New Tourer

All about touring, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.

New Tourer

Postby spud » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:39 am

Hi Guy's,
Although it has been a while since my Army / Triathlon training days, I still have this burning desire to go and do a tour of Australia via pedal power. I have a few questions that I need answering as I am a bit like a Deer with no Eyes (No Idea)
The more I read on here the more confused I have become.

The intended bike I will be using is a Dunlop Xtreme Aluminum frame the gears are 21 speed Shimano sis. There are rear shocks as well as front, the rear shocks can be adjusted and firmed up somewhat. Yes the bike is not a designer label bike and is a run of the mill $2-300 (guessing).

Q1. would I be achieving much by replacing the standard off road Tyre for MTB overdrive Slicks as I can't imagine going off bitumen all that much if at all.

Q2. Am I better to buy pannier frames and panniers rather than a trailer.

Q3. To start off with my daily rides will be 100km then building to 200km what are your thoughts?

Oh by the way I am an Ex Infantry Soldier 43, who has kept myself very fit

lastly I am NZ born have done a lot of Tramping (hiking) in NZ and also as an infantry Soldier. I have learn t over the years to carry compact and the least amounts of stuff I am very very surprised to read some of the load lists on these bike tours is it really all necessary . No I am not knocking anyone just trying to gain as much info prior to embarking on such a ride. All information that you guy's can give or recommend please drop me a line.
I will be departing from Coonabarabran NSW if anybody is coming through needs some company on the road give us a yell.

Regards,
Spud
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by BNA » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:54 am

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Re: New Tourer

Postby hartleymartin » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:54 am

What type of touring are you planning? Are you planing to stick mostly to sealed roads? In that case a bike with full suspension will be overkill. Often a sprung saddle is all that is needed for touring on roads.

A good touring bicycle is a simple machine that is reliable and easy to fix. If worse comes to worst you need to be able to jerry-rig something to get you the last 50 km into the next town.

Image

A touring bicycle will look something like this.

- Long Wheelbase (typically between 100 and 112cm)
- Multiple Bottle Cages
- Front and rear carry racks
- Triple Chainring (for low hill-climbing gears)

Being ex-infantry you'll know all about light-weight camping and hiking gear, and most of that stuff is well-suited to cycle-touring. The only additional items you'll need to carry is a small toolkit for performing maintenance and making adjustments to your bicycle en-route.

Don't be tempted to just use a rear rack and pile everything on the back. The rear wheel of your bicycle already carries most of your weight, and being a dished wheel, the rear wheel is actually weaker than the front one. Make use of front low-rider panniers, and a handle-bar bag.

Also, when you come to planning your trip, get an idea of what hills you may have to climb. On flat-lands a bicycle tourer is capable of 150km or more quite easily, but if you hit hilly country, sometimes your progress can be as little as 50km in a day.
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Re: New Tourer

Postby spud » Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:08 pm

Hi Martin,
Thanks for your speedy reply, Sure I understand the rear suspension would be an over kill but also a waste of energy ? also riding in normal runners ok with a cage or are cleats better.

Sorry to bother you

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Re: New Tourer

Postby hartleymartin » Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:37 pm

Spud,

The trouble with suspension systems are that you have to pay real big money to get good ones. Even then they add weight and don't provide a lot of benefits. In fact if you are on a fairly smooth road, suspension can cause a real waste of energy if you trying to climb a hill. (I have seen people on dual-suspension bikes rocking back and forth whilst putting the power down).

For riding on the road, the most rear suspension you will need is a sprung saddle like the Brooks Flyer

For touring I'd recommend using the toe-clip (cage and strap) style pedals for touring rather than cleated shoes and pedals. The simple reason for this is that you can use almost any shoe using toe-clips, but if you are using cleats, then you are stuck with one style of shoe.

If you take a look at specifically-designed touring bicycles, one with suspension is a rare beast indeed. Most will have drop handle-bars, but not in a low, aggressive racing position. They'll be higher up and slightly closer.

Image
This is my touring bicycle. I have a front rack, but I only attach it when I am doing tours. I plan to attach a large handle-bar bag, and am looking at getting low-rider front racks eventually. I've looked at fitting it with drop handle-bars, but I am currently refurbishing an old 10-speed tourer which has them already.

Image
This is Aushiker's Tourer - note the drop handle-bars and the bar-end shifters.

Image
mylesau's commuter/light tourer

Also note how all three touring bicycles have Brooks saddles.

If you do long tours, you will want handle-bars with multiple hand positions for riding. Most touring is done fairly upright, but if you hit strong headwinds you will want something with an option to get down low:

Image

*edit* Just for anyone who may be curious these are "Multibars" made by BBB and should be available at most local bicycle shops either as stock or to order.

