Touring or gravel frame?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
aflook
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby aflook » 11 Jul 2020, 12:18am

PH wrote:
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...


Indeed, indeed. The load is pretty much a given. I've tried different ways of reducing the weight, and I'm always a sucker for Ti camping gear, but in the end it's largely a matter of food. I can't afford not to cook for myself (nor would I want to) and always have to carry a reserve: being diabetic I worry, perhaps unduly, about getting caught without sufficient to keep me going. I also tour to enjoy the cultural landscape and carry clothes appropriate for visiting towns and villages. The altitudes necessitated warmer clothes, too.Plus all the cool-bags for the insulin, the pumps and sensors... Might ditch the coffee pot next time. I stopped using it last year when the temperatures climbed into the 40s and I wanted to get away in the cool of the morning.The first 15 or 20k felt pretty long sometimes when I was desperate for that first Espresso of the day!

aflook
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby aflook » 11 Jul 2020, 12:23am

irc wrote: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

c-up-n-down.JPG

These pictures are fantastic. Particularly the Cottonwood Canyon. When I spent a year as a student in Kansas in the early 80s I wasn't interested in cycling. Seems a waste now.

PH
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby PH » 11 Jul 2020, 12:38am

aflook wrote: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?

It's a pity the for sale boards here get deleted so quickly, but here it was advertised elsewhere
https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topi ... msg2505454

I had a specific use for it, as a delivery bike for just eat/deliveroo and only had it set up to suit that - flat bars, Alfine hub, tough tyres - so it's hard to comment other than in that context. I sold it not because I didn't like it, but because I didn't have any other use for it, though I would have done for bike with wider tyres. So based on about 5,000 miles of stop/start urban riding - Yes I liked it, not quite as plush as my Hewitt Cheviot, so maybe not as plush as your Heritage. I suspect a chunk of that will be the disc fork and apply to any. To get even more subjective, it was predictable without being boring, a fairly lively feel, I preferred it to a couple of other touring bikes I've owned, namely a LHT and a 80's galaxy.
How it rides on 650B might be something different, Alpkit will hire a bike for the weekend and if you buy one refund the fee, might be worth looking at.
I'm replacing it with something that doesn't fit your criteria, which I can also use for deliveries. I came close to pulling the trigger on a SOMA Wolvarine, which although a bit dearer than some you're looking at (About £700) might tick the boxes
https://southerndistributors.co.uk/prod ... oss-green/

Thehairs1970
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby Thehairs1970 » 11 Jul 2020, 7:36am

Alee Denham has recently done a post on bike packing and touring bikes. Might help. Cyclingabout.com

Mackiemill
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby Mackiemill » 4 Aug 2020, 7:28pm

I'm in the middle of rejigging my Dawes Ultra Galaxy (2006) to make it more gravel-friendly, on account of the fact that nearly all touring/day-rides I do nowadays have quite an element of 'off-road' to them (especially Sustrans routes; country lanes too now have mega-potholes). I love my 853 steel frame, and read too many articles and reviews that suggested the ride of gravel/adventure bikes was quite harsh. So off came the mudguards and installed are Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour 700 x 40 (yes, they fit), Avid Shorty Ultimates, Cane Creek cross-levers. The bike is going into my LBS next week to have the GRX 810 x 2 groupset installed. I'm running out of space on my handlebars what with the cross-levers, bike computer, phone mount 'n all, so need to look at that too (any advice as to best handlebars to replace?). Ok, it's costing about £1k all in, but a lot cheaper than around £2500 for a 'gravel' bike. And I get to keep my 853, and 14 years (so far) of fond Galaxy-related memories...

djb
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby djb » 4 Aug 2020, 7:45pm

Mackiemill wrote:I'm in the middle of rejigging my Dawes Ultra Galaxy (2006) to make it more gravel-friendly, on account of the fact that nearly all touring/day-rides I do nowadays have quite an element of 'off-road' to them (especially Sustrans routes; country lanes too now have mega-potholes). I love my 853 steel frame, and read too many articles and reviews that suggested the ride of gravel/adventure bikes was quite harsh. So off came the mudguards and installed are Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour 700 x 40 (yes, they fit), Avid Shorty Ultimates, Cane Creek cross-levers. The bike is going into my LBS next week to have the GRX 810 x 2 groupset installed. I'm running out of space on my handlebars what with the cross-levers, bike computer, phone mount 'n all, so need to look at that too (any advice as to best handlebars to replace?). Ok, it's costing about £1k all in, but a lot cheaper than around £2500 for a 'gravel' bike. And I get to keep my 853, and 14 years (so far) of fond Galaxy-related memories...


Re bars: I've used salsa cowbells for about years now, they have I think 12 degree flare out and I really like the compromise of some flare but not as extreme as the cowchippers etc.
You'll have to compare the various salsa models,I may have the degrees wrong.
There is a cool website that allows you to visually compare diff bars, overlays them on top of each other on a graph paper type layout
In any case, I love the moderate flare, great for a loaded bike abd and extra steer ing leverage.
Lots of flareout dropbars nowadays.

PaulaT
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby PaulaT » 4 Aug 2020, 8:03pm

djb wrote:Re bars: I've used salsa cowbells for about years now, they have I think 12 degree flare out and I really like the compromise of some flare but not as extreme as the cowchippers etc.
You'll have to compare the various salsa models,I may have the degrees wrong.
There is a cool website that allows you to visually compare diff bars, overlays them on top of each other on a graph paper type layout
In any case, I love the moderate flare, great for a loaded bike abd and extra steer ing leverage.
Lots of flareout dropbars nowadays.


