Touring or gravel frame?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
iandriver
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Location: Cambridge.

Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby iandriver » 3 Jul 2020, 6:48pm

Most gravel frames now days will be thru axels. I suspect any existing kit will make up your mind for you, if that's the route you plan.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

aflook
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Joined: 22 Nov 2011, 3:21pm
Location: Sheffield

Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby aflook » 4 Jul 2020, 11:32am

slowster wrote:And that illustrates why your request for suggestions of tyres to try that will fit the 37mm limit of your Condor is probably a flawed approach.

I agree- but it's a way of trying out a different approach before I make a huge investment.

aflook
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Location: Sheffield

Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby aflook » 4 Jul 2020, 11:35am

iandriver wrote:Most gravel frames now days will be thru axels. I suspect any existing kit will make up your mind for you, if that's the route you plan.

Existing kit will matter but I'll need new wheels anyway for the disc brakes. I have no idea if through axles offer any advantage. you can adapt them for QR, Ithink?

djb
Posts: 231
Joined: 24 Mar 2013, 9:27pm

Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby djb » 4 Jul 2020, 3:08pm

I'm a Canadian not familiar with these bikes, but I can pipe up about wider tires, rough roads and a touring load.
Already going to 38s or whatever can really change how a bike rides, you'd be surprised how the jump from 28s to 35s to 45s feel, and depending on the specific tire, not be as much slower as you would think.

I have ridden a lot on rough roads with 2in 50mm 26in Supremes, which actually measure out at 45mm on my rims, with a heavy load over many thousands of kms, but also with moderate loads on all kinds of surfaces.
Of course, you may not really need a 50mm tire, but a high 30s or mid 40mm wide tire can become a very addictive thing, especially if you use a nice feeling tire like the Supremes. The more that you ride over any rough road (and rough road is a completely subjective thing here, as Europeans you may think "really rough" while I may just shrug and say "this is my daily commute on Montreal roads ;-)

I do think that trying out the max tires on your present bike is a good approach. Ive ridden a lot on 37/38s also, and imo thats a good compromise of paved rolling vs suspension effect over rough stuff and due to the lower pressures involved, work fairly well in a lot of gravel and dirt roads also.
But as mentioned, some wider tires ride much much nicer than others, but its a compromise of sidewall flexibility and being careful. If you are a rider than doesnt notice stuff and rides up against sharp things etc, this could be a real disadvantage using a nice supple tire--but if you arent, a nice tire really does make a real real difference in speed, rider comfort, and lower pressures offer way more traction and feel for loose surfaces.
Your mileage may vary of course....

as for diff bikes--one issue you havent brought up is gearing. Your comment of 20kgs load and age lead right up to wanting to have a low gear of at least 20 gear inches, lower is even better for rough roads where speeds are always going to be lower and or gradients can be a lot steeper.
Didnt you also mention age? In this regard, taking care of ye ol knees is paramount, and lower gearing is the ticket.

good luck with looking at wider tire options
how is the gearing on your fave bike btw?
cheers

aflook
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Location: Sheffield

Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby aflook » 4 Jul 2020, 3:40pm

Thank you, djb, that is good advice and more or less what I was deciding on. I have 20.5 - 117.5 gear inches which has taken me over a few mountains. No knee trouble yet, touch wood. I plan on using the same drive train on the new frame.
I met a guy a couple of weeks ago who was telling me about a tour (albeit supported and on a carbon road bike) of most of the Swiss alpine passes. Turns out he was 79 so there's hope for me yet.

djb
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Joined: 24 Mar 2013, 9:27pm

Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby djb » 4 Jul 2020, 4:22pm

aflook wrote:Thank you, djb, that is good advice and more or less what I was deciding on. I have 20.5 - 117.5 gear inches which has taken me over a few mountains. No knee trouble yet, touch wood. I plan on using the same drive train on the new frame.
I met a guy a couple of weeks ago who was telling me about a tour (albeit supported and on a carbon road bike) of most of the Swiss alpine passes. Turns out he was 79 so there's hope for me yet.


