Author Topic: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?  (Read 27361 times)

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Offline summit_ridge

How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« on: March 16, 2009, 07:51:23 pm »
So, I have a dilemma. I am planning my first short tour this summer (Oregon Coast via Hwy 101) and plan on using a Bob trailer.  I have read about every possible link in regards to the types of bikes people use on tours and have read the many recommendations to use a touring specific bicycle on bicycle tours.  I own two bicycles (a Klein Quantam and a Felt Q600 series mountain bike) and have been considering purchasing a cyclocross bicycle (either a Kona Jake the Snake or a Dew Drop) for commuting and as a new all-around bicycle.  I also am wanting to use it on the tour because my Klein is not meant for this type of application and the Felt is pretty darn heavy and I don't think very comfortable for long miles.  Are there any other people on this site that have bucked convention and toured on either a hybrid or their 'road bike' successfully.  I just don't want to buy a touring bike if I only plan on touring with a trailer, maybe once a year.  Great site btw.  Really enjoy all the advice you get here and the experience you can tap into.

Summit Ridge   
« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 08:05:05 pm by summit_ridge »

Offline paddleboy17

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2009, 10:44:19 pm »
A touring bike is great for commuting or all around riding.  I don't know that I would see a cyclocross as a great commuter or all around bike.  With the right tires, the mountain bike could work.  There are lots of existing treads about Bob trailers, I would read them.
Danno

Offline whittierider

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2009, 12:14:58 am »
Quote
I don't know that I would see a cyclocross as a great commuter or all around bike.
+1.  Cyclocross bikes are meant to be maneuverable at low speeds, not stable under load.  They have a high bottom bracket in order to be able to get over obstacles more easily, giving you a higher center of gravity.  I would definitely not consider a cyclocross bike to an ideal tourer.

Offline biker_james

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2009, 07:34:55 am »
I agree that a touring bike can ( my Cannondale T800 is) be a good all around bike. I don't know that you need to go lay out the money for a new bike if you aren't really planning on doing a lot of touring though. I've met people riding across Canada on MTB's that seemed pretty happy with them, and I've met a fellow on a custon touring bike that wasn't happy with his bike. I have a MTB that I use for commuting mainly, and I would have no issues with taking it on a tour, with either panniers or trailer. A lot of people (several of my friends) tour on hybrids also. Any bike that you are comfortable on for long periods, and geared low enough to get you and your gear where you are going is fine. Rule Number 1 of Touring- There are no rules on how to tour.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2009, 07:57:02 am »
You can tour on any kind of a bicycle, or a unicycle if you like. You can cross a continent on a one speed Huffy you got for $25.00 in a Salvation Army thrift shop. Different kinds of bikes are built for different purposes; not that their uses cannot overlap, for they can and do. When I bought my first touring bike I did a lot of reading about cycling beforehand. I looked up exactly what was meant by touring bike. I got a bike that fit the specifications. It was quite noticeably more efficient than a cheaper bike I already had. The touring bike is longer, it has fittings for racks and fenders, and it is more forgiving of the inevitable creases and bumps and holes you will find in your road. A hybrid is ok for touring. The trail bikes with the wide tires can be used for touring. Many people have toured on such bikes. They are just not meant for over the road long distance touring. Road bikes can be used for touring too. They may be a bit more rigid than touring bikes with a shorter chassis. You could probably even tour on a racing bike, but you might want to keep your load weight down, and I would not suggest it. There was this one guy who had a bike built from three or four different frames. He was up quite high in his seat, and he pedaled this contraption backwards across the United States, so there you go.

In my opinion, if you want to go on a long tour by bicycle over the road, you should use a touring bike. It looks like a racing bike with the drop handlebars, but is longer, heavier, stronger, and might have tube angles set different from a racer, and it is less rigid than a racing bike. This bike was made especially for the long distance touring bicyclist. If you have the proper fit between the bike and your bodily proportions, and if you have the right saddle, you are ready to go.

I have done many long tours with touring bikes, and only two with lower-grade mountain type bikes. I would not tour again on a mountain bike.

In general, the only rule is there is no rule. Well, except for having a good time and enjoying it, if you can.

Offline staehpj1

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2009, 09:33:04 am »
Quote
I don't know that I would see a cyclocross as a great commuter or all around bike.
+1.  Cyclocross bikes are meant to be maneuverable at low speeds, not stable under load.  They have a high bottom bracket in order to be able to get over obstacles more easily, giving you a higher center of gravity.  I would definitely not consider a cyclocross bike to an ideal tourer.
Regardless of that...  Plenty of folks happily tour on cyclocross bikes.  It will work fine.  I have my doubts about touring bikes being good all around bikes.   Mine was great on a coast to coast tour or even for commuting, but for riding centuries and such it is not nearly as nice as my road bike.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2009, 12:59:49 am »
I've never had any special touring bike.  I use a carbon fiber road bike now with a Burley Nomad trailer if I'm going unsupported.  Use whatever you're comfortable with and what you can afford.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline Westinghouse

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2009, 05:14:37 am »
One thing about touring on a wide-tired trail bike is this. It is more versatile. You can take it over the roads, and if you want to take off down some foot-path or dirt trail, you can do it. There are so many places you can go with a MB where a road bike or touring bike would get bogged down immediately.

Offline JayH

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2009, 11:24:38 am »
I've done a bunch of touring with a 1995 marin team which is a hardtail MTB, had an old Marzochhi Bomber Z2 fork on it. I outfitted it with a full set of Old Man Mountain panniers and some Carradice panniers.   It worked great, gearing was your standard MTB gearing with a 22 tooth granny gear.  I did not use fenders in the rear but had a fender in the front that mounted to the fork crown using simply pressure and backed up with some string.   

