Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)

dnrc
Posts: 99
Joined: 22 Nov 2010, 12:06am

Re: Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Postby dnrc » 30 Jun 2020, 9:39pm

Glumbags wrote:Hi everyone.
I've been commuting to work for the last year after a job change and now commute, go grocery shopping, and just about everywhere on this thing!
It's a Saracen Powertrax 1996 MTB with Tange MTB tubing (not sure how good this frame actually is tbh - could someone enlighten me?)
Bought off ebay for £100 and rides very well to be fair.

Next year I retire and an looking at some longer tours which might include some unpaved rougher stuff outside Europe. I used to be quite a keen mountain biker so I do enjoy that sort of thing, although I want a bike to tour on principally.
I live in a small flat so only have room for 1 bike.

My question is - do I keep and upgrade it for example - it has no front fork eyelets for panniers and it has some old spec...or ditch and buy for example a second hand Surly LHT for £500ish of Gumtree?
Could any experienced tourers give me some sensible advice?
I want:
26" wheels
steel frame
I often whistle whilst I ride so that gives you an idea of the speed I go at! Comfort trumps speed for me. Cheers in advance for any advice folks.



If you already enjoy riding it then i would say to start with there is no reason to change especially if you only have room for one bike, why not use one you have and like. Old MTB's are great for touring.

Get some panniers and maybe a more suitable rear rack. Depending on how much stuff you need you could get a canti mounted rack for the front or even a bikepacking roll style front carrier thing (beer means I can't think of the proper name right now) and off you go.

colin54
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Joined: 24 Sep 2013, 4:34pm

Re: Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Postby colin54 » 1 Jul 2020, 10:43am

Here's another thread about stands, worth a read all the way through.
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=120018
Title....'A kickstand has killed my touring bike'.... !

hoppy58
Posts: 259
Joined: 9 Mar 2011, 3:07pm

Re: Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Postby hoppy58 » 1 Jul 2020, 3:46pm

Tange tubing is really good quality and the early to mid 90s saracens are quality bikes. I had a hardtrax, which was fairly basic and a protrax, more high end. Both bikes gave me loads of fun and were ideal for touring, off road and other duties as well.

I currently have a rigid ‘95 Marin Eldridge Grade which is of a similar ilk (tange cromo tubing) and it’s a lovely, nippy bike which can handle general touring duties easily. Incidentally I had a 26” Surly LHT which I found to be very heavy, sluggish and overkill for anything other than full on heavy touring..I much prefer the ride of my old rigid Marin.

So, my advice would be hold on to your Saracen, treat it to some nice rack(s), guards and wheels (dynohub front wheel?)...some tyres like Schwalbe land cruisers are good all round on/off road tyres. If you eventually decide you want a Surly, then buy a frame/forks and swap all the nice bits over!

Glumbags
Posts: 12
Joined: 29 Jun 2020, 3:39pm

Re: Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Postby Glumbags » 1 Jul 2020, 10:11pm

hoppy58 wrote:Tange tubing is really good quality and the early to mid 90s saracens are quality bikes. I had a hardtrax, which was fairly basic and a protrax, more high end. Both bikes gave me loads of fun and were ideal for touring, off road and other duties as well.

I currently have a rigid ‘95 Marin Eldridge Grade which is of a similar ilk (tange cromo tubing) and it’s a lovely, nippy bike which can handle general touring duties easily. Incidentally I had a 26” Surly LHT which I found to be very heavy, sluggish and overkill for anything other than full on heavy touring..I much prefer the ride of my old rigid Marin.

So, my advice would be hold on to your Saracen, treat it to some nice rack(s), guards and wheels (dynohub front wheel?)...some tyres like Schwalbe land cruisers are good all round on/off road tyres. If you eventually decide you want a Surly, then buy a frame/forks and swap all the nice bits over!


Thanks for the advice Hoppy58. Super helpful and very encouraging. Funny how old and beat up it looked next to a Boardman commuter I was given, yet to ride it was no contest. I sold the Boardman! BTW would a set of new 26 rigida sputniks make a difference to the ride? Im new to all this but learning! Cheers again

zenitb
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Keep... !!!

Postby zenitb » 2 Jul 2020, 12:38am

I tour on a 1990s MTB - ok mine is 6000 series Alu but I would be quite happy with steel. Great for unsurfaced veloroutes, canal towpaths, bridleways and even tarmac :-)

That's actually a reasonable quality steel frame on the Saracen... its not a cheap gaspipe bike..

Of course if you have the retirement cash and want to buy something shiny ... fair enough .. fill yer boots :-)
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Sweep
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Location: London

Re: Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Postby Sweep » 2 Jul 2020, 6:19am

b1ke wrote:
The Merlin had no mounts for a front rack and I used Tubus adapters. Very good indeed.

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/carriers-racks/tubus-lmi-mounting-set-for-forks-without-eyelets

+1
I use these on a 90s Ridgeback.
Glumbags, i think your bike looks great, I'd keep it and spend money on spa sputnik wheels and quality tubus racks and ortlieb bags. If anything should ever happen to your frame (probably wont, tange butted tubing is good stuff) all of those bits can just be swapped over to another frame.

Edit: yes i'd take the stand off pronto.
Sweep

Glumbags
Posts: 12
Joined: 29 Jun 2020, 3:39pm

Re: Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Postby Glumbags » 2 Jul 2020, 8:41am

Jan Marten wrote:Re: Bike stand.
For maximum stability the bike stand/support should be as high as practical (and definitely above centre of gravity) on the bike and give the bike between 10° and 20° of lean.
I always carry* a purpose made collapsible pole made from aluminium tent poles. This pic shows use of a hiking pole that can be quickly extended to suit.

