Touring bike on dirt track???

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Touring bike on dirt track???

Postby Victor » Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:01 pm

Hi,

i am looking to buy my first road bike. I once had a dream of it being a racer, but that fell apart when i realised that part of the trails around my house (koonung and yarra) are dirt.

does a touring bike suit a bit of a rough ride on dirt? its not fully off road cross country stuff, just dirt. For those who are thinking it, i would prefer not to get a flat bar because they dont look good. drop bars are way cool

any comments or advice would be really good!
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by BNA » Sat Apr 07, 2007 5:37 pm

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Postby Bnej » Sat Apr 07, 2007 5:37 pm

Touring bike yes...

Better yet would be a Cyclocross bike like the Trek XO1 or the Surly Cross-check ($1500). These have chunky but thin tyres, drop bars, cantilever brakes, and are generally set up for fast on and off road riding.

Neither option is a mountain bike though and should not be treated as such. You'll likely have to walk up some steep gravel hills should the tyres lose traction, and don't catch air or make drops!

For rolling, decent dirt trails though, a cyclocross bike is ideal.
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Postby Victor » Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:11 pm

The trail that i mentioned has no dirt parts, so its all paved or at least concrete ashphalt stuff.

would a standard racer road bike do for this?
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Postby mikesbytes » Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:45 pm

Hi Victor, Welcome to the forum.

Sorry I'm a little confused, in your first post you mention dirt and in the second one you say paved/concrete. Could you please clarify.

Cheers Mike.

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Postby europa » Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:23 pm

If you can drive a two wheel drive car along it, you can ride a touring bike such as my Trek520 along it. The worse it gets, the more likely you are to appreciate a mountain bike, but for gravel tracks, gravel roads, a touring bike such as the Mongoose Randonneur, Fuji Touring, Trek520 will do you nicely. They are easily the best all round bikes available, however, just as they won't win a a road race, they aren't a mountain bike and as the ground gets horrid, they'll get harder to ride.

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Postby heavymetal » Sun Apr 08, 2007 11:32 pm

Touring bike on dirt track???

No problems. My touring bike goes on dirt tracks without any problems. As Richard said, they aren't a mountain bike, but they can handle dirt tracks and some minor rough stuff in the bush.
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Postby Victor » Mon Apr 09, 2007 12:58 pm

cool. I'll take that into account.

My second question is how will a racer take a trail? The trail in mention has no dirt parts, but is all paved and concete/ashpalt stuff. However, it would obviously have bumps and the rough things that trails have.

how would a racer like the giant ocr3 or the fuji newest 1 handle it? should i upgrade the wheels or something?
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Postby europa » Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:14 pm

You upgrade wheels when you break them ... unless you can do a deal when buying the bike.

My son rides his OCR2 on loose gravel tracks, but doesn't really enjoy it - packed gravel paths aren't a problem. The slightly wider tyres of my Trek520 make all the difference. If you're bouncing the bike around and are reasonably large (like over 90kg), you need to consider the number of spokes in the wheels - the fancy, low spoke patterns look nice but aren't as forgiving as the 36 spoke efforts. However, if you are a fly weight, that may not be much of an issue either.

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Postby Victor » Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:23 pm

so just to make it clear...

europa, are you saying that a racer would be built strong enough that it would be able to handle the trail that i mentioned. by handle i mean that i can realistically expect little to no damage to my bike just through normal riding, ie no crashes?

the man at my lbs said that they could do trails, but he wouldn't put a guarantee on it. Would you put a guarantee on it provided that nothing out of the ordinary happens?
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Postby mikesbytes » Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:27 pm

Its more do to do with the tyres, the conditions you are describing are what cyclecross bikes are made for. have a look at the cyclecross tyres on some of the european sites such as www.probikekit .

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Postby europa » Mon Apr 09, 2007 3:09 pm

Victor wrote:so just to make it clear...

europa, are you saying that a racer would be built strong enough that it would be able to handle the trail that i mentioned. by handle i mean that i can realistically expect little to no damage to my bike just through normal riding, ie no crashes?

the man at my lbs said that they could do trails, but he wouldn't put a guarantee on it. Would you put a guarantee on it provided that nothing out of the ordinary happens?


A road bike SHOULD be able to handle any paved surface - look at the Paris-Roubaix race some time. Trouble is, many of the goat tracks we suffer aren't even suitable for goats and yes, lightweight wheels and lightweight frames may not like them. On the other hand, some will.

The beauty of the touring bike is that the geometry and (hopefully) the frame, the wheels, the tyres, are all designed to take rough surfaces. My Trek520 features 36, heavy guage spokes with colletted nipples to produce very strong wheels. Slightly wider wheels (32mm) give enough cushioning to handle many of the bumps and lumps I meet. The tyres I use are Bontrager Race Lites which you'll find on many racing bikes as well, and I run them at 110 lb/sqin so I'm not running them half flat. The steel frame combined with sensible geometry produces a frame that flexes and springs over the rough giving a lively but comfortable ride - that's the beauty of a frame designed for the rough.

A purely racing bike isn't designed for the rough. Modern carbon components and a bit more knowledge about aluminium have produced bikes that are more comfortable than their ancestors, but comfort is not a design option - nimble handling, aerodynamics and weight are the primary factors, and so these bikes tend not to be as good over a rough road.

