Bike Setup for long tour.

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Bike Setup for long tour.

Postby Fr33domRid3r » Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:10 am

Hi Guys!
I'm in the process of setting up my bike for a tour of the east coast, Melbourne to Brisbane and back. Hopefully before the end of this coming summer.
Just want some advice and opinion on a few things:

Bike: Giant Elwood SE. Hybrid/Comfort bike. Stock setup, with strap in pedals. I know this is a beginner/entry bike, however, I have done some long and hard rides with this bike, sealed, off and forest MTB trails. To my amazement it has never significantly failed on me (knock on wood) - hence my decision to take it on a long un-assisted ride.

Upgrades:
Wheels and Tyres: I've never changed either of these since I bought the thing 2 years ago. Tread is still ok though. Mainly want to improve comfort and durability. Similar type though, not slicks, but able to go on un-sealed roads. Which one's should i get?

Cleats/clip in pedals: Im looking for something fairly entry level, like those one's which you can still pedal without the proper clip in shoes. I don't know what brands are good and affordable though? And what the different types of clip-ins are? Of course, I will also have to buy shoes. Any suggestions on this also are much appreciated?

Handle Bar: I really want to upgrade my handlebars. Any opinions on what kind I should get? Drop bars or Touring bars? I want to be able to put a lot of stuff on it (lights, computer etc)

Pannier Racks and bag: I'm looking to buy a couple of racks for the back and front. Again I don't know what brand or make i should look for. I want to be able to attach the largest bags i can on them. Are pannier bags specifically tailored for racks or are they generally acceptable on whatever brand/type of pannier rack you put them on?

I've been looking for these parts and stuff on ebay (is that advisable or is it wise to just shop around bike stores etc?), as I am a Uni Student, cannot afford the best and most expensive. So if you can help me out, with good advise on what and where to buy these things, I really appreciate it.

Feel free to add in anything which you think is essential for a tour. Im still fairly early in my planning stage. But I just want to set up the bike asap, so I can get use to it and feel comfortable and confident before i embark on my ride.

Thanks in advance!
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by BNA » Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:40 am

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Postby kukamunga » Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:40 am

Assuming you are based in Melbourne, which part?

If your bike has a suspension seatpost, suggest you start by replacing that with a conventional seatpost. The extra weight, the ever increasing sideways play as it wears, and the constant up and down movement will play havoc with your knees and hips.

Start building up some ever increasing kilometres now, and make sure you are comfortable with your saddle!

There are plenty of good shoe/ pedal combo deals around. Check Cell Bikes
Last edited by kukamunga on Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Kalgrm » Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:18 am

Tony,

I'm disappointed in you - you should have suggested Fr33domRid3r joins the MBTC as soon as he/she can! :)

Fr33domRid3r, if you join the Melbourne Bicycle Touring Club on some of their rides, you'll learn what works and what doesn't on long tours.

Your bike is not one that's considered to be a "touring bike", but I've seen a bloke riding the same one on the Stuart Hwy about 100km south of Coober Pedy on his way to Adelaide from Townsville. He was towing a $250 "BOB" style of trailer with all his gear.

2 years out of a set of tyres, and you want to improve durability? ;) That's a pretty good run. I'd use the same ones again if I were you.

Pedals and bike shoes: they're designed for riding, and when you're touring, you'll be doing a lot of riding. Get proper pedals - ones that require proper shoes. Change your shoes when you stop riding for something designed to walk in.

Putting drop bars on the hybrid will dramatically change the fit of the bike for you. You'll need to consult a bike shop before doing that.

You may cost yourself some money buying racks on eBay. You've got suspension forks on the front, so you'll need to consider racks to suit that style of fork. That's going to be difficult if you're not looking at the racks in person.

Consider a trailer, such as this (spend more if you can though). It's what that bloke I mentioned earlier was using.

Cheers, and good luck with the ride.
Graeme
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Postby kukamunga » Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:28 am

MBTC (click)
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Postby il padrone » Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:32 am

Kalgrm wrote:Tony,

I'm disappointed in you - you should have suggested Fr33domRid3r joins the MBTC as soon as he/she can! :)

Fr33domRid3r, if you join the Melbourne Bicycle Touring Club on some of their rides, you'll learn what works and what doesn't on long tours.

Yep, that's the way to go (disclaimer - I'm an MBTC member too)

Kalgrm wrote:Pedals and bike shoes: they're designed for riding, and when you're touring, you'll be doing a lot of riding. Get proper pedals - ones that require proper shoes. Change your shoes when you stop riding for something designed to walk in.

+1

But if you do go for a clipless set-up, bite the bullet and get double-sided clipless. Eventually the 'one-side clipless/one-side flats' pedals will get to be quite annoying as you'll use clipless more and more, but always have to tap the pedal up the right way :roll:

Kalgrm wrote:You may cost yourself some money buying racks on eBay. You've got suspension forks on the front, so you'll need to consider racks to suit that style of fork. That's going to be difficult if you're not looking at the racks in person.

