Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

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PeterBL
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby PeterBL » 11 Jan 2018, 8:59am

Brucey wrote:NB IIRC Surly disc trucker is available to accept 559 wheels in up to medium sizes.

Correct, up to size 58. https://surlybikes.com/bikes/disc_trucker/geometry

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CJ
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby CJ » 12 Jan 2018, 2:41pm

bretonbikes wrote:Personally I'd think hard about going to 26" wheels as it makes lower gearing easier. With modern slick tyres they fly along...

Think very hard and then think again.

Nice modern slick tyres exist in that (559 bead diameter) size only because in the 90s and noughties EVERYONE bought a mountain-bike with knobbly 26in tyres, instead of the touring or trekking bike that would've been more appropriate for the roads and half-decent cyclepaths they mostly, actually used those bikes on.

Nice mountain-bikes don't come with that size of wheel anymore. And expedition touring bikes, the like of Surly's Long-Haul Trucker, don't sell in large enough numbers, not even when you lump in all the other niche market road-going bikes that have been designed around 559 wheels, to sustain the mass manufacture and marketing of top-quality tyres. The diversity of available models is already reduced. Gone are the 26x1 and 1.3 sizes. Nowadays the slimmest you're likely to find is 1.5in.

You will always be able to buy some kind of 559 tyre. Most manufacturers will probably keep two or three models in their range, but they'll be what the trade impolitely calls a distress purchase, made down to a price for those still running old bikes and unlikely to "fly along". And almost all of them will be wide and knobbly.
Chris Juden
One lady owner, never raced or jumped.

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby Tigerbiten » 12 Jan 2018, 3:21pm

The advice on tyre size is not 100% true as the most common tyre size depends on the area you're in.
I understand that outside europe, 26" tyres may be more common.

But if you think that's bad, they finding 20" outside major cities while on tour.

SA_SA_SA
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby SA_SA_SA » 12 Jan 2018, 4:06pm

CJ wrote:...[ 26" wheels] ....Think very hard and then think again.....

If one likes 26 by 1.75in wheels can one avoid the thinking?
(26 by 1.75 makes Marathon Pluses OK at the rear and I like the cushioning of a normal 26in by 1.75in on the front: cos my cheap Mtn bike frame with drops has very rigid forks).

If quality 26x1.75 tyres remained available I could live with that.
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Sweep
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby Sweep » 12 Jan 2018, 6:02pm

meic wrote:
For example I've toured in places where you really need just two gears, mainly, because you are riding on the flat or you are climbing, and the roads are engineered so that the climbs pretty much all have the same gradient. If these correspond with nice efficient gears then the rest of it doesn't really matter... :wink

Have they abolished wind too?

Good point. Oh the fens the fens the horror the horror!
Sweep

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Sweep
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby Sweep » 12 Jan 2018, 6:02pm

meic wrote:
For example I've toured in places where you really need just two gears, mainly, because you are riding on the flat or you are climbing, and the roads are engineered so that the climbs pretty much all have the same gradient. If these correspond with nice efficient gears then the rest of it doesn't really matter... :wink

Have they abolished wind too?

Good point. Oh the fens the fens the horror the horror!
Sweep

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Sweep
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby Sweep » 12 Jan 2018, 6:02pm

meic wrote:
For example I've toured in places where you really need just two gears, mainly, because you are riding on the flat or you are climbing, and the roads are engineered so that the climbs pretty much all have the same gradient. If these correspond with nice efficient gears then the rest of it doesn't really matter... :wink

Have they abolished wind too?

Good point. Oh the fens the fens the horror the horror!
Sweep

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Sweep
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby Sweep » 12 Jan 2018, 6:02pm

meic wrote:
For example I've toured in places where you really need just two gears, mainly, because you are riding on the flat or you are climbing, and the roads are engineered so that the climbs pretty much all have the same gradient. If these correspond with nice efficient gears then the rest of it doesn't really matter... :wink

Have they abolished wind too?

Good point. Oh the fens the fens the horror the horror!
Sweep

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Sweep
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby Sweep » 12 Jan 2018, 6:02pm

meic wrote:
For example I've toured in places where you really need just two gears, mainly, because you are riding on the flat or you are climbing, and the roads are engineered so that the climbs pretty much all have the same gradient. If these correspond with nice efficient gears then the rest of it doesn't really matter... :wink

Have they abolished wind too?

Good point. Oh the fens the fens the horror the horror!
Sweep

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Sweep
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby Sweep » 12 Jan 2018, 6:17pm

SA_SA_SA wrote:
CJ wrote:...[ 26" wheels] ....Think very hard and then think again.....

If one likes 26 by 1.75in wheels can one avoid the thinking?
(26 by 1.75 makes Marathon Pluses OK at the rear and I like the cushioning of a normal 26in by 1.75in on the front: cos my cheap Mtn bike frame with drops has very rigid forks).

If quality 26x1.75 tyres remained available I could live with that.

