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Updated: 39 min 20 sec ago

Re: Advice sought on choosing a touring bike

22 February 2015 - 2:47pm
You're right, 25kg does sound excessive until I explain that my cosy armchair weighs in at a 18kg!!

Re: help with a route

22 February 2015 - 2:23pm
1. As a resident of oxford, I will echo the previous comments about avoiding the oxford canal towpath.
2. I cycled from oxford to w. London last august following a fairly direct route across the chiltern hills to the thames at marlow. I recall 1 long hill where we got off and pushed (after nettlebed) but other than that it was ok. Very quiet lanes and very scenic too. We then followed the thames through maidenhead and windsor etc to kingston.
3. I find an app called cycle streets useful for giving ideas of cycle routes between point to point. It may be of use to you, for example, kings lynn to oxford.
Well done and good luck with the ride.

Re: Advice sought on choosing a touring bike

22 February 2015 - 1:36pm
You obviously have the right approach: you want to learn how to fix possible failures with your equipment before you set off. Some people remove discs during air / rail transit to avoid them getting bent.

25kg seems like a lot of baggage. Touring in Europe I always kept baggage down to about 15kg. That was with camping gear.

Extra weight does make for a bit more mass to stop, but not much more. I weigh 90kg (don't tell anyone). My tourer weighs maybe another 13kg. So adding 15kg to my bike will not produce a dramatic difference. And a bit of extra weight can help braking where traction is a problem. On my tandem (which does have a rear disc too) I can lock both wheels on a descent if I choose to using only the vee brakes. Good vees with good pads, adjusted properly, will give good stopping power.

Re: Advice sought on choosing a touring bike

22 February 2015 - 12:55pm
I hear what you're saying - and you're totally right, of course.What I'm a bit worried about is the overall weight of the bike, luggage and me sitting on top of it all, going downhill at a considerable speed and then relying on v-brakes to slow me down quick enough. Cantilevers are good but the braking distance on my (8kg) road bike is still fairly large when descending at high speed, so I worry a bit about what it would be like on a 14kg bike with 25kg of luggage (of course I wouldn't be going as fast (or I hope not!)).

If I do end up with a bike using disk brakes (mechanical) I would definitely make sure that i know how to fully repair/replace them before I set off to go anywhere! This would probably result in having to carry extra tools, a few brake pads and a spare rotor or two. Saying that, I should be happy using v-brakes as they are easy to fix and replace. I already have a bit of experience replacing pads on disk brakes and it wasn't that difficult but a bit fidly - what else should I be wary of!?

Re: Advice sought on choosing a touring bike

22 February 2015 - 12:11pm
For anyone planning a tour of places devoid of cycle shops I would question the use of disc brakes. Discs are notoriously prone to damage. They are not as robust as some might think. Hydraulic systems are a different technology to the cable operated systems most of us are able to get our heads around, so I would avoid these for tours away from easily available help.. Could you contemplate fixing a disc brake problem in the back end of beyond? For some the answer will be "yes", and for them this is a non-issue. I would be happier with the relatively easy-fix rim brakes I understand.

Re: Advice sought on choosing a touring bike

22 February 2015 - 12:08pm
Merry_Wanderer wrote:You can have V brakes as an alternative to cantilevers and depending on the rims you have, they will last many thousands of miles. You can also have very low gearing on a 'normal' sized wheel, not just a 26 inch. The thing that complicates matters is if you want STI combined gear shifters and brake levers like a lot of drop handlebar road bikes because these aren't compatible with mtb gearing or v brakes.

If you want drop handlebars and aren't fussed about STI's then you can have bar-end (gear) shifters and a standard brake lever. These 2 separate items are cheaper than STIs and more easily repaired or replaced. As an example of low gearing, my 26 inch wheeled Surly has a 44/32/22 chainrings and an 11-34 cassette which gives me as a low gear, 22/34 x 26 = 16. something inch low gear. I need this to spin up hills as I have knee problems. Put the same gearing on a 700 wheel bike and it becomes 22/34 x 28. Not much higher than my low gear. As a comparison, my old road bike lowest gear was 34 inches which was bloom in hard work on hills.

I would look at a bike for frame size and geometry first and then consider gearing and wheel size

You make some brilliant points here. I didn't realise that STI's weren't compatible with v-brakes, hmmm. I have seen what damage STI's can pick up from a simple crash (or should I say, getting 'doored' off my bike!). The right one was ruined and costly to replace (Ultegra). With the Dura Ace bar end shifter's costing £45-50 they look like a good thing to have on a long distance touring bike. I've never used them before but have read a lot of good things about them. I'd be prepared to sell the STI's off any bike I get and replace them with bar-ends (if this isn't too complicated to achieve).

