying for the ease and sure thing aspect.

The handling problems with baggage is due to the lack of stiffness of the frame.  Unless you are using a pure bred racing bike with very, very quick geometry and minimal trail fork, and super short chainstays and extra steep seattube, the frame geometry is not going to affect the handling too much with baggage.  Do some bikes handle a bit better than others, sure.  But all bikes with baggage hanging on them handle poorly.  Its a truck, not a sports car.  After a few miles you will be accustomed to how it handles and won't pay much attention after that.


Offline VirgilH.

Advice on bike options?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2006, 06:43:15 am »
Hello:
I was reading that you were offering a bike with steel frame what size is it and what brand, I am 5"8 1/4 will it fit me.
Thank you,

Virgil H. Aviles

Kind Regards,

Virgil H. Aviles
Kind Regards,

Virgil H. Aviles

Offline BicycleCharley

Advice on bike options?
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2006, 08:43:33 am »
Say Friend;
I have done two tours from Texas to the west coast. Each I did with a Burley trailer, and a mountain bike. The first ride was 3800 miles on a Swhinn steel frame 18 spd. In Oregon, at the end of that ride a tore down my bike to grease er up and found three major cracks in the rear end, one more crack and my rear tire assembly would have been gone(period)!
  The secound trip, I got me a specialized HotRock 21 speed mountain bike, aluminum frame. Did 2700 miles on that, tore it down and no cracks!
  As far as comfort, I had me high rise handlebars and a spring loaded seat post, no problems. I'm 51 yrs old, and gotta be comfortable, but I would go with Aluminum every time.
  Hope that gives ya some ideas fer thought.

Strangers are Friends
I haven't met yet,
Friends are Strangers
I haven't left yet!
Strangers are Friends
I haven't met yet,
Friends are Strangers
I haven't left yet!

Offline jeremy

Advice on bike options?
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2006, 10:41:23 pm »
Thanks everyone for your input.  I am now the proud owner of a trek 520.  I'm still rounding up the rest of the gear.  I think I'm even going to try a Brooks saddle from Wallbike.com .  
Jeremy


Offline pmspirito

Advice on bike options?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2006, 07:56:09 pm »
I have been looking at the Burley Nomad Trailer.  I like haveing a 2 wheeled trailer because it will stand up on its own and if I am "wobbling" it is not transmitted and amplified by the one wheel trailer.   Enjoy your trip.   :)

best wishes from the back of the pack,  Peter & Judy Spirito
best wishes from the back of the pack,  Peter & Judy Spirito