A new tourer (for a song)

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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al_yrpal
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A new tourer (for a song)

Postby al_yrpal » 9 Apr 2010, 8:44pm

A long trip in France is coming up with a bit of rough stuff on canal banks and tracks. The thought of 27" wheels, with just 5 sprockets and an ancient Suntour on the back - My old friend the 1971 Dawes Galaxy finally had to go. I shant miss the Brooks saddle or the downtube shifters.
As a pensioner relying on income from savings, the interest rates and dividends have shrunk so a Thorn was out of the question, but... a close scrutiny of their 16 page Sherpa brochure confirmed that Thorn and I have very similar views on what makes a decent touring bike.... except for their view about comfort bestowed by steel frame material (a load of tosh), and Thorn's absence of disc brakes. The important thing was an off the shelf geometry kindly to my aged frame, and 26" wheels, discs and fairly chunky tyres. Thorn also like flat bars with those terrific Ergon GP-1 grips and Ergo bar ends. For me they are the dogs...
A tour of LBS's drew a blank with lots of bikes on offer, but not many suiting me in comfort terms, whilst those that fitted were often being punted at ridiculous prices. So on a wet afternoon I ended up in Halfords. I have had a Halfords bike before, a Carrera Kraken MTB. With Schwalbe Landcruisers fitted I did 450 miles in the Hebrides in reasonable comfort, although it was bit heavy with suspension forks. In the end, as a basis for my new tourer I chose a Halfords Carrera Subway 2 commuter bike. A stiff alloy MTB frame, MTB wheels with powerful Tektro cable operated disks. steel forks. A Truvativ chainset, SRAM X5 deraillier, ratios Cassette 11/32T, Chainset 42/32/22T, Kevlar reinforced smooth tyres, and what has turned out to be a very comfortable saddle, with all up weight 14kg - all for £300.
I have raided the old Dawes and fitted Ergo Bar Ends, and Ergon GP-1 flat grips to spread the load on your palms. I already had a Topeak MTB carrier that accepts the slide in quick release portable bag, and things like a bottle cage, and my Aldi Bikemate. I may swop the pedals for the SPD's on the Dawes. Fitting the mudguards was quite difficult. Halfords guys said only MTB mudguards would fit, but with a bit of enginuity and persistence and the mudguard fitting that none of them knew about inside the rear stays, I succeeded.

As for the bike, it rides like a dream. You are closer to the ground with a lower c of g. It floats over bumps and bad surfaces with 65 lbs in the tyres vibration through the saddle and grips is banished. I am amazed by the comfort. And those gears - excellent fast changing with barely a pause for the chainring. Plenty of ground clearance. As for the braking, long steep descents no longer provoke fear of not being able to stop, and the stiff MTB frame and chunky tyres means no more death gyrations. My only reservation is top speed with only a 42 top chainring, but I tour for the sights and places, not speed or distance. A good looking bike made of less expensive, but pretty durable components. I wouldn't trust it through the Himalayas, but I am not going there anyway.

Anyone looking for a 1971 Dawes Galaxy?

Al

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Last edited by al_yrpal on 10 Apr 2010, 12:24am, edited 1 time in total.
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. Make a difference...

hjd10
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Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby hjd10 » 9 Apr 2010, 10:17pm

I like what you have done a lot! I'm sure that it will serve you well and being an mtb/ commuter based machine it will be more than adequate for the job. I have a similar brake setup to yours and it is amazing how well they work once bed in.
Hope you have some good touring and get chance to spend some of those extra pennies you have left. :wink:

Nearly forgot swop the bl**dy saddle for your old one.......... :twisted:

Howie

workhard

Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby workhard » 9 Apr 2010, 10:23pm

That's a nice bike. well done that man/person!

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Si
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Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby Si » 10 Apr 2010, 4:20pm

Does sound like a rather good bike for the money. For that much you normally expect disc brakes to be rubbish so you've done well if you have good tektros on it.

