Author Topic: Cross bikes for touring  (Read 8957 times)

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Offline Sailariel

Cross bikes for touring
« on: October 13, 2006, 05:23:08 pm »
I see a lot of discussions on touring with mountain bikes pulling trailers, Touring bikes with mountain gearing,etc. Am quite new to biking in general and read a lot and research a lot. Seems to me that a cross bike with 700x36 tyres wuld go quite well if one were to tweak the gears a bit. Has anyone had any experience setting up such a machine?


Offline RussellSeaton

Cross bikes for touring
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2006, 01:06:44 pm »
"Seems to me that a cross bike with 700x36 tyres wuld go quite well"

Why?  Why buy and setup a cross bike as a touring bike?  Why not buy a touring bike and use it as a touring bike?

If a bike is a true cross bike, it will have a high bottom bracket with normal cross tires such as 30mm.  With even larger tires, it will have a really high bottom bracket.  Maybe not a huge concern, but most dedicated touring bikes have lower bottom brackets for stability even with large tires.

If you are talking about getting a so called cross bike that really is just a road bike of sorts with cantilever brake mounts, then there is problems with that too.  Cross bikes come with 130mm rear spacing.  Road bike spacing.  You can remove spacers from 135mm mountain bike rear hubs to get it to fit hopefully.  But some 135mm rear hubs you cannot remove spacers.  If you know you want the stronger, wider dished rear wheels available with 135mm spacing, why get a cross bike with 130mm spacing?

Are you thinking you can have just one bike to do it all and change tires and have the best of all worlds?  It does not work that way.  If a bike is setup for loaded touring, its not as fun to ride as a sporty/racy bike.  If 99% of your miles are fun recreational riding, then get a bike that fits that type of riding.  Worry about that other 1% when the time comes.  I'm not a fan of having one bike supposedly doing everything.  Jack of all trades, master of none.

Don't buy a bike for a tour that may never occur.  Get one for the riding you are doing now.  Enjoy your riding now.

Now, will a cross bike work as a touring bike?  Sure.  Almost any bike will work as a touring bike.  If you already own a cross bike, use it to tour.  Or ride around the town or to work, etc.  No need to buy new bikes unless you want a new bike.


Offline Sailariel

Cross bikes for touring
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2006, 11:00:50 pm »
I appreciate your insight. I was given a Miyata Cross in superb condition--about late 80`s vintage. It has mountain bike gearing (Triple),has Modolo drop bars,Diacompe brake levers,and Suntour V deraileurs. The bike also has Nashbar panniers (Rear) and an expandable pack on top of the luggage rack. The shifters are bar end. The bike is a bit big-60+cm when the right size for me is 56-57cm. I did adjust the seat and the handlebars and find the bike to be quite enjoyable and comfortable. It has 700x36 tyres with a somewhat agressive tread--they buzz a bit on pavement. Right now I use it to run errands around town, picking up groceries,etc. She is not particularly fast, but I didn`t expect her to perform like my sport bike. I am impressed by her hill climbing ability. I think for the time being I`ll tour Maine with this bike, and if I grt hooked on touring I`ll buy a bike specifically designed for that purpose. Being a newcomer to the sport (Two years), I really appreciate the good advice I have gotten in this forum.  Alex


Offline ptaylor

Cross bikes for touring
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2006, 11:17:48 pm »
Be sure to read http://www.adventurecycling.org/features/bikefortheroad.cfm for good advice.

I would prefer not to tour on a mountain bike because I like dropped handlebars to cheat a nasty headwind. The 700x38 tires are an excelent size. A low gear of 21 or 22 inches is important if you will be doing loaded touring in the hills or mountains.

This summer I toured with a guy who set up a bike kind of like you mention. He took a stock mountain bike, put on 700/38 wheels & tires, a front rack with panniers, and a Bob. After about 1,000 miles, he tried to have a bike shop put on dropped handlebars: no luck. I'm not sure if it was impossible because the bike just had the wrong headtube size, or the bike shop didn't have all the parts he needed in stock.

Paul
Paul

Offline RussellSeaton

Cross bikes for touring
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2006, 11:52:03 am »
It sounds like you have a fine enough bike for touring.  If the fit is comfortable enough, then tour with it.  I toured many thousands of miles loaded with a too small bike.  Didn't seem to harm me.  A decent fitting bike is nice to have, but its by no means necessary.  Years ago bikes came in 19", 21", 23" and 25" sizes, or even fewer.  Lots of people toured on these seemingly ill fitting bikes.

You have a mountain bike crank on the bike now so you should have more than low enough gears for any mountains.  And get a rear cassette/freewheel with as big a cog as possible.  They make 7, 8, and 9 speeds with 32 or 34 big cogs.  Get one.  You have drop handlebars.  In my opinion absolutely essential for touring.  You have a rear rack and panniers.  I have many thousands of miles of loaded touring with Nashbar panniers.  They are fine panniers.  If you are doing heavy loaded touring, you might want to pick up a front low rider rack and another set of panniers.  And put some slick tires on your bike for paved road riding.  32-35-38mm.  Whatever works.


