All about touring, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.
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Hi guys my name is will and I am kinda new to touring and to bicycles generally... But, next year (2009) Iam planning on riding a bicycle around australia which will include the telegraph road up the Cape, and at least part of the arnhem highway in the Arnhemland as well as some fairly rough nameless dirt side tracks through the Arnhemland....
Does anyone have any advice on what bike they would recommend for this trip?
At the moment Iam thinking maybe either a Trek 520 or a Vivente Randonneur? but can they handle the more off road...ish stuff?
thanks heaps guy
Welcome to the forums Will.... : )
Advice on bikes (bicycles) for touring for some one else is always hard question because every one is different.
But when i look at a bike for touring i look at a few things first.
Is the frame going to be strong eg:4130 cromoly steel , next i look at the rims does it have more than 32 spokes, and the gauge of the spokes, for strength, then i look at tires, are they going to last, and not to skinny ,so you can get of the road and still keep riding if a road train passes and not end up in the bush.
The last one you have to be comfortable on the bike, because you are going to be riding every day.
These are the things I look for im not really in to brands long as its strong and works for me... :
Keep us up date when you start the tour make sure you have fun and just remember you are not in a race... enjoy...
Unsealed roads? Yes. Dirt roads? Yes. Dirt tracks? Yes, why not? Boulder strewn, slippery-when-wet, bindi & 4-corner-jack riddled, 4WD rutted, cattle dung-lined, snake & crocodile infested, razorback tracks? Maybe - just pick the 'right line', use slime and tyre liners, carry spare tyres, and take an EPERB!
That is an EPIRB and make sure it is a 406 mhz model
The bikes you mention will handle a lot of rough stuff. Basically, any bike wheel is remarkably tough, and most quality bike frames will handle rough tracks. However you may get less tyre troubles and be able to ride with more control and comfort if you're riding something with 40-50mm tyres (in the regions you mention).
Both these bikes, I think, really only run tyres of ~35mm width at max, unless you get the smaller sized Surly which has 26" tyres.
By the way, your trip is beginning in Feb? Where from? Because anytime before about April/May in the Top End/Cape York is still the wet season - not a nice time to be there on a bike and campng in the bush. Also back roads in Arnhemland will probably require permits from the local Aboriginal Land Council to travel in.
Friends of mine did a big tour around Australia in 2001-2 for their honeymoon. They departed Melbourne about late May and reached Geraldton by Christmas, then continued through Perth to Melbourne the next year. You may like to read about it - the posts begin here Just click 'next' to run through their posts.
They have lots of photos here
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
The Surly LHT with 700c wheels will take up to 45 mm tyres (without mudguards).
hrmmmm i've been looking round a bit more and Iam starting to lean a bit more towards the vivente... for about 1800 it comes stock with mud guards, pan racks etc and for the price it dominates the trek 520 (which is just over 2grand at the cheapest i can find!! and has nothing with it.... so by the time I got it stocked with the same stuff as the viv it'd be maybe 800 bucks more?)
and similarly with the lht (which i thought was just a touch nicer to ride) i didn't think there was very much between the three of em and by the time i got the lht to the same setup (pans etc) it'd probably wind up 500 bucks more expensive which would be ok... i just couldn't tell enough between the three of em to justify spending the extra money?
oh yeh and i'll probably be heading off about late feb very early march... i won't be going real quick i've got some stuff to do on the way so by the time i hit the cape it'll be probably mid april or later so it's still pretty wet up there then but it starts to get doable around about then... and yeh i'll need permits for the arnhemland but i spent this last year working there so the permits shouldn't be an issue....
Probably right there. I have ridden a Vivente and just really didn't like it. YMMV. Plus the LHT seems to get a far greater wrap around the place.
A MTB is another option. Some MTB's can accommodate panniers if that's your preference. A mate and I rode from Perth to Gold Coast on dually's since these were our only bikes. We still averaged 200km/day carrying everything. We didn't really loose much speed as people may think, and also had the flexibility of riding off-road when ever the need or desire arose to explore salt pans and the like. We used Extrawheel (single wheel) trailers which easily fit any bike by simply replacing the rear skewer.
All the best whichever way you go. Russ.
Will, Vivente would be a good choice. I got mine in mid Feb and now approaching 10 thousand kms. Used mainly for commuting plus few weekend trips, ATB 250 kms, Slog to Sale 160 kms. Good, solid bike and all included once you got it from the shop. Changed tires to Continental ultra gators 28 after 7 thousand kms for easier commuting but originally supplied Schwalbe Marathon 35mm were excellent. If it will be your choice I will be interested in your opinion after ride.
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