A trek for touring
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Sep 1, 2012 3:29 AM Last Post By: pq
Aug 11, 2012 2:31 PM
A trek for touringI'm starting to think of buying a second bike - something on which i can go faster when i'm riding in places like france. What do you think? I know you can get cheaper bikes than the trek for touring eg giant has really cheap touring bikes but i wonder if it would be worth it.
And if i did go down this route, i'd probably try to buy it in Paris. Thoughts?
Aug 11, 2012 10:46 PM
1There's a lot you don't tell us here. What do you mean 'go faster'? Unless you're a racer with thousands of dollars to buy the latest and lightest, all bikes are essentially equal in speed. What changes your speed from one bike to the next is going to be the number of teeth on the cogs, not the brand name.
I'm not in the majority; my moto is... if it has 2 wheels and it goes that's all you need. When you say "like France," does that mean that's the only country you plan on touring? If so, a 21 or 24 speed is fine. I've biked France a couple of times and that what I used - the lowest end Giant with 21 speeds. Worked fine. In fact, I've biked Europe three times, 21 countries, all on the same bike. You're wasting your money if you think you need something far superior. Don't let the shop employees b.s. into thinking you need something you don't.
Aug 12, 2012 1:03 AM
2Thanks travelin hobo. I guess i forgot that not all people know all my background. And didn't need this info.
Firstly i figure a bike with bigger wheels will go faster than a bike with smaller wheels. Its what i've heard. I've got a mountain bike currenlty with 26 inch wheels and thought that 700cc wheels would be faster.
Secondly by like france i mean paved roads. In Australia i like riding in the outback on gravel roads so then its good to have a mountain bike as the wheels a stronger. And particularly because in the future i'm planning to do the BNT which anything but a mountain bike would be quite unsuitable for as its nearly all off road.
Also with regard to france where i'm going next year i expect to do some mountains. My giant is very slow and arduous going uphills and i though it might be nice to have a bike that might handle them a bit better.
teeth on the cogs, i don't think i was aware that this made one go faster. I shall have to try to remember it.
Aug 12, 2012 3:28 AM
3If it gets u around the Kimberlies etc Andrea it will get u around France.
I understand what hobo is saying about the cogs; if your current set up is hard going up mountains then u can put on a better grouping to make it easier & it does make a huge difference.
U r right too in that larger wheels (with the appropriate gearing) will make u travel faster but for tourers like us I don't see it as that big a deal. Is the cost of a new bike justified to save say 1 hour a day.
I don't see u as someone who races from one place to another (that's a bloke thing)!
Aug 12, 2012 4:37 AM
4True i don't race from one place to another but did you watch the tour de france. There are lot of big hills. I've done enough hills in the foothills of the himalaya to know what it feels like and it is really slow and i wouldn't mind going a tad faster.
But changing the "groupings" could be an option to consider. I'll ask about it at my mechanics.
thanks for the advice.
I had no doubt the mountain bike would get me around france but i've only got six weeks and there's a lot to see too. I'll probalby just have to reduce my distance a bit.
Aug 12, 2012 11:56 AM
5Your bike is one style of tourer - often called a heavy duty one. If you want to go faster then a lighter (what we Brits call)l traditional tourer or even an Audax bike would probably be faster on road. These tend to have 700 wheels, skinny tyres with high pressure, drop bars and a lighter frame - you may think of them as road or even racing (style) bikes.
The classic British tourerl is the Dawes Galaxy (google it). A new one will cost about UK Pounds1000. A cheaper alternative which gets sgood reviews is the Edinburg CoOp Rrevolution http://www.edinburghbicycle.com/browse/bicycles/touring-bikes To be honest I don't think you will want this style of bike.
I have just upgraded from my old heavy duty MTB tourer to a new Surly. It is definitely faster (not as sluggish a the old bike) and only set me back 1200 quid!
You could also go for a light hybrid (700, flat bars, more relaxed riding position) which may be a bit more sporty and may go faster. Nonethelsss, to go faster you still have to pedal more.
Changing your gearing is only necessary if what you have doesn't suffice. Do you find that your top gear is too low when going fast or your bottom too high when climbing? If not then what you have is probably OK.