Consider a trailer, such as this (spend more if you can though). It's what that bloke I mentioned earlier was using.

I'd suggest you visit Abbotsford Cycles (near the entrance to Richmond Station) or StKilda Cycles for advice on racks, and come along to our club meetings or on a ride and talk to people who've done what you're planning to do :D
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Postby banjo » Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:53 am

+1 for Abbotsford Cycles. They fitted front low rider racks to my Giant XTC3 hardtail MTB. With the suspension locked out the setup was excellent.

I've got a Topeak Supertourer rack on the rear with the extra cross bar for panniers. My Rack top bag slides on and locks and panniers hang just under.

I've done one 800km tour (on road) with this setup in April and had no problems.

Fr33domRid3r, I use Ortieb panniers which are great but pricey. There are plenty of cheaper ones around that will do the trick. Tioga make some waterproof jobs which look like something I used many years ago. The week point on panniers is the mounting mechanism usually.

It sounds like your tyres are giving you durability. Adjusting pressure will alter comfort. Carrying a load you'll want pressure up anyway.

Biggest thing you can do is get proper shoes. I use basic Shimano shoes with recessed cleats so you can walk in them. They're pretty common out there. Go with the double sided SPD pedals and you can't go wrong. Make sure your shoe and pedal combo is compatible. Carry some sandels or thongs with you so your feet get some air each day. You can actually buy sandels with the SPD cleats but I consider the enclosed shoe to be an important safety item on the bike.

I leave on Sunday 5/10 for Melb-Syd-Bri. This will be my longest tour by over 1000km. Touch wood (plenty of it) my setup is perfect. Too late to change it now! I'll post some photos when I get back in Nov.
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Postby il padrone » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:06 pm

banjo wrote: Carry some sandels or thongs with you so your feet get some air each day. You can actually buy sandels with the SPD cleats but I consider the enclosed shoe to be an important safety item on the bike

Sandals or a pair of sneakers are a big plus to ease your feet at the end of the day. SPD sandals may be unwise for MTB trail riding, but for general touring the are wonderful. I use a pair on tours in the warmer months. Recently I've packed just SPD shoes and SPD sandals on some long tours. Get the correct size sandals and your feet stay well protected. But, sadly, they are not easy to find in the LBS and rarely marked down. I was lucky, found a pair for $70, just my size.
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Postby kukamunga » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:12 pm

43/44 Lake SPD sandals at Bayswater Cycles for $50 recently
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Postby Fr33domRid3r » Thu Oct 02, 2008 4:54 pm

Hi guys!
Thanks for all the replies.
Im based in prahran, off malvern road. But i do spend quite a bit of time in around the S.East (mulgrave), where my mum lives. So I ride to and fro and all around these areas a lot.
Ive scouted a few places for all these upgrades I am looking for, so far I found a touring bar at Ivanhoe cycles, alloy for $30. The other cheap place that looked well stocked was Melbourne Bicycle Centre. I haven't checked out Abbotsford Cycles yet, but i know exactly where that is - so I will be checking that place out soon.

Thank you for all those suggestions. I definitely look to getting clipless shoes and pedals first thing. then maybe the panniers.
Re: MBTC : I came across that a couple of weeks ago. Does it cost to join? Can i trial first?
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Postby Fr33domRid3r » Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:10 pm

banjo wrote:I leave on Sunday 5/10 for Melb-Syd-Bri. This will be my longest tour by over 1000km. Touch wood (plenty of it) my setup is perfect. Too late to change it now! I'll post some photos when I get back in Nov.


Hey banjo, not long to go now! So envious! What will your Melb-Syd route be? Also will you be riding back down? Looking forward to hearing your stories.
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Postby Fr33domRid3r » Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:54 pm

Hey guys,
I found these VP Shimano SPD cleats on ebay. They're only $15!, brand new. They dont look like a full pedal though, are there cleats which can be attached to pedals, and hence you must also buy a pedal anyhow?
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Postby Fr33domRid3r » Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:59 pm

^Additionally, I found these from the same guy too.
Wellgo WPD823 clipless pedals (Shimano SPD compatible) $39 for the pair. These look more like the whole thing.
PS: I would attach a direct link, but the forum is not allowing me yet :( , will do so, when allowed to!
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Postby Kalgrm » Thu Oct 02, 2008 6:09 pm

Generally speaking, when you buy pedals, they supply cleats for them in the packaging.

Regarding the MBTC, I was a member twenty odd years ago. At that time, you were welcome to come along on the organised rides and to the meeting nights as a visitor for a short period. Membership was minimal and well worth the money (I was a student and never hesitated to pay). The knowledge you'll gain and friendships you'll make are definitely worth the price of admission.

Cheers,
Graeme
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