Ones low gear in gear inches really does depend on the combination of factors--actual total bike weight, actual gradients you'll encounter, various factors of road surfaces, and ones own physicality.
As for the last one, as an example, I'm a slight fellow, love riding in mountains and climbing, but my legs and knees really prefer a higher cadence, or at least not a "lugging cadence" if you know what I mean. Some other guys have "tractor engine legs" as I call them, and are fine with a given gearing that would have me wanting to downshift again.

So as experienced riders, we should know what we need as a low for the conditions we ride in and what we'll be carrying.
For me, even on my lighter faster bike, a high of 112 is ample, I can spin out at about 70k, so your 117.5 is high and I personally would prefer a set up with lower than both numbers, specifically a lower low for those times we have more weight on the bike, or we are totally bagged, and then there's a "stupid steep hill right before the end of the day" sort of situation.
This is why my expeditiony type touring bike has a range of 16.7-103, which to some will seem much much too low, but for the trips I did with this bike in Latin America, with more weight on bike and lots of steep stuff and lots of hot hot riding, it worked perfectly.

Horses for courses right?

aflook
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Location: Sheffield

Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby aflook » 4 Jul 2020, 4:58pm

djb wrote:Horses for courses right?

Now you won't get me on one of those. I don't trust anything witha leg at each corner unless it's a table. And some of those can be a bit dodgy.... :lol:

djb
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Joined: 24 Mar 2013, 9:27pm

Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby djb » 4 Jul 2020, 5:31pm

aflook wrote:
djb wrote:Horses for courses right?

Now you won't get me on one of those. I don't trust anything witha leg at each corner unless it's a table. And some of those can be a bit dodgy.... :lol:


we share the same view on horse riding. Tried it a few times eons ago and have no urge to try it again. So used to motorcycle and bicycle riding at the time that being seated on an object that moved constantly up and down didnt work out and didnt have an appeal at all.

aflook
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Joined: 22 Nov 2011, 3:21pm
Location: Sheffield

Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby aflook » 10 Jul 2020, 1:24pm

I'm still humming and ha-ing, butI have looked at all the advice given on this thread and and very useful it is. I've rejected the idea of the Elan, because although I would enjoy riding it a lot, it's probably not at it's best with a full load - which is the big demand. I've gone back to the idea of a custom Heritage or perhaps the Spa Wayfarer, which someone has already suggested and which Spa offer in a long or short form. I'm thinking, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that while it might not be (or at least feel) as lively as the Heritage, it could be a lot smoother on the rougher tracks I've been facing, and will take nice wide tyres. Plus the hugely lower price would mean that I could afford some really good wheels, a new seatpost (I like carbon) and other bits and bobs. Plus it's a lovely blue finish and, as a former art teacher, I cannot sniff at the aesthetic side of things...

Again, thank you all for the input.

I'm definitely not buying a horse.

slowster
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby slowster » 10 Jul 2020, 6:45pm

aflook wrote:I'm thinking, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that while it might not be (or at least feel) as lively as the Heritage, it could be a lot smoother on the rougher tracks I've been facing, and will take nice wide tyres.

If you go to Spa and test ride the Wayfarer, you'll have the answer to your question. Take along your panniers with stuff in them to mimic the weight and volume of your touring kit, and ask the people in the shop to point you in the direction of some suitable tracks.

If you've got time, test ride another bike or two, such as the Surly Disc Trucker. Trying different bikes may help you decide exactly what you want in a frame. If you then find there isn't an off the shelf frame that matches your requirements, that would be the time to consider a custom frame. In other words, you want to be able to articulate to a custom framebuilder exactly what it is you are seeking and in what respects available off the peg bikes fall short (which really needs a face to face conversation with the framebuilder, preferably one with a reputation for building frames of the type you want*).

