What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
magorhoop
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Joined: 17 Sep 2020, 7:47pm

What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby magorhoop » 17 Sep 2020, 9:50pm

Hi, I’m planning on doing Lejog both next year and also in 2022 (different routes) but first things first I need a bike for these challenges. Should I be looking at an out and out tourer or maybe a gravel bike with a few add ons. One of the trips i’m hoping to camp some of the nights and other nights B&B’s so will need to carry quite a lot, any advice much appreciated.


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greyingbeard
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Joined: 24 Mar 2015, 10:41pm

Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby greyingbeard » 19 Sep 2020, 10:42am

Up to you. Theres no one right answer. People have been touring on bikes since they were invented, but its easier on a suitable one. They all have to be pedalled.
Theres plenty of bikes on the market, even if the local shop has all but sold out; more will arrive.
Get a bike that fits and can take large-ish tyres, racks, mudguards etc as you prefer.
Get a saddle that suits your bum.
A lot of people tour on mountain bikes, especially older ones with bolt holes for all the extras. The mtb has good brakes, low gears and strong wheels and frame, all many people want.
Do you want a low position for speed or to sit up and look at the view ? drop handlebars give more options.
You will need some very low gears to cope with some very steep hills, Cornwall aint flat. It seems to me that the modern bike often doesnt have gears low enough, no granny ring on the front etc.
How to carry all that stuff ? I use racks front and rear. I think they can carry more than a trendy "bikepack". IF you are going to carry a lot of stuff (tent cooker etc) then you might want to bin any cheapo rack and replace with steel ones, but that can wait till the cheapo rack starts to wobble, it;ll be ok for the first couple of trips. There are some very strong and versatile racks on the market, Tubus and Surly spring to mind.

Others will no doubt have their own views :)

PH
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Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby PH » 19 Sep 2020, 11:53am

I'd forget the labels and start with a four column list: Essential - Like - Dislike - Rejection.
IMO you can't go far wrong with a traditional touring bike, but it might not light any fires for you either. You end up sat on it for a long time, get something you like, and you don't have to justify to anyone why you like it.
I have four bikes, they're all quite different, I'd happily do a two/three week none expedition tour on any of them. You might reject them all.
Load carrying - There's nothing wrong with carrying the 30kg+ that many touring bikes are designed for, if you want to, but with modern materials and a reasonable budget you don't need to. My camping equipment weighs around 5kg on top of my B&B load. That doesn't require a huge jump in bike capability.

whoof
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Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 2:13pm

Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby whoof » 19 Sep 2020, 11:56am

This is only my experience may not suit you or others.

For touring with camping gear; tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear etc I have either used a 90s mountain bike converted into a tourer. No suspension, drop bars (personal preference), racks, panniers and a bar bag.
Or a dedicated touring bike currently a Surly LHT. Both of these options have solid frames and wheels cable of carrying tens of kilos of luggage. Relatively low gearing, I use 20 inch for camping touring, others may use lower or higher. Fittings for racks and heel clearance. That is enough room so that you can fit a pannier on a rack without your heel hitting it.

Take a look at Spa cycles for touring bikes.

For b&b touring I've used a road (racing) style bike that's a lot lighter. This has been fitted with a bar and saddle bag, including bike-packing style ones as they can be swopped between bikes without the need for specific brackets or saddles.

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Morzedec
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Location: Cornwall/Deux-Sevres

Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby Morzedec » 19 Sep 2020, 2:35pm

Who needs panniers .....jpg


Happy days,

Bonefishblues
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Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby Bonefishblues » 19 Sep 2020, 3:00pm

Shameless plug alert...

I have one for sale on here that would suit very well as an all-rounder.

Shameless plug ends...

ossie
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Joined: 15 Apr 2011, 7:52pm

Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby ossie » 19 Sep 2020, 7:54pm

I use a 2008 Spesh Tricross sport with upgraded wheelset to cope with the weight.

I believe these so called cyclocross bikes are similar to 'gravel bikes'. I've also used a steel framed 90's MTB on a 1500 mile tour, likewise upgraded the wheels

The priority for me is strong wheels and suitable gearing for the lumpy bits. The Tricross is a triple.

I don't have a 'dedicated' purpose built touring bike (and doubt I ever will ) but tour most years on the above two bikes, fully loaded.

irc
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Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby irc » 19 Sep 2020, 11:12pm

magorhoop wrote:Hi, I’m planning on doing Lejog both next year and also in 2022 (different routes) but first things first I need a bike for these challenges. Should I be looking at an out and out tourer or maybe a gravel bike with a few add ons. One of the trips i’m hoping to camp some of the nights and other nights B&B’s so will need to carry quite a lot, any advice much appreciated.


I'm a trendy consumer. Just look at my wobbly bog brush using hovercraft full of eels


Google bikepacking. A style of touring carrying minimal lightweight camping gear
in bags strapped to the bike. Saves weight three ways. Less kit. No need for racks.Maybe a lighter bike as well as the overall load is less. May work for a tour where camping is not the major portion of overnights.