If I were you, I would stick with your bike, especially as itis on;y for 6 weeks, but get lighter tyres that are suitable for on road use and make sure you pump them hard (in my opinion the 2 things that make a bike go better are lubricating the chain and pumping the tyres hard(er)).
Remember a new bike will need setting up, getting used to,etc - and don't you usually recommend that you talke the bike that you are used to.
If you want to faster up hill try ditching some of your luggage - credit card tourers are usually faster than fully loaded campers.
Aug 14, 2012 3:09 AM
6Simon is right, just change the tyres. light tyres make a big difference. i'd suggest schwalbe marathon racer in 26x1.5 they'll be cheaper in Europe but perhaps hard to find in a shop.
I tour in Europe sometimes on very light, fast racing bikes. they are much faster but you have to spend a lot before its better than an mtb with light tyres. they also don't work if you're carrying loads of gear, which as I recall, you are.
i've said this before and you didn't like me saying it, but the cheapest way of having a fast tourer is to cut down on you luggage.
Aug 14, 2012 5:24 AM
7Yes, tires also make a difference. My first 2 tours were with orange Michelin tires. I got 3,000 miles on them usually. Then they stopped making them. :(
As for going up the mtns. in France, do you mean literally? or figuratively? Nobody...well, not usually takes the route of the Tour riders! Remember, they aren't stopping to smell the roses and look at the beautiful scenery they're passing. :)
One note...unless you absolutely, positively, with all your body trust your mechanic, go into as many shops as possible and talk to as many people as possible (many times, the salesman knows more than the mechanic!). I can't tell you all the bs I've encountered because they assume as a female I know nothing and because I'm even asking the question I don't know anything. Before my first tour, i knew nothing about bikes or touring. I went to the library, got many books on bikes (there was almost nothing about touring) and started reading. Then started talking to folks in the know. You'd be surprised how many bike shop employees don't know squat. Many times a shop will try to talk you into something simply because they have a sales quota they need to meet. If they don't meet it, Cannondale, Giant, etc. will pull their license for selling. If you read a few books, you'll learn about the cog thing and tires AND what you should eat for a ride (this can make you very sluggish as well).
Aug 14, 2012 5:38 AM
Aug 16, 2012 5:43 PM
9So my mechanic just phoned back. He recommended i change the back cassette and chain. I think it was a bit over servicing since i've only used that chain for one 3000km trip . He reckons its quite stretched. Of course the cassette is a fair bit older than that and he says its worn out but i' didn't notice any problems on my last trip. He said it would cost up to about $1000 to upgrade the bike to a 9 geared thing with decent parts.
So anyway now i've decided to go for the cheapest option here and not even get a new chain. He said it would work for this trip and as i never had any slipping or problems i think it should cope.
Because I want to ride the BNT in 2014 (or at least start riding parts of it - my other life might interfere with doing it all in one long trip) I will need a strong and well functioning mountain bike for that and i will have to think about whether to fork out to upgrade this one or buy another one altogether. As i don't have much spare cash, its always a matter of getting value for money.
Aug 19, 2012 9:54 AM
10You misunderstand me about about tyres. The width actually isn't that important: if you want a faster bike, you need lighter, fast rolling tyres, and the marathon racers fit the bill for that in whatever size you go for. The "Racer" bit is important - they're the only fast marathons. 1.5 works well on road and will cope with the gentle off road you might encounter on the voie verts.
If your chain is stretched it will run inefficiently and make your bike slower. If it works now it will work in France. Up to you whether you replace it (and the cassette), but it will be cheaper to do in France.
My comments on your luggage relate to your earlier thread. You posted a very long packing list which didn't seem to have anything to do with what you can afford, more what you want to have with you. Up to you what you take but with a list like that whatever bike you ride won't be fast.
As for the maintenance, you need to spend a little to save a lot. If your chain is stretched after 3000km, you probably haven't been lubing it properly or keeping it clean. If you buy two chains and swap them every 3000km or so, everything will last much longer and you'll save in the long term. Chain swapping will double the life of your cassette and chainrings; ie spend money on cheap stuff to avoid spending on expensive stuff later.
