Next bike, touring, etc.

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
thelawnet
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Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby thelawnet » 17 Dec 2018, 11:28am

So I'm thinking about a 'next bike'. I'm not quite sure what yet.

I have one of these

Image

also one of these

Image

Much the same, except the latter is 29", the former is 27.5", drive train is 40/30/22 11-36, tyres are 2.25" fast rolling knobbly tyres, Suntour XCR coil fork, which is something around the 2.3-2.4kg range.

This is for use in Indonesia where conditions are nothing like the UK. There is asphalt.

There is broken asphalt

road.jpg


Unsurfaced track with lots of stones, some of which can be quite steep and loose

track.jpg



City dwellers own carbon fibre road bikes which they ride at 5:30am before the heat and traffic, but I'm not interested in that.

Instead I'm thinking:

* something better for going up hills, probably on asphalt, because who wants to climb 1000 metres on an unsurfaced road
* option to go off-road in parts, e.g., say 100km on asphalt but then 5km on a completely unsurfaced road with lots of large stones and steep descents
* luggage for touring, possibly a tent etc. but not too much -as tropical weather & lots of hills to carry stuff up.

I'm thinking:

* buy carbon MTB fork and give it a go with that for a while on the 29er? Should save almost 2kg. I've noticed a lot of road cyclists are very much stuck to the road & can't get to the interesting places, but then they obviously get up the grades that much faster, and perhaps sometimes 5km on a horrendous surface is as much work as 30km on asphalt
* stick an air fork on the 27.5" and try and make that a purer MTB.
* get some touring tyres & give it a go? Not completely sure this is a good idea as the original OEM 'Smart Sam' knobblies were quite sketchy on some surfaces, let alone 'touring tyres' - though I suppose you can't have everything, so if I was going a more MTB route I'd just go with that.

I could build up a new bike, alternatively, not sure what though. Obviously if I had a set of spare wheels, fork, etc., then that's part of a bike. If I had a 'road bike', I couldn't go anywhere without encountering at least maybe 200 metres of very broken road, but realistically a lot (most) of the time I'm just going to the next town (7 miles each way) which is 6.5 miles of asphalt, and only 0.5 mile cobbles, etc., and avoiding the off-road route because it's dark/raining, etc. So something that is light and easy rolling would be a nice option every day, esp. as there's a 1% gradient the whole way.

I'm not at all opposed to 'more bikes', as I have people who could use them, bikes needs new parts, sometimes, etc., so an extra bike is no problem as long as it is not useless, as a 23c racer would be.

Brucey
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby Brucey » 17 Dec 2018, 12:05pm

since tyres dominate how the bike behaves on iffy surfaces, and tyres very greatly influence your choice of bike, I'd suggest that, if possible, you experiment with tyres on your extant bike before buying a different bike. Once you are happy with the tyres you can choose the rest of the bike to suit those.

Also note that close behind tyres comes 'weight distribution' in terms of how the bike behaves on rough surfaces. This means that if the bike is to have dropped bars (which will have the biggest effect on your speed on the road) there will usually be a bit more weight on the front wheel, and any given tread is liable to grip a little better and be less likely to wash out on you.

'Traditional' treaded touring tyres are something of a jack-of-all-trades in that they are not as fast rolling as a slick tyre on tarmac, but they are not as slow as a knobbly. Mainly lengthwise grooves in the tyre tread don't do much for traction but do give some lateral grip so that (say) the chances of the front wheel slipping sideways on a muddy off-camber bit are somewhat reduced. So those who spend most of their time on tarmac but occasionally venture down tracks etc often choose a boring-looking old touring tyre because it is pretty much the best compromise for the job. It might be for you too.

In terms of tyre width, you will (up to a point) usually be faster on road with a narrower tyre, but more able to run well on rough surfaces if you have a wider one. Realistically for the sort of conditions you have in mind I'd suggest that a minimum tyre width ought to be about 32mm and anything up from that (to about 50mm) might be OK depending on how much you value speed on the road.

Obviously you can adjust tyre pressures to allow for conditions but you will soon get bored of this if your rough bits come a mile or two at a time, and often.

BTW conditions in the UK vary enormously depending on where you are, so tyres favoured by rough-stuffers in one part of the country may be different to those in another. So-called 'gravel bikes' are trendy at present; these usually come with tyres that are OK on tarmac or dry gravel, pretty useless on anything that is wet.

