I'm new around here as well as being pretty new to any kind of serious distance cycling, so any help/advice on what I'm trying to get together would be appreciated.
(PS. I have had a look around at other threads & am still working things out, so please excuse the rather long, rambling post)
I've been trying to put together a decent bike for going on trips for up to 7/10 days to do some photography - basically following wherever looks like a good place to shoot without going into heavy/rough trail territory. I also have had very little experience with decent road/hybrid bikes & none with touring - mountain bikes only, & a Giant Yukon Disc was the best - so this is what I've managed so far...
I almost managed to purchase a German built Guderit LC45 on eBay which looked to have absolutely everything I wanted but was outbid in the last 5 seconds - but it gave me an idea of what I needed (hadn't found this place yet & doubt most of it would of meant much before I started looking into things) - so after a lot of running around I purchased a 2008 Norco VFR3 Disc in great condition & am working on turning it into the bike I want.
I also have very little of a budget left (on sick benefits for the next 3 months), so I'm strictly looking for bargain basement items for the next few months.
The Norco bike itself is great - very happy with how it rides - but there are a few things I'm worried about or would like some advice on.
Some quick specs on it: 2008 VFR 3 Disc
Shimano Deore/R440 drivetrain ; Shimano M485 hydraulic disc brakes ; FSA Vero compact cranks ; Shimano M505 clipless pedals ; Hutchinson Urban Tour 32C tires with Protectair flat protection
It also has special mountings for the rear disc to allow for carrier install, along with a nice Ritchey Low Rizer handlebar & Ritchey seatpost.
The rims are Alex Ace 19, 32 spokes with Hutchinson Urban Tour 32c tyres - & while they are pretty quick on the road they seem pretty thin to me (coming from a mountain bike) - how will they handle on a gravel/dirt road with up to 30kgs on the back?
http://www.everybicycletire.com/shoppin ... r-622.aspx
It also has only 18 gears - they seem great in the few days I've had it but will it cover what I need on longer trips? The bike itself has an odd gear setup with Deore shifters & rear derailleur that can handle a triple crank, but the front crank & derailleur are a double. Shifts nicely so far but it could be changed to a full deore setup - am I likely to need to?
Another thing is the SPD pedals - seems like a great idea for long trips but from what little I've seen very few touring bikes have clipless pedals. Is there a good reason for that? I've found them surprisingly easy to get the hang of & I've only used them twice now.
I also wanted to get some advice on my budget purchases to turn it into a semi-tourer/commuter:
I've already ordered a rear rack - Vavert Daytripper Platform Rack ( http://www.evanscycles.com/products/vav ... vAodvpQAFw ) - handles 25kg, only weighs 800gms, & I got it cheap on auction - but I still need to get panniers.
Couple of things I wanted to know about panniers first:
- is the weight added to the pannier bags in addition to the total weight capacity of the rack? ie. with this setup probably a max. of 20kgs on the 25kg rack to be on the safe side, then can I add extra 10-15kgs in the pannier bags?
- And do I need to balance out the front & the back? ie. do I need a solid front rack & how much weight do I need on it if I have 25/30kgs on the back?
I was just planning to have a mid-size detachable basket for the moment to carry my camera gear - can I get away with that ?
The most affordable pannier bags that I could find are the Tioga 48l commuting bags - now down to $36 at one place:
http://letour.com.au/clearance/tioga-bi ... -pair.html
Are these likely to be solid enough if I did a bit of work strengthening them, ie. waterproof fabric sewed to the outside back/bottom +some leather sheeting I've got lying around for the inside base/back ?
Or should I hold out for the Tarpaulin Panniers at more than double the price & a kg heavier, but look to be very durable.
TIOGA Tarpaulin Rear Pannier : http://www.torpedo7.com.au/products/TGB ... 20Products
Anyone have experience at making do with cheaper panniers? Is it worth the effort to save a few dollars?
And finally, cheap camping gear suitable for a semi-touring bike - where it's generally only being used a few days at a time, with the occasional 7/10 day trip.
Can you carry those pop-up tents on a touring bike? They seem to only fold down to about an an 80cm circle & I can't figure out where I'd put it on the bike. The plus is that they seem to weigh much less for a good sized tent: OzTrail - $50 - Weight: 1.8kg http://www.tentworld.com.au/products/te ... -tent.aspx https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCYHqf3DTCw
My other choice is a reasonably decent 2 man dome tent as I want a bit of room, but they are all over 3kgs in my price range.