No need to upgrade to 9 speed. If your gears work OK, the most you need to buy is cassette, chainrings and chain (preferably 2).
Aug 20, 2012 9:18 PM
11Thanks for your advice pq. I hadn't understood your point about the tyres. Now i do. marathon racers for france... I've already got my duremes of whatever they are for the BNT trip which lies ahead for 2014 etc which will be off road and tough on the biek and the tires and the rider. That was probably premature shopping.lol.
Ok thanks for the tip on the chain. I lube my chain a lot when on my trip. but maybe i'm not doing it well enough and maybe i'm not keeping it clean enough. To be sure my last trip was a very dirty one but i tried to keep the chain clean. I didn't take any kero on that trip but was mainly using my brush and rag to wipe it off which i did regularly and oiled regularly. Next time i'm taking some petrol to do it more often.
I don't really believe my chain is stretched. I think they are making it up. If its stretched it can't be by much but i take your point about chain swapping. It sounds reasonable.
"My comments on your luggage relate to your earlier thread. You posted a very long packing list which didn't seem to have anything to do with what you can afford, more what you want to have with you. Up to you what you take but with a list like that whatever bike you ride won't be fast."
You either misread or misunderstood what my first post in that other thread or you've forgotten what it was about.
The first list was not my packing list. It was a list belonging to someone else which i thought was crazy and i was trying to establish the point. In contrast i posted my list of fairly ordinary things. It looked like it might be about the same length on the page but i don't think it amounted to the same amount of stuff. I certainly think it is overkill on the expense unless you have the money but it wasn't about the money of that stuff. He just seemed to have a lot of stuff.
I was asking people if they could edit either that first list down to show what wasn't necessary and also to do the same to mine but i expected to be told that i would need to add more to ensure i'd be warm enough without just carrying too much extra clothing. I still don't know if this is clear and if its not lets not get into a debate about it.
As regards what i have with me, of course it will be different to you since i don't travel ultra light or ultra rough. I'm nearly 50 and i'm a woman and i feel the cold and i don't want to be more uncomfortable than necessary. I can't afford to stay in hostels all the time. I may have to stay in camping grounds only but i want to camp as much as i can cause i like it and then i'll have more money for food and other tourist activities and yummy food. I am prepared to sacrifice the comforts of a camping ground to have more restaurant meals. I also cant bear walking around town in my work clothes (ie riding clothes). I need to feel ok in my clothes and not look like a touring cyclist 24 hours a day.
Aug 28, 2012 2:25 PM
12bear in mind then that some French camp sites cost more than hotels. last week a camp site wanted 36 euro - I got a hotel in town for 31. avoid camp sites with high star ratings or anything on the coast. camping municipal are better value, or simple farm places. the cheapest is to ask a farmer, but speaking French is probably necessary for that.
Aug 29, 2012 5:57 AM
13Yes i was only planning to stay at the municipal camping grounds. I have heard the others are rather lux.
Bonjour Monsieur. Je suis une veille femme Australienne, comme vous pouvez voir. S'il vous plait, je voudrais aimer rester a votre ferme ce soir. Pourrais-je mettre ma tente la bas, a cote de la petite riviere/dan le foret/ sous le pont etc? Je partirai demain tres tot. Je prendrez toute ma poubelle (lol forgotten the right word) avec moi et je laisserai rein de tout sur la terre. Ne vous inquietez pas, je ne mangerai pas vos raisins non plus.
Merci beaucoup monsieur. Je suis vraiment heureux. Vous etes tres gentils. grovel grovel. etc.
Will that do?
Sep 1, 2012 3:29 AM
14Not bad - I'm sure that'll work. Many French are sick of English speaking people making no effort to speak French. Making the effort reaps rewards.
You can check your chain for stretch yourself if you don't trust the bike shop. Each link was exactly half an inch long when it left the factory. Since the stretch will only be a few percent, you won't spot it of you measure a single link, but measure a lot, preferably the whole chain and the stretch is obvious. For example, if you measure a length of 100 links it should be 50 inches long. With a 1% stretch it will be 50.5" which is easy to measure.
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