Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
philsknees
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby philsknees » 5 Jul 2019, 11:07am

I've 4 bikes in the stable but pull out my tourer most of the time (I really do need a clear out but we all know that really means just a change of bikes :wink: ).
My approach is slightly different: when not planning to use it on a camping tour for a while I'll swap out the heavier rear touring rack for a leaner, much lighter one which is still able to cope with panniers for day rides/shopping loads. Similarly I remove the 531 touring fork as a unit complete with brakes (cantis) and low riders then swap the front wheel into a light, plain 853 fork which is already fitted with a spare canti brake unit.
Sounds a bit of a faff but removing/installing an ahead stem/bar unit, removing/connecting the front brake cable and the 4 bolts for the rear rack really don't add much to the standard pre-tour checks I'd be carrying out anyway.
It may be a personal perception but there is definitely a different feel to the ride even though the geometry is unaltered. I prefer to spread my touring load across 4 panniers and the touring fork gives me a more comfortable ride in that mode while the lighter fork works much better for me during local use with lighter loads.
For me, the best of both worlds from one bike........?

pwa
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby pwa » 5 Jul 2019, 11:19am

I couldn't be bothered swapping forks, but I agree that a light low capacity rack makes sense while not actually touring. Swapping over two racks, each already perfectly adjusted for the bike, will only take five or ten minutes.

I'm guessing (wrongly ?) that the 853 forks are the rather expensive Thorn option.
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/forks/46-70 ... een-imron/
Stick a set of brakes on there and a head race and you are pretty much in the price bracket of a good value steel frameset.
Last edited by pwa on 5 Jul 2019, 11:38am, edited 1 time in total.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby Tangled Metal » 5 Jul 2019, 11:37am

Can't tour loaded up with a commuter? Front panniers are not really recommended for my carbon forks but I toured with my partner and 3 year old through a part of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Since junior was in a cold seat on my partner's bike and she couldn't take him and a big load I packed year panniers, bar bag, stuff on top of the rack and a single wheel trailer to its limit or beyond.

I managed perfectly well once I had got used to the trailer load and panniers, first loaded tour. My only issue was mechanical with my front derailleur being unable to change down from the big ring. Compact Chainring I think it's called at 50/34t. Rear cassette was 11-25t! That was a good workout. I had a very good excuse to do hills at my own pace that trip. Normally I get told off got riding off on hills but just getting up was the aim that trip.

Wasn't actually that bad partly because normally I don't drop out of the 50t chainring. Now I have 12-32t cassette which is better for me. I have strong legs and can't spin up hills only mash it up in higher gears than most people. I just wish I had a 50-11 gearing Upton because the 50-12t is just a little under geared at the top.

My partner has ridiculous granny gear stock touring gearing only gets close with a spa if you choose to swap out the cassette and chainring. She's hoping for that granny gear plus a bit higher top gear. Not sure how even with a triple.

Personally my 50-34t and 12-32 cassette is more than enough gearing for even loaded touring. In some ways it is a two gearing system. 50t chainring and 12-32 cassette or a 34t chainring system. Like two separate 1x gearing systems.

I was thinking of turning it 1x. I might if I replace my recumbent with an upright tourer. A 1x would suit a 1 bike for it all (except touring) option. Great for trail riding stuff we do as a family. No front derailleur. A wide range cassette. Can you get a 11-42t cassette? I think a 42t granny ring is common for mtbs or gravel / adventure bikes.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby Tangled Metal » 5 Jul 2019, 11:40am

Lots of comments from people with bikes to choose from. For years I never had the choice. Now I have choice of 'bent or upright. However we'll designed for touring the 'bent just doesn't suit our family touring / riding style. Harder for me to turn round to keep an eye on a wayward 6 yo.

pwa
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby pwa » 5 Jul 2019, 11:43am

34 chain ring x 32 sprocket would not get you up a lot of Welsh hills I know of with two full panniers, unless you have thighs like tree trunks. Why even struggle when something like 26 x 34 is readily available?

Tangled Metal
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby Tangled Metal » 5 Jul 2019, 11:55am

How about steep Scottish hills with a 50-25t gear with two panniers, 8l bar bag, tent on top of rack and a full and over capacity single wheel Yak style trailer? Been there, done that and made it up all the hills without stopping much iirc.

Yes, thighs of steel and like tree trunks by the end of that trip. I even managed a 17mph average speed on the stretch of road halfway from Tobermory to the ferry with that load too.

Seriously I've always been good on hills. Learnt that skill by living on top of a hill with the easiest way up being 1 in 5. But that didn't help because all the interesting ways had a 1 in 4 average slope. I'm certain some stretches were actually steeper.

Later on I used to go to the gym a lot. Most lads there were about upper body bulk. I was about getting stronger for kayaking and hiking. So I used to do 500 situps a workout day and lift 525kg on the leg press machine (maximum weights on the machine they had with the larger max weight stack. I'm weaker now but I still don't need the granny gears like most people. 34-32 is more than enough for me on possibly almost all the hills in the UK. I won't try it up that cobbled hill in Yorkshire but I've certainly done 1 in 4 hills without issues.