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fraxinus
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Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby fraxinus » 10 Apr 2010, 7:31pm

Simmilar sort of bike Revolution Courier 27 speed cost £300 in Christmas sale. Added mudguards and Marathon tyres. Low enough gears for most hills, light enough to be fun. No discs so not quite as good value but I love it :D . Currently being used to tow daughters trailer bike.
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531colin
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Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby 531colin » 10 Apr 2010, 8:05pm

Pity about the rear carrier - why wont they put the brake here?..........

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But hey!! Enjoy, I'm madly jealous of your coming trip........

keyboardmonkey
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Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby keyboardmonkey » 11 Apr 2010, 9:02pm

Hi, al_yrpal. Good buy. Which canal(s) are you cycling in France?

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al_yrpal
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Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby al_yrpal » 11 Apr 2010, 10:57pm

keyboardmonkey wrote:Hi, al_yrpal. Good buy. Which canal(s) are you cycling in France?


Err.. My pal is doing the route I think they are somewhere in the Vendee heading north. We ,(4 old blokes) are cycling from Roscoff down the French coast to La Rochelle , and then back by an inland route further East taking two weeks in all, at about 50 miles per day,mainly staying in Logis. The canal part is on the way back in the Cholet/Montrefort/Nozay/Malestroit region. He gave me a list of places and I was planning to plot them on a mapping application so that I could study the route, but I haven't identified the canal sectionsyet.

The others all have 700C wheels, and one has a Giant SCR 3, if French towpaths are anything like ours I think they will get vibrated to a point where they will want to go back on the road. I had an SCR 3, it was like riding on a slab of plywood, you felt every stone chip. I tried my Galaxy on tracks on the Isle of Wight with 1 1/4" Paselas on it and it just wasn't really suitable, thats part of the reason that I have changed to a 26" wheel with a 1 1/2" tyre, its just far more versatile. I have found that there is only a very slight disadvantage in rolling resistance on 26"'s, which makes a small difference in speed, but you get a more rugged machine that can go places that anything with 700C's can't.

I would be very interested to know if anyone has made rolling resistance measurements between 700C's and 26"?

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. Make a difference...

PW
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Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby PW » 12 Apr 2010, 12:39am

I've run both on works commuting hacks. I reckon the tyre choice makes more difference than the wheel diameter.
I like your bike, but I'd use it for everyday utility riding, it's perfect for my combination of hilly roads and mucky trails. For long distance camping trips I'm still in love with my 531 Edison. :D
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vernon
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Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby vernon » 12 Apr 2010, 3:48am

al_yrpal wrote:The others all have 700C wheels, and one has a Giant SCR 3, if French towpaths are anything like ours I think they will get vibrated to a point where they will want to go back on the road. I had an SCR 3, it was like riding on a slab of plywood, you felt every stone chip. I tried my Galaxy on tracks on the Isle of Wight with 1 1/4" Paselas on it and it just wasn't really suitable, thats part of the reason that I have changed to a 26" wheel with a 1 1/2" tyre, its just far more versatile. I have found that there is only a very slight disadvantage in rolling resistance on 26"'s, which makes a small difference in speed, but you get a more rugged machine that can go places that anything with 700C's can't.
I would be very interested to know if anyone has made rolling resistance measurements between 700C's and 26"?
Al


I have had no problems using a Dawes Galaxy on 700c x 28 Panaracer Pasela tyres for over 9000km worth of Audaxes and 4500km worth of fully laden touring including surfaces on Sustrans routes that make French pave feel smooth.

There's a lot of subjectiveness attached to ride quality and the rejection of 700c wheels based on received wisdom is not warranted. Admittedly I've not sought to do an expedition style tour but I suspect that the majority of cycle tourers haven't either and tourers of the Galaxy type are more than up to the job.

As for rolling resistance - I have recollections that 26" wheels and tyres lose a rider a couple of minutes over ten miles. Barely enough to give the 700c rider enough time to make a brew before his/her 26" wheeled companion(s) catch up after the first 20 miles of a morning's ride. I can't cite the source but the data is out there waiting to be Googled.