I really like the look of these flared bars. My bike has 1990s Cinellis and there's a really big difference between being on top and on the drops - too much for my needs. A shallower drop with some flare would probably suit me better. I'd fit them myself only I did that on my Dawes and it was such a struggle I swore I'd never do it again! A job to give the bike shop over the winter I think.

djb
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby djb » 4 Aug 2020, 8:11pm

PaulaT wrote:
djb wrote:Re bars: I've used salsa cowbells for about years now, they have I think 12 degree flare out and I really like the compromise of some flare but not as extreme as the cowchippers etc.
You'll have to compare the various salsa models,I may have the degrees wrong.
There is a cool website that allows you to visually compare diff bars, overlays them on top of each other on a graph paper type layout
In any case, I love the moderate flare, great for a loaded bike abd and extra steer ing leverage.
Lots of flareout dropbars nowadays.


I really like the look of these flared bars. My bike has 1990s Cinellis and there's a really big difference between being on top and on the drops - too much for my needs. A shallower drop with some flare would probably suit me better. I'd fit them myself only I did that on my Dawes and it was such a struggle I swore I'd never do it again! A job to give the bike shop over the winter I think.


As you bring up, I too really like the shallow drop to the drops, as well as the short reach to the hoods area. Combined with the flare out, all of these things make them really nice to use. My troll set up with the cowbells have been great on long trips and each time I've had to ride through extremely windy conditions like in southern Mexico or in Nicaragua, I was so solo glad I set the bike up this way-- both for straight on headwinds and also real pita variable gusty side winds.
Not that hard to do on your own, but if that's not your thing I get it.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 5 Aug 2020, 1:11pm

I also love the flared drops I have on my Spesh Sequoia.

I was going to say the idea of slimming down the kit is a good one, especially if it is in any way dual purpose; I mean, if you might also use it hiking, for instance, then money spent on a smaller tent or lighter sleeping bag would be advantageously invested compared to a new frame. But if the load is mainly food and essential medical equipment, there's not much you can do about it. Nevertheless, thanks PH for suggesting this. Or should I be cursing him instead? He might have got me buying a new sleeping bag!

Mackiemill
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby Mackiemill » 6 Aug 2020, 10:44pm

Thanks all for guidance about the bars - I'll check out the web tomorrow re the Cowbells...

Cowsham
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby Cowsham » 7 Aug 2020, 12:12am

aflook wrote:
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?


I have a pinnacle Arkose R2 with 12mm though axles which seems to mean setting the disc brake calipers position is a thing of the past as I've had a couple of punctures and changed the tyres but no need to fiddle with the calipers yet.

The Arkose X or the D range would probably fit your requirements -- cheap bike but with great spec components light ( under 10kg ) and robust alloy frame ( carbon fork ) with fantastic clearance for any tyre. Did I mention long chainstays and plenty of rake so toe or heel strike is not so likely.

if you haven't tried disc brakes yet ( have to be hydraulic though don't be tempted with cable ones ) they are the dogs danglies and because apart from being so responsive etc etc being down low on the axles means they don't get in the way of your bike packing stuff like rim brakes. Also I've found them to be very reliable over the last 4 years.

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Vantage
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby Vantage » 8 Aug 2020, 7:53am

I use Q/R skewers to hold my wheels in and those are braked by Avid BB7 mechanical disc calipers.
I haven't had to adjust the calipers since setting them up (over a year ago) and they're more than powerful enough to stop my fully loaded 60kg+ Spa Wayfarer as quickly as any hydraulic brake.
They don't require any bleeding or bleed kits (although I understand this to be a simple task these days) and any run of the mill non vbrake lever will work with them.
I've never understood this through axle malarkey and I spent my younger days plummeting down hills in mountain biking downhill races using Q/R secured wheels.
Through axles, hydraulic brakes, gravel bikes = marketing baloney.
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.

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Sweep
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby Sweep » 8 Aug 2020, 8:29am

Vantage wrote:They don't require any bleeding or bleed kits (although I understand this to be a simple task these days) and any run of the mill non vbrake lever will work with them.
I've never understood this through axle malarkey and I spent my younger days plummeting down hills in mountain biking downhill races using Q/R secured wheels.
Through axles, hydraulic brakes, gravel bikes = marketing baloney.

Hydraulic brakes are great, until they are not. Had some Magura rim brakes - faultless for donkeys years, just forget about them, changing brake pads a doddle, braking excellent, but once I encountered bleeding possible leakage issues I found it a fag. Simplicity/fixability, especially by the road/on tour is good.
I too don't really understand thro axles but never intending to go to discs don't even have to even contemplate them.
What standard are they going to muck around with next?
Tyres that need special air?
Sweep

Cowsham
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby Cowsham » 9 Aug 2020, 10:05am

Sweep wrote:
Vantage wrote:They don't require any bleeding or bleed kits (although I understand this to be a simple task these days) and any run of the mill non vbrake lever will work with them.
I've never understood this through axle malarkey and I spent my younger days plummeting down hills in mountain biking downhill races using Q/R secured wheels.
Through axles, hydraulic brakes, gravel bikes = marketing baloney.

Hydraulic brakes are great, until they are not. Had some Magura rim brakes - faultless for donkeys years, just forget about them, changing brake pads a doddle, braking excellent, but once I encountered bleeding possible leakage issues I found it a fag. Simplicity/fixability, especially by the road/on tour is good.
I too don't really understand thro axles but never intending to go to discs don't even have to even contemplate them.
What standard are they going to muck around with next?
Tyres that need special air?


Now that you mention it why haven't they invented helium filled tyres to make the weight Weenies happy? Hydrogen would be even better so you could go off with and impressive bang when you get a puncture.

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Vantage
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Re: Touring or gravel frame?

Postby Vantage » 9 Aug 2020, 12:32pm

I think Nissan filled the Skylines tyres with helium for that reason.
Don't think it took off in the cycling world however.
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.