I think whatever is comfortable to you that you can setup with the proper gearing for your needs and a comfy seat, would work, although some material is easier, i.e. steel is easier to get fixed than AL and obviously CF, Ti. My Marin is Tange steel, so you might take that into consideration on long tours. 

Works for me, anyway. :)

Jay

Offline shepherdhike

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2009, 12:22:58 pm »
I'm touring now with a Diamondback Transporter. I consider it a hybrid rather than a touring bike, even though it came equipped with fenders and attachment points for racks. Got it for $400. 26" x 1.5" tires with very little tread. I'm using panniers, and the load weight is 35-40 pounds. I'm 4,266 miles into my trip, and all I've done to the bike is one new spoke, new brake pads, new chains, and just put on a new cassette. It's worked well for me. Don't break the bank for a touring-specific bike unless you need it for a heavy load or to fit your physique.

Nancy

Offline whittierider

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2009, 02:26:38 pm »
Quote
One thing about touring on a wide-tired trail bike is this. It is more versatile. You can take it over the roads, and if you want to take off down some foot-path or dirt trail, you can do it. There are so many places you can go with a MB where a road bike or touring bike would get bogged down immediately.
I do wish road bikes were made to be able to take at least a 28mm tire, but road bike can indeed handle hard-packed dirt.  What they can't handle is deep, loose gravel.  One time our planned route involved a road we didn't realize wasn't paved.  That portion had a few thousand feet of descending and it was late in the day and we had to reach our destination before sundown and there was no alternative.  We went down that dirt road on our skinny-tired road bikes at 30+ mph.  It was like riding a jack hammer, but we and the bikes did fine.

Quote
I'm 4,266 miles into my trip, and all I've done to the bike is one new spoke, new brake pads, new chains, and just put on a new cassette.
Use a wax-based lube and put a load of graphite powder in it, and you definitely won't wear out a chain or cassette in 4,266 miles, or even twice that many.

Quote
i.e. steel is easier to get fixed than AL and obviously CF, Ti. My Marin is Tange steel, so you might take that into consideration on long tours.
I've talked to a couple of welders about fixing a steel frame, and when I told them how thin it is, they said they wouldn't touch it.  One of them has a long list of certifications and does aircraft work all the time.  The other has had his own business and also teaches at colleges.  CF is actually far more repairable than aluminum (see http://www.calfeedesign.com/howtosendrepair.htm ), and, as long as you don't abuse it with an impact that it will never get in normal riding or even most crashes, it will last indefinitely.  It does not fatigue like the metals do.  Our younger son was in an accident last August when a car turned illegally in front of him and he broadsided it at 25mph at a 90-degree angle.  All the damage was to metal parts, including the front hub itself being deformed from the force of the impact.  The carbon itself was not damaged, according to Calfee's tests and inspection, so he's still riding the same bike with a lot of new components.  He has a lot more miles on it than it took to fatigue and crack my nice steel frame.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2009, 02:09:34 am »
I knew a guy named Eugene who walked across the United States, or so he said. He is a hiker. He and I did a bit of cycling together. He tried to convince me he was a cyclist too, but I could tell by the way he was riding he was not an experienced cyclist. He kept pushing really low gears on flat roads and he was bumping up and down on the saddle. He said he cycled that way all the time. I knew better but did not say. He told mne all the gear he was planning on taking for a transcontinental bike tour. It was obvious his vaunted experience did not actually exist. He kept telling me about how he was going to cycle across the US, but when the time of departure arrived he backed out of it which was predictable, but again I did not mention it. His tall stories about his epic hiking adventures might be hot air too, but he did claim to have hiked all the way across the USA east to west. He did not appear to me to be an outdoorsman.

Offline TCS

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2009, 08:37:02 am »
I've talked to a couple of welders about fixing a steel frame, and when I told them how thin it is, they said they wouldn't touch it. 

Perhaps you should have talked to a brazer rather than a welder.

Best,
tcs
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline TCS

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2009, 08:48:50 am »
Yes, unlike racing, there is no touring rule book that participants must follow.  However, cyclists have been touring for around 135 years now and there is a body of methodology and equipment that has been worked out that performs reliably and efficiently.

One thing about touring on a wide-tired trail bike is this. It is more versatile. You can take it over the roads, and if you want to take off down some foot-path or dirt trail, you can do it. There are so many places you can go with a MB where a road bike or touring bike would get bogged down immediately.

One needs to consider their likes/goals/plans.  I don't think I'd enjoy pedaling a bike optimised for soft surfaces for day after day on paved roads just on the off chance I might ride a short muddy trail.

tcs
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline TCS

Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2009, 09:03:10 am »
In my opinion, if you want to go on a long tour by bicycle over the road, you should use a touring bike. It looks like a racing bike with the drop handlebars, but is longer, heavier, stronger, and might have tube angles set different from a racer, and it is less rigid than a racing bike.

I would think a touring bike should be more rigid than a racing bike.  The touring bike very possibly will have a significant load at either extreme end (front and rear panniers) and the frame and fork will need to be stiff enough to provide secure, shimmy-free handling at downhill speeds.

Modern racing bikes are build with very stiff downtubes and chainstays, stabilizing the handling under pedaling forces.  A loaded-touring bike will add to that a torsion resistant top tube and beefier seat stays, stabilizing the handling against twisting forces of the dunnage.

Best,
tcs
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."