The industry won't warrantee anything that goes outside the shop - look at most mtbs - they carry a sticker saying 'not for off road use' :shock:

My mtb is far smoother on the rough than my Trek, and she's an old steel dinosaur with no suspension. This partly due to huge tyres and, no doubt, also due to the geometry of the frame. It's also heavier and has much lower gearing. On the road and quite a few tracks, the Trek520 is my choice of ride. When things start getting rough, the mtb is a better choice.

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Postby Victor » Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:30 pm

alright, so it sounds like a touring bike is a safer choice. Could you please then list some? my budget is around $1000 and i know that the fuji tourer is 1300. But do you know of any other touring models out there? My parents say that is the budget but more money can always be squeezed.

Any other touring models?

thanks for all the replies guys
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Postby europa » Mon Apr 09, 2007 6:36 pm

The Fuji and the Mongoose Randonneur are the models to search out. Both are a bit more than that but with a bit of luck and a bit of salesmanship, you might get one down at your budget.

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Postby heavymetal » Mon Apr 09, 2007 8:51 pm

I have the Mongoose Randonneur, but they are getting hard to find as they have been dropped from this year's model range as rumours abound about a new model.

You may find some still in shops for a lower price.

They are a bike designed for randonneuring, (which is a form of racing), and lightweight touring. However I have converted mine for heavier duty work.

I've heard rumours of Surly Long Haul Truckers (LHT) prebuilt from Thailand selling for $1400, but this is only a rumour and no one will confirm it.
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Postby europa » Mon Apr 09, 2007 9:17 pm

heavymetal wrote:I've heard rumours of Surly Long Haul Truckers (LHT) prebuilt from Thailand selling for $1400, but this is only a rumour and no one will confirm it.


More to the point, no-one's willing to supply them.

bah humbug
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Postby heavymetal » Mon Apr 09, 2007 9:21 pm

europa wrote:More to the point, no-one's willing to supply them.


I'm about to come face to face with 2 of them. There are 2 that have just crossed the Nullarbor. The only problem is the riders won't part with them :shock:

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Postby Bnej » Mon Apr 09, 2007 10:27 pm

At a budget of $1000 you could probably get by on a Giant OCR 3. It's not a touring bike, but it's not ultra-light either and it's just in your price bracket. If you're paying RRP you're not likely to get a real tourer sub $1000.
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Postby Victor » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:02 am

Bnej wrote:If you're paying RRP you're not likely to get a real tourer sub $1000.


well on that line, wouldnt it be advisable to then buy a racer and change the wheels?

what wheels (model and price) would i be looking for anyway? oh i assume the wheels are the ones that will break
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Postby mikesbytes » Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:25 am

Victor wrote:
Bnej wrote:If you're paying RRP you're not likely to get a real tourer sub $1000.


well on that line, wouldnt it be advisable to then buy a racer and change the wheels?

what wheels (model and price) would i be looking for anyway? oh i assume the wheels are the ones that will break


Don't count on it just being the wheels breaking.
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Postby europa » Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:27 am

You're not likely to find a racer that'll take wider wheels.
The cost of the wheels will bring you up near the cost of a Mongoose.
You'll have geometry designed for paved surfaces and while that may not prove to be a huge issue, it could be.

You'd be better off buying second hand. Even the old eighties bikes have the frame you need, though by the time you kit them out with modern gears you will come close to a new bike. Still, it can be done over time and ebay can help with the pricing.

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Postby europa » Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:29 am

**Rational thought patterns off**

Buy the bike you fall in love with. Hell, if the thing's a full on racer, you'll find places to ride it and you'll learn to ride it on the rough.

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Postby Halfanewb » Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:36 am

Victor wrote:well on that line, wouldnt it be advisable to then buy a racer and change the wheels?

what wheels (model and price) would i be looking for anyway? oh i assume the wheels are the ones that will break


to quote a truism that has been posted here earlier "strong , light , cheap, pick any two".

Sounds like you may be better off buying a 2nd hand bike and sticking a set of touring tires on it. This way you can ride and punish the bike as much as you like. A few months down the road and you will have gained personal experience, have a better idea of what style of cycling suits you (who knows, after riding that one track for a few months it might become a boring slog) and then go out and buy a new bike.
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Postby Mulger bill » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:57 am

G'Day Victor.

Do you own another bike more suited for the loose and dirty? If you do, then spend on the roadie you love, take her out on the pave and get sweaty :lol:

Seriously mate, get something with drops and you'll find that you'll want to be going too quick than is safe on the narrow, iPlugged bovine infested thoroughfares that pass for bike tracks in fair Melbourne.

Good luck

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Postby Victor » Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:27 am

Alright, one final question.

I'm really only going to be riding on this on trail(s) that lead into Melbourne, you see. Ive heard from friends that this trail(koonung then yarra) is alright and that its pretty good in terms of smoothness.

Could i get other opinions from those who have been on this trail before? regarding smoothness, ie quality of pavement and few bumps etc.
Last edited by Victor on Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby stryker84 » Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:34 am

hmm, perhaps specifying WHICH trail may help get a response?

not from me, as yet, i've yet to take her out onto the bike trails (hmm, may explore the yarra trail tmr), but it just might help :)
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