Even if I get a 700cc/28 inch wheeled bike it is always possible to change the lower chainring and get an alternative cassette/sprockets to change the gearing - I often do this when tackling different passes in the Lake District and north Yorks and, to be honest, I still find them tough - it's that 3rd chainring and lowest gears that I need!!

I'm so glad that I opened this thread because there isn't anyone around me that knows anything about bikes and I was really getting in a pickle over these kinds of things.

Re: Advice sought on choosing a touring bike

22 February 2015 - 11:39am
You can have V brakes as an alternative to cantilevers and depending on the rims you have, they will last many thousands of miles. You can also have very low gearing on a 'normal' sized wheel, not just a 26 inch. The thing that complicates matters is if you want STI combined gear shifters and brake levers like a lot of drop handlebar road bikes because these aren't compatible with mtb gearing or v brakes.

If you want drop handlebars and aren't fussed about STI's then you can have bar-end (gear) shifters and a standard brake lever. These 2 separate items are cheaper than STIs and more easily repaired or replaced. As an example of low gearing, my 26 inch wheeled Surly has a 44/32/22 chainrings and an 11-34 cassette which gives me as a low gear, 22/34 x 26 = 16. something inch low gear. I need this to spin up hills as I have knee problems. Put the same gearing on a 700 wheel bike and it becomes 22/34 x 28. Not much higher than my low gear. As a comparison, my old road bike lowest gear was 34 inches which was bloom in hard work on hills.

I would look at a bike for frame size and geometry first and then consider gearing and wheel size

Re: Advice sought on choosing a touring bike

22 February 2015 - 11:08am
simonhill wrote:Your long term plan is to move from UK to European, to long haul stuff. I don't know how quickly you will be doing this, but you may want to be thinking about a bike for the end of your plan rather than the beginning.

Debate rages, but many would say a robust 26" tourer would be more suitable for fully loaded touring in Central Asia.

PS I am biased, I ride a Surly and tour amost exclusively in Asia.

Well, it is hard to argue with you seeing that you already have experience touring in Asia! Nearly everything I have read about 26" wheels is positive - especially regarding strength, manouveability, low gearing, and, importantly, getting replacement parts. To be sensible about touring I think I need to start at home, in the Lakes and in and around Scotland before I can head off towards Europe. It may be a year or more before I head off towards C. Asia.

I'm going to start looking at 26" wheel touring bikes - just out of curiosity - but so far I have only come across Surly and one or two others (like Thorn) but these are just out of my price range. It seems that people who own Surly's really love their bikes!! I'll have a look around for second-hand ones.

I've only experience riding a disk brake bike for a short while and really liked it - now, I am getting hung up on a touring bike with disk brakes over standard cantilever. Part of me feels like this is wrong and normal brakes are fine for what I want to do, another part of me nags away saying that disk brakes are stronger, more effective and work better in bad weather - they also don't ruin rims in the same way.

I haven't done this much research since I was at university!

thanks guys!

Re: Pannier Inventory Lists

22 February 2015 - 10:56am
This thread (although it also has discussion of women-specific items) has a good list and discussion viewtopic.php?f=42&t=85590
And this one is about minimising viewtopic.php?f=16&t=48438 but is also pretty comprehensive.

Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

22 February 2015 - 10:45am
My mum's life is fuelled by worry and regret. Without both she'd be a different person. I was 40 years old when I set off on my 3 year, 22,000 mile around Europe. She told me all the ways I was going to die. Now that I've safely finished the ride she chastises herself for three years of unnecessary worry - bonus! another source of regret - but it hasn't changed anything. Now she says that my last ride was alright really but the one I'm planning this summer is just mental. So she's worrying again.

My brother races motorbikes. You can imagine how much she likes that.

Incidentally, you are safer cycling anywhere on your planned route than you would be cycling at home.

Have a great trip! You'll have a ball.

Re: Pannier Inventory Lists

22 February 2015 - 10:44am
I love making lists and I keep trying to reduce how much stuff I take. However, making a list per pannier doesn't really work for me, especially on longer tours when I end up reorganising my panniers depending on what the weather's doing, how much food I need to carry, how many maps I've accumulated (I post them home every so often), etc.

Re: GEARING. .

22 February 2015 - 10:35am
cycleruk wrote:There may be a problem with the rear wheel.
If it is a 7 speed "freehub" then an 8 speed cassette will probably not fit so may require a new wheel or hub.
IME it depends: more info (lots!) here
Way back, I sucessfully converted a 7-spd late 90's Trek MTB to 8-spd with just a new cassette and shifter (and removal of a spacer?).
As others have said, 8-spd can be OK provided you are not looking for a wide range with reasonable steps between gears (as nicely illustrated by the Shimano Megarange 11-34 8-spd with its 26 to 34T jump to bottom gear can work if you are psychologically up to it, but I just found it a pain to use).

Re: GEARING. .

