long-distance tourers

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  • long-distance tourers
  • mikey74
    Member

    So, I’m looking at doing the TransAm next year and I was just looking at what sort of bikes are suitable.

    So far I’ve looked at a Planet X Kaffenback and a Surly Disc Trucker (over the internet, not in real life you understand), but I was wondering if a steel 29er with slicks on might be a good option. I like the idea of using flat bars with bar ends.

    Thoughts?

    Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    flat bar surly lht.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    Just to piggyback on your enquiry – anyone toured with one of the cargo type bikes, eg Surly Big Dummy etc?

    mikey74
    Member

    The Surly LHT is just the disc trucker with cantis instead isn’t it?

    Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    it is mate, fantastic bikes. very stable and very very tough.
    braze on’s for everything, takes a very wide 700c tyre.

    tang
    Member

    Salsa tourers look nice. Fargo & Vaya.

    druidh
    Member

    “Dropped bar” tourers are a very Anglo-centric thing. The rest of the world goes “trekking” on flat barred bikes.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    http://www.dirtragmag.com/webrag/first-impression-jones-diamond-frame

    I was only looking at this a moment ago.. looks almost as U-S-A as a west coast chopper (without an engine)

    Premier Icon Del
    Subscriber

    epicyclo – charlie the bike mongers done a video of a bigdummy tour.

    Depending on how much weight your going to carry, 26″ wheels may be better for strength.

    The surly LHT comes in 26″ in most sizes.

    dawes nomad’s are also great bikes.

    motorman
    Member

    I am just finishing off my 700c flat bar LHT with ergon grip/bar end combo. Will post up a pic when it is done.
    From the quick test down the street, I think is is going to be a really nice ride.

    Salsa Fargo is awesome and very suitable. Chipps uses one as a tourer. Have a demo bike or you to try.

    This is my first ride on the big dummy…

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqv1tPszZKQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player[/video]

    Also you can’t go wrong with a surly long haul trucker…

    Drop bars give you more hand options. My hands still have poor circulation after flat bar’ing to Scotland five years go. Jones bars are good for touring.

    cynic-al
    Member

    I’d spend more than Kaffenback money on a bike for a trip like that, unless it really is as strong as the others.

    Premier Icon irc
    Subscriber

    Depends on your weight. I own a Kaffenback and a Long Haul Trucker. The Kaff is my fast bike with 28mm Gatorskins. Nice handling unloaded. I feel it is too light for me with a full touring load. I used 4 panniers on my Transam and I weight 16 stone. A light rider traveling lighter than me with just rear panniers (no netbook or cooking gear) might do OK on the Kaff.

    The Long Haul Trucker is stable, loaded or unloaded and bombproof. No a hint of flex at any speed fully loaded.

    I like having the clearance for reasonably wide tyres. I used 700×32 and 700×35 Marathons on my Trucker. The Kaff is 30mm max. A bit narrow for me. I like being able to ride gravel roads if necessary.

    Discs are a personal choice obviously but braking isn’t a big issue. In the west where the big hills are the gradients are usually gentle. sitting up high and using air resistance is enough no little extended braking is needed. I didn’t need to change my V brake pads going across last year. Unlike the UK there is little riding in the rain so the rims stay pretty clean.

    CraigW
    Member

    “Dropped bar” tourers are a very Anglo-centric thing. The rest of the world goes “trekking” on flat barred bikes.

    Or butterfly bars are popular for German and Dutch trekking bikes.
    Gives you loads of hand positions, plus easy to use with mountain bike brake levers / shifters.

    a good touring bike will feel cock on when loaded but a little wooden and slow when it’s just been ridden without the paniers.
    Flipside is that a steel frame that can take a rack and bigger tyres but is not a tourer, will most likely flex like a wet noodle with any weight.

    cynic-al
    Member

    Oh yeah I forgot to say – a Kaff will be too flexy with 4 panniers (haing ridden a Pomp, same tubing)

    Stiffness would be a priority, tubing guage dictates this.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Personally I wouldn’t worry too much about the frame. Room for reasonably wide tyres, flat bars, and use high quality racks.

    Personally I would always use a mountinbike with some 50 / 50 tyre to give you flexibility and comfort

    MrTall
    Member

    I have a Fargo and i think it’s a fabulous bike.

    Not done any touring on it (and am probably unlikely to) but it ticks all the boxes, is really comfy, can run 6 bottle cages and all the add ons you could want.

    I run 2.35″ Big Apples on mine and it justs eats up whatever the road throws at me.

    New one is suspension corrected but i’ve got the older one which is rigid only and i prefer that.

    Tandmjeremy “personally I wouldn’t worry too much about the frame”

    I could not disagree more… What cynic-al said is spot on. You have to get the frame for the job.

    Take the surly cross check and long haul trucker. Almost identical bikes.

    One is lovely when unloaded and twists itself with touring gear.

    The other feels too solid when unloaded but has impeccable manners when fully loaded.

    The transam is a very long ride with many many hours on the bike. I would want to get the right tool for the job. Also on big tours a selection of hand positions can prevent permanent injury (I know as I have made this mistake and I’m still suffering years later) If you use flats then stick bar ends and maybe ergo grips on.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Charlie – just my experience of touring over the years. I simply have never noticed what you say. the quality of the luggage racks makes a huge difference as do tyres – frame materials? Not to me. I have toured on all sorts of bikes from a 60s road race training bike to a modern alloy MTB

    mikey74
    Member

    Yes, if I went with flat bars I would definitely be fitting bar ends.

    It does look like the LHT or Disc Trucker is the favourite, although I do quite like the idea of a touring mountain bike: Any recommendations for the latter?