Tyres come light, fast, strong, grippy; choose two.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

thelawnet
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby thelawnet » 17 Dec 2018, 1:19pm

Brucey wrote:'Traditional' treaded touring tyres are something of a jack-of-all-trades in that they are not as fast rolling as a slick tyre on tarmac, but they are not as slow as a knobbly. Mainly lengthwise grooves in the tyre tread don't do much for traction but do give some lateral grip so that (say) the chances of the front wheel slipping sideways on a muddy off-camber bit are somewhat reduced. So those who spend most of their time on tarmac but occasionally venture down tracks etc often choose a boring-looking old touring tyre because it is pretty much the best compromise for the job. It might be for you too.


My friend reckons that touring tyres are not suitable for the conditions because of the rocks. IME there is not so much 'mud', per se, there is sometimes clay, which is to be avoided at all costs, and otherwise rocks.

You get a lot of fairly large embedded rocks, something like this

Image

He reckons side knobs are necessary for grip over rock. (I think low pressures, I run around 18psi, also help a lot.)

This is a 2.35" 'Rock Razor' for example

Image

Mud is I think rarer than the UK if not least because it dries fairly quickly, so you've either got a big puddle after rain, or a fairly hard surface. The issue I'd say in terms of grip is when you get a very steep descent on a hard surface.

There is not really mud per se:

track2.jpg


At the moment I have 2.25" Racing Ray fronty/2.35" Racing Ralph rear, in the Blue compound (fast/grip). These handle everything, but are obviously energy-sapping on tarmac.

If I were touring 95% of the miles would be tarmac, but not being able to go somewhere because of the wrong tyres would be bad.

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nick12
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby nick12 » 17 Dec 2018, 1:51pm

I agree that its all down to the tyres and getting a good all rounder. I'm on nias at the moment been into the interior today asphalt in various states of decay on 50% of the ride the rest was stoney footpath then onto " beton * concrete track which can get slippy at one point the road was being made and ranged from melon sized stones down to 40mm chippings. I'm using 26" specialized cross roads which have a reasonably wide central section and a knobbly edge and they coped well. Fast on the asphalt as well. They don't like wet mud which tends to just clog up the tread but like you say mud isn't so much an issue. Where as clay can be so claggy depending on its viscosity that I've had rides in the past when the wheels just clog up and the only option is to carry the bike. You need to find the tyre which suits your local terrain.

Brucey
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby Brucey » 17 Dec 2018, 1:59pm

those look a lot like tracks I have ridden on in lots of parts of the world. Big knobbles grip by biting into soft surfaces; they do stuff-all for grip on rocks, (except to reduce it perhaps). Very small knobbles can sometimes increase grip on some surfaces but if you are talking about smooth shiny rock which is wet.... naah, nothing much grips on that.

You should choose your tyres according to the compromise that suits you best. If you are a good bike handler, you can use more road-biased tyres on occasional sketchy bits of trail more easily. FWIW there is nothing in your pictures that I wouldn't ride on a typical set of 38mm touring tyres, provided it was only a mile or two at a time. Your compromise will likely be different to that, hence my earlier suggestion of trying tyres out and seeing how you get on.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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nick12
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby nick12 » 17 Dec 2018, 2:14pm

Definitely rider ability has a lot to do with it. I once took a guy from Manchester out on some trails in west Sumatra. He had nigh on slick tyres 1.5" wide and he could go anywhere and fast. Where as another guy I took out only had to look at wet mud and his feet were down. A cheap pair of knobblies went on the. Next day.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby Bmblbzzz » 17 Dec 2018, 2:14pm

I lived in India for a few years, you seem to have similar road surfaces (not surprising really). If anything that asphalt looks rather better than many Indian roads but I don't think large embedded rocks are so common. I had a mtb with 26" wheels and a fairly midrange fork, it was fine for 100km rides on road, but plenty of enthus rode high-end road bikes. Those loose stones shouldn't be a huge problem on a road bike but the big rocks definitely will force you to walk.

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hondated
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby hondated » 17 Dec 2018, 2:45pm

Eureka an interesting thread and its got some great photos as well. :D

What about something like this

https://www.kinesisbikes.co.uk/Catalogu ... ripster-AT

:?

Bonefishblues
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby Bonefishblues » 17 Dec 2018, 3:28pm

Has to be something (and I know I often post it) like a Sonder Camino Ti, shirley?

slowster
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby slowster » 17 Dec 2018, 3:30pm

I read the OP and the thought that immediately sprang to my mind was exactly what Brucey said at the beginning of the next post:
Brucey wrote: I'd suggest that, if possible, you experiment with tyres on your extant bike before buying a different bike.

If there's no mud to contend with, then I would think it would be worth trying a wide slick tyre: it should be faster on the road and also offer good grip on the sort of rough tracks you are riding, partly by virtue of the fact that much more of the tyre surface will be in contact with the ground than a knobbly tyre which will depend more on the traction between ground and the relatively small 'knobbles'. Moreover, if you have to ride through the clay, it's a lot easier to scrape a slick tyre clean of the stuff with a stick etc.