Your weight matters as well. For me at 16 stone I don't think saving a kilo or two on the weight of the set up matters as much as comfort and reliability. I like the convenience of racks and panniers. So for me a traditional tourer with tour rear panniers is my choice for LEJOG. Bikepacking style equally valid though.

If your bike is comfortable enough (saddle and bars, tyres not too narrow) to ride for a long time and nothing breaks you will get there.

Reliability - having good quality appropriate wheels is my starting point.

simonhill
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Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 11:28am
Location: Essex

Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby simonhill » 20 Sep 2020, 2:05pm

Maybe first question should be what style of bike do you want/like?

Flat bar or drops for a start.

velo-city
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Joined: 17 Aug 2010, 11:33pm
Location: London, UK

Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby velo-city » 20 Sep 2020, 5:45pm

I’ve used two separate bikes for years - Carbon road for general riding and heavily customised hybrid with racks/panniers for longer camping touring.

I’m now switching more to bike-packing on the road bike (with lower MTBcassette) and will also get a gravel bike next year.

It really depends what you want and how fit/strong you are. For me touring bikes and panniers and camping gear is heavy going and slow. Even with the right gearing hills are a slog. It can be fun still but having recently discovered bike-packing I enjoy the experience much more. It’s trickier to camp though, you need some pretty lightweight gear and that can be expensive, and even then you have to pack much more lightly.

I’d probably start with a smaller trip on the bike you’re most familiar with and see how that goes.

Some good articles I’ve come across in touring and bike packing offer the same advice. For everything you’re planning on taking, ask yourself twice if you really need it. Then ask yourself again if you REALLY need it! I laugh when I read this as I always take more than I need and regret it! I’ve thrown stuff away during a trip or shipped home. Bike packing bags at leat help you there are theyre much more restrictive, but panniers can take a huge load. Ok when you set off, not so good after hundreds of miles and x hills.

I’d also think of the most general bike you can do other things with - having dedicated bikes is expensive / annoying. There are loads of amazing gravel style routes opening up well away from traffic and IMO much more interesting - but a slick tourer wouldn’t be much good.
Good luck .
Last edited by velo-city on 20 Sep 2020, 6:34pm, edited 2 times in total.

Jdsk
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Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby Jdsk » 20 Sep 2020, 6:20pm

velo-city wrote:Some good articles I’ve come across in touring and bike packing offer the same advice. For everything you’re planning on taking, ask yourself twice if you really need it. Then ask yourself again if you REALLY need it! I laugh when I read it his as I always take more than I need and regret it! I’ve thrown stuff away during a trip or shipped home.

Great advice.

And immediately after every trip ponder every item that wasn't used...

Jonathan

Nickeveson
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Joined: 25 Nov 2014, 5:15pm

Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby Nickeveson » 20 Sep 2020, 7:35pm

Butterfly bars on my Dawes Karakum, 12 hand positions I think
Image Attachments
IMG-20180628-WA0001.jpg

Nessie23
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Joined: 13 Sep 2020, 1:19pm
Location: Warwickshire

Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby Nessie23 » 21 Sep 2020, 3:07pm

Those butterfly bars look interesting. I have hybrid with flat bars and was looking to get something different to give some variation over longer rides. I have ruled out drops due to reduced mobility from back op but these ‘butterflies’ might be the answer.
Would be interested in your thoughts @nickeveson and anyone else with experience.
Eg can you rest your forearms on them in a sort of aero/TT position?

Jamesh
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Joined: 2 Jan 2017, 5:56pm

Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby Jamesh » 21 Sep 2020, 4:49pm

Two years ago during a coast to coast ride we stayed a yha grinton.

A Dutch chap spent several hours unpacking his panniers to prepare his tea.

See slung our bags on the bunk and said where's the pub.

Several hours later we returned and he was still at his panniers.

On leaving he was impressed at our lightweight frame bags and said "I could learn something from you too youngsters!"

Which amused us the whole day!

You take your style and live with it!

Cheers James

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speedsixdave
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Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: What bike for loaded touring ? ( LeJoG + other tours )

Postby speedsixdave » 21 Sep 2020, 7:18pm

Nessie23 wrote:Those butterfly bars look interesting. I have hybrid with flat bars and was looking to get something different to give some variation over longer rides. I have ruled out drops due to reduced mobility from back op but these ‘butterflies’ might be the answer.
Would be interested in your thoughts @nickeveson and anyone else with experience.
Eg can you rest your forearms on them in a sort of aero/TT position?



I had a pair on the front of the tandem for a bit, for all the reasons you note, and didn't get on with them at all. Although there are lots of positions, the main one covering the brakes and gears was much narrower than a normal pair of flat bars, and it didn't give me tbe leverage and control I was after on a tandem. The other positions were good though. They went on the back of the tandem after that, and the wife is very happy with them still.

I still have flat bars on the tandem but with Ergon grips with short bar-ends. These are pretty good and allow me to rotate the wrists to a 'forward ' or natural position. There are lots of other ergonomic options too now like Jones H-bars - have a search on this forum for those.
Big wheels good, small wheels better.
Two saddles best!