    Anyway, I’m still waiting to hear back from work about whether they’ll give me the time off.

    Anyone fancy doing it with me? I’m solo at the moment.

    Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    ergon grips with barends are well worth the investment.

    i rode a 100k audax on a slick tyred surly karate monkey, it was very comfy which is the main thing when touring. it was a little slow but who cares when touring.

    cynic-al
    Member

    4 panniers on the wrong frame can be a complete nightmare, my Casserol was almost unrideable.

    Premier Icon FOG
    Subscriber

    I have never understood the ‘drop bars – more hand positions’ view. Yes I suppose technically it is true but I find it more uncomfortable to use drops than flats. I end up only using hoods and bar tops. On my ancient steel tourer I took off drops and replaced them with flats and mtb shifters which I found better. I would have done the same on my carbon road bike but 10 spd flat bar changers were so horrendously expensive and 10 spd road doesn’t match 10 spd mtb, well in shimano at least.As ever it is down to what suits your hands and riding position.

    grim168
    Member

    I have a hewitt cheviot se. 26″ wheeled drop bar tourer. A 40th birthday present to myself for lejog. very stable with 4 panniers and was an off the peg frame but fitted for me after measuring on a jig. You can also spec it with flat bars. http://www.hewittbikefitting.co.uk/bikes/touring/hewitt-touring-frames/

    Obviously handlebar choice is a personal thing, but I first built up my LHT with trekking bars (butterfly bars) with mtb shifters but I just could not get on with them. I tried different stems, adjustable stems and different lever and grip positions. It was a very upright ride too.
    Moved to Nitto Randonneur bars and have been very happy since. I think I get more hand position variety from the drop bars over butterfly.

    One mate rides his LHT with butterfly bars and finds it great, another with flats with ergos (bought off ton) and he loves it too.

    So another vote for LHT or disc version. They are tough as old boots.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    FOG – Member
    I have never understood the ‘drop bars – more hand positions’ view….

    I suspect the problem is that everyone follows race bike fashion with these and has them slammed right down.

    If you look at old tourers, eg 1950s, you’ll notice that the riders had their bars up much higher than the fashion now. The drops were for riding into a headwind or the odd sprint, the rest of the time your hands were on the tops and you were in a relaxed position. It helped that old stems allowed you to vary the height by a few inches in just a few seconds, and so you could quickly adjust for comfort on a long day – one of the conveniences we have lost with the modern setup.

    Premier Icon Baldysquirt
    Subscriber

    I toured 9000Km on a Kona Smoke, commuter bike with better wheels and my choice of contact points. Rode really well, even loaded up fully and handled all types of road surface with 1.95 slicks.

    Based on that, I’d say any bike that fits you well would probably be OK, but a good quality tourer would be very nice, I’m sure.

    headfirst
    Member

    Surly Disctrucker FTW!

    I’ve put a deposit down on one, arriving (fingers crossed) at the end of March. I’m very excited.

    nerd
    Member

    If you’re using flat bars wouldn’t a bike with the geometry for flat bars be better than a bike with geometry for drop bars – i.e. the top tube is 20 to 30 mm longer for the equivalent size.
    Something like the Surly Ogre (29″ wheels) or Surly Troll (26″) or the new Genesis Fortitude Adventure (29″). The Ogre frame and fork are around a kg heavier than the LHT frame and fork, though.

    Premier Icon ibnchris
    Subscriber

    +1 baldysquirt’s comment.

    Did a fair few miles on a Kona Lava Dome a while back. Used flats with bar ends. Found having 26inch wheels very handy for picking up spare tubes, tyres, wheels etc. Would also recommend a square taper BB for ease of repairing BB and/or cranks in far-flung location.

    One of my favourite touring memories was of my mate breaking a crak and us getting a spare one from a local bike shop in the back of beyond. The only problem being it was diamond as opposed to square if you get my drift and so he had to cycle 200km with cranks at 3 o’clock! Very funny…

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    Tandmjeremy “personally I wouldn’t worry too much about the frame”

    I could not disagree more… What cynic-al said is spot on. You have to get the frame for the job.

    +1. My Thorn Audax was pretty scary when loaded up and riding in a cross-wind – you could feel the back of the bike flexing about.

    soma_rich
    Member

    Charlie what tent/TiPi is that? Awesome video. I now have the wanderlust 🙂

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Ransos – frame not rack?

    Its just in my experience the racks move on the bikes and the luggage on the racks a lot more than the frame flexes . Maybe every bike I have toured on with heavy luggage and its a few are all stiff bikes – even the 531 road race training frame.

    the point I was trying to make is that the quality and strength of the racks and the type of tyres will make lot more difference to the feel that the type of frame – thats my experience

    fourbanger
    Member

    Oh yeah I forgot to say – a Kaff will be too flexy with 4 panniers (haing ridden a Pomp, same tubing)

    I used a pomp touring and you could induce some really scary resonance into the frame at the right (wrong) speed. Like speed wobble but you could feel the frame springing back and forth. having said that, this was greatly reduced by using a carradice instead and IMO light weight is the key.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    Ransos – frame not rack?

    Frame. It really was quite a noticeable springing effect. I should add that Thorn place a weight limit on luggage for a reason – this bike is 531c and just isn’t designed to be loaded up.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Fairy snuff

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    Still the comfiest bike in my garage, just done the school run on it and brought my nine year old boy home on the back rack. Quite tempted to flog it and my Giant roadie and build up a Salsa Fargo, even though I’ve never seen one in the flesh, never mind ridden one.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 45 total)

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