Others may be able to suggest better alternative tyres, but the following might be an option for you:

- Schwalbe Big Apple in the widest 2.35" size - the downside of these is that they are wire bead tyres and relatively heavy, but they don't cost too much and might be a good choice for trying a slick (https://www.tredz.co.uk/.Schwalbe-Big-Apple-RaceGuard-E-25-Endurance-Performance-Wired-28-Urban-MTB-Tyre_56702.htm).

- Schwalbe G One Speed also in the widest 2.35" size (https://www.tredz.co.uk/.Schwalbe-G-One-Speed-SnakeSkin-Tubeless-Easy-OneStar-Evo-Folding-29er-MTB-Tyre_100941.htm) - Twice the price of the Big Apple, but much lighter. I don't know how they compare for durability. I think this tyre might possibly be ideal for you: if you are willing to consider the expense of a new bike or a carbon fork, then the higher cost of these tyres might not be a concern for you (I've not tried them because they are not justified for my rather heavy MTB and the type of riding I do).

- Vee Tyre Speedster - wider at 2.8" if your bikes have sufficient clearance for them. Vee Tyre manufacture in Thailand, so I imagine you might be able to buy them more cheaply in Indonesia (assuming they don't solely export to Europe/USA).

You could just buy one tyre of any given type to try it first.

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531colin
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby 531colin » 17 Dec 2018, 4:21pm

thelawnet wrote:.........….If I were touring 95% of the miles would be tarmac, but not being able to go somewhere because of the wrong tyres would be bad.


That colours my selection of tyres for my roughstuff bike. (which is a tourer with big clearances)
If most of the miles will be on tarmac, then I want tyres that roll well on tarmac. When I go off road, its because its scenic, or quiet, or "somewhere I want to be"....that being the case, I'm happy to walk some of it.
In the past I have ridden all sorts of stuff on 700 x 28 tyres, but now as my sight and reflexes deteriorate I'm hitting more stuff so I'm using bigger tyres. I find the old Marathons a good compromise, I still have some in 700 x 35; they have enough tread for a bit of grip on wet grass and a bit of mud; the Greenguard ones are heavy. I have some bigger Marathon Supremes which roll well and give good cushioning but will just let go on wet grass or mud, (as will Marathon Racers, with a very shallow tread) and I have bought 47mm Marathon Mondial for days when I'm looking to do mainly tracks, I haven't tried them yet.
I haven't yet found a tyre that will grip on wet, smooth limestone, or a tyre that helps much if the gravel is deep and shifting around like a lot of marbles.

roberts8
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby roberts8 » 17 Dec 2018, 7:46pm

Rode a bit in Sri Lanka on a hybrid that was fine.

Getting the tyres right first is a good idea. I replaced the forks on my rockhopper to surly yeti rigid forks and have butterfly bars for a variety of hand positions. I saved nearly 2 kilos on the fork change and it still handles well on lumpy surfaces with nearly slick tyres. Not fast but fine for me now.

My main bike is a Roberts roughstuff which I happily use on dry bridlepaths and is just great on tarmac. Save some cash and convert what you have.

thelawnet
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby thelawnet » 18 Dec 2018, 9:15am

Here's some video of the road, nothing challenging here as it's flat.



Bonus falling off a bike



TBH I think a carbon fork costs about the same as a couple of tyres so that's somewhat moot.

I suppose there is a balance between '100% stable in all conditions' and 'adequate'.

Though sometimes things feel faster than they are. I did a 20 mile loop on my 18kg cargo bike with 37mm tyres and then on my 8.5kg 23mm bike, and it was only 15% faster. Which is something, but not significant unless you are racing. Though obviously there are other considerations.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby Bmblbzzz » 18 Dec 2018, 12:32pm

I'd have said 15% was quite significant. But that doesn't really matter, it's significant if you feel it is and not if you feel it isn't. Unless, as you say, you're racing or in some other context where absolute time measurement counts.

Anyway, those two clips look very different to me: I'd classify the first as a decent road and the second as a track.

thelawnet
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Re: Next bike, touring, etc.

Postby thelawnet » 18 Dec 2018, 12:43pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:I'd have said 15% was quite significant. But that doesn't really matter, it's significant if you feel it is and not if you feel it isn't. Unless, as you say, you're racing or in some other context where absolute time measurement counts.

Anyway, those two clips look very different to me: I'd classify the first as a decent road and the second as a track.


the second was just for amusement value really, I don't go down tracks very much. the first is more representative, but a lot of the time it would be asphalt