Offline Sailariel

Cross bikes for touring
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2006, 11:08:06 pm »
Russell; Thanks for the comeback. The bike feels fine. I did get a new seat and that added to the comfort. The tyres are a bit too aggressive but I`ll ride them this fall. People around here use those leaf blowers which not only put leaves in the road but a sort of silt as well. The aggressive tread seems to help keep me upright. I do plan to get some 32 slicks--should make things easier. Am quite happy with the bike. It is older but in mint condition--a touch heavy, but that`s not really an issue. I think a tour of Acadia National Park should sort things out. It`s close to home(60 miles) so I can always turn back. This winter will be spent getting stuff like a tent, sleeping bag, cookstove,etc. Spring will be here before I know it.   Best regards, Alex


Offline Sailariel

Cross bikes for touring
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2006, 09:18:29 pm »
Russell, Since our last discussion, I made some changes on the Miyata. Have been scrounging at garage sales and a place that buys up stock of places sold or going out of business. H ave managed to accumulate some great stuff. The crank on the Miyata is a Sakai XCT 48-38-28, Freewheel is a 7Sp 13-30, Derailleurs are Suntour XCU front and rear, brakes are Diacompe canteliever XCT. I did put some less agressive tyres on-Kenda 700x36. I have another set of wheels with Continental 700x28. I`ll continue to use the Nashbar panniers (about 1990 vintage red cordura) Found a mirror that works on the hoods. I also plan on keeping the bar-end shifters also Suntour indexed. Hopefully I`ll get a century in before the snow flies- of course we get very little here on the coast. Been riding the bike this past week along with a recumbent I`m trying out. My upright is winning so far. The recumbent is killing me on climbs. The bike is well made of chromemoly steel. The ride is velvet smooth and it does climb quite well. Had 40lbs. of groceries stuffed in the panniers and top rack along with my backpack. We climbed a one mile long grade and did pretty well.I do plan to load the bike up for the century to see how we do. Again thanks to everybody in the forum for the good advice.  Best regards, Alex


Offline escourtu

Cross bikes for touring
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2006, 06:15:37 am »
Hey Sail I have nearly the same bike. It is a classic Keep it. I did install drop bars on it and went with a comfort tire on it. I have a trailer that I put Panniers on and a large backpack attached to it. My Miyata is also a bit large for me but it is quickly becoming my favorite on the road. I installed lights for night riding. I preferr to use a trailer than to have the panniers on the bike.


Offline Sailariel

Cross bikes for touring
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2006, 04:51:39 pm »
I agree. Love the way that bike rides. It is quite a bit heavier than my Fuji but I only notice it on climbs. I did put lights on. Found a small post made by Minoura that mounts on the fork which lets you mount your headlight low. I have that setup onthe Fuji and my wife`s Univega (another classic). Love those older Japaneese chromemoly bikes! Thanks for the comeback.    Best regards, Alex


Offline Sailariel

Cross bikes for touring
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2006, 04:51:39 pm »
I agree. Love the way that bike rides. It is quite a bit heavier than my Fuji but I only notice it on climbs. I did put lights on. Found a small post made by Minoura that mounts on the fork which lets you mount your headlight low. I have that setup onthe Fuji and my wife`s Univega (another classic). Love those older Japaneese chromemoly bikes! Thanks for the comeback.    Best regards, Alex


Offline escourtu

Cross bikes for touring
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2006, 07:47:10 pm »
Thats funny I attached my lights to my rack brackets front and back. I was wondering if the headlight was to low since it is at axle level in the front. My only concern is possibly ripping it off but then I got to thinking "Thats what my mountain Bike is for". My Trek is way lighter but I am not really a weight weenie. The trailer I have is a Cargo Cat. It is built like a childs bike add on but it has a large rack that is perfect for panniers and it will not wear out my rear tire or break any spokes on the bike.


Offline Sailariel

Cross bikes for touring
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2006, 08:47:53 pm »
The weather is getting quite nasty up here in Maine. We are currently under gale conditions and we need to go down to the harbor to check our boat every six hours to be in synch with the current in the harbor. We are looking at this routine for the next three days. This afternoon the seas were breaking over the breakwater at high tide. Fortunately we were able to secure a berth in the inner harbor. It is quite a sight to see a ten ton sailboat bobbing in the waves like a cork. Won`t be riding the Miyata for a few days. I do like my lights low. Have done some research on close encounters with automobiles and have experienced an 80% reduction in close encounters since running a white LED forward in flashing mode and a rear red light also in flash mode. Flying a Dayglo red streamer about 12" long off my helmet Has made all the difference. I realize some people may think it looks a bit dorkey but it seems to draw attention. I use that stuff construction people tie around trees. I also endeavor to wear the most garish jerseys imaginable. My motto has always been "He who laughs last-lives" Incidentally, I run lights during the day. With those new LED`lights, batteries last a long time and are cheap insurance. Best Regards, Alex