There are several good bicycle touring resource guides online:
http://www.bicycle-touring-guide.com/bicycle-handlebars.html
http://www.bicycletouring101.com/
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/
http://www.adelaidetouringcyclists.org/

At least once every few days plan to stop over in a town and make use of a local hotel/pub/caravan park. If for nothing else, to make use of showers and laundry facilities.
Last edited by hartleymartin on Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Tourer

Postby Leigh_caines » Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:54 pm

Spud
Martin giving some good advice
I’ll chuck in my 2cents worth
Your Dunlop is a dud of a bike [no offence]… it’s heavy and just not good for touring. It’s not that you can’t tour on it but it won’t be fun besides been hard to put a load on. Really those K-mart bikes are only good for boat anchors.
Even if you don’t have much gold to buy a good tourer… for not to much you can get a second hand old hardtail MTB and turn it into a fair bike for touring.
Put good touring tyers on what ever you decide to go with
I’m happy with a 100ks a day but each to there own on that one.
Travel light and have fun
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Re: New Tourer

Postby casual_cyclist » Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:34 pm

spud wrote:...also riding in normal runners ok with a cage or are cleats better.

Hi Spud
I started doing long rides in March this year and have now completed 10 100km+ rides including 2 of 200km and 1 of 300km. I ride all of my rides in running shoes with a cage. I have found that about 2 hours into my rides my toes start to cramp and I have to wiggle them up and down in my shoes as I ride to make the cramps go away. A stiffer sole may help. I am not sure if cleated shoes would help but I would give it a go as my feet do get a bit painful.

If you are considering cleats and shoes I would reccomend considering SPD which are recessed so you can walk around in the shoes when not riding. Note though that the soles are quite stiff so walking around is not going to by walking around in normal runners. I have really enjoyed my rides and find 200km a good distance for one day. Personally I found 300km too far for my level of fitness at the time.

Good luck with your trip. In line with other posters I would reccomend sorting out a better bike though.
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Re: New Tourer

Postby hartleymartin » Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:42 pm

By the way, note how all tourers have full-length mudguards. Bad enough to get wet from above, really bad to get all mucky from what flies up from below.
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Re: New Tourer

Postby banjo » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:33 am

I toured many years ago in runners with the cage pedal setup. Its all I knew then. Now I use SPD shoes on cleated pedals. Superior by far. You can walk in them like regular shoes and when I'm touring I stick to the one pair of shoes anyway and maybe a pair of thongs or sandals.

I tour on a Giant hardtail and even then I lock out the front suspension as much as possible. I'd steer well clear of rear suspension. Your background in NZ is ideal and will serve you well. You'll know all too well what a quality piece of kit that you can depend on looks like.

This is my beast during a 4wk tour last year.

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Re: New Tourer

Postby spud » Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:52 pm

Hi Guy's,
I am so so impressed with the Info that I have received, it has really inspired even further to get touring it saddens me thought to learn my current bike would not be suitable, but hey better to find out now and not half way to no where.

I have been on the net and found some great bikes and the prices actually aren't too bad ($600-$700). I have spoken to a guy in a shop Cell bike shop I think they are called,(Parramatta) very good info also here is a link well you may have to cut and paste but looks good. http://www.cellbikes.com.au/p_1351_CELL__XO_Commuting_Bike__Best_Internal_Gear_Commuting_Bike_Under_700

Thanks to all It has been a great help


Regards,
Spud
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Re: New Tourer

Postby cavebear2 » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:59 pm

I'll chuck in a picture of my recent touring aquisition, a Vivente WR

more detail here

Image
Last edited by cavebear2 on Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Tourer

Postby Leigh_caines » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:08 pm

Spud
That’s a great city bike but as a tourer…. Well it’s got 31 to 96 gear inches and for a lot of us that not quite low enough with a full load on. Fine on the flats but not in the mountains
Most MTB’s go from under 20 gear inches to around 100
What I mean is if you had been touring for years you might handle a 31 low but it sounds like this is your first tour and you don’t want to have to do it hard up hills
That Cell bike could be adapted by putting 3 up front with a front derailer but that is spending more before you start {I have done this and it can be fiddly to get it right and not hard to spend 150 to 200 extra]
Do a bit more looking and you’ll come up with the right bike for the job
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Re: New Tourer

Postby Leigh_caines » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:11 pm

Looks good Cavebear
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Re: New Tourer

Postby casual_cyclist » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:26 pm

If you want to be even more inspired to get out there and get touring, have you seen this post from Andrew? viewtopic.php?f=2&t=17461

Andrew has a drop bar touring bike and also a flat bar bike. You may want to ask him which he would recommend for touring. Personally I prefer drop bars and would not use flats for a tour. That said, I have not done a multi-day tour yet, only a single day of 311km (biggest day) and back to back 124km and 105km (my biggest 2 day).