I'm sure I'm not alone in not needing the truly low gears.

pwa
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby pwa » 5 Jul 2019, 12:03pm

Back in the 1980s I used a chain ring of 39t because that is all I could get. I cycled over the Cime de la Bonette and the Stelvio with that, and with panniers. Because I that is all I had. I wouldn't go back to that. Having to pause once a mile to recover near the top of a ten mile climb. Struggling on Yorkshire 1 in 4s. Still, that's me. If you prefer the big pistons pushing out a slow rhythm, that's what you prefer.

philsknees
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby philsknees » 5 Jul 2019, 12:15pm

[quote="pwa"]I couldn't be bothered swapping forks,

I don't find it too onerous - it definitely brings a smile to my rides and takes less than an hour to convert to/from touring mode. It also ensures I adjust, clean and re-grease the head bearings while I'm doing my other pre-tour checks. I didn't mention that each fork already has a matching front mudguard permanently fitted as well as the cantis, so that's another job less to tackle.
I'm tempted to order a spare front wheel from Spa and fit it with a slightly narrower front tyre to complement that lighter fork......... but with the urban craters round here maybe I'd better stick to 35C's!
Maybe I've been watching too many Formula 1 pit crews at work :shock:

As far as "touring gearing" goes, I'm of an age and condition where all my bikes have the lowest feasible gear set up as a matter of necessity......

Tangled Metal
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby Tangled Metal » 5 Jul 2019, 12:16pm

I think that's why I can't really get going on a bent. You have to spin at a cadence above what I find comfortable.

pwa
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby pwa » 5 Jul 2019, 12:19pm

Tangled Metal wrote:I think that's why I can't really get going on a bent. You have to spin at a cadence above what I find comfortable.

And you probably don't have enough "bent" miles in to find the action natural.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby Tangled Metal » 5 Jul 2019, 12:44pm

True enough. I did a couple of months commuting then a two week tour and back to a month off commuting. I just reached a plateau in performance and never got anywhere near my upright bike pace but that could be the bent. An SMGT.

philsknees
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby philsknees » 5 Jul 2019, 1:03pm

pwa wrote I'm guessing (wrongly ?) that the 853 forks are the rather expensive Thorn option.
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/forks/46-70 ... een-imron/
Stick a set of brakes on there and a head race and you are pretty much in the price bracket of a good value steel frameset.[/quote]

Sorry, pwa, missed that bit earlier. Yep, you're quite right, I got mine when they first became available & were somewhat cheaper - though still expensive enough. I had accumulated some lucre having achieved a significant birthday, really didn't want another frame at the time and already had the other bits you mention lying around, so treated myself.
I've definitely no regrets on that purchase, though can't argue with your suggestion of acquiring a steel frameset - there's another significant landmark looming shortly and I might just hop a train over to Starbeck. :D

PH
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby PH » 5 Jul 2019, 1:23pm

There are some posts on this thread that use the Tourer, Commuter, Hybrid titles as if they were fixed things, there's so much overlap that IMO it becomes meaningless without being more specific. For example Tangled Metal's Planet X bike doesn't fit my idea of what would make a good commuter for me.
I'm happy to admit I can be a obsessive about my bikes, it can takes me months to decide just what I want, more months to save up for it and having done so I'm reluctant to make any compromises. OTOH, I needed a cheap bike last year and bought a £180 ex-demo Evans hybrid, if I wanted to I could do all my riding on that.

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Vantage
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby Vantage » 5 Jul 2019, 3:58pm

Tangled Metal wrote:Perhaps a spend of £740 for an ex demo Spa tourer? :D


As a happy owner of one I'd say go for it.
If you can though, try it out. I didn't try mine first, but I understand Spa will let you take the bike for a proper test ride.
I can honestly say that if I could have any bike in the world, I'd choose a tourer. They just do everything quite well.
When I had my old Vantage, I was out regularly with the bike club and despite being the only tourer rider amongst a bunch of roadie types, I managed quite well.
It and the current Spa have done shopping trips where the panniers were bursting at the seams. And offroading. Good fun indeed.
Regarding them being a bit harsh, you're not wrong. My Vantage rattled me to death at times and reohn2 said his Galaxy suffered from that too however, I find my Spa to be very forgiving in ride quality and quite nippy around the bends etc. Its no couch potatoe despite the long chainstays.
I keep mine free from pannier racks etc except for when they're necessary and at its lightest, weighs around 30lbs. No fairy but it's only noticeable on the climbs where I suffer from lack of leg strength anyway.
Bill


“Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride.” ~ Eddy Merckx
It's a rich man whos children run to him when his pockets are empty.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Commuter for touring or tourer for commuting?

Postby Tangled Metal » 5 Jul 2019, 4:46pm

30 lb? Quick cover app and that's about 13.6kg.got you. 9.5kg for my PX bike in the largest size. Same as my 25+year old steel road bike. That was in Reynolds gas pipe steel butted tubing. 501!

The px bike has been a lot tougher on the same roads though. My work commute used to send the steel road bike wheels into a state of distortion such that every two weeks I had to tweek them. Sorry I tried to tweek them then handed the even worse wheels to my dad who had an amazing way of quickly and simply sorting out wheels purely by eye. He would turn the bike wheel a few revolutions then stop it in the right place to adjust the right spokes to sort it out. A couple more revolutions and job done in usually 5 minutes per wheel.

The px London road bike is called a super commuter on their website but when I got it the blurb said cx/commuter /urban /light tourer iirc. IMHO it's good enough for moderate trails off road through to just road based uses if you're not racing on it. Advantages for commuting seem to be undesirable, relatively cheap, hard wearing and nice enough to ride. Reliable too it seems. That seems to be a decent criteria for commuter bikes IMHO.