22 February 2015 - 10:19am
The jump from my 34 tooth to the 27 ( I think it's 27 anyway!) is huuuuuuge.

I had one of those once back when I had a double chainset.
This is the perfect case of how a nine speed can be a great improvement as it just slips an extra gear into that gap.

For a long time I used an eight speed that went 21,26,32 and my otherwise identical nine speed went 21,24,28, 32.
Coming from an eight speed like yours this was bliss. I later went on to using an eight speed that had closer ratios with a bit less range (an 11-30 cassette) and the smaller gap compensated for the slightly higher bottom gear.

Re: GEARING. .

22 February 2015 - 10:12am
I stickin with 8 speed

I agree with that especially the bit about sticking with what you have.
I dont think there is a right answer here and would not be worried about setting off on a tour with any number of gears.

It is a matter of balancing the different strengths.Usability, durability, availability and price coming to mind.

I tour on 6, 8 and 9 speed bikes. The nine speed gives me the smallest gaps between gears and is the easiest to ride.
They can all run on a Campagnolo C9 chain so no issues there. Changing between 8 and 9 is to me only restricted by the price of the STI units, cassettes and chains wear out soon enough derailleurs dont matter.
The six speed will be upgraded to a seven when the cassette runs out only because I have had the last 6 speed cassette in the country and the seven speed replacing it is the last 7 speed of the type in the country. Thumbshifters for that bike have been bought in advance for £4, so that is not the same issue as it is with STIs.

For durability I think the old Shimano 7 speed hub was the optimum and that would probably be my choice for that one of my bikes.
However they are not as available, you can fit 7 speed cassettes on 8 speed hubs but that isnt the same thing, they are not as durable. So in which case you may as well leap to 8 or 9 speed.
In the meantime I will be using the old seven speeds that I have managed to find.

So my ideal would be an old seven speed but due to restricted availability and compatibility I would go for whatever was the best value eight or nine speed STIs. Probably nine as they are a tiny bit more luxurious.

Since Tiagra went ten speed, they have made ten speed widely available and affordable, I am put off by the fact that the chains are not re-rivetable and (as I have not ridden a ten speed ) I think the gear coverage from a nine speed is perfect enough

Nothing would posses me to replace a functioning geartrain with a different one just for the number of gears but I am frugal with my money and like to get full mileage out of anything fitted.
With thumshifters at £4 or similar bargains from CRC you can change non-dropbar bikes gears (6 through to 9) as frequently as the rear cassette. With £200 105 STI units you are rather tied in to your original choice. My 8 speed bike will be staying 8 speed and I have no problem with that.

Re: Pannier Inventory Lists

22 February 2015 - 10:04am
I'll be rearranging mine soon and hoping to try it all out at some point this year.
viewtopic.php?f=42&t=90160

Re: GEARING. .

22 February 2015 - 9:56am
If this is a long term upgrade, go for 9 speed. I personally run 8 speed and see no need for any more but unfortunately Mr Shimano and his mates are slowly phasing it out in favour of more and more sprockets at the rear. 9 speed will give you a useable system for longer and better spacing if using big gears.
The jump from my 34 tooth to the 27 ( I think it's 27 anyway!) is huuuuuuge.

Re: GEARING. .

22 February 2015 - 9:10am
For me the issue wasn't the number of gears but the lowest ratio. My first touring bike was a Dawes Horizon and it's lowest gear was just too high for getting up hills loaded with camping gear. I changed the front chain wheels for some MTB ones which had a 22 tooth little chain wheel. From memory the largest sprocket on the back was 32 teeth. I could then get up hills!

Re: Flying back to UK from Cape Town

22 February 2015 - 5:20am
Hi hector, I bought a normal twin leg pletscher, put some old tube around and installed. The tube has since perished and I had to tighten again. I've not looked to see if there is any damage while I'm still on tour. I'm expecting paint damage. I'll wait till I get home next month to look when I overhaul the bike.

Gary
www.longbikeride.co.uk

Re: Advice sought on choosing a touring bike

22 February 2015 - 3:11am
Your long term plan is to move from UK to European, to long haul stuff. I don't know how quickly you will be doing this, but you may want to be thinking about a bike for the end of your plan rather than the beginning.

Debate rages, but many would say a robust 26" tourer would be more suitable for fully loaded touring in Central Asia.

PS I am biased, I ride a Surly and tour amost exclusively in Asia.

Re: Advice sought on choosing a touring bike

21 February 2015 - 11:24pm
Jimstar79 wrote:Hey Chocojohn, thanks for the link. I can't believe they are selling the Super Galaxy for £799 with a saving of £700!

I know it says they are out of stock but they say they are available to order. I have never read a bad word about Dawes - in fact, I am going to contact them right now and find out if I can order one, can't get better than that for your money.
You can. I bought a Super Galaxy a few years ago and it's 853. I think they've been tinkering with the spec - no wonder they have to flog the bikes 700 sovs off!

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