There is a decent Coleman tent on special for $40 that folds down into a small rectangular box that looks ideal to carry on a rack, but it weighs 3.5kgs...
All up my choice of tent, sleeping bag & cheap air mattress weighs almost 7kgs - too much? (would probably get a better air mattress in the future when budget improves, but want to keep the tent)
Any help appreciated.
2. We all have slightly different ideas. We are all different people and so what works best for one is not necessarily best for another. So read and think about you and your wants.
It is the 'budget' that you will need to work to...
Well lets start with the bike..
You need to figure out if the gearing is low enough .. never mind fast enough! That is the no 1 killer on tour. If it is not low enough you'll need to figure out the cheapest way to change it to lower the gears. That might be a second hand triple on the front with a smaller bottom gear in stainless (cost more but worth it - 2X cost 4x longer, and wares the chain less). People talk about those gear inches .. you want less than 20 .. 17 would be good. Unless your into flat places.
Spares.. brake pads, tube patches + tubes, spokes and a brake cable and 2 gear cable inners (assume 'rapid fire' things that ware the cables quickly, cables are much cheaper than changing your shifters).
Panniers .. go cheap and expect trouble. You probably have no choice here due to costs... Put any extra strengthening you do on the outside. Looks cheap, reduces theft and you can see if it is failing.
Put removable water proof bags on the inside .. put your gear into those .. use small bags with different colours so you can find what you want by colour. This works even with expensive panniers .. ever had hair shampoo leak inside your pannier? I no longer take hair shampoo! Any liquid/cream is now suspect in my eyes.
Take plenty of string .. you may need it to hold your panniers together .. it also doubles as washing line, tent guy rope.
Front weight .. well 20 kgs on the rear may work ... but you'll be better off with a little on the front to balance things up - say for 1 in front, 3 in the rear?
The SPD pedals will be fine - but take a spare cleat - they tend to loose the bolts. I'd not worry about the tyres .. you'll find out if they are too narrow and walk that bit (or take the camera off the bike for the shot and then return). Thin tyres roll nicely on firm surface with little rolling resistance so the tyre size is a compromise.
Cheap tents? Well a simple fly is cheaper and goes over the bike.. not inset proof nor private if you staying in a camp ground. They are light and cheap though. I've not had much luck with air mattresses - always seam to get a puncture miles from anywheres.. so a cheaper foam mattress or two may be better, certainly more reliable, not as restful.
Good luck.. do a budget now to see where your going money wise.
Thanks for the advice.
Started checking out the fly tents & found one for $35 delivered weighing in at 1.5kgs, so might go that way. Will also check out the foam mattresses.
Broken spokes could be a real problem on the rear wheel - need to grab a cassette remover I guess. Does it happen often?
20kg at the back is around max. of what people generally carry? Will look into a cheap front rack to balance things out a bit.
Good advice on the packaging & cleats - saw some cheap waterproof pillow cases that might do & labelled freezer bags for the rest .
Budget - lights, rack & most tools sorted - seeing how everything else adds up.
Earlier this year did a touring trip in the Mt Pilot Wilderness (Snowy Mountains) on my Giant hybrid and soon found it did not have gears low enough in this very hilly country.
The hybrid's lowest gears are 34 rear cassette with 28 on the crank.
Since then have purchased a Surly Ogre which has 36 rear cassette with 26 on the crank, this combination is much better on long steep hills when lugging panniers and gears.
On saddle bags realise you are on a budget and if purchasing cheaper guess extra strengthening as best as can be done. Dirt roads/track such as the Snowy's are really rough and hard on gear.
Put gear in separate waterproof bags as a precaution. Take extra straps or rope to hold things together.
On tents simple fly sheets may be ok in the warmer months but pretty dismal during winter. No insect protection either and at night mosquitoes could be a bother.
If you do go down the fly sheet path it would be a good idea to take some mosquito netting which could be hung over your head and body to keep the mozzies and flies at bay.
There are some threads here on tents and may be worth looking these up to see what others have bought.
For sleeping mats I use a Roman 3/4 length inflatable mat along with a cheap full length closed cell foam matteress (one of the blue ones) which protects the Roman from thorns and other punctures. This combination gives a comfortable nights sleep.
Pedals, I use convential pedals as often do a lot of bushwalking on my trips and could not be bothered with specialised bicycle shoes. If something goes wrong on rough tracks it helps sometimes to get off the bike quickly.
Suggest when you get all your gear/bike togehter do a simple weekend overnight trip and see how things go. Usually the first trip is an exercise in sorting things out rather than making mistakes on a longer trip.