Just recently bought such a marathon plus for the rear of my ridgeback expedition. Hope CJ is being overly gloomy on future tyre availability and quality. Am happy to use 1.75 tyres on that bike.
Sweep

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby Tigerbiten » 12 Jan 2018, 8:46pm

Sweep wrote:
CJ wrote:...[ 26" wheels] ....Think very hard and then think again.....
Just recently bought such a marathon plus for the rear of my ridgeback expedition. Hope CJ is being overly gloomy on future tyre availability and quality. Am happy to use 1.75 tyres on that bike.

I think CJ is thinking about if you have a catastrophic tyre failure on tour and the only place you can find is similar to a Wilco's, not a good LBS.
Will the range of 700c tyres be better/similar/worse than the range of 26" tyres.
As european bikes tend to have 700c wheels, then the range of 700c tyres may well be better.
But that may not hold worldwide.

Brucey
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby Brucey » 12 Jan 2018, 9:28pm

who knows what will happen in the future, but for now reports of the 559 size's death in road tyres may be 'greatly exaggerated'; there are millions of 26" wheeled bikes being ridden around and a straw poll from a retailer (wiggle)

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/mtb-slick-tyres/26-559-wheel-size/

shows a choice of about twenty tyres (plus width variants) that might be suitable for touring on, from 1.25" upwards including gatorskins, marathons, marathon plus, marathon supreme and RibMos. For some reason the list does not contain any vittorias and there are other notable omissions too, so there are many more than that available. If you are really worried about a distress purchase/emergency tyre not being up to it, you can always carry a folding spare.

My guess is that in many parts of the world you will still be better off running 559 tyres than (say) 584 tyres in five to ten year's time.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Sweep
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby Sweep » 12 Jan 2018, 9:59pm

Brucey wrote:who knows what will happen in the future, but for now reports of the 559 size's death in road tyres may be 'greatly exaggerated'; there are millions of 26" wheeled bikes being ridden around and a straw poll from a retailer (wiggle)

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/mtb-slick-tyres/26-559-wheel-size/

shows a choice of about twenty tyres (plus width variants) that might be suitable for touring on, from 1.25" upwards including gatorskins, marathons, marathon plus, marathon supreme and RibMos. For some reason the list does not contain any vittorias and there are other notable omissions too, so there are many more than that available. If you are really worried about a distress purchase/emergency tyre not being up to it, you can always carry a folding spare.

My guess is that in many parts of the world you will still be better off running 559 tyres than (say) 584 tyres in five to ten year's time.

cheers

thanks for the (knowledgeable) encouragement brucey - your post matches my (unresearched) general impression. I can't see myself being bereft anytime soon.

>>For some reason the list does not contain any vittorias

quel horreur :)
Sweep

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CJ
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby CJ » 13 Jan 2018, 11:54am

A good touring bike is a lifetime investment. And the ONLY size of tyre in which a good variety and quality of suitable widths and treads for touring has been continuously available throughout my lifetime is 622 (AKA 700C).

Like all of you, I thought we were also future-proof with 559. But I have been SHOCKED by the speed with which the world's MTB manufacturers dropped that size, like a stone, in favour of 584 (650B). And I remember what happened to 630 (27x11/4) as soon as it ceased to be commonly used on new bikes.

Back in the 80s, before the MTB, we used to recommend 590 (26x13/8 or 650A) as the one size suitable for touring that could be found in every corner of the world, because it was used on some models of new bikes in every marketplace. But all those slightly-smaller-wheeled models very quickly went down to 559 and by the end of the 90s the once ubiquitous 26in size was nowhere. I forecast that they will very soon go back up to 584. The process has hardly started yet, but it will. The one constant is change, and it goes faster now than ever.
Chris Juden
One lady owner, never raced or jumped.

Brucey
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Re: Touring Gear Ratios for Wimps!

Postby Brucey » 13 Jan 2018, 1:31pm

but having said that, you can still buy 27x 1-1/4" tyres fairly easily, even though they have not been fitted to new bikes for about 35 years. I have happily toured on 27" wheels and have carried a spare tyre (which weighs about 250g and I have needed exactly once) in places where I would not be able to easily buy another in the correct size.

In my lifetime the only tyre size that was used on some new bikes (not many) and has dropped out of favour to the extent that it is now genuinely problematic to buy new tyres is 26x 1-1/4" (597). This was still being used for a few kid's racers (e.g. Raleigh Olympus etc) in the late 1970s, but very few even of those.

Ironically the 597 size was at one time the most popular size amongst clubmen, but that was nearly 70 years ago! So yes, change does overtake you, but it may not be as fast as you fear.

Note also that when touring in far away places, it is not just tyres and wheels that need concern you with a modern bike. Twenty five years ago you would typically have had a steel frame, cable operated rim brakes of some kind, and a derailleur system of gears that had plenty in common with pretty much any other derailleur gear system. All of this stuff would have been replaceable/field serviceable/repairable/bodgeable in various ways.

Today it takes a very conscious effort to build a bike like that; most touring bikes now have some kind of 'first world gimcrackery' on them (chosen from a vast range of basically incompatible systems) that certainly won't always be easily repaired or replaced, even in a well-equipped bike shop.

In fairness there are those who claim that 'this doesn't really matter in this day and age'. All you need, they say, is to be able to contact someone who does have the correct parts (even if they are in another part of the globe entirely) and they can have the parts shipped to you in a day or two.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~