(* For example, ten years ago you might have gone to Chas Roberts, because of his reputation for heavy duty long distance tourers for road and off-road touring.)

By the way, if you did decide to buy a Wayfarer, I would suggest choosing a different headset from the standard Tange Terious which Spa supply unfitted with many of their frames. If you search this forum you will find there have been a number of negative comments about that headset, and it probably makes sense to pay the extra for Spa to supply and fit a better headset.

PH
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby PH » 10 Jul 2020, 10:49pm

Bonefishblues wrote:I'll leave this here:

https://alpkit.com/collections/sonder-r ... 22-touring

Pretty close to the best of both worlds, I'd suggest

They're a very nice frame, but in the 700c incarnation might fail the OP's tyre clearance requirement, although the spec says 37mm + guards, it's only 35mm with my idea of suitable clearance, I've just sold mine for that reason.

PH
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby PH » 10 Jul 2020, 11:14pm

aflook wrote:I'm still humming and ha-ing,

Yes, it isn't easy!
I expect some of the differences are more subtle than you may be thinking.
The thing that strikes me in this thread is that the 20kg camping load has been a given. Now, I ain't telling anyone what to carry - I ain't buying it and I certainly ain't pedalling it. But if I was, I'd be asking myself if I was sure the kit should be dictating the bike, or if there was any compromise there. Whether taking a bit less might improve the bike choice, whether some of the bike money might be better spent on kit that saved a bit of weight. On most bikes I've owned, I can carry 15kg, carefully distributed, without it having an adverse effect and I weigh as much as you plus your kit to start with!
I'm not looking, but if I was, the Elan with a steel fork, 5 kg on the front, maybe in Gorilla cages and stuff sacks, and 10 kg on a lightweight rear rack would be something I'd want to check out, I don't know how that'd work out and there's only one way to find out.
I have been in the position of owning a the perfect expedition touring bike, absolutely loving it for that and resenting it for the other 95% of it's mileage. Choices, choices...

irc
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Location: glasgow

Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby irc » 10 Jul 2020, 11:15pm

I've done a few gravel roads in the USA on my rim brake Long Haul Trucker with 700x37 Marathon Supremes and camping load. . The bike handles well. Very stable steering, Caution needed for loose gravel of course due to lack of knobblies for braking or steering. Those were mainly road tours though. With 700x42 tyres with a bit of tread (it takes 700x42 with guards) it is an OK gravel tourer.

But if I was starting from scratch and wanting a bike for gravel road tours I would want something that took tyres a bit wider.

P1000963_flint_hills.jpg
Flint Hills, Kansas


c-up-n-down.JPG
Cottonwood Canyon Road. All day on this stuff between Kodachrome Basin and route 89, Utah

Bonefishblues
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby Bonefishblues » 10 Jul 2020, 11:20pm

PH wrote:
Bonefishblues wrote:I'll leave this here:

https://alpkit.com/collections/sonder-r ... 22-touring

Pretty close to the best of both worlds, I'd suggest

They're a very nice frame, but in the 700c incarnation might fail the OP's tyre clearance requirement, although the spec says 37mm + guards, it's only 35mm with my idea of suitable clearance, I've just sold mine for that reason.

Fit 650Bs. World's your lobster and all that. Problem avoided at source. :)

aflook
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Joined: 22 Nov 2011, 3:21pm
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby aflook » 10 Jul 2020, 11:57pm

PH wrote:
Bonefishblues wrote:I'll leave this here:

https://alpkit.com/collections/sonder-r ... 22-touring

Pretty close to the best of both worlds, I'd suggest

They're a very nice frame, but in the 700c incarnation might fail the OP's tyre clearance requirement, although the spec says 37mm + guards, it's only 35mm with my idea of suitable clearance, I've just sold mine for that reason.


I'm close to the Hathersage shop, too, though I did try 2 different pedals and they corroded very quickly. Did you enjoy the bike other than the tyre clearence issue?