Enjoy your rides.
Good idea on the check - will be purchasing most of the gear in 2 to 3 weeks so planning a long test spin in a month.
Might bite the bullet & get the decent panniers as it sounds like it would save a lot of problems down the track.
The mixed foam/thin air mattress sound good - will probably go that route. Found a cheap option I could put together for $20-
RE. gearing, have been doing some reading on compact cranks & apparently they were first developed for racing bikes to deal with climbing hills - http://www.bikehugger.com/post/view/the ... pact-crank
So just upgrading the rear cassette from the current 12-26 to a 11-34 cassette might do the trick, as it would give me much more at the low end. Went on my first serious ride from Auburn to outer Sydney the other day where there are quite a few hills & only went down to first for a few seconds while sorting out the gears - 3rd for most, 2nd for the steepest. Probably different with extra weight & really long hills, but I suppose I'll find that on the test ride.
Here's the cleaned up bike in its raw state:
New lights & rear rack should be on in a week or so, & am checking out about mudguards tonight - the rest to come...
PS. Is the weight in the pannier bags on top of the rack carrier capacity? ie. can a 25kg rack handle 30-35kgs if split beteen rack & panniers? That I really need to know if I'm going to be planning on weight tolerances.
A nice looking bike Ken with good forks and should handle the rough tracks well.
On mudguards I can recommend Cascadia ATB's, on a recent Snowy trip a large stick bounced up into the rear wheel causing it to lock up and skid. The stick wrenched the mudguard stays forward which caused the mudguard to buckle. Happily upon releasing the mudguard mounting bolt the Cascadia's which are a plastic construction popped back to their normal shape with no damage which was a great relief.
On strength of racks my current rear rack is only a very old aluminium framed rack and whilst I have not weighed the contents of the rear panniers am sure it is rather overloaded.
It is still in one piece and has not broken yet. ( Before I venture on another trip will buy a Old Man Mountain rear rack for piece of mind. )
Re gearing a 36 rear cluster would help on the really steep mountain tracks although the 34 should do until something better comes along.
I am not an expert on clusters but have been told fitting large clusters can cause fitting problems with the durallier.
This was the information I was given as was thinking of putting a larger cluster on my Giant hybrid. Went down the Surly path.
Can't offer much advice on panniers as am rather out of touch with what is currently on the market, only to remark better quality goods give less heartache in the long run.
Just for the record my Australian made Bunyips and Wilderness Equipment canvas bags are nearly 30 years old and still in use.
Remember they were quite expensive when I bought them.
Others will offer advice on some good reasonably priced panniers within your budget.
Hope your build goes well.
Did a quick bit of reading on the cassette options & as you noted, you need a special derailleur for the 36's (shadow?). The 11-34 would only cost me $34 shipped for the same PG950 in a wider ratio, so it looks like a good future option.
Good to know about quality pannier longevity - certainly seems like it's worth splashing out the extra cash compared to something I'll probably have to ditch after a year or & a lot of problems...
Cascadia's sound nice but I'm checking out if they have any freebies from the bike recycle place in Redfern, which is right at my current budget. See how it goes...
Hey you are not really doing this on the cheap. Cheap is not actually shopping for anything, make doing, and repurposing things which were never intended to be used for bicycle touring, and having no "bicycle touring gear" as such in the kit.
What is worth sacrificing:
Tent weight. A good tent which has sufficient room and will keep you dry and comfortable when it needs to for as long as it needs to is an imperative. Fussing over 1 kg (!) is a nonsense compared to what a decent tent can do for you when it needs to.
Sleep mat. I find my current self-inflater takes up less space but is no lighter than the blue sleep mat I used for many years, and has no other uses, nor can it be "hidden' in the load. I used to fold, rather than roll my slightly shortened blue mat. Rolled, it takes up too much space. It could be made to fit in almost anywhere, and could be used to pad the contents of the long round bag. The self inflator is cushy and plush, but if it fails, it's just junk. It's a dilemma which to take.
Agree about the gearing comments by Warin. Do not overestimate what you will want or need to pull. Too slow is better than too fast.