Rather than trying to find a new bike to suit you may want to consider a steel framed bike from the late 80's or early 90's which has a similar geometry to a modern touring bike. One option is a Repco Superlite as discussed in this thread viewtopic.php?f=9&t=17386 . You will want 700c rims, not 27" and may have issues fitting racks, so check out the lugs first. I have been advised there are better frame materials around so you could pick up a fairly decent frame for cheap and build it up from there. I have done all of my rides on an 18 year old Repco Superlite and find it excellent.
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Re: New Tourer

Postby rustguard » Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:51 pm

if dollars are short, there are many new and secondhand hybrid bikes around that will do just fine, if you are going with anything from the eighties either get a dedicated touring frame or a 26inch mountain bike. If your feet are size ten or up you may have a problem with heel clearance on your panniers if you get a bike with short chainstays. As far as I know 450mm and up is preferred. You may find it very difficult to find good advice from a lbs other than buying a dedicated bike which can be expensive. Just read heaps from the links uptop and make your own decision.
+1 on the gearing lower the better you defiantly better with a triple
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Re: New Tourer

Postby paragonman » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:43 pm

Hi Spud , if you want to drool over some serious tourers, check out, http://www.pbase.com/canyonlands/fullyloaded

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Re: New Tourer

Postby il padrone » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:26 pm

banjo wrote:I toured many years ago in runners with the cage pedal setup. Its all I knew then. Now I use SPD shoes on cleated pedals. Superior by far. You can walk in them like regular shoes and when I'm touring I stick to the one pair of shoes anyway and maybe a pair of thongs or sandals.

Even better - just sandals :wink:

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Re: New Tourer

Postby rustguard » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:12 pm

paragonman wrote:Hi Spud , if you want to drool over some serious tourers, check out, http://www.pbase.com/canyonlands/fullyloaded

paragonman

thanks heeps I used to have that page bookmarked on my last install but lost it. when windows was re installed I messed up swapping over my bookmarks in firefox
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Re: New Tourer

Postby Tale » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:05 am

I'd like to say that you CAN head off touring on your Dunlop. It's not the ideal choice, but it's still a bike. Many of us don't make perfect equipment decisions when we start touring and being none the wiser, as long as the wheels go round and you get from A to B, it's still a great experience. Making all the right choices is very expensive, especially with some of the recommendations posted above.

I started touring on a 1996 Trek 850 hardtail mountain bike with slick tyres and Ortlieb panniers, which turned out to be good choices recommended by a bicycle shop. But at the time I also possessed a K-Mart Dunlop bike that I had ridden for two years and got fit on, and if I hadn't had enough money for something better I could have headed off on the Dunlop. I survived my first few tours on the mountain bike, came back and brought a genuine touring bike.

More than 20,000km of touring later, I have to join the crowd with a photo of my rag-tag selection of current touring gear on a frosty morning :)

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Re: New Tourer

Postby spud » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:03 pm

Hi Guy's Thanks once again for the extremely informative information and the pics of the rides. Well I couldn't resist with the Dunlop and took it out for a 100km ride today well just short 97km from Coonabarabran to Baradine in NSW. Now I had a brain wave you see the train line is no longer used right? ok i decided when the big hills on the road came I opted to go within the rail corridor along the service lane that runs along side the track. My madness behind this is that the rail lines are cut into the hills and at times i actually rode on the actual track as is all grown over sand had built up so wasn't too bumpy but I tell ya what it really helped me at times and yes it is a heavy mother of a bike.

Thanks so much to for the info on the gearing . One last thing if anyone passes through Coonabarabran The show grounds is agood place to stay or contact me i am sure we can squeeze you in somewhere.

Regards,
Spud
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Re: New Tourer

Postby il padrone » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:48 pm

spud wrote:97km from Coonabarabran to Baradine in NSW. Now I had a brain wave you see the train line is no longer used right? ok i decided when the big hills on the road came I opted to go within the rail corridor along the service lane that runs along side the track. My madness behind this is that the rail lines are cut into the hills and at times i actually rode on the actual track...

Get these guys on board to lobby StateRail and the local Chambers of Commerce :idea: Railtrails Australia. Great potential to boost local tourism if the line has some scenic potential or passes local attractions.
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Re: New Tourer

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:45 pm

I don't know if the line is abandoned or if it is only opened for seasonal traffic (such as wheat harvest). A lot of rural railway lines in NSW are only open seasonally, although I think that there should be a basic passenger service even if it is only once a week to the places.
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Re: New Tourer

Postby spud » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:06 pm

No The Line is permanently shut, well the Warrumbungle shire only has train movement to the South of Binnaway (near Coonabarabran) but as you say primarily harvest period only. Oh and Guy's if you do end up in Binnaway NSW, the community there has refurbished the Railway barracks there is around 20 odd single rooms, Communal Showers,Toilets, and Kitchen. Very Comfortable. Don't quote me but I can find out around $20 - $25 a night Oh and Air Conditioned Rooms you will need it :lol:

All the best Spud
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Re: New Tourer

Postby hartleymartin » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:28 pm

Spud,

You've stirred up my inner gunzel.
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Re: New Tourer

Postby rustguard » Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:20 am

what sort of 26 inch wheel touring bikes are available in australia? I havnt seen any in shops over here. all the ones I have seen are 700c.
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Re: New Tourer

Postby rustguard » Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:11 am

hartleymartin where did you get your bike from, it looks like 26" wheels yes. is it an elan?
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