* Strapped to underside of downtube

20200630_compress23.jpg

Cheers Jan

hoppy58
Posts: 259
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Re: Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Postby hoppy58 » 2 Jul 2020, 9:42am

BTW would a set of new 26 rigida sputniks make a difference to the ride?


I’ve not tried them but by all accounts they’re very good. You could run what you’ve got until they start wearing out and meanwhile look out in the classifieds...good, little-used wheels frequently come up, or have a look at a good shop such as spa cycles who do very good wheel builds.

Bmblbzzz
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Location: From here to there.

Re: Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Postby Bmblbzzz » 2 Jul 2020, 10:47am

Jan Marten wrote:Re: Bike stand.
For maximum stability the bike stand/support should be as high as practical (and definitely above centre of gravity) on the bike and give the bike between 10° and 20° of lean.
I always carry* a purpose made collapsible pole made from aluminium tent poles. This pic shows use of a hiking pole that can be quickly extended to suit.

* Strapped to underside of downtube

20200630_compress23.jpg

Ooh, that's a good idea! It just happens I have a tent pole that broke last year....

rjb wrote:That's way too good to ditch. Have a look here for inspiration. My dogs bollox started as a Falcon MTB with Tange 900 double butted tubing. I converted it into a touring bike. Most comfortable bike I own. viewtopic.php?f=5&t=138096&p=1490021&hilit=Falcon#p1490021. :D

Lovely! Somehow, unlike many mtb>tourer conversions, it looks as if it was made for the job - like a 26" wheeled "expedition tourer" rather than a conversion.

And finally, trying to be relevant to the topic: there are front racks which use the V-brake bosses. I've no personal experience so can't comment. What I have used is a front low-rider rack fixed to the fork with P-clips. It was, to my slight surprise, rock solid, including loaded riding over bridleways.

But do you definitely want/need front panniers? There are alternatives such as the Gorilla cage https://bearbonesbikepacking.co.uk/shop ... rilla-cage and clip https://bearbonesbikepacking.co.uk/shop ... rilla-clip

djb
Posts: 117
Joined: 24 Mar 2013, 9:27pm

Re: Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Postby djb » 2 Jul 2020, 2:10pm

One aspect to take into account is adding up the cost of changes, modifications, and how reliable everything well be of you do a far off tour.
A few years ago I was in the same boat"--- keep and fix up my old mtb or not, to use for some far off tours.
In the end, it wasn't too hard to realize that I'd have to replace stuff etc etc, not to mention wondering about the 20 year old frame having an issue somewhere far off.
I decided to look for and buy a surly troll, so a proven world tourer, can take fat tires, disc brakes.
I personally am glad I went this route, but was lucky in finding a used one, although I did put time into searching for one.

Glumbags
Posts: 12
Joined: 29 Jun 2020, 3:39pm

Re: Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Postby Glumbags » 5 Jul 2020, 3:36pm

djb wrote:One aspect to take into account is adding up the cost of changes, modifications, and how reliable everything well be of you do a far off tour.
A few years ago I was in the same boat"--- keep and fix up my old mtb or not, to use for some far off tours.
In the end, it wasn't too hard to realize that I'd have to replace stuff etc etc, not to mention wondering about the 20 year old frame having an issue somewhere far off.
I decided to look for and buy a surly troll, so a proven world tourer, can take fat tires, disc brakes.
I personally am glad I went this route, but was lucky in finding a used one, although I did put time into searching for one.


Cheers djb.
I've been looking at the Troll as well.
What do you reckon...worth it?

djb
Posts: 117
Joined: 24 Mar 2013, 9:27pm

Re: Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Postby djb » 5 Jul 2020, 6:13pm

Glumbags wrote:
djb wrote:One aspect to take into account is adding up the cost of changes, modifications, and how reliable everything well be of you do a far off tour.
A few years ago I was in the same boat"--- keep and fix up my old mtb or not, to use for some far off tours.
In the end, it wasn't too hard to realize that I'd have to replace stuff etc etc, not to mention wondering about the 20 year old frame having an issue somewhere far off.
I decided to look for and buy a surly troll, so a proven world tourer, can take fat tires, disc brakes.
I personally am glad I went this route, but was lucky in finding a used one, although I did put time into searching for one.


Cheers djb.
I've been looking at the Troll as well.
What do you reckon...worth it?


Oh I don't know. The newer Bridge Club model is with 27.5 in wheels, a normal dropout, and less expensive, but probably is very similar. However stock it comes with a 1x drivetrain now (orig used to be a double)
Being in the UK I'm sure Surlys are rare, so maybe a used Thorn or something is more realistic.

Im biased towards the Troll, but new ones are very pricey now here.
Then there is looking for a frameset and putting exactly what you want on a bike...but thats not for everyone, and usually more expensive offhand.

not an easy answer here, budget and other stuff comes into play.....

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Postby Bmblbzzz » 5 Jul 2020, 7:24pm

I'd say Surly are at least as available as Thorn in the UK. Neither is incredibly common. Thorn might possibly be better VFM.

hoppy58
Posts: 259
Joined: 9 Mar 2011, 3:07pm

Re: Saracen Tange MTB for touring - keep or ditch for touring and rough stuff

Postby hoppy58 » 5 Jul 2020, 8:30pm

If you are looking for an alternative, Genesis/Ridgeback are generally better vfm than Surly and cover similar, well thought out steel framesets. You can get some real bargains on eBay/ gumtree as well for crois de fers, tour de fers etc. Many see Genesis as the UK Surly!!