Tyres - Nobody but the rider can decide what they think is best for them. I've toured the Tasmanian trail on 2.05 Urban slicks and roads on 700x38. There are times when the formula doesn't work so well. Just get a tyre which will do what you do most of well, then don't expect miracles when it's not used that way. Personally, I like bigger tyres, especially when they are loaded. There is always some sort of trade off to be made with tyres
Technology - I'm not a fan of things that can't be fixed on the go or cobbled up so that the bike can still be ridden in the event of some sort of catastrophic failure. For this reason, I like 26 Inch wheels, cantilever, cable operated brakes and a basic shifter. If you break a shifter you might be able fix up a single speed solution to get yourself to where it can be replaced. Be able to do this. You can't fix hydraulic brakes with fishing leader, and it's not hard to find somewhere that can't sell you something in a 700 size. Having common components reduces the tendency to want to carry spares. I would never carry a tyre, but do carry canvas and contact adhesive, and have used it to fix a tyre which was hopelessly cut.
+1 on what PapaJohn has said.
I might add:
Sleeping - the extra $$$ for my Exped Synmat7 has been money VERY well spent. After 3 years of use it has beeen the most comfortable sleeping mat I have used, and changed the warmth rating for my sleeping bag considerably. It may be a bit too warm for t tropics, but where I tour it means that I have not zipped up my sleeping bag for the past 3 years.
Panniers - buy Ortlieb. The extra $$$ again are very worthwhile. My first Ortliebs have been in use for 10 years now, and still regularly used by my wife. The ones I use now are 8 years old. Excellent waterproofing (I never bother with any internal waterproofing eg. carried a netbook on two 3 month tours, just 'as is' in the pannier) and the bags are so easy to mount and remove, but at the same time exceptionally secure over rough roads.
Exped & Ortlieb are well outside my budget for quite a while. Nice looking stuff though - will keep in mind if finances improves. Will go for the heavier Tioga waterproof panniers, which have quite good reviews.
Saved some money on fenders & a stand - good lightweight reflective fenders that after a bit of work, came out well. Front is a slightly different style than the rear, but they'll do the job for the next year or so. Only stand I could get to fit was off an old racing bike so I bodgied it up for better stability with rubber from an old tube and some carpet & electrical tape. Will do the job for 6 months then I'll look at one of those motorcycle style stands.
Sounding like a full repair kit is essential as well as having to be a lot more comprehensive than I first thought.
Hydraulic brakes are pretty sturdy & it would take a major smash to do serious damage to the essentials (which would likely total the bike). Lesser damage/twisting could be quickly straightened out with basic tools - pad change & the actual brake lines being cut is all I really need to worry about. Pads easy enough to fix & will check out cost of a spare brake line/oil. Rest of tool set pretty well sorted - just need to grab a cartridge removal tool - and some spare parts from the Nunnery.
The rest of the upgrades will have to wait a few weeks until my money comes through, but I now know a lot more about what I'm looking for & why.
All the help greatly appreciated...
Pannier racks - if the rack is rated as 25kgs that means 25kg on the rack.... total. Whether the load is on top or in bags matters not. I'd suggest a rear rack with more than 25kg rating, for a margin of error, even though you'll mostly probably only carry 15-20kgs on it. I normally tour with 20-25kgs, but in four panniers and handlebar bag.
If those forks are alloy you can get a mid-fork rivnut fitted by your LBS for a small price, then you can fit a front low-mount rack and front panniers. This is the better way to carry any touring load for camping trips, and keeps the weight off the rear rack.
Good to know about the pannier rack weight - upgrading to 50kg rack will have to wait as I've got a 25kg one coming in from the UK, but it looks like a front rack will be essential.
I'm a little wary about the mid-fork rivnut (cost, fork strength & possible future resale) and might wait & see if some suitable forks turn up at the bike recycle place.
Have been doing a little digging on fasteners, & steel/rubber p-clamps seem to be the go. I could get a 10kg front rack setup for under $20 & use it for 6/7 kg in a waterproof bag. That would likely get me up to 30kgs max. on my bike safely & reasonably comfortably for the moment until I can manage something better (will aim for 20-25kgs for my kit however).
Decent low-rider rack & pannier bag will likely be well over a hundred but I've found some of them that have their own mounting kits (surly, etc), so might end up going that way in the future.
If you have a decent bke shop to deal with they should fit two rivnuts for under $30. It is simply a drilled hole then a fitting like a pop-rivet. Strength wise these are fine for taking a typical front pannier load on a rack of 15-20kgs if required.
The rivnut mount would definitely be more secure, aesthetically better looking, and less likely to damage the forks finish. On top of that it is one less thing to work lose.
Yes a pannier rack and bags will cost some money. That's how the world is
If you're thinking of the Old Man Mountain racks those things are very hefty and a bit 'agricultural'. For similar $$$ you can buy a Tubus Tara from o/s on-line and $30 for two mid-fork mounts will see you set.