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al_yrpal
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Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby al_yrpal » 13 Apr 2010, 4:39pm

As for rolling resistance - I have recollections that 26" wheels and tyres lose a rider a couple of minutes over ten miles. Barely enough to give the 700c rider enough time to make a brew before his/her 26" wheeled companion(s) catch up after the first 20 miles of a morning's ride. I can't cite the source but the data is out there waiting to be Googled

2 minutes over 10 miles is just about what I found touring with a pal on his Galaxy and indeed Googling threw up quite a bit of info too. As I am fairly ancient I will gladly sacrifice that two minutes for the increased comfort.

Around here we have a village bike ride on one evening. Most people ride MTB's and its mostly on the road, but about a quarter off road. I tried taking the Dawes on that and it was absolutely awful. You cant ride over tree roots and down steep pebbly hills on a bike like that in safety, as well as being scary you just keep getting punctures and buckled rims, not to mention the jarring and vibration. The Galaxy was generally great on the road and I enjoyed riding it, but in this area at least, because of very poor surfaces and potholes everywhere it lacks the comfort and safety that double walled MTB rims with eyelets and 26" x 1.6" tyres offers

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. Make a difference...

hjd10
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Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby hjd10 » 13 Apr 2010, 7:14pm

al_yrpal wrote:As for rolling resistance - I have recollections that 26" wheels and tyres lose a rider a couple of minutes over ten miles. Barely enough to give the 700c rider enough time to make a brew before his/her 26" wheeled companion(s) catch up after the first 20 miles of a morning's ride. I can't cite the source but the data is out there waiting to be Googled

2 minutes over 10 miles is just about what I found touring with a pal on his Galaxy and indeed Googling threw up quite a bit of info too. As I am fairly ancient I will gladly sacrifice that two minutes for the increased comfort.

Around here we have a village bike ride on one evening. Most people ride MTB's and its mostly on the road, but about a quarter off road. I tried taking the Dawes on that and it was absolutely awful. You cant ride over tree roots and down steep pebbly hills on a bike like that in safety, as well as being scary you just keep getting punctures and buckled rims, not to mention the jarring and vibration. The Galaxy was generally great on the road and I enjoyed riding it, but in this area at least, because of very poor surfaces and potholes everywhere it lacks the comfort and safety that double walled MTB rims with eyelets and 26" x 1.6" tyres offers

Al


I've been looking at the link below as I'm going to make some edits as part of an Open Universisty course assignment. The subject of styles of bikes (What is a touring bike?) is always a contentious one! If you open the link below there is a reference to rolling resistance that those who have time might want to look?
I'm too busy doing assignments so I've not had chance to look. :wink:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touring_bicycle
Last edited by hjd10 on 13 Apr 2010, 9:00pm, edited 1 time in total.

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al_yrpal
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Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby al_yrpal » 13 Apr 2010, 8:37pm

I have toured on a road bike - scary, especially downhill getting into a death roll caused by the weight of the panniers causing the frame to flex, on a MTB - comfortable but a little slower, an archetypal tourer, Galaxy, - great on the road but uncomfortable and damage prone off road, and now a quasi expedition bike, yet to be tested in anger, but looking promising.

I think that WIKI sums it up pretty well - horses for courses.

Al
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hjd10
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Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby hjd10 » 14 Apr 2010, 6:48pm

Slowly getting there with mine. I've gone for the retro look.....well a brooks and saddle bag that is.

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Al do you want to swop? :twisted:

Howie

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al_yrpal
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Re: A new tourer (for a song)

Postby al_yrpal » 19 Apr 2010, 5:49pm

hjd10 wrote:
Al do you want to swop? :twisted:

Howie


Nah!

I am struggling with a decision whether to shell out 40 quid on some Panaracer Pasellas - will they roll better than the no name Halfords tyres? And, whether to get a new B17? My very old Brooks broke right near the front whilst riding on a very rough 'cycle path' :( on the IOW. This will take the total spend up to £460! :?

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. Make a difference...