Good stuff for future reference..
Will have a talk with some of the guys at the nunnery about rivnuts. (RE: decent bike shops, there used to be a solid place at marrickville that was pretty cheap, but everywhere I've been since seems to have gone road/trendy &/or costly.)
Cheapest I could find the Tubus Tara was over $100 shipped, which is a bit more than I'll be looking for - same with the surly.
Will probably end up getting the Vavert Low Rider Rack for a little over $30 which has mountings, 18kg tolerance & can be fitted alongside a regular rack - Then hopefully find a smaller equivalent of the Tioga waterproof panniers for the front...
For now, will likely just go for the cheap rack & a waterproof cooler bag - will do for the next 6 months or so.
PS. how do people secure their pannier bags so they don't get stolen if they stop at the shops, etc.? Is their a fitting to install a padlock or something similar?
I don't think most people do. If I thought security was an issue, I think I'd be looking at some sort of noisy "squawker" (alarm) to call the attention to the bike being molested and a couple of well placed medium or small plastic cable ties to make it not so straightforward to remove the bags, but cheap and easy to use when security might be an issue. I usually carry a locking cable for the whole bike though.
Hard to beat these for good quality, waterproof, and reasonably priced panniers. They also come in three sizes. I've been using a set for commuting, shopping and a bit of light touring for nearly three years now and they are still performing admirably.
De Rosa Macro | Trek 8000ZR | Claud Butler Sovereign
Sounds like they're an option but price for a pair plus postage might be getting into Ortlieb pricing from OS online seller. I often over stuff my panniers and on those it looks like the straps don't have any slack to allow this.
I've had Deuter panniers and they were an excellent pannier for the price. Not waterproof but unless it was tipping it down I didn't bother with the built in rain cover. They use a very similar mounting system to Ortlieb. I have Ortliebs now but I still think the Deuters were a good design made well.
Recently PBK had red ones of these
http://www.probikekit.com.au/cycling-ac ... 83180.html
for pretty cheap, I can't remember how much but if you keep your eye out they can be bought for under $120.
I started out similar to you in fact my first tourer was a VFR1 2008. I came home from our second trip with 2 buckled wheels, bent deralier hanger, cracked frame and dirty big saddle sores. I then traded the bike in on my current one. Origionally I used a bob trailer which was a good option for using with this type of bike, the biggest issue was the gearing though as the compact was way to big for pulling weight up hills. Now I have a 24 ring on the front and a 11-36 cassette which is much nicer and front+rear panniers.
The VFR wasn't very suitable for me as I'm a big bloke and the tracks we rode were tough and steep but they're a great bike and should work well for your purpose.
Good luck and have fun,
Postage is free over $49 from that vendor so no worries there. There is some slack in the pannier straps for stuffing them tight, but not masses, so you can't put a heap of stuff extra just under the hood of the pannier and cinch it down tight. Having said that I have used some Deuter and Ortleib panniers in times past, and a large set of the these panniers carries just about as much. The only thing they really lack is a carrying strap off the bike.
De Rosa Macro | Trek 8000ZR | Claud Butler Sovereign
These look like a rebadged version of the Tioga waterproof panniers - similar strap closures and same mounting clips. They are quite good as waterproof bags and the straps are adjustable. The mounting clips are more awkward to use than the Ortliebs, fiddly to adjust, and possibly not as robust.
That's a good deal for those Tioga panniers, and yep, they're exactly the same from the look of that picture, although the Tioga ones get the gong as they appear to have extra strap points for mounting stuff outside the bag and a carry strap. The mounting clips are a simple spring loaded catch with spacers you can put in for differing rack bar diameters, and the lower fitting is a sliding, rotating t-bar arrangement to slot in and lock behind a rack tube. In practice once you have the t-bar and clip points set, they slot on very easily. I've been using one bag for commuting almost daily for nearly three years now and the clips are holding up fine.
De Rosa Macro | Trek 8000ZR | Claud Butler Sovereign
They do have them. I'll park outside a shopping centre and then walk around with the pannier like a manbag or slingaround.
Hmm, my version of the Ridesportz must pre-date this feature then.
De Rosa Macro | Trek 8000ZR | Claud Butler Sovereign
Decent price from Probike but the Tiogas appear to be excellent value. Most times I've overfilled panniers is when shopping near home or stocking up on food etc when camping and no shops are available for a period of time.
Who is online
Users browsing this forum: No registered users